Jennifer’s Corner – A Healthy Heart

Our founder, Jennifer Irvine, talks of her passion for seasonal foods and the importance of a healthy heart. With Valentines day on the horizon, her top tips are right in time for that special meal for two or that family feast.

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February is now upon us and as Valentines Day creeps around the corner, we are urged to think about who we want to give our hearts to. So, at this time of year, I would like to encourage you to have a healthy heart, not just metaphorically but physically too. The simplest way I recommend to do this is by utilising all of the amazing produce we have on our doorstep. One of my favourite things about this time of year is the array of seasonal vegetables. Despite the cold, dreary weather it is a month bursting with flavour, colour and goodness.

Cauliflower, leeks, carrots and parsnips to name a few, can be made into the most delicious combination for a vegetable soup, or they can be simply served as a nutritious side to a classic sunday roast. Purple sprouting broccoli is another favourite that is absolutely brimming with goodness and adds that instent splash of colour to your plate. It contains the phytochemical sulphoraphane which is thought to provide resistance against heart disease and cancer as well as, osteoporosis and diabetes. It is packed with vitamin C and is an excellent source of iron, folic acid, calcium, and vitamin A. I love serving warm, homemade soup to my girls and at this time of year I go that extra mile and serve the soup in large heart-shaped bowls.

Another wonderful soup idea for this time of year is a chowder, a modest, hearty bowl of goodness. Shellfish is a brillant food for February; choices range from oysters and clams to cockles and mussles and even Dublin Bay prawns, a sometimes forgotten gem. They are high in essential minerals including iodine, selenium, zinc and potassium, in addition to containing high amounts of essential omega-3 fats. Loaded with various types of fish, a classic chowder falls solely on the freshness of it’s ingredients, my favourite is leek and smoked haddock chowder. The best place to source your fish for this recipe is your local fishmonger, who I’m sure will help you find the freshest and tastiest fish.

At home to complete the evening I make sure that our Valentines feast is complemented with lots of candles, tea lights, dotted around the table and placed on mirrored frames. It completes the romantic atmosphere.6