Rock star chef Martin McNair's spring ingredients tips

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GREENHITHE chef Martin McNair knows food. He started his career more than a quarter of a century ago at the Waldorf Hotel in London, has worked at Michelin-starred restaurants, five-star hotels and the QE2.

He has cooked on tour for rock stars like the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Janet Jackson, and now he’s set up his own catering firm, A Question of Thyme.

Every month, Martin brings you the best ideas for seasonal produce. This month, it’s rhubarb, purple sprouting broccoli, celeriac and wild salmon.

Spring is definitely in the air and with it brings some great British produce.

Rhubarb is in full swing and an obvious favourite in a number of desserts.  I like to use it in trifle, poaching in a sparkling wine and vanilla syrup, and making a Jelly from the liquid.

It is also a good compliment to oily fish such as sardines when cooked down with a little bit of water, sugar and fennel seeds.

The Wild Salmon season starts this month and, although more expensive than farmed, its’ superior taste and texture means it is worth trying. Grilled and served with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, freshly chopped parsley and chives, with buttered spring greens makes for a tasty supper.

Purple sprouting broccoli suits any style of cooking.  Try blanching briefly in salted water then pan fry with tinned chick peas, a little Harissa paste for a spicy side dish.

Another versatile vegetable is Celeriac. This goes great mixed with potato dishes such as mash or creamy gratin. 

Grated and mixed with lemon, mayonnaise, capers, gherkins and parsley, this slaw goes well with left over roast chicken and even better in a fish finger sandwich.

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