Beef, lamb and pork remain fairly stable in terms of supply and cost. Wild venison is also now in good supply. As well as the traditional cuts such as haunches and saddles, try lesser-used cuts like the bas-cote racks and ossobucco, and twice-cook shoulder joints, which are braised and then portioned and reheated.
Red-legged partridge is becoming more readily available with a slight ease in prices, but the grey-legged variety is still in very short supply and so at a premium.
Source: Aubrey Allen, 024 7642 2222, www.aubreyallen.co.uk
The first of the English Russet apples are now available. However, they are not eating well yet. Outdoor-grown rhubarb is now coming to an end as the stems begin to get woody. Fresh damsons (right) remain good. Some late Diamante variety English strawberries are still trickling through, although most suppliers will now revert to Dutch or Belgian crops.
Some early purple sprouting broccoli has started arriving in reasonable condition, although it is not lasting well and needs to be used quickly. Black cabbage is outstanding again now.
Source: Chef's Connection, 020 7627 4809, www.chefs-connection.com
Fishing conditions should get better as the week goes on, but not much will come down in price, mainly because the market was a bit short at the start of the week.
Monkfish and Dover sole prices should dip slightly thanks to a steadier supply, but every other price will be staying the same or getting higher. Bad conditions around Iceland mean haddock, plaice and cod will go up in price, as will bream, lemon sole, scallops and farmed turbot - thanks to stock levels in Spain.
There are, however, good landings of mackerel in Scotland and along the South Coast.
Source: M&J Seafood, 01296 588221, www.mjseafoods.com
The season for Marine Stewardship Council-accredited mackerel from the South-west has also now opened. The council is an independent organisation that certifies sustainable fisheries around the world.
Soused mackerel with apple purée and jelly, sautéd scallops and hazelnut and praline milk
Ingredients (Serves four)
For the soused mackerel
1 large mackerel, cleaned
2 shallots, sliced into thin rings
1/2tsp rock salt
Sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf, cut up
1 carrot, peeled and sliced thinly
4tbs white wine
4tbs white wine vinegar
For the purée 1 Bramley apple
For the jelly
200ml apple juice
2 sage leaves
2 gelatine leaves, soaked
For the milk
1tbs hazelnut praline
For the scallops
Peel and chop the apple and heat slowly with the butter until soft. Blend and pass. Meanwhile, boil the apple juice with the sage and pass, then add gelatine. Set in a rectangular tub and cut into small cubes when ready.
Fillet and pinbone the mackerel and cut each fillet in half. Place the pieces and the rest of the ingredients into a glass dish and top up with a little cold water. Slowly cook until the fish is tender and the vegetables cooked - about 6-8 minutes at 63°C.
For the milk, simmer the hazelnut praline with the milk and with a hand mixer blend until frothy and light. Sauté two scallops per person until golden on each side. Season them with ginger, lemon and chopped chives. Put apple purée on plate, sit a piece of the mackerel on top, and garnish with the cooked carrot and shallot. Then put jelly and scallops in a row and cover with the praline cream over the top, making sure it is light and fluffy.
Glynn Purnell, co-proprietor and head chef, Jessica's, Birmingham