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Three dishes perfect for an early spring family lunch

Gráinne O’Keefe: These recipes are among my favourites to welcome the arrival of vibrant colourful produce

Spring is my favourite season of the year. I love the crisp, fresh air and all the vibrant colourful produce that comes with it.

Springtime for chefs and home cooks is a wonderful season. Winter is long, and menus tend to be somewhat heavy. Seasonal produce in winter is limited, and although there is still plenty around, it’s no comparison to the colourful and fragrant fruit and vegetables available in spring.

The first telltale sign of spring produce is fresh wild garlic being picked, quickly followed by rhubarb popping up on menus, followed by sweet spring peas, and eventually asparagus (usually peak spring season). Every year I get excited for spring and designing new, lighter menus to celebrate it, and every year it feels like the season gets shorter and is over as quickly as it started. Of course, it leading into summer softens the blow and starts a whole new cycle of wonderful produce and ideas.

Below are some of my favourite early spring recipes, perfect for a light Sunday lunch with friends to celebrate the beginning of spring.

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The salt-baking of the carrots accentuates their natural sweetness, with the salty feta cheese enhancing their sweetness even more. Carrots can, of course, be substituted for any vegetable, with some cooking-time adjustment.

The spatchcock chicken is perfect for a family-style lunch, with the vinegar marinade making it juicy, moist and bursting with flavour. I love to serve mine with peas and mash potato, making sure to leave some for sandwiches in the evening time.

Lastly, the rhubarb cake. A foolproof cake with a slightly acidic and tart flavour from the lemon to cut through the sweetness. Again, the rhubarb can be swapped out for any fruits.

Recipe: salt baked carrots with feta

Recipe: vinegar-marinated spatchcock chicken

Recipe: rhubarb upside down cake