January is the coldest month of the year but it presents a real challenge: very little is growing, the branches are bare, the spring bulbs are just peeping up and one can see the bare bones of the garden.

There are still some harvests to gather in the garden – the last few marrows and gourds need to be picked before the frosts, and the rows of parsnips are now demanding to be harvested to provide winter delights such as parsnip chips and curried parsnip soup, which are practically unknown to the French.