• In season now: May

    New this month: Asparagus! The food of gods... and carrots are back.

    Still in season from last month: cauliflower, chard, green cabbage, salad leaves, main-crop potatoes (from store), salad leaves, sea kale, spring greens, rhubarb

    Goodbye till next year to: Purple sprouting broccoli (sniff, sniff), leeks, stored parsnips, forced rhubarb

  • What I’m doing here

    This all started when I picked the first strawberries from my new allotment.

    I'd never been so enraptured or so excited by food. It was a shock to find that anything could taste so good.

    So what - I'd never had strawberries before?

    No - all the strawberries I'd had were shop-bought, like as not flown in from intensive growers in Spain or Chile, and eaten in winter when strawberries should be a distant summer memory.

    It revolutionised my thinking about the fresh food we eat every day. I started to wonder if you got the same amazing taste from all types of food grown and eaten in season. And then I decided to do something about it.

    The Year of Eating Seasonally is my little experiment to find out what it's really like not to have it all. The only fruit and veg I and my family are going to eat in 2008 will be what's growing in the ground at the time (or, in winter, what I can get out of store).

    I want to find out if the hungry gap is really as hungry as everyone says it is: whether you're really eating nothing but cabbage all winter; and whether you miss strawberries in December.

    Along the way I hope I'll save a few tons of carbon being released into the atmosphere on my behalf, as I won't be requiring those French beans flown from Chile, thanks very much. And I hope I'll be rediscovering what food can really taste like.

    If you have any comments, please feel free to post them anywhere you like - or you can email me at sallywhite@hotmail.com.

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Roasty toasty

Domestic goddess rating: 50% – produced food more by luck than judgement Five-a-day: 5/5 Food miles: 50

On the menu: Blackcurrant jam on toast and juice (breakfast); cheese sandwiches (lunch – when am I ever going to get imaginative about this meal…); lamb chops and roasted veg (supper)

My kitchen is filling with yummy roasting smells as I write, since I’m doing one of my all-time favourite no-sweat cooking dishes this evening. In a radical departure from the cabbage theme, I’m making the most of the other winter staple today – root veg. And roasting them is by far the best way to do it (as well as the laziest).

It’s amazingly simple: you just cut up whatever root veg you have to hand into chunky cubes – about 1 1/2″ to 2″ (3-4cm) across – and mix them all up in a single layer on the bottom of a roasting tin. Then add a few sprigs of rosemary, sprinkle over about three tablespoons of olive oil, season liberally with salt and pepper, and give it all a good shove around with a spoon to make sure the veg get a good coating of oil. Put it in an oven about gas 5 (190C, 375F) and leave it there for about an hour (told you it was easy). You should give it another stir about halfway through. 

Jamie Oliver says you should parboil the veg for 10 minutes, then give them a good roughing up in the pan before you put them in to roast. If you ask me, this makes a seriously easy dish into one that’s a bit of a fiddle, but it might be worth a try. He also (and this is much more sensible) suggests adding a couple of cloves of garlic, and says fennel bulbs and celeriac work well done this way – since it’s a mystery to me how to cook either of these things (and I’ve never tried them either) I’ll have a go as soon as they come in season!

The nice thing about this experiment is that there’s suddenly so much to look forward to…


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