• 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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Back to my roots

Domestic goddess rating: 95% (feeling very smug today as produced proper lunch for possibly last time in history, but cheated for supper) Five-a-day: 5/5 Food miles: 40

On the menu: Toast and juice (breakfast); halloumi cheese with tinned tomato and onion sauce (lunch – a triumph); chicken casserole, potatoes and cheat-y green beans from the freezer(supper)

Weelll… yes, I know I’m not meant to dig out the french beans I froze off the allotment last summer to have with the casserole, but what the hell. It’s not really cheating (at least they didn’t come from Israel) and I made up for it with lots of winter warming root veg in the casserole itself.

Swedes and turnips are well in at this time of year, and I always feel a bit sorry for them. They have a rather muddy reputation: my grandma used to say they were food for cows, not people, but then she was having to deal with the over-grown woody lumps they used to sell you then – real wartime food.

These days luckily they harvest turnips at the size of tennis balls and swedes no bigger than softballs, and it makes them a much better proposition. My mum used to mash swede to go with winter roasts when I was a kid, so I have a sort of hazy nostalgia about the stuff – probably explains why I’m the only person in Britain who actually likes eating it in its un-doctored state. But if you disguise either swedes or turnips in a casserole or stew, nobody can tell the difference, you stay seasonal, and you add lots of good bulk and flavour to the casserole too.


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