• 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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Pigging out

Domestic goddess rating: 100% Five-a-day: 4/5 Food miles: 0

On the menu: Croissant and juice (breakfast); roast beef, spring greens, parsnips and potatoes (lunch – thanks mum); ham sandwich (supper)

I’m giving myself a five-star rating as a total domestic goddess today as I went over to my mum’s and spent the weekend making paté. Yes, by hand.

Following our success with the no-food-miles lamb, we also ordered a pig from our local high-welfare butcher (he’s from the Real Meat Company – well worth checking out). This pig was high-welfare, organic, and so happy he was practically flying, yet when you work out the cost of the (enormous) amount of meat we got it’s far less than you’d pay even in a supermarket. My mum had half of it, and we decided to make paté with all the bits left over.

It was great fun but unbelievably gory – you have to hand-mince an endless quantity of pork meat, a massive liver (oh my god that was awful… as Princess the Elder, looking on in fascinated horror, put it, “Ewwwww, Mummy, it looks just like a cow pat”)… and pork fat. After that it’s pretty plain sailing, just a matter of mixing up an industrial quantity of eggs, onions and herbs and cooking the lot in a bain-marie in the oven.

Result: utterly gorgeous home-made paté, very smug me (and my mum), and a freezer that looks like an accident in a mortuary. We’ll be eating all things piggy till they come out of our ears at this rate. The only downside was that we gave various unmentionable bits of pig to the dogs and this morning came down to several very liquid pools of dark-brown, very smelly… yeah, you get the picture. Looked uncannily like the minced liver, actually. It’s been one of those weekends.


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