• 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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Getting soupy

Domestic goddess rating: 100% (cook-fest this afternoon) Five-a-day: 4/5 Food miles: none

On the menu: Toast, marmite & juice (breakfast); sandwiches (lunch); leek and potato soup, followed by chipolatas, mashed spuds and frozen peas (supper – emergency rations as overdid the cooking thing, but how swanky is two courses on a single-parent day)

Hubby is at work today so had a slow day of it and took the chance to get cooking! So we now have a jelly setting in the fridge (well, OK, that’s not really cooking but it is if you’re 7 years old), a Devonshire honey cake cooling on the rack and we also had the treat of a two-course meal tonight thanks to my all-time favourite winter dish, leek & potato soup.

Soup is a great way to use up excess veg whatever the time of year. I can’t pretend to have grown either the leeks or the potatoes for this one, but never mind – there’s always next year (though my leek-growing escapades have been a bit disappointing to date, and it’s hard to stay upbeat…!). There are so many great soups around, though, and you can cook up whatever you have to hand and make it taste really special. This one can be pepped up with some streaky bacon or ham, and it’s also great served with a swirl of cream and some chopped chives sprinkled on top. Mmmmm…. delicious.


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