• 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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It’s February!

Domestic goddess rating: 10% (total veg-out – it’s Friday, for god’s sake) Five-a-day: 1/5 (uh-oh… ) Food miles: haven’t a clue – curry fest this evening!

On the menu: Muesli & juice (breakfast); cornish pasty (lunch); curry from the take-out (supper – got friends round this evening for curry and a film, bliss!)

Wow, I made it through the first month. And I only faltered a couple of times. Actually, I’ve been kind of surprised how interesting it’s been – especially considering it’s supposed to be a difficult time of year.

The thing is, I’ve been cooking with stuff I haven’t used since I was a kid. Swede, for example – my mum used to cook that, but I don’t think I’ve ever particularly bothered. And turnips, which have been a bit of a revelation – a sweet, nutty taste that really peps up a winter stew. And I’ve also discovered I love cabbage, and we don’t eat nearly enough of it. I like the earthy taste of spring greens, and I’ve discovered brussels sprouts have a sweet, delicate flavour in comparison – I’d always thought of them as rather bitter. And then there’s kale, and sprout tops… Not boring at all. In fact, food has all of a sudden become really, really interesting.

Now, February poses a few more challenges. Fruit, for one – apples and pears both disappear off the menu this month, and I’m left with nothing but rhubarb. A couple of useful staples fall away – no more carrots from this month, and red cabbage disappears too (though I’ve got a bit tucked away in the freezer as braised red cabbage casserole). It’ll be tricky – but I’m looking forward to it this time. I’m also determined to get myself out of my comfort zone – trying a few new ways of doing vegetables, and not falling back on cheats and tinned tomatoes quite so much.

Let’s get cooking!


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