• 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.

Kale krazy

Domestic goddess rating: 50% (swiiiimming!) Five-a-day: 4/5 Food miles: none

On the menu: Toast & juice (breakfast); cornish pasty (lunch in the car); picnic tea for the kids, omelette for me – yep, it’s manic Tuesday again (supper)

Just when you thought you knew all you wanted to know about kale…

At last I discovered where I can get some. It might be a deep-winter UK delicacy but it’s about as common as hens’ teeth – definitely a reason to grow lots at the allotment next year.

I eventually tracked it down at ‘t’ supermarket, I’m afraid. But all credit to Waitrose for stocking big bags of the stuff, and it’s nicely produced too, with only young leaves picked just as they should be. On the side of the bag was, would you believe it, a website link – wow, a whole website devoted to the worship of curly kale (and the painfully trendy cavolo nero too).

It’s at www.discoverkale.co.uk and I urge you to go take a look asap. It’s gorgeous. I never knew kale could look so pretty. There are tons of recipes – watch out for a few turning up here over the next couple of weeks or so, can’t wait to try them – and loads of information to fire back at those friends who laugh at you for eating a veg that has, until now, been seen as only for die-hards.

Here are a lot of things you never knew about kale:

  • most of the kale produced in the UK is grown by farmers in Lincolnshire yet it is by far more popular among consumers in the south
  • it’s often used in Indian cuisine
  • cavolo nero (a type of kale that looks dead sexy in the garden – it has deeply veined black leaves) is a traditional vegetable in Italy, where it’s been grown and eaten for generations
  • kale is rich in anti-cancer chemicals
  • it’s also good for your eyesight: it contains phytochemicals which help to reduce the risk of cataracts and a condition called age related macular degeneration which is the major cause of loss of vision in the UK

and what’s more, kale contains:

  • four times more Mg (magnesium) and five times more Ca (calcium) than Brussels sprouts
  • 17 times more Vitamin C than carrots and four times more than spinach
  • nearly double the magnesium of spring greens
  • more folate than broccoli
  • seven times more carotene than cabbage

Now there’s no excuse not to eat it, is there!

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2 Responses

  1. I am a huge fan of kale prepared in any fashion but I have to say two of my favorite preparations are; “Kale sauteed with olive oil and garlic and Kale, Italian Sausage with white bean soup”

  2. mmm sounds great, especially that Italian sausage with white bean soup… could you point me to a recipe? My husband goes to a swanky delicatessen in Soho from time to time where they ship in Italian sausages direct. They’re utterly delicious – and yes, I think would taste even better with white beans and kale. I’ll send him over there pronto!

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