• 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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Highly braised

Domestic goddess rating: 100% (once again, supper a triumph – getting good at this :D) Five-a-day: 5/5 Food miles: about 40

On the menu: Toast, jam and juice (breakfast); cheese on toast (lunch); lamb chops, braised kale and potatoes (supper)

I’d only ever come across braising with meat – braised beef is one of my favourite recipes, and a really easy one too since you just bung it in the oven for ages and, hey presto, it’s done.

But in fact I’ve been discovering today, you can braise vegetables too. It’s not quite the same thing – though you’re cooking in liquid, you aren’t cooking particularly slowly, so it doesn’t take any longer than it would do otherwise. The big difference, though, is that just like braising meat, you end up with a really flavourful, tender vegetable. It works brilliantly for kale: sometimes this is quite a “beefy” vegetable, a little ballsy for some, but braising just tones it down a bit and mellows the flavours. Now I’ve discovered this way of cooking it, I think I can get away with offering it even to people who normally wouldn’t like that kind of thing. Maybe even other people’s children…. if I’m feeling brave enough! 


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