• 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.

A fishy business

Domestic goddess rating: 0% (restaurant sluttery continues) Five-a-day: 4/5 Food miles: as yesterday

On the menu: Yet another cholesterol-packed fry-up – saturated fat and Easter go together like Bonnie and Clyde…  (breakfast); popcorn and sweeties (yep, lunch at the cinema again – well it’s snowing, there’s a limit to what you can do on days like these); wonderful mussels-and-halibut extravaganza at swanky restaurant (supper)

I continued my tour of the region’s restaurants yesterday – this is actually my post for yesterday evening as I was less than capable of coherence when I should have been writing it. This is so wierd – it’s like no. 67 buses, you don’t go out to eat for months and months and then you start practically living in restaurants. Mind you, I could get used to this…

We had a rare evening off last night and made the most of it by discovering our local Loch Fyne restaurant. I adore fish, but generally (and sadly) steer clear of eating it because of the trauma of having to contribute to the efforts of monster Spanish trawlers sweeping seabeds clean and the like.

However, at Loch Fyne you can eat fish with a clear conscience: their tuna is short line caught, they never buy from factory fishing operations, and they’re generally right-on and sustainable. What’s more, much to my surprise, the word “seasonal” crops up right through their menu.

I was hazily aware that fish was a seasonal food – something about mackerel in early spring – but did you know halibut is the fish du jour at the moment? I had a quick look around and discovered this very handy guide to which fish are in season when – the basic principle is that you avoid eating fish caught during their spawning time so that they have time to renew their numbers. So right now, cod, coley and plaice are definitely not in season, while brown trout, halibut, haddock, mackerel, lemon sole and seabass are. Great – fish are on the menu again!

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