• 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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Chard pasta

Really quick and easy pasta sauce that brings out the rich flavour of swiss chard. Thanks goes to Riverford Organic veg boxes for the inspiration for this!

12oz (350g) swiss chard, thoroughly washed and roughly torn into pieces

2 small onions

2 cloves garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

4 fl oz (110ml) single cream

25g (1oz) parmesan cheese, finely grated

25g (1oz) pine nuts

salt and pepper

12oz pasta of your choice – I used farfalle.

Put some water in the bottom half of a steamer and bring it to the boil. Put the chard in the top half and steam for 10 minutes (if you’re using a saucepan rather than a steamer, don’t put any water in and just cook down the chard for 5-10 minutes over a medium heat). At the same time, put the pasta on to cook – you can put it in the bottom half of the steamer, or just heat up another pan of water to boiling point. The pasta will need to cook for about 12 minutes, until it’s al dente.

While the chard and pasta are cooking, chop the onions and garlic finely and saute in a deep frying pan over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes, until soft. When the chard is cooked, add it to the onion mixture and stir in the cream. Add the pine nuts and grated parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Cook the sauce for another minute or two until it’s bubbling, and then serve on top of the pasta.


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