• 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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Cheesy leek and PSB bake

Not the best recipe if you’re following a low-cholesterol diet, but if you want a comforting, indulgent supper dish that will warm you to the tips of your toes, this is the one for you.

10oz (300g) leeks, washed thoroughly and sliced

10oz (300g) purple sprouting broccoli

1 tbsp butter

1 heaped tbsp flour

10 fl oz (250ml) milk

10 fl oz (250ml) water reserved from cooking the PSB and leeks

4 tbsp cream

2 balls mozzarella cheese

2oz (50g) gruyere cheese

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 (180C, 350F).

Start by steaming the PSB and leeks for 5-10 minutes, until tender but still with some bite to them. Don’t throw out the cooking water – you’ll need it for the white sauce.

While they’re cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes until they form a smooth paste. Then gradually add the milk, stirring continuously. Finally, add the reserved cooking water from the vegetables and bring to simmering point. Cook for 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Then season with salt and pepper and stir in the cream.

Put the cooked PSB and leeks in a baking dish and pour over the white sauce. Then slice the mozzarella into discs and arrange over the top. Grate the gruyere cheese on top of that, and bake in the oven for about half an hour, until the cheese is browned on top.


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