• 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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Kale and gammon soup

Really warms you up right down to your toes – this is comfort food par excellence.

1 lb (500g) soup mix – one of those bags of mixed pulses you can get from supermarkets or health food shops

1 tbsp olive oil 

1 onion, chopped

1 gammon knuckle

1 stock cube – pork is good, or you can use vegetable

1 bay leaf

8oz (250g) kale

Start the night before by soaking the pulses mixture in plenty of water according to the instructions on the packet.

The next day, get a big heavy-bottomed casserole and fry up the onion in the olive oil for about 5-10 minutes, until soft. Remove the jelly from around the gammon knuckle and add that to the mixture. Cook until the jelly is melted.

Add the soaked soup mix to the onion-and-jelly mixture. Remove the gammon meat from the bone, chop roughly and add to the soup. Crumble in the stock cube, add the bayleaf and cook, covered over a medium heat, for 40 minutes.

Finally, add the kale and stir in. Cook for another 5 minutes and serve.


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