• 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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Loire Valley layered kale

Really simple dish, very plain but very tasty.

1lb (450g) kale – small leaves only

2 onions, finely chopped

1lb (450g) minced beef

salt and pepper

1tsp mixed herbs

8 fl oz (250ml) vegetable stock

a little butter

Put a pan of water on to boil, and then once it’s bubbling nicely, drop in the kale and blanch it for about 1 minute, until it’s wilted a little. Then take it out and put it to one side.

Mix the minced beef and chopped onion in a bowl with a good shake of salt and pepper and the mixed herbs.

Then butter a casserole dish, and lay a third of the kale on the bottom. Spoon half the minced beef mixture on top and press down so it’s evenly spread. Then the next third of the kale, then the other half of the minced meat, and finally the rest of the kale on the top.

Pour over the vegetable stock, and finally dot with a few small knobs of butter. Bake, uncovered, in an oven heated to gas 4 (180C, 350F), for about an hour. You can serve it with potatoes, or just a big hunk of crusty French bread.


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