• 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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PSB and prawn stir-fry

Stir-fries are a very quick, very nutritious way of cooking vegetables: you cook at a really high heat, so the flavour is sealed in straight away, and it takes next to no time to produce a really fabulous supper dish.

8oz (225g) prawns

8oz (225g) purple sprouting broccoli

1 tbsp cornflour

 a pinch of cayenne pepper

2 tbsps soy sauce

2 tbsps olive oil

1 garlic clove, chopped finely

2 oz (50g) mushrooms

2 tbsps dry sherry

2 tsps soy sauce  

Mix the cornflour with the cayenne pepper, and tip the prawns into it. With your hands, swizz them around until they’re thoroughly coated. Then pour in the 2 tbsps soy sauce and stir again until thoroughly mixed. Leave to stand for half an hour.

While you’re waiting, prepare the veg. Wash the PSB and chop roughly into 1″ (2cm) pieces, slice the mushrooms, and chop the garlic. Finally, mix together the sherry and the 2tsps soy sauce in a bowl, and add 2 tbsps water. Collect all these ingredients together at the ready, as stir-fry is a fast and furious business and will wait for no-one.

Once the half hour is up, heat 1 tbsp oil in a deep frying pan or wok until it’s really hot. Then fry the prawns, keeping them on the move, for 2 minutes. Take them out of the pan and put them aside in a bowl.

Now add a bit more oil to the pan and toss in the garlic. Keeping the heat up high, fry for about 30 seconds, again stirring it around continuously. Add the broccoli and mushrooms, and a sprinkling of salt. Stir-fry for about a minute. Finally, add the sherry-and-soy-sauce liquid mix, turn the heat down, and put a lid on the pan. Cook for another minute, and then serve straight away, with noodles or rice on the side.


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