• 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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Rhubarb fool

Utterly, utterly delicious. The food of the gods.

2lbs (900g) rhubarb, forced in early spring, ordinary at other times

2oz (50g) caster sugar

1tsp ground ginger

8fl oz (225 ml) double cream

1tsp cornflour

1 tbsp caster sugar

3 egg yolks

2 drops vanilla essence

Start by washing the rhubarb, taking off the leaves and the base of the stems, and chopping into 1″ (2.5cm) cubes.

Put in a saucepan with the 2oz caster sugar and the ginger. Give it a stir, then cook over a gentle heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile, bring the double cream to boiling point in another small saucepan. While it’s heating, put the cornflour, 1 tbsp caster sugar, egg yolks and vanilla essence in a bowl and blend with a fork until it’s a smooth consistency.

When the cream is boiling, take it off the heat and pour it into the sugar/egg yolks mixture. Whisk it thoroughly, then return to the saucepan and heat it over a medium heat, whisking all the while, until it thickens (this only takes a couple of minutes). Pour it back into the bowl and leave it to cool down. At the same time, put the rhubarb in a sieve over a bowl, so that the juices drain out. At this point it’s a good idea to go off and do something else for half an hour.

The last stage is to combine the rhubarb and the custard mix, stir them together thoroughly and then pour either into a bowl or into individual serving dishes, and chill for a while before serving. It should have set to a blancmange-like consistency and it’ll taste utterly divine.


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