Welcome to a new series which I’m kicking off this month to share some of my favourite seasonal eats. This has come about as I’m feeling rejuvenated by spring and new beginnings. That, and I’m nicely refreshed after a beautiful holiday to Vietnam which inspired me in all sorts of ways.

I’m very passionate about seasonal eating where possible as it’s so much tastier (not to mention cheaper) – and that’s something that makes me very happy. It also encourages me to get creative with what I have to hand. It’s particularly exciting at this time of the year; after months of winter root vegetables, I’m craving something a little different and a lot lighter.

I also love trying out new products and flavours to keep my kitchen sparkling. In the spirit of full disclosure, sometimes I’m sent some products to give them a whirl or to use at my events, but more often than not, it’s actually products I’ve found for myself as I’m constantly tasting new food. In fact, this is one of the things that gets me out of bed in the morning (much better than relying on the alarm!). However I’ll only share food and products that I genuinely enjoy and think can be used in interesting ways.

Without further ado, below are my joyful, seasonal eating picks for May.

 

Explore more seasonal flavours at The Joy Of Sustainable Eating event in London on 9th May.

Click to find out more

 

What I’m eating this month…

 

1. Rhubarb

Joyful Eating: What I'm Eating In May

To be very specific, this is rhubarb from my garden. You can’t get less food miles than that! I’m a bit of a fairweather gardener (which I’m hoping to improve on this year), but one of the few things I can grow is rhubarb. It’s very hardy and needs just enough love to keep going. The first stalks are available now and they have a tender sweetness that’s not so apparent later in the season.

As well as chopping it up for crumble, I often make a quick compote to top whatever I’m having for breakfast. A splash of water, a dash of ground ginger and a little honey is all you need. Get the mixture on a gentle simmer and it will soon cook down to a lovely juicy compote (see the main picture for the final result).

 

2. Banana Ketchup from Rubies In The Rubble

Joyful Eating: What I'm Eating In May

This month I’ve been talking a lot about food waste and how we can reduce it at home. The good news is that there are some fantastic brands out there who are also helping make the most of leftovers. Rubies In The Rubble make delicious relishes with surplus fruit and veg, and the ketchups are a new addition to the range.

Although I mostly cook from scratch, I do like to have a few chutneys, relishes and good quality sauces to add into my cooking too. However I only go for pre-prepared products containing a small number of ingredients and ones that I recognise as real food. Top Banana definitely fits this description, with 2/3 of the ketchup made up from banana; this is the equivalent to 2 bananas that would otherwise have ended up on the rubbish heap.

This is not your regular garden variety ketchup and has a sweet tang. It’s delicious mixed with peanut butter as a dipping sauce and I’ve been adding dollops to my curries. You could also have it straight up with roasted wedges of potato or sweet potato (or any other roasted veg really!). Some of the tasty Rubies In The Rubble relishes will also feature in the nibbles at The Joy Of Sustainable Eating event on 9th May.

 

3. Wild Garlic

Joyful Eating: What I'm Eating In May

If you haven’t tried wild garlic, go and find some. Now! This particular garlic is from my Abel & Cole weekly vegetable delivery, though it does also grow wild not far my house. I have some very fond memories from this time last year of picking wild garlic near the end of a 160 mile run my husband was competing in. I ended up unexpectedly joining him (walking) for the last 33 miles and the highlight was stuffing his backpack with wild garlic. It was one way to cover up the smell of running for that long!

Wild garlic isn’t quite as pungent as garlic bulbs and you don’t end up with so much garlic smell on your fingers. However, you just need to chew the leaves and the delicious garlicky overtones are released. Mix the leaves through fried mushrooms or boiled and butter Jersey royals. You can also add them, chopped, into an omelette or blend with parmesan, pine nuts, olive oil and lemon juice for a delicious pesto.

(Remember if you are foraging for wild garlic, be sensible and don’t take too much – and definitely never pick the bulb out of the ground!)

 

4. Organic Jumbo Oats from Flahavan’s

Joyful Eating: What I'm Eating In May

It’s starting to get to the end of porridge season, but as the mornings are still a little chilly sometimes it’s just what I fancy. Especially with rhubarb compote on top! I love the chewiness of Flahavan’s jumbo oats and they make the porridge feel more substantial. A little goes a long way (I find 25g – 30g is enough for a decent sized bowl) and I sometimes mix them half and half with organic buckwheat flakes.

I’ve also used these oats in Anzac Cookies and for the top of crumble, or for sprinkling into smoothies or a bowl of yoghurt. Buy a big bag and they’ll keep you going for a while. Porridge is still one of the best value breakfasts out there and it doesn’t cost much more to trade up to organic.

 

5. Asparagus

Joyful Eating: What I'm Eating In May

May is full of so many of my favourite things – and asparagus is one of them. I still get a bit frustrated when I see Peruvian asparagus in the supermarkets at peak season time, especially as it’s never a patch on the homegrown stuff. As with rhubarb, I sometimes nibble on the raw stalks while the other ones are cooking – particularly when they are thin and every so slightly sweet (just like early spring rhubarb).

Asparagus is best left fairly unsullied, just a squeeze of lemon with black pepper or a little butter is delicious. You can also find some more asparagus tips here. Always snap off the woody bottom bits, but I generally keep them to very thinly slice and add to other dishes. Or you could blend them for a dip. Or, if you’re very diligent, you can add them as part of a mix for vegetable stock.

 

What are you eating joyfully this month?

 

Explore more seasonal flavours at The Joy Of Sustainable Eating event in London on 9th May.

Click to find out more

Thanks to Rubies In The Rubble for sending me the delicious ketchup to sample (and just to be 100% clear, this is not a sponsored post – I just love what Rubies In The Rubble do!).

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