May Growing and Cooking in The English Garden magazine

Some of you may be following my recipe series in The English Garden Magazine {photographed by Jason Ingram}. The series was created over two years in my home, and I cooked my way through scores of recipes that showcase seasonal ingredients in a frugal and simple way.

Over the winter months {which in Britain continue for about nine months of the year} I struggle. It is a challenge to come up with interesting, colourful, different recipes for every month, recipes and combinations that gardening readers can make at home with minimum fuss and preparation. Root vegetables and a few orchard fruit have to be stretched out over many months, along with dried herbs and spices, in order to put dinner on the plate.

Seasons are also so subjective, and produce is ready to be harvested at different times depending on whether you are in Scotland or Cornwall, Norfolk or Wales. Some years home grown strawberries are late, apples are early and mushrooms are on time ~ Mother Nature knows no journalistic timetable or editorial schedule.

But this month’s edition, May 2014, marks the official start of the growing-picking season in Britain, and we are just about on schedule. In March and April a few cut-and-come-again salads do begin to emerge in polytunnels and greenhouses, but for many early spring is still the hunger gap period when, if you are a strict seasonal eater, the larder is a little bleak.

So May is the month of hope, promise and fulfilment for many gardeners, when both the flower borders and the kitchen garden begin to flourish and produce.

So in this edition I celebrate cream of parsley and lovage soup, poached salmon, crushed new potatoes and watercress salad and a raspberry, ricotta and mascarpone cheesecake. There is light, colour, texture and freshness on the plate, for the first time in many months.

The magazine always encourages and inspires all people of all ages and capabilities to grow, harvest and cook ~ this enthusiasm is infectious. It also makes sense. With food prices spiralling upwards every year, it is important to grow something, even if it is just fresh herbs in containers round your door.

Whatever the weather this May, I hope my recipes inspire just a few of you to make the most of seasonal fruit, vegetables and herbs. Tweet me your results @SilvanadeS. I look forward to hearing your feedback. You can follow the magazine @TEGMagazine and photographer Jason Ingram @jasonphotos.

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