|a tiptoe through my bluebells|
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.
William Shakespeare - Twelfth Night
April definitely lived up to its reputation as a cruel month! After an unseasonably warm March and an announcement of drought conditions in southern England, it proceeded to rain just about every single day. An irony I found was that in the medieval church calendar, 29th April celebrated Noah left the Ark (Egressus Noae de arca). Well if Noah had just waited one day he would have had hot beating sun in London on 30th April. Londoners smiled as the rain finally dripped to a halt and the sun came out. We welcomed May with open arms.
But this year, Noah and his wife would have been wise to wait a few days - pull the gang plank up, draw the curtains and wait for drier weather, because at about ten minutes past midnight on 1st May, the skies opened again, the house shook with thunder and the rain lashed down . . . again. So while the winter crops are coming to an end, with stores of fruit and vegetables dwindling, hopefully British seasonal produce will be beginning to come into their own . . . weather permitting!
Let's give a big cheer for glorious British asparagus, a very short but sweet season of six to eight weeks which really gets going in May.
So celebrate May with the new season potatoes; (look out for Jersey Royals) - perhaps try out a simple salad or vichyssoise soup.
Since outdoor-reared spring lamb appears later this month, it's the perfect time for all sorts of lamb roasts or a fragrant lamb curry, good what ever the weather!
It's easy being green in May, since the first of the year’s herbs, such as chervil and parsley are around, as well as watercress (which makes a fabulous soup), and nature provides spring foraging with wild leeks and wild garlic.
As well as celebrating asparagus, there is a Cucumber Festival (seriously) on 12 May and National Sweet Pepper Day on 16 May. It is British Sandwich Week between 12 and 19 May together with National Doughnut Week. Get in touch with your inner veggie during National Vegetarian Week, 21 to 27 May and we can celebrate National BBQ Week at the end of the month. Please don't forget to support World Hunger Day on 28 May.
vegetables, herbs and wild greens:
artichokes (globe), asparagus, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli (purple sprouting), broom buds, cabbages (various varieties), carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, chives, fat hen, hogweed shoots, garlic, hop shoots, lettuce, meadowsweet, mint, morel mushrooms, parsley, potatoes, radishes, samphire, sea kale, sea spinach, sorrel, spring onions, turnips, watercress, wild fennel, wild leeks, wild garlic (ransoms), wild rocket
fruit and nuts:
apples, cherries, gooseberries, pears, rhubarb
meat and game:
beef, chicken, duck, lamb, mutton, pork, turkey, wood pigeon
fish and shellfish:
crab (spider), freshwater crayfish, cuttlefish, herring, lemon sole, mackerel, mullet, pilchards, pollack, prawns, salmon (wild), sardines, sea bass, sea trout, shrimp