I'm a great fan of The Great Big Vegetable Challenge - a blog following a vegetable-challenged boy's quest to eat his way through the alphabet of vegetables. So I looked around my vegetable garden today to find something beginning with C. These are Cardoons a fabulous dramatic vegetable. They need rich soil, sun and space to grow - each plant takes up about a square metre and the flower stalk grows over 2 metres tall with purple thistle-like flowers that the bees love. At this time of year they look triumphant in the mostly bare vegetable garden, with beautifully elegant blue-grey leaves. It's the stalk that is edible - the bit that looks like a stick of celery, but it doesn't taste of celery, it's a more delicate flavour a bit like swiss chard stalks and nice with a cheese sauce. But I think they're worth growing just to look at and the leaves are the perfect place for cats to hide under.