You may think that rocket, also known as roquette and arugula, is a fashionable new salad leaf from Italy, but it was popular in Britain up until about 300 years ago.

As it grows very well in this climate, there is really no need for it to be as expensive as it tends to be in supermarkets.

The flavour is peppery, but pungency varies according to the specific variety. Rocket leaves may be long and rounded, or quite feathery. The small flowers are edible too and can be added to salads.

Some Mediterranean dishes use rocket cooked, but it is most commonly served raw. Try it as the base of a salad, perhaps with diced bacon and a hot dressing, or with mozzarella and tomatoes.

Serve plainly alongside grilled meats, poultry and seafood, strew across cooked pizza or toss into pasta.

Use it to make pesto, add to risottos, or use as a general garnish. It is terrific with prawns, avocado and goat cheese.