This summers brilliant sunny weather has made the blackberry season a bumper crop, so i picked more then my fair share of the berries and got stuck straight in with the baking! I have made 2 blackberry upside down cakes and more blackberry muffins then you can shake a stick at! my family love the muffins, it was probably just my baking, but the batter made a good, stodgy muffin, and in my family, a stodgy cake, is the BEST cake! they were made with fairtrade sugar and eggs from our ducks :)
10 September 2014
10 May 2014
I woke up today knowing that this would be the last day of the challenge which made me sad. No more gorgeous local food and back to the basic student diet which mainly consists of pasta and pesto… But who can complain? Nothing smells as good as a bowl of pasta topped with pesto and cheese. Yea, I am not believing my own words here either! I am going to miss the incredible pieces of great quality meat that I got from Ruby and White and not to mention the various wholesome ingredients from the two shops: Wild Oats and The Better Food Company. One thing that will stay though is the veg box – that has been a cheeky order since January and doing this challenge has made me see how much more I should value it! Breakfast today was a mango that I bought from The Cambridge Farmer’s Outlet and it was only 50p! Amazing. The guy from the shop told me how he buys them in bulk as supermarket rejects and that if he didn’t buy them then they would either go to waste or be fed to livestock. Crazy to think that supermarkets can reject orders based on sales and demand. Makes it seem so much more important to cut the middle man out and buy directly from these farm shops and markets. And the mango was also juicy and delicious! Only 50p! Lunch was a little experiment with a combination of baked beans and kidney beans on toast. It was actually very tasty and a nice addition to your average tin of baked beans. Everything in this meal was organic and came from The Cambridge Farmer’s Outlet. Now I’ve never been too bothered whether my food is organic or not but since doing this challenge I’ve found that I feel better within myself, less hungry and better than anything I’ve lost a little bit of weight. I think that eating food which is less processed has really helped – I’m not even sure if my supermarket bran flakes are all that healthy! Processing food adds unnecessary sugar and salt when you can have a nice bowl of porridge and monitor your intake levels in a much more effective way. And to be honest, I’d prefer to eat a bowl of porridge with a sprinkling of sugar every morning; especially if it could help my bikini body on its way! Now you can never finish a challenge without going out with a bang! I can assure you that I well and truly topped this fun 10 days with an awesome meal. It could only be the one and only British favourite that is steak and chips! Oh my this was the best meal of the week and all homemade to boot. Again, every ingredient came from the same independent shop in Cambridge and this included steak, potatoes, onions, mushrooms and cream. I made this for my boyfriend and myself and I think it is safe to say that he enjoyed it too because he cleared everything on his plate! This may not sound like much but when you see the portion difference between his plate and mine then you may start to understand. So with the last meal of the challenge eaten and described it has to be the end of the Bristol Good Food Challenge blog… BUT don’t despair because I will be back! I am going to do another food related challenge so suggestions are very welcome although I do already have a few ideas in mind – they’re my secret though so stay tuned. I will be back after exams are over and I have a 4 month summer to write many more things on food related topics. Watch this space!
10 May 2014
Todays breakfast was honey on toast, from the local Bristol market! lovely fresh honey from local British bees!
9 May 2014
I woke up again today with that annoying question: to go to my lecture or not to go to my lecture? But because this lecture in particular happened to be the last one of first year, I felt an irresistible urge to go. I decided to go back to basics for my breakfast this morning and went with a trusty bowl of porridge. I did however go with my walnut addition which was also very tasty. This was yet another locally sourced meal; the oats, sugar and walnuts came from the shop Wild Oats and the milk came from The Better Food Company. It's always nice knowing that the food came from a sustainable source and I also think it tastes better too! I am blogging from Cambridge tonight as I am visiting my boyfriend in university. I had to make a meal for the train so decided to make a cheeky bacon sandwich because the one I had the other night was sooooo good! Again, everything that made up the meal was sourced very locally - and my favourite butchers delivered yet another great couple of slices of bacon. And who can deny that a bacon sandwich is tasty? Always a good choice. With a three and a half hour journey done, I had to source some local food from an independent shop in Cambridge. What felt like an impossible task at the time (it was 17.30 and shops were about to close!), I managed to find an Aladdin's Cave of amazing food! This shop was called The Cambridge Farmer's Outlet and they supply a wide range of fruit and veg, local farmer's meat and dairy produce, dried and tinned organic foods and much much more! Amazed, I was walking round this great independent shop for 20 minutes just picking out all the great looking food and I think I got enough for the next few days even though my challenge is ending tomorrow... But who can resist some amazing looking organic food?? Especially when it's reasonably priced too! Tonight's supper was a nice and simple 'bangers and mash'. I do love my leeks so I added some fried leeks in with the onions to add another dimension to the dish. The leek was much bigger than I thought and it ended up being more like leeks with a bit of mash and sausage. Oopsies. This was another really tasty meal and even though I was on a time and money budget to source it, I managed to find the perfect shop. I think if I lived in Cambridge then I would seldom shop anywhere else. P.S. Sorry about the lack of breakfast and lunch pictures! My phone won't connect to the internet so I can't upload them - these photos were luckily taken on my boyfriend's phone.
8 May 2014
I woke up this morning with a question: to go to my lecture or not to go to my lecture? I think you can guess what my decision was, especially with exams on the way and panic revision kicking in! Since I had leftover batter from yesterday’s pancake mix, I decided to finish it off. I was really boring too and instead of mixing things up a bit, I had it in exactly the same way as yesterday too! I did however have a cup of Fairtrade coffee on the side for extra energy (these coffee granules came from another local independent shop as well so all tying in nicely with the challenge). My National Geographic subscription came recently and funnily enough the covering topic is FOOD. As a great food lover I would have been interested in reading this anyway but since I am doing a food challenge at the moment it made me especially eager. So I sat down after breakfast and had a good read. Apparently there is an ever-growing concern about the food shortages we may face in the future; it is estimated that the world population will have reached 9 billion by 2050 and this will challenge the world’s crop supplies demanding them to double in yield! Sounds impossible and very scary! One thing that actually seems quite rewarding with these facts though is that eating local helps this problem – supporting local farmers encourages them to produce higher yields and cutting out the supermarket middle-man gives them a much higher profit too. Lunch felt a little bit more wholesome after reading this crazy information and I had leek and potato soup again which was accompanied with some bread. It was all sourced very locally in all the little independent shops I know so the challenge is still going very well. I had circuit training tonight so wanted a nice big meal to treat myself after. This was pan fried veal, mash potato and steamed carrots with a red cabbage and onion sauce. I felt a bit nervous about trying veal as I had never had it before plus I didn’t really like the idea of eating baby cow :( – I am sorry but I had to put a sad face there! But, getting over this and remembering that I eat baby sheep often I managed to enjoy my veal loin and found that it was really tender and flavoursome. Then again to be honest it was yet another great piece of meat from Ruby and White and they haven’t let me down once throughout this whole challenge! I made a cheeky apple crumble as a treat for pudding and this was also very tasty. I am getting increasingly sad that this Bristol Good Food Diaries challenge is coming to an end and so I am going to have to try and think up a future project that makes me think about food in another different way – I have really enjoyed blogging too. Also, I am very open to suggestions on potential food diary projects for the future so if you have any ideas, let me know… But still 2 days to go so don’t panic!
8 May 2014
Well this will actually have to be the final day of the challenge as tomorrow I will be at @Bristol for the CBI South West Annual Lunch and on Saturday and Sunday I will be able to eat at home. Hot food today, with leftovers from earlier in the week, ie quinoa, kale, polony, peppers, tomatoes and some red onion... plus what was left of the avocado.I won't be back in London till late Monday night, so tried not to leave anything behind in the fridge that wouldn't survive till then. No #foodwaste! On a much more interesting note, today I chaired a session of the All-Party Agroecology Group in Parliament on local food policies - ie local food, and what national/ local policies are needed to support it. Joy Carey from the Bristol Food Council did a presentation on what has been happening in our city which was very well received. It's very clear that Bristol is in the vanguard on this - but we will lose all our Brownie points if we allow development on the Blue Finger. Seeing the Mayor tomorrow to discuss!
8 May 2014
i was spending the weekend in cumbria, when i came across some wild garlic, i thought, instead of buying some basil or buying a pot of pesto, i would makes some pesto out of this free, and local garlic!!!
7 May 2014
Today started beautifully with a fire alarm drill at 6.50am. If I had a lecture at 9 then I may have thanked whoever decided to do yet another drill at silly o’clock, but since today is a day off uni, you could say I was a little bit annoyed… ANYWAY after standing outside in the cold waiting for my name to be called for 10 minutes, I crawled back into bed where I actually managed to have an extra one and a half hours of sleep. After waking up feeling slightly more refreshed I decided to make pancakes! All of the ingredients were locally sourced and to accompany my lovely pancakes I had some strawberry jam which was made by a very amazing cook I know from South Wales called Tish. She makes awesome farmhouse food and I have never managed to find a Victoria sponge cake which tastes better than hers (she even gets the eggs from her own hens!). Due to yesterday’s severe lack of revision, I really had to go hell for leather and after almost three hours I had enough and the only thing I could think of was food. Lunch today was a take on last night’s meal because I bought two chicken legs at the same time so I thought I may as well cook them together then have the second one the next day with a salad. This turned out to be very successful and again I was amazed with how much flavour I got out of the chicken. Local butchers strikes again! My evening was a little bit busy so supper really came as an after thought. Firstly I had to attend the launch of a nature society in Bristol that I have been following since its start. This was named the Bristol Nature Network a few meetings ago and I think it is safe to say that its official launch party tonight was a great success! The evening didn’t stop there! I then went to a really fun ‘bat picnic’ where many of my course mates and I basically sat in a park at twilight with Ultrasound Transducers listening for bats as they flew overhead. This is why I love my course so much because it’s not always just about sitting through lectures and labs; we also get to measure bat frequencies, visit the Slimbridge bird reserve and also visit Bristol Zoo! Pretty cool huh! I came back at 10.30pm and immediately whacked some bacon under the grill and put some of my locally baked bread in the toaster. I had one of the nicest bacon sandwiches I have ever had! But this may have something to do with the fact that I was absolutely ravenous by the time I came home. This has been another successful day and I think I am really going to miss this challenge when it’s over!
7 May 2014
This isn't quite on-topic - it's not about the contents of my lunch box - but I thought I might as well take the opportunity to flag up a few really interesting meetings I've been having this week, and last week, on food-related policies. I've just met with the Eating Better Alliance - http://www.eating-better.org/ -and Friends of the Earth to talk about policy options for promoting healthy sustainable diets in the UK, which includes a "less and better approach to meat eating. Yesterday I met with Which? to discuss their recently-published research on #foodfraud - you can sign their petition here - http://www.which.co.uk/campaigns/meat-takeaways-horsemeat/ It's so important that people know what is in the food they're buying and consuming. Food Connections has been brilliant in terms of leading the debate in Bristol about food sustainability, food journeys, what's in our food and where our food comes from, but the challenge now is how we can take these messages out beyond the 'foodies' and environmentalists and other easy to reach groups. It's all very well saying that people ought to value their food more, and be prepared to pay more for good quality, local sourced, sustainably produced food, but not everyone has the luxury of being able to do that. Last week I met with #foodwaste campaigners and I'm just about to go into a meeting in the House of Lords to discuss the same topic. And tomorrow I will be chairing a meeting of the All-Party Group on Agro-ecology, on "Local Food Policies and Sustainable Food Cities", which will be focusing on Bristol as an example of best practice. One of the issues we will be talking about is how we can protect the Blue Finger in east Bristol and use it for what it should be used for, which is growing food!
6 May 2014
I must admit I prevaricated and procrastinated over what to make the topic of my good food diary... My lifestyle doesn't lend itself very well to planning things in advance, which includes getting to the shops to buy food and cooking proper meals, and my initial optimism about being able to fit in some 'proper' food shopping on Thursday soon evaporated in a pile of work that had me chained to my desk. I've been vegan for more than 20 years so I don't really have much left to give up, and I don't generate much at all in the way of food waste (mainly because I don't get time to buy the food in the first place...) When I do get round to doing a decent food shop I try to shop local; I put £50 a month into my Bristol Pound account, and most of that will go on food shopping. I toyed with doing a "seven a day" fruit and veg challenge, which you might think would be easy for a vegan. It is when you're based in one place for more than a few days at a time, and you actually get to spend enough time there to cook, but to take a constituency Friday as an example... I leave home without breakfast, heading out on visits or to the office. I try to keep a supply of oatcakes in my desk drawer, and if I'm lucky there might be still be some vegan cheese or veg pate in the office fridge. (Usually there isn't). On a good day I might even make it down to Southville deli (the St George branch) and buy one of their vegan rolls, or pop into Wild Oats if I've had to do something at the BBC in Whiteladies Road, but more often than not it's back-to-back visits and meetings, and just those oatcakes to keep me going. And then by the time I get in at night - 9 or 10pm is fairly usual - I might have something like tofu scrambled eggs or lentils on toast. So the veg count isn't good. From Monday to Thursday when Parliament is sitting I am trapped on the parliamentary estate for most of the day, and often till quite late at night. They are better than they used to be at providing vegetarian meal options, but it's still not great for vegans. They always end up drizzling cheese or cream on things that I'd otherwise be able to eat. The salad bars are very limited (they always put sausage in the pasta salad, presumably left over from the breakfast fry-ups. Tuna and feta cheese also make frequent appearances). They are good at soups - there's nearly always a vegan option - and they sell Nak'd bars and dark chocolate rice cakes, but it doesn't add up to a very balanced diet. So... for today and the next four days, I've decided to set myself the bento box challenge, bringing my own food into work each day, and trying to get towards the seven a day at the same time. Today's bento box was: organic spelt pasta with butter beans and some chunks of vegan polony for protein; avocado; and a small salad comprised of chopped plum tomatoes, salad onions, orange peppers and a sprinkling of seeds. It looks slightly anaemic in the photo, but I can assure you it tasted just fine. I almost never eat breakfast - I just can't bring myself to do it - but I had a couple of handful of nuts and raisins, and a few blueberries before coming into work, and a Nak'd bar to keep me going in the afternoon. I'm still in the office, so I don't think I'll be cooking anything when I get in tonight. I had the advantage today of not having to be in work till relatively late, so managed to put together quite a varied selection; let's see how I manage tomorrow with a much earlier start.