Thursday, 18 December 2008

Starting on the 12th January 2009 to tie in with ’s Our Daily Bread Little Green Book feature, I’ll be making my very own sourdough loaf from scratch using just two ingredients – flour and water. Nothing else except possibly a sprinkling of salt. No yeast and absolutely no Mono and Di Acetyltartaric Esters of anything. First I’ve got to start my own sourdough starter (excuse the pun!), which I’ll ‘grow’ over a period of weeks using only the natural yeasts to be found in the air around us – and I’ll record my progress daily here on the FoodLovers blog. Join me. Start making your own bread with your very own starter – and post pictures on the blog tracking your progress. My posts will guide you day by day through the process. So be sure to come back then for the first installment and the details of what you need in order to get started yourself…

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Your New Year Resolutions

We want to hear about your New Year foodie resolutions for 2009. How are you going to be starting the New Year? Are you going to be green(-er)- and how? Are you planning to be a committed Locavore...? We've got a few ideas already, which we'll be publishing for the New Year to inspire you, but we want to hear yours...

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Credit Crunch Cook

I’ve just come across some recent sales figures released by online supermarket Ocado and they’re so encouraging that I felt I had to share them. The year-on-year figures for 2007-2008 tell a very interesting story about how the credit crunch is affecting people’s shopping, cooking and eating habits. With an increase in sales of basic cooking ingredients, it seems that the credit crunch may finally have shown its silver lining as people move back into the kitchen and start to cook in order to save money. It seems that, whatever their budget, everyone is feeling their purse strings tighten – and it’s putting them more in touch with what they’re eating as a result. Sales of ‘from-scratch’ style ingredients such as flour and onions are up 15% across-the-board suggesting that those who would buy pre-prepared products are starting to make their own. Cheap, convenient and versatile; it’s not surprising that sales of tinned tomatoes have shot up but the increase of 129% that Ocado are reporting is still impressive. The news that sales of premium meat cuts have also seen a surge in sales is harder to understand. It seems, though, that people are realising that buying and cooking luxury, high-end ingredients can still end up much cheaper than going out. Steaks are the biggest risers, with sirloin up by 50%, whilst veal escallops have gained an impressive 30%. A 15% increase in customers paying £10-15 per bottle of wine shows that these premium products are being washed down by some premium plonk whilst similar increases in sales of luxury ice-creams and desserts suggest that people are bringing the restaurant to them and creating a dining-out at home experience which is high on extravagance and lower on expense. As a real advocate of home-cooking, I find this downturn in ready-meal sales and increase in the ingredients to make them from scratch very encouraging. It is particularly uplifting to see something so positive come out of something as negative as the current financial climate. Sympathy must be had for struggling restaurants, though. They may well turn out to be one of the credit crunch’s worst victims. On the bright side, though, perhaps an increased fight for profit could lead to more creative cooking. Many restaurants still rely too heavily on expensive ingredients as a sign of luxury. Cooked right, liver can be just as indulgent as lobster at a fraction of the price...

Monday, 3 November 2008

Recipe Nightmares - Ramsay Has A Spring In His Step

Gordon Ramsay’s Cookalong Live is getting into its stride and seems to be proving very popular. People aren’t just watching, either. Sales of ingredients for his recipes have been through-the-roof, with many supermarkets selling out. Such is the demand that Ocado have even set-up a special Gordon Ramsay aisle on their website so that shoppers can buy all the week’s ingredients together. With the apparent intention of getting those who wouldn’t normally cook into the kitchen – something which seems to be rather fashionable at the moment – the programme would appear to be achieving good results. Gordon’s book sales probably aren’t doing badly, either. Cynicism aside, though, the premise is a good one – showing just how quick and easy cooking can be. As long as you don’t mind a little light-hearted verbal abuse, it might even prove to be fun. As for the recipes – what on earth is Gordon thinking? Seasonality clearly isn’t a concern, and even in these credit-crunch days, budget certainly isn’t of upmost importance either – regardless of what the show’s publicity states. Though you wouldn’t know it from their originality (or lack of it), Gordon must have been working on the recipes for a while. About six months, in fact. Surely that would be the only explanation for such unseasonal, spring-themed menus. Week one’s late autumn menu started with warm goat’s cheese salad with an apple and walnut vinaigrette. Salmon encroute with herbed new potatoes and garlic sautéed broccoli followed, and then caramelised rhubarb and ginger crumble with clotted cream finished it all off. As if goat’s cheese wasn’t springy enough, not to mention pricey, just try buying rhubarb in October. The big supermarkets will be your only chance and its unseasonality will mean it has a premium price. It may not even be British and is unlikely to be of particularly good quality. It’s a similar story for New Potatoes. They’ll be available alright, but will have travelled half way around the world to get there. Expensive ingredients. Check. Unseasonal produce. Check. Uninspiring menu. Check. If possible, Friday’s second menu was even worse. Gordon did find a way to make some slightly less boring dishes, though – just give them a pretentious foreign name. First up was minted pea and watercress veloute (come on, it’s soup!). That will be frozen peas and foreign watercress, then. Considering the show was broadcast on Halloween, would pumpkin not have been a more obvious choice? The main course was lasagne al forno (as if lasagne can ever not be al forno!). A baked pasta dish seems a strange choice for such a fast-paced menu – at least it’s slightly more appropriate for the time of year, though. Lemon and lime syllabub (you fool!) rounded things off in an appropriately summery way. A mixture of double cream, sugar, ginger biscuits and the lemon and lime; health clearly wasn’t high on the agenda either. And as for grating a ginger biscuit – Gordon blimey! Week three’s menu still isn’t out yet – rather inconvenient if you were planning to buy the ingredients with your weekly shop – so who knows what’s in store. It must be coming up to summer now, though, so expect strawberry tarts and gazpacho. There may even be time for asparagus yet... What do you think of Gordon’s menus? Have you cooked along? Let us know what you think. Alternatively, maybe you could suggest some more appropriate recipes, or try and predict what will be coming in the future.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Has Gordon gone off the boil...?

There was a curious absence at Monday night's London Restaurant Awards - one Gordon Ramsay in fact. Almost completely absent from shortlists and winners (most of whom, it might be noted, are decidedly at the leaner end of the pricing spectrum), apart from the notably independent Jason Atherton of Maze, who won Outstanding London chef of the year. Indeed, one could almost see the decided two-fingers at the Ramsay empire when Marcus Wareing (!!!) was invited to present an award. So what to make of this...? Is it true that Big Sweary Gordon has gone off the boil? Has he spread himself too thinly in his slightly desperate search for world omnipotence? We - the restaurant-going public - are a fickle playmate. One moment we long to spend, spend, spend on over-done food in ostentatious surroundings with wine's rarer than unicorn blood; the next we're all about the local neighbourhood gem, with its carafes of 'drinkable' table wine and its 'genuine' atmosphere. Gordon - perhaps to his credit - hasn't played along. If you're dining chez Ramsay, be prepared to spend the bucks. He's unashamedly top-end and determinedly staying so. But, is the exclusivity and luxury of the Ramsay experience diluted by the fact he clearly isn't in the kitchen any more? His New York outpost fared less than well, his TV series rumoured to be nothing more than insinuating editing... and that's part of it. The man sold out - the kitchen god revealed his decidedly clay feet, when he switched to TV. You could argue that these days, in our celebrity-driven culture, you need to milk it, and milk it hard, before you fall back down the ladder again. But also arguably there will always be a space for good food, honestly cooked. How honest is it when the chef above the door isn't in the kitchen? What do you think - Kitchen god or TVslave? Has Gordon's need for ubiquity meant the slow disintegration of a world-wide empire (echoes of the Romans, no?)?

Monday, 14 July 2008

Storage tips a plenty

I know we've already mentioned The Love Food Hate Waste campaign but everytime I revisit their website I'm so impressed by the information they have on offer. In particular, today I've been looking at their top tips and storage ideas. They're brilliant - especially if like me you go away a lot at weekends and don't like to chuck what's left in your fridge on your return. Tonight I think I will be reviving a loaf of bread.... "To freshen up a day old loaf, hold it very briefly under a running cold tap. Give it a good shake and pop in a hot oven for about 10 minutes; it will be as soft and crusty as freshly baked bread. "

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Chicken rich in omega 3?

Last night I finally managed to get a Hugh fix by catching up on all the River Cottage Spring programmes - a little behind I know but with the weather as it is at the moment, it was a lovely warm reminder of what summer should be like. As always, chicken featured prominently in the show, and just as I was about to whizz through it thinking "yes yes I know about the free range chickens" (and I buy them too) - I paused as he was investigating the nutritional content of a range of birds.
The Professor conducting the experiment was looking in particular at the omega 3 and overall fat content of battery chicken, versus corn fed chicken, versus free range organic. What I hadn't known was that chicken used to be naturally rich omega 3, before they were intensively reared and levels of omega 3 fell by 80%. Apparently, its the exercise that comes from scatching about in the grass for bugs and eating them that builds the good fat reserves, so was interested to see the outcome. Surprise, surprise free range organic came out with the highest amount of omega 3 - would HFW ever present something less competlling - but also much lower in total fat (about 25% I think). So not only is choosing free range chicken good for your conscience, but it is also good for your health!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Let Them Eat Chicken

We're posting this recipe in support of Let Them Eat Chicken, raising awareness of the broiler chicken industry. For more information go to Let Them Eat Chicken. This delicate summer chicken recipe is a favourite from Henrietta Green. The lettuce sauce may sound a bit strange but it's perfect for using bolted lettuce. Serves 4 8-12 chicken portions - wings, breast, thighs or drumsticks (whichever you prefer) or 1 chicken, cut into joints For the Marinade 5 tbsp olive oil juice of 1 lemon bunch of fresh chervil, chopped sea salt and freshly ground black pepper For the Lettuce Sauce 50g/2oz unsalted butter 1 small bunch spring onions, finely chopped 1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped 1 Cos or Butterhead lettuce, finely chopped 3 tbsp dry white wine 2 tbsp crème fraiche Method Slash the skin of the chicken joints and put them in a suitable bowl for marinading. Mix the olive oil together with the lemon juice and half of the chervil, season and pour over the chicken. Leave to stand for a couple of hours. To cook the chicken, remove from the marinade and grill the chicken either on a pre-heated grill pan, under a preheated grill or, if the weather holds, on the barbecue. Grill until cooked through, turning occasionally and basting with the marinade. Meanwhile to make the sauce, melt the butter over a low heat and add the spring onions, chilli and cook for a couple of minutes to soften. Add the lettuce and stir until coated in butter. Pour in the white wine, cover and simmer gently for about 5-7 minutes or until the lettuce has thoroughly collapsed. Whiz the sauce in a food processor until smooth. With the machine still running, add the remaining chervil and the crème fraiche. Season and serve with the chicken.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Jersey - land of flowing cream and cider brandy

Just back from Jersey with news of my latest FoodFinds. Naturally the seafood is out of this world: lobster, Chancre crab, gambas the size of my feet.... (although being allergic to too-large prawns and lobster meant I could but drool as my husband tucked in). But who knew of Jersey wine from La Mare vineyard - dry, crisp and great with oysters, or their Jersey apple brandy, distilled from their own-made cider, or their 'black butter' made from their own - and local - apples, crushed with a little liquorice and cider to make a blackish-preserve that will make a fabulous marinade for pork...?

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Community Supported Agriculture - nice idea

As a supporter of farmers markets, farm shops, pick your own, I love sourcing my ingredients from the farmers, growers and creators of great local food. Whilst devouring the biography of Alice Waters, famed chef (although she never calls herself that) and restaurateur I read about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) schemes. These are where local people invest in their local farm in some way in return for a share of the harvest. This gives the farmer a guaranteed income for produce, and reconnects the customer with the land, whilst giving the opportunity of some input into what is grown how. I totally love this idea - particular as you would learn so much about animal husbandry, growing and running a farm whilst supporting the local economy. So I was thrilled just now to read that the Soil Association is running a project to develop and fund CSA's and organic buying groups. Where do I sign up???? Does this appeal to you....the chance to really know where your food comes from or is a little too close to home? Personally, I can't wait... although I imagine London will not be the most logical place for them to start!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Grocery shopping in these hard times

Ok - let's make one thing clear. No matter how hard the credit crunch bites, no matter what else has to go, I will never, ever - ever - cut back on food and wine. What else is left to us? Now - as may be clearly evident - we're all about the local shopping, the farmers markets, the small producers, but sometimes, just sometimes, it's really hard to avoid the supermarket - especially when you've been away for the weekend and missed the market, there's barely anything in the freezer, and before you know it, you're in sainburys (there are other supermarkets out for our money out there too) stocking up on a week's worth of veg, meat and other 'essentials'. Get to the checkout and suddenly you've spent £40 or £50 on a week's shopping. And somewhow you're still ordering pizza on Friday night. Well the penny has finally dropped. Hallelujah. On Tuesday, after a weekend at the BBC Good Food Show, and with a weekend away again coming up, I droppped by Portobello Road. I'm now forced to give you my entire shopping list, because my jaw still drops in disbelief at the converse ratio of produce/cost as opposed to the supermarket shop. I went to Kingsland Butchers and bought 2 huge free-range organic chicken legs and 2 good size Welsh salt-marsh lamb chump chops - total just over £9. I went to my personal favourite market stall and bought 1 head of chicory 1 aubergine 1 big bag of tiny plum tomatoes 1 head of english lettuce 2 bunches of spinach 4 small courgettes 2 onions 2 lemons Total just under £7. I then dropped by the fishmongers on Golborne Road and bought 2 very large tuna steaks and a bag of samphire (superfluous but it is lovely) for another £9. So a shopping total, with more veg than we can eat before next week, of £25. I bought British-labelled where i could and chose only the perkiest fruit and veg. See I knew all this - I love my farmers market, I hate the fact there are no independent shops where i live (Crystal Palace - Croydon Council take note), but only now have i really grasped that financial difference. And it's quite a big one.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Demijohn aka heaven in a bottle!

Whilst manning our FoodLovers stand at the BBC Good Food Summer Show I came across what I am now referring to as heaven in a bottle... Demijohn. Launched a couple of years ago by Angus and his family, Demijohn as they refer to it is "the liquid deli where you can taste the origin". True to their word, you really can taste the origin and they encourage you to as well - brilliant! After sampling the range Angus and his trusty assistant Amelia brought to the show, which included a wonderfully fruity Bramble Scotch Whisky (made in East Lothian), a refreshing Rhubarb Vodka (who knew vodka could be this way) and Tipsage Seville Orange Gin (the fact that I hate Gin but loved this must say something) I eagerly purchased two 100ml bottles. What makes Angus' business so special is the fact that you can select which size bottle you want and personlise it with your own message to the recipient (or yourself if it's a moment of blissful indulgence). Demijohn is located in both Glasgow and Edinburgh but you can order online. What's more, they actively promote recycling and invite you or anyone who owns a Demijohn bottle to return and have it refilled for the cost of the refill only.
So if you are looking for a present to mark a special day this really is the gift a la mode!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

The perfect brownie...

After a bit of a rubbish day yesterday, my better half came and met me after work to take me for a cup of tea and a cuddle.

We headed to Westbourne Grove and stumbled upon Ottolenghi

J will tell you how long I can take on deciding where to have a bite to eat – but I was immediately taken by the stacks and stacks of cakes in the window and made an instant decision that I wanted to try every one of them.

I ummed and aaahed for an age about which cake to try. J very generously gave in and said I could buy two cakes. It still didn’t help the decision but in the end I settled on a chocolate brownie and coffee and walnut cake. J selected a large chunk of pear tart and we perched outside in the sunshine to enjoy our treats.

I have long been on the look out for my ideal brownie. The one from the Tate Modern came close, but that didn’t have nuts and was very rich. Others I’ve tried have been over cooked or just simply boring.

But this brownie was the most amazing brownie I have ever eaten. I mused that it must have just been shown the oven and put on the stand – it was so gooey and fudgey. It wasn’t cloying and it definitely wasn’t sickly – I could have eaten two or three.

The pear tart was a little dry on the outside for me, but full of flavour and the coffee cake, which I devoured after supper, was beautifully moist and had the perfect balance of cake to icing.

So while my hunt for my perfect brownie is now over, I still have a multitude of sinful treats to try at Ottolenghi.

FarmShops - the beginnings of support?

By the way, I have my first recruit for farm shop what should they sell tirade - who knows if it gets more support, we could start a campaign? Anyway last night a friend was sounding off at his farm shop in Somerset - it's been done up, looks great, very smart but is stocked with foods from all over the world - nothing local - and still persists in calling itself a farm shop as it's on the farm........any more examples?

Hake with Onion, Fennel and Tomatoes

Last night, the weather was perfect for a quiet supper in the garden. I cooked hake - an over-looked fish but in my farmers market - and here's how. It's the sort of cooking I like - low maintenance - it doesn't mean the cooking's quick, just the amount of time preparing - then you can leave it to get on by itself. I sliced one large onion and crushed a few (probably about 4-5) garlic cloves and softened them in olive oil. Then I added a couple of thinly sliced potatoes (it would have been better if they'd been waxier), a similarly cut fennel bulb and about 6 quartered tomoates, pour over a glug of white wine and left the whole thing to simmer for about 30 minutes, then I added a couple of hefty hake steaks (well seasoned with sea salt) sprinkled a genenrous handful of finely chopped parsley (the english curly kind, it's more gutsy) and left it to soft. After about 10-ish minutes, it was done and all that was need was a green salad. I gather the weather is holding today but I'm out tonight - at Quo Vadis, I hope. I'll let you know about that - meanwhile any other simple supper recipes in the low maintenance mode? I'd like to hear............

Friday, 6 June 2008

Is it time to call time on main courses..?

Yet another extraordinary FoodScoop... Apparently, the end of the main course/the a la carte menu is nigh. Heston Blumenthal is withdrawing his a la carte menu. No longer do we have the attention span, the time, the money to spend on that essential middle course - no, we'd much rather graze our way through a tasting menu or - horror - just have a starter and a dessert. Who are these tapas fascists? Naturally there's precedent. Is there barely a restaurant left, in London certainly, without a grazing/tasting menu option? Is anyone else bored to fork-stabbing death of having to share their hard-won food? Does everyone really want to go home hungry? It doesn't help i'm not a pudding-lover (the idea of a meal without a main course makes me actually want to cry). But do we really lack the concentration, the desire to revel in the sheer unbridled indulgent deliciousness of a three-course meal, perhaps book-ended with canapes and cheese, or even a light savoury, these days. I feel the argument might be won by a look at Jason Atherton of Maze: one day the uber chef of the grazing menu; the next he has just opened his Maze grill - a paean to the bloody delights of a really good steak main course. Surely he would disagree. I have a distinct feeling we are doing ourselves out of the restaurant experience... i am somewhat discombobulated.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Do we need a Kitchen Revolution...?

The new buzz around town seems to be The Kitchen Revolution, published by Ebury soon. It claims that you can save money, reduce your food miles and basically rescue your slightly tarnished halo by learning to live with leftovers. The basic premise is it gives you a menu plan that starts with your big Sunday roast, then gives you menus to follow throughout the week to use up the leftovers, interspersed with the odd seasonal recipe, a bit of (no doubt well-stocked) larder raiding and bulk-cooking. Sorry, but does any of this sound terribly familiar? Haven't people been banging on on this theme for some time now and isn't it what might be known as 'common sense'? And have we really become so far removed from our kitchens that no-one even has leftovers any more.. (ready meals don't leave a lot, i grant you, but are we really just throwing that food away - it seems so). I suspect that, for a lot of people who only buy neat and tidy chicken breasts, lamb chops, pork fillet, etc, the idea of using leftovers from the shoulder of pork might send them into a flat spin, but have we really forgotten how to make bubble and squeak, soup, hash, sandwiches, for God's sake? (I'm quite cross now - people are happy to rant food prices are climbing, but apparently they can't quite see their way clear to reducing their own food waste). Anyway, if you have any great leftover ideas, not only for all those people out there who are au fait with frying up leftover roast potatoes, but for those who do need a kick-start, let me know. I, for one, love Elizabeth David's favourite recipe for leftover roast lamb with rice - Suleiman's Special, I think - but I always struggle with roast pork.

Farm Shops -what should they sell

Yesterday I received an interesting piece of research from Speciality Food Magazine's news alert. Farm shops - according to the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society - are growing at 15 to 20% over the past year, the fastest rise of all sectors. Now I suspected this to be true if for no other reason than farm shops are one of the highly searched for terms on my website and of course I'm jolly pleased. But it does raise the question - What is a farm shop? Is it just a shop on a farm (in other words it could be anywhere) or must it offer some connection to the land and sell produce from that farm? Sometimes when I visit a farm shop it has nothing to do with where it is, it could be anywhere - in fact no difference from a corner shop, it just happens to be on a farm. This I think isnt on - our expectations are that a farm shop should offer own produce, then some local and some from the area - otherwise why bother. What do you think? Is it important? And when you come across these farm shops do they put you off the real thing?

Monday, 2 June 2008 sweet as.......

Just reeling from a honey tasting courtesy of Rowse Honey. I have, literally, gone into sugar overload but in spite of that, it was an interesting experience. I learnt two things in particular that I want to "share". One that honey is a mixture of fructose and glucose and the more glucose a honey contains, the more likely it is to crystallise (i.e. set). Secondly that as bees travel a certain distance - some say a radius of two, others up to six miles from the hive - I thought it it was where the hive was placed that determined what the honey was called. So if it's put in an orchard, it's a blossom honey; in other words a bit of hit-and-miss guesswork but, apparently not so. Pollen has a different shape according to the fruit or flower or crop it comes from and it shows under a microscope - so you can actually tell scientificially. Interesting huh.......

Pick Your Own

This weekend I spent a happy, bright Sunday afternoon picking my own fruit and vegetables for the week from a Pick Your Own in Worthing, West Sussex with my family. Our intention was just to pick strawberries for jam making, but with fresh peas, broad beans and onions ready for harvesting, it was impossible to walk away. Searching through the tumbling pea plants for pods plump with peas, I secretly popped some. My first experience of freshly picked peas was a massive surprise, their sweetness never experienced before... and one to be repeated before the season is out. Making our way from the fields, laden with an abundance of strawberries, peas, spinach, and onions I spotted a sign for rhubarb. It's the only polarising food in our house, but I love rhubarb and could not miss the opportunity pick it straight from the field. Pulling the long red stalks from the plant, the popping sound gave an indication of how stringy it could be. A thoroughly satisfying time resulted in a more bountiful crop than planned prooving a somewhat over ambitious amount for breakfast. So, I am currently planning the next trip to a PYO to coincide with some of my seasonal favourites, and I am particularly looking forward to the blackcurrants coming later this month!

Friday, 30 May 2008

Roadside Cherries

Most of us probably realise that British cherries are not ripe yet. And actually wont be until mid June at the very earliest. So how come roadside stalls in Kent have huge signs up saying entice the innocent driver-by. Of course they're clever - they don't actually say they're English cherries but just imply it in such clever ways as advertising "English Strawberries and Cherries on sale now". See you how easy it is to be conned. So don't fall for these imported cherries - WAIT FOR THE REAL THING

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Should you raise your kids as vegetarians?

Interesting hot topic has come about on the Word of Mouth blog about vegetarianism and 'imposing' your view on your children? Personally I'm of the opinion that children can only benefit from as wide a variety in their diet as possible, if only to expose them to everything, not create various food fads when older or restrict their choices. And I just quake when i watch programmes like Hugh's and see children (and adults) unable to bear the tiniest morsel of anything different (meat and vegetables last night) passing their lips. And i think that bringing your child up as a vegan does start to border on - not abuse exactly - but severe dietary and sensory deprivation. On the other hand, i'm not a mother and i am a committed carnivore (although I do only buy meat i know the origins of and I do think we ought to be eating less quantity, more quality), so i can't say i'm not biased.

Delia's Hypocrisy

Just flicking through Farmers Market Cookbook, by Henrietta Green (2001) and I came across a quote from Delia Smith.

“I support my local farmers market because there I can buy real food with real flavour, just like it used to be. After years of the blandness of mass production it’s like a gift from heaven.”

I’m still in shock about the massive U-Turn she made when writing Delia’s How to Cheat at Cooking. Her principles on making cooking simple for the masses are still there. It seems her morals, however, have fled since her supposed retirement.

I thought Delia was about simple cooking, quick cooking, and healthy cooking. Real cooking made easy for people who lacked the confidence to cook complete meals.

It may be quick and simple to open a tin and slop its contents into a dish and cook, but it can not be healthy and it can not be cheap.

She now seems to love bland, mass produced products – favouring Aunt Bessie’s and McCains, and deserting her previously heaven sent farmers markets for faceless, impersonal supermarkets.

Maybe retirement suits her better.

River Cottage Spring

I was watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's new programme last night and I don't know about you but it made me rather jealous! All that lovely spring veg and the group in Bristol who are going to get a pig - makes me want to move out to the country or at least get some outdoor space in London. Note to self, really must join a box scheme! Or find out about allotments - anyone know of any in North West London? How funny was Hugh's new butchers assistant?! I can't believe the intcy wincy piece of lamb's heart she sampled would have ever given her the true taste of the meat. Good on Hugh though, I would never have thought about buying the heart but the devilled dish he cooked up did look delicious. Plus the fresh asparagus dipped in egg really did make me drool.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Saving the planet - my way

I recently moved house - and borough - down south to Crystal Palace and was completely astonished to find that my local council, Croydon, has a recycling policy of fortnightly paper and glass collection and no food-waste collection - a shock after coming from Hackney, who collected both weekly. (And rubbish has to fit neatly into 2 bins with lids closed, handles facing outwards, and there's only one bulky waste collection per year... don't even get me started....) After the first two weeks, paper, boxes and wine bottle piling up (we did a lot of entertaining), I thought 'enough is enough'. We support the Love Food Hate Waste campaign and every time I tip leftovers into the bin, it makes my heart sink a little, so we have decided to take matters into our own hands and compost (The question remains why am i paying council tax...). If anyone has any handy tips on composting (in our last house we had to abandon our gallant attempt because of ants - and if anyone has any tips on repelling those, I am all ears), whether it be the right kind of container, what to compost, how long to leave it for.... then i would love to know. I'm also growing tomatoes, onions (advice please), sorrel and various herbs, so any grow-your-own vegetable tips are all grist to my mill, or rather contributions to the compost.

Calling all Local Food Lovers

This is a blog for everybody who loves (or, don't be shy, ..also hates) anything about local British food. If you want to share a find, you've a bee in your bonnet or an axe to grind, then I'd love this to become the place to shout about it.