"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants" - recommends Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto). "Eat food", as in: not additives and chemicals. Not too much - mostly plants: we'll try!
The key to enjoying your food is quality. To keep it affordable, (and for lots of other reasons!) you can grow your own, or use a box scheme. This means you will get a weekly veg box, supplied by a local organic grower, and composed according to your wishes. A box scheme cuts out the middle man, and your food will be (mainly) seasonal, organic, and fresh. To find a box scheme try www.vegbox-recipes.co.uk/ which, as well as giving addresses of schemes throughout the country, supplies recipes and advice on how to store, what to avoid etc.
If you don't want to commit yourself to a weekly delivery, www.bigbarn.co.uk/ supplies addresses of good local producers. Bigbarn offers a wide range of goodies: meat, cider, eggs, homemade jams, logs (logs?) - and even sell online.
To grow your own, the Garden Organic website (www.gardenorganic.org.uk) not only sells seeds, they tell you what to do, when and how to deal with problems. They even have free downloadable 'Growing Instruction Cards'.
Have you heard of the 'head-to-tail-movement'? "If you're going to kill an animal, it seems only polite to use the whole thing." says Tom Mylan, newly fashionable Brooklyn butcher. Learning to eat the whole animal and its many parts cuts down on the sheer volume of animals processed. The essence of the movement is to cook with underutilized meats so all parts of an animal are eaten. First, because every section of the animal can be delicious and healthy. Second, if the animal died for us to eat it, we should not let any part go to waste.
But if you are going to eat liver, kidney, heart and worse, it is important to know the source of the animal, and this is where a good butcher comes in handy. Generally, supermarkets won't.
If you like fresh fish, look at If you like fresh fish, look at Fishonline (http://www.fishonline.org/) or (www.greenpeace.org/international/seafood/). If you buy it from a supermarket freezer, the MCS (Marine Conservation Society) is trustworthy. It helps find environmentally friendly fish. The MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) was set up by the supermarkets to keep it profitable (and confuse customers). If you can choose between:
the second one is best!
If your ingredients are decent and fresh, you don't need fancy recipes. The ones below are simple and easily adapted to stocks and taste. Eet smakelijk! as we say where I come from.
By the way, did you know that it's best to chop onions and garlic 5-10 minutes before cooking? That way health-giving cancer-preventing sulphur compounds are formed. And try not to cook them longer than 15 minutes, if you can.
POTATO AND KALE SOUP
- 3 potatoes
- 150g kale
- 1 stick of celery
- ½ onion
- 1l water
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream
- 1 clove garlic
- olive oil/butter
- 150ml milk
- 1 large onion
- 400g potatoes
- 200g cabbage or kale
- 1 litre stock
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tblsp herbs, e.g. thyme, parsley
- 200g cooked cannelloni or butter beans (optional: this will make it a meal soup)
- paprika powder
Add herbs and stock, simmer for 10 mins. Chop cabbage/kale, add. Simmer for 10 mins. Liquidise if you like, add more water if needed. (Add beans.) Garnish with paprika.
All quantities are approximate and fruit/nuts and sugar are totally at your discretion.
- 225g stale bread
- 120g dried fruit - anything you fancy
- 50g sugar or honey
- 1tsp mixed spice
- 1 egg (can be omitted)
- 50g chopped nuts
You can sprinkle it with sugar while warm.
With love, Annemieke Wigmore.
Sandor Ellix Katz, Wild Fermentation
Books - sound good but not seen by me:
Jennifer McLagan, "Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes"
Bish Muir, The 'Use-it-All-Cookbook' (Making your money and your food go further)
Tom Kime and Bart Van Olphen, Fish Tales: Stories and Recipes from Sustainable Fisheries Around the World
'f'east' in Ilminster (57 East Street), The Boston Tea Party in Honiton, and the Town Mill Bakery in Lyme Regis(Combe Street - open from Wednesdays in winter).
NEXT MONTH: Fat.