Sponsored Veganuary

By Tom Bragg

Thank you everyone for supporting Anne and me in our sponsored Veganuary in aid of Cambridge Carbon Footprint. Although it was difficult initially, we kept it up, with no relapses at all.  The key factor that turned it from a chore to a pleasure was Hugh Fernley Wittingstall’s wonderful cook book “Much More Veg”   I can’t recommend it highly enough.  Loads of really tasty healthy dishes, that are simple to cook and just happen be vegan.  Thanks Florence for recommending it!  Liz Serocold, who’s also been doing Veganuary, Anne and I had a celebration vegan meal together on Wednesday, which was quite a spread.  Anne’s been tweeting our favourite recipes, so you can find them on twitter by using #vegan4ccf.

So has it made a difference? Will we carry on?   In a nutshell: “Yes-ish”.  We’ve expanded our repertoire of favourite dishes, and as a diet it certainly seems to work for us: we both feel really healthy and have totally lost that post-Christmas stodgy feeling!

We’ll certainly be eating many more vegan meals,  and I’ve learnt to pay more attention to where the protein’s coming from: even had to reorganise the food cupboard to cope with the number of different types of seeds and nuts we found ourselves wanting!   Personally I’m not yet up for going 100% permanently vegan (particularly as we’re just about to go to Switzerland for a week where it’s really hard to be vegan) but I think our motto is going to be “less but better” fish, eggs etc. We’ve now broken the habit of eating fish most days (some of which was actually pretty tasteless), so in future we’ll eat less of it and be more selective.

From the point of view of the global challenge of tackling climate change, it actually feels encouraging to know that a vegan diet (which has so many advantages for climate change, biodiversity and animal welfare) can be a pleasure rather than a chore.

If any of you would still like to make a donation in support of CCF you can still do it online here.

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Why do pumpkins need rescuing? The Cambridge #PumpkinRescue Festival

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Bev Sedley, Chair of Cambridge Sustainable Food

Everyone loves pumpkins and at this time of year pumpkins are the belle of the ball – Halloween is the UK’s second largest retail festival after Christmas –so why on earth do pumpkins need rescuing? Continue reading

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Nearly at the end!

WWII Rationing Challenge: Week 4

Ann Mitchell

 Rationing Feast

The last week of rationing has more challenging, as we have restricted ourselves to what is available locally and seasonally as well sticking to rationed items. So no bananas, oranges, lemons, olives this week. Lunches have been salads with some bread and Marmite or chutney, evening meals have been easy because the range of vegetables and soft fruit available has given us lots of variety, but breakfast! Oh dear! Porridge oats (uncooked because I do not like porridge) with just a spoonful of jam or cooked soft fruit and milk are decidedly soggy and unappetising, and I reverted to wholemeal toast with a scraping of marmalade for two days.

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Joining the WWII Rationing Challenge

Ian

Having been away for the start of the challenge, coming back to England on the ferry from Hoek in Holland, I decided to partake of a substantial early supper on the ship.  Unfortunately it was dreadful and mostly inedible, so I started the austerity a little earlier than planned.

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Into week 3

Woolton pie

Ann Mitchell

WWII Rationing Challenge: Week 3

Our household is back to normal this week, and Ian has done most of the cooking. We tried Woolton Pie, which can either be mashed potato or pastry top. We used a recipe where the pastry is made with wholemeal flour, vegetable suet and mashed potato, with mixed root vegetables making the filling. It was delicious and very filling. Here is the link for the recipe.

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One week finished!

Mince slice with seasonal vegetables

Mince slice with seasonal vegetables

Ann Mitchell

WWII Rationing Challenge: Week 1 Day 7, Sunday 7th June

I can’t believe how fast the first week has gone. Time to take stock and plan for the next week.

Other than two rashers of bacon, I ate no meat until Friday, when I went to my local butcher and asked what I could get for £2.20  (which is what 1s 2d is worth just about these days). I came away with a small handful of mince and two sausages. So I consulted the internet and came up with two ideas. Continue reading

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Getting started

carrot roll

Carrot Roll, gravy and fresh seasonal vegetables

Ann Mitchell

WWII Rationing Challenge: Week 1 Day 3, Wednesday 3rd June

I am very excited about taking part in the World War 2 food rationing challenge, because I think it will give me the opportunity and the incentive to make changes to my diet that will benefit my health, and also reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impact of the food I eat. It is also rather daunting, as, like most people, I am used to being able to choose what I eat from an incredible range of different foods.

So on Monday morning I measured out my rations Continue reading

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Asparagus time and my pick of Eat Cambridge fringe events

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Yum! It’s that time of year again, when one of my absolute favourite vegetables comes into its short local season – asparagus! I was practically drooling over the list of wonderful fringe events in the newly-out Eat Cambridge brochure, when I saw that Burwash Manor in Barton, which produces absolutely wonderful asparagus (usually available in Arjuna and elsewhere in May) launches the start of the asparagus season with their Asparagus Festival on Saturday May 10 (11-4pm).

So starts Bev’s latest wonderful blog post for Cambridge News. If you’d like to read the rest of the post then click here.

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5:2 food challenge – Week 3

                many cheese pizza   leek potato bake

Ann and Ian, March 2014

Our vegetarian meals this week used cheese, as we found we had a very full cheese box in the fridge, with several bits of unidentified cheese that had lost their packets! So the first meal was pizza, made at home, with onions, tomato puree and some leeks, topped with a mix of cheese bits – not so much four cheese pizza as multi cheese pizza. It was delicious, and full of unexpected flavours!

The second meal was shared with my father, and was a potato bake with leeks, spinach, a little bit of cream and some grated cheese on the top. A casserole dish was layered with cooked potato slices, sautéed leeks and uncooked washed spinach leaves, with a little cream between each layer, topped with the cheese and then baked in the oven for 25 minutes.

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Vegan Challenge – Week 2

Ann and Ian

We decided to take part in the 5:2 Challenge as we are trying to reduce our consumption of meat, and we felt that this would give us the incentive we needed to explore alternatives.

The first week was easy, because we had a vegetarian friend staying with us, so meat was out of the question. On the Tuesday of week 2, an outing was arranged to The Alexandra Arms, where Jennie and Sam are cooking vegan meals on Mondays and Tuesdays for six weeks. Wonderful, tasty food, with lots of choice – tofu and chestnut mushroom pie, chick pea curry, refried beans, vegan sausages.

Friday was our second meat-free day, and Ian was in charge in the kitchen. He produced a potato, leek and pea pie, with vegan vegetable stock gravy, served with steamed carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. The pastry was made with olive oil, but rapeseed works just as well, and the potatoes were pre-boiled and the leeks sautéed before being put in the pie. Unfortunately it had disappeared before I remembered to find the camera!

So in week 2 we managed two almost vegan days, except for butter on the breakfast toast, and a small portion of feta cheese with a lunchtime salad.

17th March 2014

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So – how did it feel, eating locally?

Jan challenge mealPicture from bring-and-share challenge meal Clare came to.

The food challenge ended five days ago, and I have to admit a little easing of restrictions towards the end, mainly because we were staying with a friend.

So what have been the benefits, surprises, difficulties and will it have any permanent effect?  The latter is a hopeful YES! Continue reading

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So how are we doing halfway?

roast veg and hummusI thought I’d give a flavour of the emails flying to and and fro between the participants in this challenge! (The picture is of our supper last night: baked potato with home-made hummus and roasted winter veg (fennel, squash, beetroot and garlic) – the chick peas for the hummus weren’t local. (They’re one of my exceptions.) Dave was purring over it.) Continue reading

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Starting afresh after the Christmas excesses!

winter vegI am so glad to be participating in this challenge at this stage of the year! I’m afraid I did the usual thing of eating too much over Christmas (including lots of turkey and goose and pork…. not to mention sugary things…) and my body is aching to get back to some clean living! Continue reading

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Getting started on going local

lentilsI am making my final preparations for the Cambridge Carbon Footprint Local Food Challenge – for a fortnight only food sourced from within 30 miles of home will pass my lips, from Monday.

Earlier in the week I mentioned to a friend that I was going to do this challenge.  “What about poor farmers in Africa who depend on us buying their food?” she replied.  I managed to side-step this by pointing out that I hardly ever eat food from Africa (possibly the occasional mango).  Then I stressed the appeal of living more locally. “Wouldn’t vegetables grown near to home taste so much better than those flown in?” I claimed. Continue reading

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A Waste-Free Christmas Dinner

Bev 4Christmas is only one week away! I’m sure everyone’s anticipating the scrumptious food as much as I am (I loooove holidays that emphasise food!). But when you’re dreaming up these copious, table-groaning amounts of food, do you also plan what will be done with the inevitable leftovers?

Bev has written another wonderful article on the Cambridge News sustainable food blog addressing this issue. Do take a few minutes to have a read; it contains not only practical advice on how to avoid food waste, but she has also shared some charming stories and yummy family Christmas recipes!

Have a very happy Christmas everyone!

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