If you have an interesting or delicious food story to tell and would like to share it on our blog, then please do get in touch! Email elaina@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org and attach your post…and some lovely photos if you have them. And if you find you enjoy blogging about food, then why not become a regular contributor to the blog?

Asparagus time and my pick of Eat Cambridge fringe events

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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Lent: the rewards and enjoyment of giving things up

Today is Pancake Day, and I expect quite a few of us will be eating pancakes at some point – when I was a child we never ate pancakes at any other time and we always had sweet pancakes with fresh lemon and sugar – I can still remember that delicious sweet-and-sharp creaminess that felt the height of self-indulgence, even though I haven’t had that kind of pancake for years. Nowadays my favourite pancakes are savoury: gram flour with stir fry or roast veg and salad – mm, wonderful!

So says Bev in her latest post on the Cambridge News Sustainable Food Blog. If you’d like to read the entire piece (including a scrumptious-looking Jamie Oliver recipe for fluffy American-style pancakes) then click here.

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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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Local Winter Plenty

Here’s a taster of Bev’s latest contribution to the Cambridge News Sustainable Food Blog. To read the entire article click here.

People think that January is a bad time for local seasonal vegetables, but actually it’s a really good time if, like me, you enjoy root vegetables and brassicas (members of the cabbage family). I know not everyone likes cabbage (probably a hangover from institutional dinners – if you overcook cabbage, that’s when you get that truly awful sulphury smell), but there are so many different kinds of brassicas, with different textures and flavours.

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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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Local Food Challenge

Roll up your sleeves, switch your brain into ‘inventive cooking’ mode, and get ready to go crazy in the kitchen! After a break over the summer, we’re once again once again gearing up for our next food challenge. Your goal? To source all of your food from within a 30-mile radius of Cambridge for two weeks, with an extra emphasis on reducing your meat and dairy intake.

The challenge will run from Monday 13 January – Sunday 26 January 2014. Participants will be invited to write about their experiences on our sustainable food blog, and we will finish the challenge off with a bring-and-share meal.

The challenge will be part of Food for a Greener Future: a series of events focusing on raising awareness about the sustainability of food.

For more information about the challenge and why we run it, click here. If you’re interested in eating seasonally and locally then why not give it a try? Email Elaina (elaina@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org) if you would like to sign up or if you have any questions.

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Volunteering at FoodCycle

FoodCycle LogoWhat do you when your primary raw ingredients are spuds and Brussels sprouts? You phone a friend who is, handily, a chef, then it’s ready steady cook! Zoë, of food community project FoodCycle tells me the results of the dilemma were just delightful: potato rosti and cranberry-glazed sprouts.  Today I’m helping her and a team of laid-back volunteers prepare a feast from supermarket surplus. It’s the first time I’ve ever managed not to eat more peas than I pod as I sort through a pile of bagged British veg. Mindful of the plan to cater for up to thirty people not one passes my lips as I focus on the squeaky pleasure of popping them out of their shells. “I’ve done all the courgettes in the world”, a volunteer proclaims. “Ok, do you want to shell some peas?” Continue reading

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Gourmet Sustainable Food

Bev 3Check out Bev’s latest contribution to our Sustainable Food Blog on the Cambridge News website. It’s all about the delicious wonderfulness of local, seasonal produce…which is very relevant to our Food for a Greener Future series of events starting this month with a scrumptious dinner at Fitzbillies. Here’s a taster of her post:

This is a fantastic time of year for seasonal vegetables – with all the beautiful squash overflowing the market stalls (here are some recipes from the BBC), gorgeous enormous late tomatoes still available and crisp nutty sprouts coming in, who needs imported veg?!

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Zero Carbon Apple Juice

Anne Miller #2Having been lent an apple press this autumn, I’ve been going wild processing windfall apples into fantastic fresh organic zero carbon apple juice.

The carbon footprint of the juice is effectively zero, because the apples were all collected by bike, and the press is hand operated.  But as I’d made much too much for us to drink it all fresh, I started to wonder about whether it would be lower carbon to store it in the freezer, or to bottle it? Continue reading

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Gardening in October – Something in the garden is staying warm!

By Keith Jordan

As October day lengths shorten and the sun is lower in the sky, temperatures are generally on the decline. This is a natural trigger for many animals and plants to make provision for storage and survival during the winter months. Jays and squirrels will be collecting acorns to bury, insects may be laying eggs, pupating or finding safe hibernation places. Many herbaceous plants die back, shed leaves or divert their energy reserves from leaves and stems to their roots, tubers or bulbs.

Associated with mass decomposition of plant material, well-made compost heaps will be warming up. Decomposition involves millions of microorganisms Continue reading

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