This is just a very quick post to announce that today I have been appointed to the Soil Association Standards Board. I feel both very proud and humbled to have been selected for a board which works in upholding organic principles in the Soil Association standards.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supports me in all of my organic endeavors! From co-op colleagues to food campaigning bloggers & friends on Twitter.
I love getting the chance to showcase oats when writing a recipe and I love nothing more than showing that there is more to oats than Porridge! So when Mornflake asked me to write a recipe to celebrate National Vegetarian Week 2013 I got excited and wrote the recipe; Veggie Sausage Yorkshire Puddings.
So if you’re vegetarian or just looking to cut down on the amount of meat this recipe is for you.
Happy National Vegetarian week and enjoy your oats
When it comes to my favourite foods after Porridge it has to be bread, real bread, the stuff with crusts! So it was a real joy to interview Jane Mason of Virtuous Bread this month for my post on the Soil Association blog. Jane was kind enough to talk on a range of subjects from her passion for bread to her experiences of organic food around the globe.
You can read the full interview here: http://www.soilassociation.org/blogs/latestblog/article/720/5-questions-with-jane-mason
You know sometimes how people talk, then disappointingly nothing happens? Well sometimes it really does happen and I take my hat off to to Anthony Oram as he’s a man who cracks on! A real Do’er. Who’d have thought that a conversation with Antony aka @anthonyoram and baker extraordinaire @evilgordonon on Twitter would lead to a Porridge t-shirt!?
Well let me introduce you to the t-shirt; Designed by Anthony, made by Howies and soon to be worn by me
Screen printed onto organic t-shirts at Howies HQ in Cardigan, the t-shirt is made with a little tlc and a lot of Porridge love.
And now you too can by this gem of a Porridge t here.
Power to the Porridge!
Afternoon tea at the Underground Restaurant
Over the last few months I have been writing a lot on supper clubs. From reviews on the latest London pop-ups to a behind-the-scenes look at what makes a farm-based organic supper club work. I’ve been to a lot of supper clubs so people often ask me questions about them, about the etiquette of attending one. So from my vast and varied visits I’m going to share my top tips for enjoying a supper club;
- Do be timely with your arrival, there’s fashionably late and just plain rude! The evenings cooking will have been scheduled around the arrival time. If you turn up late not only do you keep the other guests waiting you are keeping the food waiting and could spoil it.
- Don’t be early. The last few minuets before a supper club is fraught with last minute prep, arrangements and nerves! Unless you want your head bitten off my a stressed chef do NOT ring that door bell early!
- Do go to be sociable, hope to meet new and interesting people but…
- Don’t expect to be entertained all evening by your fellow guests or necessarily expect to make life long friendships. People generally go to supper clubs as couples or small groups and whilst I have always found people to be friendly and chatty they do also expect to spend time talking with their companions.
- Unless there is a dress code, do make an effort but don’t over dress – In general supper clubs are relaxed so don’t over do your outfit. Also supper club venues do tend to be quiet small and with a lot of guests it gets quiet hot. So leave your formal frocks & DJ’s for another occasion.
- Do eat heartily but don’t eat everyone else’s food! – Clearing your plate, and if you think you can get away with it! Asking for seconds shows the chef you like their food and it’s a real complement esp to a home cook just starting out. However food is often served from communal serving dishes at supper clubs so don’t take more than your far share before everyone else is served.
- Drinking – always check on the BYO arrangements. Can you actually bring your own? (you don’t want to end up surreptitiously drinking it out of a paper bag!) Is there a corkage charge? (do expect to pay a small amount at some supper clubs) Will alcohol be sold on the night? (prices can vary from cheap to rip-off, be prepared).
- And if you don’t drink alcohol consider bringing you own soft drinks and water. Once the kitchen gets busy you will find the server less tolerant of finding you alternatives to the table wine or continuously topping up your water jug.
- Finally do try to be nice to everyone. From the slightly annoying man you sit next too who is taking up all the space to the woman who talks incessantly about her last holiday. We’ve all come for a nice night out so lets all try and get along people!
- Don’t be rude to the serving staff. No matter how long you’ve been waiting don’t be rude. Wait staff at supper clubs (although some celebrity chef pop-ups do hire a professional team) in general are friends and family who are lending a hand for the evening. They are not skivvy’s or your butler, have a little patience and your food will be served.
- Finally just it enjoy it. If you get into the spirit of supper clubs, love them for all their quirks and charms, you will quickly learn to adore them. Who knows this Saturday’s ‘little supper club’ just may turn out to produce next years hot new chef.
If this blog post has whetted your appetite for supper clubs and allayed your fears! You can find a more info on nights and supper club venues here;
It’s all too easy to forget people who make sacrifices for us all. That is why remembrance events, national days and holidays are an important feature of societies calendar. ANZAC Remembrance Day is a very important day in Australia’s calendar. Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers are remembered on ANZAC day the 25th of April, the anniversary of the 1915 Gallipoli landings. Least we forget how important the ANZAC troops were to Britain and all the allied countries.
The ‘Anzac Biscuit’ traditionally was made and sent to troops on the front line. This recipe is to share that tradition and remember the ANZAC troops. Whilst Anzac’s are a thoroughly Australian biscuit my recipe uses the very British Tate and Lyle’s Golden Syrup. I love the colour and flavour of this syrup and because of it’s sweetness I haven’t added too much extra sugar to the recipe.
50g Chopped oats (sometimes called quick cook oats)
35g Jumbo oats
85g Dessicated Coconut
100g Fine wholemeal flour
1 Teaspoon bicarbonate of soda.
35g Demerara sugar
100g Butter (plus a little extra for greasing the baking tray)
2 Generous tablespoons of Tate and Lyles Golden Syrup
- Pre-heat the oven to 180c.
- Into a deep mixing bowl place the oats, dessicated coconut and sugar.
- Sift in the flour.
- Add the bicarb and stir thoroughly.
- Then put the butter into a saucepan and gently melt over a low heat.
- Add the golden syrup to the melted butter, heat and combine until you have a nice sticky consistency.
- Back to the mixing bowl, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Slowly pour in the melted butter and syrup and stir through until combined.
- Take a large baking tray and lightly grease with butter.
- Take about a tablespoon of the mixture. Roll into small balls in the palm of your hand and finally gently flatten into a biscuit shape with the tips of your fingers. Repeating until you have 8 biscuits.
- Place the biscuits onto the tray and put onto the top shelf of the pre-heated oven.
- Bake for 10-12 mins or until the biscuits are a nice golden brown colour.
- Remove from the oven and place the biscuits on a cooling tray.
- Anzac biscuits are lovely served warm with a glass of milk but their usefulness (and their tradition) is their longevity. These biscuits can be stored for several days in a tin.
It’s always a bit nerve wracking when someone asks to review one of my recipes. Even more so when the person in question is a Nutritional therapist! Now I now my stuff when it comes to oats and I’ve studied human nutrition and public health too but is that enough to make a healthy Porridge?
Let me introduce my reviewer: Dianne Mower
Status: Nutritional Therapist
Blog: Healthy Eating Organisation
Dianne Mower: Healthy Eating Organisation
and Dianne’s comments?…..
“There is a shed load of fiber in this porridge”
“The addition of either fresh or frozen berries adds a good dose of antioxidants”
But best of all: “This recipe will dismiss any boredom you may have with traditional porridge”.
Thank you for such a kind review Dianne! You can read the full review here and there are lots of great recipes and healthy eating advice on Dianne’s blog so do take a look!
Suzi Wintle, Head Chef at Sheepdrove Organic farm
My new post for the Soil Association blog has gone on-line. For the second interview in the ’5 Questions With….’ series I interviewed Suzi Wintle, Head Chef at Sheepdrove Organic Farm. I spoke to Suzi about the challenges of catering with organic food and Sheepdrove’s famous ‘Shhh Supperclub’.
You can read my blog post here and read more about the growing for the fantastic supper club here.
Are you running the London Marathon this year? Is your training nearly complete and your kit ready? Then you need just one more thing… ‘Power Berry Porridge’ a winning Porridge recipe!
My new recipe for Mornflake Cereal is a perfect Porridge for runners. Packed with antioxidants and energy this Porridge will see you through a marathon.
Good luck to all runners and don’t forget to eat your Porridge on the big day
Superfood Chef Gurpareet Bains
I’ve been blogging for the Soil Association for a year now, on a range of topics from ethical pet food to community bakeries. I like my blogging to be dynamic, timely and well to challenge myself and my writing. So I’ve started a new series of posts titled ’5 Questions With…’, a run of interviews with chefs, growers and producers who work in the world of organic, ethical and wholesome food.
It has been a privilege to interview such interesting and inspiring people, people who are really busy but have kindly given their time to be interviewed.
The first interview with ‘Superfood Chef’ Gurparret Bains has now gone on-line and you can read it here.