Good news for the 40 odd people who tried to book on our Kitchen Table Conversations last week only to find us fully booked, we will be doing it again! This time was hosted by the fantastic Embercombe (http://www.embercombe.co.uk/) next time….well we have a whole host of inspiring local organisations lined up for you.
65 of us enjoyed fine food and excellent conversation around the Kitchen Table last Thursday at the Barrelhouse, Totnes. It was a real joy to see our guests really listening to one-another and enjoying the conversation over our local cauliflower or spiced lamb tagine. Suzy Edwards and Jo Clarke from Embercombe presented opposing arguments on ‘isn’t growing our own food outdated and idealistic?’. Who indeed has time for a second job? But who would want to sacrifice the serenity found with hands in earth, digging potatoes or planting lettuce, breathing the air, reminding ourselves how beautiful and how fragile life is.
Great to meet you all, look out for our next Kitchen Table Conversation in Totnes.
Isn’t growing our own food outdated, idealistic and too much like hard work?
Embercombe is inviting local food lovers, experts, producers and everyday eaters round The Kitchen Table to enjoy great food, good company and stimulating conversation on April 19th at 7pm in The Barrelhouse, Totnes.
The event is free, with a delicious meal available for £6 provided by us, The Kitchen Table. The bar will be open all evening for alcoholic, soft and hot drinks.
This provocative conversation cafe will be kicked off by Suzy Edwards and Jo Clarke. Suzy was a co-founder of the Alliance Against Urban 4x4s and sat on the board of Friends of the Earth. She is a professional environmentalist who enjoys scrutinising ‘sacred cows’ and now works at Embercombe. Jo is a Devon farmers son and has been a clown, a gardener, a parent and a teacher and now cares for the 50 acres of land at Embercombe, which feeds 1000’s every year and runs the land based learning programme there.
The speakers will talk about ’How we can all do our jobs AND eat sustainably? Isn’t growing our own food outdated, idealistic and too much like hard work? , then the conversations over wonderful Kitchen Table food will begin. Suzy from Embercombe says “This is a fantastic opportunity to process what you’ve heard and discuss the issues raised”.
Booking essential, please email firstname.lastname@example.org stating whether or not you will be eating.
Oooo the joys of the wild, to watch Oyster mushrooms growing and prepping freshly shot pigeons and pheasants from our mate Richard. I think I scared away poor vegetarian David, the final straw being the ceremonious gutting of a brace of pheasants in my kitchen. Ah well, at least I gave him tea first. Oh course our Oyster mushrooms didn’t actually grow in the wild, the grow boxes in our kitchen are the creation of Adam Sayner, our supplier of the season. I am currently watching harvest number two start to take shape. You get an average of three harvests from one box! And only £12, a bargain that is, and a fabulous gift. Last Christmas most of my family were growing gourmet mushrooms.Adam uses recycled coffee grounds to grow the mushrooms in. How cool is that! You can buy them from http://www.fungi-futures.co.uk
So recipe number two from our first Supplier Of The Season evening.
Braised puy lentils with rare pigeon breast and curly kale Serves 4
- 8 wood pigeon breasts, marinated overnight in blackberry gin (or sloe gin)
- ground spices – (1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 star anise, 1/4 cinnamon stick, 1tsp allspice berry, 1 tsp juniper) 1 tbsp brown sugar, zest of 1 orange, salt. Fry mirapoix (1 carrot, 1 celery stick, 1 onion, diced). Fry for a few minutes.
- Add 1 clove chopped garlic and 4 rashers sliced bacon. Fry.
- Add a splash of sherry.
- Add 250g puy lentils (washed) and enough stock to cover (I made a pigeon stock).
- Simmer until the lentils are cooked but retain their shape. Season well.
- Drain the wood pigeon breasts. Fry in a hot pan for a couple of minutes each side.
- Rest before slicing and plating up with the wood pigeon resting on top of the braised lentils. Serve with curly kale on the side.
All the vegetables in the recipe were local and organic. The pigeons were shot in the woods nearby. The mushrooms grew in my kitchen. I suspect the puy lentils were grown in Puy.
Many thanks to our marvelous photographer Hele, to the talented Adam for his mushrooms and for Mark and Jenny for their eating skills.
Hannah x Continue reading
Here at the KT headquarters Sima and I are sitting on our hands waiting for the evening to begin. It’s not often that I wish the day away but we have a very special meal planned for tonight. In the famous words of Simon Pegg “skip to the end”. The end being the very first of our ‘Supplier of the Month’ evenings. Each month we will be showcasing produce from one of our local suppliers, people we feel are doing amazing things and growing top quality produce. Tonight we have special guests, our very own photographer, and two excellent dishes using the incredible produce of Adam Sayner. Our man of the month.
Adam is the founder of Fungi Futures, a not-for-profit social enterprise dedicated to growing Gourmet Mushrooms from recycled waste. The recycled waste being coffee grounds from the South Hams. And the mushrooms….we have three boxes of Oyster mushrooms growing in our kitchens, waiting for harvest time this evening. I’ve certainly had to sit on my hands whilst making my breakfast this morning. They look truly delicious –
Why not check out our blog over the next couple of days for two delicious recipes showcasing Adams produce. We also have some fine wild pigeon breasts to add to the mix. All the key ingredients in our recipes will be from within 10 miles of Totnes. Don’t miss it. In the meantime take a look at Adam’s website:
It has been my quest over the last few years to eat locally (locavorism). The transition has been slow and comfortable – I haven’t forced onto myself unattainable or impossible ideals and have simply changed some of the choices I made. One choice-change seems to lead to another and each ‘difficulty’ overcome makes the journey easier. The greatest gift this process has afforded me is an awareness of the seasons and of taste! That a tomato picked locally and recently tastes a million times better than one which has travelled from afar in the depths of winter was a wonderful revelation, mostly because I have fallen in love with various vegetables which before I may have been indifferent to. I have discovered the ‘true’ taste of things!
So, as I’ve changed my shopping and therefore cooking habits over time, the reality of the system with which we live shows its weaknesses and highlights my dependence on certain foods. It would never occur to me to not have rice, ginger, pulses etc in my life? So, again, choices and decisions have to be made and I limit those foods and source the ones which have been shipped rather than flown and where possible are fairly traded. But what about the foods which should come from here, but seem hard to find?
The food stuff I am currently interested in is flour. Wheat grows here, barley, oats, spelt can all be grown in the UK yet there seems to be a lack of local, to Totnes, flour. I recently learned that you can’t actually buy bread flour that is 100% British! Because our flour isn’t glutinous enough. I wonder, does that mean that our bread is different nowadays? Or is the process by which we bake bread changed?
I’d now like to explore the feasibilty/ possibilty/ need/ desire for grains to be grown and milled here in South Devon. I’d love to get some people who grow, have milled, eat bread, want to grow, want a mill, have a business that uses flour etc etc to come together to discuss whether or not Totnes can see that happening sometime in the future. Wouldn’t it be exciting if we imported one less commodity? And such a well used and diverse crop. So watch this space or better still, contact me if you’re interested in entering the debate.