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The fantastic weather over the weekend meant a perfect opportunity to enjoy the English countryside. On Saturday we went for a walk along the canal, and picked a meagre amount of blackberries that are currently in the freezer as I can’t dedice what to make with them yet – blackberry junket or hedgerow crumble?
Sunday heralded a local food festival, held in a nearby town (Altrincham) in their covered market – which with the sun blazing down was more like a greenhouse. It was great to see so many people out and about, enjoying locally made and produced food, and sampling dishes from local restaurants. We bought our festival currency and scoffed down a vegetarian curry, a chicken tikka wrap, a glass of Spanish beer and two slices of pizza for lunch on Monday. Sadly, I forgot my camera and haven’t any pictures to show for the fantastic food on offer.
Our favourite local farmers were there – Sue from Little Heath Farm – a table laden with delicious cuts of beef and pork, and a hamper displaying the local veg they sell in their modest farm shop. The ‘pie man’ as he’s affectionately known in our house – Neil from The Great North Pie Company – a new addition to the local food scene, hadn as usual sold out an hour into the festival and by the time we arrived all that was left was his empty pie stands and a handful of leaflets.
We sampled some freshly squeezed apple juice from a stand celebrating local allotments, fought over the last few crumbs of one of the best Victoria sponge cakes I’ve ever had – from Hulabaloo Cafe – and went home carrying a treasured bottle of local ‘Discover’ apple juice an an ‘escargot chocolat’ – a French breakfast pastry like a cross between a Danish pastry and a pan au chocolat. De-lish!
As I haven’t any pictures to show of all this loveliness, I shall post a shot of the weekends harvest from the garden – freshly dug potatoes and a variety of tomatoes.
On Wednesday night I went to a film showing of ‘The Power of Community’ – a film about how Cuba survived peak oil. The whole film was a real eye-opener, but the piece of community gardens and urban agriculture was particularly interesting. Wherever pieces of land in urban areas were rundown or falling down, on every small derelict corner of the city, people cleared the ground and turned them into fantastic pockets of green – bursting with edible plant.
It was quite scary to think that perhaps we will only realise this change in attitude and habits in a crisis, but the positive outcomes in Cuba can provide us all with hope. If you can watch this film, do, it’s really good, but you can also find some great clips on YouTube – if you also search for ‘urban food growing in havana’ there’s a great clip about it from Mony Don’s ‘Around the Worl in 80 Gardens’ as is ‘Seeds in the City.’
Hidden at the bottom of the garden, these beautiful beetroot (Chioggia Candy Stripe and Golden) have been plumping up nicely all summer. A last minute salad was needed for a shared lunch at work, so after a wet walk to the bottom of the garden I settled on these. I just had to take a photo, in spite of the rain, because of those fantastic colours. I spent half an hour in a rush before work madly peeling them into wafer thin curls – we had them for lunch, simply dressed with a splash of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon – lovely.
I love food and especially food that comes from distinct places – food that is specific to a place and shaped by the landscape. I hope that Eat the Earth will be an outlet to share the fantastic food that is local to me, and local to other places that I visit. I will also share the food and recipes I like to cook, especially with homegrown goodies.