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My #eatlocal challenge: week 2

My #eatlocal challenge: week 2
My #eatlocal challenge: week 2
My #eatlocal challenge: week 2
My #eatlocal challenge: week 2
My #eatlocal challenge: week 2

I am now two weeks in to my #50milemeal month, consuming food sourced/produced within 31 miles, as part of Slow food’s #menuforchange. Last week I was butter making, bread baking and soliciting sea salt from strangers. You can read about my fledgling efforts in in My #eatlocal challenge: week 1. This week the novelty of my project has worn pretty thin. All I want is a cup of tea, to echo the words of Samuel Johnson

‘[I am] a hardened and shameless tea-drinker…who with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and, with tea, welcomes the morning.’

I have had some real successes this week. I am no longer spending my evenings wallowing in grief over a glass of tap water and a raw carrot. I’ve started to build up my store cupboard and produce some legitimately passable meals.

Cheese

Whilst the production of hard(core) cheeses requires rennet and a lot of patience, it is possible to produce a mild-flavoured soft cheese in under 15 minutes. All you need is milk, buttermilk and an undiscerning pallet. Traditional buttermilk is the slightly sour liquid by-product of the butter churning process and in my new capacity as an amateur dairy maid I have been producing prodigious quantities of it.

The process

  1. Combine milk and buttermilk in a pan, ratio of 4:1
  2. Add salt (~2tsp to 1l milk)
  3. Heat until the curds and whey separate (~80oC)
  4. Either consume on a tuffet with an eight-legged friend
  5. Or strain liquid off through a cheese cloth until curds are firm

Ingredient sources:

North Aston dairy cream and milk purchased at East Oxford Farmers Market 

Bread (again)

Boris (my sourdough starter) went through a bit of a rough patch last week. He was sluggish, odorous and covered in a slimy residue. I like to think of that period as his adolescence. Thankfully this awkward phase is now behind us, Boris is hail, hearty and reproducing!

Ingredient sources:

Wessex mill wholemeal, white bread, and rye flour purchased at Natural Bread Oxford and salt from the Atlantic

Verjus

Pronunciation= VUR-jooss

Translation= Green juice (seriously, people need to get more creative with their naming)

Verjus is formed by blending and straining unripe grapes or similarly sour fruits such as crab apples. It brings a tart tang to a dish and was popular in pre-citrus Britain (a dark and unenlightened time). I am rapidly working through the batch I made back in September, using it as a replacement for lemon juice. When life doesn’t give you lemons make verjus.

As you can see my ‘green juice’ is actually orange. It oxidised whilst I was faffing around taking photos.

Ingredient sources:

The wilds of the Thames tow path.

Apples

I have been helping at several harvests with Oxford Abundance. I spend my time at these events munching on fruit, climbing trees and generally regressing to childhood. On Sunday I volunteered at an apple pressing day which I left with a bottle of freshly squeezed apple juice. It looked like ditch water and tasted like ambrosia.

This week’s biggest challenge

Last Saturday I invited my sister for dinner in order to prove that it is possible to cook something worthy of company with my limited range of ingredients. My number one rule for hosting: be extravagant. Everyone loves to be lavished from time to time. It is unsurprisingly challenging to lavish anyone whilst adhering to a 31 mile diet, but I thought I’d give it a go. This is what I produced, drum roll please…

Presenting beetroot, leek and red onion tart with a mixed nut and spinach pesto base and a honey–butter glaze.

Liddy’s comments: Surprisingly filling and scrumptious. Nice to eat something so nutty.

Subtext behind Liddy’s comments: I was worried that I would come to your house and starve. The food was edible, which is much better than I expected. I like nuts.

Ingredient sources:

Leeks from Cultivate Oxford, spinach from the Clays market garden, and beetroot and onions from Hogacre Common Eco Park. Walnuts, cobnuts and walnut oil from Heath Farm. Butter and flour sources as previously mentioned

Twitter @foodfromscr_tch

Rebekah Forty


The Slow Food blog is welcoming contributions on the topics of Food, Farming and Agriculture. The contents may not entirely match the views of Slow Food, but reflect the journeys of the authors. To write for us please click here

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