A Local Challenge
Gill Baker is a busy Mum living and working in Exeter, who is also involved in Transition Exeter and cares about trying to buy local produce. She recently challenged herself to make a meal made up entirely of local food. Doing this raises awareness of how much we eat that isn’t local.
Gill has written about her experience and reproduce what she wrote below. She made a wonderful three course meal, successfully, from local ingredients. All looks and sounds pretty tasty!
For me it highlighted that these days we tend to be led by a recipe, knowing we can get what we want from the supermarkets. In days gone by, what we had to eat was dictated by what was available, and a challenge such as this takes you back to those days. Availability is subject to the seasons and what is grown or made within the immediate locality.
If you try a similar challenge, please do get in touch.
This service has completely revolutionised my end of week. As a busy working mum I used to do the shopping at the weekend, and by mid-week I had used up the veg and was onto the pasta and pesto! Now I get fresh eggs and vegetables mid-week, and this has encouraged me to a) eat more veg and b) to start fiddling around in the kitchen again.
It is fabulous to have so much excellent food available that has travelled such a short distance, but I wondered could I really cook just using local ingredients.
So I set myself a little challenge: to cook a 3 course vegetarian meal using ingredients that had travelled less than 10 miles. Ingredients came from my garden, a little foraging, Shillingford Organics via Penny’s Shop and The Real Food Shop, Exeter. This is what I made:
Grilled goats cheese with thyme-infused beetroot
- Shillingford Organic Beetroot (delivered by Penny’s Shop)
- Thyme from my garden
- Shillingford Organic Mixed Salad Bag (delivered by Penny’s Shop)
- Goats Cheese (bought from Real Food Shop)
- Place washed beetroot in closed casserole dish
- Add sprigs of thyme
- Bake in oven for 60-90mins @ gas mark 5 / 190 degrees C
- Peel off skin and slice thinly
- Leave covered overnight in fridge with thyme leaves.
- Slice goats cheese into 5mm rounds and grill for 3 mins.
- Arrange beetroot slices on place.
- Plonk warm cheese on top and garnish with a selection of different salad leaves.
Challenge: it would have been good to make a marinade/dressing, but could not find local oil, vinegar, salt or pepper.<
- 4 organic eggs Shillingford Organics via Pennys Shop
- 100g Quickes Cheddar Cheese Real Food Shop
- 200g kale Shillingford Organics via Pennys Shop
- Few mushrooms Shillingford Organics via Pennys Shop
- 1 onion Shillingford Organics via Pennys Shop
- garlic Shillingford Organics via Pennys Shop
- 4 potatoes Shillingford Organics via Pennys Shop
- Few sprigs rosemary Homegrown
- Several cherry tomatoes Homegrown
- 100ml Milk Real Food Shop
- Butter Real Food Shop
- Boil 4 medium peeled potatoes with a sprig of rosemary until al dente.
- Cut into chunks and cover with rosemary and leave overnight.
- Fry onion, garlic and mushrooms in butter.
- Stir in potato and place in oven proof dish.
- Remove large rosemary stalks leaving a few leaves to flavour.
- Lightly steam the kale and chop into pieces.
- Chop the cheese into small pieces.
- Stir kale and cheese into potato.
- Whisk eggs with milk and pour over veg.
- Cook for 40 mins at gas mark 5. / 190 degrees C
- Serve with salad leaves.
Challenges: again the lack of salt and pepper was noticed, but leaving rosemary on potato overnight did bring some flavour and cheese provided sufficient saltiness.
Foragers Sorbet and Toffee Apples
- Apples, blackberries and elderberries
foraged from Mincinglake Valley Park.
- 2 dessert spoons honey
- 1 dessertspoon Local Butter
- Russet Apple Shillingford Organics via Pennys Shop
- Peel foraged apples and boil in a little water add a spoon of honey
- Add a few brambles and elderberries.
- Drain excess water and blend with handheld blender.
- Pour into small ramekins and freeze.
- Cut russets into slices and put into freezer.
- Heat 2 spoons of honey and one of butter in pan until it froths and thickens.
- Coat frozen apple slices with this toffee mix and re-freeze.
- Pour remaining toffee mix onto plate and place in freezer.
- To serve, take sorbet out of ramekin and place on plate with slices of toffee apple and a broken piece of toffee to garnish.
Challenges: not having local sugar or flour made it difficult to even think of a desert. I was also a bit lost not being able to use cinnamon or dried fruits that I would normally add to apple, Toffee made from honey just about works!
If you like this recipe, you may want to subscribe to Penny’s Recipe’s newsletter and get the free Meal Plan – 7 family meals for under £30