Wrapped in Newspaper

Ethical lifestyle blog and vegan recipes


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Vegan Dilemmas // Winter Boots

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Winter’s are tough. Even by urban standards, there’s rain, rain and more rain to contend with, normally on a daily basis as well as the odd bit of snow. It’s cold, you want to wear as many pairs of socks as is possible to stop getting frost bite on your toes… OK slight exaggeration there but my point being that you need a bloody sturdy pair of winter boots if you want them to see you through more than one winter.

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Last year I found myself having to buy myself another pair of winter boots as my previous pair hadn’t survived the test of time. It being my first winter as a vegan I went off in set of some suitably cruelty-free footwear. I took to the internet (obvs!) and managed to find myself what looked like a great pair of black vegan chelsea boots. They looked like they were good quality and had a price tag to suit so I didn’t hesitate to order them.

When they arrived I was a little disappointed. They had clearly been photographed in a flattering light and I didn’t hold out much hope for them lasting more than one winter. But struggling to find any other vegan boots I actually liked, I kept hold of them and thought I’d give them the benefit of the doubt.

Here we are one year later and last month I dusted them off and put them back on as the rain and cold slowly began to set back in. Unfortunately they didn’t even last their first outing and let in so much water that I might as well have been barefoot.

So now I’m back exactly where I found myself last year but maybe a little wiser, or maybe not. I needed a truly good quality pair of boots that would last year after year. Because after all, buying new vegan boots every year isn’t exactly an ethical way to go about things.  But the question was do all those things go together, could I find a pair of boots that I liked, that would last and that were cruelty-free? Oh and not to mention I have massive feet and find it hard to find boots that don’t make my feet look even bigger than they are!

Well, what can I say, I cracked! I couldn’t find any that I thought were really good quality and that I liked and wouldn’t make my feet look like a Hobbit’s. I strolled into a Dr Martens shop and found myself walking out with a pair of boots that I loved, knew would last and last but that had cruelty written all over them. Oh the shame!

So no, I’m not the perfect vegan. Sometimes when I get a side salad and realise its got a honey dressing I eat it anyway because I don’t want it to go to waste. And sometimes I crack under pressure and buy a pair of leather boots because I’ve had enough of endless online searches that lead to no avail.

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But this is the thing about being a vegan, everyday you are faced with a barrage of non-vegan things and sometimes, just sometimes it’s a bit too much. Would you like a chocolate? No thanks, go on you know you want to *rattles chocolate box under nose. No, really I can’t! Let’s go out for dinner, oh great there’s nothing I can eat on the menu and everything is pre-made so I’ll just have chips and a side salad with aforementioned honey dressing no doubt. You’d like a winter cycling jersey, oh well all the nice ones are made of wool. I’d like a quick dinner because I’m home really late but my cupboards are empty and the health food shop is closed, good fucking luck!

But mostly it is bloody great and even if sometimes it can be testing, I know that going vegan is still the best decision I’ve ever made!


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Squash stew and dumplings

Squash stew

I’ve got a treat for you this week in the shape of Squash stew and dumplings! This time of year we are surrounded by choice. So many of my favourite fruits and vegetables are in season; apples, pears, kale, cabbages, broccoli and pumpkins. Yes, we are now spoilt for choice with comforting, hearty foods that will warm us up on these cold rainy days. Soups, curries, and stews are my staples of the moment.

There are so many  varieties of squashes and pumpkin available, I used to just stick to butternut squash and not get too adventurous, but despite the troublesome cutting of them, they all are quite different but all tasty. This squash stew and dumplings is the perfect way to eat more of this delicious vegetable! I had a Butternut Squash in my store cupboard, but you can definitely mix it up in your variety.

 

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Squash stew and dumplings
Serves 4
Cooking time: 1hr 15mins

1 butternut squash or other variety
2 carrots
1 cartoon of chopped tomatoes
1 cartoon of black beans
1 bulb of garlic
2 tspn sage
salt & pepper

For the dumplings
125g plain flour
60g vegetable suet
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn mixed herbs
salt & pepper

1) Peel and cube the squash. In a oven proof dish drizzle a little olive oil and heat for 5 minutes at 200C. Throw in the squash and start roasting it for 15 minutes.
2) Peel the carrots and dice into cubes. Add to the squash, along with the tomatoes, beans, the bulb of garlic cut in half, sage and salt and pepper. Stir together and roast for an hour.
3) Whilst the stew is cooking, in a bowl weigh out the flour, vegetable suet, baking powder, herbs along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together and add enough water to bring the mixture together as a dough. Roll into balls and set aside. When the stew has 20 minutes left in the oven, pop the dumplings on to the top and return to the oven.
4) Serve with some greens, I had some purple sprouting broccoli.

Enjoy!

Veronica x


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Vegan Chocolate Beetroot Cake

Vegan-chocolate-and-beetroot-cake

I love beetroot! Whether it’s roasted, shredded up raw in a salad or squished up in a burger, it’s blimmin’ delicious AND it’s in season for most of the year! Win, win, win you might say? Well not always…

beetroot-varieties

If we take asparagus as a contrasting example, it’s in season for such a short amount of time that it’s like, quick, quick cook something delicious before the season is over! But with beetroot, it’s just there month after month and it’s like, more beetroot but I already had it fives ways last week, what can I do with it now?

Well I have the answer, chocolate beetroot cake!!!

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vegan cake

chocolate-and-beetroot-cake

This isn’t as super healthy as some of our recent recipes but it’s not too far off so lets not worry about it too much : )

Vegan Chocolate Beetroot Cake

2 Medium sized beetroots, peeled and finely grated
115 g Spelt flour
70 g Brown rice flour
50 g Coconut palm sugar
3 tbsp Cacao powder (or 5 tbsp cocoa powder)
2 tsp Baking powder
Pinch of salt
60 ml Maple syrup
50 g Dark chocolate (80% or more)
150 ml Rapeseed oil
50 ml Non-dairy milk

For the topping:

50 g Dark chocolate (80% or more)
3-5 tbsp water
50 g Pistachios

  • Over a low heat, melt the chocolate and maple syrup in a saucepan.
  • Once melted, remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly whilst you measure all the dry ingredients into a separate mixing bowl.
  • Stir in the oil and almond milk into the melted chocolate before adding the grated beetroot.
  • Mix well before stirring in the dry ingredients.
  • Pour the mixture into a well greased 18cm cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 25 minutes of until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Turn out the cake onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
  • Over a low heat, melt the chocolate. Slowly add in a tablespoon of water at a time, stirring continuously. Keep stirring and adding a little more water until you get a nice smooth consistency that has a lighter colour, resembling milk chocolate.
  • Pour the chocolate over the cake and spread evenly.
  • Roughly chop the pistachios and sprinkle over the cake.

Amy x


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Creamy vegan pasta

vegan pasta

 

The big news for me is that I successfully got in the London Marathon ballot! Cue excitement and smug feelings that I got a ballot place, which fyi are really hard to get! But, now the reality has dawned on me and I’ve got a shed load of work to do before I get to that start line and it is the training that scares me more than the marathon. When I was training for the half marathon it was Spring, it was reasonably dry and running outdoors was a joy. I’m definitely more than a little apprehensive about dark, cold, rainy training runs.

Obviously before my big runs I’ll be carb loading. I’m not one for white pasta usually, and always try to stick to wholewheat pasta and brown rice etc. But, when I was in Italy I had no stomach problems from their pasta (or any of the food) – so I sourced some of the “good stuff”. So here is a perfectly creamy mushroomy pasta that will either help you before those training runs like me or just help you when you’re in need of that comfort food fix on these cold nights.

creamy pasta

pasta

Creamy vegan mushroom pasta

 

Creamy vegan mushroom pasta (serves 4)

A glug of olive oil
200g mushrooms
1 courgette
A handful of thyme sprigs
1 tin of coconut milk
275g dried pasta
Salt & pepper

1) Chop the mushrooms really thin. In a pan, heat the olive oil and start cooking the mushrooms. Thinly slice the courgettes and then add to the pan. Once they are cooked through, add the coconut milk and heat slowly, allowing the coconut milk to melt down and soak up the mushroom flavours.
2) In another pan, cook the pasta in boiling water as per the packet instructions.
3) Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the coconut and mushroom sauce. Add the thyme (remove the leaves from the stalks) and stir through to cover the pasta with the sauce.  Season with salt and pepper. Either serve straight away, or put in a dish and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 180C.

Enjoy !

Veronica x


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Reflections on natural growing in the company of bees

I find it difficult to come to terms with the extent and rate at which we are devastating life on our earth. WWF’s living planet report has just revealed that in the last 40 years the Global Living Planet Index shows a decline of 52% for vertebrates and 45% for invertebrates. Quite shocking isn’t it?

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A bumblebee resting on my finger

Sat pondering these crazy figures and reflecting on the six months I spent learning about how to grow ecologically in the Schumacher College gardens, I stumbled upon this scribbled into a corner of my notes from the apprenticeship…

“It was a while before I understood, but the bees were simply doing what bees do: acting as the gardeners of the world and making their incredibly generous gift of the landscape.”

I didn’t record from whom or where I happened upon this quote, but it somehow helps me to articulate the hopeful and reassuring quality of the experience I had day-to day of working in a vegetable garden so full of bees simply doing what bees do.

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The synergistic vegetable garden at Schumacher College; a place full of bees … plus ducks!

This is the mandala shaped synergistic vegetable garden we planted during the course of our apprenticeship [with four lovely ducks for slug control]. The garden consists of curved, raised beds and adopts a no dig system developed by a Spanish lady called Emelia Hazelip who pioneered natural farming techniques initially written about by the hugely inspiring Masanobu Fukuoka from Japan.

“People interfere with nature, and, try as they may, they cannot heal the resulting wounds. Their careless farming practices drain the soil of essential nutrients and the result us yearly depletion of the land.” – Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

In his book, The One-Straw Revolution Fukuoka tells the story of his life dedicated to exploring methods of natural farming. Out of decades of careful observation of the natural re-wilding of plants, insects and animals on his land, he developed a ‘no nothing’ approach to growing food there. His approach worked in harmony with nature, offering an alternative to practices relying on monoculture planting with high inputs of pesticide and fertilizer. Both Fukuoka and Hazelip recognised that it’s possible to achieve yields similar to that of modern farming methods by embracing natural processes and growing an abundant polyculture in a wild state with an undisturbed, living soil full of fungi and bacteria.

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Honeybees on edible Chrysanthemum amongst a polyculture of Chamomile, Cabbage, Salad leaves, Peas, Beetroot and Calendula

In this garden the soil is left undisturbed and only the edible parts of plants are removed so that roots and outer leaves are left to compost insitu providing the organic matter needed to maintain fertility in the soil. Mulching is used to maintain soil structure and moisture, enriching the earth so that prepared fertiliser becomes unnecessary. The approach to disease and insect control is to grow crops that can exist together as part of a healthy, functioning ecosystem and create habitat for natural predators who can maintain pest populations. The understanding is that over time nature, undisturbed, becomes a self-regulating balance.

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Bumblebee face peering over some Borage next door to Calendula and Courgette 

The garden is a polyculture of vegetables, herbs and edible flowers and the result over the summer was a garden packed full of honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees. The number of spiders, beetles and other jumping, scurrying things in this garden is also quite amazing!

male cuckoo bumblebee on calendula

An old male Cuckoo bumblebee visiting Calendula with Onion and Courgette beyond

Most popular amongst all of the bees were Borage, Cornflower, Calendula, Garland Chrysanthemum and Poached egg plant along with Courgettes and flowering Globe Artichoke as firm vegetable favourites!

carder bumblebee on cornflower

Carder bumblebee visiting Cornflower

I had many serene moments working in this garden while the bees, themselves hard at work, merrily buzzed around me as I wandered through the sculpted circular pathways. Their constant presence meant that my rusty bumblebee identification skills developed fast and throughout the year, I noticed when a new species appeared, emerging from hibernation. Next year I shall be more prepared to document them all!

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A woodchip pathway lined with Chamomile leading through the centre of the garden

There were lots of curious but heartening moments working in the mandala where I would find a bee resting on me, as if the excitement of the garden was all too much for them! Staying for minutes and in some cases much longer, they would rest before gathering the strength to continue their journey amid the flowers, back to their nests bearing sweet nectary gifts from the garden. In these moments I had the sense that I was working with the bees and for a same cause; to initiate life, to encourage beauty, to be productive and to be fed.

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A bumblebee taking a rest on me

It is widely accepted that our modern agricultural practices are having a negative impact on the health of the soil, ecosystems and the quality of our food. So could this way of growing that more closely mimics what happens in nature become a viable alternative? The garden certainly did produce some beautiful food this year but at Schumacher College we had the luxury of experimenting with these methods without the commercial pressures involved in producing food. With the garden in its first year and a booming slug population, it is yet to be revealed how productive it might be in the long term. For our sake and the sake of the bees, I hope this way of growing is more widely used in the future and its definitely what I will be working with in my own vegetable patch.

carder bumblebee on edible chrysanthemum

Carder bumblebee on edible Chrysanthemum

There is such a huge potential for food growers to provide habitat and forage for bees and it’s amazing how quickly they will begin to congregate when there’s something sweet on offer! Working in this vegetable garden gave me a hopeful glimpse of what it would feel like to be in a world animated with biodiversity. Agricultural land really shouldn’t be as barren and lifeless as it is. It should be alive and bustling full of scurrying, buzzing and blooming things. So come on growers, get growing naturally and watch the bees do what bees do : )

PS; If you’re interested in finding out more about synergistic gardens, check out this video by Emilia Hazelip


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Blogiversary – One year on

I can’t quite believe it has been a whole year since Amy and I started this blog. Sometime we still can’t quite believe that people actually read what we write to be honest! So thanks : )

If you’re a regular reader, you probably know what we are all about. But, if you’ve just come across us here is a little glimpse. Having both turned vegan in 2013, after rescuing some ex-commercial chickens in 2012 and then being bombarded with questions about what we ate, why the heck we gave up meat and cheese, we decided to explain the whys and show the whats on this blog. If you want to read more about that, you can read a more detailed version here.

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Wrapped in Newspaper has developed from our original idea and so have we. We both have changed our eating habits, not just removing meat and dairy, but now we also try to eat a low sugar, clean lifestyle. (Although you wouldn’t think so with the amount of cake I’ve eaten in the last week – it was my birthday!) We have definitely come along way from our first blog post! Our sweet recipes are now a majority of whole wheat, refined sugar free and healthy. We don’t just write about food here, we also talk about how we are both making a conscious effort to live a more ethical lifestyle through eating seasonal food, our shopping habits and decisions we make.

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We made a decision when we started out that if we had opportunities to work with brands we would turn them down and now we get the odd email with these offers this still remains the case. We do not want to feel obliged to write about something that we have been sent for free, and wouldn’t necessarily buy. We only post about things we genuinely want to, and nothing has been sent to us for free from PR agencies.

One of our biggest highlights over the past year was when Instagram featured our account as a suggested user…CRAZY! Cue an insane number of followers – we were gobsmacked! Give us a follow if you are on IG! We post lots of different photos.

This week I thought we’d have a look back over the last year and remind you of some of our favourite posts that sum up what this blog is all about.

Apple Dorset Cake
Now, although this isn’t sugar-free we are in the midst of apple season and this is the perfect pudding for a chilly autumnal evening, Amy veganised one of our family favourites.

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Hazelnut & Chocolate Truffles
I made these truffles when I was in the midst of cutting refined sugar completely from my diet, and I had just been allowed to reintroduce natural sugars. HELLO dates! These are the perfect snack when craving a little something chocolatey and sweet.

Vegan Chocolate Truffles

Vegan athletes
We’ve both taken to exercise this year in a big way and we love it! Amy completed a 100 mile cycle ride and I completed a half marathon and am about to start training for the London Marathon – yes I got in via the ballot! Read about my running here and read about how we fuel ourselves before we get up and go here!

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Bee-friendly

Since joining the Wrapped in Newspaper team, Hayley has been inspiring and educating us with her love for bees and her quest to find out more about the difficulties honeybees are facing. Many people who question veganism are often exacerbated by the fact the vegans won’t even eat honey, but Hayley has shared a non-vegan perspective on honey that will make everyone think twice about consuming honey and the way in which we farm honeybees.

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Sprouting Lentils
Whilst I have my allotment to grow things, Amy has a flat and space is limited. Here she shows us how to sprout lentils, which fyi are super nutritious and easy to do, plus a tasty stir-fry recipe.

sprouted green lentils

Convenience shopping
We are both big fans of our veg boxes. You should definitely think about signing up for one! This is one simple way of buying local, delicious veg that hasn’t been shipped half way around the world!

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Thanks to everyone who has come to visit our little corner of the worldwide web. We are looking forward to our next year of creating delicious, healthy, seasonal, vegan recipes and sharing ideas on how we can have a more positive impact on the planet through our everyday lives.

Veronica, Amy & Hayley x


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Crumbly plum and hazelnut tart

A few weeks back I went to a pick your own farm and harvested my body weight in plums, well, almost. That day I picked a whole host of fruits, cultivated and wild. By the time I had got home and de-stalked elderberries and picked through blackberries, the last thing I wanted to do was think of what to do with all the plums. So I decided to preserve them so I could figure out how I wanted to use them at a later date. I gently stewed them up with a little xylitol sugar and put them into jars. I could simply have halved them, removed the stones and frozen them but they just look so lovely in jars, I couldn’t resist.

Now all I have to do is figure out what to do with them. Plum crumble? Plum muffins? Plum tart? Plum strudel? All of the above?

Plum Plums

This weekend I stumbled across a recipe in Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet for a Plum Tart that I would describe as being half way between a tart and a crumble which seemed like the perfect use for some of my plums. So I got to work veganising, de-sugaring and healthifying the recipe.

Those of you who are Wrapped in Newspaper regulars will know we are trying to cut out as much sugar from our diet as possible and for that reason, if you are a bit of a sugar addict, then you might find this recipe a little on the sharp side. Not that I had any complaints from my sugar-fiend boyfriend, but just a word of warning.

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Crumbly plum tart

Crumbly plum and hazelnut tart

50g Hazelnuts
100g Rye flour
75g Wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp Baking powder
2 tbsp Xylitol sugar
1/2 cup Coconut oil (solidified)
1-2 tbsp Non-dairy milk
25g oats

For the filing:
300g Plums (stewed or cut into small chunks)
1 tbsp Cornflour
2 tbsp Rice syrup

  • Begin by toasting the hazelnuts over a medium-high heat for around 10 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning and once the skins start to peel away, remove from the heat.
  • Rub the hazlenuts between a folded, clean tea towel to remove most of the skins and finely chop or quickly blitz in a food processor.
  • In a large mixing bowl stir together the flour, baking powder and sugar.
  • Add in the solidified coconut oil (chill in the fridge if required) and rub the oil into the flour using your fingertips to create fine breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the chopped hazelnuts then add in the milk a little at a time until the mixture starts to hold together.
  • Press around half to two-thirds of the pastry mixture in the base of a greased springform or flan dish to form the base.
  • Cover the remaining mixture and pop in the fridge briefly whilst you prepare the plums.
  • Stir all the filing ingredients together and pour onto the pastry base.
  • Remove the remaining pastry mixture from the fridge, break the mixture into crumbs using your fingertips and stir in the oats.
  • Finally pour the crumbly topping over the plums and bake at 195C for 45-50 mins.
  • Check at around 30 mins and if already nicely golden, cover with foil for the remaining time.
  • Sprinkle with just a little cheeky icing sugar if you fancy.

Enjoy!
Amy x


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Roasted fennel salad

If you are  a regular reader you may have (or you may not) noticed we have been a little quiet around here for the last few weeks. We hadn’t planned to have a two week break, but we both went on holiday (yay!), getting our butts into gear and planning posts doesn’t always come strongly around here! We both tend to write our posts on Sunday evenings ready to go live the next day!

I haven’t been doing so well on my clean eating lifestyle, sugar has been creeping back into my diet, and I spent two weeks on holiday consuming my body weight in pizza, pasta and prosecco – and what a great time I had!

Now it’s back to reality, life goes on and it is time to get back into my clean eating. In our veg box this week we got a lovely fennel. Roasted fennel is one of my new favourite flavours and this warm fennel salad is so tasty you just have to try it! This salad makes a perfect weekend lunch or make it to take to work. It is full of flavour thanks to the lemon and thyme.

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Roasted fennel

Roasted fennel and vegetables

Roasted fennel salad

Warm fennel salad

Roasted fennel salad
Serves 2-3

Half a fennel bulb
2 cloves of garlic
1 red onion
3 tomatoes
A handful of fresh thyme
1 lemon
1 tbsp coconut oil
Half a courgette
Watercress
100g bulgar wheat

1) Set the oven to 160C , chop the fennel into slices, in a large roasting tray melt the coconut oil, then add the fennel, chopped onion and cloves of garlic. Chop the tomatoes and add to the tray. Add the sprigs of thyme and squeeze the lemon and throw in the rest of the lemon wedges. Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes, remember to  stir it around every now and again.
2) Cook the bulgar wheat in a saucepan, as per the packet instructions, it usually takes 15 minutes and the water soaks into the wheat.
3) Once the fennel, onions and tomatoes are roasted, remove from the oven and remove the sticks of thyme, the leaves should just fall off into the pan. Add the bulgar wheat and stir through the vegetables. Place back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
4) Season with salt and pepper and serve with watercress and thinly slice some courgette. You can remove the garlic cloves if you prefer, but I love to eat roasted garlic. Serve with the lemon wedges.

Enjoy this delicious warm salad

Veronica x

 


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Marking the seasons // elderberry flu remedy

There’s a suspicious tinge of orange on the leaves. The nights are drawing in. It would seem that Autumn is upon us.

It’s hard to put a finger on the start of Autumn, it’s one of those seasons that sneaks up on you. One minute you’re thinking about taking a jumper out in case it gets chilly in the evening, the next you’re trying to figure out where your thermals’ got to.

The appearance of ripe elderberries and sloes, or the first tinting of oak trees is traditionally used to mark the start of Autumn. I found these sloes ripe and ready for my sloe spelt cake recipe two weeks ago and as for the elderberries, well I was too late, they had already past their best.

Blackthorn

London’s microclimate can do some funny things but it has been found that, on average, native trees are producing ripe fruit 18 days earlier than a decade ago. Whilst this might be great news for the forager, for animals it may mean that their food reserves could become depleted earlier in the winter. One thing’s for sure, you won’t notice anything until you actually get out there and look.

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For my Dad, it’s not so much the start of Autumn but the end of Summer. He knows Summer’s on its way out when Rosebay Willowherb goes to seed.

For me Blackberrying marks the transition from Summer to Autumn and this year I was determined not to miss out on a bumper crop. I escaped the hustle and bustle of London and went out to the peaceful countryside of the Chilterns on a little foraging expedition and I was not disappointed.

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Blackberries and apples

Sometimes nature is just telling what to eat. Blackberry and apple pie anyone?

Blackberrying

Those couple of degrees change in temperature really can make all the difference, as out in the countryside I found elderberries to be perfectly ripe. With an outbreak of colds at the moment brought on by the change of season, I knew exactly what I had in mind for those elusive elderberries that had evaded me only weeks before. Elderberry syrup.

It’s said that a small amount of elderberry syrup taken daily can immunise you against the flu. It’s quick and easy to make and you can freeze it in ice cube trays so they’re ready and waiting for whenever the flu strikes.

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Elderberry Flu Remedy

Elderberries
Slice of lemon
Thumb size piece of ginger

  • Pick the elderberries on a dry, sunny day as that’s when they’ll be at their sweetest.
  • Remove the stalks and wash them.
  • Put them in a saucepan and just cover them with water. Bring them to the boil and simmer for around half an hour or until soft.
  • Strain them through a sieve, to remove the seeds and the skins.
  • Place back on the heat and simmer gently to reduce the liquid down.
  • Leave to cool and place in ice cube trays, freeze until flu season is upon us.
  • Place one elderberry ice cube in a cup with a slice of lemon. Grate the ginger and squeeze out the juice between your fingers into the cup.
  • Pour in freshly boiled water and stir.
  • Drink this delicious warming drink when flu is going round to keep it at bay.

Amy x


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Spanish inspired bean stew and patatas bravas

I’m counting down. Counting down until I go on holiday, a much-needed holiday I can tell you. We are travelling around Italy for two weeks and I for one can’t wait! I hate going on about being busy, but I have been. Busy with a new job, busy training for a half marathon, busy trying my best to grown some veg, and busy writing blog posts. I know i’ve neglected relationships whilst I have been going through this hectic period and I’m planning on balancing my time a little better when I get home.

One of the vegetables I have been growing for the first time this year is the humble potato and boy oh boy, what a treat they are! Before you put the seed potatoes in the ground you need to allow them to “chit” which means leaving them in a sunny spot and waiting for them to start sprouting. When it came to planting, I put mine in rows and then mounded the soil up over them, they then pretty much sorted themselves out. The leaves started growing, they developed some really pretty, delicate flowers and then they started dying back and the leaves started yellowing – it is at this point that they were ready to dig up! There is something quite exciting about digging up one plant and seeing the numerous golden nuggets that have formed, all from that one sprouted seed potato!

So, what to do with all the potatoes? I’m feeling in the holiday vibe so I got all Spanish inspired with this delicious dinner.

Patatas Bravas

Bean stew

Spanish bean stew and patatas bravas

Spanish vegan food

Bean Stew and Patatas Bravas
Serves 4

For the stew:

1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tspn paprika
2 tspn smoked paprika
1 onion
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
1 tin of butter beans
1 tin of kidney beans
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
A red pepper
A tspn of dried chillies
500ml of veg stock

For the potatoes:

1 tbsp coconut oil
8-10 potatoes
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 cloves of garlic

1) Heat the oven to 180C.
2) In a large tray put the coconut oil and place in the oven to melt.
3) In a large pan melt some more coconut oil on a medium heat for the stew. Add the chopped onions and sauté down for 5 minutes until soft.
4) Pull out the tray from the oven and place the chopped potatoes, sprinkle with the smoked paprika and throw in the cloves of  garlic. Put in the oven for 30 minutes making sure to stir them around every once in awhile.
5) Back in the pan, add both paprikas and stir through the onions, add the crushed garlic and cook for a minute. Add the beans, chopped pepper, tomatoes, and stock.
6) Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add some chilli flakes and stir through, season with salt and pepper.
7) Get your potatoes out of the oven and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.

I just put the dishes on the table and everyone helped themselves. Some red wine wouldn’t go wrong here too!

Enjoy!

Veronica x

 

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