Learning More About Sustainable Food

Here in the UK we all love to eat, in fact over the year we consume tons of food that probably most of us don’t really think to much about.

We all want something that tastes good, is easy to get our hands on and quick to prepare but the back story behind how our favourite foods get to us is a pretty complex one and also something that we all need to give a little more thought and consideration.

Sustainable food is something that starts at the very beginning and over the past few years a lot of work has gone into getting the farmers, fishermen etc to change their way of working to make the detrimental impact on the environment far less.

The ethos behind sustainable food is taking into account the environment, health, social and environmental concerns.

Farmers are moving on from using conventional fertilisers and swapping over to an organic way of farming. This is one way in which this can help the environment, the animals and the workers.

There is still a lot of work to do in this area but with time and knowledge I am hopeful we will continue to see changes.

Back to use now as there are plenty of thing we can do to help in the home by following these guidelines and I have listed below:

Shop Local And Seasonally – Our high streets are sadly becoming a thing of the past with large supermarkets and internet shopping bringing us such competitive prices the pull is pretty great but taking things back to basics is what we need to do.

I also find that shopping locally and getting more hands on with your approach food is great for the children and gives them a far greater knowledge of where food comes from.

We managed to get some delicious apples from our local green grocer the other day and created some delicious deconstructed toffee apples that we all loved!

Shopping locally from the butchers and green grocers allows us to support small business and buy local and seasonal products that have a huge impact on the way we eat.

Buy Organic – Buying organic can put people off as the price tag is generally a lot heftier then ordinary produce. The benefits of the quality of the food and the impact on the environment are certainly worth those extra pennies though.

Promote Heath And Wellbeing – We are fast becoming a glutinous nation and steps need to be put into place now to educate ourselves and our children on healthy eating, balance and food waste.

Choose Fair Trade – Wherever possible try to keep an eye out for the fair trade symbol on packages. They go to great efforts to insure their producers get a good deal and put so much back into social and economic opportunities for people.

Cutting Back On Animal Origin Foods – My sister turned vegan a fair while ago now and a lot of her decisions were based on the impact on the environment eating meat and it’s byproducts have.

I don’t think this could ever be a move for me but I am certainly putting in place wats to cut down on meat a few timed a week and switch over to milk alternatives such as soya and oat milk.

We are also big fish fans in our house but we are opting to cut back on spies such as cod that are facing danger of being wiped out due to over fishing.

I hope this has given you all a little food for though…excuse the pun! I would love to know if sustainable food is something you already do something about and if you have anymore tips I could try out.

*collaborated post

Hot Chocolate Stirrers

With only a few days left until christmas I sure that most of you are all prepared and have gifts all bought and wrapped ready to go…however if you are anything like me then there are always those last few presents that you completely forget about!

My recipe for hot chocolate stirrers will make a lovely gift and is something super easy to make.

I use wooden spoons as the handle for mine but you can easily use lolly sticks or even something like cardboard straws.

The stirrers can be wrapped individually or like we did for the teachers gifts you can add a few homemade biscuits together with the stirrers and package them up in a nice Christmas mug.

If this sounds good to you then the recipe is below for you to try:

Makes 24 sticks

  • 800g mixture of dark and milk chocolate
  • 8 tbsp cocoa powder
  • hundreds and thousands, marshmallows or fudge pieces to decorate
  1. Break up the chocolate into a bowl and heat over a Bain Marie until completely melted.
  2. Slowly add the cocoa and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour the mixture into a silicone mould(we used a round ice cube tray) and into each section place the spoon/stick into the centre.
  4. Decorate with your toppings of choice and then place in the fridge to harden for about an hour.
  5. When they are ready pop them out and gift wrap however you fancy!

Quorn, Broccoli And Leek Cheesy Bake

With a large family I love nothing more than a big dish that can be quickly popped into the oven and ready in a short time for us all to enjoy.

This dish was originally made with chicken, but I have easily replaced with Quorn pieces or steak strips and it tastes just as good, if not better!

Quorn, Broccoli And Leek Cheesy Bake

Serves Four


  • Pack Quorn steak strips
  • 2 medium sliced leeks
  • Head of broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tbsps plain flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 60g butter
  • 125g cheddar cheese
  • 20g Parmesan cheese
  • 4 slices white bread
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  1. Preheat the oven to 200c/Gas Mark 6.  Place the broccoli florets into a pan of boiling water whilst lightly frying the sliced leeks in a little butter.
  2. Once the leeks are golden brown and the broccoli is slightly softened put to one side and prepare the cheese sauce.
  3. For the sauce melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Once melted whisk in the flour to make a roux.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk.
  5. Place back on the heat to cook out the flour until it begins to bubble.
  6. Remove from the heat again and stir in the cheese and mustard.
  7.  Once the cheese has melted in add the Quorn slices, leeks and broccoli and mix well.
  8. Transfer to a deep dish and put to one side whist blitzing the slices of bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs.
  9. Mix the Parmesan cheese into the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top of your mixture.
  10. Place into the oven and cook for 20 mins and serve with a big salad of your choice.

Energy Saving Cooking With Ian Cumming And Smart Energy GB

As you can imagine a family of seven run up pretty high energy bills.  With lights being left on, gaming devices flashing away and the washing machine on constantly our house is using up energy at a rapid rate for a large part of the day.

The problem is until the shock of the bill comes in, as a family we do very little to conserve this energy and this in turn has a detrimental effect on the environment as well as our pockets!

When I was asked along by Smart Energy GB to take a look at their new smart meter and try some recipes that had been deviced by Ian Cumming from ‘Great British Bake Off’ to save energy I was extremely excited to see how it would all work.

All across the country there is a huge roll out of these smart meters that allows all the information on your gas and electricity usage go directly to your provider making your bill more accurate and cutting out the need to have your meter read from home.  In addition to this you have an in-home display that allows you to see in pounds and pence exactly how your energy is being used.

For me seeing the money racking up in front of my eyes would make me way more aware of everything I was spending day to day and make me find ways to cut the costs.

In our house the cooking is solely down to me and I have to admit although I am very thrifty when it comes to the food shopping the amount of money it costs to cook the meals has never really entered my head.

I was lucky enough to be able to sample some wonderful dishes that had been created in an eco friendly way by the lovely Ian Cumming.

Ian served up a succulent chicken and lemon tagine that was cooked in a slow cooker which uses less energy than a light bulb, a scrumptious Scottish salmon macaroni cheese that was cooked under the grill rather than in the oven and using pasta that was cooked simply by covering once the water was at boiling point and left to soften from the heat that has been retained, a to die for elderflower, honey and blueberry cheesecake that used no enery at all and some super tasty feta and spinach buns that I gave a go at making myself.


All of these recipes were super easy to make and could save you a lot of money in the long term.

If you would like to check them out then take a look at this video to find out more.

I came away from the afternoon with a full belly and full mind of all these ideas that I couldn’t wait to put into practice.

One Pan Brunch

If we are having a bit of a lazy day over the weekend we always treat ourselves to a late breakfast that is something a little different from the usual cereal we have during the week.
I’m a continental breakfast lover and will always opt for crossaints and coffee but the rest of the family all love a cook breakfast which I hate cooking!

I seem to create a huge mess and it takes me forever to prepare.

Feeling a little experimental and with a lack of food in the house I decided the other weekend to create a one pan meal that would have some tradition English breakfast elements plus something a little spicy.

One Pan Brunch

  • 150g chorizo sliced in 2cm rings
  • 2 herby sausages
  • 1 peeled and diced potato
  • 4 eggs
  • Three sliced tomatoes
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  1.  Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan.  A cast iron one is great for presentation.
  2. Add the onion to the pan a fry for a few minutes until softened.
  3. Add to this the potato and chorizo and fry over a medium heat for 5 mins.
  4. Add to this the tomato and herbs and cook over a low heat for for about 10 mins until the potatoes are softened.
  5. Lastly create four small wells in the ingredients and crack one egg into each well.
  6. Cook for a further 5 mins and serve with a big chunk of crusty bread.

Tear And Share Picnic Bread

Over the summer we spend the majority of time eating out of a picnic hamper.  I love eating outside on the go but it can become a little boring if you don’t try out different things to add.

We had our first camping trip over the Bank Holiday and I wanted something tasty that would feed us all, take up limited space and not create lots of rubbish to throw away.

I have seen lots of breads that are filled with yummy ingredients and wanted to give it a try with all the things we love.

Here is my recipe for my ‘tear and share’ bread that was a hit with us all.

Tear And Share Picnic Bread

  • 1 large loaf of tiger bread
  • 2 balls of sliced mozzarella
  • 120g antipasto selection platter
  • 285g jar of drained and chopped chargrilled peppers
  • 285g jar of drained and chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 50g grated cheddar cheese
  • 400ml mayonnaise
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 1tsp dried thyme
  • 1tsp dried rosemary
  1. Cut 2cm slices into the tiger bread stoping just before the bottom.
  2. Mix together the mayonnaise, garlic and herbs and spread a generous amount into each side of the bread.
  3. Into each section place a mixture of meat, mozzarella cheese, peppers and tomatoes.
  4. Once it is all nicely filled sprinkle the top of the bread with cheddar cheese and place under the grill on a low heat for around 5 mins to melt the cheese and allow all the filling to mingle together.
  5. Once cooled wrap in brown paper and pack up ready for your picnic.

Gooey Chocolate BBQ Cones


We had our first experience of camping at a festival this weekend and I really wanted to try out some tasty treats that were easy to prepare with limited space but we’re still a little bit special.

We had decided that disposable BBQs were going to be our best friend as we could quickly prepare the food and throw everything away when we were done.

The whole family has a sweet tooth so something sticky and chocolaty would be the perfect treat.  Take a look at these yummy cones if this is the kind of thing that takes your fancy too!

Gooey Chocolate BBQ Cones

Makes 10

  • Pack 10 waffle cones
  • 200g milk chocolate
  • Large pack of marshmallows
  • 120g cadburys nibbles
  • Punnet of strawberries
  1. Break chocolate into pieces, cut marshmallows into half and quarter the strawberries.
  2. Take out the cones and equally divide the chocolate, marshmallows, nibbles and strawberries between each of them.
  3. Wrap the cones separately in tin foil and place on the BBQ when it is just warm at the end of your main cooking.
  4. Leave to warm through for around 10mins, remove and serve.  They would be perfect with a big blob of vanilla ice cream.

Slow Cooked Chicken And Lentil Curry


My slow cooker is my best friend and the most used piece of kitchen equipment I own.

It is more versatile than I ever thought it would be and I make all sorts of things from stews, soups and curries to cakes and fudge!

With a large family who take part in lots of activities after school being able to stick something in the slow cooker at the beginning of the day and it being ready as soon as we get in is invaluable.

A favourite with all the family is a healthy chicken and lentil curry the we serve with rice and a simple tomato and cucumber salad.

Chicken And Lentil Curry 

  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 2 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 4 diced chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsps garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsps tomato purée
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 175g red lentils
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the chopped onion and garlic.  Cook for a few minutes until softened.
  2. Add the diced chicken and cook until browned.
  3. Transfer into the slow cooker and mix together with the remaining ingredients.
  4. Cook on high for 6 hours and serve with basmati rice and a simple cucumber, tomato and red onion salad.

Elevenses Recipe Book Launch

  

Stopping for tea and cake at eleven is a quintessentially English tradition that also stands firm in the work place with all of us nipping away from the desk to grab a quick snack.

Some of use like to opt for the healthy option of a smoothie or a piece of fruit whist others would rather indulge in a chocolaty treat or a nice sticky bun.

Whatever your preference there is a need for an energy boost at this time as our sugar levels dip and our next meal is not until lunchtime.  So something to tide us over and keep us going for those next few hours is much needed.

The people at Furniture At Work have compiled a great book with a selection of recipes from a group of Blogger’s, including myself which can offer something from a super healthy treat to something a little bit naughty!

If you fancy taking a look you can download the link here. There really is something to suit everyone and help you get though that workday.

Spicy Mince With Cauliflower Rice

One of my biggest pitfalls when it comes to eating a healthy balanced diet is portion control and my love of all things stodgy!  Bread, pasta and rice in abundance are my love and something I need to try and get under control.

I had seen a few recipes for cauliflower rice in the past but had not tried it until today and I was very presently surprised.  It’s light cous cous like texture was the perfect accompaniment to my spicy mince.

Spicy Mince And Cauliflower Rice

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 500g turkey/beef mince
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 thumb sized piece of garlic
  • 2 red chilli
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 100ml stock
  • 1 onion
  • Half a bag of kale
  1. Chop the onion and garlic and fry with a little olive oil until softened.
  2. Add the mince and cook until browned.
  3. Add the grated ginger, chopped chilli, soy sauce and stock.
  4. Simmer for 15/20 mins and add a little water if it begins to dry out.
  5. For the last 5 mins add the kale and cook until it is wilted.
  6. Whilst the mince is cooking take the heads from the cauliflower and place into a food processor and pulse until it is the consitincy of cous cous.
  7. Transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film and pierce a couple of times.
  8. Cook in high for 7mins.
  9. Serve together with the mince.