When shopping – particularly if I’m hungry, savouring the idea of preparing delicious dishes, I often buy too much fresh produce. Then I find myself stuck with an excess of wonderful ingredients and a lack of desire to cook. I have many reasons to cook or create a recipe; hunger, obviously, is the principle one, or simply “emptiness”, as my father would claim; the second is the glorious sight and smell of fresh vegetables, fruit and cheese; other reasons include the temptation of a good recipe (or food photograph), or the memory of a dish or a flavour, and the desire to recreate it: but the one that most frequently motivates me to action is the determination to use up food stuff before it goes off, (oh, the the horror of wasting food which costs so much labour to produce!).
This January has been particularly challenging in our house as I’ve been off food since Christmas due to a long-lasting dose of the flu. So all the wonderful food I had bought in the week before Christmas was sitting ignored. The sight of bananas turning browner in a bowl finally drove me to rouse myself and make banana muffins – I just could not throw them out. As an added bonus I was able to use stale natural yogurt – (sour smelling but no mould).
This is an easy recipe and these muffins are a great snack, delicious for breakfast or for putting in lunch boxes and have the added bonus of being quite light on sugar. They also keep well for 3 or 4 days and, if anything, taste better a day or two after baking.
A chance meeting the fantastic Shirley of Petals & Paper led to an amazing zero waste project for our coffee cups and our BPA till receipts.
The talented Shirley turns them into wonderful writing gift sets.
You can find her at various markets and our own Friday Food & Craft fair.
Please send me your upcycling or zero waste ideas.
the power of food...
There comes a point where you must take action. I am thinking about key points in life where a decision is made that results in a life-or-death situation. You may recognise those moments. Not to be too dramatic about it but maybe you have experienced those acute near miss events that may have shaped your life dramatically one way or another. Such adventures can form an exciting narrative for the future to tell the grandchildren etc.
Then there are the chronic long-term decisions that are made with which we may not feel the impact for a long time but when we do they are significant. Our policy makers are charged with the trust from us to make the best decisions for our long-term interest. We trust they take all the best evidence from all sides and make a measured decision that is in the best interest of the majority. Or so the narrative is sold to us. Trust us, they remind us relentlessly… For the most part we do.
But trust is truth and transparency. Selective truth and obscure transparency are as good as it gets with policy makers for the most part. We are reminded time and time again that agendas are often profit driven in the end. We the people are left with the guilt consequence that somehow the problems are all our fault. Fear and guilt are useful tools to encourage us to behave in certain ways. I will leave one word here to illustrate this point, but I am sure you have others…butter.
An interesting thing is happening though. I am the meerkat watching the horizon and have noticed the narrative changing. Have we reached a tipping point where we have finally begun to accept that the blatant ignorance of the power of food as a healer is no longer a runner? For ever the sceptic I reserve the right to be convinced this is a true direction forward. The date on the report looking at what was learned from Covid 19 in terms of the US food systems raises a question for me. There has always been too much profit to be had in the Big Food & Pharma models. But hey, maybe there is a realisation that no matter how high tech we go we still need people to work. People who are well physically and mentally. Caring for those who are not has become unsustainable. Trolley crisis’s and protests fill our newsfeeds. We have reached breaking point. Someone, somewhere has decided maybe we need to look at food as our medicine again. This topic is appearing in policy reports. Not so long ago we were snake oil peddlars… (thankfully we have changed the policy of witch burning in recent centuries for using food as medicine).
As always, I find it interesting and curious. I will be watching this space. Meanwhile let’s keep sharing our own knowledge and wisdom on the power of food to heal us and ensure we have the continuity of supply to sustain us.
Biasol Protein Pancake Mix
This product caught my eye as a handy healthy pancake mix, and an upcycled food. It was delicious and my (picky) teenager also loved it, a total added bonus. Looking forward to trying the rest of the products from Biasol! Review by Lorraine
Let us know which of our products are your favourites and why
Email Geraldine firstname.lastname@example.org
Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children. Suzanne Gross & Sally Fallon Morell
Over the years I have collected cookbooks like many folks that have grown up cooking. There are trends that ebb and flow as cookbooks accompanied the relevant TV programme chefs musings.
Darina and Nigella have taken up space in my life for quite a time it has to be said. The battle between the need to keep traditional techniques and values with the modern fandangled trends continues in this genre and this is where we sit with this month’s recommendation. Tradition and real food are the priority now.
Children’s cookbooks though are a pet peeve of mine. Queue the rant!!
Teaching children to cook is a no brainer. It’s a necessary skill we can mostly agree on. But OMG the templates to support this venture are poisoned with sugar!! The very time our children are growing and developing we are drowning them in the toxicity of ultra-processed sweet “treats” and immersing them in a syrup of addiction that our society pays the eternal price for… diabetes, mental health problems etc etc.
It was such a welcome breadth of fresh air when I first came across the Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children. Visually pleasing and easy to understand with pictorial prompts in the ingredients there is a wealth of nourishing recipes that embrace the philosophy of Weston A Price. Foods such as kefir, raw milk, fermented foods, soaked grains make an appearance and introduce children to the world of nourishing foods. What a game changer! I have no doubt it will be a long while before we see a celebrity chef cooking along with this cookbook on TV, but this makes it all the more special. Perhaps we can start our own trend for parents and support them to educate children and normalise real food again. Any budding celebrity chefs out there willing to break ground on this new venture? Give us a call at The Urban Co-op. You never know where this could lead..!
Liver & Onions...
Gary Larson captures life so well and this one is a favourite. Most recently captioned as “If 2020 was a food truck” It’s a love it or hate it thing with liver. But as a real food we have seen a rising appreciation for this superfood at The Urban Co-op. Customers wait patiently for the next batch to arrive from the farms and it sells out quickly. Stories abound on the healing impact this food has. We reminisce on stories of liver coated in flour and fried in butter and onions and cooked by grandparents, urging us to consume for its goodness. That was then.
Our distance from this food into modern eating habits has meant it has been devalued on all stages of the food chain. So much so it is harder to get. Not that it is unavailable but not worth bringing to our table anymore. The cost of processing does not justify the effort. For now, this is a very cheap superfood. It is true I obsess about it, probably more than rationally healthy. But like raw milk it represents something bigger about our food system. A sustaining food in plain sight that we wilfully ignore and undervalue until it is not available to us.
For what it’s worth, I baulked at the idea of eating offal for a long time but have learned to respect its value. Fried liver and onions cooked in butter and served with some tamari and balsamic vinegar is a winner recipe for me. It is like a battery recharge to have this meal. Jacinda in NZ tells us she has no more left in the tank. She wasn’t eating NZ lambs’ liver I’d say.
Mushroom & Chestnut Bourguignon
The old traditional dish was made with beef, but the new traditional one is now made with mushrooms and chestnuts.
Bourguignon is a saucy dish of seasonal root vegetables made with wine as the base for the broth originally from the Burgundy region. The wonderful deep flavour comes from the wine & the porcini ‘jus’… and from the slow cooking in the oven. All the vegetable flavours come together with the herbs.
Poured over a nice bed of mashed potato this dish is pure winter comfort food!
Bon appétit !
@HungrySoulVegan - Changing the Culture
sugar & our immune system
This time of year, it is no surprise yet again to hear the relentless drum on the media of the overburdened health service as they cope with the waves of sick populous coming through. A few weeks earlier and we were being entertained with the anticipation of Christmas and regaled with the advertisements oozing with sugary delights to tempt us. Can I be the Grinch here and call out the obvious? Sugar prevents us from staying well. Managing the onslaught of sugary snacks is quite an achievement for our bodies at the best of times throughout the year and Christmas is somehow the last chance saloon to send us over the edge. Our immune system does not work as effectively to defend us from infection when dealing with the sweet invasion. Is there a point where being ill is not worth the temptation? It’s the eternal struggle. Is New Year going to be an opportunity to change and improve things? Maybe we can be motivated to keep ourselves well enough to prevent us being victims to the stressful health system as it currently is…
At The Urban Co-op we meet many people who are on their journey towards wellness and are literally sick of being sick. Encouraging people to make the change from products that actively deteriorate health to foods that nourish is a process of discovery. Learning that we are highly influenced by our own microbiome on what we consume and how we can change it for the better. There is much to learn but somehow it seems to take the personal or family health crisis to motivate change. Amazingly real food can heal and feed our microbiome and this microworld returns the favour by protecting our health. That’s a good deal in our books!
Recipes from Katie Verling & Jacques