Friday 23 September 2011

LOVE foods, SOLE juices - Low Carbon Cookbook

Hello from The Nectar Cafe! This is my first blog on This Low Carbon Life, though I have been blogging for a couple of years now on my own blog, livingfoodlovinglife. Here I have been telling my tales of Local, Organic, Vegetarian and Ethical foods I like to make (LOVE foods) and how I have been sharing them with others through my workshops, retreats and now cafe. Having being loosely involved in Transition Norwich for a a while now, I was interested in the Low Carbon Cookbook group and getting involved in the meetings to discuss some of my favourite topics.. seasonal abundant goodies, and what goes with that; eating them!

The August 'Kitchen conversations' meeting and feast was held at my new little cafe on the corner of Onley street, just off the Unthank Road on the outskirts of Norwich. Here we are sourcing the most local, organically grown produce as possible, by collecting a large share from the Norwich FarmShare, travelling no more than six miles from field to shop, The rest comes from local allotments, Hughes Organics or my own garden! At the moment, I am getting three different types of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, fennel and kale from Farmshare to use in the salads and juices. I am growing lots of nasturtiums, other edible flowers such as calendula and buckwheat in my own garden, plus piles of bright red Spartan apples and delicious raspberries!

From the local allotments I am topping up with pears, beetroot, spinach and radishes, some of which is fairly traded in tea and cake! Low carbon cooking is not only about choosing organic, local and seasonal ingredients, but also the way we produce our foods and transport them, so arriving by bicycle in exchange for healthy treats seems to follow the ethics well. At the cafe, we also have the ultimate low carbon smoothie maker; the bicycle powered blender! You can literally pedal your own smoothie outside. Simply choose your fruit, pop it in the jug, jump on and pedal away until your smoothie is blended! It actually isn't as hard as it sounds, and is a sight to behold, riding an old fashioned bicycle with a blender attached on the corner of the street. It has had lots of outing recently too, visiting the Harlequin Fair, Postwick fete and a local school. Where will it travel to next?!

Another Low carbon cookbook favourite which makes a daily feature on The Nectar menu is cabbage sauerkraut, made from pounding enzyme-rich cabbage with fennel seeds until it's juices release enough to let it ferment in its own juices, and make a tangy, naturally preserved vegetable. Delicious in salads and sarnies. Our bread is baked two minutes up the road using organic flour, and we make our own gluten free crackers out of sprouted flax and buckwheat.

Every day we have a SOLE juice; the Seasonal, Organic, Local Ethical juice of the day. Last week it was fennel and apple. So yummy and aniseedy! Tomorrow it will be cucumber, pear and kale, using farmshare and allotment delights. Kale is the king of leafy greens, super high in iron. Tonight my dehydrator is full of kale-chips as I have been demonstrating in my 'Autumn Harvest' workshop at the cafe, and will be serving them up this weekend at the cafe alongside our regular salads, sandwiches, snacks and cakes. Do pop in sometime for some lovely organic lunch, check out the extensive herbal tea menu or pick up some locally made seasonal produce.

Oh and keep your eyes out for all the amazing foods growing this month! I am being lucky enough to be given lots of Puffball mushrooms this week, and have been out foraging for rosehips, wild raspberries and blackberries. The squashes at the moment are the highlight of the growing season! My first soup made with Red Kuri was just what I needed to warm the colder evenings. Today is the Autumn Equinox so we shall be moving into shorter days and longer nights as of this weekend. Let's all eat lots of warm squash soups, crumbles and embrace the darker evenings with the abundant sweet produce right now. Enjoy the Autumn harvests!

The Nectar Cafe is at 16 Onley Street. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10-5

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