Over a week left to make a small change to your September
How do you like them apples?
It’s apple season and British apples are back on the market.
For those who didn’t realise that apples ever went out out of season, you were most likely munching away these last few months, on apples flown or shipped in from warmer climates.
Now is the time to show your support to our British farmers and look out for homegrown apples. If you’re in London and Sussex then keep your eyes peeled for these - the Collina - biodynamically grown by our friends at Brambletye Fruit Farm in East Sussex. We make sure that every other week we get to their stall at Brixton farmers market or to our hometown of Kingston where they sell their apples as well as their other crops (look out now for colourful swiss chard).
Collina apples are early growers but their season is short - once they are ready these apples fall straight off the tree within a day of each other and the apple pickers have to be at the ready to catch them before they get damaged.
Their sweet flavour is incredibly complex, they are unbelievably delicious - nature’s sweet treats.
And if you find a Brambletye stall then make sure you grab yourself a box of their Orchard Eggs - and remind your tastebuds what they’ve been missing.
Try out our Dutch apple pancake - making good use of these Autumn goodies!
HEMSLEY+HEMSLEY Squash, red lentil and coconut curry for
This is a simple, no fuss, one pot, colourful supper that comes in at just under £1 a portion with a base of organic ingredients. We’ve been making versions of this dish for the last 4 years - friends loved it because it was tasty, healthy and so easy to knock together - so much so that it became the inspiration for our cooking classes and later - our company.
We thought that this was just the dish to fit The Soil Association’s brief for their September ‘Small Changes’ campaign.
The Soil Association asked us to create a family meal for 4 people for just £6. Since we often double this recipe and freeze it for a mid-week supper we thought we’d show you how cost effective this dish can be because it works so well in bulk. The Soil Association also asked for at least one ingredient to be organic as - we’ve managed 6 of the 12 ingredients!
Super easy, no technique needed - freezes and reheats beautifully with a dash more water - a great one to make once a week that everyone always loves (your kids will love this too, just leave out the spice).
The star of this show is one of our favourite products - a bar of organic creamed coconut by Biona from £1.79. We love this bar of nourishing coconut cream and oil - it is richer/ more concentrated than coconut milk so you use much less - you can chop off what you need and save the rest in your fridge for ages (unlike tinned coconut milk). Buy these Biona bars online in bulk for the best price and keep in your cupboard to add to curries, soups, porridges and smoothies. You can also do other clever things such as using just the coconut oil to fry with i.e. garlic and onions but in the case this of this stew, with it’s bold flavours, we don’t need to - which is why we love it all the more - one pot, throw it in dish!
Our squash & lentil coconut stew is inspired by an Indian dahl and a Thai curry. Red split lentils provide the base for this dish, they are cheap, cook to a creamy consistency in 20 minutes and don’t require any soaking. The stew boasts other hard-working ingredients - we’ve got garlic, onions and spinach - but any seasonal greens will do. The coconut and ginger have incredible immune-boosting properties and are antibacterial and antiviral - perfect for the change in weather ahead. The fat content of organic virgin coconut oil is not only a fantastic source of energy, it is also good for the heart - so please no reduced-fat versions of coconut milk in your cooking.
As usual we like to sneak nourishing home-made stock into all our cooking - dirt cheap, find a local organic butcher and buy some chicken carcasses or take home some beef bones for free and slow cook them for hours - don’t forget that you can use your leftover roast chicken carcasses in the same way. For this recipe, bone broth is more for the nutritional value than the taste. The stew is so flavourful you can afford to skip the home-made stock if you haven’t taken the time to make your own - please don’t be tempted to use stock cubes!
The coconut and butternut make this dish naturally sweet so children love it - just leave out the chilli in the cooking - you can always sprinkle a little cayenne on your own dish later - just go easy! Fresh coriander adds wonderful flavour as well as garnishing the dish nicely - making this one pot supper smart enough to serve to guests.
And did we mention that this is delicious cold? Packed lunches sorted!
- 2 medium organic butternut squash
- Organic red split lentils
- 1 bar Biona organic creamed coconut
- 6 medium organic onions
- Organic baby spinach or use cabbage/seasonal greens, sliced
- 7 cloves organic garlic, chopped
- 150g fresh coriander, washed well
- 2 small limes or 1 and a half large lemons, juiced
- 6 inches fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Optional ½ tsp cayenne or chilli flakes
- Peel the squash and dice into 1 inch chunks.
- Place the garlic, onion, ginger and squash into the pan with the creamed coconut and pour over 2.2 litres of water or homemade stock.
- Put the lid on and bring to a medium simmer.
- 10 minutes later, add the red lentils, chilli or black pepper if using, stir and let simmer on medium for a further 15-20 minutes until the lentils are soft and the squash is tender. You might wish to add the extra 200ml of water during cooking - it depends if you like your stew thicker or thinner.
- In the last few minutes, add the sliced cabbage/greens and stir through. If using spinach, just add when you turn off the heat so it wilts.
- Turn off the heat, add the sea salt and pepper, the juice of the lime or lemon and check for seasoning and consistency - it should be like a thick stew - add more water if needs be.
- Stir through the roughly chopped coriander and ladle into shallow bowls to serve.
HEMSLEY + HEMSLEY for
Bliss Balls are all the rage on the health scene and it’s no surprise - so easy to make, easy to transport and they keep really well. If you have a blender you can forget about shelling out on the dried fruit and nut bars and protein balls at your local health shops and make your own customised sweeties
We’ve been making Bliss Balls and the like for years now. They are the ultimate treat to experiment with as you can’t really go wrong. Too wet? Add more of the dry ingredients. Too dry and crumbly? Throw in more of the sticky stuff. Want them fudgy - pop them in the fridge. Too tempting? Lock them in the freezer!
We wanted to make a quick recipe for all you fashionistas psyching yourself up for fashion week. These will see you through those crazy times when you need a pick-me-up that won’t make you crash out an hour later. Just whizz up some superfoods like walnuts, maca, coconut oil and raw honey and roll into little butterscotch Bliss Balls. Freeze up a batch and then pop a couple into a non-toxic Kids Konserve stainless steel container and keep cool in your handbag.
The Organic Food Awards are a celebration of great organic food that is produced sustainably and to the highest welfare and environmental standards, food that has top quality provenance and an interesting story to tell. Geetie Singh, judge and owner of the Duke of Cambridge organic pub, London
The Soil Association is the UK’s organic certification body and it’s leading organic food and farming charity. They believe, as we do, that good food is a right not a privilege.
We spent a wonderful sunny afternoon at the Duke of Cambridge organic pub in Islington as guest judges for the Soil Association 2013 awards.
Jasmine was part of the egg judging team along with Graham Harvey and Melissa was with the cheese panel.
We were in the company of some of the big ‘cheeses’ of the food world - Graham (former agricultural editor of The Archers), Anna (author of Eat Slow Britain, Cheryl (Queen of the Farmers Markets) and Fabio (of the Real Food festival)
Having tested 6 egg entries and 18 different types of cheese, we cooled down with some peppermint tea sitting in the sunshine outside of the Duke of Cambridge.
So simple and delicious:
1 large ripe pineapple
1 tablespoons raw honey – plus more for drizzling
1-2 tablespoons lime
1 teaspoon finely chopped chilli
5-6 mint leaves finely sliced into ribbons
Slice the top and bottom off the pineapple, sit it upright on a board and slice away the skin and all the little brown “eyes.”
Using an apple corer, remove the core or cut the pineapple in half lengthways and remove the core using a serrated knife.
Slice the pineapple crosswise using a sharp knife to make them as thin as possible.
Arrange the pineapple slices on a serving plate.
Shake the honey, lime, chilli and mint ribbons in a jam jar and spoon over the pineapple carpaccio.
Drizzle over a little honey to serve
HEMSLEY + HEMSLEY for
As summer draws to an end one thing we can at least look forward to is the crop of figs - one of the most alkalising of foods. Ancient in their heritage the figs are celebrated throughout cultures and history, even Buddha is reported to have achieved enlightenment under the sacred fig tree….a wise man indeed.
We love this sweet and alkalising fruit and often use them as natural sweeteners in our cooking. We came across this simple salad earlier in the year whilst staying at the Chewton Glen Hotel and enjoying the array of salads available at their spa Alkaline bar. With figs in season it seemed the perfect time to share this recipe. Served either as a main or side dish this salad is always a crowd pleaser.
Another good thing about this dish is that you can make it out of season too with the wonderful dried figs on offer - eat them chewy, or plump them up with a little boiling water. A word on dried fruit though - they are a concentrated source of sugar so don’t snack on them willy nilly, it’s all too easy to eat too many and they don’t have the same hydrating benefits as fresh fruit. Choose organic to avoid the often sulphur dioxide that is often added to dried fruits.
Figs were an expensive import but times are changing and British farmers are turning their hands to growing them, the recent mini heatwaves have really helped the crop along. Ripe figs should look like they are about to burst, plump and heavy - as they won’t ripen after picking. They should be soft and dark in colour and smell fragrant and sweet. Take care in transporting them home and eat them quickly as they won’t keep for long. So keep an eye out in your local stores and farmers markets for some home grown goodness.
They should look like they are about to burst, plump and heavy - as they won’t ripen after picking. They should be soft and dark in colour and smell fragrant and sweet. Take care in transporting them home and eat them quickly as they won’t keep for long.
Brambletye Fruit Farm & Orchard Eggs
On the final leg of our tour we headed out to the High Weald of Sussex, where an area of natural beauty hides Brambletye Lane, home to one of the UK’s few biodynamic farms. We’ll come on to explain biodynamic in more detail, but in simple terms – it’s organic … and then some!
The farm supplies fruit and eggs to farmers markets, supermarkets and local independents. We visited Brambletye, as the team got ready for the first harvest of apples this year – the lovely sweet, juicy Collina.
The entire team is made up of just two young families, who have built their own self-sufficient homes on the farm, and several friends and Biodynamic apprentices. The farm is managed daily by a core team of under 10 people, and then when harvest time comes around they pull in as many people as they can to pick the fruit before it drops.
Stein and Ellie took us on a tour of the orchards with their 6-month old baby Tristan. First stop is the chicken coop, home of Orchard Eggs, and just in time to release the birds so they can spend the day roaming the orchards freely.
There are a total of 3,000 chickens at Brambletye, and each has a key role to play in biodynamic farming. They feed off the fallen fruit and bugs, which not only protects the trees, but when nature calls, it provides the best fertilizer a tree could want. This holistic cycle is the key to biodynamic farming. Its principals are based on a closed system – giving back to the earth what you take out. Very little waste is created as it’s mainly farmed back into the land, and since no pesticides or herbicides are used, biodynamic farming will only use a minuscule amount of outsourced materials.
Unlike commercial farming, biodynamic farms take far longer to yield fruit good enough to sell in any kind of volume. For example, at Brambletye, they’ve been waiting 5 years for their pear trees to harvest a good yield to sell on. In commercial farming – it would typically take 2 – 3 years to get your first good yield. So you’ve got to love a bit of gambling too! Nature rules.
Despite the wait and sacrifices you have to make, fruit grown in this way tastes so much better. At Brambletye they grow 15 varieties of apples, pears, blackberries, and redcurrants. We tasted the blackberries and early Collina apples and they’re definitely worth waiting for.
In taste tests, seasonal fruit will always win. Fruit grown on biodynamic farms will also play well on your conscience – they’re 100% free from chemical nasties, and you’re giving back to the earth, helping to secure the future growth of the fruit we love.
The other great thing about biodynamic farming is the presence of animals (a key difference to organic farming). Biodynamic farming is a regenerative farming system focused on soil health and the integration of plants and animals. At Brambletye it’s all about the chickens - taking the concept of free range to a whole new level. By day, chickens do as they please, running around the farm and orchards – some of them even followed the pickers to join them for a cup of fresh mint tea with raw honey oozing straight from a honeycomb. By night, the chickens get some much needed sleep in their coop laying lots of eggs in the morning.
The biodynamic cycle paves the way for happier, healthier chickens, which ultimately results in tastier eggs. The eggs are sold under the name Orchard Eggs and can be bought from local farm shops and markets in and around Sussex, such as Infinity Food Shops in Brighton, and Tablehurst Farm Shop in Forest Row. If you’re not local to Sussex, you can also get hold of delicious Orchard Eggs through a number of home delivery box schemes. Visit their website to find your nearest shop.
Dutch Apple Pancake
Brambletye presented us with the perfect combination of delicious ingredients to combine - eggs and apples. This is our kind of pancake - the low effort, no flip, no fuss kind. Great for a sweet breakfast or add some fresh cream to turn it into a homely dessert. The flavours in this dish really conjures up a farmhouse feel, even better when baked in a real farm house wood fired oven like we did at Brambletye.
Freshly picked red currants and blackberries straight from the orchards completed the pancake along with a drizzle of raw honey from their hives.
Ingredients (use organic ingredients where possible)
4 medium British grown apples
50g + 15g butter
5 medium eggs
3 tbs coconut flour (opt 2 tbs coconut flour + 1 tbs of arrowroot)
4 tbs maple syrup
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tbs vanilla extract
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp + 1tsp cinnamon
¼ cup water
Opt: coconut palm sugar to finish or raw honey
• Preheat your oven to 200C
• Heat 15g of butter in an ovenproof 9inh frying pan/skillet
• Cut the apples length ways, first into quarters and then into thirds, removing the core if you like.
• Fry the apples with 15g of butter and 1tsp of cinnamon on a medium heat for 10-15 min, stirring occasionally and allowing the edges to brown.
• Gently melt the 50g of butter in a saucepan and put to one side to cool.
• Whisk the eggs in a bowl.
• Add the rest of the ingredients one at a time including the melted butter, while continuing to whisk.
• Remove the apples from the pan and pour in the pancake mixture, then arrange the apples on top - sprinkling with a little coconut palm sugar. Or just pour the pancake mixture straight onto the apples.
• Bake in the oven for 20 min or until golden brown on top.
• Finish with a drizzle of raw honey and some yoghurt or cream
This is our take on a New York style cheesecake and it’s packed full of goodness. We’ve created a wonderful biscuit base from toasted pecans, coconut and cacao nibs bound together and sweetened with dates - you can enjoy it as it is if there are no ripe avocadoes to be found!
The creamy top is, unlike most raw and vegan cheesecakes, completely free from nuts - usually cashew. The creamy texture comes instead from the blend of honey, coconut oil and ripe avocados and of course the avocados lend the beautiful green colour that we associate with a key lime pie.
This biscuit base is… WOW! For a raw cheesecake you can always leave out the toasting process for the base and for anyone with a nut allergy just up the cacao nibs and coconut (which is actually a seed).
We always soak and dry nuts and seeds before we use them. This removes bitter tannins and aids digestion. Dissolve ½ tsp salt per cup of nuts or seeds in enough water to cover them by an inch. Leave for at least seven hours. Drain and rinse, then spread on a large tray and put in an oven at 50°C. Leave for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally, until crisp.
For a raw cake leave out the toasting process when making the base, and if you have a nut allergy swap the pecans for more cacao nibs and coconut.
For the base:
125g (4½oz) pecans, soaked and dried as above
45g (1½oz) desiccated coconut
70g (2½oz) cacao nibs
185g (6½oz) pitted dates (approx 32)
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted and at room temperature
For the filling:
560g (1lb 2½oz) avocado flesh (from approx 5 medium-large avocados)
200ml (7fl oz) lime juice (roughly 8 to 10 limes)
175ml (6fl oz) coconut oil, melted and at room temperature
1 tsp lime zest
190g (6¾oz) honey
- Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2.
- Place the pecans and desiccated coconut on a lined baking-tray lined. Place in the oven for seven to eight minutes, until toasted.
- Transfer the pecans to a food processor and add the rest of the base ingredients. Blend until the mixture is crumbly (don’t let it go completely smooth) and holds together when pinched.
- Line the base and sides of an 18cm (7in) round cake tin with baking-paper and tip in the base mixture. Press this down firmly and evenly with the back of a spoon, ensuring it is neat and flat where it meets the tin. Transfer the tin to the fridge while you prepare the filling.
- Place all of the ingredients for the filling into the food processor and blend until the mixture is completely smooth and silky. Check for taste – add more lime juice, zest or honey according to preference, but it’s best to keep this deliciously tangy.
- Remove the cake tin from the fridge and pour the filling over the base. Cover the tin, using a plate or clingfilm, and return it to the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
- To serve, run a knife between the tin and the cake and carefully push the base up from the bottom. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.
Today’s Stella magazine in the Sunday Telegraph.
Three delicious sweet recipes created for the fashion special:
By the way there is NO gluten in nuts and seeds, unless of course they have been processed with an ingredient containing gluten. Gluten is not the reason that we soak nuts and seeds - please ignore this misprint!
We continued our roadtrip to the remote picturesque village of Helford in Cornwall. It may only have a handful of houses, but it’s home to a vibrant fishing industry supplying an array of fish to top restaurants across the country.
Chris Bean has been a fisherman in Helford for 42 years. On his boat, the Lady Hamilton, which he built a year after he started fishing professionally in 1971, he and his team use traditional, sustainable and environmentally friendly methods to catch a huge variety of fish to supply well-known sushi eateries and exclusive restaurants such as Umu, Moshi Moshi and the UK’s first certified organic restaurant, the Duke of Cambridge.
We caught up with Chris as he landed his catch in Helford. On this particular day, Chris brought ashore familiar fish such as haddock, mackerel, whiting, red mullet and crabs plus the less familiar lesser spotted dogfish (rock salmon substitute), wrasse and gurnards.
Chris tells us how these fish will be served on plates in top restaurants in London the following day. Given that Helford is just shy of a 7 hour drive from London, we find out just how they can deliver fresh fish so quickly.
Chris’s catch changes every day, so when Lady Hamilton is back on dry land, Chris contacts his clients to confirm the fish of the day. The fish is put on ice to stay as fresh as possible and delivered across the UK. It’s then featured on menus up and down the country in as little as 24 hours. Top restaurants will adapt their menus regularly to ensure they’re only offering fish in good supply, so make sure the restaurants you eat at share the same philosophy. If you’re unsure, ask. A huge proportion of Chris’s fish is supplied to sushi restaurants under the business name, Kernowsashimi, which means freshness and the manner in which the fish is caught and delivered, is of upmost importance. Helford has welcomed some of Japan’s most influential chefs and restaurateurs, who now buy from Cornwall instead of shipping from the markets in Japan – so you know the fish is going to taste out of this world.
Sashimi with lime, wasabi and ginger
With fish this fresh and natural it makes sense to eat it raw like sashimi or at least ‘cooked’ in citrus juice the Peruvian way. We settled on an Asian-style ceviche as it’s just so easy to get a lovely marinade with any ratio of typical Asian ingredients.
If you eat it straight away it might be considered sashimi with an Asian dressing - or you can leave it for a few hours in the fridge or overnight and it will be a ceviche - a lovely, fresh-tasting starter for dinner parties that can be made in advance
We got our hands on mackerel but with these flavours any white fish would do too. The whole crew loved this dish, prepared on the tiny harbourside at Helston
Ingredients (use organic ingredients where possible)
500g extremely fresh, quality fish eg seabass, salmon, mackerel etc, filleted
4tbs lime juice, approx 2-3 limes
20g fresh ginger, grated and the pulp squeezed to give 2tsp of ginger juice
1.5 tbs unrefined sesame oil or 1 tbs toasted
2 tsp good quality wasabi paste - more depending on strength
1 tsp tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1 tsp raw honey or pure maple syrup
sea salt to taste
To garnish: 1 tbs fresh coriander leaves finely sliced, 2 tbs black sesame seeds and a little red chilli to your taste
- Ask your fishmonger to fillet your fish, then slice thinly carpaccio style or dice
- Whisk the honey, lime, ginger, tamari and wasabi paste together
- Add the sesame oil a little at a time as you whisk
- For diced fish, cover with the dressing and marinade for at least 20 mins up to a few hours in the fridge.
- For sliced fish, arrange the fish on platter and spoon over the dressing.
- Top with black sesame seeds, fresh coriander leaves and finely sliced chilies to taste.