Porridge Heaven…and the end of slugs?

Apologies for the gap but I’ve had lots of meetings this week, many of them Transition based. On Monday I gave a talk to Clevedon Rotary about the Transition Movement and what we’ve been doing so far. I hope you all appreciate my sacrifices when you hear I turned down beef in red wine gravy, and treacle sponge and custard, eating only carrots and cabbage and a few pieces of cheese. If you haven’t sponsored my challenge so far, there’s still plenty of time…

Tuesday evening was our core group meeting, which we take turns in hosting. This week it was my turn- the only rules are that the host provides cake and takes the notes. It may be considered selfish, or maybe I was avoiding the temptation of licking the cake mixture off the spoon, but I made them spelt bread instead served with local butter and honey. It must have been OK as I’ve tentatively been asked to hold a breadmaking workshop. Can’t wait!

And last night two of us went to Weston Super Mare’s environmental group (TENONS) to see an excellent and thought provoking film called A Farm for the Future about a young Devon farmer, Rebecca Hosking, who has given up her career as a wildlife photographer (the photography was beautiful throughout) to return to her family farm in Devon. The film looks at the impact of peak oil on agriculture, coming up with permaculture as one of the solutions. I’ve just googled her name and the video is available to download, and hugely recommend it. It may provide the answer to my slug problems…

With so much rushing about, I haven’t had that much time to cook anything worth writing about. However, yesterday I went to Murrays in Hill Road, and happily bought from them some white spelt flour, spelt porridge and pearlised spelt (which apparently you can cook like rice) all from Sharpham Park. It is much more expensive than more commercially available flours and cereals, but there isn’t much alternative until more farmers start growing it in Somerset. Anyway, the porridge was much creamier than I expected, although it may be the milk. One aspect of shopping through farmers’ markets and farm shops is that there is a much wider range of products from small, family run businesses. So , instead of the big brands, over the last few weeks I’ve enjoyed Chew Valley Milk (Compton Martin) and Ivy House Farm milk (Bruton)- the latter is from their herd of jersey cows, which may explain the creaminess.

I’m already thinking of tonight’s dinner – a friend is coming round so I thought I’d try mini cheese souffles, followed by trout with green beans and roast squash with rosemary (fry onions until golden, add cubes of squash or pumpkin, saute for 5 minutes then add a little honey and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Spread the squash in an oven proof dish and pour over veg or chicken stock. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30-45 mins. Meanwhile mix together breadcrumbs, grated cheese and rosemary. Remove the foil and sprinkle the veg with the breadcrumb mixture, return to the oven and roast uncoverd until golden brown and crisp  (adapted from a River Cottage recipe).

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