Our very own Cordon Vert chef, Karen Lewis, invited us to her new home in Kenilworth to show us how to prepare a really rather varied range of pumpkin dishes. She and Ross had moved all the furniture out of the kitchen to try and rival the famous culinary theatre of The Elms in Balsall Common. A good crowd of 16 came along and most of them were comfortably seated.
Karen explained that her Cordon Vert diploma was the result of a number of residential cookery courses at the vegetarian Society’s headquarters and cookery school in Altrincham. The diploma was awarded after she succeeded in the final two-day exam – preparing a planned dinner party menu one day and then a surprise party buffet the following day. Karen and Ross grow pumpkins and squashes of all shapes and sizes on their allotment plot. Ross was at great pains to point out that the night’s meal included a championship pumpkin (56lb and 7th place!) – in fact that was about all Ross contributed to the evening.
Karen’s cooking was fantastic; using pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet dumpling and acorn squash she produced nine dishes in just 90 minutes! The pumpkin menu was truly international, from Moroccan dishes served with couscous, to a Greek pie with feta cheese, a Cuban bean dish, Italian pasta, Indian fritters, a spicy pie and finally even a homemade pumpkin bread! With all this food and a great selection of winter beers from Vintage Roots, it was quite a late night.
Read the Pumpkin Recipes (pdf format)
Thirteen members were fortunate to be able to come along on the last Thursday of March for an interesting and, at times, challenging talk at Medlars farm shop at Snitterfield. Adrian and Helen Ross run Healthy Lifestyle Organics, delivering organic products to a range of 50 miles from Stratford upon Avon and running the Farm Shop, which offers a selection of organic, earth friendly products & fine foods, along with plants and hanging baskets and a small coffee shop. Adrian was our host for the evening and started off by offering refreshments as we gathered in the café area.
Adrian described the ethos behind the business they have created: - wishing to deliver Healthy alternatives to mass-produced food, wanting to support a Lifestyle where people are aware of the impact of their actions and providing Organic food which avoids poisoning either our bodies or the land. You can see why the company is called Healthy Lifestyle Organics. Adrian described how they had each moved on from Corporate careers to set up and manage the business. They took the farm shop on board only recently and have some way to go to ensure it is not a burden on the box delivery side of the business.
Adrian offered some challenging thoughts to the group, particularly over food miles, for example describing how the energy storing local carrots over a season exceeded the energy in moving carrots from Egypt over land! Adrian also talked about the problems that they faced in providing consistent organic food, particularly with fresh bread, and how he is was having to look at near-organic alternatives in order to keep customers coming back. Before we left, many of us took advantage of the great range of organic produce in the shop. Thanks to Adrian for a fascinating evening! www.hlorganics.co.uk
Supper and Agm, 14th January
Once stomachs started to rumble
we took to the table and enjoyed the feast of salads, snacks, roast vegetables,
breads and cakes which everyone had brought along. The meal started with
Sue's heart-warming pea soup and finished with David B's chilly gooseberry
and kiwi ice-cream! Afterwards David S bought out his collection of 33
tomato varieties (including a great trio of 2005 French hypermarket beefsteaks)
for an impromptu seed handout which included handfuls of John Sargent's
prolific parsnip seeds!
HINTS AND TIPS
Stuck in the garden and need a hint? Just discovered something new? Please share it with the rest of our members, Don't worry about our members without access to the internet - the secretary keeps them in touch with everything that is going on.
If you would like to pay your
subscription for the Heart of England Organic Group, please request
a membership form. Cheques should be made payable to 'H.E.O.G.' and
sent to the address below.
We are always on the look out for new members so they are always welcome at events. They can come along as guests before they join for a small fee. Contact Ross if youd like to come along.
for more details and directions please contact
Heart of England Organic Group