re-blogged because it’s true..

canal ways is curious how seldom the all importance of food is recognized. You see statues everywhere to politicians, poets, bishops, but none to cooks or bacon-curers or market-gardeners.’

George Orwell in ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’

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La crique

La crique

We’re still getting our vegetable box delivered each week but somewhere over the Christmas holidays someone in the house (probably me) bought a 10kg bag of potatoes that has lead to a back log of spuds that need eaten.

I am trying to redeem my relationship with potatoes which means learning to appreciate the hassle of having to wash or peel them and empty them into the compost heap and finding recipes that are a bit more exciting that boiling them or don’t involve adding buckets of butter.
Also recipes that don’t involve using an oven to bake them would be good as that adds extra carbon to the air.

So I gave this recipe for potato and garlic cake, (La Crique) a go and it was tasty in my opinion.

Basically grate 1kg of peeled potatoes.
Beat two eggs with pepper, salt and a garlic clove bashed with some salt.
Mix them all together (I took the clove out as I don’t like discovering a lump of garlic when I don’t expect it).
Heat a frying pan, add 4tbsp of olive oil, spread the mixture over and gently cook for 15mins shaking every so often to stop it sticking.
Turn over when crisp at the bottom and cook for 5

The recipe is in my favourite cook book, European Peasant Cookery by Elizabeth Luard.

walnut and radish leaf pesto

I’d been spending the last few weeks waiting for my radishes to mature when suddenly the thought hit me
‘Dave, you don’t actually like radishes do you?

Also I had planted them very thickly which meant that few had matured. So what was I to do?

Try making some radish pesto, that’s what.

I took about 50g of walnuts from the cupboard and toasted them,whizzed that with half a clove of garlic (I’ve gone off garlic a bit this week after a bout of sickness last week), blitzed that with about 35g of radish leaf, added some extra virgin olive oil in a stream to get a nice consistency, stirred in some Parmesan-esque Sainsbury Basics cheese, a bit of lemon juice and salt and pepper for seasoning.

I had it with pasta and it didn’t taste as bad as I first feared. It was definitely better than eating the radish itself.

the mystery of the sourdough

‘Whenever people come to the table they demonstrate with the unmistakable evidence of their stomachs that they are not self-subsisting gods. They are finite and mortal creatures dependent on God’s many gifts….Eating reminds us that we participate in a grace-saturated world, a blessed creation worthy of attention of care, and celebration
Norman Wirzba

So a new book arrived and I started to think once again about the importance of food and eating and how we’ve made a poor show of things. I still wonder how we can pray ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ but not look into the mysteries of how God has actually supplied our daily bread. The question that I always wonder is would God supply our daily bread through injustice?
Like if our tinned tomatoes are being harvested by immigrants who are being abused in the south of Italy and we buy the tin in Tesco for 50p and eat it has God supplied our daily bread?

I’ve been using a nice sourdough recipe the past year and it is a constant source of wonder that only three ingredients can bring forth something as tasty as this loaf of bread. It truly is a miracle.
Simple though those ingredients are I am still far removed from their original sources and unaware as to how they got there.

I have been using the Don Carlos salt brand which according to the website is ‘is sourced from the Atlantic Ocean off Sanlucar de Barrameda in the Donana National Park.’

Strong Bread Flour
According to the packaging the flour was produced in the UK. Being skeptical about these sorts of things when it comes to the supermarket is now my default setting.
Does being produced mean they bring the wheat grain in from other countries  then mill it in the UK?
Well OK then I guess I’ll take them at their word.
A bit of Google action suggests that it might have come from the east of England.
But I’m not sure.
Which highlights the problem of trying to find out where our food comes from. We’re largely clueless about the origins of our food.
I’m not sure where the water is piped from, I’ll hazard a guess and say The Silent Valley up in The Mournes.

Even a quick dip into the origins of my simple loaf shows that it is anything but simple. There are men and machine extrating salt in the south-east of Spain, combines tearing down wheat in east Anglia and men monitoring the water supply from Mournes. Not to mention the wind turbines supplying heat to the oven, the oven and on and on it goes.

But at the end of the day it all comes from gift. The sea gives up its salt, the farmers rely on weather and rains (which are beyond their control) and the rain falls in Co. Down.
The supply chains are so complicated and hard to trace. But I think it is good to do if we care about the planet (which is a loving gift from God and should be treated as such)