chocolate & banana porridge

chocolate_banana_ porridge

Chocolate and banana are a dream team. This is the perfect comforting porridge for those days when you wish didn’t have to get out of bed. So, a perfect Wednesday porridge. It reminds me of a school hiking trip in the mountains when we sat in our little hut and baked chocolate into bananas on the wood-burning stove…

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carrot and ginger porridge

 

carrot_ginger_porridge

Its porridge week! Everyone knows how healthy and cheap porridge is, and on top of that oats are able to grow even in challenging climates like Scotland, which means us UK residents can get them locally! Since eating porridge for breakfast is not always convenient and it can get boring pretty quickly, I thought I would investigate and share some ways to make it more appealing. I’ll be posting five different ways of enjoying porridge this week. Long live the oat!

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The modern farmer

Boondockers2

photo courtesy of the modern farmer

I really enjoyed stumbling across this wonderful website today. Take a peek if you’re looking for some interesting reading on sustainability, food or farming as well as plenty of how-tos. My favourite articles include “Raising backyard chickens for dummies“, “A day in the life of a bee wrangler” and “why does beer smell so delicious?“.

If you want a distraction in visual form, here is a beautiful instagram account worth following.

Have a great weekend!

The Untapped Power of Big Business

book-trans
I would like to recommend a book that I thought presented a compelling argument against the “us vs. them” attitude so many conscious students of this world tend to fall into, myself included.

While big business is without a doubt the source many problems, the list of injustices and crimes is extensive and blatant, people also tend to forget the amount of potential and power big business has to elicit change for the better. Jon Miller and Lucy Parker remind us in ‘Everybody’s Business‘ that “sending an email, feeding our families, charging our mobile phones, traveling, taking medication, paying a bill, having a shower, watching a movie, enjoying a beer” are all examples of what an intrinsic role big business plays in everybody’s lives, whether we like it or not.

As Lucy and Jon described in an interview, “when you think about it, there isn’t a single big problem in the world today that big business can’t help find solutions to, whether that’s global water security, fighting poverty, energy efficiency, the future of health care, or women’s empowerment. These are all issues that businesses are tackling today.” Continue reading

carrot, kale and chickpea heaven

kale_chickpeas_and_carrots

I find that I often get in a food-rut when I’m cooking for myself. It becomes so much easier to make the same tried and tested dishes over and over again if I know that they are seasonal, easy, cheap and healthy. It feels as if I must already know all the meal-options in the world (madness!) so I just vary between the same handful. At the moment, I’ve been eating a lot of vegetable soups and curries with squash, carrots, potatoes and mushrooms. But I was completely knocked out of my food rut when I tried an unusual dish from my Ottolenghi cookbook. I am now completely inspired to try new meals because its clear that I haven’t tried it all. There are plenty of cheap, easy vegetarian dishes out there!

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Do you have a good egg?

eggs

I recently discovered that every egg (from farmers with more than 50 hens) in the EU is printed with a code that allows you to pinpoint which farm it came from, as well as if it comes from organic, free range, barn or caged hens. Excited to discover my egg-source, I typed the code into this  egg code tracker only to be disappointed by the fact that “no supplier was found”. I think it might be because my eggs are Scottish…

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Merhaba. Hallo. Cześć. Hello again.

We are back with sincerest apologies for the radio silence! Those of you who are also studying will understand the immutable feeling that the year ends in April and begins in October. And hopefully you will also understand the life-consuming amount of work associated with writing a dissertation. So this is a new beginning for a new year. We both wrote dissertations in International Relations in spring and graduated in June. Anna has moved to Munich to begin an internship and Kasia is staying in St Andrews for an additional year to do a Masters degree.

graduation

 

This summer we were lucky enough to travel to Istanbul, Australia and Poland and we’d like to share with you some things that inspired us on our travels and tell you about our plans for the year to come.

Turkey

Istanbul

We travelled through Istanbul in early June and were impressed with the range of green-initiatives in such an otherwise hectic, fast-pace megacity (almost 15 million citizens in total!). Though Istanbul still has a way to go in terms of recycling  and other initiatives we take for granted in the UK and Germany, other areas intrinsic to Turkish culture also happened to be sustainable in their approach to consumption as well. For example, the first Saturday we arrived we visited a Kurdish vegetable market, in which people from all different backgrounds and walks of life went to buy good, seasonal, local food in bulk for incredibly cheap prices. At a quarter of the price compared to groceries in your average chain supermarket, people flocked from all over the city. Aside from groceries there were also countless independent tailors, cobblers, designers and antique stores.

It can seem difficult to find any redeeming sustainable qualities in major cities like Istanbul, but access to affordable local produce is a simple concept that is surprisingly hard to find in much of the developed world.

 

Australiagiant_clam

While traveling down the East Coast of Australia in August, we came across the Food Connect Foundation, which is organises the  supply of produce from local farmers to people living in and around Brisbane. Based on the concept of ‘Community-Supported-Agriculture‘, Food Connect was founded by Robert Pekin in 2005 and has since expanded into various branches including the consultancy ‘Think Food’ and the ‘Open Food Web‘. Food Connect is an inspiring example of a successful social enterprise that serves as a hub to connect local groups, businesses, farmers and consumers as well as improve access to local and ecologically grown produce while ensuring stable and fair prices for growers. Amen!

 

 

Byron_Bay

Poland

While visiting family in Poland, I was amazed at how easy and common it was for everyone to preserve vegetables for the winter. Popular are pickles, cabbage, pureed tomatoes and my personal favourite, Lutenica – which is a red pepper relish popular in Serbia, Bulgaria and Macedonia. I had no idea that vegetables could be preserved without using vinegar, sugar or salt! Lutenica is made by roasting and pureeing bell peppers, tomatoes, onion and then pasteurising the mixture in sterilised jars. It tastes delicious on crackers, as a dip or side with savoury dishes. Here is a recipe in English, but I would recommend roasting the peppers in the oven to remove the skin, and boiling the tomatoes to remove the skin. Funny side note – while I was in Poland bell peppers were incredibly cheap because over over-supply since exports to Russia stopped! We couldn’t get enough of them. Also couldn’t get enough of the cows. My family are dairy farmers and I love visiting their cows – they must think I’m mad.

cows

 

In the following months you can expect to hear from us about twice a week, with some brand new recipes, how-to guides, DIY ideas, and musings on sustainability, life, the universe and everything in it. Until then, thank you for your patience, and we hope your summer (or winter for those south of the equator) has been as good as ours!

Much love,

Anna & Kasia

 

spinach, leek & mushroom gnocchi

spinach gnocchi

I surprised myself yesterday by whipping up a surprisingly tasty and cheap meal from items I already had at home. Leeks are apparently one of the only vegetables that will survive the Scottish winter, and friends of mine are still harvesting them from their gardens! I’ve definitely grown to love leeks since moving to Scotland, even though apparently they are popular in Bavarian cuisine as well.

Serves: 2

Cost: about 45p per serving

Ingredients:

  • half a packet ready-made gnocchi 30p
  • handful spinach (frozen is fine), defrosted 10p
  • 150g chestnut mushrooms, sliced 25p
  • 1 leek, sliced 15p
  • 2 tablespoons single cream (optional) 10p
  • nutmeg, salt & pepper, dried thyme & sage

Instructions:

  1. cook the gnocchi in a pan of salted water for 2-3 minutes (according to the instructions on the packet)
  2. heat a few tablespoons oil or butter in a frying pan
  3. add the leeks and soften for about 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms
  4. cook on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes until they are soft
  5. add the gnocchi, cream, spinach, a sprinkling of nutmeg, and thyme or sage if you have it on hand
  6. cook for another 5 minutes until the ingredients are combined and then season with salt & pepper and serve

‘Get Well Soon’ Carrot, Kale and Sweet Potato Soup

IMG_9282So this week Kasia and I have unfortunately caught the horrible lurgy flu floating around St Andrews at the moment and have been hobbling around at home unable to do anything except watch too many House of Cards episodes.

So yesterday we decided to try our best to kick the cold by making a power-packed warm soup full of vitamins to soothe our throats and fix us from the inside out…using only ingredients we had in the pantry already. We felt so much better after having this soup, we’re making it again for lunch today.

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