It doesn’t seem two ticks since it was British Food Fortnight, last year (I must be getting old!) but here it is again! Running until 4th October, British Food Fortnight is a celebration of all that is great and good about enjoying food reared and grown in this country.
As Chef Raymond Blanc says “There’s so much you can grow in Great Britain, so it’s really about connecting with food, growing food, enjoying food, respecting food and celebrating food.”
As ever, there is the desire to get children involved in British Food Fortnight. Raymond’s son, Olivier Blanc – an ambassador of British Food Fortnight – said “We want kids to get involved because that’s the message that will with the child as they become an adult.”
Throughout the fortnight Brits are being encouraged to cook with locally-sourced fresh and seasonal ingredients and to explore foods from different parts of Britain. They’re also being asked to ‘Think beyond the chicken nugget.’ In other words if the children’s menu is full of processed food such as nuggets, fishfingers etc. ask for a small portion from the adult menu instead.
What’s in season right now?
Meat in season at the moment includes venison, chicken, pork and grouse and there is an abundance of vegetables and orchard fruits. These include field mushrooms, marrow, rocket, pumpkins, main-crop potatoes, watercress, sweetcorn, radish, squashes, lettuce, shallots, runner beans, kale, turnips, blackberries, apples, plums, pears, elderberries, sloes, damsons and redcurrants. Fish in season includes Dover sole, dabs, skate, flounders, oysters and brill – so why not have a change from haddock, cod and salmon and try one of these instead teamed with a watercress sauce and some roasted root vegetables? Chestnuts are also in abundance right now.
For some recipe ideas to start you off, see the end of this blog.
Are you a Harvest Hero?
People are being asked to actively seek out and try British Food from local butchers, greengrocers, fishmongers, general grocers, farm shops and local produce markets. Plus there is the opportunity to become a Harvest Hero by organising a British food event. ‘Harvest Heroes’ is a campaign and competition in conjunction with Telegraph Living. To enter all you have to do is organise an event, send photos of it and write a description of what you did.
Entries close on 6th October and will be judged on the extent to which they: Strengthen the local community and bring all ages together; Educate people about British food and eating local; Support the economy by encouraging people to visit and buy from British producers and retailers; and establish the tradition of celebrating the harvest in their local community.
More information about British Food Fortnight and Harvest Heroes can be found at www.lovebritishfood.co.uk
British seasonal recipes
Beetroot, walnut & goat’s cheese salad
6 beetroots, boiled and peeled
60g whole walnuts, toasted
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
1 pinch dried oregano
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
75g soft goat’s cheese
Dice the beetroot into 2cm chunks and place in a bowl with the walnuts, olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Give it a good stir.
To serve, spoon salad on to serving plates and dot with the goat cheese.
To toast your own walnuts, simply heat a dry frying pan over medium heat. Add the walnuts and toast until lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Watch them closely so they don’t burn!
Almond and apple cake
melted butter for greasing
180g butter, at room temperature, chopped
140g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, at room temperature
100g ground almonds
150g self-raising flour
2 small Royal Gala apples, quartered, cored & thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 170 C / Gas mark 3. Brush around 22cm (base measurement) cake tin with melted butter to grease. Line base and side with baking parchment.
Beat butter, caster sugar & vanilla in a bowl for 8 mins or till pale and creamy (by hand or electric beater). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Stir in ground almonds. Add half the flour and half the milk. Use a wooden spoon to stir until well combined. Repeat remaining flour and milk.
Arrange the apple, slightly overlapping, over the base of the prepared tin. Spoon mixture into the tin and smooth the surface.
Bake in the oven for 30-35 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Set aside in the pan for 10 mins to cool slightly before turning onto a serving plate. Serve warm.