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Monday, 23 July 2012

Local and Great Live - the delayed preview

I really do believe that small strong local food producers and businesses are the way forward. By eating locally sustainably and seasonally we can reduce carbon footprints, lower food miles and support local economies and communities. Oh yes and heat a better, healthier diet!

This blog is a celebration of all of the above and concentrates on great producers and the benefits that accrue to our communities.

I was delighted, therefore, to be invited to run a session on Local and Great foods at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff, and even more pleased to learn that I would share the stage with Alun Davies the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programme.
Amongst Alun’s responsibilities are:
Promotion of Welsh Farming and Food businesses
Rural development and European Funding
So who better to share a platform with?

Strenghtening rural communities and economies is vital for the continued development of the verall economy and retaining the money where it is generated. It is estimated that of every £1 spent locally 75p stays in the locality. Spend that £ in a supermarket and only 45p remains, buy online and the net retention is negligable,

Strong producers with strong local markets and producer networks are an essential.

Not only do they generate income but they provide real local jobs not just part-time minimum wage shelf-stacking or check out jobs.

So how do you illustrate this?

For me this was a simple question to answer and I headed off to Trealy Farm to collect some goodies for the demo.

Trealy make great award winning charcuterie, multi Great and True Taste winners they also sit at the centre of some local producer networks. Though a lot of their meats are home raised they also use local farms which meet their standards to ensure a consistent supply of high quality meats.

Some of their meats require smoking and here they are helped by Jo and Jonathon Carthew of Black Mountain Smokery who also smoke Blaenafon Cheddar for Susan Fiandr-Woodhouse. In addition to a range of smoked or flavoured cheddars Sue also produces Abergavenny Goat Cheese.

So armed with a good range of meats, Lamb,Pork, Beef and Venison all featured , and including a special Venison Kabano Style sausage developed for the Olympic Village, I headed for home and the production of some additional goodies.

First up a Smoked Salmon Quiche using Black Mountain Smoked Salmon, local organic eggs and Green Saffron Cubeb Pepper. This would certainly satisfy any pescatarians in the audience and for te vegetarians a Goat Cheese, Tomato and Spring Onion Tart using Sue's Cheese and vegetables from Ty Mawr Organics and Whitebrook Organics, with a light sprinkle of Halen Mon Sea Salt to finish and add a texture.

So lots of savouries but I needed something sweet as well.

Luckily I had recently been gicven the starter for a German Friendship Cake which would fit the bill relly well, and re-branded as a Community Cake would also fit the ethos of developing food communties.

A swift ferment and bake later the finished article was ready to roll!

The Community  Cake Instructions

A sourdough cake. It’s supposed to sit on your worktop for 10 days without a lid on.

You CANNOT put it in the fridge or it will die. If it stops bubbling, it is dead.

  1. You get a starter and put it in a large mixing bowl and cover loosely with a tea towel.
  2. Stir well
  3. Stir well
  4. Add 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar and milk. Stir well.
  5. Stir well
  6. Stir well
  7. Stir well
  8. Stir well
  9.  Add the same as day 4 and stir well. Divide into 4 equal portions, one to bake, one as a new starter and two to give away to friends with a copy of these instructions.
  10. Starter is very hungry. Stir well and add the following:
1 cup sugar
  • half tsp. (teaspoon) salt
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2/3 (two thirds) cup of cooking oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla essence
  • 2 cooking apples cut into chunks
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 heaped tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 heaped tsp. baking powder

Mix everything together and put into a large greased baking tin. Sprinkle with a quarter of a cup of brown sugar and a quarter of a cup of melted butter. Bake for 45 minutes at 170-180C.

The batter will be very thick but don’t worry, the melted butter will filter through as the cake rises and you will have a lovely light moist cake!

 When cold cut into finger pieces. Cake freezes well and is also delicious warm with cream or ice-cream.

If you don’t get given a starter no worries they are very easy to make.

In a large bowl mix together

1 cup of plain flour

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of milk

Cover with a tea towel

Starter Made!
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