It’s British Food Fortnight!


It’s no secret that we WI members like our food. So why not celebrate the best of British food and support our local farmers and growers by marking British Food Fortnight (19 September through 4 October)?

Held in the autumn at the same time as harvest festival, British Food Fortnight is the biggest annual, national celebration of British food and drink. It was established in the wake of the Foot and Mouth crisis, in response to the fact that, though there are numerous food initiatives, projects and events taking place across Britain, there was no overall flagship event to bring them to the public’s attention.

Here are some of the things you can do to help celebrate British food:

1. When you are shopping make a special effort to seek out British food. Pause when you select your food from the supermarket aisle. Look at the label. Does it tell you where the food has come from? Does it provide a description of who produced it? And if it is imported, is there a British equivalent in-season? When looking to purchase products, keep an eye out for marks such as the Red Tractor logo (right).

2. Shop at local butchers, greengrocers, farm shops and markets that source locally and will be able to tell you a little about the person who produced the food you are purchasing.

3. Seek out food in season – look for, for example, the English plum, marrow and squashes, which are in-season during British Food Fortnight.

4. Cook a British meal for friends and family. Nothing beats the old favourites like cottage pie or apple crumble, and then sharing them with your loved ones. Consider inviting friends round for a British Food Fortnight Feast or make a special effort to get the family sitting around the table.

5. Pick your own. What is better or healthier than being able to enjoy fresh fruit selected and picked by yourself? Rummage in the hedgerows for blackberries or visit a fruit and vegetable farm and then get pickling, jamming and freezing. Trevaskis Farm currently has gorgeous runner beans, cooking apples and plums.


6. Go to a food festival. This weekend from Friday through Sunday is the Great Cornish Food Festival, on Lemon Quay in Truro. Around 60 producers and 40 chefs and food experts are taking part, with an exhibitor line-up that includes everyone from household Cornish names like Rodda’s and Sharp’s Brewery, to artisan producers such as Fowey Valley Cider and Buttermilk Confectionery. Chef Nathan Outlaw will be hosting the grand finale on Sunday afternoon, following a tantalising programme of masterclasses and demonstrations across two different stages, in company with a host of Cornwall’s top chefs and food experts.

Back British Dairy!

cowsDairy farmers saw the price of their milk fall dramatically throughout 2014, and the start of 2015 shows no upturn in their fortunes, with three of Britain’s four main dairy processors recently cutting the price they pay to farmers.

The price cuts have been blamed on a supermarket price war with several of the main supermarkets now charging just 89p for 4 pints of milk. On top of this price war, dairy farmers have been affected by growing farm costs, and a ban on imports to Russia which has led to a glut of dairy produce.

Continuous price cuts are making dairy farming an unsustainable business for many farmers and are likely to have an irreversible effect on the British dairy industry. Back in 2012, when milk prices were at crisis levels, the number of registered dairy farmers was 10,851. That number has in recent weeks dipped below 10,000 for the first time ever, and further price cuts are likely to see many more farmers go out of business.

Threats to the industry are not just a problem for the farming community but for every member of the public that uses dairy produce.

Get involved – How you can support British dairy farmers

Consumers have real power to bring about change, and buying British dairy is a great way to support dairy farmers. Consumer action in 2012 helped prompt many retailers to take action. Here are some tips to help you back British dairy:

  • Look out for the Red Tractor logo, a sign that the product is high quality, and meets strict environmental, animal welfare and food safety standards while being produced in the UK.
  • Keep in mind that supermarkets are only one part of the retail sector. High street coffee shops and food outlets are all dairy customers; why not ask about their policies and how they ensure the produce they stock returns a fair price to farmers before you buy.
  • Remember, milk is just part of the dairy market. Half of the milk produced by British farmers goes on sale as liquid milk, meaning that the other half goes into butter, cheese, yoghurts, desserts etc. So make sure all your dairy products are British.

96% of us consume fresh milk but few of us recognise its real value. By backing British farmers we can ensure that the British dairy industry remains strong and that we can access high quality, high welfare, locally produced dairy for years to come.

Happy Chinese New Year

year_of_the_goat_silhouette_with_flower_pattern_2015_312413Today marks the start of the Chinese Year of the Goat!

Those born in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1967, 1979, 1991 or 2003 are goats, who can count their lucky colours as brown, red and purple. Their characters are supposedly kind and peaceable, while their best months are August and November and their lucky flowers are primroses and carnations. Are you a goat?

As well as being celebrated in China itself, celebrations occur in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and all countries where there are significant Chinese populations. Roughly one-sixth of the world will be celebrating!

BBC Food Website - Chinese New Year (9th January 2012)If you’d like to do something to mark the occasion, how about cooking a lovely Chinese dish tonight?

How about stir fried chicken with black bean sauce? Or what about some Sichuan pepper beef? Or if you’re feeling fishy, perhaps Sichuan-style sea bass with vegetables?


Food, Glorious Food

As part of NFWI’s ongoing Great Food Debate, a full day was held recently at Chy Noweth on the subject of food waste. Titled ‘Food, Glorious Food’, it dealt with the issues of food production, sustainability and security.


Andrew Holden, Procurement Director at the Eden Project, gave a brilliant talk about Eden’s food story and food ethos – linking the plant to the plate. We could have listened to him all day!

Then Colin Olver, a regional manager with the Co-op, gave the supermarket perspective on food waste. He introduced Monica Price, a dynamic nutritionist and broadcaster who also demonstrates at the Royal Cornwall Show, and she introduced us to the “Love food, hate waste” campaign.

Esther O’Bearagh from Cornwall Council – a great speaker herself – gave us the scary facts and amusing anecdotes about household food waste, landfill and recycling.

Paul Sousek from Cottage Farm
Paul Sousek from Cottage Farm

Then Paul Sousek from Cottage Farm, a sustainable organic carbon neutral farm powered by renewable energy energy and producing organic beef and lamb, gave us his own local sustainable farming experience.

After that Gill Keeble (from the Environment and Public Affairs subcommittee) and Dot Rogers (from the Home Economics subcommittee) took the stage with their lively and entertaining cookery demonstrations on our theme “too good to waste”. They gave us lots of lovely simple innovative ways to use leftovers. And we finished the day with a feast of delicious tastings. A good day all round and we ended with lots of ideas to take forward!

Dot Rogers and Gill Keeble
Dot Rogers and Gill Keeble

Click here to find a few handy and easy recipes for using up leftovers and helping to fight food waste.

Platter night at The Lime Tree

The conversation and the wine were both flowing at The Lime Tree last night as eight of us got together for a lovely meal.

Gail Allen, Kathy Merrett and Val Puddiphatt
Gail Allen, Kathy Merrett and Val Puddiphatt

It was ‘Platter Night’ meaning we each had a choice of a Fishy Platter, Meaty Platter or Veggie Platter. We tried them all – accompanied by loads of delicious focaccia bread.

Wendy Allen and Hilary Elliff
Wendy Allen and Hilary Elliff
Janet Harrison, Pamela Roebuck and Gail Allen
Janet Harrison, Pamela Roebuck and Gail Allen

Barbecue Recipes

Thank you to Rona Cowls, Alison Latham and Helen Kestle for sharing some of their favourite barbecue recipes below. If you have a good recipe you’d like to share with members, please email it to us on and we’ll get it up on the website so all can see it.

Rona’s Cucumber and Celery Relish

If you were lucky enough to have a taste of this last night – or, even better, to buy a jar – then you’ll know how delicious it is!


3 cucumbers cut into 1/4″ cubes
2 large onions, skinned and chopped
4 sticks celery, trimmed and diced
1 green pepper, deseeded and diced
2 level tsp salt
4 oz granulated sugar
3 level Tbsp mustard powder
5 level Tbsp plain flour
1 level tsp turmeric
1/2 pint cider vinegar


  1. Place vegetables in a bowl with salt. Stir well. Leave to stand for 30 minutes. Drain.
  2. Mix sugar, mustard powder, flour, turmeric and vinegar to a loose paste.
  3. Put vegetables and spice mix in a preserving pan and cook over a medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
  4. Spoon into prepared jars and cover with vinegar-proof lids. Star in a dark place to prevent colour loss.


Alison’s Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes

A tasty side dish that can be cooked on the barbecue at the same time as your burgers.


1 medium potato per person
1 sprig rosemary
1-2 chopped cloves of garlic (1 clove per 3 or 4 potatoes)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Wash and chop the potatoes into half-inch cubes, leaving the peel on. Rinse a couple of times to wash away as much starch as possible. Drain and well and place in a bowl.
  2. Finely chop the garlic and rosemary leaves and add to the potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil per 2 or 3 potatoes to the bowl and mix contents until the potatoes are evenly coated.
  4. Place the potatoes in a double layer of baking foil and seal by folding all the edges securely.
  5. Place on the barbecue for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally. They are ready to enjoy when slightly browned and when they break open when you stick a fork in them.

Alison’s Barbecue Tip!
If you want a change to grilled vegetables and if you enjoy steamed veggies, prepare them to the desired size, then wrap and seal in baking foil with a small handful of ice cubes. Season with condiments of your choice. Simply place the package on your barbecue and your veggies will steam with your other barbecue items. The results will be delicious!

Helen’s Barbecued Chicken with Tarragon Butter


4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Olive oil
Tarragon butter:
100g unsalted butter at room temperature
4-5 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 shallot, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil


  1. To make the tarragon butter, mash the butter together with the tarragon, shallot and seasoning. Scrape it onto a piece of cling film and roll up into a tight log. Refrigerate.
  2. Whisk together all the marinade ingredients.
  3. Slice the chicken breasts lengthwise to make 8 portions. Place in a dish with the marinade and leave for at least 30 minutes.
  4. When you’re ready to barbecue, drain the chicken and dispose of the marinade. Put the chicken on the barbecue and cook for about 5-6 minutes per side, until it’s nicely striped with grill marks and is no longer translucent.
  5. Serve with slices of the tarragon butter.

Sushi! Sushi! Sushi!

sushi2If you haven’t yet put your name down for next month’s sushi day, there’s still time!

We’ll meet at the Murley Hall at 10am for some instruction and will then start making our sushi! Once we’ve finished, we’ll all sit down and have a sushi feast.

Don’t worry if you don’t fancy raw fish. Although we will have fish available, there will also be a load of other vegetable fillings on hand for you to use. “Sushi” is really just rolled rice with other fillings, so it needn’t be fish at all.

The cost of the workshop is £10 which includes all equipment and ingredients. It’s a workshop plus a free lunch!

To book your place, contact Lis Davies on (01736) 754146 or by email on


Menu of the Week

If you don’t often take a look around the NFWI website, you might be interested to know that every week a new ‘Menu of the Week’ is published!

chick-pea-burgerWIE-Trad-Favourites-cropped-and-CompressedThis week, it’s an antipasti starter, chickpea burgers with salsa for a main course and American chocolate pie for dessert. In addition, there’s a good index of all the recipes that have been published in the past, conveniently sorted by course.

I like the sound of those chickpea burgers!

Have a look around and see if there’s anything there that strikes your fancy.

Stick with Foncho!

Stick-with-Foncho-logo-yellowMeet Foncho. He’s a man on a mission. He knows first-hand that cheap bananas threaten farmers’ futures.

Over the past 10 years, the typical price of a banana in the UK has nearly halved, whilst the cost of production has doubled. Foncho thinks this is unfair. And so does the NFWI.

He traveled from his banana farm in Colombia to the UK for Fairtrade Fortnight, to ask Vince Cable to investigate unfair supermarket pricing practices and act to protect the producers of the UK’s favourite fruit.

Click here to sign the petition to make bananas fair. The petition is put forward by the Fairtrade Foundation and is backed by the NFWI.

You can also use the Fairtrade website to find out which local supermarkets stock fairtrade products. Remember, every time you buy a fairtrade banana, it’s a signal to the supermarkets that we value our food, we value the people who grow it and we expect supermarkets to value them too.