seedlings

Even growing your own veg can cause dilemmas for the vegetarian gardener.  As a vegetarian for example, I’ve never bought organic compost for my small fruit and vegetable plot, as it usually contains blood and bone-meal.  So I was delighted to discover this vegan organic compost, and use it for planting seeds.  That’s one problem solved.  Just looking forward to tasting the results now!

Vegan organic compost from Fertile Fibre.

Some days time is short and a quick solution is needed for lunch.  I discovered this simple way of serving up rice noodles recently and have used it with various vegetable combinations since.  This recipe is the easiest, as it includes the kind of frozen veg I always keep in, straight from the bag.  It’s also good for using up vegetables you have languishing in the fridge, or even left overs!

ricenoodlesPeanut Rice Noodles

1 cup of frozen vegetables, eg. peas, sweetcorn, broad beans
1 handful rice noodles
2 tblsps water
1 – 2 tblsps smooth peanut butter
Small piece ginger, grated
1 tblsp tamari (wheat free) soy sauce
Fresh ground black pepper

In a pan, bring to boil enough water to cover the veg and the noodles.  Add the frozen veg and bring the water back to the boil.  Add the noodles and push down into the water.  Bring back to the boil and cook the noodles for 4 minutes.  Drain.

Add the 2 tblsp water to the same pan over a medium heat.  Add in the peanut butter, ginger and soy sauce and stir until smooth.  Toss in the noodles and veg and coat in the sauce.

Serve topped with black pepper and more soy sauce to taste.

GPlandscapeA few weeks ago we caught the last of the snow in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a gorgeous town in the Bavarian area of southern Germany.  We did a little skiing, but I was left wanting a summer visit to see more of the town itself and take the opportunity to take trips out to the surrounding sights.

Actually made up of two towns (Garmisch and Partenkirchen!), it only became one when they were forced to unite by Adolf Hitler in 1935, just before the Winter Olympics of 1936.  These are not as famous as the summer Olympics held in Berlin later that year, but it was the first time that Alpine skiing was included in the games (won by Franz Pfnur, men and Christl Cranz, women) and the only time that the British team won a gold medal at the ice hockey!

Partenkirchen is the older of the two market towns, dating from Roman times, whereas Garcmisch appears to have built up hundreds of years later, and you can still feel this difference today. The Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain, overlooks the town, providing a dramatic backdrop.

Next time, I’d like to see the Partnach Gorge, where the Partnach river is forced through a narrow, mile-long gap between high limestone cliffs, the castles of Ludwig II, and to take the train to Innsbruck and Oberammergau.

Of course, I’d also like the opportunity to taste more the wonderful local pastries and would return to the Thron Café and Konditorei, a fabulously old fashioned spot for afternoon tea serving delicious cakes!

GPportrait

Cook-it-WEBSadly the year in our veg garden hasn’t started too well, since we just had a couple of trees taken down and our raspberry canes and rhubarb got rather crushed in the process.  Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery.

But, for all of us hoping to eat some produce from our gardens (or allotments) this year, the Edible Garden Show this weekend sounds like just the inspiration needed to get us back on our feet.  Now, if they could just organise plenty of sunshine for our north-facing plot….

The Edible Garden Show, Alexandra Palace, London, 20th – 22nd March 2015

Make-it-WEB

hotchocFor Foodies, spring heralds not just warmer, longer days, but also the opportunity to celebrate the best food from the most passionate growers and producers at the country’s many and varied food festivals.  To kick start things, there are a couple coming up at the end of this month for those of us in the south of the country.

First of all the Brighton Vegfest happens at the end of this month, then moves to Bristol in May.  A full on festival of all things vegan, the weekend includes among other things, cookery demos, film screenings, comedy and yoga area, as well as exhibitors and food village.

VegFest Brighton, 28th – 29th March 2015, Brighton Centre BN1 2GR

The same weekend, but in Islington in London, is the Chocolate Festival.  Promising the country’s top artisan chocolatiers under one roof, this sounds like a chance for some serious indulgence.  The Health Trail features raw and free-from chocs if you feel like staying on the right side of virtuous!

The Chocolate Festival, 27th – 29th March, Business Design Centre, Islington, N1 0QH.

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