Grow Your Own Food for better food, better health and a better environment tips, advice, celebrity recipes and community success stories
Birmingham Outdoor activities and food growing
Contents Food growing makes sense........................3 Health for Life in the community......... 4-5 No garden? No problem!..............................6 Seasonal food....................................................7 Foraging… free food........................................8 The goodness in each bite...........................9 Health for Life spaces.............................. 10-11 Seed growing tips.....................................12-15 Tasty chicken salad wraps.......................... 17 Half the garden soup.................................... 19 Free range chicken with chilli and parsley cream sauce............................ 21 Carrot salad...................................................... 23 Beetroot and orange chutney................. 25 Blackberry & apple jelly.............................. 27 Contacts.......................................... back cover
Health for Life Health for Life is a partnership programme which supports fun activities that engage people in growing food, physical activity, healthy eating and cookery. Funded by the Mondelēz International Foundation, Health for Life is delivered through primary schools, secondary schools and the wider community in south Birmingham by The Health Education Service and The Conservation Volunteers. The programme supports Change4Life and offers a range of opportunities to encourage families towards leading healthier lifestyles.
The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) have been reclaiming green spaces since 1959. Through their own environmental projects and network of 2,000 community groups, TCV help hundreds of thousands of people across the UK to take responsibility for local green places, enabling community projects to get started and providing training for skills and jobs. Green places are necessary for emotional, physical and social well-being. The Conservation Volunteers deliver Green Gym® sessions which help people get active outdoors, improving their environment and growing their own fruit and vegetables for a healthier lifestyle.
Welcome… …to our handy booklet to help us all grow better food, eat more healthily and become more active outdoors. This booklet shows you how to take positive action in your own backyard, on your allotment and with your community. Whatever space you have, from a large garden to a small window box, there is something for you to grow. Food tastes even better when you grow it yourself, caring for your crops as they develop from little seedlings to fully grown plants, and then harvesting them when they’re ripe, full of healthy nutrition and bursting with flavour. You just can’t beat the flavours of freshly harvested tomatoes, squash, carrots and radish – to name but a few. For full-on community food growing action in south Birmingham, TCV are developing new local allotment sites and also deliver regular Green Gym® sessions where you can get involved with growing food, eating healthily, increasing physical activity, all whilst undertaking conservation and wildlife habitat improvements. To find out more about your local sites, see pages 10-11. So what are you waiting for?
Join in, feel good
Food growing makes good sense Each link of the food chain uses lots of energy, starting with farming through processing, packaging, refrigeration in warehouses and supermarkets, transporting in our cars from the shops, and then storing and cooking at home. So, when you grow your own, you are helping the wider environment as well as doing yourself some good. We all know about getting your ‘five-aday’ and home-grown food is a great way of working towards that. You might have thought about choosing organic produce but been put off by the price. Well, when you grow your own, YOU can decide what (if any) chemicals you use to control pests and promote growth. We hope this booklet will encourage you to: • Grow your own vegetables and fruit • Buy locally-produced food from local shops and markets • Start composting and cutting down on food waste It will also help you find like-minded people to create community food enterprises, share land and harvests, and connect with nature and wildlife. 3
Health for Life in the community The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) receives funding through the Mondelēz International Foundation to promote activities that engage local people in growing food, physical activity, healthy eating and cookery. TCV are delivering the programme to the wider community in south Birmingham and offer a wide range of activities to encourage families to lead healthier lifestyles. You can take part through: Green Gym® Sessions A Green Gym® provides the chance to transform derelict land into community growing space which often also includes vital conservation work. Green Gym® sessions will help you become physically and mentally healthier by taking part in activities to improve the local environment, such as: • • • • •
Growing your own food Making the most of allotments Learning about seasonal horticulture Woodland care Wildlife habitat improvements
fruit and vegetables. Work out what you can grow in your patch! The phone app is now available on all platforms and can be downloaded as follows: The iPhone app can be found at http://tinyurl. com/tcvapp-iphone The Android app can be found at http://tinyurl.com/tcvapp-android The web version is available at http://growingapp.tcv.org.uk A Local Horticultural Show In September 2013, we held a successful horticultural show at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens as part of the city’s first Community Food Festival. Contact us to get your schedule and to find out more about entering your home grown prize-winning produce in our next horticultural show.
Find out more about our local sites and how to get involved on pages 10 and 11.
New for this year, we are also planning a series of neighbourhood shows at sites in the south Birmingham area. Look out for the one near you!!
A free phone app
Gardeners’ World LIVE
A phone app is available to provide you with handy hints, tips, calendars and food growing advice on how to grow
In June 2013, we participated in Gardeners’ World Live at the NEC. Our show garden won a silver medal. Over
Discover more about our programme at www.tcv.org.uk/healthforlife and follow our progress and activities on our new blog page: blogs.tcv.org.uk/healthforlife the course of the four day event, more than 20,000 people viewed our garden and received a free packet of vegetable seeds.
Health for Life is a partnership programme, promoting healthy lifestyle activities across south Birmingham, and supports Change4Life.
Birmingham Outdoor activities and food growing
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The show garden demonstrated the potential a small area can offer for growing fruit and vegetables, with an element to attract wildlife, especially insects to pollinate the plants. The show garden has now been rebuilt as part of our community allotment at Green Meadow Road in Weoley Castle. Come along and join us to grow your fruit and veg in parts of the show garden. Looking forward to 2016, we plan to deliver another Show Garden at Gardeners’ World Live, only this time it will be designed by members of the local community, so come along and join in and have fun.
Look out for your free Health for Life seeds which we are giving out all around the area. So far we have distributed over 20,000 packets of seeds to members of the local community and beyond. If you haven’t had yours yet, don’t worry, we will be distributing more free packets of seeds throughout the programme, including more exciting varieties to help you grow your own delicious fruit and vegetables.
No garden? No problem!
Herbs, tomatoes, salad leaves, French beans, peas, cucumbers, courgettes, peppers, chillies, aubergines, strawberries, nasturtiums, chard and even potatoes all grow well in containers. You can grow ‘cut and come again’ salads and herbs in a window box right through into autumn.
Herbs in a window box
You really don’t need much room to grow food. People even grow carrots in a well drained old bucket filled with sandy soil.
Alpine strawberries are intensely flavoured and make great hanging basket plants. Yellow and red cherry tomatoes, peppers and aubergines make colourful displays in tubs and hanging baskets too. Even in a tiny back yard you can grow your own veg. Make your veg box out of a few planks of wood and some peat-free compost. Mark out a grid on the surface and grow a few plants in each square, sowing successive crops of salads, beans, peas and chard to keep you well fed throughout the summer Courgettes, squashes and cucumbers like rich soil, so add extra manure or give a liquid feed during the growing season. Grow them in old compost sacks or sturdy plastic bags, but be prepared for the leaves to take over. Rhubarb in a growbag!
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Seasonal food The great thing about volunteering with The Conservation Volunteers on a Health for Life project is that you will grow food close to where you live and be able to harvest it in prime condition. It will be some of the freshest and tastiest food you can eat, as well as having great nutritional value. Producing your own food helps you keep track of the growing seasons which is useful knowledge, even for foods you may not be growing yourself. For example when produce such as asparagus, strawberries or beans are in season, the shop price is cheaper and you can make the most of it. Whether you are growing it yourself or picking up a bargain at the market, it’s worth waiting for the right time of year to eat these foods. You will soon find that local and in-season fruit and vegetables are also a lot more-tasty than those imported from abroad. Early summer is the time to enjoy succulent asparagus grown in the UK. The asparagus season traditionally starts on Saint George’s Day, April 23, and finishes on Midsummer’s Day. Strawberries are available in the UK during the spring (from April and early May if they are grown in poly-tunnels) through to the first frosts of October. The joy of anticipating the short (but very sweet) plum season is only
surpassed by tucking into gorgeous plum crumbles and bottling plum jam to enjoy on toast in the winter. Juicy golden and dark purple plums are available from July for only a few weeks, so get them at the first opportunity. Crisp and sweet, apples and pears are harvested from our orchards from the middle of August throughout the autumn. Raspberries are in season from the middle of summer through to the autumn, depending on the variety. When you grow broad beans, French beans or stick beans (also known as runner beans) in succession, you will be harvesting from May through to October. Nutritionally-packed root vegetables like celeriac and parsnips are traditionally harvested after the frosts which intensify the flavours. Check which foods are in season at www.eatseasonably.co.uk, where there is also an easy to use calendar showing what crops are in season and when or you can use our handy new phone app, see page 4 for details. 7
Foraging… …free food
WARNING if you are in any doubt at all about whether wild food you may find is safe, don’t touch or eat it. This
The Conservation Volunteers’ origins are founded in conserving and creating wild places in cities, towns and the countryside for biodiversity. More habitats for wildlife and wild plants can mean more wild and natural food for us too. Why not enjoy nature’s bounty for free – when it’s safe and legal to do so? Volunteers have planted and managed thousands of miles of hedgerows over the last 50 years. That’s a plentiful supply of hawthorn leaves for spring salads, summer rosehips for jellies, elderflowers for thirst-quenching drinks and elderberries for autumn cordials. In woodlands, you’ll find edible mushrooms, fungi and nuts. Take a mushroom and fungi guidebook with you, or have fun, fungi-hunting with an expert. As with all wild food, you must be certain that it is OK to eat it before you pick it. If you don’t know what it is, leave it until you do. You’ll have to be quick to beat the squirrels, but hazelnuts (left) and sweet chestnuts are worthwhile collecting. 8
applies especially to mushrooms where edible species can easily be confused with inedible or poisonous varieties. Hazelnuts (also known as cobnuts) are good to eat fresh and green or left for a few weeks to mature. Sweet chestnuts must be boiled or roasted before eating because of tannic acid. Picking blackberries, rosehips, elderberries and sloes is an idyllic way to connect with nature and wildlife. Wandering along the hedgerows on footpaths and bridleways, you’re likely to spot birds’ nests and wild flowers. Many urban plants that you may think of as weeds (dandelions and nettles spring to mind) are in fact delicious additions to any meal. Young dandelion leaves are good in salads. Pick nettle leaves carefully, wear gloves for this, go for the young leaves at the top of the plants. Chop and cook them in butter to add to stock for a soup, make a pasta sauce with tomatoes and garlic, or add to pancakes and omelettes.
The goodness in each bite Finding out exactly what goes into your food – while it is growing and before it reaches your shopping bag – can be an extremely confusing business. Confused by ‘GMOs’? Challenged by terms like ‘organically grown’ and ‘farm fresh’ or befuddled by ‘neonicotinoids’? You’d need to be a food scientist to know every chemical and process that puts food on your plate. Growing your own, on the other hand, means that you’ll have a pretty good idea of exactly what goes into your food. You can use composted kitchen waste as a soil improver, you might even dig-in some well rotted farmyard manure to improve your crops, but whatever you add to the soil to help the plant with as it is growing, it will be your choice.
Green Gym® members Jean and Richard from Weoley Castle, Birmingham have grown purple sprouting broccoli
Most fruit and veg grows quite happily enough by itself. All it needs is the right soil, a drop of rain and some sunshine. It is as simple as that. If you decide to grow chemical-free, you might have to come to terms with sharing your crop with a little wildlife – but that can be half the fun. What’s certain is that whatever you grow and however you grow it, the sense of pride and self-reliance you will have from growing it yourself will not only make it taste a thousand times better, it will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step! Having grown your own crops, it is also a great opportunity to share your surplus with friends and family, putting a smile on their faces too. 9
Health for Life spaces Hawkestone Road
Our first established community growing space is just off Hawkestone Road in Weoley Castle. Set up on land owned by Bournville Village Trust, the space now has a regular group of food growers, and is the site where we host our ‘Introduction to Organic Food Growing’ training courses. If you want to join in the fun at Hawkestone Road, please contact our project officer on 07909 000 258.
and get started, it is now the location for our award winning show garden from BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2013. The site also has a log cabin to hold community activities and a growing number of raised beds. Soon we will be building the composting toilet, a polytunnel and developing the wildlife area and pond. To join in at Green Meadow Road, please contact our project officer on 07909 000 258. Manor Farm Park
Green Meadow Road The Green Meadow Road Community Allotment site goes from strength to strength. After taking a while to clear
The Community Growing Space at Manor Farm Park is just behind the house on the Bristol Road. The space was already a lovely garden maintained by the City Council. We have added vegetable beds, and soon will be planting all kinds of fruit in the garden. A new path and disabled access area for table-top gardening will follow soon. To join us at our next session at Manor Farm Park, please contact the project officer on 07917 053 710.
Freshwinds Together with Freshwinds (www.freshwinds.org.uk) we are developing a small growing space at their main offices in College Walk. This space is being used to support service users and get new people involved in food growing. Although only small, there has been lots of activity so far, and there is also a healthy competition running between volunteers to see who can grow the best squash from the Health for Life seeds. To get involved in the space at Freshwinds, please contact 0121 771 4339. Local schools across south Birmingham are also getting the growing bug. Through the Health for Life programme, 58 primary schools and six secondary schools to date, have been actively involved in establishing or extending growing spaces, with funding from Mondelēz International Foundation and support from the Health Education Services (HES) and TCV. Colmers School & Sixth Form College, for instance, have developed an allotment plot on a site at Leys Allotment in Longbridge. Work involved improving the drainage of the plot before being able to grow and, by adding three substantial and sturdy raised beds, the students were off to a fantastic growing start. You can contact Neil or Sandra
at HES on 0121 366 9955 to find out more or get involved in the schools programmes They commented:
“At first we just dug and dug and dug but since then we have started to make lots of progress and the allotment is starting to look great. We have now built and filled beds for the plants and we have also started to grow roses, raspberries, red and whitecurrants and rhubarb. I have learned to do a lot more in the garden and I always look forward to Monday nights.” “I think that gardening club is fun, and is a nice activity for people who particularly don’t enjoy sports clubs. You can meet lots of new people and learn new skills, which can be useful if you want to do your own gardening at home.” 11
Growing tips Through the course of the five year programme, Health for Life in the community plan to distribute seeds to many of the households in the area. So far we have distributed butternut squash, cabbage, carrot, chilli, lettuce, onion, parsley, and radish seeds. Soon we will have coriander, basil, beetroot, peas, sweet-corn and some edible flower seeds too. Look out for them and tell us how you got on growing them yourself, and remember you can download our useful app to show you how to grow many more exciting crops. Remember you can also enter what you have grown in one of our horticultural shows in September. Get growing now and win prizes later in the year.
fibre Rich in Dietary egetable patch n 4Container 4V Final locatio 4Window box Sowing , finely raked and needs to be warm March-June. Soil ground at a the in t ec dir ds w see intervals. well fertilised. So n) (4i m 10c at d ) an ervals to depth of 2.5cm (1in int tly gh tni for / weekly Sow the seeds at st. rve ha to ps on of cro ensure a successi 10+ days n io at in Germ thin out the You will need to Planting Out they reach 2.5cm en wh s ng dli see ings of 15cm (1in) high to spac s Ready in 9-12 wk June – October. Harvest ry ve a ke ma s ve Seedlings and lea Tip tasty salad leaf. Bolting Problems s Beefed up sarnie Recipes
Carrots Rich in
Vitamins A and C
Final location 4Container (for short rooted varieties) 4Vegetable patch Sowing Outside in the final location, preferably a sunny position and well drained soil. If you have soil that is full of stones or heavy clay this will affect the growth of the carrots – it would be better to grow in containers. Early cultivars Jan - March, others April – July. Sow 1 cm (1/2 in) deep in rows 15 cm (6 in) apart, thin to 5-7.5 cm (2-3 in) apart. Germination 10-14 days Harvest
Carrots will be ready for harvesting about 12-16 weeks after sowing.
Tip Be careful when weeding or thinning around the carrots as if you crush the foliage, the smell can attract carrot fly which is a pest of carrots. Keep weeds down between rows by hand weeding - if you allow weeds to grow they may end up crowding out the carrots. Problems
Carrot fly, forked carrots
Carrot soup, carrot muffins
Vitamin A Final location 4G reenhouse 4Containe r 4Vegetable patch 4W indow box Sowing Greenhouse: early sow ings Outdoors: after risk of frost has passed. Feb – August. Sow seeds thinly and cover lightly with com post. When sowing outdoo rs in a vegetable patch rake soil and ensure that it is free from stones. Water wel l. Germination 10-1 4 days Planting Out Wh en seedlings are large enough to handle transplant into their final position and protect from frosts Harvest May – October Tip Sow at fortnightly inte rvals to ensure a succession of crops. Problems Aphids, Birds, Bolting , Gre y mould, Slugs, Snails Recipes Braised lettuce and pea s
Radish Rich in
Final location 4Greenhouse 4Container 4Veg patch 4Window box Sowing Direct in the ground where they are. March to September. Sow thinly in drills 1 cm 1/2 inch deep. Allow 15cm (6 inches) between drills Germination 4-7 days Planting Out Thin seedlings as necessary Harvest
4 weeks after sowing
Sow in succession every 2 weeks to ensure a constant supply of radish
Brassicas mildew, Flea Beetle, Slugs, Snails
Lemon, chilli & radish salad Radish & cucumber salad
Rich in Vitamins A, B12, C, K Final locatio n 4Greenhouse 4Container 4Veg patch 4W indow box Sowing Early sowing: Gr eenhouse Late sowing: Ou tside February - Septe mber Temp: 10-15˚C 50-60˚F Sow thinly onto warm and moist compost. Germination 21 days Planting Out Thin to 20cm (8 inches) apart Harvest 13 weeks from so wing tip In colder month s protect from fro st with cloches Recipes Pasta carbonara
ins B, C and K le patch Rich in Vitam iner 4Vegetab tion 4Conta x Final loca bo ow ind 4W ne. g in ion March - Ju Sow ct in final posit re di ed or se se d ou an Greenh , use pots e greenhouse about 7cm (3 If sowing in th seed to a pot e ce on e ac pl d plant out on an compost, st oi m . Cover, keep . inches) deep in) (3 and 10cm tall deep, place hardened off ills 15cm (6in) ly: Prepare dr s from ed se t ec ot Pr Sowing direct soil. d cover with an ill dr in ts. a pe s or ne nts with stick birds and rode s ek we 1-2 n Germinatio position t In a sunny Planting Ou ber to Oc June mice or Harvest oblems with pr ve ha u If yo ea, try starting ar ur Tip yo in s pigeon the nhouse or on off in the gree l. sil ow nd wi kitchen pigeons, ce, pea moth, Mi s ew Problem ild m y powder up Pea & mint so lad a and mint sa Recipes Asparagus, pe
Vitamins A & C, Iron
Final location 4Greenhouse 4Container 4Vegetable patch 4Window box 4Indoors Sowing Greenhouse/Propagator/Windowsill Late February – Early June Temp: 10-15˚C 50-60˚F Sow seeds thinly and cover with a fine layer of compost or vermiculite. When large enough to handle pot into small individual containers Germination 14 – 21 days Planting Out May – June, when risk of frost has passed. Sunny well drained position 23cm (9inch) apart. Harvest
July to October
Basil can be grown all year round indoors, make regular sowings for a constant supply
Aphids, leaf/frog hoppers, slugs, snails, whitefly
Growing tips VEGETABLES Most vegetables are easy to grow from seed. The growing instructions on the back of the packet have more detailed information. No greenhouse to start off early sowings? Use a sunny windowsill. You can sow into pots or buy a windowsill propagator. If you don’t want to sow indoors, work out where the final location will be for your vegetables. Sow them directly into this location and give them some protection; cover the area with some horticultural fleece or a cloche. Some seedlings do not like to be transplanted, so sowing them directly to your patio container or your window box is ideal! If your seeds are large enough to handle, space them out into your seed tray, or sow two per pot. If your seeds are small, sow thinly into your growing medium – you can always thin out after germination. Cover your seeds with a thin layer of compost or vermiculite and wait for the seedlings to appear! If you plan to move your seedlings outdoors they will need to
acclimatise first. This is called ‘hardening off’, and can be done by placing them in a cold-frame or leaving them outside in the daytime. Remember to protect them from frosts and extreme weather. For seeds grown in pots, when the seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant into small individual containers or their final location. If they are already in their direct location, thin the seedlings. These thinnings can often be great to use in salads. Ensure that you space your seedlings with enough space and ventilation for them to flourish. You can avoid having too much food at once by sowing at two weekly intervals. This means that you’ll have vegetables and salads ready for harvesting at different times, potentially all through the summer. With some crops, you can plant different varieties that mature at different times. It’s easy to grow salads and herbs all year round. Some crops will grow and be ready to pick really quickly, so why not try sowing some radish, coriander or salad leaves and you could be eating your own homegrown crops in around 20 days.
Fruit Most fruit is grown from rooted stock and you can buy bush plants, cordons or trees. Go to your local nursery or check out The Conservation Volunteers online shop. Buying bare rooted stock in the autumn and winter from www.tcv.org.uk/shop can be a cheaper option. Read the advice label. Most fruit need a sheltered site which receives sun. Prior to planting, dig over the soil and mix into the ground well-rotted compost. Soil needs to be well drained and not waterlogged.
Feeling daunted by all this? Then just throw, sow and see what happens, it’s always great to experiment.
Most fruit bushes and trees prefer to be planted in the spring or autumn. For bare rooted plants – spread the roots over the ground and cover with soil. For pot-grown plants, ensure that the plant is slightly below ground level. Don’t plant out when the ground is frozen.
When you’ve grown it, why not try a few new recipes? Here are just a few ideas… Radish
Tasty chicken salad wraps These delicious wraps are ideal for packed lunches, making a welcome change from sandwiches. Serves: 4 adult 4 soft flour tortillas 4 tbsp lower fat soft cheese 4 tbsp low-fat natural yoghurt 120g skinless, boneless roast chicken breasts chopped 100g sweetcorn 1/ 4
cucumber (or small bunch of radish)
Tip 1: If you’re not keen on cucumber or sweetcorn, use grated sliced radish for an extra tangy crunch instead. Tip 2: If you’re packing these wraps into a lunch box, try to remember to put a small ice pack in with them to keep them cool and fresh.
1 pinch ground black pepper 2 handfuls lettuce leaves Lay out the wraps or tortillas on a clean work surface.
Nutritional information per portion 295 kcals • 22g protein 6g fat, of which 3g saturates 42.5g carbohydrate, of which 6g sugars 2g dietary fibre • 364mg sodium • 0.9g salt
Put the soft cheese and yoghurt in a bowl and mix together until smooth. Add the chicken, sweetcorn and cucumber. Season with pepper, then mix well. Spread an equal amount over each wrap, then top with the lettuce. Roll up each wrap tightly, slice in half, then wrap in cling film. Keep cool until ready to serve. This recipe has been taken from the Change4Life Supermeals for under a fiver cookbook. For more tips and ideas on healthier lifestyles, please visit www.nhs.uk/Change4Life
! Loads o’ veg
Half-thegarden-soup Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall shares a recipe so that we can all enjoy the delights of freshly-harvested vegetables â€“ from plot to bowl in 30 minutes. 500g onions, sliced olive oil or butter 500g-1kg ripe tomatoes salt and freshly ground black pepper some or all of the following: 3-4 medium carrots, diced 3-4 medium beetroots, diced 3-4 medium courgettes, diced a few handfuls of peas a fistful of French or runner beans, roughly chopped a fistful of chard or spinach leaves, finely shredded a fistful of kale or cabbage leaves, finely shredded Sweat the onions in a little olive oil or butter in a large pan until softened. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes, leave for a minute, then drain and peel off the skins. Chop roughly and add to the onions. Cook gently until thick and pulpy, then add about 500ml cold water (or light
stock) and a good pinch of salt. Now add the vegetables of your choice, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the chard or spinach leaves and/or the kale or cabbage. Top up with a little more boiling water, if you like. Simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until all the vegetables are tender, but only just. Check and adjust the seasoning, then serve immediately, with a drizzle of olive oil over each bowl. Seasonal variations: From late August onwards you can add fresh podded haricot beans (i.e. the white beans inside overgrown French beans) or borlotti beans, or the beans from overgrown runners, to the soup. They should go in with the water and have a good 5-minute simmer before the carrots and the remaining ingredients go in. Recipe taken from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstallâ€™s THE RIVER COTTAGE YEAR, published by Hodder & Stoughton, www.rivercottage.net
Free range chicken
with chilli and parsley cream sauce David Colcombe, born and bred in Birmingham, is a chef committed to using seasonal, fresh produce. In this recipe he uses local free range Cotswold White chicken from Holly Farm, just outside of Redditch. The chillies bring a great dollop of mild heat to this dish. “I use parsley quite a bit in our cooking – it’s an underrated herb. My kitchen likes to keep things quite simple and let the delicious raw ingredients do the talking.” 200ml chicken stock 50ml double cream 50g parsley, chopped 1 tbsp sunflower oil 2 tbsp sesame oil 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 2 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp vinegar 3 spring onions 2 chicken legs 2 chicken breasts 2 to 4 mild red chillies sea salt and freshly ground pepper rocket leaves
In a bowl, whisk the oils, mustard, soy sauce and vinegar. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Roughly chop the spring onion and add to the sauce along with the chicken and whole chillies. Rub the chicken with the marinade and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Remove chicken from marinade, place in roasting tray and bake in oven for 35 to 40 minutes until chicken is entirely cooked through. Reduce marinade and chicken stock. Add double cream, reduce and add chopped parsley. Arrange the chicken on a serving plate, pour over the sauce and arrange rocket leaves as garnish.
David Colcombe is Chef Director at Opus Restaurant, 54 Cornwall Street, Birmingham www.opusrestaurant.co.uk
Carrot salad This recipe is from John, a participant with The Conservation Volunteers Green Gym® at Hawkestone Road allotments in Birmingham.
2 carrots iceberg lettuce or mixed salad leaves cucumber finely sliced 1 spring onion chopped 1 tomato sliced olive oil pepper lemon juice Wash all the salad before you start and prepare a clean surface. Shred the iceberg lettuce or add mixed leaves. Chop spring onion, slice the tomato and grate the carrot. Mix together using a large plastic spoon or clean hands. Drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and a twist of lemon.
Dig in! Volunteer with The Co nservation Volunteers Green Gy m® - Health for Life project and yo u’ll get shared access to allo tment land for growing food on via the project. See contact details on back page. The Big Dig is all abou t getting people down to their local community garden to get growing. Growing Birmingham is the local contact organisation. www.thebigdig.org.u k/ birmingham Birmingham Open Sp aces Forum is a network organisa tion that aims to bring together all the people in Birmingham with an interest in our open spaces. Voluntee rs represent all sorts of sites acros s the city, including allotments and nature reserves. www.bosf.org.uk Be active: if you’d like to generally get fitter and make the most of what health and fitness facilities the council has on off er, why not join 300,000 other Bir mingham residents and get a Le isure Card. www.birmingham.go v.uk/beactive
Add a pinch of pepper to taste. 23
Beetroot and orange chutney
“I know beetroot is an acquired taste but I don’t think you will be disappointed with this, give it a try.” 350g/12oz raw beetroot 350g/12oz eating apples 300ml/ 1/2 pint malt vinegar 200g/7oz granulated sugar 225g/8oz red onions finely chopped 1 garlic clove – crushed grated rind and juice of 2 oranges 5ml/1tsp ground allspice 5m/1tsp salt Remove any soil from beetroot and peel, and then grate using coarse side of grater. Peel and core the apples and roughly chop them.
Jean from The Garden Pathway Project has provided us with her recipe for Beetroot and Orange Chutney. Part of BITA Pathways, The Garden Pathway project works across Birmingham to provide opportunities for volunteers to grow vegetables and produce a wide range of chutney and jams. They have supported the Health for Life programme, with site construction at Green Meadow Road. Jean says:
Put vinegar and sugar into a preserving pan and heat gently until sugar has dissolved. Add all the other ingredients to the pan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for approx. 40 mins. Increase the heat slightly and stir until the chutney is thick with no excess liquid. Spoon into warm sterilised jars, and seal. Store in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks before eating. Use within six months. Refrigerate once opened. Fantastic with strong cheese and cold meats. 25
Blackberry and apple jelly
Rob Bowker worked at TCV in publications and shares his recipe for bottling late summer sunshine to enjoy all through the winter. Blackberries are ready to pick in September and last through to early October. He says, “When I make this jelly, it takes me back to my West Midlands roots.” 2lb (at least) ripe hedgerow blackberries same weight of roughly chopped hedgerow or Bramley apples 1 lemon (optional) sugar water Weigh the blackberries and add the same weight of roughly chopped apples to a large, heavy based pan. No need to peel or core the apples. Add water to half-way up the fruit in the pan. Simmer gently on the stove top until the fruit is a pulp. Use a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon to crush the berries and release all the juice. Let the juicy pulp cool and then strain through a muslin cloth, into a bowl. Use a steamer or colander to hold the muslin cloth or hang it over the bowl from a hook. Leave to strain overnight.
The next day, measure the strained juice back into the pan and for each pint, add 1lb of sugar. Place over a low heat and stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Taste the juice. If it tastes bland, add the juice of a lemon. Boil rapidly for 5 minutes and test for setting by placing a drop on a cool saucer. Run your finger through it and if a clump sticks to your finger – it is ready for bottling. If not, boil it a few minutes longer until it passes this test. Bottle in sterile jars and seal while hot. Old screw-top jam jars are ideal. Sterilise by washing and drying in a warm oven for 10 minutes. Makes around 6 jars. 27
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