I must admit to suffering a little eco-fatigue this week, trying to source ingredients/producers and wine for a new restaurant opening next month.
Organic, fairtrade, hormone-free, freedom food, non- GM, antibiotic-free, "natural" the list of requirements to have safe, good food is seemingly endless and makes my head spin after a while. And I'm very lucky because I have more access than most to 100's of wholesalers, farmers, boutique vineyards, artisan producers that people don't get the opportunity to buy from. And my budgetary constraints are less than most because I'm not footing this particular bill and the higher cost of buying "green" food is passed onto the restaurant patrons.
It's the same in the supermarket where you have to deal with the labelling and the high prices or even the tempting low prices. Feeding a family comes at a ridiculously cost both to your pocket and to your peace of mind. Having provenance labelling is a good thing, as consumers, it gives us a choice but I wish there was a more simple method of getting the message across. Consumers are still confused, I hear it all the time in the cooking classes I teach.
My Fantasy Labelling
This Contains all Sorts of Crap, better you than me dear
This Contains Stuff We're experimenting with to increase yield and profit
This Won't Give you Nightmares about killing your loved ones and put even more people into positions of abject poverty.
Enough digression, this week I'm looking to have some good greens, cheaply.
1. Eat the season, a must to get the best produce and best value for money
2. Grow as much as you can yourself, windowsill herbs and sprouting seeds are a great start and need very little space
3.Make meat a flavouring, it does not have to be the star of the show at every meal
4. Try some different staples, skip the pasta and potatoes for a while, there is so much more out there. Lentils, see my Lentil Chic post, a myriad of beans and lots of different grains to taste.
5. Read the labels in the supermarket and if you are confused, ASK!, grab the manager and start quizzing.
My Top 5 Must Buy Organic
1. EGGS,EGGS,EGGS! Despite many and varied opinions about the safety factor of eating battery hen produced eggs, in my house, I only feel comfortable feeding my loved ones, guaranteed organic.
2. Milk, non-organic has too many hormones, there are enough of those raging in my house at the best of times......
3. Apples, even after being scubbed within an inch of their lives, conventionally grown apples still contain up to 8 different pesticides
4. Spinach,leafy greens, lettuces, capsicums ( bell peppers ), large surface areas, lots of sprays
5. Meat, incredibly expensive but I'd rather eat fabulous organic meat once a month than the crappy cheap stuff every day. Exceptions are when I'm buying direct from farmers who may not be organically certified but practice great animal husbandry and welfare.
Pea and Olive Salad
2 cups of peas, frozen or fresh ( frozen peas great especially if you manage to find organic ones)
Big handful of green olives, stoned and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon unwaxed lemon zest
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 fat clove of garlic, finely chopped
5cm root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
50 mls of sunflower oil
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, unsmoked fine
Big handful of parsley and mint, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Put all the ingredients, except parsley and mint into a saucepan on a medium heat, cover with lid and heat until peas are just barely cooked through, about 5- 8 mins.
Place in a bowl, add the herbs and allow to cool. Taste, season with salt and pepper, stir and serve.
Love Food X