Archive for May, 2016

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Visiting a farm on Open Farm Sunday, Sunday 5th June, is a wonderful way to discover the world of farming.  Modern farming is incredibly diverse and impacts on all of us – from the food we eat, to clothing, medicine, fuel and manufacturing.  Agriculture is vital to our future too – so come along and find out more!

Hundreds of farms across Britain will be opening their gates for LEAF’s (Linking Environment And Farming) Open Farm Sunday. It is a great day out for the whole family and a unique opportunity to discover what farmers do and the vital role they have in protecting and enhancing the environment.

You may not realise it but our lives depend on the diverse products farmers grow. For example, did you know that farmers grow crops for generating heat and power, cosmetics, perfume and even medicine, as well as producing wool for clothing and fibre for insulation and building materials?  And of course, don’t forget that the majority of the nutritious and delicious food we enjoy each day has been grown or produced on British farms – ranging from meat and dairy products, to fruit and vegetables, cereals, eggs and oil.

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Since the first Open Farm Sunday in 2006, it has been organised by LEAF, the leading organisation delivering more sustainable food and farming. Visiting a farm on the 5th June you will learn more about sustainable farming, and get a great insight into the role farmers play in looking after our countryside – including woodlands, hedgerows, meadows, ponds and pathways.  Come and learn how farmers manage water and energy resources, care for the health of the soil, create new habitats for wildlife and above all, have a great day out with family and friends.

All types of farms take part in Open Farm Sunday and most events are free.  Activities on the day can range from farm walks and trailer rides, through to sheep shearing, milking demonstrations, bug hunts and machinery displays.  There will also be a chance to explore the technology and science behind farming and food production, and find out about the business aspects of modern farming.

So round up the family, put on your wellies and head to the countryside to meet a farmer and have a great day out experiencing all the sights, sounds and science of the farm.  Find your local Open Farm Sunday event by visiting www.farmsunday.org.JL_openfarmsunday_84

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Spice Drops®, the unique range of concentrated extracts of herbs and spices revealed a fresh, inspiring new look at the recent Food & Drinks Expo.

The new packaging is contemporary, fresh, simple, and fun with an elephant (which underlines the product’s Indian origins) joyfully stamping in a splash of colour which is symbolic of a burst of flavour. There is a clear message about the usage on the packs and each one also includes a recipe and tells the story of the product.

 

Made using fresh produce from local farms in Kerala, India, (except for the saffron which is sourced from Iran), Spice Drops® can be used in drinks to add flavour to teas, coffees, smoothies or cockails, and are ideal for use in cooking, be it in curries, gravies or sauces, for flavouring chocolate and even in baking.  By simply adding a drop of the relevant Spice Drops® rather than dried herbs or spices, the recipe is transformed with an authentic, fresher, more intense flavour.

 

The product was launched in the UK in 2013 and has slowly but surely been growing a fan base including celebrity chefs such as Nigella Lawson, Tom Kerridge, Anthony Worrall Thompson, Atul Kochhar and Cyrus Todiwala who have all praised the Spice Drops®.  A number of products in the range have won Great Taste Awards in 2015 including Rose, Saffron, Lemongrass, Cinnamon, Cardamom and the Mulling Spices.

 

Spice Drops® have a three year shelf life, guaranteed to retain their intensity ensuring consistent flavouring with more reliable results than dried herbs or spices which lose their flavour very quickly.  In addition, Spice Drops® are flexible and can be added at any stage of the cooking process to ensure the optimum level of flavour is attained.  Spice Drops® retain their intensity for up to 3 years, ensuring consistent flavouring with more reliable results than dried herbs or spices which lose their flavour very quickly.  The extracts are easy to use with clear instructions on the equivalent number of drops to leaves of peppermint, pods of cardamom or strands of saffron, for example. They remove the need to grind, grate, chop or measure out, saving valuable time in a commercial kitchen.  For caterers the Spice Drops® come in packs of bottles measuring 100ml, 500ml, 1 litre or 5 litres, however custom sizes can be made too.

 

With the growing consumer emphasis on health and provenance, Spice Drops® tick both these boxes too.  They are not only natural and contain no artificial colouring, flavouring or preservatives, but the range is gluten free, vegan and contains no sugar or salt.  Spice Drops® are also ethically sourced and ethically produced; the products are handmade in the factory in Kerala which is a women’s enterprise employing mainly disadvantaged women who have been marginalised due to personal circumstances.  In a traditionally male dominated society, employment in the factory gives these women much needed self-confidence and independence, making a true difference to their lives.

 

The newest addition to the range is Orange Spice Drops® – just four drops are the same as adding the zest of half an orange to any recipe.  They are made from fresh oranges grown and pressed in India and are more versatile than orange oil because they blend easily with any liquid.  This means they can add the ‘just squeezed’ taste of fresh orange rind, intensifying the orange flavour in any dish without increasing the volume of liquid.

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Bastion of all that is gloriously British.

Where mugs of tea are sipped over rows of cabbages. Gossip is swapped. Boots muddied. Worms cajoled and stress relieved. Yep, we all know gardening is great for our health, but did you know just half an hour of gardening a week can deliver long-term benefits for body and mind?

Let’s raise a glass to science with this fresh new cocktail: The Allotment.

It’s wild, green things, with a touch of the exotic. Where punchy passion fruit jostles with sprigs of mint, a drape of basil and the sweet, delicate earthiness of a freshly dug cucumber.  And not forgetting some delicious gin. (Because no decent potting shed is complete without a bottle of the botanical stuff).

Make it like this:

The Allotment 

  • 3 mint leaves
  • 3 basil leaves
  • 75ml Passionfruit Coulis
  • 100ml Qcumber water
  • 1 part gin

Muddle your mint and basil leaves in a long tall glass with your favourite gin. Add crushed ice and the passion fruit coulis, then top with sparkling Qcumber water. Tin mug and flask optional.

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Editor’s Notes

  • Qcumber is available at Tesco, Booths, Planet Organic, Ocado, Harrods, Selfridges & Co and other quality food stores.
  • Qcumber was born out of one of those rare ‘eureka’ moments. One summer’s evening Graham Carr-Smith was enjoying a gin with slices of crisp cucumber and the thought came to him “this could be the next drink flavour” After a lot of hard work, Qcumber was born.
  • The quality of the water is fundamental to the taste of Qcumber. The source of the spring water lies in the old county of Radnorshire in Mid Wales. In this unspoilt rural area, the water is able to filter naturally through layers of rock to achieve its exceptional taste and purity.
  • Qcumber contains only natural ingredients and is free from artificial sweeteners, colours, preservatives and flavourings. The ingredients are: carbonated spring water, natural cucumber extract, beet sugar, citric acid.
  • Great on its own, Qcumber is also the perfect mixer with gin and vodka, or with Pimms.
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