Saturday, September 22, 2007

Eat Local and Sustainable in Bristol, England...

from a Californian perspective

peppers grown by mum and dad on their glass-covered porch in Bristol, England
I am currently stuck in England without a passport, waiting for a US visa stamp, whilst my beloved is off gallivanting in Paris without me. Hmmph. My mum suggested we invite some relatives around for Sunday lunch. I agreed to help (read: take over the kitchen), only if she would let me cook a totally local meal, in honour of the September 2007 Eat Local Challenge. "This isn't California, it's not possible", she laughed. Full of bravado, I retorted "I bet you it is." Hmmm.

Follow me over the next few posts as my mother proves me wrong, I discover that in Britain organic invariably trumps local, how packaging can deceive and that garlic seems only to come from Spain.

My first port of call for information on finding locally sourced produce in the Bristol area was the Bristol Friends of the Earth local food guide. This is actually a very useful resource for anyone starting to investigate the subject of where to find locally sourced products in the Bristol area.

Even closer to home - I found that my mum and dad had been growing a small amount of produce at home. From peppers growing in a pot in the glass-covered porch area to defiantly green tomatoes, and a selection of herbs, outside in the back yard.

Stubborn green tomatoes growing in my parents' back yard
Bringing a touch of America into Britain, for starters, I'm planning on Fried green tomatoes with a red pepper aioli to begin with. I won't be using cornmeal, I'll be opting for local Shipton Mill flour instead. This might be difficult to wrap your head around - there has been a mill in this location since Domesday - that's more than 900 years! If anyone has any Green Fried tomato tips, I'd be happy to hear them before I get started but if you think frying them in beef dripping is a bad idea, then maybe I'll just shut my ears...



PS - Please Wish me luck - I think I am going to need it!


Archives
2006 | Pierre Hermé Bittersweet Truffles with Lime and Honey
2004 | Levende Lounge

© 2007 Sam Breach
Eat Local and Sustainable in Bristol, England...

15 Comments:

  • At 22/9/07 11:33, Blogger ChrisB said…

    I have every confidence in your abilities to produce a perfect meal~ with my help of course!!

     
  • At 22/9/07 11:34, Blogger Sam said…

    Perfect - well there's a chance - but fully local - no way -I already added balsalmic and olive oil to the soup...

     
  • At 22/9/07 12:35, Anonymous kudzu said…

    Okay, Sam, shut your ears. It doesn't have to do with the fact that drippings are from beef -- I'm jusr a little worried about overwhelming the sweet/sourness of the tomatoes, which is pretty delicate. Flour will be fine when there's no meal. This comes from someone with Southern roots. I wouldn't even use bacon fat (one of the few times when that's true!).

     
  • At 22/9/07 16:26, Blogger Anita said…

    the recipe we used last year had just a touch of cornmeal in it, so I am sure it would be fine if you left it out:
    http://marriedwithdinner.com/2006/10/15/frittering-the-day-away/m

     
  • At 22/9/07 16:29, Blogger Stephen said…

    Fried green tomatoes in beef drippings sounds great!!

     
  • At 22/9/07 16:36, Blogger Homesick Texan said…

    I've never fried mine in beef fat, but I think it could be interesting. Just make sure the slices are thick, otherwise they can get too mushy. And while I prefer cornmeal, flour is tasty as well. I mix a bit of buttermilk with an egg, and then do a flour dredge(spiced with black pepper--though that's probaly not local to Bristol), then an egg & buttermilk dredge, then another flour dredge. This makes for a nice and thick crust. Good luck with keeping up with the Eat Local challenge--it's always a blast being creative in the kitchen!

     
  • At 22/9/07 16:50, Blogger alexthepink said…

    Sam, you should try Isle of Wight garlic - that's what I always used to get at my local farmers' market when I lived in Hampshire. There's even a garlic festival held there every year...

    http://www.garlic-festival.co.uk/

     
  • At 22/9/07 18:43, Blogger Mercedes said…

    This is great, i have so many thoughts, but i'll wait and watch as this all plays out. Look forward to reading more...

     
  • At 23/9/07 00:29, Blogger her indoors said…

    your mum sent me over, it sounds great to me, please don't forget to show us photos of the complete meal

     
  • At 23/9/07 05:11, Blogger Beccy said…

    I wish I was there!!!!!

     
  • At 23/9/07 08:40, Blogger Marianna said…

    Hello, I am new to your blog. I have been to San Francisco once in my life and loved every minute I was there.

    Good luck in your adventure of eating local while in England.

     
  • At 23/9/07 18:11, Blogger frannie said…

    I can't make anything without garlic.

    and my mom is allergic to it. I have a really hard time when she comes to dinner.

     
  • At 24/9/07 11:55, Anonymous Ms. Glaze said…

    If you get your passport is there a chance you'll come to Paris? Coupe de champagne on me! Bises, Ms. Glaze

     
  • At 26/9/07 05:58, Blogger Jeanne said…

    Good luck with your endeavour! Reminds me of the Konstam restaurant here in London where they try to source everything thsy use from within the M25 (or just a teensy bit outside it...). Clearly a problem for stuff like olive oil, coffee and rice, but you'd be surprised how far they can get.

     
  • At 30/9/07 20:07, Blogger Sam said…

    Kudzu - it's ok - I shut my ears and used the beef dripping and you know what - I don't think that was the problem (beef dripping is far more subtle than bacon fat in taste) - the problem was I cooked them a little in advance and then tried to keep them warm in the oven at which point they lost their crisp. otherwise I think the dripping would have worked a treat. I sliced them fairly thick which I think helped.

    anita - I found a few recipes online without the cornmeal which gave me the confidence to not worry about not using it, of course, along with you stamp of approval.

    HT - great advice which of course I didn't take - but might take next time. Well - I took the thick slice advice from you and that worked a treat but I wasn't so rigorous with my dredging.

    alexthepink - unfortunately we did not even find any local garlic though I am sure it exists - at least we tried to find it - it was a bit far to nip to the IOW for a bulb or two!!!

    mercedes - penny for your thoughts later maybe?

    her indoors - the photos are now up on the latest post, thanks for dropping in from mum's

    beccy - me too

    marianna - thanks for stopping by and saying hello - I hope you will come back!

    poor frannie - that is tragic!

    ms glaze - I wished I could have gone to paris but it was not to be and fred went on his lonesome and then missed me too much and came back to Angeleterre a few days early so we could hang out in Cornwall.
    Next time?

    jeanne - that sounds wonderful - I will have to check it out!

     

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