Oh hello September! This one of my favourite months – it’s the beginning of Autumn, the leaves change colour and I can’t help but be catapulted back in my mind to the first day of school and being reminded to bring in a can of sweetcorn for the Harvest Festival.
September is now widely known as Organic September, which is something very close to my heart. I was rather late to the party, when it came to thinking about what I was ACTUALLY putting into my body… but once I’d jumped on board the bandwagon, there was absolutely no stopping me and my enthusiasm for eating good, real, not-messed-about-with food.
I was recently challenged by Organic UK to get involved with their #OrganicUnboxed challenge…and I loved the sound of it. They promised to send me a mystery box, full to the brim of organic goodies, and I had to create a dish (or several) out of the contents. (Remember Ready Steady Cook? Exactly).
Here’s their campaign video with the lovely Madeleine Shaw, so you can see what it’s all about…
The box arrived on a gloriously hot day, just as I arrived back from showing my aunt around my new area (I’ve moved to Walthamstow! I love it! It’s brilliant! There is a VILLAGE!! And an ANCIENT HOUSE!! You must all come for organic tea). A few minutes later I opened the box with a level of excitement I usually reserve only for Christmas… and I was NOT disappointed.
So many bits and pieces and lovely packets and pretty cartons… I started to hatch recipe plans… and before I knew it, I had found a use for nearly every single thing in my box.
The following morning, some friends came round for brunch and I made them the sweetcorn fritters and black bean stew I’d learnt with Gizzi Erskine, using the organic black beans in my box – they tasted even more delicious than usual and I am certain it’s because they were organic – it really does make an enormous difference.
Supper in the garden was pan fried salmon with lime and a delicious salad with potatoes and gooey eggs – again, everything was organic and tasted wonderful…
Accompanied by a delicious organic wine…
… and topped off with a naughty caramelised apple and blackberry crumble, with everything down to the flour being organic too.
A couple of days later some friends came round for tea, so I made them teacake, using organic flour and dried fruit… and I also provided a few organic digestive biscuits. Because nothing can beat a good digestive.
After all this delicious food, LM and I wanted a very simple supper, so we took out a tub of his mum’s bolognese out of the freezer (both our amazing mums kindly stocked up our freezer when we moved in to our new house – it’s like having our own little shop in the kitchen!) we cooked some organic pasta, and settled on the sofa with steaming bowls of pasta bolognese… sometimes, nothing else will do.
I know that the word ‘organic’ has come to automatically mean ‘expensive’ for many of us, but the more I look into it, the more I have realised that it just doesn’t have to. Whether that means you’re growing your own tomatoes on your balcony, supporting a local farm near to you, or even joining a community allotment or growing scheme, I have found that buying and eating organic food is entirely more pleasurable. And not only on a flavour level, but also on that wholesome fundamental level, which speaks to us and makes us feel happier, when we know we’re doing something good.
And for those of you who are marvelling at my teacake above – I don’t blame you. It’s the easiest thing in the world to make – just chuck everything into a bowl, mix it up and whack it in the oven for an hour. Done.
Sunday Arvo Teacake
Use any cup you like for the cup measurement – I usually use a smallish mug. (I know – I hate it when recipes aren’t precise, but this one really doesn’t matter – mine come out different every time)
1 cup any organic brown sugar
2 cups organic self raising flour
1 cup organic dried fruit
1 tbsp golden syrup dissolved in 1 cup warm organic milk
Method – throw EVERYTHING into a bowl, mix it up with a wooden spoon, pour into a loaf tin, one hour in the oven, cut, smear with the creamiest organic butter… EAT.
Happy Organic September everyone – will you make the switch this month?
This post was sponsored by Organic UK and all thoughts and opinions are my own.