The Community's first 21 Day Challenge - Eating Seasonally in September 2021


Hi everyone and welcome to the Community’s first ever 21 day challenge! 

What is a 21 day challenge I hear you ask? Well, apparently it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. And we’d like to try and make some more sustainable habits in our everyday lives. So, members of the PP team, as well as Community members, are teaming up each month to tackle a new challenge. And hopefully, some of the changes will stick! You can read more about the idea here, too.

This is the thread for September’s challenge, where we can all post our progress including any pictures or updates, as well as what’s going well or what we’ve found tricky. 

September’s theme is all about eating seasonally - a small change which, hopefully, will help reduce our food’s carbon miles. 

Championing this month’s theme are our very own @Bev, plus PP team members @Alberts @Gaz C @Lindywoo, and myself too! :blush:

 

To give a bit of inspiration, I’ve made a handy cheat sheet of some of the in-season British produce coming our way, too… 

 

Anyone and everyone is welcome to take part - and if you do, let us know all about it in the replies below. 

Looking forward to seeing how we all get on! :grinning:


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Uh oh @Bev I hope the washing machine gets fixed OK, what a pain! 

That looks seriously yummy. You’re all making me hungry and it’s definitely not lunchtime yet. :grin:

I was much more successful in yesterday’s Aldi shop - carrots, celery and spinach were in abundance. And all clearly marked as British, too. I always think of salads as being a summer lunch staple, but looking at the British seasonal veg I think that September is an amazing month for them? Especially given this extra blast of sun we’re getting! 

Also thinking that a good hearty minestrone soup is in order with all this British veg, for when the rain hits on Thursday...

 

I’ve got some seasonal fruit lined up, too, which I’m hoping to cook up over the next few days so I’ll be sure to post all about that! 

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Ah thank you, Nat, he’s just here. Smashing guy. Own business, just him. Luckily just the brushes phew, so simple enough job. I’ve just cleaned all behind the machine whilst he popped to get them, he was larfing at me. 

Ooooh sooooo pleased for you Nat, finding that lot in Aldi! Brilliant! Must have just been waiting a delivery when you went midweek. Great you got plenty 👍👏. It’s win win really, as if we have this mini heatwave, you’ll have nice salad, and when we get the colder weather and rain by Thursday, nothing beats cosy soup! 

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Hi all, I was away for a few days at a music festival. :camping::guitar::microphone:
I did my best trying to continue with the challenge ( ale, chips and crumpets are in season all year round am I right? :beer::fries::bread: ), luckily my wife stocked us up heavily with the goods from the allotment so it helped a lot. 
Eating seasonally while camping can be quite tricky but a bit of preparation and researching local stalls/markets/farm shops can be quite beneficial, there's only so much fried and canned food one can eat on daily basis... Well done @Lindywoo , what a fantastic selection of fresh food! :heart_eyes:
We were lucky that the food stalls at the festival were mainly using local and seasonal produce, organic and Fairtrade as well.
 Also, it's quite amazing to see the awareness of festival goers and organizers in terms of caring for the environment and reducing plastic, recycling efforts and supporting local producers. :seedling:

I see that I’ve missed a lot of cooking/baking action from @Bev and @Gaz C ( that carrot and walnut cake, WOW! ), ratatouille is a firm favorite at our household ( both, the film and the dish ) and haven’t made a cauli curry for ages so will have to give it a go soon!

@Nataly have you thought of trying veg boxes? Riverford does a great seasonal box with most of the produce grown in the UK.

(allotment raspberries for attention :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: )

 

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Wow Albert, like Lind you did amazing to continue with the challenge even whilst camping, and great to hear like mindedness re other users and organisers 👍👍👏👏. Those raspberries look ready to pick straight off the screen, Albert mmmmmm 👍😁👍. Hope you enjoyed the festival and stayed safe. 

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Heating up nicely really creamy mushroom risotto 👍

 

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I’ve been at a festival this weekend too and after an almost 24 hour day yesterday getting home, I’m feeling a bit run down - thankfully, not Covid!

Before I went, and after the success of the carrot cake, which I’m surprised survived my absence, I got into another film related dish and made spinach and feta puffs a la The Emperor’s New Groove - can you tell we’re a Disney household?
 

 

They were very moreish which would explain why they didn’t make it to the festival with me! But today, no film inspired cooking, just a very hastily put together greek salad with my secret ingredient, green olive tapenade, because there’s no such thing as too may olives!
 

I might continue the greek theme I’ve got going on and make a veggie moussaka tomorrow, but both @Bev ‘s risotto and @Lindywoo ‘s enchiladas are giving me some serious FOMO!

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@Bev  great looking risotto and @Gaz C loving those spinach puffs:) Today lunch using surplus tomatoes and basil from the garden with mozzarella. Whipped up an apple and raspberry crumble for tea time, perfect with some oat cream

 

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OMG all these festivals you’re all attending! I think I’M the one with FOMO hee hee in my smoky inner city hee. 

Oooooooh loving those spinach and feta puffs, Gaz! Look so light and gorgeous! Love a fresh Greek salad, you’ve inspired me to buy olives, not bought in a while. 

Yet again, you did ace to do so much whilst fitting in a festival too! 😳😳😳😳😳👍

Not good that you had such a long hot journey home, no wonder you feel a bit off! 🤢Hope you improve now you can rest back home, 

I’m preparing a kind of fresh beetroot …….not really a purée, not sure what to call it, but will serve it on toasts tomoz as a meal, with photos. 

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Oh Lind, you’re making me salivate like Pavlovs dogs with those tomatoes of yours! Mmmmmm 😍, soooooo colourful! Toms are soooooo my favourite fruit😚. Sooooo adore them, and the smell of freshly grown mmmmmmm, I have strong memories of smelling them as a child in my grandads greenhouse. Utterly wonderful smell. They taste sooooooo gorgeous too! 

Your apple and raspberry crumble looks divine! Light and healthy, I think. Looks really fresh. Mmmm you’re very lucky, great produce, Lind 👍

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DAY SEVEN 😳👏🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉

I think we’re all doing great! Hee hee. One week down, and such a fab colourful array of food so far! 

So this was the beetroot medley I prepared. 

 

Simply fresh seasonal beetroot

1 carrot

Chilli

Ginger, about 5cm x 5cm, so quite big.

Fresh Mint

Fresh Basil


Blended in Ninja.

 

Served on rye toasts with English radish, seeds and nuts!

I often do a similar tasty thing thru the year with avocado 🥑, but obvs Avo is clearly banned from this seasonal, local challenge! 😳👍👍👍👍🤣🥑❌

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Btw, how are you getting on, @Antski 🤷‍♀️

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Plenty of those Cornish new potatoes left, so soaked a few for two hours, to rid the starch, then just made my own chippies 🍟hee. 

Really chuffed as really needed some carbs. They were special 👍👍👍👍😘

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Your seasonal beetroot is definitely on brand for this heatwave @Bev - glad it's almost over and I can get back to wearing jumpers every day!

 

Despite the heat, I've made what I call a “lazy curry" this evening. Its a take on an aloo gobi, except you bung it all in a roasting dish for 35 minutes and forget about it. Its a no nonsense curry style dish with really minimal effort and, at least, 3 of your 5 a day!

Cauliflower, brocoli, tomatoes, chickpeas and potatoes form the bulk with some fresh spices and chilli mixed in for warmth. No naan in the house - awful oversight from me - so a spinach tortilla as an alternative.

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Oh wow! I do like the sound of that, Gaz! Sounds a tad easier, and no one wants to be stood over a hot hob for hours in this heat! Thirty degrees today here 😅. Truly gorgeous, but not cooking weather. Thanks re the beetroot, I was really pleased with it. 

I sooooo need to look for those spinach tortilla of yours! Mmmmmmmm 👍😳. Adore chick peas. I’m sooooooo into the black and white mixed ones, Gaz. So so delicious! That curry looks really really tasty! 

Ah loving this challenge! Love seeing everyone’s pics! 👍

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I see that the challenge is going well, amazing stuff @Gaz C , @Bev  and @Lindywoo  ! :heart_eyes::heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

Just wanted to quickly share my favourite seasonal eating cook book - Root, Steam, Leaf, Flower by Gill Meller ( a River Cottage alumnus ).
It's got some great recipes, all vegetarian (I've made quite few of those in the past year, all delicious),  and the book itself is stunnnig, definitely recommended! 

From the author's website:
Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower is a cookbook about plants it's about making the most of the land's bounty in your everyday cooking.

Making small changes to the way we cook and eat can both lessen the impact we have on the environment and dramatically improve our health and wellbeing: good for us and for future generations to come. Making plants and vegetables the focus of your meals can improve your cooking exponentially - they provide a feast of flavours, colours and textures.

Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower is a true celebration of seasonal vegetables and fruit, packed with simple and surprisingly quick vegetarian recipes. With roots, we think of the crunch of carrots, celeriac, beetroot. From springtime stems like our beloved asparagus and rhubarb, through leaves of every hue (kale, radicchio, chard), when the blossoms become the fruits of autumn apples, pears, plums the food year is marked by growth, ripening and harvest.

With 120 original recipes, every dish captured by acclaimed photographer Andrew Montgomery, and Gill's ideas for using the very best fresh ingredients, Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower is a thoughtful, inspiring collection of recipes that you'll want to come back to again and again.

Also, on Gill’s website there’s  a small library of seasonal recipes ( mostly with meat/fish but you can find some veggie ones as well ).

https://www.gillmeller.com/recipes

 

 

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Thanks for that, Albert. It does look a lovely book, think you’ve sold it to us there, sounds perfect. Very good for this challenge, I bet. Love that it’s all totally veggie too 👍👍👍👏

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@Bev will steal that beetroot idea yum:) 

When buying tinned beans, pasta, quinoa, lentils etc I make a huge effort to buy produce grown in the UK. Tonight’s diner spelt pasta, tomatoes, green beans, spinach, anchovies and roasted pine nuts (not season or British but yummy!)

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Ah, you’re very welcome to steal it Lind hee, hope you enjoy. 

Oh now just look at those tomatoes of yours! They are incredible! Oh wow! Seriously look sooooooooooo delicious! Adore spelt too! Great combo, but without the anchovies for me, hee, but your photos are just sooooooooo impressive, Lind! 😳👍👏👏👏👏👏👏

We've done our first week! Phew! 😅👍👏👏👏👏

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Forgot to say I had a glut of tomatoes so oven dried them then popped in the freezer,will be lovely for some tasty winter meals. @Alberts I will definitely check that book out:) 

Forgot to say I had a glut of tomatoes so oven dried them then popped in the freezer,will be lovely for some tasty winter meals. @Alberts I will definitely check that book out:) 

Ah I love this @Lindywoo - prepping bits and bobs and keeping them in the freezer is something I always try to do! I love using strawberries for smoothies so in the summer I stock up on the gorgeous British ones and chop them up, then freeze them so I can enjoy them throughout Autumn/ Winter. :smile:

I also freeze our garden herbs so we always have some handy! 

After visiting my boyfriend’s parents this weekend, we managed to bag a load of apples from their garden. :grinning:

And I was also able to get some lovely Victoria plums…

So last night I got to making some nice compotes, which we’ll use for breakfast time with porridge or as a snack with yoghurt. :blush: I threw some nice fresh blackberries in with the apple one, too… mostly because I love the colour it goes. :grin:

Have saved a few more apples to make (hopefully) a Strudel over the weekend. 

 

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Oh what a smashing load our Nat 😳👍👏, and soooo much more fun than the supermarket, I’m going to try go again today, as I’m about coming to the end of seasonal, British in fridge, but lasted lot longer than thought thru that first week 👍which I’m pleased about, as was concerned I would struggle to keep getting to the supermarket to meet the chalenge. So far, so good. 

Blackberries and apple go together soooooooo well. Love your 🍓🍓🍓🍓🍓idea. How wonderful to still be eating them thru winter 👍😳👍👏

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Tried Asda this week, and their seasonal / British equally as impressive as Morrison’s, so managed to get quite a mixed selection again, for week two of our challenge 👍😀🛒

Pleased to say, on the way again, I spotted a blackberry bush, so was able to pick a few. They’re not very big ones, and only put a few in top pouch of backpack 🎒, but pleased to get some wild, as well as the supermarket produce 👍

👍💕

 

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Couldn’t resist sneaking a pic of these into the challenge hee hee. 

Specifically supporting local restaurants, three or four new flavours out. I chose Fish n chips ( they’re veggie 👍) and supporting The Wetherby Whaler 🐳👍👏

 

These posts are feast for the eyes :heart_eyes: I am salivating just reading through all of this, what an incredible effort everyone! 

It’s definitely inspired me to give eating seasonally a whirl this autumn - truly impressive creations and we’re only on day 8!:grin:

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So, I love to make risottos, but for the challenge, I wanted to try make it as seasonal and British as possible, but without losing any of the flavours. It was strange actually, walking thru the veg and fruit having to not only focus on my shopping list, in addition to Covid, but now also ensuring I was buying local as best I could 😳👍👏😁. It’s good tho, makes you really aware of how we’re doing a tiny bit to help the planet, and also a teeny bit easier than last week, showing it’s already starting to become the norm. 

So anyway, there’s a couple of staples I couldn’t avoid using, so these are both Italian, 🤭🤭🤭🤭

 

But think everything else in it, is British 🇬🇧👍

Now usually, you know those tins of water chestnuts and Bamboo shoots? Well I like to buy those, to add a lovely crunch to a risotto. For the challenge, I thought no no 🤣🤣🤣🤣. Let’s try keep it local, so I spotted this in Asda. 

 

I’ve used before in other recipes, and know it adds a perfect crunch, so thought it’d work very well as a substitute, AND also give it a nice Oriental feel, whilst staying seasonal. Really pleased with that 👍

Simmering nicely and smelling good for later! 😅😅😅👍

 

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