Myself and my husband and daughter are taking part in a challenge based in Framlingham, Suffolk, to only eat local food during September 2011. The group promoting the challenge Greener Fram are a local Transition Town group and are looking at ways to reduce our dependence on oil. The rules of the challenge are simple. You must only eat food grown within a 30 mile radius of your home for the 30 days of September. The exceptions to this are 3 items chosen before the challenge starts, one of mine being tea, essential!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Celebration Meal

Well its the end of the challenge, it has been a great experience and the great thing is we will carry on, just less strictly!

To celebrate the Lemon Tree Bistro in Framlingham is holding a celebration meal on Friday 14th October, most people will be there at around 7pm. To book you can contact me or contact them directly, see the website at

The menu for the night is below:

Greener Fram’s 30 mile challenge finale dinner
2 courses £17.95, 3 courses £22.50

To Start
Locally grown Autumn vegetable broth, homemade bread
Badingham wood pigeon and black pudding salad, Blythburgh Pancetta
Free range chicken liver parfait, our own red onion jam, toast and salad leaves
Pinney’s Orford smoked trout pate, toasted foccaccia, a cucumber salad

Main Course
Grilled Blythburgh pork chop, salsa verde, sautéed potatoes, savoy cabbage
Locally caught skate wing on stir fried Autumn vegetables, fresh chilli dressing
Slow cooked Gressingham duck leg, potato gratin, vegetables, redcurrant jus
Wild mushroom and spinach lasagne, locally grown rocket salad

To Finish
Sticky toffee pudding, toffee sauce, locally made vanilla pod ice cream
Mixed berry pavlova made with free range Suffolk eggs
Bramley apple crumble and homemade custard
A board of Suffolk made cheeses, crackers and homemade chutney

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Nearly the end...

As time has gone on the challenge has become easier, I have just got into the swing of things and nearly forgotten I am doing it. I have to admit that it has also led to me eating some things I shouldn't when I'm out and about - somehow once you master something its easier to let it slip a bit. Anyway at home I have been strictly on the challenge. I have got used to where to shop and what to buy and the extra time cooking and what to snack on. Surprisingly its hasn't bothered me one bit that I don't have any convenience foods. I have also got faster at cooking, feeling confident to make a quick loaf of soda bread to go with dinner or even an apple and blackberry pie one morning before work.

I have learnt so much this month and felt a connection with not only where I am and the food the land can produce, but also the people that used to live here and how they used to survive on only local food.
There are many things I will carry on doing, infact I am planning to just continue but less strictly.
I will look at some things and re-assess them, for example should I use cane sugar or sugar beet sugar? Should I buy Marybelle milk in a big carton so the end of the milk always goes off - probably not!
Can I afford local cheeses forever? Well, probably but I'm not sure I want to spend that much on cheese - but on the other hand we have used less and valued it more.
There are a lot of things to think about which is really why this challenge has been so interesting and worthwhile.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Apple Juice

I thought i would share a picture of my daughter juicing apples a few weeks ago. It did surprise me how little juice you get from quite a big pile of apples.... Delicious though!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Today was the first curry night, a perfect way to eat lots of lovely vegetables and no meat. As spices are allowed as part of the challenge they are a great way to add some variety into the local diet.

Spinach and potato curry with fried battered aubergines and plum chutney
Tonight we had spinach and potato curry with fried battered aubergines and rice (one of our household luxuries). Try making batter with a mix of brown and white flour, ground cumin, coriander and chilli powder, then dip the sliced aubergines and fry in vegetable (or rape seed) oil for about 3 mins each side and drain on kitchen towl. You can keep them warm in the oven on gas mark 3. Eat before they go cold, great with a sprinkling of salt and chutney. Delicious.

I was told a few weeks ago that Suffolk has more roadside places to buy food than any other county.
We have been getting some great stuff and all so cheap too, £3.00 for a bag of vegetables for charity, 60p for a jar of chutney, also strawberry jam, blackberry and apple jam, free pears, apples ..... food in abundance, really amazing.....

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


To add a new perspective to the challenge we are attempting vegetarianism this week!
I am not going to be too strict, a bit of fish and perhaps some meat stocks (already made up) but no actual animal flesh is the idea.

Tonight was good old baked spuds, very expensive cheese, salad, corn on the cob and grated raw carrot and beetroot (plus some sneaky boiled eggs I had half thought would be for lunch tomorrow).

A good place to look to get some ideas on meat free seasonal recipes is

To celebrate the end of vegetarian week we will indulge in a local and free range chicken and see how many meals we can make it last for.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Rubbish and Recycling

I am amazed at how little waste we have made over the last few weeks. I would say that in a normal week the kitchen bins are filled probably every other day, I reckon we are now filling them maybe once a week, if that. That is a in incredible difference! I hope we can carry on like this after September....

Also I don't think we have wasted much food in the last 3 weeks, a small amount of mouldy bread has gone to the chickens, off milk I have used to make soda bread (on that note Marybelle should do smaller bottles in the Co-op) and the end of a failed stodgy risotto went to the dogs!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Beef, mushroom, carrot and onion cobbler with cheese-scone topping

I made this last night for dinner with friends, served with cabbage, green beans and cauliflower. It was really really delicious, I will definitely be making it again and the kids loved it too. Next time though I would add more carrots and maybe more mushrooms to make the casserole bigger and make the topping about a third smaller as it was a bit stodgy in places where it was really thick.  You could use the same topping to cover a vegetable pie, or really any pie filling. the recipe below is how it appears in the book (Porters English Cookery Bible)

For the casserole:
675g diced stewing steak
225g onions, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
300ml beef stock, beer or red wine
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
bouquet garni
salt and pepper
225g button mushrooms, halved

For the topping:
450g plain flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon english mustard powder
salt and pepper
110g butter
225g sharp flavoured mature cheese e.g. chedder, grated
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
300ml milk
beaten egg to glaze

  • Preheat oven to 150C/300F/GM 2
  • Heat oil in casserole dish and seal the meat, remove from pan and add carrots and onions
  • cook for a few mins until lightly browned
  • return meat to casserole with stock, bouquet garni, vinegar, salt and pepper and bring to boil
  • cover and transfer to oven, cook for 1 3/4 hours
  • add mushrooms and cook for another 45 mins (I did this in the morning and left it in the oven then slowly re-heated at dinner time ready to add the topping, you could even do it the night before)
  • meanwhile put flour, baking powder and mustard powder in a mixing bowl and add good sprinkling salt and pepper
  • rub in the butter, then add cheese and parsley
  • pour in milk and knead lightly to form a soft dough
  • put in fridge for 30 mins (this make the dough harder, it was too stick to use when it was warm)
  • roll out on lightly floured surface to 1cm then cut into rounds and arrange on top of the casserole and brush with beaten egg
  • cook for about 25 mins at 190C/375F/GM 5 until topping is golden and risen