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Awakening the Eco spirit in Bournemouth

Bournemouth is fast becoming a place to be; choc a block of families and youths enjoying the sunny days. What did I do? Here are the highlights: ate lots of amazing vegan food:

For breakfast/lunch & dinner, head to The Coast deli for The best Chocolate orange polenta cake and blueberry loaf with a whole host of delicious roast vegetable salads, shakes and olives smothered in thyme.

After breakfast I sat in the picturesque gardens listening to a slide guitarist singing old New Orleans blues and jazz and the odd Bob Dylan song. Later, a group of Extinction rebellion peaceful protesters started designing proactive plant based facts onto the concourse pathway. The group employed artistic activism engaging passers by in conversation regarding the connection with meat eating and environmental awareness. The impact of rearing livestock versus agricultural farming and enjoying a plant based lifestyle. Before long the pathway was creatively covered in colourful chalk designs and slogans. A young pair of identically dressed sisters added their own illuminating comments to the colourful display.

From here we made our way up to The Mad Cucumber cafe; the most reliable restaurant for a fabulous array of choices and a fridge laden with fresh cakes. Their menu is akin to any London fare in that they offer many international choices of cuisine inc burgers burritos and much more. I love the specialty teas on offer, the community library section, and arty plant displays too.

Walking Down the road is the Twelve Eatery, a new stylish plant based restaurant with a fresh new menu to try on my next visit.

Try The ‘Pause’ Cat Cafe; for I the best coconut milk hot chocolate (& name! ) this is actually nicer than imagined as it’s a cat rescue centre with a completely sectioned off kitchen/cafe area. The staff are lead by a volunteer team who are cat lovers and learning to serve customers who come from the busy high street.

For dinner we tried the pizza express shared a gluten free pizza without arancini (rice balls with broad beans and mint) (which opens late).

Heading out from the big wheel, Up on the track towards the west cliff is a weekly Vintage car show, where owners share their historic motors; teaching me the difference between British and American design (American pick up trucks and Cadillacs can seat up to 4 people in the front seat; UK saloon just 2 at a squeeze.) The interiors gleam with wooden dashboards, metallic handles, window frames and wing mirrors; upholstery in unusual shades of grey/green/ beige designs, is immaculate and almost as good as new. They are simply Sublime, works of art.

Meeting the owners is as exciting and I’m reduced to promise a return trip.

Theresa Webb

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Soothing Solstice tea: Linden blossom harvest

Today We’re Celebrating the Summer Solstice; our longest day in the Northern hemisphere and instead of visiting a ‘sacred’ site in the West Country I went on a hunt for Linden Blossom, flowers from the common Lime tree (Tilea). These flowers possess such a gorgeous scent which wafts around on the breeze in order for you to identify its location. Often street trees are primed and cut for us to walk beneath, however this makes harvesting harder so fortunately there are a several local trees with branches almost reaching down to the ground, which makes collection easier. This is the best time of year, blossoms are blooming out however they open in succession, some trees are still in bud and not yet out. This enables foragers to safely collect little and often from these parts; to enjoy the lower branches and leave the rest for the bees.

The blossoms make excellent tea infusion for a relaxing afternoon or evening. A Combination with mint and lemon balm is my favourite. They are best fresh however dry easily and smell great again when used at a later date.

Making our own local fresh remedies is empowering and rewarding.

Theresa Webb

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Less is more: young, fresh shoots to collect during Lent. #wildfood

Having reached the ‘half-way mark’ during Lent and I’ve bought a few charity shop items (supporting local and international causes), visited Brighton VegFest with the Vegan Organic Network and enjoyed a new Seaweed produced by @Seagreens.

Since then, Spring reminds us that fresh, new shoots are bursting forth and flower buds preparing to bear fruit later in the year. Behold the best wild food foraging season in the urban South East London region and another walk tour around our local @Mountsfield Park, which yielded many meadow and woodland delights.


Here’s how to pick your own wild green salads, to save purchasing mixed salad leaves, pre-prepared in plastic bags.

In the lower woodland area: Dead nettle has square stems (with apparent edges), tiny pink flowers and leaves similar to that of stinging nettles, offering a robust flavour, minus the sting (hence it’s name). Chickweed (Stellaria Media) spreads and grows horizontally, along the ground, in clumps, with tiny white flowers and lots of leaves, which all has a light flavour, like lettuce.

Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) is in lush leaf – with feathery foliage, celery stalk like stems with white buds becoming tall, umbelliferous flower heads later in Spring. Beware not to confuse this with Hemlock, a poisonous, similar plant to which Hogweed is also akin but with purple spots along the stems. Only touch those stems which are green (& not covered in purple splotches).

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) grows in low level clumps (to a metre high in summer) with iron-rich leaves, delicious to juice (in moderation) or boil into a tea and offers us a natural energy and stamina boost, due to its high iron levels. Combining Dandelion(Taraxacum) detoxes our urinary tract and large Burdock leaves (and roots) opens cells for purification. The former ‘Lion’s-tooth-plant’ (in French) refers to the shape of the plant’s leaves and yellow flower head.

Yarrow (Achillae millefolium); feathery little leaves grow in the grass and have a strong flavour, great for blood clotting and wound healing, as is Plantain (Plantago) with ribbed, pointed, finger-like leaves with threads form parts of the ribs (part of our ‘common-thread’ principle.

We each enjoyed all of these leaves, which due to their being uncultivated, offer us unprecedented mineral amounts of Calcium and magnesium, plus Chlorophyll, as a blood cleanser, which helps in thyroid balance, glowing skin, hormonal balance and energy. Each weed offers a unique, vibrant taste and grows tenacious, wild and free; elements which pass into our cells: we are what we eat (and absorb).

Dandelions

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A Sustainable Lent; a time for giving up of excess consumption

Last week, we taught in school the concept of making pancakes for Shrove Tuesday (& as it transpired, also, on Ash Wednesday), as the tradition of using up simple ingredients to prepare for 40 days of fasting during Lent. Much conversation and pancake making (& eating) ensued x 25 vegan pancakes infact; all made using egg replacer powder and a dairy-free / soya milk. Served with fresh fruit & jam, as Stillness is a #Sugarsmart registered school and we had happy kids.

At home, we made a fresh chocolate dessert *NaturalNutella to serve on more pancakes for our house dinner, minus palm oil, using fresh hazel nuts, cocoa, dates, avocado and bananas: happy housemates.

At the WEN International Women’s Day 30th Anniversary celebration we each sewed a bunting flag with a political message; Butterflies without borders (relating to freedom of migration). I learnt how to blanket stitch on a patch (which will come in handy, I dare say).

At the Vegan Life Show at Alexandra Palace on Saturday I decided to part with tradition and not purchase any additional types of the delicious Yogi Tea; simply tasting them was sufficient.

I resisted buying extra dinners with the delicious Clives pies (gluten free) and instead purchased 5 x large jars of coconut oil, for all our skincare culinary and skin care needs.

Clothing: Buying organic cotton/hemp/bamboo new, quality clothing means that over the years, I’ve collected at least half a dozen pretty long sleeved hemp tops. Each ranging between 2-6 yrs old by now. My purple top is currently a favourite and alas, I spotted a hole on a sleeve and have promised myself to sew up by turning up the cuffs on both sleeves, as they were a little long anyhow.

Approx 7 yrs ago I discovered the softness and warmth of eco-friendly Tights; multi-colours and mainly organic cotton. Similarly, I’ve bought a single pair per year and now have rainbow coloured legs for all seasons. Until I noticed holes in both the brown and pale grey pairs! A needle and thread later and the grey pair may last another few wears (& washes) whilst the brown pair is destined for a new life through upcyling as they are still lovely and soft but might suit a cushion liner instead.

On Saturday I dug out some old Jewellery from my favourite wooden box and discovered a multitude of carefully stored items from my teens during 80s-90s. Taking them out, I’m going to re-purpose and wear a few of them.

For a Party on Saturday, I made up a batch of 5 herb inc. 3 cornered leek Wild herbal dressing for gifts.

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Locally run teenage magazine KychanTeen goes online

KychanTeen Zine was created by two ‘A’ Level Media students, sisters Kyra and Channan to provide a platform for local teenagers outside of the academic curriculum.

In 2016 Channan invited me to contribute articles and recipes to her teenage audience through an A5 magazine freely distributed around Lewisham, which continues to gather and secure a great following among teens and adults alike.

From this month onwards, the magazine in now a subscription only publication and is available to view online via the website . Subscribe online here: http://www.wearekychan.com

This month features Spring cleansing Juices and Smoothies with added avocados!

Biog. Channan is a media entrepreneur and an excellent photographer; we invited her to participate in our foraging walks for Hither Green Week Festival 2018. She’s our top female, teen photographer and her images feature in the Kitchen Buddy Foraging Calendar 2019.
She is also an ambassador for teenagers with HIV+ status and actively campaigns for equality and health care in this area.

Kitchen Buddy is proud to support Kychan Teen and the HIV+ Charities with , read and download the latest issue through the Issuu app and share with a local teenager!

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Boots! Boots! Eco-boots! (& socks)

Being as the London temperatures had plummeted recently and we’re forced to dig out our buried Winter thermals inc. jumpers, vests and long-johns I’ve been re-assessing and making a conscious decision to add eco items into my winter wardrobe.

Recently, several local female friends and I had a conversation about the best eco-footwear for winter; including both socks and boots. Bamboo and Organic Cotton I adore, with no holes and are comfortable. The first bamboo socks I bought and the last (most recent) were from BAM – funky, young-ish pioneers; a set of pastel sports socks and most recently for my housemate. When he arrived so I legitimately had an excuse to give socks as a Christmas present. Two months later and the verdict is in: the most soft, thick and comfortable socks. Worth a try.

https://bambooclothing.co.uk/

Next I love the wonderful eco clothing here: https://www.peopletree.co.uk/

Custom made Italian boots are possible; at VegFest, after choosing the ideal fabric from a huge selection of colours; with a soft suede like feel but made from recycled plastic bottles. They measured my feet and 2-3 weeks later, they arrive. Result: comfy and a perfect fit. https://bellastoria-vegan.com/

Thought also has lovely organic cotton, hemp and bamboo collections. https:/www.wearethought.com

My father recently returned from a 10 day conference visit to India and having worn all his sensible work socks whilst away was forced to wear his ‘Happy Birthday Dad’ socks, for the first time, since his last birthday (in July) the following day…