Happy New Year Everyone! We wanted to kickstart January and of course 'Veganuary 2022' with some recent reading on food sustainability hacks which we hope will be of interest to anyone who has 'eco anxiety' or simply wishes to make some small changes in the way they approach their food shopping.
We’ve no interest in telling you certain rules to follow to make you feel better or what you MUST do. At a time of year when a lot of peoples' immune systems are low, and you are already bombarded with messages of self improvement we just want to help you feel nourished, inspired and if we can help educate in an interesting way- then that’s a bonus.
What helps keep us energised is learning ways in which we can make slight adjustments to our shopping and eating habits that aren’t disruptive or complicated. We wanted to share with you a few interesting tips we picked up from Anna Jones's book 'One Pot Pan Planet.' Sustainability is a complicated and confusing issue, but we hope that we can help to clear up a few questions you might have….for instance…
You might want to think twice about whether 'local' is always better- some intensively cultivated fruit and veg grown in the UK has a bigger carbon footprint than the same food grown in Europe- buying a tomato grown in the UK has a carbon footprint 3x bigger than one grown in Spain for example. Our top tip is always to look at the whole process of how an ingredient arrives on your plate. Whilst we love championing local food and businesses , it’s always important to look at the whole picture.
For Veganuary we are avoiding pushing out recipes with avocados in them- don't get us wrong! We love these fruits with a passion. But we are aware that they are intensively cultivated and the air miles on them are rather alarming so for the time being we encourage you to look for other more sustainable and delicious alternatives. A delicious smashed pea or edamame bean bruschetta (using frozen is great!) or a Rosemary and Walnut Pesto a is a lovely alternative to smashed avocados on toast. Or if you're pushed for time then invest in some pumpkin seed butter! You can find the recipe for the smashed peas when you download our Veganuary PDF recipe booklet. You can also find the Rosemary Pesto recipe on the grid alongside our Parsnip Soup recipe.
(Smashed peas on Toast)
(Rosemary, Walnut & Sunflower Seed Pesto)
Here is an informative resource for checking food miles:
Some simple guidelines for deciding what imported foods to buy:
Avoid air-freighted fresh produce (sadly avocados are often brought over this way)
Look at the process in full- how your food is grown, processed, transported, cooked and stored and the water it produces. Another reason we are constantly championing underdog vegetables that are locally grown is precisely because they are not intensively cultivated and when cooked well, can be just as tasty as any exotic looking food source. We love Jerusalem artichokes, swede, celeriac, Brussel Sprouts and we will be posting up some inspired ways to reinvent these veggies very soon. Think Miso-glazed...! We hope that has whetted your appetite sufficiently!
Prioritise local dried good over imported one- companies like Hodmedods are doing such innovative work with grains, beans and pulses of all kinds! We'll be showcasing some of our favourite Hodmedods inspired recipes very soon, including some delicious Fava bean and quinoa balls!
We are acutely conscious that some of the products we use are not always that easy to source ethically. We are thinking especially of the delicious creamy cashews that go into a lot of our desserts and our delectable baked cheese with pear chutney!
Try to always look for the Fairtrade stamp or label in particular for the follow foods: cashews, bananas, coffee, chocolate and sugar. We love these ingredients and they feature widely in Dovebrook meals and at home, but we do need to really consider carefully their origins.
What you can eat more of that’ll be better for the planet but still convenient, economical and easy:
- British grown quinoa and a whole array of unusual produce from Hodmedods
-Jars or tins of soy beans and broad beans
-All kinds of tinned lentils or dried lentils
This has barely scratched the surface in terms of what more needs to be done to try and fix the food system, but it's a good starting point. We hope you'll think twice before you buy another imported product from the other side of the world, but of course we know it's not always an easy process to shop local, it's just about becoming more conscious, and that way you can slowly start changing habits.
Happy Veganuary and here's to a joyful 2022!
El & Sham x