This is an attempt to document my efforts to grow and eat locally around Melbourne, Derbyshire. My family own a nine acre smallholding on which we grow fruit and vegetables and keep bees, and chickens, but that won't feed us alone, so the idea is to get to know our local produce and to see how easy/hard it is to follow a diet that is local to within 30 miles. The fun part is also trying some new (easy) recipes that use home-grown and local produce. Feel free to comment, send in recipes, and share your experiences of buying and eating locally.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Purple cauliflower!

You might think this is purple sprouting broccoli but it's purple cauliflower from Heath's at Woodhouses - won in the raffle in a veg box at Melbourne Festival. Served with bacon, courgette and cheese quiche.

The Enormous Turnip

Not much has grown well in the veg garden this year due to the weather, but this turnip that my son planted is massive! Perhaps someone should write a story about it...

Crab Apples

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Carrot and Herb Muffins

225g Wholemeal Self Raising Flour
pinch of salt (optional)
1 tsp Baking Powder
50g Butter softened
115g Cheddar Cheese (any other cheese would be fine) and bit extra for the tops
1 Carrot grated (I used 2 to up the carrot-y-ness)
1 Onion grated
small bunch of chopped chives (any herb would do)
1 egg beaten (think i used Medium)
115ml Milk

Sift Flour, salt, baking powder in a bowl (gave them a chuzz in the processor) rub in butter ( whacked butter in and pulsed processor) add grated cheese, carrot, onion and chives.
stir in beaten egg and milk pop mixture in cup cake cases or muffin cases or just butter your bun trays. i got 18 out of this amount.  sprinkle on a  bit more cheese and bake for 15 mins (or until golden) at 200C or 400F gas mark 6.  cool on  a wire rack (they are nice still warm though)  good with butter in and make good pick nic food.
From 'The New Vegetarian' by Heather Thomas - a Vegetarian Society book.
Quite a quick recipe.

Monday, 17 September 2012


Instead of going out to buy Hummus from your supermarket, use what is around you, in your garden or grown locally, all you need to do is cook and blend and you have your very own dippy creation!

Enjoy all of these dips with vegetable dippers, breadsticks, homemade breadsticks, on toast, with tortilla chips, or in pitta bread. Try blending any veg up and use tahini or peanut butter instead of dairy products, or potatoes can also be used effectively to lighten the flavour of the vegetable and add creamyness.   

Happy Cooking
Jo Medhurst
BBC Radio Leicester Food Friday Contributor   

Ruby Beetroot Dip

This dip is a lovely way to use up a few beetroot now it's beetroot harvest time.  I used lovage a herb which compliments the beetroot really well, a nice surprise as I just used it because we have a lot growing in our garden.  Use whatever herb is handy at the time for all of these dips and surprise yourself with new flavours!

5 Beetroot, topped, tailed and boiled until soft
5 tablespoons creme friache
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and Black pepper to taste
A few sprigs of lovage or parsley

Cut the beetroot into quarters and blend it with the creme, tahini and olive oil  until really smooth.  Add the  seasoning and lovage or parsley, blend again, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Creamy Cauliflower Dip  

If you think cauliflower is boring try this! All that is added is potato, fresh oregano, salt and pepper and lemon juice.  You can use a different herb but again this was in my back garden.  Try it with tarragon or rosemary.

1 cauliflower 
2 large potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
a few sprigs of oregano (take the leaves off the stalks)
salt and black pepper
Juice of half a lemon

Steam the cauliflower until soft, peel the potatoes, cut into four and boil until soft, drain the potatoes and mash them with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Blend the cauliflower and oregano until smooth, add to the potato and mix well, add the salt and pepper and lemon juice, mix well.

Carrot Cream Cheese Dip

This is a lovely bright orange colour and the sweetness of the carrots really makes it yummy, so simple to make.
6 large carrots
1 small tub cream cheese
salt and black pepper
A handful of chopped herbs (I used chives Hyssop and dill)
Juice of half an orange

Peel and chop the carrots and boil until soft. Blend the carrots in a food processor until smooth, add the cream cheese, salt, pepper, chopped herbs and orange juice.

Courgette and Tomato Dip

This dip is a classic combination of courgettes and tomatoes, both brimming at this time of year. Cottage cheese is a nice light alternative to cream cheese or creme fraiche.

4 Courgettes
4 cloves garlic
4 Beef tomatoes or 8 large tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small tub cottage cheese
2 stems rosemary

Cut the ends off the courgettes and slice them fairly thinly, put them onto a baking tray with 4 cloves garlic unpealed, the tomatoes chopped fairly small, 1 tablespoon olive oil.   Roast in a hot oven for 20 minutes and cool. Blend with 1 small tub cottage cheese, 300g or thereabouts, remove the leaves from the rosemary, chop finely and blend with the mixture.  Blend again with the rest of the olive oil and salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Tomatoes are like sweets

When you pick them and eat them straight off the vine they are just like sweets.