Locally Grown Superfood – Hemp

vitality-hemppro-energyballs-3-copy

Hemp is the current superfood that is on everyone’s lips this year – and we are lucky enough to be regionally self-sufficient enough to have one of the country’s few licensed crops. Industrial hemp is grown from the same Cannabis Sativa plant but is bred to have virtually no THC (the psychoactive element that gets you stoned). Yet, it is still only grown under licence in the UK (and these are few and far between) and is illegal to grow in America.  Crazy considering the health and economic benefits of this bountiful crop.

Why hemp is good for you

Nutritionally speaking, it is pretty amazing, for its anti-inflammatory properties via the cannabinoids (CBD) and has been suggested that it can help with anxiety and depression.  The essential fats found in hemp are said to reduce food cravings and help to improve circulation and contribute towards reducing cholesterol.

A great plant-based athletic protein

Hemp seeds and oil have a high protein content and contains the lowest level of saturated fats compared with other oils.  The powdered seed has higher protein levels than soy and provides essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6 as well as being a source of gamma linolenic acid.

Why grow hemp?

Hemp has been used for centuries in rope-making, fabric, boat sails, paper as well as the edible uses.  Hemp is a tough crop and can grow well in any soil type and needs less spraying or watering than other similar crops – wheat or soy, for example. So is really an economical and ethically sound crop.

A little strange that we are not acquainted with one of our most ancient crops, don’t you think? Apparently, one of the oldest relics of human industry is a piece of hemp fabric dating back to approx 8,000 BC.

Hemp_Leaf


Recipe

We made this loaf and it is absolutely delicious – so well worth taking the time.  Slather with butter and served with creamy cheese and raw honey.  A perfect combination to match the earthy flavours of hemp, rye and nuts with the richness of the topping.

 

Walnut_Hemp

Hemp and Walnut Bread

Ingredients

  • 450g Strong wholemeal bread flour
  • 200g Stoneground Rye flour
  • 30g Hemp protein powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 x 7g Sachet dried yeast
  • 1½ tbsp raw honey
  • 200g walnut halves, roughly chopped
  • In a large bowl,mix together the flours, hemp protein powder and salt. Make a well in the centre.
  • Re-activate the yeast by mixing it in a small bowl with the honey and 230 ml warm water.
  • Pour the yeast mixture into the well of the flours and leave to stand for 15 minutes.
  • Add another 230 ml of water to the bowl and gradually mix in the flours, making a soft but not sticky dough.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth.
  • Add the walnuts and knead for another 2-3 minutes then return to a greased bowl, cover and leave to rise for 2 hours until doubled in size.
  • Knock back the dough, knead again for 2 minutes and then divide into two portions.
  • Shape each one and place on a baking sheet. Cover and again leave to rise for 1 ½ hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) Gas Mark 7.
  • Slash the top of each loaf three times and bake for 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 190°C (375°F)
  • Gas Mark 5 and continue to bake for 20-30 minutes, until the loaves sound hollow when tapped underneath.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Visit us at

www.finandfarm.co.uk

 

 

 

Locally Grown Superfood – Hemp

Sussex St George’s Day – Celebrate with a Greek Roast

st-george-killing-dragon

Happy St George’s Day

Today is St George’s Day (23rd April).  Over the years, the flag has been sadly tarnished with racist symbolism.  But, subdued celebrations are actually not new – since the Reformation, the English apparently became slightly fed up with Saint’s Days (big mistake – we now have fewer bank holidays than pretty much all other European countries).

Who was St George?

St George was a busy guy.  He is the patron saint of soldiers, cavalry, farmers, field workers, boy scouts, saddlers, archers and many countries and cities world wide. He displaced the less exciting original Patron Saint, St Edmund, who didn’t slay dragons (shame, we could have drunk mead for breakfast).

St George was said to have been born in Capadoccia, Turkey of Greek parents and was a Roman soldier, eventually being executed for his faith in either Palestine or Syria (depending which account you read).  He became the English patron saint after apparently appearing in battle to the troops at Agincourt in 1415, where they had a stunning victory against the French – and further immortalised in Shakespeare’s play, Henry V – so we have him really to thank for the enduring patriotic saint.

His name means ‘earth-worker’ – ie farmer, and the date of 23rd April is symbolic of the time of year when crops are starting to grow….and given his widespread appeal, we think the traditional roast could reflect some of the wider cultural references.


Recipes

There are so many recipes for roast lamb floating arount, but the Greeks pretty much have the recipe to perfection.  Crunchy skinned, tender fleshed lamb on sticky roast potatoes.  This recipe is pretty straightforward.

If you’re not planning a roast, then this recipe for slow cooked lamb with aubergines and tomatoes is also a wonderful recipe if you’re also looking to cater for vegetarians, as you won’t be caught up making extra tomato sauces alongside the gravy.

Vegetarian roasts can also be stunningly rich with a simple variation of ingredients in this Aubergine, Tomato and Feta Baklava.

Less heavy than traditional roasts and a wonderful time to make the most of our fantastic tomatoes.


Our Sussex Saltmarsh Lamb

If you are cooking a roast, then the quality of the lamb is the most important element.  We will only sell our high welfare, organic Saltmarsh Lamb from Pevensey.

Saltmarsh Lamb roam freely on land which is regularly covered by the sea and hosts salt tolerant plants such as samphire, purslane and mineral rich grasses.  The lambs are leaner and the flesh a little darker and denser than regular lamb – a little gamier.

Read more about our Pevensey lamb here.


Come and visit us at

www.finandfarm.co.uk

Sussex St George’s Day – Celebrate with a Greek Roast

Sussex Biodynamic Rainbow Chard and Spinach

rainbow-swiss-chard

Grown by Toos near Cuckfield

Toos Jeuken grows delicious rows of biodynamic veg and fruit over at her feast of a farm near Cuckfield, at the foot of the South Downs.  Toos is from Holland where she started her biodynamic farming career alongside her siblings – who are all now biodynamic farmers.  Toos has been farming in Sussex for over 40 years and is a dedicated and inspirational farmer – it’s not often you meet someone who loves their job as much as she does.

Toos_Cropped
Toos on her farm in Cuckfield

Big Leafed Spinach and Rainbow Chard

Big leafed sturdy varieties of greens are often associated with winter cooking.  But in the spirit of eating seasonally, we need to embrace what we can grow in our soil and adapt cooking when we are lucky enough to have such delicious fresh ingredients to play with.

So, at this point in the season, the big leaves are on the smaller, more delicate size but in a week or so will be flourish and flesh out.

 


How to store

The greens are super-fresh and will last a little longer if kept in the fridge in a plastic box (not bag) with a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture.  This, apparently, should keep sliminess at bay, if you can’t use the leaves immediately.

Another method, which has received good reviews (although we haven’t tried it yet – we will do and let you know the results!) – is to put your greens into a plastic bag and blow into it to inflate.  Seal the bag and keep in the fridge.  This allows the leaves enough carbon dioxide to keep them fresh.

This only extends the life of the greens for a few days – eat fresh for maximum flavour and nutrition!


How to cook

How_to_cook_Chard

Spring greens, chard, spinach and all greens work with simple cooking and flavours.  Here are some cooking tips from Great British Chefs.

Throughout the continents, there is nearly always a meal which combines tomatoes, greens and eggs.  The Middle Eastern dish, Shakshuka is a perfect way to combine the flavours in this rich Shakshuka with Swiss Chard (or Rainbow, in our case).

If you’re cooking for gluten free diners, then this richly nutty flavoured Chard Tart is both practical (great for breakfasts) and tasty for picnics.

If you’re using the leaves, don’t discard the bright stems.  Keep a jar of Pickled Rainbow Chard Stems to hand to eat with salads or in a Buddha bowl…or with rice.

Pickled_Chard_Stems
Pickled Rainbow Chard Stems

Canapes, snacks, brunch, barbecues – there is always a place for mini-pizzas and this recipe is one we will be trialling over and over again with different toppings.  A crunchy base is the perfect texture to bite into with rich toppings.  Here’s the recipe for Mini Polenta Pizza with Rainbow Chard and Caramelised Onion.

Finally, chard and pasta go hand in hand like Sausage & Mash or Fred & Ginger.  The flavours make a tasty mouthful, especially combined with a soft melted cheese.  The Italians famously use Taleggio but in Sussex, we have our ripe, creamy Sussex Brie to use in this gorgeous recipe for Chard Penne Pasta Bake.


 

Come and visit us at

www.finandfarm.co.uk

Sussex Biodynamic Rainbow Chard and Spinach

Afternoon Tea for Mother’s Day

afternoontea

Afternoon Tea is a special ritual and must be simple but perfect…

First off, we are extremely fussy about preserving the ritual of a proper afternoon tea.  After all, it’s not a regular feast and therefore, no room for messing about.  The thing is, it’s about dipping spoons into fragrant jams and decadent cream and not faffing around with sticky fingers to open mini jam jars or scrape open pats of butter.

Serving a fresh cream tea is a visual feast as the food is fairly simple, so there is just no excuse for sloppy serving…

So, we have a few basic rules here…nothing to do with etiquette, which is stuffy and dull…afternoon tea as a pleasurable experience, not an endurance test.  It is all and only to do with the quality of the food:

  • The finest quality ingredients and ideally, homemade.
  • As above – quality jam.  Nothing seedless or served in a plastic pouch.  If you must buy it then min 60% fruit.
  • NEVER serve pre-packaged scones (what??).
  • Use a good strong English Breakfast tea, preferably loose leaf.
  • A soft English sparkling wine works even better than champagne or prosecco.

So, the scones…

Scones will make a or break a good afternoon tea. They should be made as close to the eating as possible and should be light and fresh, not leaden and puddingy.

There are many recipes for scones, but the key thing here is not to overwork the dough.  I think there is an old cooking proverb that sagely says something like ‘a good scone is made in a hurry’.

scone
From How to Make Scones

Recipe Yoghurt Scones

There are two techniques that can be used to make these scones irresistible: preheating the baking tray and stacking and pressing out the dough a few times to create mouthwatering, feathery layers.

Makes 12
140g spelt or wholemeal flour
155g plain flour, plus more if needed
1½ tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
115g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
310g creamy yoghurt
1 Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/gas mark 8. Place an ungreased baking tray in the oven.

2 Combine the flours, salt and baking powder in a food processor. Sprinkle the butter across the top of the dry ingredients and pulse about 20 times, or until the mixture resembles tiny pebbles. Add the yoghurt and pulse a few more times, until the yoghurt is just incorporated. Avoid overmixing; it’s fine if there are a few dry patches.

3 Gather the dough into a ball and turn it out on to a lightly floured surface. Knead five times and press into a 2½cm-thick square. Cut in half and stack one on the other. Repeat two more times – flattening and stacking, then cutting. Add more plain flour to prevent sticking when needed.

4 Press or roll out the dough into a 2cm-thick rectangle. Cut the dough into 12 scones.

5 Transfer the scones to the preheated baking tray leaving 1½cm between each scone. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the bases are deeply golden and the scones are cooked through. Eat them hot:  Whether cream or jam first – your choice!

This recipe is adapted from The Guardian

Afternoon Tea for Mother’s Day

Hemp – a Local Superfood

It’s been a while since we’ve written – It’s been a busy few months launching our local produce hampers and finding all new producers and growers and the time has just slipped by…  So here is an introduction to one of our new producers:

Anyone who knows us, knows we have a bit of a mission to prove we can be regionally as self sufficient as possible, without compromising on delicious food.  So, with that in mind, we have been looking beyond the basic food staples for things that will pique interest and keep food something to look forward to.

But, even though we eat lots of fresh food, there is always room for improvement.  But good food doesn’t necessarily mean particularly rich or sweet – but access to ingredients that enhance or develop a good dish.

Why Hemp?

hempflower
Hemp Flower

One of the key ingredients to healthy eating this year is humble Hemp.  Hemp is the  superfood that is on everyone’s lips at the moment as a new concept in healthy eating, but that seems a little strange as this is the staple crop of our ancestors…used from clothes production to food.

In fact, one of the oldest relics of human industry is a piece of hemp fabric dating back to approx 8,000 BC.  Our ancestors clearly knew it as a useful crop and it was grown extensively to provide materials for the British Navy in the 16th century…riggings, pendants, pennants, sales and even maps, log books and Bibles.

SONY DSC
Hemp Rigging

Hemp is a sustainable crop, which is hardy and grows well in most soil types. A perfect crop for the 21st century landscape as it provides not only food but also prevents weed growth, as it is a more prolific plant than the weeds that compete – so is basically organic by it’s strength and speed of growth.

It fell out of favour post-war as the fashion for synthetic fabrics took root – so our generation has lost the association and hemp immediately springs cannabis to mind (which is a different variety of the plant completely, by the way).

Why is Hemp good for you?

65% of hemp seeds protein content is Edestin which is unique to the plant. As a globular protein it is easily absorbed by the human body and is known for cell regeneration and boosting the immune system. The remaining 35% is comprised of Albumin (also found in egg whites), also a readily digestible globular protein, which promotes nutrient uptake in the blood.

Hemp seeds contain all essential amino acids that are needed to stay healthy, including some that our bodies cannot produce themselves and have to come from our diet. Without them, the body would be unable to build and repair proteins, such as muscles.

Hemp seeds have a high quantity of perfectly-balanced Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3, 6 and 9), which are good aids to neurological function and promoters of cardiovascular health.  They are also a fabulous source of Omega EFAs for vegetarians and vegans.

Where does our Hemp come from?

The hemp is grown 100% naturally, with no chemicals or additives, at the foot of the South Downs in West Sussex. Vitality Hemp was founded in 2014 by 29 year old Nathaniel Loxley, one of only eight Home Office licence holders to grow hemp in the UK.

Vitality Hemp products are made with love and respect for the plant. Production is kept as resourceful as possible by growing the raw material, processing it locally and developing it into new and innovative products using every aspect of the plant.
wood-powder-and-hemp-seeds-oil-and-balls-ev

 


Recipe – Hemp and Walnut Loaf

walnut_hemp-loaf
Our Walnut and Hemp Loaf – Sorry terrible picture (taken quickly as we had nearly finished the SECOND loaf)

This is a delicious, slightly dense loaf with a smooth nutty flavour.  The Hemp gives a slightly grassy note and really brings out the taste of the walnuts. We dipped hunks of this in Carrot Soup slathered with fresh Sussex salted butter and it was a dish fit for a king….

 

Ingredients

  • 450g Strong wholemeal bread flour
  • 200g Stoneground Rye flour
  • 30g Hemp protein powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 x 7g Sachet dried yeast
  • 1½ tbsp raw honey
  • 200g walnut halves, roughly chopped

Method

  • In a large bowl,mix together the flours, hemp protein powder and salt. Make a well in the centre.
  • Re-activate the yeast by mixing it in a small bowl with the honey and 230 ml warm water.
  • Pour the yeast mixture into the well of the flours and leave to stand for 15 minutes.
  • Add another 230 ml of water to the bowl and gradually mix in the flours, making a soft but not sticky dough.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth.
  • Add the walnuts and knead for another 2-3 minutes then return to a greased bowl, cover and leave to rise for 2 hours until doubled in size.
  • Knock back the dough, knead again for 2 minutes and then divide into two portions.
  • Shape each one and place on a baking sheet. Cover and again leave to rise for 1 ½ hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) Gas Mark 7.
  • Slash the top of each loaf three times and bake for 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 190°C (375°F)
  • Gas Mark 5 and continue to bake for 20-30 minutes, until the loaves sound hollow when tapped underneath.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.

 

Come and visit us at

www.finandfarm.co.uk

Hemp – a Local Superfood

Why Local Mineral Water is a Good Thing

southdowns1

What is the difference between Natural Mineral Water and Spring Water?

 Natural Mineral Water – must come from an identified and protected source. It is guaranteed to be consistent in composition and naturally wholesome without any treatment – except in some cases the addition of carbon dioxide to make the water sparkle. Natural Mineral Water status is only granted to waters that are demonstrated to be free from pollution and have a characteristic stable composition.

Spring water – there are certain treatments permitted, so this is not necessarily as pure.

So, natural mineral water must be free from pollution and this means ‘Few other industries, except perhaps organic farming,’ Jo Jacobius of the BBWP insists, ‘play such a major role in protecting the countryside, doing much to minimise environmental damage.’ (as printed in an article in The Guardian, by Lucy Siegle).  Overall, if the land is to be free from pollution, then the land around commercially appointed springs in the UK are ‘some of the best managed environments in the country’ (British Bottled Water Producers).


Keeping it local

buylocal

But it’s not all good news – the water that has been brought from overseas will carry a huge carbon footprint.  Some luxury brands will have travelled thousands of miles to be brought to the table and nearly a quarter of the bottled water we drink in the UK comes from abroad.

There are so many compelling reasons to buy locally – not just because the quality of the water is much better if not stored in bottles for a long time, but also the carbon footprint is reduced.

It also helps keep the local economy buoyant and of course, in this Brexit transitional no-mans land, there is the stable cost without factoring in the Euro exchange rate as you’re buying a UK – local, even better – product.  The bottles, by the way, are also made in the UK so cost is as stable as any manufactured product can be.


sparklingmineralwater

Health Benefits

So why do we drink mineral water and not just tap water?  Our tap water is perfectly clean, but particularly in the South Downs, our water tends to be very hard and the taste can be tainted by the chlorination processes in filtering the water.

South Downs Natural Mineral Water is drawn from over 400ft underground, enriched with minerals deep from within the Sussex Downs it is untouched at source. South Downs Water is naturally filtered through deep chalk layers and the water has a delicious fresh taste. It is naturally high in calcium and low in sodium.

The only addition to the water – well, the sparkling, is a slight burst of carbonisation to give a gentle effervescence.

The well at South Downs water is right in the South Downs National Park, near Chichester.  So, although it is bottled – the bottling plant is very small and water is not left for a long time on shelves.  So like any other product – is supplied as fresh as possible.


The Technical Data

When South Downs Water started drawing their water commercially, the technical analysis showed that the mineral water is low in sodium and has a pH value of 7.5.

So because it is drawn through layers and layers of chalk, then the result is a water that is high in calcium and low in sodium with a balanced flavour.

windsorwater


 

We stock South Downs Mineral Water in our online shop.

Come and visit us at www.finandfarm.co.uk

 

Why Local Mineral Water is a Good Thing

The Best Non-Alcoholic Mocktails

Yep, when you’re the designated driver, standing at the bar leaves you with difficult decisions.  To leave the pub at the end of the evening with your heart racing from probable caffeine overload – or the nasty sugary taste left after too much fake raspberry.

Non-alco drinks don’t have to be dull/sweet/fizzy.  A little while ago, Nick and I were invited to join a group at an award evening.  It was a foodie award sponsored by our own Brighton Gin.  A bottle of gin was drunk with a very special Kombucha mixer – according to the brochure.  We had a massive pitcher of this deliciously decadent tasting pink stuff on the table, so assumed our hosts had kindly pre-mixed and left us a gin cocktail.  After much sharing, a red-faced waiter came over WITH OUR GIN.  We hadn’t even noticed that we’d been drinking the unlaced mixer.  So, clearly debunking the power of conditioning is that a great drink must be alcoholic (or maybe that’s just us…).


Kombucha Mocktails Muddle with fresh herbs and juices – Kombucha gives your mocktail a kind-of sophisticated, adult flavour…and there are some gorgeous recipes to be found just here >>.

kombucha-mocktail-2

Apple Juice – well, we are in Sussex, aren’t we?  If we didn’t have more varieties of juice than you can possibly count, then things aren’t as they should be.  It’s a joy walking through the orchard at Ringden Farm, where there are fields of apple trees of heritage and modern varieties.  All these are picked through their season and some are pressed at the farm.

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So, from Ringden, there are varieties of juice to choose from, which are as complex as choosing a bottle of wine.  From the heritage Grenadier – a tart, citrussy juice through to the honeyed sweetness of a Russet.  All the apple juices and apple-juice blends are described here in their categories.

So….the blended juices. Whenever we have done a farmers market, we always have bottles of Beetroot and Apple.  Most people are not so keen to try but nearly all are converted and love the slight earthiness that beetroot brings to a sweet juice…which is obviously preaching to the converted, if you’re a smoothie maker.

The Apple and Strawberry is also a winner with the drivers, as surprisingly, it’s one of the less sweet juices.  Not sure why that is- it just has a kind of pleasant fruitiness.

Mocktails Using Apple Juice – Well, naturally, as it’s a great base to lighten up or add punchy flavours like ginger.  A refreshing one for us is the Virgin Mojito or for a party pitcher, maybe a Red Apple Sangria type cocktail is light and add as much lime as you feel will add a bit of zing.

Or, warm the cockles with a lively glass of Mulled Apple.

mulledapple

Elderflower Cordial combined with apple, is something you can keep as a drink all year round (and not just for sloshing into fizz).  Apple, Elderflower and Mint is light and refreshing for adults or kids.

Or for a drink that has a sparkle of colour, since it’s the party season descending, after all -then Jamie has the ideal unboozy fizz with this Elderflower Lemonade with Frozen Berries.

elderflowerfizz


Visit us at www.finandfarm.co.uk

See our range of juices and water online.


 

 

The Best Non-Alcoholic Mocktails