Pick Up a Pumpkin: soup recipe

Today we went pumpkin picking at Cattows Farm, Leicestershire. I picked one to cook and one to carve.

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I made soup with the one to cook, here is my vegan pumpkin soup recipe, perfect as the days get chillier and nights get darker.

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  • 1 pumpkin
  • 1 white onion
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Fresh ginger
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • 2 pints vegetable stock
  1. Pre-heat oven to 240℃
  2. Cut the pumpkin in half through the stalk, scoop out the seeds (save the seeds to roast), then cut each half into chunks
  3. Place onto a baking tray, brush each chunk with rapeseed oil, season with salt and black pepper, then place into the oven for 30 minutes
  4. While the pumpkin is roasting, put a dash of rapeseed oil, chopped onion and ginger in a pan to fry, once the onion has some colour put it on a low heat to simmer for 20 minutes
  5. Scoop out the roasted pumpkin and add to the onions and ginger, then add the vegetable stock, nutmeg, cinnamon and more salt and black pepper to simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes
  6. Finally, blend the soup to a smooth puree

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As mentioned above, save those pumpkin seeds to roast as a tasty topping or snack.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180℃
  2. Scrape the seeds from the pumpkin, clean off all the pulp and give them a rinse
  3. Spread them onto a baking tray, spray with rapeseed oil and season with salt and black pepper (or any flavour you like!), then place into the oven for 10 minutes

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Bella Green is back.

Wow, September really did fly over. I cannot believe a whole month has gone by since my last post. We’re now into October, and some crazy people have even started talking about the ‘C’ word (local Co-op officially have mince pies on their shelves)!

I took a break from blogging throughout September as my diary was rather chocker.

At the start of September I visited London where I ate lots of scrummy food and supported Team Shearer in the charity football match Game 4 Grenfell.

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I then walked 25 miles along Hadrian’s Wall, my final challenge this year raising money for Labour Behind the Label. It was great meeting new people, working as a team and well and truly blowing the cobwebs off in the Northumberland air.

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Finally my long-awaited holiday to Dubrovnik arrived.

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Fully rejuvenated, I’m now ready to throw myself back into blogging.

As October is Fairtrade month and hosts Anti-Slavery Day I’ll be focusing on these areas for this months posts. If you have anything you specifically would like me to cover, please let me know.

Hope you’re all well. I’m very very happy to be back.

Ciao Bellas xxx

Meaty Impact and Innovations

Lately it seems everyone is talking about meat and the sustainability issues that surround it. So I’m going to join in!

Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve wrote about it, earlier this year I tried Veganuary, then for Lent I gave up meat and now I’d class myself as Flexitarian (or whatever new trendy name it’s been given this week). Basically I go days, weeks even without eating meat.

A few nights ago Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped broadcast a special on the innovations that are making meat healthier for us and better for the planet. It’s definitely worth a watch, but if you haven’t got the time, here are some highlights…

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Did you know?

Cows produce more methane than cars, planes and trains combined. They release about 120kg of methane per year. Methane is a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide (CO2). But the negative effect on the climate of methane is 23 times higher than the effect of CO2. 

33% of cereals grown in the UK are used for meat production.

Most of the world’s soy crop ends up in feed for poultry, pork and cows. The expansion of soy to feed the world’s growing demand for meat contributes to deforestation. 

For 2kg of chicken it takes 4.6kg of feed. For 2kg of pork it takes 6kg of feed. And for 2kg of beef it takes 30kg of feed. That is a lot of crop needed for a small amount of meat!

It takes 15,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of beef but only 1,250 litres for 1kg of wheat.

The innovations for a more ‘sustainable’ meat industry covered were a little bonkers, but it does show that the industry is starting to look at alternative ways in order to protect the planet.

Belgian Super Cows – Apparently these huge muscly cows are bred through natural selection (hmmm) due to an inactive muscle control gene. They produce around 30% more meat than a normal cow and somehow do this through eating the same amount of food as a normal cow.

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Spirulina Algae – Spirulina is an edible microalgae that can be grown in tanks on top of buildings. It’s still new technology but it could be used to replace normal animal feeds freeing up land currently used to grow animal feed to grow human vegetation instead.

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Ostrich Meat – Ostrich’s produce 10 times less methane than cows, they require 3 times less land to graze, can produce 64 tons of meat in a lifetime opposed to a cows 1.72 tons and the water footprint of ostriches is roughly a third of cows.

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If you’re having a BBQ this bank holiday, why not give an ostrich burger a go? Or veggie sausages? My favourite is BBQ’d pineapple. Yum! Whatever you do, have a great long weekend! xxx

Sustainable Sports Stadium

The amazing London 2012 Olympics took place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Park was developed with a very sustainable vision. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it to the Olympics back in 2012, however on Saturday I was lucky enough to be at the World Athletics Championships held at the Park and managed to see first hand how the sustainability legacy of the games was holding up.

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The first thing I noticed when walking to the Park from Hackney Wick station was the area’s development. There were loads of brand new residential areas which I am told are low energy, low water and made from non-toxic materials. They were surrounded by cycle lanes, a pretty canal and plenty greenery supporting both sustainable transport and biodiversity.

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Arriving at the Park I was astonished by the organisation. Every block of seats had toilets and a food stall. No queues in sight! Most corners hosted bins which were clearly labelled for either general or recycled waste. There were plenty of points to refill water bottles encouraging the reduction in single use plastic bottles and when I treated myself to a tasty hot dog I was pleased to see that the packaging was fully recyclable.

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Once the morning athletics session was over I ventured over to the ‘Hero Village’ which was full of fun activities. One activity really caught my eye. The ‘Blue Badge Park Tour’ gave children wheelchairs and tasked them to navigate ramps, doorways and corners to become more aware of what it is like for those with disabilities.

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From what I can see the sustainable vision for the Park is still going strong.

Did you know?

  • By 2025 there will be 15,000 jobs created
  • More than 5,000 people (30 per cent from the local area) worked on the Park during its transformation – including 60 apprentices
  • Planning permission has been granted for 6,800 homes
  • There are 525 bird boxes and 150 bat boxes
  • Over 4,000 trees, 74,000 plants, 60,000 bulbs and 240,000 wetland plants have/will be planted
  • The venues use 56% less drinking water than equivalent buildings

After the athletics I headed to the ArcelorMittal Orbit for a look around and a journey down their world’s highest and longest tunnel slide (178 metres!). Designed by sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond, the ArcelorMittal Orbit is just outside the Park. It’s made of 60% recycled steel, including washing machines and used cars. At the top of the building you get a 20 mile view of the Olympic Park and the London skyline. Once at the top you can either walk down the outer staircase, abseil down or do what I did and slide down. It was so fun!!!

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Whilst the likelihood is very slim that an Olympic Games or World Championship will ever be at the Park again in my lifetime it is still worth a visit as there is so much to do in the area. You can take a stadium tour, go for a walk or bike ride, check out the Energy Centre, take a boat ride, have some delicious food or drinks by the canal, see some art… the list goes on and on!

The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things

Writing an ethical blog is sometimes difficult. There is a massive conflict of interests; aiming to consume less but then needing things to review and write about. So here is a list of my top 5 favourite ‘non-things’…

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  1. Travelling, experiencing different places, having new adventures.
    • Already this year I’ve been lucky to visit Warsaw, Cervinia and Berlin and at the end of September I’m off to Dubrovnik (any tips on where to go, what to do are welcome!). My travelling bucket list is constantly growing, every time I tick a place off, another destination is added. There’s a big world out there to explore, experience new cultures, do fun things. Next year I’ve got a lot of travelling lined up, and I just cannot wait!
  2. Seeing friends and family.
    • Living away from friends and family does have it’s perks. When I do see them I appreciate it much more than if I saw them every other week. Last weekend I visited my friend Grace in London, it was great to catch up over a lot of beers, Turkish food and a play. This weekend my Grandparents are visiting and we’ll be having a BBQ (British weather depending). I love having visits lined up in my diary, not great for the bank account, but great to see those you love.
  3. Reading a book, watching shows, films or a series and listening to music.
  4. Preparing and eating food.
    • If it didn’t have such negative consequences, I would probably spend all of my time eating. My days tend to revolve around what I’m having for my breakfast, dinner and tea (a.k.a lunch and dinner for you Southerners). At the moment my go to meal for breakfast, dinner or tea is avocado and eggs on toast. Just cannot beat it!
  5. Exercising.
    • It’s not only good for you, but it can be fun and pushing yourself is very satisfying. My favourite ways to exercise are going for walks, doing a pilates or spin class or going for a run. The best ways to keep motivated are by doing it with a friend, listening to a podcast or signing yourself up for a race or challenge.

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With resources depleting and waste piles increasing it is more important than ever to consume less. Spending your money on ‘non-things’ is much better than buying something you don’t really need.

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Save Our Seas

It’s pledge time again!

This time it’s to pledge to help marine wildlife. Every year The Wildlife Trust host National Marine Week and this year it is running 29th July until 13th August (right now!).

If you have seen Chasing Coral you will understand the devastation our every day lives have on our seas. If you haven’t seen it… you really should! It’s a great documentary, just head to Netflix and press play.

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Fishing, waste, pollution and climate change are all contributing to major issues with our waters and the life that lives there.

Did you know?

  • The oceans have absorbed a third of all the carbon dioxide emitted since the Industrial Revolution, causing seawater acidity to rise faster than at any time in the last 55 million years
  • Sea levels really are rising. Over the last 50 years they rose approximately 1.8mm per year however in the 90’s this increased to 3.1mm per year
  • Plastic is often mistaken for food by marine animals. Plastic material has been found blocking the breathing passages and stomachs of many species, including whales, dolphins, seals, puffins, and turtles
  • Fertiliser runoff creates eutrophication that increases the amount of algae in the water which depletes the oxygen content, suffocating marine wildlife
  •  Eating contaminated seafood can cause serious health problems such as cancer

The list of shocking facts could go on and on and on, you simply just have to google ‘ocean’ and the top story found is about a rubbish patch in the Pacific that is bigger than Mexico…

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What can we pledge?

  • Stop using single use plastic like bottles and packaging
  • Pick up litter and put it in recycling or a bin to stop it drifting into the ocean
  • Watch out for microbeads in products such as tooth paste and exfoliators
  • Reduce your carbon footprint; walk more, eat less meat and switch lights off
  • Eat less fish and ensure the fish you do eat comes from a sustainable source

It may not seem like a lot, but if many of us make little changes there is a possibility we can reverse some of the effects our planet’s actions are having on the seas.

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Weekly Dose of Avocado

At least once a week I have avocado. Absolutely love the stuff. I have it in many shapes and forms. For breakfast, dinner or tea. Sometimes in a smoothie, with eggs on toast, in a wrap, with chili con carne or even just to dip some crisps.

Did you know…?

  • They’re are a fruit, and where most fruit is high in sugar, avocado is high in healthy fats (aka monounsaturated oleic acid)
  • They hold a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals
  • They contain more potassium than a banana!

Tonight I’m having my weekly dose in the form of guacamole with poached eggs on toast.

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Here is the guac recipe courtesy of Rob!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ripe large avocado
  • 1/4 large red onion, finely diced
  • 2 beef tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
  • Bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 red chili, finely diced
  • Pinch of salt

METHOD:

  • Mash the avocado up with a fork
  • Add the onion, tomatoes, coriander and chili then mix
  • Season with salt and lime juice, and voila! Done.

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Easy, healthy and scrummy! If you want some more avo-inspo head to @bestofavocado on Instagram.