“Cooking from scratch is the single most important thing we can do…to improve our health and general wellbeing.” – “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”
At Green Earth Organics, we are on a mission to help you Eat More Veg and Cook From Scratch. These two phrases are the cornerstones of good health, not just for us but for our planet too! Cutting down on processed food, ready meals and animal products and preparing and eating lots more whole, organic, fruit, veg, beans, nuts and grains is not only great for our health, it means less packaging, less harmful emissions from factories and animal farms and a lot less unhealthy, unnecessary ingredients.
With our modern, busy lifestyles, it can seem like too much effort to shop for groceries, fruit and veg and get into the kitchen and cook from scratch after a long day at work. It is easy to just take something out of the freezer and microwave it or pop it in the oven. But you owe it to yourselves to cook from scratch. You are worthy of home cooked, healthy food and it will positively impact the rest of your life. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious and satisfying.
So as well as making it easy for you to get the good stuff straight to your door with our weekly veg box subscriptions, we are starting a new weekly series called ‘4 Ways With…’ This series will showcase a seasonal vegetable or other ingredient and demonstrate four simple ways to prepare or cook it. We want to inspire you and give you the confidence to get into the kitchen and whip up a simple but satisfying meal. Follow us on Instagram or subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch the videos each week. Please feel free to comment and share your favourite seasonal recipes with us and the rest of our community. We love to see what you make from our weekly boxes. Liz x
4 Ways With Cauliflower
First up is the humble, but every versatile, cauliflower. Cauliflower has had one of the biggest ‘glow ups’ of all vegetables over the last 10 years. Once simply boiled and relegated to the side of the plate, cauliflower is now the captain of the vegetable patch! Roast it covered in Middle Eastern spices, blitz it into a rice or cous cous alternative, turn it into steaks, batter and deep fry it and transform it into a fried chicken substitute, even use it as a gluten free pizza base! If you’ve got a need for a vegetable to pretend to be something it’s not, cauliflower is your man. And it is delicious. Cauliflower is a bit of a blank canvas and is very good as a vehicle for delicious herbs and spices. It is absolutely fantastic in a curry or to top my baked biryani. Here are just 4 of the many ways I use cauliflower regularly. Vegan Cauliflower Cheese, Winter Tabbouleh, Spicy Roast Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad and Curried Cauliflower Fritters. What is your favourite cauliflower recipe? Let us know below or over on our healthy eating facebook group. Liz x
The béchamel recipe, enough for a whole cauliflower cheese is:
Hannah used to love broccoli and then she did not and to this day that has not changed. I do love broccoli. I tend to love all vegetables really, and it is a good thing seeing as I run an organic vegetable farm.
It never ceases to amaze me how much vegetable food you can produce per acre, and how many people that can feed. At the very same time it also never ceases to amaze me how much our food system needs to change; it is broken and here are the three fundamental reasons why:
1. There are too many of us eating a Western style diet. Food inequality is huge and we in the West eat way more than our fair share.
2. Growing feed for animals is not an efficient use of a limited land space. To feed a growing population we need to change what we grow and what we eat. We cannot continue to produce and consume the same food in the same way there simply is not enough space on earth. (I know we have two rescue pigs, and they are eating machines, we feed them waste vegetables, but if we had to grow all the food that they eat, we would need acres just to feed them. Using land to produce vegetables to feed people is a highly efficient use of land.)
3. The supermarkets facilitate the expectation of cheap food and they control the food supply chain. Their pricing practice makes farmers reliant on a subsidy system. Our grandparents spent nearly 20% of their disposal income on food, today it is less than 10%. The main beneficiaries of our food system are the supermarkets, large agribusiness and large food corporations, not us the consumer.
A long-term view is often difficult to reconcile with our daily challenges and life stresses (holding a screaming child for instance, Hannah was not always that picture of calm!) But the climate is changing, the sea levels are rising, biodiversity is failing and change is necessary now.
We can open our eyes if we choose to, and take responsibility for our choices, we have much more power than we realise. We can’t change the food system over-night, but we can take positive action right now.
It will always be better to eat local food. It will always be better for our countryside and our health to eat more organic food. It will always be better for our health and the health of the planet to eat less meat. Here is what we/you can do right now:
Sometimes in winter, you need a break from all the soups, stews and pies and want something fresh and vibrant. A warm winter salad is the answer. This is less of a recipe and more of a suggestion. I make versions of this fairly regularly and always make more than enough so that we have leftovers for packed lunches.
Simply chop up some winter veg into similar sized pieces (squash, onion, parsnips, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, beetroot…), pop them into a roasting tray with a little olive oil salt and pepper. Mix and roast at 200C until slightly charred and soft – this takes around 20-30 minutes depending on how much veg you roast.
Then pile onto some beautiful bitter leaves and dress. A creamy, tahini dressing goes really well here. Mix a couple of tbsp of tahini with a pinch of salt, a tsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp of lemon juice and two tbsp cold water. Once the dressing is well mixed it should be beautifully creamy and pourable. Taste it for seasoning and add more lemon or salt as needed. You can even pimp it up with some crushed garlic or finely chopped herbs like parsley or coriander. Then drizzle it all over the roasted veg.
Sprinkle over some crunchy, fragrant dukka (see my parsnip and pear soup recipe for that) and some sweet little pomegranate seeds. Those jewel-like seeds make everything more festive and are the perfect sweet and sour foil to the nutty, rich dressing. Enjoy!
“When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance!”
There’s no denying how quick and convenient it is to do your gift buying on Amazon. Getting everything and anything you can think of sent to your door at the click of a button is incredibly convenient. But I think we can all agree that lining the pockets of billionaires is killing small businesses and stealing the soul from our communities. As well as giving our local economy a well needed boost, when we shop local we are generally supporting people who actually care. Small business owners are passionate people. Unlike in huge corporations, small businesses owners care about providing you with really brilliant things, they care about their staff and they care about the environment. They also pay their taxes properly, which benefits everyone!
Of course Amazon isn’t the only problem, just the best example of the type of business we need to avoid. There are countless big clothes shops, electronics shops, toy shops and cosmetic shops, all trying to get our attention with the cheapest, most convenient, shiny new thing. I love that saying, that every cent spent is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in. As people aiming to be ethical consumers, we look at all the issues surrounding our purchasing. We no longer simply ask ourselves, ‘what do I want and how much does it cost’, but, ‘Where does it come from? Who made it? How was it made? How were they paid? What materials were used? Where did they come from? How long will it last? What will happen when it breaks or wears out? Where will it end up? Why do I want this?’ and perhaps most importantly, ‘Do I actually need this?’
I’m new to this beautiful part of the world, and moving here during a pandemic has meant we can’t go to lovely markets and fairs and meet local makers and growers in the way we would like to. So I’ve been researching some alternative, online, local options for the festive season and put together this little gift guide that I’d love to share with you. I would also love to know your recommendations too please. Let me know in the comments about your best ethical finds online, your local artist or crafts person, your favourite gift you’ve received or given. If you’re reading this on Facebook or Instagram then please also tag them in the comments so we can all support small, ethical, local people and businesses who care.
Shop Small, Shop Local, Shop Sustainable, Shop Secondhand and share the love by tagging brilliant gift givers and small businesses in the comments section!
Happy gift giving! Liz
Well this time of year is all about them isn’t it? Have a look at Lottie Dolls for a diverse range of Irish made, inspiring dolls based on real children. Their key brand drivers are diversity and inclusion, body image, childhood, STEM education, sustainability and empowerment.
Or for a wider range of children toys, try Jiminy. This is a brilliantly curated Irish online shop for eco toys. They are also offering a gift wrapping service with a handwritten note so you can send something a bit more personal to a special someone who you may not get to see this festive season. The ‘gift wrapping with a note’ service is doubly great because it saves the item being posted twice which cuts down on transport emissions.
For the Zero Waste Hero
Although we have a good range of essential low impact products in our shop that are very convenient to add to your weekly veg delivery as and when you need them (see here and here), head to Reuzi for a large range of all things reusable, zero waste and plastic free. It’s a one stop shop for sustainable living. From silicone freezer bags to shampoo bars for dogs, this shop has everything you need to live a zero waste life, stylishly. There are loads of luxury items and gift ideas as well as all the staples.
If you’re looking for something luxurious for the ethical beauty in your life try White Witch. Their organic, vegan, plastic free luxury beauty products are handmade in small batches in the west of Ireland. Have a look at their carefully chosen ingredients, beautifully designed packaging and skilfully made products on their website. I love that they also do refills through the post to further save on the environmental (and financial) cost of packaging.
Second Hand is Sustainable
As ethical consumers we can no longer look down on secondhand. If we are not filling up our landfills we are shipping our recycling across the planet and have no idea what happens to it once it reaches its destination. Buying secondhand is probably the most sustainable way of shopping for what you need. And not only is it cheaper for you and kinder for the planet, it’s fun!
Check your favourite charity shop. Many of them have moved online and set up an eBay account to get through this lockdown. Why not see if they have that winter coat or wooly hat you were needing before buying new?
For the Book Worm
For a huge selection of secondhand books at really good prices tryThe Book Shop.
For a mix of secondhand and new books try Galway’s favourite bookshop, Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop. When lockdown is over, this quirky shop is well worth a visit too.
For the Fashionable
For secondhand fashion try Thriftify (which is not just secondhand clothes but also books, dvds, cds, pc and video games and more). Snag yourself a bargain and help keep clothes out of the landfills. This site is easy to navigate and has really helpful search options.
For the Gadget Geek
For secondhand Electronics head to CEX where you’ll find everything from phones, games and consoles to tablets, laptops, DVDs and more. Not only are secondhand electronics much kinder on your wallet, but keeping electronics out of landfill is vital to stop harmful chemicals seeping into the environment. Millions of phones, computers, printers, routers, modems and other electronic equipment get thrown away every year. By buying secondhand, you are not putting a new device into circulation. Think of all the energy and raw materials that go into creating each new device. The more you can use secondhand, the better.
For the Foodie
Look no further than us at Green Earth Organics for your foodie friends and family. We have all the raw ingredients in our veg boxes that the foodie in your life could possibly need to create brilliant meals, plus some treats to keep the chef happy, and we deliver all over Ireland! Why not introduce them to us with a gift voucher or a veg box? How about buying them a fruit and veg delivery with some extra treats – our carefully curated range of teas or coffee and some organic chocolate or biscuits? A really great bottle of wine and some olives, crackers and cheeses – including these amazing vegan cheeses? Check out our new X-mas shop where we’ve put together some brilliant hampers.
My recipe book ‘Cook Draw Feed’ has been added to the shop at Green Earth Organics. An illustrated, plant based cookbook with over 100 inspiring recipes from my 12 years of running a veggie cafe. It’s a unique, hand drawn recipe book which makes a lovely, useful gift. I think it goes perfectly with a box of veg from the farm! I’ll be posting weekly recipes here on the blog so look out for those too.
There are too many brilliant local artists to list here but may we suggest you have a look at our very own Jenny Keavey’s incredible artwork? Her online shop, Into The Woods has a gorgeous collection of fabric and thread wild animal portraits, landscapes and floral hoops which would be gorgeous adorning your walls all year round. She also has a really beautiful collection of Christmas cards which we have added to the Green Earth Organics shop here.