Sunshine, food and friends

This weekend has seen lots of sunshine, lots of lovely food and……. time spent with some of our lovely friends.

Salad grown by Aunty Georgie who...... doesn't actually like salad

Salad grown by Aunty Georgie who…… doesn’t actually like salad

Yesterday Team Pugh embark on a trip to see Aunty Georgie and Uncle Steve and their dog dog Tiggy in the Forest of Dean. As a gift we took date and pecan muffins and some ground coffee and upon arrival were greeted with a lovely brunch. We then went off to visit a few places Aunty Georgie and Uncle Steve thought Team Pugh would like including a fabulous community shop. Continue reading


Summer Treats part 2 – a guest post by Grandad Gray

So yesterday we heard all about the delights of strawberries and today we hand over again to Grandad Gray for a little lesson in how to use all those lovely elderflowers that are growing everywhere! As these are wild Team Pugh can enter into this one as……. it requires no growing skills.

elder 1Grandad Gray it’s over to you………..

elder 2‘Another simple but very tasty product which anyone can make this time of the year is elderflower cordial. I remember we made this for Ian and Rebekah’s (that’s Becksie to our readers) wedding and it went down a real treat. At the moment the elders are in full bloom so it is the ideal opportunity. You will need:

40 elderflowers in full white bloom (shake to remove any insects)

1 kilo bag sugarelder 4

1 lemon (grate rind and mash fruit)elder 3

55grams citric acid

2 litre boiling water

Large clean bowl or bucket

Melt the sugar and citric acid in the boiling water.  Add grated and mashed lemon and elderflowers and stir with wooden spoon. Cover with clean tea towel and leave for 48 hours. Strain (I use jelly bag) and bottle in clean bottles.

This will keep in the fridge for about 3-4 weeks. Just then dilute just as you would orange squash.

I usually freeze many bottles and defrost to use throughout the year. If you freeze do not overfill the bottles as the liquid expands as it freezes. If you buy sparkling water to add to the cordial this is very refreshing. The cordial also makes a great liquor to add to fresh fruit salad.elder 5

Summer treats – a mini series by Grandad Gray

Grandad Gray's veg patch

Grandad Gray’s veg patch

So……. as you know Team Pugh are #rubbish at gardening! They’d love to have a full garden of produce but……. they just don’t. Grandad Gray on the other hand does. We are very lucky that he is very generous with his crop so we don’t miss out. So for tonight and tomorrow night we hand over to Grandad Gray for a few thoughts and tips on the treats that summer has to offer. Right we’re off to weed the garden HAHA! Grandad it’s over to you………..strawberry 3

‘As I wrote in an earlier guest blog I moved a lawn to gain more veg garden. Partly to do my bit towards A Year Without Supermarkets. One of the bonuses was that having more room to grow veg in I now had a room for a new strawberry patch. Being an experienced gardener I had anticipated this and last Autumn I had propagated a dozen lovely young plants of the variety Pegasus. My original stock plant had come from a National Trust property, Wimpole Hall. There were some plants in a basket which had a note, ’please help yourself’ so I did. This I planted in a litre pot which I kept well watered. This soon made runner which I pegged down. By September I had about 15 strong young plants.strawberry 4 I selected the strongest dozen and planted in situ in November. As first year croppers they each have 8-12 strawberries each around the size of a golf ball.strawberry 2

So we had strawberries with cream, with meringues, with Greek yoghurt and just as they come mmm.strawberry 7

This evening I remembered a treat  my mother used to make in strawberry season so had a go and it was every bit as good as it was then.strawberry 6

Put a plate over a pan of boiling water. Place several cubes of good quality chocolate on the plate and wait until it melts. Place a strawberry on a fork then roll in the melted chocolate. Eat immediately or allow the chocolate to set on the fruit and eat when cool. Both are amazing and so simple.

A greengrocers, a farm shop and a community shop – some thoughts on shopping!

Lunch at Abbey Home Farm

Lunch at Abbey Home Farm

Last week we didn’t do much shopping at all which has left us with not a lot of food. Well….. This is not strictly true as we have been given a huge bag of lettuce, spinach and beans by Grandad Gray. We also still have some cheese from the huge block we bought a few weeks back. We also have eggs a plenty and….. Loads of meat in the freezer. We can’t remember if we told you all about Derek mark two? The pantry also has lots as does the ingredients cupboard but….. we somehow felt foodless. Ridiculous when in terms of living below the line we are food rich. Perhaps even a little shameful when we take a look back and realise when we said we had no food we actually meant we didn’t have the food we wanted to eat.

shop 6So off we went to shops. Shop done and a sense of guilt sets in concerning the above paragraph and actually to write it we feel quite sad. If we actually really practised what we preached ie less is more, only buy what you need etc we could have most definitely fed ourselves for a little longer before we pranced off to market. Truth is we are humans, we like eating and we like shopping.

What are we talking about? This isn’t an experiment in being miserable and we haven’t broken any of our rules but……. Becksie is currently reading a book that promises it will ‘change the way we shop, cook and eat forever’!!!!!!!!!!!!

It doesn’t lie.

Oh very dear. Now Becksie doesn’t read at ET speed but a full review is coming just as soon as she’s finished the book.

shop 1All this aside and we were thrilled with our greengrocers haul. Then it was off to the organic farm shop where Aunty Janet treated us to a lovely lunch and we got a few bits. shop 4Then it was back to Mammar and Grandad Gray’s and a much over due visit to their community shop.

Coln Community Shop

Coln Community Shop

It was in this community shop that we had a great time and got a few now rare bits of shopping for us. We purchased some products! Well we are being harsh on ourselves when we say products we don’t exactly mean a horsemeat ready meal we mean:

shop 7Marmite – we haven’t had any for ages and we missed it.

Golden syrup – we’ve blogged about its delights before and we’ve also found it much more expensive out of the supermarket but here it was at £1.40 so the cheapest we’ve found it outside of the supermarket.

Brown sauce – Becksie loves brown sauce and has been craving it for a while.

Weetabix – a story here; it was priced differently on the shelf to the till so we ended paying more than we bargained for and despite a feeble effort we felt bad arguing our consumer rights in a community shop (more in a mo).

Garlic purée – this is a VERY lazy product but it has a nice flavour and Becksie has always been a fan. We’ve never seen it out of the supermarket so we were excited to purchase 5

So total shop weighs in at £42.88. Still under budget. Still no rules broken but somehow we feel confused, we even feel sad.

This experiment has saved us money – Fact! This experiment has made us eat better and lose weight – Fact! This experiment has been been fun and exciting – Fact! But this experiment has also been hugely confusing – Fact! Our shopping and eating ethics have been developed and as we are now looking towards the end of this project we feel like its time to start planning our summing up speech.

So many questions! Has this been a waste of time if after 8 months we still want to buy food even though we have loads in? Has this experiment been a waste of time if we get excited to go into a ‘good’ shopping place and purchase ‘products’? Who knows?

Now we said we’d mention the price of the weetabix more – the shelf price said £2.19 for 24! Now we know in the supermarket you can probably buy 48 weetabix (or equivalent) for less money but we have come to expect to pay more for products and this is why we buy less. So £2.19 seemed a good price. When they went through the tills they rang in at £3.20 – we mentioned this to the volunteer shop assistant who…… gave us some half arsed answer about ‘price marking’. We tried to explain politely our consumer rights and received a blank face and a repeat response. Had this been us a year ago in Sainsburys we are 100% sure we would have kicked off. However, in this lovely, well stocked community shop that residents had raised thousands to set up and to someone who we could see has NO idea what the answer or correct procedure was we somehow felt we should just take the pound loss. This has however left a VERY bitter pill our mouths. You see the problem or maybe the success of this project is it has changed us. Changed who we are and what we believe and therefore how we behave. This is fantastic but its also a little scary to be shocked by ones own actions. We are free from the supermarket and have become new versions of ourselves. But where does this leave us?

Who are we?

How should we shop?

What should we eat?

Lets hope the remaining tine until the end of this experiment, and quite possibly this blog can help us work it out.