Garden dinner

I love the time in the year when it is possible to eat a significant proportion of our food from out of the garden. We are not quite there yet this year, but last night we did start with spring onions, potatoes and sage from the garden (plus an egg):

Ingredients for dinner

Ingredients for dinner

and ended up with Glamorgan sausages, boiled new potatoes (variety Colleen) and lettuce for our dinner:

Ready to eat

Ready to eat

Not quite  a garden dinner, as the lettuce came from a local farm and the Glamorgan sausages were made with breadcrumbs from a homemade loaf (organic white flour from Shipton Mill; wholemeal from Felin Ganol) plus Snowdonia Black Bomber Cheese and freshly ground back pepper, but with the sage and onions and bound together with the egg. Not entirely home-grown, but very satisfying that almost everything was fairly local.

I am having a slight problem, however, at breakfast time. Despite the strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and red currants being covered in fruit, none of it is ripe yet. Thank goodness for rhubarb to keep me going in this rather lean period!

Milling around

Felin Ganol's wheel: power from an abundant resource

Felin Ganol’s wheel: power from an abundant resource

Last week we ran out of wholemeal flour. Rather than being a nuisance, however, it provided a welcome opportunity to visit our local mill.

Just a few miles away, in Llanrhystud, is a beautiful restored water-mill, Felin Ganol and it is from here that we buy our flour. All their flour is organic, but they have worked with Aberystwyth University so that, as well as their standard British flour, they also sell flour produced from our own county – Ceredigion. As you might know, Wales is quite hilly and land for growing wheat is limited. In the past, however, it was produced here and it’s lovely to think of this happening once more and it being processed so locally and in such an environmentally friendly way.

Beautiful restoration inside the mill

Beautiful restoration inside the mill

And, it doesn’t end there. The ‘Bake your lawn‘ project is encouraging schools to grow their own wheat, harvest and clean it, then bring it to the mill to grind into flour and, finally, bake into bread that the children get to eat. I love this idea of connecting children with the food that they eat; after all, even here in such a rural area, I’m guessing that most kids think bread comes from a plastic bag. If you’re interested in being involved, the project isn’t confined to Felin Ganol, but is nationwide: check out the Real Bread Campaign for details.

The produce... good quality, local food

The produce… good quality, local food

Our trip to buy bread (combined with other chores to make sure we optimise car use and limit the amount of fuel we use and thus the cost both financially and environmentally) was a sociable event – including a long chat… not the quickest shopping trip, but it does mean we support a local business, cut down on food miles and are a tiny part of a really fantastic restoration project. Not everyone has a local working water-mill, but if you do – give them your business, and if not, check out your other local food producers you’ll almost certainly find great produce and friendly folks!


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