20 August 2010

GUEST BLOG: Hopping in the great outdoors

By guest blogger VIC MASTERS

The weather managed to hold out long enough last Thursday for Cracking Good Food to join forces with Bite to offer two wonderful cooking sessions on the Nell Lane Allotments next to Southern Cemetery.

Bite is a Hulme-based project which works with people who have experience of mental health issues and its aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Manchester through the activities that take place around growing, cooking and eating food. Bite grows food on allotments and community gardens and uses this produce in cafes at day centres and hospitals to provide healthy, affordable meals.

The sessions were led by Nicola, who, as well as being a cook, co-runs Abundance, an organisation that redistributes spare fruit and veg from gardens and allotments to people and organisations who need it. Nicola was assited by regular Cracking Cook Kath (pictured below, mid flow!), who is a chef of many years and works behind the deli at Unicorn Grocery, which supports the Abundance project.

We got cracking gathering together ingredients from the allotment plot. We used delicious freshly picked produce such as sweet beetroot to make a mouthwatering beetroot and lime salad, and Nicola explained how beetroots are an excellent source of folic acid and a very good source of fibre. The salad was a lovely accompaniment to our Spanish bocadillos, a kind of sandwich packed with tasty flavours and vitamins.

It’s amazing what can be cooked outdoors with a few simple, seasonal ingredients. And what’s more, the recipes we made were really healthy too and tasted so great, especially sat in the sunshine! If you fancy cooking and eating your five-a-day alfresco, check out the Cracking Good Food website for recipe ideas and to find out what's in season, and pick up handy tips for healthy eating here.

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