Jul 31, 2015

Walthamstow Garden Party: Walthamstow Cultivates Some Beauties

As the strands of Appetite, E17 Art Trail and Cultivate grew together in Artillery Island’s marquee, the Waltham Forest Cultivate Summer Produce Show took shape on the Saturday. Proud gardeners were invited to submit their precious produce under one of three headings:

  • Homegrown produce
  • Preserved produce
  • Ingenius Planters
Here's Morag's run down of the event and the winners for each category:
"The judges had a great time deliberating, it was all a bit touch and go whether they would reach a decision in time!
Huge thanks to Faruk (a master of vertical planting), Jenny from Norman Loves and Victoria and Helen from Copped Hall Kitchen Garden who kindly acted as the judges on the day.
The winner for fresh homegrown produce was Julia Brown whose Invicta Gooseberries were plump and so so delicious. Grown on allotment - Sinnott Rd. Julia wrote she brough them to the show for two reasons:
  1.  I want to see an annual / regular competition in Walthamstow. This is a start! 
  2. My produce is amazing!
Her prize was the ingenius grape lid from Charles Viancin donated by Grace and Albert Cookshop, 406 Hale End Road, E4
Larissa Lockwood came runner up for her raspberries grown on her allotment and entered into the Summer Produce Show 'for a bit of fun'.

Winner of Preserved Produce was Maud Milton with her organic sourdough - one white and one white/granary loaf.  "We call the starter Mama Lampo. The starter is over 100yrs old, originates from Genoa, via Oslo to E17" Maud was awarded an Organiclea veg box to provide some yummy accompaniments to her bread.

William Forbes & Harriet Podwick came a close second for their collection of jams, jellies and a fruit leather.

To replace the ingenius planters prize, the judges created a spontaneous award for Well Presented - this award had not been previously announced, but despite the challenge of not presenting preserves in anything glass, many entrants took a lot of care in their presentation and the judges wanted to acknowledge this.

The winner was Maisson Al-Jawad who beautifully displayed a golden beetroot, purple kohlrabi, tomato, courgette and nasturtiums on a slate. "All grown from seed outdoors in my small garden in E17"
When asked "what convinced you to bring it to the Summer Produce Show?" Her answer was simply: "proud of my efforts! (First year properly grown veg)" What better reason could you need? Her golden beetroot was worthy of a golden globe!

To match her beautiful presentation, her prize was a splendidly planted hanging basket donated by Lancasters Home and Garden, Old Station Yard, Wood Street, E17 3NA
Runner's up prizes of a choice of books were generously donated by judge and Copped Hall Gardener Helen Lowther.

Morag also wanted to give special mention to Forbes and Podwick for their foraged produce and Julia Brown’s raspberry Jam. 

Let’s hope we can make Julia’s dream of a regular produce show a reality.

Jul 22, 2015

Walthamstow Garden Party: Wine Making Demo

Ru, from Organiclea, bravely took to the stage as the first demonstration and "act" of the day. 

He shone light on the mysterious world of creating your own wine. It seems though some might have experimented with their own mini microbrewery fermenting away in their garden, wine has more finesse and intrigue surrounding it. 
Armed with bags of foraged cherries from the towpath and plums from the tree in his garden, Ru called for some willing volunteers. 

The first essential step we were told was to sterilise everything: equipment and hands so that they reduce the number of microorganisms competing with the yeast. Once this was done, the volunteers got stuck straight into cleaning, scrubbing, squishing and creating an admirably messy ‘mash’ of fruit. 
Getting stuck in
The "mash"
Ru’s explanation simplified the process and even made the more mathematical calculations of how to calculate the specific gravity and therefore the alcohol content, a little less bamboozling to those starting out.

Fancy equipment
Complex calculations simplified
A few of the right ingredients
One thing he pointed out was the country wine didn’t need to be sweet, in fact he preferred his quite dry.

The equipment he brought with him looked impressive, especially the demijohn, but he explained there were simpler versions you could get online, or surprisingly quite a lot of equipment from Wilko!

Once he had added in all the ingredients and had set it up to bubble away Ru said his main "take home point" was to have patience. All too often the last bottle of wine from a batch he found was the best and he had wished he had waited a little longer for the rest. In general he said you need to wait a minimum of a year until you even think about touching it.

...and voila, vintage 2014
If you’re interested in learning to make your own wine, feel free to contact Ru through Organiclea. Here's a link to some wine they made. Thank you to Ru for being a pioneer with the food demonstrations at Artillery Island.

Jul 17, 2015

Walthamstow Garden Party Post: A trio of fabulous food demonstrations

The Walthamstow Garden Party is back this year with an excitable fizz in the air. It'll be brimming with music, poetry, crafts, and my speciality: food and drink, available by the  bowlful.

We'll be weloming back some familiar faces such as last year's star Northern Imagination, alongside plenty of exciting local stall holders on Artillery Island and a brand new exciting development of three food demonstrations to tease your tastebuds! These include Organiclea, a familiar face to Walthamstow and Hulya bringing her exotic spices to the Island.

The schedule looks like this:

Saturday 18th July

12.30 - 13.15 
Organiclea, taking you step by step through country wine making

Sunday 19th July 

12.15 - 13.00 
Hulya from Made by the Chef demystifying Eastern Mediterranean and Turkish cuisine with a splash of how make them 'free from' allergens thrown in to make it even easier.

13.15 - 13.45  
Organiclea demonstrating how to make tasty salad from their veg box

They're free to attend, on a first come basis. Doors open at 12pm so why not make Artillery Island your first stop for some yummy lunch.

Here's a little more information on Organiclea and Hulya, our brave pioneers on this exploration.

Organiclea - Country Wine 

Come along on Saturday lunchtime to learn from Organiclea wine enthusiasts how to ferment fruit and wild food into country wine with some theory, some practical work, and a if you're lucky maybe even a chance to sample some locally made country wine.

Learn more about what young country wine is and how it preserves the best of the season. In this demo you will learn that wine-making does not need specialist equipment and you don’t have to own a vineyard.

Hulya - Eastern Med & Turkish Cuisine

On Sunday we're pleased to welcome Hulya to the stage; no stranger to the limelight with TV and food show appearances under her belt, along with teaching, judging and writing for a variety of food magazines - it's amazing she has the time to see us!
She'll be showing us how to adapt menus in this evolving market of allergen-free cooking and healthy eating whilst incorporating her background and expertise in the Eastern Mediterranean kitchen. Come along to see what yummy Turkish and Cypriot inspired street food she conjures up in front of your very eyes.

Organiclea - Veg box salad

Organiclea return on Sunday to show you that creating fantastic meals from seasonal veg doesn't need to be complicated or out of anyone's reach. Let the produce speak for itself and join Organiclea for a quick demonstration on a few tips and tricks on how to whip up a sensational salad for summer.

Hopefully see you there! Be sure to say hi :)