restorative cookery course

altsomerset retreat

sasha harker

It was a last minute decision to join manna cuisine cookery course in Dulverton, Somerset this weekend. I decided before the snow and despite the fairly heavy snow (by UK standards) I had no trouble with transport apart from a short 20 minute delay leaving London Paddington on the Friday. Phew

festive cookery course

scotland retreat

our first retreat at penninghame house was a great success!  a huge thank you for all who came and the wonderful folk nestled away in beautiful galloway who made us feel so welcome  
we have some one day events coming up and other weekend get-aways in the works  

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pedals and panela: colombia’s brown sugar

 by Esme McAvoy

3green_sugar_caneWe’ve been in Andrés’ home town Manizales for the last few weeks, a small city in the heart of Colombia’s coffee-growing region. Yet, on the lower slopes of the surrounding Andean mountains, where the climate cakes_stackedbecomes warmer and more tropical, the coffee bushes give way to fields of bright green sugar cane which is used to make one of Colombia’s most traditional products: panela.

organiclea

manna's supplier of organic fresh leaf & root vegetables.  locally produced, urban community project.  delivered by bicycle!

organiclea_sign_clare

by Esme McAvoy

It’s empowering stuff, eating food that you’ve sown, grown and picked yourself. And I’m just talking from my own limited experience aged eight, growing strawberries in the back garden. We were self-sufficient all summer long in sugar-sweet baby strawberries to the extent that my big sis once gorged on so many in a single sitting that she almost turned into one, coming out in berry-red blotches that left her out of strawberry-eating action for the remainder of the season. Lucky me.

Fast forward to summer 2011 and, back in London for a few months, I stop in at manna for a soya latte and a natter. Roger and Robin start telling about one of their newest suppliers – a food growing co-operative cultivating organic salad leaves of all colours and flavours on the edge of Epping Forest and delivering them to customers by bicycle. I’m intrigued and it’s quickly agreed that a visit is in order.

banana-rama

bananas_differentby Esme McAvoy

Bananas are bananas, right? Always yellow and always, erm, banana-shaped. Well, not always.

Here in Colombia bananas come in all shapes and sizes. Some known as plantains are a radioactive shade of yellow-green, longer and fatter than your forearm with firm, starchy flesh that needs to be cooked first. Others are short and squat with rust-red and yellow skins. In Minca, the smallest banana I’ve seen is from our neighbour’s garden. Called a ‘bocadillo’ (‘little mouthful’) or ‘bananito’, it’s a super-sweet, baby variety barely bigger than your thumb that you can eat in a single bite and easily polish off five in one sitting. Others have skins bubblegum pink.