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Sonya Meagor
07773 298 269
Sonya Meagor
07773 298 269

Eco Cuisine Blog

The North London Sustainability Network is Born

 

North London Environment Ethical Care

 

As you should already know I’m a long-standing environmentalist and online activist with particular interest in seasonal British food, animal welfare and packaging (plastic in particular) which is why we use either biodegradable (from Enviropack) or reusable platters in china, porcelain, metal. I also use a green supplier for equipment hire (Arnold Walker).

Are you interested in environmental issues and sustainability?

We are and we live by these values in the way we work and live. We strive to ensure that all the operations here at eco cuisine are ethical, sustainable and eco friendly and it runs through the heart of everything that we do. But, I wanted to do more…

I got to thinking about how I could raise awareness of the importance of sustainability. I know I can’t be the only business in north London who cares about environmental issues and sustainability too but I noticed that there isn’t any coherent network or group addressing this, either in business, for individuals, or for the third sector in North London.

So, that’s how the North London Sustainability Network is born! It formally launches with our first event on Tuesday 17th July at 6pm.

 

NLSN

 

Where charities, businesses and individuals can network, discuss the issues and appreciate the company of likeminded people. There will be presentations, local suppliers showcasing their food and drink for you to try and of course networking. Plus, all of this is served with fabulous sustainable food and drink for you to enjoy.

The idea is that the network will have four meetings a year with each meeting focused on a different area or type of sustainability. This first event’s topic is food and packaging but looking ahead may be economic (banking and finance etc.), environmental (office supplies, office furniture), or ethical (staffing, suppliers).

I love the idea of sharing and learning from one another and we have guest speakers from Enfield council (Sustainable cities and Enfield schools catering), Forty Hall/Green party, North London Food Bank (we will be asking for donations).

So often local issues and our environmentally conscious community can just pass us by as we live such busy lives but this is an opportunity to connect and have meaningful conversations. That said, you don’t have to be an eco-heavy weight to join us – if you care about the World we live in and have a heart for community that cares about our environment and the people within it, do come along and join us. The food and drink alone, with lots of friendly people will be enough to make it worth your time.

For more information and to buy tickets please take a look here

If you are unable to make the date please do make sure you like and follow our Facebook page to stay up-to-date with the latest news, events and food inspiration from us.



Father’s Day Recipe Ideas

This year seems to be running away from us but they say time flies when you’re having fun. It’s Father’s Day on Sunday and for those of you celebrating or marking the occasion, no doubt some of you will be cooking up a storm for him.

My Dad loves fish, as do I………simply baked in foil with a touch of sea salt rubbed into the skin before cooking, for me – is bliss.

So I wanted to share the love and encourage you to treat your Dad (or whoever else you are cooking for!) with a delicious dish. Read on for details of a scrumptious fishy dish, a meaty delight and a fresh but hearty veggie option for those that prefer meat free food.

Wrap your fish – could be a sea bass or bream at this time of year – lay it on the foil and rub in some lovely Cornish sea salt, then wrap to cover it all.

 

sea bass

 

Next, place it in the oven which has been heated to approx. 200 c for 20/30 minutes. You know when it’s cooked if you put a knife to the skin and it comes away easily.

If your Dad prefers meat what about a lovely steak? Choose whichever cut he prefers but make sure you have it a room temperature before cooking – add some seasoning then pan fry as follows – place a mix of oil and butter in the pan and cook as below for 2cm thick steak – adjust if thinner or thicker by a little.

                    Rare                                             –

2 minutes then turn the steak and cook for 1½ minutes

                   Medium                                        –

3 minutes then turn the steak and cook for 2½ minutes

                  Well done                                     –

4 minutes then turn the steak and cook for 3½ minutes

ALWAYS rest the meat for a good 5 minutes before serving – it will cook slightly more and taste so much better.

I like to serve with a fresh mixed salad and a jacket potato……….or even potato wedges………..

If your dad is vegetarian how about some fresh sweetcorn on the BBQ? Make sure you boil it first for 5 minutes then wrap in foil and place on the grill (it won’t char) – get some lovely Portobello mushrooms and rub on a mix of garlic and olive oil – they’re great on the grill too and then when all ready you can serve with salad and jacket spud or wedges…..If you want to add some more colour to your meal try making veggie kebabs using aubergine, courgette and peppers in chunks and on skewers with the garlic/oil mix – yummy!

 

Father's Day BBQ

Above timings for BBQ too………….

I wonder, are you football fans and will you be watching the World Cup? Who do you want to win? I’m supporting England…….and hoping for BBQ weather for the next few weeks.

Whatever you get up to this weekend and for Father’s Day, enjoy it.



What is Organic Food and is it Important to Eat Organic?

Organic. It is a word we see and hear in our everyday lives but do you actually know what organic means in food terms? Do you even care about organic products and do you know enough about it to make an informed decision about consuming organic foods or indeed in choosing not to buy organic food?

 

Organic crops field

 

The Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) defines organic as this on its website:

‘Organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation.

Organic agriculture is a systems approach to production that is working towards environmentally, socially and economically sustainable production. Instead, the agricultural systems rely on crop rotation, animal and plant manures, some hand weeding and biological pest control’.

 

At eco cuisine we see the value in organic food – for the environment and for economic sustainability too! Why do we use certain organic products for our catering? Well, sourcing fish and meat seasonally is of course possible as the main products of chicken; beef and lamb are available all year round. Plus there is enough fish at all times of year to use in a fish pie or as a main course. The seafood I source is either seasonal fish or MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) registered seafood such as prawns – you can find out more about sustainable seafood from their website if you’re interested.

 

We always buy seasonally whenever possible but unfortunately to get British fruit and vegetables is just not possible all year round. So if a client really wants peppers, courgettes or aubergines in December then I will look to source organic from another country – but not anything airfreighted and ensuring we are using European produce (Spain, Italy, France). Organic means to me that pesticides haven’t been used and that the growers take the environmental impact of growing seriously. Maybe it’s psychological too but I do think the taste is better by using better produce – most chefs would agree that if you start with a really good product you don’t have to do too much to show it off – letting your produce be the star and not a sauce or heavy accompaniments which might disguise the taste.

 

 

Other organic products I prefer are dairy products – milk and cheese for example. You will find that organic feta cheese has much less fluid around it when you use it – making it far easier to crumble into a salad or mix with spinach to make spinach and feta filo rolls without draining it first, thus saving time as well as ensuring a great taste!

 

There is some evidence that organic food is better for you as foods like fruit and veg retains more vitamins and antioxidants in addition to less pesticide residues and heavy metals. However, let’s not forget the price tag attached to organic food. Though some organic produce isn’t as expensive, it is on average more costly than its non-organic counterparts and this simply isn’t an option for many people.

 

When seasonal produce is available in this country I do think it’s hard to beat – organic or not…. Asparagus at the moment is fantastic and not always organic but still tastes fresh and lovely, so I’m not advocating organic everything everyday just that I choose what is best in my opinion to give clients the best available within their remit and considering what is available to me.



May Seasonal Shopping List

Eco cuisine bring you your shopping list for what produce is seasonal this time of year.

Seasonal produce has so many benefits from environmental, to economical and financial benefits too. Some even say eating seasonally is better for your health too.

Here’s our May shopping list so that you can make informed decisions when buying your weekly food shop;

Fruit and Veggies

Samphire, Asparagus, Cauliflower, New potato, Parsley, Mint, Broad bean, Carrot, Spinach, Lettuce, Celery, Cherry, Raspberry, Rhubarb….

Meat and Fish

Duck, Sea trout, Sea bass, Lemon sole, Cod, Sardine, Lamb, Crab, Dover sole, Halibut, Herring, John Dory, Plaice, Salmon

I love it when English asparagus is around – we eat so much of it at every meal time while we can get this little gem of our seasonal shopping………eat it raw or lightly steam for 1 – 2 minutes only and enjoy. I also love samphire with fresh fish – again, just a quick steam 1-2 minutes then season with sea salt and pepper and add a little butter if you’re feeling indulgent! Fresh mint with new potatoes – yummy. Just steam until tender and add ripped leaves of mint – are you growing your own ? It so easy!

 

 

Another short season life is the sea trout – if you’re lucky enough to get it from your fishmonger – what a delight – so subtle. Lightly wrap in foil and bake for approx.20-30 minutes depending on size – test to see when it’s ready – if the skin peels easily away then you can go for it………..



Eco cuisine suppliers – Centrepiece Cakes by Kerry

Do you care about where your food comes from? Is sustainable food important to you? What about the process of how your food is made? It matters to us and we advocate eco friendly living and ethical catering to help our health, communities, economies and the planet! Sustainable and seasonal food is better for your health, the environment and your wallet.

 

 

If you have been tuning in to the blog over the past couple of months you will have seen our mini series all about the suppliers we use here at eco cuisine.

 

We launched this mini series, as we believe people have a right to know what their food is and where their food comes from. We carefully hand select our suppliers based on the quality, taste, processes and values of their business – ensuring they meet our exceptionally high standards. So you can be assured the quality and taste of our ingredients and menu options are the very best.

 

You can read the last post about the bakery we use here and about one of our favourite butchers here. Next up in our mini-series, we would like to introduce you to the amazing cake designer we use – Centrepiece Cakes by Kerry.

 

Whilst Kerry is not known primarily for corporate cake making, I met her at a local networking event in North London and we just “clicked” – it is really important to us that we share values with our suppliers, so it was our mutual interest in all things food no doubt!

 

The fact that she uses high quality ingredients like us, that she has her own design studio and kitchen, is fully insured and is both talented and passionate at what she does all meant she had to be on our supplier list – adding another local to the list.

 

Cream tea

 

I use another local supplier for what you might call the more traditional afternoon tea items; like double ginger and chocolate and Guinness cake from Holtwhites. Not only are these delicious sweet treats, but truthfully, I don’t particularly enjoy baking apart from my now famous (I think it’s fair to say)……..drum roll…… chocolate brownies……….. My skills are best placed cooking up a storm in the kitchen. But, I needed someone who could make lovely Victoria sponges and someone I could recommend to any forthcoming brides, as we do cater for private events too from time to time.

 

Wedding cake

 

I have used Kerry for her Victoria Sponge to add to our afternoon tea offering. Of course she didn’t just deliver a sponge – it has been decorated with some fresh fruit in the middle – because Kerry always goes that little bit extra and it makes all the difference.

 

If you are thinking about having an afternoon tea or birthday party – we do private and corporate events, so do get in touch to find out more.