Three Michelin stars

Arpège a three star Michelin (1 of around 100 in the world) holder since 1996, in 2001 Alain changed his whole approach and menu from meat to vegetables. He retained his three stars and now celebrates 20 years as a three star restaurant. His story can be viewed on Netflix Chef’s table, Season 3, episode 1. It is inspiring and fascinating to see a top chef with such passion and creativity from his garden produce. He comments that he adds a small amount of meat ‘to keep people happy‘ what he has achieved is truely amazing and inspiring.

From Arpège website:

2001-2016 VEGETABLES

Vegetables have been the centrepieces at the Arpège since 2001. In 2002, the first vegetable garden was put together in Fillé sur Sarthe. In 2008, the second vegetable garden was set up in Buis-sur-Damville. Then shortly after, Alain Passard patented the “Bouquet de roses” apple tart, a tart that honours both the flower and the fruit.

P.S yes he is wearing trousers in the second photo – thank goodness!


Fish – the forgotten farm animal

Fish are aquatic vertebrates that live in the sea and fresh water. Most fish have highly developed senses with excellent taste, smell and colour vision. They also have a ‘lateral line system’ of receptors that can detect the motion of currents, nearby fish and prey.

They are sentient animals: capable of feeling pain, and experiencing a range of emotions. Scientific evidence has revealed that fish are far more intelligent than people assume. They have long-term memories, complex social structures, problem solving abilities, and some have been seen using tools.

Yet the European Commission has a new fisheries policy which makes almost no reference to the welfare of farmed fish. Most of us forget to consider fish in the ethical debate. Fish is often the choice of the ‘part time’ vegetarian or people eating a ‘light or healthy’ diet. From all of my research into farmed fish and commercial wild fishing I have found it hard to find an ethical option other than going fishing myself. Then there are the health issues, fish in our modern world really isn’t a healthy option. To learn more I suggest reading this article (it is USA focused but depicts many global issues concisely) If you do eat fish, rethink you buying choices. See the CIWF buying guide, look for the MSC logo or buy Soil association organic fish.


Love veg

It is official, vegetables are amazing! We used to eat peas or broccoli with dinner, the odd carrot, a salad on a hot day. I would add veg as a side dish as an obligation to my ‘5 a day’ and had very little regard for vegetables in their own right.

Now I find veg exciting and I am proud to make them the main event. Swiss chard, kale, purple sprouting broccoli, artichokes, spring greens, beetroot, spinach, pak choi, courgette, leeks, brussels sprouts, fennel, rhubarb, chives flowers, the list go on and on.

Buy fresh and buy ‘real’ varieties, try things you’ve never tried before. We started growing our own veg and as ‘really’ lazy gardeners we found it very easy, you can grow veg in containers or in beds, throw some seeds in or buy some 50p plants from the market and see what takes. The photo below is veg I picked from the garden tonight, picked, chopped, oven roasted for 6 mins, delicious.

How you cook veg is important. I hardly ever use water and my favourite is roasting or dry frying. Try roasting curly kale, it is amazing. Take a bag of chopped curly kale, put in a roasting tray in an oven on about 180C, after 6-8 mins check and toss, it is done when the edges as crispy. Roast a tray of green veg, broccoli, sprouts, leeks, kale, stir spinach in at the end, you will be amazed by the flavours. The great thing is about veg is that you can’t under cook it, the majority of veg can be eaten raw so you are free to play. Pick, chop, cook, serve.


The EOr



Waitrose egg-cellent!

Waitrose is the only major UK supermarket to sell nothing but free range eggs in boxed form and as ingredients in their own brand products including their essential range. No barn eggs, no caged eggs, no exceptions. Whether you pick up Waitrose sponge cake, croissants, custard, fresh pasta, sauces etc read the label, they all contain free range eggs. (*note this only applies to Waitrose own brand, they do stock other brands that don’t use free range eggs).

e.g. ‘essential Waitrose fresh pasta spaghetti: Durum wheat semolina, pasteurised free range egg (15%), water’

Concerned that Waitrose is more expensive? A quick cost comparison:

  1. Fresh egg fusilli pasta. Waitrose = £3.20, Sainsbury = £3.20, Tesco = £3.75 (based on per kg)
  2. Frozen all butter croissants. Waitrose = £6.70, Sainsbury = £7.50, Tesco = £6.70 (based on per kg)

You will see a lot more posts referencing Waitrose, as they lead the way in terms of ethical choices for supermarket shoppers. They introduce their policies way before public pressure and focus is on these topics

If you want to review other supermarkets have a quick look on their websites. They all publish ingredients lists, search for the product and scroll down to the ingredients, you will find products that contain free range egg but it is not across the board. Remember if is doesn’t say free range it isn’t.

Waitrose that is a big thumbs up for me and the girls (hens), Egg-cellent work!

The EOr



Chicken training

Chickens are highly intelligent. This video might look like chickens that I have trained to jump for cheese but actually it is chickens training me how to feed them cheese faster. They love cheese, organic cheese of course! check this out

All of the girls that live here learn very quickly that there is cheese in the fridge and any chance they get, they are straight in via the back door and queuing up at the fridge. They also know how to tap on the door to get our attention. They know when guests arrive and are straight out to check their supplies.

Why I am sharing this silly video? The concept of caging these birds is inconceivable and unnecessary, which is why caged hen eggs is our focus for January. Are you the checking labels on any food products that may contain eggs – if they don’t say free range, they are from caged hens. Eating out, ask if their eggs are free range.

Cluck cluck!

The photo is two chicks are were given from a school hatching project. They decided the washing machine was a great place to roost.

The ethical omnivore