It’s the season for an abundance of Elderflowers. A sign that the summer has arrived! We have been making litres of Elderflower cordial and Elderflower champagne . It will be ready to drink in a few weeks.
The flowers were picked from trees in Nunhead near the cemetery, at the top of Broadway Market in East London where there is a hidden edible forest garden and in the nature reserve near the adventure playground in Weavers Fields, Bethnal Green. (For cordial and champagne recipes see: categories: seasonal recipes)
A few more days to go before all the flowers fall.
It is said that Elderflower is very strong as an emotional healer – as it stimulates energy, vigor, resilience, joy, and our powers of recovery and renewal of energy.
Long live the Stinging Nettle!
A passage from Les Miserables concerning the lovely Stinging Nettle : ’One day he (Monsieur Madeleine) saw some peasants busy plucking out Nettles; he looked at the heap of plants uprooted and already withered, and said – “They are dead. Yet it would be well if people knew how to make use of them. When the nettle is young, its leaf forms an excellent vegetable; when it matures, it has filaments and fibres like hemp and flax. Nettle fabric is as good as canvas. Chopped, the nettle is good for poultry; pounded it is good for cattle. The seed of the nettle mingled with fodder imparts a gloss to the coats of animals; its root mixed with salt produces a beautiful yellow colour. It is besides excellent hay and can be cut twice. And what does the nettle require? Little earth, no attention, no cultivation. Only the seed falls as it ripens, and is difficult to gather. That is all. With a little trouble, the nettle would be useful; it is neglected, and becomes harmful.”
TESTING TESTING…The Hawkwood cookups
Time to start testing the ranger hot plate and oven
and to re ignite our old faithful swirl stove.
and we have a very useful new oven thermometer. Apparently wood such as Ash and blackthorn are the best to cook with, burning slowly at a high temperature. A mix of wood seems to work well. Its quite a job to keep the temp high. On site at Hawkwood Plant Nursery we’ve been cooking up - for the crew, volunteers and visitors. Henry Ranger is being fully tested..baking and roasting in the oven and frying, boiling , simmering and steaming on top.
Tuesday 21st December 2010
The Hawkwood crew say thankyou and
to all their volunteers. This winter solstice coincided with a Lunar Eclipse and full moon.
Energy Cafe joined in the celebration and lit the fire during this shortest day to make hot toddy, roast potatoes and
spicy mulled wine for the occasion.
lit the fire at 10.30am - serving drinks and roast potatoes at 1pm. Max temp 175 degrees
Sunday 28th November
Tea and cakes for Hawkwood Plant Nursery Open Day visitors.
On arrival the trailer was an ice box, it thawed throughout the day, helped by the sun and the ranger fire that took around half an hour to heat up. Physical and practical activity is part of the enjoyment and thrill of Energy Cafe. Simple tasks such as Chopping wood, building fires, filling water butts are a few of the energetic activities that accompanies preparation and cooking food.
The menu: a milky chai, black ceylon or choice of various herbal teas.
With a melt in your mouth bite size Hot Rock Cake.
Baking time: approximately one hour. Oven temp rose to 150 degrees.
Thursday 18th November
just as the chillis ripen in the glass house..
to say thank you and introduce the workings of the kitchen
The Vegetables were supplied by the farm shop stall open every Wednesday and Thursday at Hawkwood Plant Nursery.
The menu: Baked potatoes
and Vegetarian Roots Goulash (seasonal veg including squash, carrots, parsnip and celery).
cooking time: approx two and a half hours.
We made just enough!
If you live locally to Hawkwood Plant Nursery we recommend you check out the farm shop for delicious seasonal vegetables – or even join the weekly box scheme. Its great value and you can really taste the difference!
Sunday 26th September
Students on the Permaculture course at Hawkwood Plant Nursery wanted to cook the Sunday lunch time meal.
So they used Energy Cafe and loved it!
and called the occasion the impromptu ‘inauguration’ of Energy Cafe
It was the first Energy Cafe cook up on the Hawkwood Site – the trailer came to life. As the soup cooked, the salad mixed and plenty of parsley chopped, chatting and laughter filled the hungry atmosphere.
Hawkwood Nursery Open Day this Sunday 27th June 11 – 4
Chingford E4 7UH
Energy Cafe will be serving Elderflower cordial, made with flowers harvested from a Hawkwood tree. If you are curious to see the beautiful site where we are based, please join us for a glass, take a walk through the meadow grass, see what’s growing and have a peek in the garage to see the trailer interior undergoing a transformation: from humble horse box to hand crafted kitchen.
Energy Cafe is ready for Interns and Volunteers, Thanks to Organiclea!
In sympathy with the slow food movement the trailer is edging its way south. With a wink of its new indicator lights (thanks Andy!), last week Gino towed it just half a mile down the road to Organiclea’s Hawkwood Nursery on the woodland edge of Epping Forest. This inspirational worker’s cooperative aims to help people get their hands into the soil, encouraging community food growing in the city. A beautiful, productive, tranquil oasis, Hawkwood is home to their latest resource: glasshouses, growing beds, fields, a classroom and future plans for orchards and vineyards. With our shared philosophies, its a perfect partnership for Energy Cafe. Responding to the spring call-out for an undercover base, they’ve very generously offered us space in their Hawkwood garage until the end of August in exchange for rent-in-kind.
A roof! Organic Lea’s Huf nudging the trailer into its new home.
Throughout the summer months we’re planning to install as many of the ideas for the off-grid kitchen as we can, getting it ready for the road. We’ve enlisted Vince, a local member of the Energy Cafe team and skilled joiner to focus on the interior fit-out and we’re now ready for energetic interns.
If you’d be interested in joining the team during this young and exciting construction phase, we’d love to hear from you. We are seeking one or two people who can spend a few days a week, preferably over the duration of the next three months. Tasks can be wide-ranging and may include: helping out with the trailer customization inside and out; investigating off-grid technologies (solar panels, water harvesting, bicycle power); supporting publicity, planning events and workshops; hunting for materials and scrounging things for free; searching for local / wild food; making off-grid cups of tea… and more! Its a wonderful learning opportunity and although we are currently working to plan, Energy Cafe welcomes fresh input and ideas. We’ll cover travel and lunch expenses too.
Please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 07791246022 / 07947367463, and tell us about your experience, your passions and what you hope to get out of volunteering with Energy Cafe. We look forward to hearing from you!
During our time at Gunpowder Park, Energy Cafe sparked and grew the possibility of a common land. Being open and attracting community was at its core. For this next phase, retreating from the public feels important, to focus and prepare the trailer for community once again. Energy Cafe is sensitive to wherever it finds itself. Hawkwood Nursery has its own network of workers and volunteers, all of whom are coming into contact with the project in their own unique way. But Energy Cafe will be holding some public events during work-in-progress and we hope to see you there! The first will be on Sunday 27th June when the Nursery holds is next open day. Watch this space for a more detailed posting nearer the time…
Once again, a massive cheers to the brilliant people at Hawkwood Nursery, Organiclea! Thanks for your support guys…
Energy Cafe ‘Charge your knowledge’
Critical Mass Food search
Saturday 14th March
Two search parties set off on the hunt for seasonal wild food…
heading for Lee Valley Park…
and the direction of Epping Forest…
Updates on our findings,wild food cook ups and gourmet recipes coming soon!
How to make Birch Sap Wine
It’s the perfect time of year to collect sap from mature birch trees to make wine…
find a mature birch tree…
boar a hole in the trunk approx 2 inches deep
fit a copper pipe in the hole..and attach a five litre bottle to catch the dripping sap….leave overnight. full update on what happens next coming soon!
Energy College: Charge Your Knowledge!
Contact: 07791246022 / 07947367463
The Search for Eggs, Bread and Dairy is On!
Monday 19th January
Wednesday’s All Day Breakfast was imminent! We needed to source as many ingredients within the six mile radius as possible.
Investigating the local free range egg situation was quite revealing: One local supplier gets his eggs from Ireland (a few food miles there!) while Eastern Counties Farm in Waltham Abbey has decided to give up on free range eggs for the time being and offered to sell us 12 redundant Blackrock hens… Business has suffered since Tescos opened, food prices have rocketed and the horrors of factory farmed eggs only tends to stay in people’s conscious for a couple of weeks until laziness draws them to the supermarket again. Hopefully campaigns such as The Compassion in World Farming one will increase demand and help the farm to produce free range eggs again in the Spring. Why can’t the local Tesco’s get some of its stock from there?
Thankfully, the Holyfield Farm on the Crooked Mile, Waltham Abbey is going strong – with 2000 happy hens enjoying life outdoors.
We dropped into the farm shop where farmer Dave served us four dozen freshly laid eggs.
Medium sized makes a very decent fried egg!
Dave and his wife also keep ducks…
and stock locally produced jams, chutneys, Essex honey
and potatoes supplied by another farm. Any advise we can get on local produce is vital for the mapping we are doing… Dave recommended a farmers’ market in Loughton… we must visit!
So we’ve cracked the eggs for Wednesday…thanks Dave! Now bread… thats a challenge!
Our search for small scale, independent bakeries within the six miles wasn’t very satisfying…Greggs and Percy Ingle seem to have the monopoly. They do bake on the premesis, but we’d like to find out where the flour comes from and how its made. A real bread campaign is underway initiated by Sustain. Dave mentioned a watermill in Hertford where they produce flour from their own wheat. Its outside the six miles – but maybe this is the closest we are going to get.
We’ll investigate water-powered flour milling in time for the bread oven we’re planning!
A quick visit to Hayes Hill Farm – managed by Lee Valley. They have dairy cows among other farm animals – but no milk for sale there as its imported out.
If anyone has any tips on where we can source local dairy produce please get in touch!