Over the super moon equinox weekend we teamed up with Drawing Club – run by Sebastian Lowsley Williams – to host a day of drawing the trailer and its contents for the making of the Energy Cafe user manual.
Regents Studios runs parallel to Broadway Market – one of the busiest saturday markets in the east end. Situated slightly off the main drag we were able to unfold all the cafe resources and naturally occupy the car park for the afternoon.
The sun beat down into the early eve.
as Dandelion posed with swirl stove and solar cooker…
Meanwhile on the menu; spring soup for all the crew, potato cake…
and a special egguinox honey and banana cake. it was the first cake to be baked in the windy smithy oven. Baked for half an hour at 250degrees.
Rachael Matthews made a beautiful drawing of the solar powered unit on wheels (prototype 1) , designed by Lucy Sheldon. Read more on the Prick Your Finger blog.
It was a great day! Thanks for all who participated and made lovely drawings of the situation and to Dandelion the drawing club model. Energy cafe user Manual will be online soon!
Make Your Mark
The state, color, function and future of the trailer’s exterior has been hotly debated over the last year. We’ve been asking people to come up with their ideas for how it could be customized and here we’ve visualized some of the results.
A big thanks to everyone who contributed, including, Dominique, Kim, Emily, Theo, Elsa and Emily!
Can you imagine the trailer transformed? The possibilities are endless! We’ve uploaded the trailer template, if you’d like to make your own visualization, download, draw, email it and we’ll publish it on the blog.
Hawkwood Plant Nursery Open Days
Sunday 28th July
Solar stewed blackberries at 75 degrees Celsius
A few sunny spells amidst a mainly cloudy grey sky day. Optimistically we opened up the flat pack solar cooker – newly modelled out of thin ply, black tape and aluminium tape.
For the Hawkwood Plant Nursery Open Day visitors we made refreshing seasonal drinks – whilst Lucy demonstrated how to use the new solar cooker. Vince had been foraging and brought his findings – a punnet of blackberries – picked that morning from around Waltham Abbey.
So with blackberries, lime, a little icing sugar and water
we made a solar stewed blackberry and lime juice
in a blackened pot covered in a plastic bag. This solar cooker is lightweight and adaptable – its best angle depends on the sunlight and for further improvements Lucy suggests we place a grate under the pan – reducing shadow impact. Despite little sun when the clouds passed and the sun peeped out- even for a few minutes – the water temperature rose quite fast!
Maximum temperature reached: 75 degrees Celsius – fine for blackberry juice. Warming and refreshing. Getting to boiling point is a challenge – virtually impossible here? but solar cooking is perfect for slow cooking, stews etc – barbeques too.
We’re in the testing phase – everyone came up with some great solar cooking ideas – and so now we wait to catch the next heatwave. The flat pack Solar cooker was made by Lucy Sheldon. Thanks to Amanda for helping out and Lucas too!
Sunday 27th June
Sister Swirl Stove arrives
It was another scorching summers Open Day at the Hawkwood Plant Nursery
Elderflower cordial on tap to quench the thirsts. Great to see a few familiar faces arriving….including a surprise visitor – Andrew Heggy with his new invention Sister Swirl Stove, this one slightly more compact than his first model ( that we use constantly for boiling water) is designed for portability.
Energy Cafe is slowly building a resource of portable handmade stoves. We’d asked Andrew if he could design one – that would be easy to carry and move around.
We’re very happy to meet Sister Swirl, looking forward to testing during future cook ups. Now we have the brother and sister swirl stoves and the flat pack solar cooker…many more possibilities …from storm kettles, rocket stoves to tin can micro cookers and hay boxes. If you would like to add to the energy cafe portable cooker and stove resource do get in touch.
Sister Swirl Stove is made of bits from a luggage rack, a microphone stand and a fire extingusher. The fan is from a computer.
Andrew gave an insightful introduction how it works and explained the concept “it is that it gives you the three things that you need in a fire – you need a high temperature, you need turbulence – for gas mixing and you need time for the flame to burn out and that’s what these things combine.”
Solstice Solar Cooking
Being summer solstice weekend, it felt timely to start some solar-cooking experimentation, thanks to Lucy who has been making simple cookers out of tin foil and cardboard.
Although the weather wasn’t quite up to temperature to cook the noodle dish she managed last week, she set up in the glass house encouraging people to make their own cookers.
We’ll be trying out more DIY solar cooking inventions with Lucy in the sunny future and finding solar solutions for the off-grid kitchen.
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!