May 21, 2011

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.


April 23, 2011

Painted egg boxes by Lucy & Alice for the eggs laid daily by hens and ducks at Copse Barn.

April 19, 2011

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.”

January 6, 2011

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..

we make a Lunch time cook up for the Hawkwood Crew.

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.

Bon appetite!

June 23, 2010

Hawkwood Nursery Open Day this Sunday 27th June 11 – 4

Hawkwood Crescent
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.

Wellies were thrown, salads tossed, barns danced, and our home-brewed elderflower champagne flowed last Saturday, in celebration of the Summer Solstice with Organic Lea. Check out more photos of their mid-summer party, on their website in the next few days:
elderflower recipes can be dowloaded here!

June 3, 2010

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: 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!

Open Day
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…

March 16, 2009

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!