National Geographic 360º Energy Diet

This month National Geographic are calling for participants to take part in a eight week Energy Diet where participating households attempt to reduce their carbon footprints.

Participants must be willing to take part in a series of actions in different areas of their lives to earn points whilst reporting their progress in the form of photographs and 300-500 blog posts on The Great Energy Challenge website for the chance to be features on the National Geographic website.

To enter, send an e-mail to mentioning where  where you live and why you want to be part of the challenge.

Deadline: October 18, 2011.

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Pestouille – Pesto Ratatouille


Chicory (cc)

A nice, light refreshing dish that would work well as an alternative bruschetta topping, admittedly that was the plan until I forgot to take them out of the oven.

Heat a small wok or frying pan of rapeseed oil and leave until sizzling. Slice a small aubergine, bell pepper and a chicory along with a selection of mushrooms (I used the 70g left over from my medley), add to the oil when ready and stir for 20 minutes along with a handful of samphire, 2tbs pesto (check the ingredients, it should be milk free pesto), and a prickle of dried garlic.


Pestouille served with bread.

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Garlic Mushroom Medley with Onions, Potato and Samphire


Samphire (cc)

Heat 2 tbs of Rapeseed oil in a small wok or frying pan until sizzle. In the mean time chop the 2 small potatoes, half an onion and prepare 100g mushroom medley (pre-prepared, or a selection of shittake, chestnut, button and white). Fry the potatoes and turn until all sides have started to brown, add the onions and sauté until the colour begins to drain. Add the mushrooms, a handful of samphire and 2 tbs garlic paste, sauté for 5 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked. They should be soft and tasty but still  fairly crunchy.

Serve with additional samphire and a slice of bread.

Ideal for breakfast.

Garlic Mushroom Medley with Potato and Samphire


2 tbs of Rapeseed oil

2 small potatoes,

half an onion

100g mushroom medley

Handful samphire

2 tbs garlic paste

Bread (optional)

Serve with Fresh Bread and Enjoy in the Autumn Sun

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Chili Bean Mushroom Medley

Killbuck Valley Mushrooms from Local Roots

Mushroom Collection

A light Mushroom alternative to Chili Con Carne and 5 Bean Chili with chicory and samphire. The bulk of the meal comes from the beans and mushrooms medley as opposed to from mince.

It is prepared by heating 2tsp Rapeseed oil and 3 crushed garlic cloves in a wok or frying pan whilst chopping 150g of a mixture of button, shittake, chestnut and white mushrooms (or pre-prepared medley), half an onion and a whole chicory, add to wok when cloves begin to sizzle and stir frequently for 5 minutes. Open a tin of mixed beans and add, the ones I use are already in chili sauce however if yours are not, drain the brine and add chili sauce to the mixture.  Add a handful of samphire and leave for 5-10 minutes until the beans are cooked. Serve with extra samphire and sliced bread.

Served with extra samphire and bread


2tsp Rapeseed oil

3 crushed garlic cloves

150g mushroom medley (chestnut, shittake, button, white)

Half onion

Whole Chicory


250g Mixed beans in chili sauce

Bread (optional)

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Vegan Dog food

Many of us wonder if it is safe and possible for our omnivorous friends to thrive on a plant-based diet. This could be due to a number of reasons, perhaps we disagree with the treatment of food animals, are concerned about the qualify of meat and ingredients in conventional dog food or our pets are allergic to, or otherwise adversely affected by, the meat in their diet. It is our duty to ensure the animals in our care receive the highest standard of living obtainable and this includes feeding them a variety and nutritionally complete diet remembering that dogs require specific nutrients, not specific feedstuffs (National Research Council).

I would advise anyone interested in introducing their dog to a vegetarian (Vegan)  diet to read the following book:

The Simple Little Vegan Dog Book

Another great book that is unfortunately only available via import from or direct from

Vegetarian Dogs Towards a World Without Exploitation

Or try one of the top name Vegetarian and Vegan Dog Food Brands available online and in some pet shops: Ami Vegan Dog Food (Soya Free), Benevo Organic Vegetarian (Vegan) Dog Food, (Wheat Free), V-Dog Traditional Flake (British), Yarrah Organic Vegetarian Dog Food, Wafcol Vegetarain Dog Food.

For a free overview of Canine Nutritional Requirements published by Natural Academies, a none vegetarian/vegan affiliated science institution you can download Your Dog’s Nutrienal Needs A Science-Based Guide for Pet Owners for free.

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Garlic Mushrooms

An incredibly simple side dish that I have prepared three times in the past two days, it’s just that good!

Ingredients (serves two):

8 Chestnut Mushrooms (for their nutty taste) chopped,

Olive oil,

Garlic paste,

pinch of pepper.

Bread slice (optional)


Heat the oil and garlic paste in a small pan, add a pinch of pepper to check temperature . If the peppercorns sizzle the oil is ready for the mushrooms.

Saute the mushrooms for five minutes and serve with a slice of bread.

Any excess oil can either be poured to one side of use later or used to soak the bread slice.

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Sautéd Leek and Broccoli Salad

Broccoli is one of my favourite vegetables, not only is it incredibly tasty but it is also rich in vitamins ad minerals, most notably vitamin C, potassium and phytochemical sulforaphane.

Unfortunately it is not to everyone’s taste. If a member of your family is not keen on it this certainly is not the dish to use if you wish to deceive them however it might just change their minds on this tremendous vegetable, alternatively save it all for yourself.

This remarkably simple and quick dish can be served as part of a main meal or as a light dinner.

Recipe (serves 1):

Place 100ml of water on medium heat and leave until boiling, add the broccoli  florets and steam until soft.

Meanwhile prepare the leek and garlic clove, adding to a pan with a drizzle of oil sauté until lightly caramalised, by which time the florets should be soft and ready to be drained before being added to the mixture. Continue to sauté and serve with a sprinkle of pepper.

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