Organic September and a Warm Roast Veg Salad Recipe
The other week I was invited to spend the day at Yeo Valley farm in Somerset with a number of other bloggers for the launch of #OrganicSeptember. We had a lovely day; yummy organic breakfast treats in the Yeo Valley Cafe followed by a presentation from the team at The Soil Association. Not only was it super informative, the team are so passionate it’s hard not to get excited about the fantastic work they’re doing.
We then went on a farm tour in the glorious sunshine, then a cooking demo by the resident chef who created some super delicious dal (as you can imagine I was very happy) and braised cauliflower which we then ate for lunch with big plates of salad.
We left with bulging goodie bags and lots more information about the great work the soil association are doing.
So it’s a great opportunity to talk about why I think it’s important to try and eat organic produce and support organic farmers when you can, and I know it can be more expensive but I personally think it’s worth it – here’s a few reasons why;
Essentially it means more of the good stuff, less of the bad…Food that you can actually trust.
So, higher levels of animal welfare, lower levels of pesticides, no manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers, more environmentally sustainable management of the land and natural environment – which all helps wildlife flourish.
And more importantly it means that;
– No GM ingredients, hydrogenated fats, additives like aspartame, tartrazine or MSG.
– No antibiotics which are routinely given to animals which are passed down the food chain and causes long term issues with antibiotic resistance.
– Fewer pesticides – 1 in 3 non organic foods contain pesticides and 75% of fruit.
* In fact the ‘probable carcinogen’ Glyphosate which is sprayed on wheat is now appearing in up to 30% of bread tested.
Something I hear quite a lot is the question – Is organic better nutritionally?
According to a new peice of research by the British Journal of Nutrition that there are big nutritional differences between organic and non organic food. Organic crops were found to contain 68% more anti oxidants (fruit, cereals, veg) and lower concentrations of pesticides.
I think we all know that our wildlife has been declining dramatically in the last 50 years, in fact 75% is in decline. Thankfully organic farming helps to support the reduction as organic farms have 50% more wildlife.
Why does it cost more?
Because basically it costs more to produce; it takes more time (the conversion period is two years), investment in trees and hedgerows can be needed and crop rotations needs.
This fantastic campaign is all about making small changes to your shopping by choosing organic – lots of small changes make a big difference.
I always buy organic where I can but I’m going to make an extra effort to make sure I get as much organic veg as I can.
Because good things happen when you go organic.
A big thank you to The Soil Association, Yeo Valley and Good Energy for the visit. It was a lovely and inspiring day. Find out more about #organicSeptmber here.
Warm Roast Veg Salad – for when you don’t know what the weather will do
I love salad, especially when it’s packed full of wholesome roast veg, crunchy toasted walnuts and my special lemony green dressing.
This salad contains some of my all time favourite veggies; cauliflower, beetroots and butternut squash – what could be better? And when combined with deliciously peppery rocket, crunchy toasted walnuts and little explosions of juice sweetness form the pomegranate seeds it’s so good.
A word on my gorgeous green dressing; it’s a variation on my tahini dressing (without the tahini) but with lots of herbs from the garden; fresh mint and fragrant coriander and packs a flavour punch.
- 1 small organic butternut squash cut into slices (skin on)
- 1 small organic cauliflower – broken into florets
- 2 organic beetroots washed and sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Pinch sea salt
- Twist black pepper
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 1 bag organic rocket
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 4 tbsp pomegranate seeds
- For the dressing;
- 2 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- Juice 1 lemon
- Handful coriander leaves
- Handful mint leaves
- Sea salt
- Twist black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas Mark 7
- Mix the cauliflower, butternut squash and beetroot with the olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and chilli flakes. Spread out on a roasting tray (you may need two depending on the size of your trays).
- Roast for 50 – 60 minutes, until the cauliflower is crisp and has turned golden brown and the squash and beetroot are tender.
- Dry fry the walnuts in a pan until nice and toasted.
- To make the dressing, put all the ingredients in a mini chopper and blend until smooth. Loosen with water.
- Finally add roast veg, rocket, walnuts and pomegranate to a large bowl and toss to combine.
- Divide between plates and drizzle with the dressing.