Thursday, 26 April 2007

Little Foodies & Farmers Markets, Carbon Footprints & BBQ Butterflied Lamb

My kids are a nightmare at Farmers Markets. My mum sells at farmers markets in the North East and whenever we visit (which hasn't been for a while - sorry Mum!) they're treated like royalty. They're offered the earth and where food is concerned they tend to accept. (I know I'm very lucky for this and I am grateful.) But of course when we go to our local farmers markets here in the SouthEast they expect the same. I'm with them a little, it is more fun going to a market where Grandma knows everyone.

I also find it fascinating how over the years most farmers have evolved their businesses (through necessity). You hear the hardship that a lot of these people have had to go through, and still do. For instance, getting organic certification is a nightmare and one I'm not sure I could put my family through to get it.

I'll happily eat organic food but when a friend recently asked me - "how come you're not so obsessed about organic food now?" I felt a surge in my stomach. As a mother you only want what's right for your children. The burning question of 'organic from wherever in the world or local and seasonal?' is one which troubles me. I hope I have a more balanced attitude now. When my first boy started weaning at 4 months (I think they suggest doing it at 6 months now) I seriously wouldn't contemplate putting something in his mouth that wasn't organic. I'd have happily watched a visible and very long carbon footprint being made from start to finish just so that he didn't have something in his body that wasn't organic. I realise that this was ridiculous. I was embarrassingly obsessive about it.

Now, I'd rather buy local, and by local I mean from this country and where possible local as in the immediate vicinity. Yes sometimes, like all people who love food, there are times when I want something that's not in season and has been grown abroad. But I try and do my bit. Even if shopping in a supermarket I look to see what country things have been grown in. I guess the marketing thing has worked again.... I rather hope that it was just me evolving and caring about our planet a little more. I'd certainly rather the food miles of something shipped from within this country, for instance - lamb. Infact I'd like very local lamb and I'd like it Butterflied and BBQ'd today... Errrr did you hear that my love? Get cooking! (Well he does love to bbq).

Added: 5 May 07 - Tash at Vintage Pretty wrote very eloquently about the future of farming and where our food comes from.

BBQ'd Butterflied Lamb

Get your butcher to butterfly a whole leg. You'll also need at least 2 lemons, a whole bulb of garlic, a handful of rosemary, salt, pepper and wine (red or white works perfectly well - just use what you'll be drinking, if you're drinking! Not sure what to suggest if you're not...).
When you get this all home get out a large roasting tin and put the lamb in.
Break the cloves of garlic apart. Keep 5 cloves aside, put the rest in a mug of boiling hot water & cover with a plate.
In the meantime start piercing the lamb and inserting little spears of rosemary
Cut the lemons into quarters and rub all over the lamb and rosemary.
With the 5 cloves of garlic set aside, take the skin off and cut each one in half. Insert each half next to the rosemary spears.
Next throw a cup full of wine over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Drain the garlic in hot water and lay over the top
Cover and refridgerate for a few hours but overnight if you've time.
When your bbq coals are ready take your lamb out of the roasting tin and cook on indirect heat (so not directly over the coals) on each side for about 20-25 minutes. We like ours to be ever so slightly pink in the middle. You can always make a cut to see if it's done to your liking.
We've also cooked this wrapped in tinfoil with the garlic and lemon pieces left on top - This was also pretty delicious.


Marie said...

That lamb sounds delicious. I trust your hubbie is alot better at barbequing than mine is...mine tends to cremate everything! I'm with you on the food issues...I tend to buy only British food wherever possible. I don't trust the farming methods in alot of these foreign countries and there is just something sacriligeous about being able to eat strawberries in January...why bother...they taste like cardboard anyways...would much rather wait until May/June and then gorge myself on really good and tasty FRESH homegrown English there anything better on earth???? I THINK NOT!!!

Celine of Black.Salt said...

I've been meaning to do more with lamb. Your recipe looks delicious! But I don't have a BBQ pit, will it work with the oven, you think?

You've stirred my curiosity - I want to know what kinds of hardship the farmers have to go through to get the organic certification. I'm very behind on farming and how farmers have evolved their businesses, partly because I grew up in cities where food comes packaged in clingwrap.

Truffle said...

Oh what a great recipe. Sounds delicious!

Little Foodie said...

Thank you Marie, Truffle & Celine. My husband is def good at bbq'g - he wouldn't be allowed to do it too often if he only gave us burnt or undercooked offerings.

Celine,You can do it in the oven, I'd cook it for a lot longer though as per recommendations for the size. Re: the farmers, I'll e-mail you some stuff probably wont be today though.

Thanks again, it's lovely getting comments.


Little Foodie said...

Oops just noticed - the original post says put garlic in a mug and cover with a plate. This is not meant to be some kind of ritualistic ceremony to garlic. It should have read (in a mug of boiling hot water), which it does now say. Sorry.

Freya and Paul said...

Yummy lamb! Fun article too! I think it's better to buy locally grown food rather than so-called organic food from supermarkets. It keeps the local infrastructure going AND you know exactly where its come from!

Little Foodie said...

Thank you Freya & Paul. I love lamb and we're really lucky as the farm up the road has great lamb.

Roz said...

Oh wow, your recipes look very scrumptuous, and your boys are soooo lucky to have a mummy that has helped them be passionate about food - will stand them in good stead when they get older!

Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you've started your business and wishing you the very best with it too. I've added your blog to my favourites! One day I just might send you a simple Nigerian recipe!

Roz said...

Just attempted to send you another comment but it looks like it didn't go through. Anyway I just wanted to say that when in my earlier comment I said I've added your blog to my favourites, I meant on my favourites centre on my internet explorer. I didn't want to alarm you in thinking that I've listed you on my blog without your consent. I won't do that if I feel the blog is a private blog.

I really do love your recipes, photos and how your write. Don't be shy in getting your stuff out there, cos you've got GOOD STUFF, Keep up the good work and enjoy doing it!

Little Foodie said...

Hello Roz. Thanks so much for your comments. The business is in early stages but I'm so excited to be getting going with it. Again good luck with yours - the cakes looked fab!

tash said...

I'm with you on wanting to have local rather than organic from another country - as much as I really don't want to ingest chemicals or do harm to an already-struggling eco-system, I cannot buy fruit and veg from another country when I know it can be grown here or I can buy it myself.

Thanks for the link, I hope you got my email :)


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