It’s funny what you don’t know about an area until you have actually lived there. When we bought our house we had a vague idea that we were buying into a good community, but no idea that the community was (among other things) very focused on sustainability.
As well as the obvious benefits to the local environment, living in this kind of neighbourhood means we have lots of lovely events which revolve around healthier living and creating less waste. This week has been particularly busy with our annual Apple Day event this weekend and an evening at a community run smallholding last night where we had a group cookery lesson and supper.
The venue was the lovely Tuppenny Barn in Southbourne near Chichester and our cookery teacher was the food writer Rosemary Moon who is a bit of a local celebrity and most recently appeared on Mary Berry’s programme making pizzas on an allotment in Tangmere.
Last night there were 22 of us booked on the workshop and assigned to cook a range of dishes using seasonal vegetables. The idea was that all the recipes could me made on a weeknight to create fast healthy food for a family and a lot of the produce was fresh from Tuppenny Barn’s own allotments. There were six of us on our workstation making two recipes, so there was plenty of time to chat and drink wine (or non-alcoholic beer in my case!) between chopping and grating.
Amongst the dishes being prepared by everyone in the kitchen was a butternut squash pate, apple slaw salad with mashed banana (I know, but it was great!) chicken lemon and fennel filo pie, chard and pepper tart and for pudding an autumn Eton mess with… wait for it… butternut squash!
It was all delicious and it was lovely to sit down and have supper with my friends and neighbours in such a great setting. Rosemary and Maggie (who set up Tuppenny Barn) were wonderful hosts and there were a great team of volunteers helping to clear up behind the scenes as we had supper.
Last night was also the first time I had taken Maggie my Morris Minor out in the dark, but I packed three passengers in without problems and she seemed like a rather fitting vehicle to take to the venue!
Tomorrow we’ll be pressing apples and the forecast is looking really good, not only dry, but sunshine too. Theo who has already had a pretty packed week of school and playdates, can’t wait to get stuck in and help out. I look forward to sharing some of the pictures with you on Monday…