Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Love Food Hate Waste cookery demonstration in Hereford

Some of you may remember that I took part in a food preparation course last year.  Stephen, the Council officer who manages our Master Composter scheme, had a great idea for live cookery demonstrations at events. He asked for volunteers from the existing Master Composter group, who would be willing to cook "in the field" and hand out samples of food.

Love Food Hate Waste is a campaign dear to my heart, as food waste is a major issue. We throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year, the majority of which could have been eaten. It's costing us £12.5bn a year and is bad for the environment too. Some of you may remember I am also a Love Food Hate Waste advisor.

Personally speaking I HATE food waste. I think we should make the very best of all the food we grow and if we eat meat we should honour the animal who has died to give us the meat, by using all of it as much as we possibly can. I compost waste to get the maximum out of the food stuff I grow or buy, to return any left overs to improve the soil for the next season. So it stands to reason that I feel the same about cooking food - I want to get the very best out of the ingredients and make the most of any leftovers.

Anyway, several of us volunteered, and we all passed our Food Hygiene course so now there are four of us Master Composter volunteers who have done the required training and are ready to actually demonstrate various LFHW related recipes, rather than just handing out recipe cards and information.

We have been exchanging lists and emails of equipment needed and after a planning meeting with our Council contacts, purchase of a set of equipment and lots more email discussion we were ready to roll with the first cookery demo.

This took place in Hereford Library, as part of a healthy eating week. We had to provide all our own cooking equipment, and get it upstairs to the room we were in - fortunately there was a small staff kitchen area next door for washing up.

We had to set up the cooking demo and the LFHW stand between 12 and 1. Mary, Diane and I set up the tables, cooker etc and then we got on preparing the veg - the plan was to cook a simple Leek and Potato soup and hand out samples while talking through how we made it. Meanwhile Alex, Denise and Ste from the Council set up the information stand, full of good ideas on how to Love Food Hate Waste.

and then from 1 - 3 pm we three cooks demonstrated from scratch how to make soup, serving up cups of soup to the public and discussing variations on soup making - we discussed lots of ideas for using up extras and leftovers!

The first pan of soup went very quickly, so we got cracking making another pan, which was also eaten quickly :)

We handed out 25 cups of soup (compostable cups, of course!) and the LFHW stand spoke to around 35 people in total. The Healthy Eating people also had an information stand (Change for Life, BHF information)  and between us we handed out lots of hints and tips to reduce food waste and make the most of food.

Clearing up and packing up took some time and we also discussed what extra or different equipment we would need for future events, but the general feeling was that it was well worth doing and had been a successful event. .

I think for a first attempt we did really well and we are looking forward to doing more events over the course of 2014.

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