So the day has come. I must say after a weekend of watching River Cottage on T.V. and cooking from the brand new Fearnley-Whittingstall cookbook I got for my birthday (thanks Fergal), I am totally and completely ready for a greener way of life. Day numero uno went quite well. I went shopping in Lidl at the weekend, and I really thought I wouldn’t find many eco-friendly products but I was pleasantly surprised. In true River cottage style, I went for seasonal produce – cabbage and brussel sprouts both from Ireland. Not vegetables I would usually eat but stir-fried cabbage with soy sauce is delicious. The jury is still out for the Brussels Sprouts. In my final year in college myself and some friends made soup from Sprouts and courgettes and potatoes when it was freezing cold and we were all broke and I really enjoyed it. However, I’m not going to lie, we may have bought the discount Sprouts in order to leave money for the wine to go with it and therein lies the reason I liked it at the time. Today in the lunch room at work I ate said soup again. It wasn’t inedible and the potato part was perfectly fine but when my workmates asked what it was like the only positive thing I could come up with was “It’s really healthy and nutritious”.
I like the idea of buying seasonal produce, not only because it reduces air-miles and therefore carbon, but because it will taste fresher, juicier and a lot better than it would if it had been frozen and flown thousands of miles and then unfrozen again. Having said that, there are some things I would rather not go without in winter and so I have purchased a bag of oranges (Spanish origin) and some tomatoes (again Spain) for the vitamin C factor to keep me healthy. I reduced the distance in my shopping when I could and I found that there was lots of Vegetables available from Ireland which was a great surprise and most of it was organic and still cheap. Lidl was a acceptable option for green shopping in terms of reducing air-miles for fruit and vegetables and they even do a brand of recycled materials toilet paper. Being from a rural area originally my palette for meat is spoilt with excellent quality beef and meat from local Mayo farms so Lidl meat wasn’t on the shopping list but I did have a peek in the freezers and saw no organic meat and no free range poultry so I wouldn’t even consider buying it there in future. The opposite was my problem in the fish section. There were plenty of wild salmon and other fish from the Atlantic but I could only find one farmed fish packet. Fish stocks have been severely depleted in the Atlantic and elsewhere in the world and so I am making a pledge not to eat any unsustainable fishing produce. I’ve heard mixed things about fish farms and I will research that a bit more in the coming month. Next week I’ll sample a different supermarket to see which one overall gives a greener option.
Lastly, I cooked the River Cottage recipe for chocolate brownies yesterday – They are AMAZING.