British Food Favourite – Onion Chutney

 

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It’s British Food Fortnight and we think British food is worth celebrating! Held every year at the same time as harvest festival, British Food Fortnight is the biggest national celebration of British food and drink.

Since its beginnings in 2002, British Food Fortnight has become an opportunity to promote the benefits of buying and eating a huge variety of different foods that have been grown and produced to the highest of standards.

Did you know, for instance that Britain produces more types of cheese than France?  And what could be more British than cheese and homemade chutney, especially at Christmas?

Onion Chutney

This Autumn has meant the usual glut of homegrown vegetables. Last year’s plum chutney went down a storm for Christmas presents (or so my friends tell me!) but this year, it’s onions galore.

Recipe

This recipe is based on a few minutes research and the actual contents of my cupboard, so it is an amalgamation of several recipes, but I think that’s how the best discoveries are made…

  • 1.5 kg onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 200ml red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • half a chilli
  • 300g muscovado or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • pinch of salt & pinch of paprika

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Cooking

  • Fry the onions in vegetable or olive oil for about 5 minutes until soft but not brown.
  • Add in 4 tablespoons of the sugar and cook the onions until brown- ie caramelised.
  • Add the rest of the sugar, the vinegars, garlic, chilli, mustard, salt and paprika.
  • Simmer for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
  • Spoon into sterilised jars (I found this made 6 jam jar sized portions).
  • Lids on and leave to cool.

Now for the hard part- leave for around three months before eating!

Onion chutney 8.jpgAfter chopping and peeling nearly 20 onions, I was ready to cry, but the sight (and smell) of these six jars of beautiful tasty onion chutney cheered me up! Now to decide which of my friends will be lucky this Christmas?

If you are feeling inspired, our British Food Pinterest page is brimming with popular food ideas and recipes.

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Organic September-Organic Beauty

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Your skin is the largest organ in your body and much of what we place on it will be absorbed into our bloodstream. So it seems to us, it’s just as important to avoid harsh chemicals and go organic as it is to choose to eat organic.

The Soil Association is Britain’s largest and most recognisable trademark for organic produce and it sets one of the highest and most comprehensive organic standards in the world. This is what they have to say about organic beauty products:

‘Unlike organic food, there is no legislation that requires an organic beauty product to be certified. This means that anyone can make an organic claim, no matter how the product was made and how much organic material it actually contains. For example, the product could be 1% organic and contain a number of ingredients which we would not permit but could still be labelled as ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ in its branding.’

At Green Tulip we make sure everything marked as organic has been thoroughly researched.  We share all this information in our ethics  section, enabling you to make an informed choice. Here is a small selection of our organic beauty products- perfect for a gift or as a little treat for your hardworking skin!

 Organic Beauty at Green Tulip

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Emma’s Organic Shea Butter Soap is a fresh and uplifting natural soap bar containing organic shea butter, which is extremely moisturising and gentle on the skin.  The fresh and uplifting essential oil combination balances, cleanses and relaxes whilst uplifting the mind with a zesty scent.  It is hand made in Devon from natural ingredients.

Living Naturally products are 100% vegan, natural, organic and ethically sourced.  They are also free from SLS’s, parabens, mineral oils, artificial additives and fragrances. The ingredients used in the soapnut soap and liquid soap ranges are certified by EcoCert and The Soil Association.  Try the gorgeous Chamomile & Marigold Botanic Liquid Soap.

All Organic Surge products are certified natural and organic by Eco-Cert, the very first certification body to develop standards for “natural and organic cosmetics”. We really love the heavenly scent of the Lavender Meadow Shower Gel.

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With all of these gorgeous organic beauties in your bathroom, you will need a cosmetic bag with a little organic style! Try our  Keep Leaf range of pretty and practical organic cotton toiletry and make up bags. These are certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). The aim of GOTS is to define requirements to ensure organic status of textiles, from harvesting of raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labelling in order to provide a credible assurance to the consumer.

Recent years have seen a massive growth in the organic skincare and beauty markets- at Green Tulip, you can rest assured that we will always check that our beautiful organic gifts are genuine. So, go on- treat your skin!author_kate3

Don’t just Organic Your September: Organic All Year Round!

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Has the current Soil Association campaign ‘Organic Your September‘ piqued your interest? Here’s what you need to know:

Why choose organic?

The Soil Association  has all the answers, here’s a list of the main reasons:

  • It’s naturally different – Studies show higher levels of some nutrients and lower levels of pesticides and chemical residues in food.
  • Know what your eating – GM ingredients, hydrogenated fats and some artificial colours and preservatives are banned under organic standards.
  • Combat climate change – Organic farming offers the best currently available, practical model for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture.
  • Protect British Wildlife – Organic farms are havens for wildlife and provide homes for bees, birds, butterflies. There is up to 50% more wildlife than on non-organic farms.
  • Reduce exposure to pesticides – The best way is to buy organic as they will contain overall fewer pesticides.

The future of the organic market looks healthy with a 4.9% increase this year, the third consecutive year of growth.

How to go Organic

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We all have to stick to a budget and deciding to go organic has to be affordable. Here are a few ideas to help increase your organic purchasing without breaking the purse strings!

  • Organic box schemes like Riverford Organic  give a good choice of fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy products, all at market prices.
  • Budget supermarket chain Aldi is expanding it’s organic range whilst keeping the prices low.
  • Look for accreditation, The Soil Association is the main accrediting body for organic products in the UK.
  • Buy less meat; organic meat may be more expensive than cheap supermarket factory farmed meat, but it is better for us, better for the environment and much tastier too!
  • Choose which products to buy. Here is a useful list of the so called ‘Dirty Dozen’ which are foods containing potentially higher levels of pesticides.
  • Don’t forget about household cleaning and clothes washing. Our organic soapnut shells are both organic and wonderfully economic as they can be reused many times.

Organic gifts

What better way to tell someone you care than to buy them a gift that is good for them, good for the environment and beautiful too? Our favourites include:

  • Cardamom and Lavender Lip Balm made with 100% natural, protective and nutritive oils, butters and plant wax. Enhanced with organic soapnut extract, chickweed, calendula and marshmallow to create an anti-inflammatory, healing, softening and nourishing lip balm.
  • Plan Toys Chicken Racer. Made from PlanWood, an innovative material made from sawdust waste blended with organic colour pigments, with rubber wood parts.
  • Montezuma’s mini bar gift set. Six different flavours of delicious, treat-sized organic chocolate tied with green paper raffia ready for giving.

Organic All Year

We hope we’ve inspired you to ‘Organic Your September’ but also your October, November and on! You can visit the Green Tulip website to find out about all the ethical categories we work to and also check out our Pinterest page for lots of organic inspiration.

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A slice of Green Giveaway

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Are you ready for the back to school madness? Make the morning rush a bit calmer with a full lunch set. A Slice of Green are giving away this stylish and ‘green’ set worth over £50 and comprising:

Organic Cotton Insulated Lunch Box – Geo

A Slice of Green 350ml Bottle – Steel – this will be supplied with black plastic lid.

A Slice of Green Square Shallow Container

Kids Konserve Food Kozies – Pk 2 – Sky

Bambu Large Spork

How to enter

Head on over to the A Slice of Green Facebook page and like, comment and share on the giveaway post, as simple as that!

The winner will be picked at random from the entries and the closing date is midnight Sunday 4th September 2016.

For full terms and conditions, click on this link. Good luck!

A Slice of Green

Check out our sister shop, A Slice of Green for all your sustainable and stylish lunch and lifestyle accessories.

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Rio 2016-How to Style Like a Brazilian

 

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We’ve all sat glued to the television for the last couple of weeks as our sports men and women perform amazing feats in Brazil. We know a bit more about Copacabana Beach and Sugarloaf Mountain now but what do we really know about the largest country in South America?

A few facts

  • The name Brazil comes from the brazilwood tree.

  • Brazil is the only country in South America that speaks Portuguese.

  • The capital city is Brasilia (not Rio), while the largest city is Sao Paulo

  • Brazil has a large coastline on the eastern side of South America, stretching 7491 kilometres (4655 miles) in length.

  • Brazil covers 3 time zones.

  • Around 60% of the Amazon rainforest is located in Brazil where the climate is tropical.

  • Brazil is home to a wide range of animals, including armadillo, tapirs, jaguars and pumas.

  • Football is the most popular sport in Brazil with the national team consistently among the best in the world, winning the World Cup a record 5 times.

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Dressing with Rio Style

Flamboyant style, colour, dancing and tropical heat are the main influences in Rio. 

Bright colours are the order of the day, and while you don’t have to dress for a carnival every day, the fashion tends towards showing a lot of skin. At least they have the weather for it!

  • Bikinis, beach shirts and Bermuda shorts are on trend for the Rio beaches.
  • Gauchos, or Southern Brazilian cowboys, wear baggy “bombacha” trousers and ponchos, along with wide-brimmed straw hats.
  • Vaqueiros, Northeastern cowboys are known for their leather chaps and coats.
  • In the Amazon, indigenous populations, eg the Kayapo tribe, can be recognised by their extravagant styles of dress, with feathers, beads and body painting.

Brazilian style, the Green Tulip way!

So if you are tempted to adopt a bit of Brazilian style while watching the goings on in Rio we can give you a few suggestions.

For a bright and colourful look, we love our sequinned pineapple and coral leaf print Lua bags.

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Shopping will feel like a trip to the Brazil markets with our tropical Envirosax shopping bags.

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Why should the little ones miss out on Rio style? They can maraca to the samba with our Plan Toys pineapple maraca!

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Or if you just fancy a taste of Brazil, look at our Fresh and Fruity Gift Set, with acai, pomegranate, coconut and vanilla flavours and scents.

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 Inspiration

Feeling inspired? Take a peek at our Pinterest board for more ideas of Rio style and fashion. Let’s bring some colour to our lives!
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Obrigado!

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Rio 2016-How To Eat Like A Brazilian

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Rio 2016 is on! The Olympic Opening Ceremony started the event with a bang last weekend and that means Olympic Fever for the next three weeks.

In 2012 the whole world went London crazy, so this August we’ll be taking a look at Rio and what it means to be from this amazing Brazilian city.

Their sense of style is undeniable and their food looks just as bright and colourful. Here are a few facts about the food of Brazil that you might not know .

Did you know that cashews come from a fruit?

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Brazilians grow and eat a great many different fruits in large quantities.

The most common type of fruits are; mango, guava, pineapple, passion fruit, orange, plum and banana.

There are also many more that we might not have heard of: guarana, acai, caju (cashew fruit), guava, jackfruit, carambola, mamao, dragon fruit, jaboticaba, sapoti and pitanga!  More than 300 different fruits!

If you want to try some acai berries but don’t quite know what to do, have a look at this Hemsley and Hemsley recipe for Acai Breakfast Bowls

Meat and cheese

In Rio,  feijoada (a black bean and meat stew) is popular especially as a Wednesday or Saturday lunch. Also consumed frequently is picadinho (literally, diced meat) or rice and beans.

Besides the feijoada, a popular plate is any variation of grilled beef fillet, rice and beans, farofa and fries, commonly called Filé à Osvaldo Aranha. Seafood is very popular in coastal areas, as is roasted chicken (galeto).

Cheese is also big business, with cheese bread being a firm favourite, have a look at some recipes on our Rio Pinterest Board if you are feeling adventurous.

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Sweet Tooth

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Brazilians are also known for their sweet tooth! Brigadeiros are chocolate fudge bombs that sound just heavenly, check out these recipes to make them at home!

Coffee

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Life wouldn’t be complete without a cup of strong coffee, and it’s certainly no different in Rio.

A recent survey by IBGE revealed that coffee is the most consumed product on a daily basis by the Brazilian population above the age of 10.  That equals  79.7 litres of coffee drank per inhabitant per year. Wow!

Brazil is also the world’s largest coffee producer, growing around a third of global coffee production.

Thanks Brazil!

BBQ

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If you want to go Brazilian the easy way this weekend, a bbq is the way to go. Our BBQ Pinterest board has all the inspiration you need and advice on how to use a churrascaria.

Enjoy eating and drinking the Brazilian way- Bom apetite!

author_kate3

Slug and Snail Free, Naturally

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Do you live in fear of these terrifying predators? Does your life revolve around finding ways to banish these destructive pests from your garden? Do you wander around your garden at dusk in your slippers clutching a pair of scissors and a pot?

Sounds like you might be a British gardener then!

I have been growing fruit and vegetables for over 20 years and I have tried hundreds of different ways to prevent slug and snail damage, sometimes with a little success. I don’t use slug pellets or any other pesticides in my garden, so any solution has to be natural.

I have compiled a few of the more successful methods I have tried over the years:

Physical barriers

These stop the slugs reaching the plants either because it’s uncomfortable to move over them, or because they cause an unpleasant reaction. Care must be taken not to poison plants with too much salt or coffee and, of course they will be washed away when it rains. For more information check out Eartheasy.

  • Copper wire
  • Sand and grit
  • Coffee grounds
  • Salt
  • Beer traps

Biological control

  • Nematodes- Slugs are subject to attack from a specific microscopic nematode called nemaslug. Watering these into the soil can keep beds slug free for up to six weeks, but  they don’t work on snails!
  • Some birds, frogs, toads, hedgehogs, slow-worms and ground beetles eat slugs and these predators can easily be encouraged into your garden. Find out how here.

Chemical control

  • Organic slug pellets are based on ferric phosphate which is broken down by micro-organisms to iron and phosphate in the soil, both beneficial for plant growth.
  • Homemade slug sprays.  Make your own from organic soapnuts, find out more here.

But sometimes the only defence is offence!

Snails

I found these little blighters on one yukka plant, where they hid out during the day, coming out in the early evening to munch on any softer plants around them.

Collecting them up whilst they were all gathered together and, ahem, disposing of them helped rescue the seedlings nearby.

Retreat or defeat?

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Other times it’s best to just accept defeat. That doesn’t mean giving in, simply adapt to your limitations and grow what you can.

With ornamental plants I am much more willing to do this. Instead of crying in your empty border over lost hostas, why not grow foxgloves or geraniums?

Check out this list or visit your local garden centre for advice on what to plant to outwit these fearsome beasts!

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