Friday, 24 April 2015

Hey pesto! Go wild in the woods today!

Have you noticed anything lately? When you go into the woods or drive along country lanes, are you getting that tell tale smell that spring is here? That's wild garlic and it grows in abundance in our shady dell and dingles, on north facing verges and along the side of shady country lanes. It arrives around March / April and will last until June in the shadiest spots. After that the leaves will begin to wilt and die back, only to grow again next year.

Wild garlic is entirely edible: the flowers make a lovely garnish and the roots are edible too. But we'd prefer not to dig it up, choosing instead to pick the leaves and cook with them.

Making wild garlic pesto is very easy on a camping trip. Use the end of a wooden spoon and a cup or mug . Chop the leaves then muddle them (by that I mean crush them) with the wrong end of the wooden spoon, adding a little olive oil as you go. Then add half a handful of chopped pine nuts, again muddling and adding olive oil as you go. Next grate a knob of Parmesan in there too and again add olive oil a little at a time until the consistency is of a rough paste. Next boil up some pasta, drain, mix the paste with the pasta, season, grate a load of Parmesan on top and serve up. Hey presto! Garlic pesto.

The full recipe is here:

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

What a lotta bottles! Time to change with a new refill scheme.

How do you save 99 quid ? Fill this 100 times.

How do you like your water?

Bottled or straight from the tap? What about when you are camping? Do you buy large bottles or fill up from the camp site tap?

I know what I prefer, and it doesn't come with some fancy schmancy label, a whole bunch of hype or an advert with roller skating babies. It comes out of the tap and it costs just a couple of pence for a litre. It's also the best drinking water in the world. And no, that's not marketing spiel, it's true. In the UK our tap water is the best there is anywhere in the world and is tested every single day for quality. How often does your posh drinking water get tested once it leaves the bottling plant, travels hundreds of miles to get to you and then sits on the supermarket shelves for weeks?

Why would you spend a pound or more on bottled water when it's available so freely - and when it's so good? Because you don't like the taste of tap water? Get over yourself! I used to work for a director who would only have her tea made with Evian. Yes, quite. We used to pour tap water in an Evian bottle, show it to her and then make her tea. Did she ever notice? Of course she didn't.

Even if you worry about our water or have a hypersensitive palate then you could always buy a filter. They cost about a tenner, with cartridges about another tenner on top. That's equivalent to around 20 litres of 'posh' bottled water. Each cartridge lasts for a month or so. If you drink a litre of water a day that'll save you using 30 plastic bottles each month and are already saving £££.

Why does it matter anyway?

Did you know that the UK disposes of 10 million drinks bottles each and every day. It's a lot of bottles. Add to that fact the news that only around a third of single use plastic bottles get recycled. That means around 6.6 million plastic bottles are being thrown away every single day. Where do they end up? Mostly in landfill, which isn't ideal when you consider we are running out of oil. You'd think we would do all we can to conserve it wouldn't you? But no. The drinks industry wants us to use single use bottles because it's cheaper for them to produce, cheaper to transport and therefore makes them more money. Also, they are resisting a bottle deposit scheme to help tackle this awful, scandalous waste.

The bottles that don't go to landfill

What about the bottles that don't make it to the recycling plant or to landfill? It's pretty simple what happens to them. They lie by the roadside. They end up in rivers. They end up in the sea. They end up on the beach. And, if they don't end up on the beach then they stay out at sea, attract toxins and become toxic themselves, they pollute our oceans, break down into micro plastics, get eaten by wildlife and pollute our food chain. That's what. I have picked up thousands of bottles from beaches near where I live. And I am just one.

A unique scheme to save bottles

Where I live, in Bude, a new scheme is about to begin that aims to reduce the number of bottles going to landfill and the ocean. It is also a fundraising scheme for a fantastic local amenity, the Bude Sea Pool. The idea is very simple: you buy a reusable canteen from the Sea Pool, then you go and fill it up at cafes and restaurants in the town that display the refill sticker. No hassle, no questioning why you aren't buying anything, nothing. Just a smile, a free refill and lovely cool, clear, Cornish tap. Love it. We need more of this.

For more about the Sea Pool, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 10 April 2015

It's murder on the camp site (part 2)

Ok. So I have been testing motorhomes recently for MMM Magazine. I will freely admit it. I have lived a little of the luxurious life while my old VW sits in the garage. I have enjoyed hot running water, fixed beds, indoor loos, blown air heating that works, space to put stuff, blinds, extractors and retractable steps.


It's a different world I can tell you. And it's not without its pleasures. For once I didn't have to order everyone out to get a knife from the cutlery drawer or fight over the captain's seat. We had cold wine and warm toes and space to swing a cat.

But of course, everything comes at a price. Even in a luxury motorhome (in this case a very tidy 2015 Marquis 155) you still have to go outside and do manly stuff on the campsite. You have to fill up tanks and empty tanks and swill out the porta potti and plug stuff in. It's not all glam glam glam.

Anyway, here is the price I paid for forgetting that it can be murder on the campsite. As I was filling up the water tank the campsite tap came off in my hand. Rather too easily I might say. Whether my fault or not, the water poured out and onto the field in an unstoppable torrent. The sensible camper would have gone to fetch the farmer or looked around for a stop cock to stem the flow. But no. I did what the unsensible camper would do, and that's to try and force the tap back on before anyone noticed. As you can see it failed, miserably.

And the very fact that my kids were able to pick up a phone, tap in the unlock code, switch it to video mode and capture these very wonderful moments of campsite fuckwittery tells you that I tried for far too long.

It's murder on the campsite.


What do you call yours? #mycampervaniscalled LOVE!

A few weeks ago I (with the help of my friends at the Caravan and Motorhome Club) asked the good people of Twitter and Instagram to...