How to bake bread by expert Dan Lepard

September 30, 2011
Author: Guest

Dan Lepard, chefTo celebrate Eden’s Harvest Festival this October, we’re bringing you a selection of recipes, ideas and creations to celebrate this special season. Today, expert baker and Guardian columnist Dan Lepard gives tips on baking the perfect loaf.

Years ago baking was frustrating for me. This was way back in the early 1990s when the bread I wanted to bake never turned out like the image I had in my mind. And to be fair I didn’t often see pictures of bread I wanted to bake. What I was after wasn’t just a chewy crust and a good flavour but a crumb that wasn’t dense like a bad scone but instead full of holes and lightness. A crumb that had a very slight waxy quality that stayed moist for days.

So I started looking and expelling the recipes and techniques that seemed unlikely to help me, and eventually I got to my baking ‘Eden’: perfect loaves every time, effortless and sweat-free, without the need for a mixer or machine. Naked bread, nurtured by a fully clothed Adam.

One technique to be expelled from my baking Eden was ‘rising bread’ in an airing cupboard or warm place. This bread baking ‘essential’ turned out to be disastrous for the loaf I wanted to bake. The truth was that a long, slow, cool wait once the dough was first mixed gave the best crumb to my mind. You see, yeast rises at all sorts of temperatures: very slowly in the fridge and very quickly in an airing cupboard. But when it rises slowly the flavour grows more complex and the texture of the dough doesn’t degrade as quickly. So, the final loaf tastes rich and the crumb becomes more translucent.

The other was that I let go of my ego about kneading and started to accept that most of the changes that occurred in the dough were because of nature, time, water, and fundamental characteristics of the flour I was using. Occasional light kneading of the dough, rather than a full-on pounding with fists and fury, produced the easiest result with the beautiful open texture I was after and a good round shape. Some even leave out the kneading entirely and find their loaf still turns out rather well.

This is the easy white loaf this approach produced, and it’s still the one I rely on for our everyday bread. Allow yourself about three or four hours for this recipe.

400g strong white flour, plus more for shaping
1 tsp fast action yeast
1 tsp fine salt
300ml warm water
oil for kneading

1. Put the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl, pour in the warm water and stir everything together into a sticky shaggy mass. Scrape the dough from your hands, cover the bowl with a cloth and leave 10 minutes.

2. Lightly oil a 30cm area of the worksurface and your hands, and knead the dough, repeating twice more at 10-minute intervals.

3. Return the dough to the bowl and leave it for 45 minutes.

4. Dust your work surface with flour. Tip the dough out onto it and pat it into an oval. Roll it up tightly, give each end a pinch to keep it neat then place the dough seam-side down on a floured tray, cover with a cloth and leave until the dough has increased in size by a half – about 45 minutes.

5. Flour the top of the dough, cut a slash down the middle and bake at 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas
7 for 35-40 minutes.

Dan Lepard’s new baking book, Short & Sweet, is available at the Eden Project bookshop.

1 - 9 October 2011; Harvest Festival; Food, drink, dance and merriment; Click for the full programme

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Food, Harvest, How to

Musical instruments from around the world are making music sweeter

September 29, 2011
Author: admin

Our new collection of fairly-traded musical instruments from around the world give everyone the chance to make music and, for children especially, experience the joy of making new sounds without breaking the bank.  Buy a whole orchestra’s worth to really get the party going!

Frog Instrument

If you’ve got lots of energy and love making lots of noise why not try our Frog Instrument? A beautifully crafted wooden percussion instrument made from the jack fruit tree, it’s hand carved in Vietnam and Thailand where the sustainable wood grows in abundance.

Djembe Drum

For those of you who really like to feel the beat we’ve got just the drum for you. The Djembe originated in West Africa, and has become popular the world over. To play this drum you ‘slap’ the top from the centre outwards or around the edge. The skin is tied on with a nylon cord so you can even alter the pitch to find your own unique sound.

Mini Panpipes

For smaller music makers, our Mini Panpipes are a wonderful introduction to woodwind instruments. First made by the Incas, panpipes were used to communicate with the gods by imitating the whistle of the wind. Whip them out on a blustery day and play them in your garden or the local park for the full experience!

Peruvian Flute

All you budding recorder players out there will love our Peruvian Flutes. Hand crafted from bamboo in a small family workshop, these flutes have a lovely earthy, woody sound. Originally from the mountains of Peru these intricate flutes are decorated with traditional South American motifs.


Looking for something a little more unusual? Maybe our thumb pianos will strike a chord. These traditional African instruments made from hollowed out coconut shells and hand painted, sound just as beautiful as they look. Create rhythm and melody by lightly striking the keys with your thumbs.

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Music, Play, Shop
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How to make ‘Sweet Lark’ spiced apple chutney

September 29, 2011
Author: Hannah

logo of ear of wheatTo celebrate Eden’s Harvest Festival this October, we’re bringing you a selection of recipes, ideas and creations to celebrate this special season. Today, a traditional recipe for spiced apple chutney which harks back generations in the South West.

This fiery autumn chutney goes well as a sweet pickle with meat or as a spicy accompaniment to cream.

A traditional West Country recipe, this harks back at least 100 years, when it was made with the Sweet Lark variety of apples. The family who were living a 1905 lifestyle in TV series Edwardian Farm even tried making it last autumn.

chutney in jars

We got the authentic recipe from a lady in West Cornwall, who tells us:

‘My mother used to make pickled Sweet Lark during the Second World War with apples from the local orchard. I remember putting cloves in them and using loaf sugar, and we’d store the chutney in earthenware jars.

‘We often ate it in the winter time, with scalded cream straight from the cow, and splits (a type of Cornish bread roll) and butter for Sunday.

‘Over time the flavour intensifies as the vinegar syrup penetrates the fruit and the apples turn a rich brown. It keeps very well too; I have some I made 10 years ago.’


  • Sweet Lark apples1.4kg (3lb) granulated sugar
  • 1.1 litres (2 pints) cider vinegar
  • 3.2kg (7lb) apples
    (go for Sweet Lark, Cornish Longstem or a similar sweet, small apple that’s no bigger than the size of a mandarin)


  1. Wash the apples in slightly warm water and dry them.
  2. Push two or three cloves into the side of each apple.
  3. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar as you bring it to the boil.
  4. Put a few whole apples at a time into the vinegar syrup and boil for a few minutes. Use a slotted spoon to check if they’re cooked through to the core (the flesh should be soft, but the apples shouldn’t collapse too much).
  5. Place the apples in sterilised screw top storage jars and cover them with the vinegar syrup.

Serve as a sweet pickle with meat or as a spicy accompaniment to creamy puddings.

1 - 9 October 2011; Harvest Festival; Food, drink, dance and merriment; Click for the full programme

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Eden Project’s 10 tips for gardeners in October

September 29, 2011
Author: Tom

1. Care for your lawn by raking or brushing leaves off the grass. Try collecting them in a leaf bag, which will turn them into useful leaf mould. You can also cut the grass for one last time this year. Make that last cut slightly higher to protect the lawn from winter frost.

2. Trim hedges so they are crisp and tidy for the winter.

3. October’s the time for clearing up. Greenhouses, ponds, gutters and water butts may all need cleaning out, wooden garden furniture will need covering or storing for the winter and terracotta pots will need bringing inside.

4. Divide herbaceous perennials. Plant some back in the ground; take others to pot up and give away to friends in the spring.

5. In the veg patch plant garlic cloves with their pointed ends up, and spaced 10cm apart.

6. Plant bulbs for a colourful spring display. Try planting clumps of five or seven bulbs of the same variety through a border for a really effective display.

7. Plant out spring bedding and biennials, such as wall-flowers, for spring displays. Pots and hanging baskets can be planted with spring bedding, and teamed with bulbs, grasses, cyclamen and violas for a colourful and textural display.

8. ‘Plant’ prepared hyacinths in vases for winter scent and colour in the house.

9. Harvest pumpkins for eating as well as carving.

10. Enjoy the apple harvest! Don’t forget to check out Eden’s Harvest Festival, which includes apple pressing demonstrations, or your local apple day.


With thanks to Catherine Cutler and James Clark

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Gardening, Horticulture, Potting shed, Shop
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How to plan your own neighbourhood

September 28, 2011
Author: Hannah

Ever wanted to have a go at designing your own neighbourhood? Ever felt that you and your neighbours know best where the extra bike lanes should go, where you could do with some extra parent-child parking spaces? Or that your community could run the recycling services better than the council does?

Mother and child in community hall with model town

The chances are that you’d do a very good job, armed with all that local knowledge.

Until recently, we’ve had little say in how we want our communities to grow or change, but now, the planning system is changing and people are being given more control over the shape of their communities.

While the term ‘neighbourhood planning’ might not get you all fired up, what these changes mean in practice is that, together with others in your area, you could make things happen! Things like:

  • getting better bus routes-creating a community green space or orchard
  • designing affordable housing for the area
  • running a local enterprise, like a shop, pub or even cinema
  • taking a local service into your own hands, such as the recycling collection

At Eden we’ve put our heads together with a group of like-minded organisations to offer support and inspiration to individuals and communities wanting to get involved in this type of thing.

Through the Building Communities consortium you can get your hands on:

  • free expert advice and workshops, offering fun, creative and practical sessions to help you develop your neighbourhood
  • free study trips for community groups to see people-led projects in action, from parks and gardens to homes
  • inspirational case studies of other communities who’ve taken things into their own hands, including one Merseyside resident group’s regeneration drive, the Bristolians that teamed up with architecture students to rebrand their inner-city area, and the London neighbourhood that wants to create the first ‘urban Parish Council’.

Check out our neighbourhood planning pages to see what you could do!

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Food-inspired art exhibit visits Eden’s Harvest Festival

September 28, 2011
Author: Hannah

If a pasty were a poem, what would it look like? What happens when you try and write with fudge? How can you draw the flavour of saffron buns?

These are some of the bizarre concepts that a group of writers and designers have explored to create a series of artworks that celebrate Cornish produce.

Twenty six writers – including well-known poets, novelists, and commercial copywriters – have put their heads together with 26 top designers to come up with a quirky collection of paper table-settings that are inspired by items of Cornish food.

You can see the beautiful results in the 26 Flavours of Cornwall exhibition that’s on display at the Eden Project, from today until the end of our Harvest Festival (9 October 2011).

Typographical representation of pasties

To research their pieces, the teams visited food producers throughout Cornwall to get a sense of the places and people associated with their flavours.

For example, this series of typographic pasties (above), created by illustrator Darren Whittington and writer Peter Blackman, came out of a day spent at a pasty shop on the Lizard. There, the two observed the different types of people, from surfers to firemen, who came into the shop to buy the Cornish snack. The pieces are designed to show how the humble pasty is woven into the fabric of Cornish life.

The rich exhibition includes everything from thousands of tiny hand-drawn saffron stamens (reflecting the labour-intensive production process behind the famous Cornish saffron cake) to lettering carved from blocks of fudge.

Come and see the artworks under the canopy just outside the Eden Bakery! You can find out more about the exhibition on the 26 Flavours of Cornwall website.

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Paul Ainsworth’s famous ‘wings, land and sea’ recipe

September 27, 2011
Author: Hannah

Paul AinsworthTo celebrate Eden’s Harvest Festival this October, we’re bringing you a selection of recipes, ideas and creations to celebrate this special season. Today, Padstow chef Paul Ainsworth lets you in on the secret recipe for his acclaimed ‘wings, land and sea’ dish.

I love this dish – it’s a quirky take on surf and turf, using wings from two different creatures: blonde ray, and chicken. Ray is a delicious fish which is caught in Cornish waters from sustainable stocks, and works well with chicken.

All our fish at Number 6 is supplied by Flying Fish, and everything is landed at Newlyn and caught by day boats. The rainbow carrots we use in this dish are grown by Buttervilla Farm in South East Cornwall, an amazing supplier of heritage varieties of fruit, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers on their organic-certified farm.

Wings ‘land and sea’, with rainbow carrots, truffled lettuce and chicken gravy
(serves four)

Dish of chicken and ray wings, watercress, carrots

Ingredients for the ray wing

  • 2 x 1.2kg blonde ray wings (skinned and filleted)
  • 100g butter rock
  • salt for seasoning


  1. Take a hot frying pan and add the butter to the pan and caramelise to a wonderful nutty brown.
  2. Pass through a chinoise (a conical sieve with an extremely fine mesh) into a bowl, and cool. When cool, place in the fridge until the butter has set but is still soft.
  3. Meanwhile, place your fillet of ray on a piece of cling film, making sure the pink side is facing up and the lines of the ray are vertical. Brush the ray wing really generously with the caramelised butter that is now like a paste. Season lightly with rock salt and roll into a sausage shape, tying off the ends of the cling film and making sure all air has been removed.
  4. Place the rolled ray in the fridge. Save the brown butter paste for your dressing later on in the recipe.

Ingredients for the carrot puree

  • 1 kg of carrots
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • rock salt
  • 1 star anise


  1. Peel 700g of the carrots and remove the roots from the top. Chop very finely and evenly into a saucepan.
  2. Take the remaining 300g of carrots and add the thyme, star anise and seasoning. Then blend through a juicer and pour the carrot juice over the chopped carrots. Make sure they’re just covered in their juice.
  3. Bring the whole pan of carrots to the boil with the lid on. When boiling, take the lid off and stir every 5-10 minutes.
  4. When the juice is completely reduced, remove all the aromats. Blitz the carrot mix until smooth, check for seasoning and keep warm.

Ingredients for the chicken wing

  • 12 large, corn-fed chicken wings
  • 100g rock salt
  • 4 coriander seeds
  • 4 white peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • 10g of freshly picked thyme
  • 250g of duck fat


  1. Cut the winglets off the wing and place them into a bowl.
  2. Place the salt and aromats in a spice grinder and blitz. Season the wings with the salt mix and leave for 4 hours.
  3. After 4 hours wash the salt off and pat the ray wings dry. Melt the duck fat and add the chicken wings. Bring the fat up to 85 degrees Celsius and cook for about 1 and a half hours.
  4. When cooked, leave to cool in the fat.
  5. When cool enough to handle, very gently pop out the two little bones that run through the wing. Place the wings on a tray ready to finish your dish.

Ingredients for the garnish

  • Brown butter (made in the very first of the recipe)
  • 4 baby black carrots
  • 4 baby orange carrots
  • 4 baby yellow carrots
  • 2 whole baby gem lettuces
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped truffle paste
  • 1 punnet of pea shoots
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 50g of butter
  • 25ml of sherry vinegar


  1. Cook your carrots in a little chicken stock and ordinary butter – so that they are steamed by, rather than submerged in, the stock. Season and cook, making sure they still have plenty of bite. Take the carrots out and leave to cool.
  2. Cut the root off the baby gems and shell the leaves, then cut the leaves in half.
  3. Melt just a little of the brown butter back down – stored in the fridge since you made it in the first stage of the recipe, (just to warm, not too hot). Whisk in the sherry vinegar until the fat balances with the acidity of the vinegar.

To finish

  1. Place the four cling-filmed ray wings into a hot pan of water for about 4 to 5 minutes, at 85 degrees Celsius.
  2. While the ray are cooking, warm the baby carrots and the carrot puree up to serving temperature.
  3. In a frying pan, crisp the chicken wings on their skin side. Fry off the lettuce in a little butter until it starts to wilt, then season to taste and add the truffle and a few drops of sherry vinegar.
  4. Place the lettuce on the plate and dot the puree and carrot around.
  5. Take the ray wing out of the water and cut the clingfilm at one end and squeeze the ray wing out gently. Lightly season with rock salt and place on the lettuce.
  6. Finish with pea shoots over the top and a little of the butter dressing.

Paul Ainsworth serves up local and seasonal food at his two Padstow restaurants, Number 6 and Rojano’s in the Square. Earlier this year Paul appeared on the TV series Great British Menu, representing the South West in the nationwide competition.

1 - 9 October 2011; Harvest Festival; Food, drink, dance and merriment; Click for the full programme

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Why we love autumn – Fifteen Cornwall’s Andy Appleton

September 26, 2011
Author: Guest

Andy AppletonTo celebrate Eden’s Harvest Festival this October, we’re bringing you a selection of recipes, ideas and creations to celebrate this special season. Today, Fifteen Cornwall chef Andy Appleton explains why autumn means rich pickings for his locally sourced menu.

We love autumn at Fifteen, because there’s always new and exciting local produce ready to harvest for our seasonal menu. Like the Crown Prince squash, which we use our squash, sage and goat’s cheese risotto. Or the Cavolo Nero cabbage that goes into our authentic Tuscan stew, Ribollita, but which is grown just down the road in Torpoint.

This lovely, dark Italian vegetable is a great example of how our suppliers have helped us stick to our policy of sourcing 80% Cornish, and 20% Italian, produce. When our vegetable supplier Buttervilla agreed to grow the speciality cabbage it meant we could serve up the sort of authentic Italian menu our customers are looking for, but without having to import.

Andy Appleton in Fifteen Cornwall's kitchenOur 80/20 policy means we have to be flexible – and creative – at our end, too. Each morning we chefs sit down together and decide on our dishes depending on the produce that’s arrived that day.

This time of year we also create an almost wholly local menu, for our Totally Cornish lunches, designed to celebrate our suppliers.

People always ask me why we bother trying to source our produce locally, and imagine it must be quite a bind. But actually, it was more that we were inspired to work with the wealth of amazing food growers we discovered when we first opened in the county.

As the restaurant has grown, a lot of our suppliers have too, which is really great to see. We make sure that all our apprentices get to meet them face to face on their educational trips.

Of course, sticking to the 80% policy isn’t all plain sailing. While it’s rarely hard to source meat in Cornwall, sometimes it can be difficult to get hold of fish when a big storm hits the county. We’d also like to use more mozzarella in the restaurant – so if somebody could set up a Buffalo farm in Cornwall that would be great!

Andy Appleton is Head Chef at Fifteen Cornwall. The restaurant is part of a global social enterprise, founded by Jamie Oliver with a mission to empower those who deserve a second chance in life, through its apprenticeship scheme. You can see Andy in action, doing a cookery demonstration at the Fifteen Cornwall Farmer’s Market on 1 October, where there’ll also be a chance to sample local produce.

1 - 9 October 2011; Harvest Festival; Food, drink, dance and merriment; Click for the full programme

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Arts and music competition for 13-19-year-olds in the South West

September 23, 2011
Author: Hannah

We’ve just launched our 2012 arts and music talent competition, Bright Young Things, and we need all you talented teens to get involved! The competition is an opportunity to show us what you can do – whether you reckon you’re the next Tarantino, Andy Warhol or Beyoncé, we want to know about it.

Girl singing into microphone

This year there are categories for dance and performance, art, film and animation, photography, creative writing, and music, and you can enter as many or as few categories as you like.

If you’re a winner you’ll have the chance to display or perform your work at the Eden Project, and you can invite friends and family to come and see it for free.

The Bright Young Things showcase is at the end of January 2012, and as next year sees the Olympics coming to London we decided to give the competition the theme of Gold. For all categories (except music) we want you to create your entries around this theme. Show us what you can do!

The competition closing date is 30 November 2011. For more information about how to enter check out our website, where you can see photos and videos of the talented young artists who took part last year.

By Hannah Giles

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Paul, Emily and the beanstalk: today’s harvest offering

September 22, 2011
Author: Guest

logo of ear of wheatTo celebrate Eden’s Harvest Festival this October, we’re bringing you a selection of recipes, ideas and creations to celebrate this special season. Today, we share with you a harvest offering from the amazing rooftop garden that sprang up this summer at the Southbank Centre.


Tipis of runner beans next to Paul and EmilyWhat was a bare patch of concrete early this year is now an abundant garden bursting with life – just have a look at this picture of Emily Hegarty and Paul Pulford and their amazing tipis of runner beans.

Paul and Emily of the group Grounded Ecotherapy are among the gardeners who have worked with Eden to transform the rooftop of the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre in London as part of the centre’s Festival of Britain 60th anniversary celebrations.

Late summer has seen the productive gardens come to fruition with the beans in particular creating their own dramatic London skyline.

Runner beansPaul built the towers himself, carrying the birch and sycamore trimmings in from East London on his bike.

Paul, Emily and the rest of the team have been sharing their gardening knowledge with the many visitors. Some who have wandered by have been lucky enough to go away with a handful of fresh produce and cooking tips to go with it.

By David Rowe

1 - 9 October 2011; Harvest Festival; Food, drink, dance and merriment; Click for the full programme

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