To celebrate Eden’s Harvest Festival this September, we’re bringing you a selection of recipes, ideas and creations to celebrate this special season. Today chef Joe Draper of the River Cottage Canteen and Deli gives us a delicious fish recipe.
Here at the River Cottage Canteen and Deli in Plymouth, our entire menu is made up of seasonal, local, organic and wild ingredients, so harvest time in the autumn is a great time for us to reap the very best of what our local farmers and producers sow.
One of our favourite fish to use is the unfashionable but very tasty mackerel. It’s a very popular fish in the Canteen and we use mackerel caught by day boats off the coast of Lyme Bay.
This is a really nice summer dish that is light, fresh and importantly – easy enough for everyone to make! As with any dish you make, remember that the freshest, finest ingredients will all speak for themselves!
- Whole mackerel fish
- A handful of fresh thyme
- A handful of bay leaves
- Lemon juice and slices
- A knob of butter
- Cornish Sea Salt
For the salsa cruda:
- 250g of fresh tomatoes, halved and quartered
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
- A handful of chopped parsley and basil
- Olive oil to bind
- Mix and season with salt and pepper
Oven bake your mackerel whole (with the heads still on!) with the thyme, bay leaves, a drizzle of lemon juice and several lemon slices, a knob of butter and a sprinkling of Cornish sea salt. With your oven at 180°C, it will take 8-10 minutes to cook all the way through.
To make the salsa cruda, simply chop your tomatoes, onion and chilli and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Serve with your mackerel and enjoy!
To celebrate Eden’s Harvest Festival this September, we’re bringing you a selection of recipes, ideas and creations to celebrate this special season. Today local wine expert, James Thomas of Knightor Winery, tells us about English wines.
As part of Eden’s Harvest Festival we will be offering daily tastings of the English wine we make just a mile up the road at Knightor, as well as having some fun demonstrating traditional foot treading of grapes, talking about wine in general and its production in the UK.
People are often quite unsure what to expect when tasting English wines, so here are some things to consider.
A number of trends in the English wine industry have become clear over the last 10 years or so. The one that has caused the most hype and excitement is the rise of sparkling wine. Critics have really got behind these and there is no doubt that England has a natural affinity for fizz. A cool climate produces wines with the acidity, yet flavour ripeness to give good sparkling wine its freshness, zip and verve.
There are several grape varieties used for sparkling in the UK, from the less well known, such as Seyval Blanc and Reichensteiner, to those that we have adopted straight from Champagne – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Both types have their place and make good wines, although there is increasingly a shift towards the latter.
I suggest all are worth trying, but the former tend to be slightly more fruit forward, easy drinking wines, whereas the classic Champagne varieties often make a more ‘serious’ style.
Still white wines
For sure, sparkling wines are making a splash, but at Knightor we make both still and sparkling, so it is natural that I would fight the fight for the still wines too… Although English still wines have received less publicity of late, I believe that, in many ways, this is the area that has evolved most in our industry.
The whites have become much more refined and many winemakers have moved away from the semi-sweet styles, or the painfully acidic dry wines of the past, to something that is balanced and of real quality, worth being taken seriously as a genuine wine style with its own unique character.
English still whites generally are, and should be, quite light and elegant when compared to wines from say Australia, California, or Southern Europe but can still be full of flavour. Grape varieties to look out for include Bacchus (which can be quite like Sauvignon Blanc), Madeleine Angevine (light, aromatic and deliciously easy drinking), Siegerrebe or Schönburger (both very aromatic) and many more as either single varietals or blends.
There are also wineries making wines from some of the more classic varieties such as Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and a host of others, that were previously considered too difficult to ripen in our climate. Whether it’s due to climate change or better winemaking, these styles are getting more and more interesting and are well worth a try, especially in good vintages.
There has also been the rise of rosé. Like the elegant still white and sparkling wines, we clearly have a good climate for rosé. Some are bone dry, often reminiscent of Provencal rosé, while others have a touch of residual sugar – both styles work well depending on your preference – and these are some of the most consistent English wines.
Finally we should briefly mention red wine. It is very difficult to make good red wine in a cool climate, but some can and do manage to pull it off. Look for Pinot Noir, Rondo, Dornfelder and others and expect generally light, fruity wines, low in tannin and light in colour, but often delicious.
Win two bottles of English wine from Knightor Winery
To be in with a chance of winning two great bottles of English wine made at Knightor Winery in Cornwall, simply follow James Thomas on Twitter @knightor_wine , tweet him with your favourite wine variety and include the hashtag #favewine.
The competition will close at noon on Friday 7 September. He’ll choose his favourite entry and send the winner a direct message via Twitter to organise delivery of the prize.
Try English wine at Eden’s Harvest Festival
If you haven’t tried any English wine yet, it really is time you did, and with a quick bit of research you might even find there is a vineyard near you. If you are down at Eden for the Harvest Festival, please feel free to come and have a taste of Knightor wines from 12.30 – 2.30pm in the Sense of Place Garden.
When you next visit Eden, keep your eyes peeled for our revamped mining exhibit – you’ll recognise it from the giant truck tyre.
It comes from the sort of monster truck that operates in open pit mines across the world. The trucks are as big as a three-bedroom house, weigh more than a jumbo jet, and can carry up to 360 tons of rock at a time!
We’ve designed the mining exhibit so that you can actually turn the wheel inside the tyre to explore the story behind mining. It’s proving popular with kids – as is the copper-clad, glass-roofed tunnel which they can run through.
You can peer into the windows to see what everyday stuff is made of, from fillings to mobile phones. Did you know that everything humans use which isn’t grown has to be extracted from the ground?
We all use minerals and metals every day much more than we think:
- A mobile phone can have around 30 different metals and minerals in it.
- A glossy magazine uses china clay to make its paper shiny.
- Electricity often comes from power stations fuelled by coal.
- Telephone wires are made from copper or aluminium.
- Window panes are made from sand.
We’re fascinated with mining here at Eden because this very place was created in a china clay quarry that had come to the end of its economic life.
Eden is now known as a world-class example of the reclamation of an old mineral site and we work with mining companies to spread the learning through our responsible mining programme.
Our designer maker Lou Thorn created the fantastic new exhibit for us, even creating the bird that sits astride it out of metal.
She says her job creating hands-on, visual displays sees her working in all sorts of environments to help get the message across. ‘One minute we are constructing an exhibit and sweating it out in the rainforest, the next out in the freezing cold – the whole site is our canvas. Every day here is different and I love it.’
To celebrate Eden’s Harvest Festival this September, we’re bringing you a selection of recipes, ideas and creations to celebrate this special season. Today actress turned writer, Carol Drinkwater, tells us about her love for olives.
Carol is probably best known for her role as Helen Herriot in the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small. Also an accomplished novelist, she has achieved bestselling status with her much-loved memoirs of life on an olive farm in Provence. She’ll be giving a talk on olives at the Eden Project’s Harvest Festival on Saturday 15 September 2012.
I have spent the last few months sitting in editing suites and post-production meetings, drinking endless cups of coffee as we worked into the small hours. We have been completing a five-film documentary series entitled, The OLIVE ROUTE. These films, a co-production between several TV channels across Europe, are inspired by two of my travel books, The Olive Route and The Olive Tree.
On a daily basis, I have been reeling off facts, useful tidbits of information for the films’ narration texts:
- The cultivated olive tree is native to the Mediterranean basin but may have originated in a wild form elsewhere.
- Italy produces 432,000 tons of olive oil a year, Greece’s production reaches 350,000 tons while Spain, by far and away the world’s largest player in the olive oil game, produces a staggering 1.6 million tons and production is rising.
- The oldest olive trees I have found grow in the heights of Mount Lebanon.’
Such facts and figures are usually unknown to the lay person who might simply enjoy their martini adorned with a small green olive and think no more about it, and why should anyone be interested?
‘Carol,’ interrupted the director, ‘you are an actress, a writer. How did you become so fascinated, so passionate about olive oil? You are a female Indiana Jones questing the Secrets of Homer’s ‘Liquid Gold’. Not a bad observation, I laughed.
Romance in the south of France
How did I become fascinated by the olive tree and its history? Well, olives, olive farming in the south of France, have become the backdrop to several bestselling books I have written, now known as the Olive Farm series. These stories, a multi-layered love story, began when I was playing in a children’s mini-series in Australia and the executive producer, after our first meeting, invited me to have dinner with him. During that meal, he asked me to marry him!! Was I to take him seriously?
To cut a long story short, Michel, who was based in Paris while I was living in London, invited me to Cannes, to the television festival. While he spent his days in meetings, I decided to see whether the ‘House by the Sea’ I had dreamed of purchasing for years might be awaiting me somewhere along the French Riviera. When I told the estate agents my budget, they scoffed, ‘nothing available for that money, Madame.’
At the end of the week, Michel and I took a trip inland to see what was on offer for my modest savings. Little took our fancy until we were shown a ruin with spectacular views set on a jungled hillside overlooking the Bay of Cannes.
Carol falls in love with olives
‘It’s an olive farm and vineyard,’ claimed the young agent. He could have told us it was a space station and it would have been equally credible. The land was so overgrown, it was impossible to confirm what lay beneath the forgotten vegetation.
The place was eight times my budget. Still, we had fallen for the ‘farm’ and so Michel and I pooled our resources, begged, borrowed, scraped together the deposit and took possession of our elegant ruin.
It was two years before we managed to cut back the land. There, then, we discovered, growing on our hillside of drystone-walled terraces, sixty-eight, four-hundred-year-old olive trees. I walked those groves in every light, every season, every weather, and I became enchanted, fascinated by the olive tree, by its beauty, its serenity. The Tree of Peace, the Tree of Eternity. I had yet to really understand why it had been honoured with these nomenclatures.
Her first olive harvest
For various reasons, it was several years before we harvested our first crop of blushing mauve olives, aided by a silvery Provençal local whose veins flowed with olive oil. Already, we were climbing the learning curve: how to lay the nets, when to pick, how to pick, how soon after gathering must the fruits be pressed… Our first harvest loaded into crates, we took our olives to a local mill where, after washing and pressing, our green-gold oil began to trickle into an ancient vat. I could see exactly why Homer described this magical food, this cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, ‘Liquid Gold’.
We gained an AOC, an Appellation d’Origine Côntrollée, for our oil – the French benchmark for quality foods and we planted another two hundred trees. As I nurtured those young saplings, I began to ask myself, where does the olive tree come from? Who first cultivated it? Who first understood its medicinal properties, its use as a cosmetic? And I discovered that there are no historically documented answers to these and many other questions.
A journey of discovery into olive history
I set up a meeting with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, with the Cultural Director, and proposed myself for the role of ‘seeker of the ancient journeys’, ‘she who will find the answers’. I wanted to unearth this tree’s stories. I had made up my mind that I would go in search of the plant’s mysteries, its ancient heritage and track some of its original routes from wild tree to cultivation. Of course, the UNESCO director was sceptical and I had no idea back then the depth, the breadth, the risks involved in my challenge, nor where these discoveries might lead me.
I spent sixteen months on my solo journeys around the Mediterranean, in war zones, wearing burkhas where necessary, carrying a backpack weighted down with camera and laptop. The seeds for my two books and, now, our television series were sown during that time. I was knitting together a tapestry, a network. I was meeting modern-day folk who have put the olive tree at the heart of their lives, who were born within its wooden cradle, whose ancestors have forgotten more than I will ever learn. I sincerely hope that I have succeded in sharing in my books and our films just a few of these discoveries and extraordinary encouters, a little of all that has been revealed to me.
Why olives are so special
The olive tree is a mystical, magical plant, indeed, but it is a great deal more. It is an essential pillar of the Mediterranean. It feeds us, it shades us, it heals our bodies, it furnishes and heats our homes. It offered man light after sunset long before we flicked switches and it is honoured in all three of the Middle Eastern monotheisms, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as a sacred tree.
I have stood humbly in the company of gnarled, sprawling specimens of Olea europaea, cutivated olive trees, scientifically dated at six thousand years old. Trees that are still producing fruit, fruit that is still being pressed into litres of liquid gold. How could I not be passionate about such a gift of nature?
Win a set of Carol’s books
To be in with a chance of winning a set of six of Carol’s wonderful books about her fascination with olives, simply tweet your favourite olive dish to @eden_harvest and include the hashtag #faveolivedish
The competition will close at noon on Wednesday 29 August 2012. We’ll choose our favourite entry and send the winner a direct message via Twitter to organise delivery of the prize. The set comprises:
- The Olive Farm
- The Olive Season
- The Olive Harvest
- The Olive Route
- The Olive Tree
- Return to the Olive Farm
The books are published by Phoenix in paperback, hardback and ebook format, and are available through all good bookshops and online vendors such as Amazon, TheBookDepository.co.uk.
Find out more on the Carol Drinkwater website.
Find out more about olive trees on the Eden’s olive plant profile page.
To celebrate Eden’s Harvest Festival this September, we’re bringing you a selection of recipes, ideas and creations to celebrate this special season. Today local Michelin-starred chef, Nathan Outlaw, tells us about a great lobster dish.
Nathan says: ‘September is a good time for lobsters, brown crabs and farmed or native oysters because the waters they live in are beginning to get cooler and that is what they like. Additionally, as the winter begins to come upon us, it is good to take advantage of these delicious seafoods as once the storms arrive it will be more difficult for the fishermen to land them.
‘I devised this dish when I opened my first restaurant, as a way of serving the amazing local lobster without putting whole lobsters on the menu, which would have been too expensive for me at the time. For the risotto, I use vegetable stock rather than a stock made from the lobster shells, as it lends a more subtle taste, allowing the flavour of the lobster meat to really shine through.’
Photo by David Loftus
- 2 live lobsters, 500–600g each, placed in the freezer 30 minutes before cooking
- 2 litres vegetable stock
- 50ml olive oil
- 100g unsalted butter
- 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 200g Carnaroli risotto rice
- 8 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
- 100g Parmesan, grated
- 12 large basil leaves, finely shredded
- 1 orange, peel and pith removed, segmented and chopped
- Cornish sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil over a high heat. Once the water is boiling, quickly take the lobsters from the freezer, place on a board and firmly insert the tip of your knife into the cross on the head to kill each one instantly. Plunge the lobsters straight into the boiling water and cook them for 8 minutes. Remove from the water and place on a tray to cool down. When cool enough to handle, carefully extract the meat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Before you start the risotto, chop the lobster meat into equal sized pieces, aiming to get about 20 pieces from each lobster.
To make the risotto, bring the vegetable stock to the boil in a pan and keep it at a gentle simmer. Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil and half of the butter. When the butter is bubbling, add the onions and garlic and cook for 1 minute, without colouring. Next add the rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring all the time. Now add the vegetable stock to the rice a ladleful at a time, stirring and allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next. Cook the rice in this way for 14 minutes or until it is al dente and you have a creamy looking risotto.
Now turn the heat down to its lowest setting. Add the chopped lobster and spring onions to the rice and cook for 1 minute. Then add the Parmesan, remaining butter (in pieces) and the basil. Warm gently for 2 minutes, stirring all the time. Finally add the chopped orange and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve straight away.
Win a signed copy of Nathan’s latest book
To be in with a chance of winning Nathan’s latest book, Nathan Outlaw’s British Seafood (published by Quadrille, £25, hardback), simply tweet your favourite fish dish to @eden_harvest and include the hashtag #favefishdish
If you win, we’ll send you a voucher on which you can specify the personal inscription that you would like Nathan write in your copy of the book!
The competition will close at midday on Friday 24 August 2012. We’ll choose our favourite entry and send the winner a direct message via Twitter to organise delivery of the prize.
Find out more about amazing seafood on Nathan Outlaw’s website.
Turn a plastic milk carton into an intriguing hanging bird. This recycled art activity is a great kids’ craft idea for a rainy day. Why not make lots and turn them into a mobile or race them in the garden?
What you’ll need:
- A pair of scissors.
- An empty 2-litre milk carton
1. Give your milk bottle a really good rinse and peel off any labels.
2. Put the bottle on a hard surface, like the floor or a table, and poke your scissors into the bottle near the bottom. Once your scissors are in, cut all the way around to remove the bottom section.
3. On the opposite side from the handle, you’ll find a seam, which you should cut all the way up until you get to the 2-litre mark.
4. This step is where you make the beak of the bird. Starting at the top end of the seam, cut a curve around each side of the bottle neck towards the top – but don’t cut right through. Draw a line first if it helps.
5. Next, push the new beak ‘flap’ inside the neck of the bottle and up through the hole (where the milk usually comes out). You may need to bend and push and wiggle it up.
6. Now for the wings and tail. Hold the bottle in a horizontal position, with the handle at the bottom.
Starting a couple of centimetres in from the side, cut a curve round and up towards the handle, then round and down until you reach the bottom end of the seam cut you made in step 3.
You can discard the piece of plastic you’ve just cut out.
7. Repeat on the other side.
8. Here’s the best bit. Holding the bottle in a horizontal position again with the handle at the bottom, bend the pointed wing you’ve just created outwards and downwards.
You’re essentially turning part of the bottle inside out, creating shoulders and shaped wings.
Repeat on the other side, and all of a sudden you should have a milk bottle bird.
You can cut different tail shapes, wings and beaks, paint them, stick on eyes, put them on sticks, hang them from trees, make a mobile, fill them with fat balls to turn them into bird feeders… The possibilities are endless.
Plastic recycling facts
Did you know?
- Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose.
- 275,000 tonnes of plastic are used each year in the UK. That’s about 15 million bottles per day.
- Most families throw away about 40kg of plastic a year, which could be recycled.
We’d love to see your flights of fancy so share your birds with us on Facebook or Twitter.
With thanks to the talented Kirsti Davies, who has taught many a person to make these birds at Eden.
You might have already spotted the unusual presence of a small, dark island moving around the coast of England this summer; it first made an appearance in Weymouth and three weeks later it’s finally arrived in Cornwall!
The ‘floating island sculpture’, as its creators describe it, is actually a real piece of land being pulled by tugboat on a tour from the Arctic as part of an initiative known as Nowhereisland.
It’s making its way around the Southwest in the hope of stimulating debate around ideas like citizenship, nationhood and climate change, under the banner of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
And if you’re visiting Eden on 17 or 18 August 2012 you’ll be able to take part in the fun by dropping into Nowhereisland’s Embassy. This is a mobile museum full of intriguing objects and there’s even the chance to become a citizen of the island, which has been declared a new nation.
Artist Alex Hartley discovered the new island – which is about the size of a football pitch – on an expedition to the Arctic, where it was revealed by the melting ice of the Negribreen glacier. He began the legal process of declaring it a new nation as a way of parodying the UK’s own history of colonialism and also the increasing practice of land grabbing taking place across the world.
So far more than 18,000 people have signed up as citizens of Nowhereisland, offering their own ideas for an evolving constitution, which range from the frivolous (everyone should be greeted with Eskimo kisses) to the practical (one day a year should be dedicated to cleaning up the environment) to the tub-thumping (no bonuses for bankers).
Alongside this public participation are 52 ‘resident thinkers’, including our very own CEO Tim Smit, who are contributing letters on a weekly basis over the year. You can read Tim Smit’s ideas here.
Where to see Nowhereisland
The island is currently making its way around the Cornish coast. Find out on the Nowhereisland website where you can see it moored off the coast. You can visit the Embassy at the Eden Project on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 August between 12 and 5pm – it’s just near the WEEE Man, outdoors in the centre of the site.
Check out the film below all about the Embassy’s visit to Cornwall’s Mevagissey.
Which plants do these pictures represent?
See if you can identify all the plants below from our illustrations. If you’re can’t, take a peek at our Plant A to Z. Every plant shown here has its own entry so there really are no excuses. Good luck!
We’re very pleased to introduce… *drum roll please*… a brand new Cornish Pilsner to our beer range. This new beer hit the shelves last week and it’s already one of our favourites.
Light and crisp with clean fruit notes, it’s the perfect refreshing drink for a warm day.
Cornish Pilsner is brewed using Pilsner malt and Saaz hops known for their ‘noble’ distinctive flavour, and yeast, before being infused with Cornish thyme grown right here at Eden.
Brewed for us by Sharp’s Brewery on the North Cornish coast, it forms part of their new Connoisseurs Choice range – a collection of rare premium bottled beers designed to partner good food. Team this bottle chilled with fish, spicy dishes or BBQs. Here at Eden, we serve it with our Catalan fish stew in our Mediterranean Biome.
Tracey Smith, Eden’s Commercial Projects and Relationship Manager, said: ‘We’re very pleased to have worked with the Sharp’s team on the new Cornish Pilsner and it’s great to have Eden-grown thyme which is an integral part of this delicious, refreshing new beer.’
Try some for yourself from our webshop or pick some up here at Eden.
Whatever the weather, our late nights are the perfect time to enjoy a relaxing stroll through the rainforest, a wine in the Mediterranean biome or live music in our beautiful gardens.
Our ever-popular barbecues are back with delicious grilled dishes served from 4pm.
We also provide picnic blankets so you can enjoy your food from the comfort of our grassy banks and lawned areas. Perfect if you’ve got children with you.
Take time out to listen to live music from local bands including Backbeat Acoustic and Grooveyard, as well as NoFit State circus’s band with performances starting at 5.30pm and 7pm.
Breathtaking performances from NoFit State will also be taking place throughout the evenings so you can catch a glimpse of the stars in our BIANCO show.
Late-night opening, until 8pm, is every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday until 30 August. All daytime activities including The Lorax continue through until closing.
Reduced ticket prices
If you come in after 3.30pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in the school summer holidays (24–26 Jul, 31 Jul – 2 Aug, 7–9 Aug, 14–16 Aug, 21–23 Aug, 28–30 Aug), you can get in for the following reduced prices:
- Adult: £13.50
- Concession: £11
- Child: £5.