To celebrate our Chilli Festival 21-24 September, as part of Eden’s Harvest Festival we thought we’d share a selection of our favourite chilli products from the web shop – so you can feel the heat too.
With autumn evenings on the way we’re looking forward to snuggling up with a mug of chilli hot chocolate. This delicious blend of chilli and chocolate is sure to give extra warmth with a kick – bringing a whole new meaning to hot chocolate.
If you can handle the heat of the kitchen, our Cornish chilli sauce is perfect for those who like it hot. Made from cayenne chillies, local apples and Cornish vinegar, it’s an infusion of traditional and exotic flavours.
We’ve taken the nation’s favourite pub snack and spiced it up. From rosemary and sweet chilli to smoky chilli nuts you are sure to find something to tantalise your taste buds in this range. They’re perfect as a snack if you’re feeling peckish, and their handy pouches make them great for taking on picnics.
There’s nothing like growing your own fruit and veg. So why not try your hand at being a chilli grower? This kit provides you with everything you need to grow a fruitful crop of exotic chillies right in your own back garden.
Indulge in all things spicy with this luxury hamper full of heat. It’s way up there on the ‘Scoville scale’, which measures the amount of heat in chilli fruits in terms of capsaicin, the natural chemical compound that stimulates nerve endings in the skin. This hamper is sure to get your tongue tingling…
If you want to feel the heat with us here at Eden why not book a chocolate and chilli tour or take home a chilli plant from the Plant Deck section of our shop by the Visitor Centre?
To celebrate our Chilli Festival on 21-24 September 2013 (part of Eden’s Harvest Festival) we’d like to share with you how a moustachioed pharmacist gave his name to the Scoville scale – a way to measure the pungency or spicy heat of chilli peppers.
At our Chilli Festival you can sample chillies, listen to fascinating culinary and horticultural talks, and watch live chef demos. See the full Chilli Festival line-up here!
Scoville scale of chilli heat
Find out more about the Scoville scale and the chillies we grow at the Eden Project on our chilli plant profile page.
Ten days ago we welcomed over 80 people from all around the UK, who have awesome ideas, engaging projects and a passion to help their local communities flourish. They came to the Eden Project for one of our three-day events on how to get the best out of their ideas to create positive change.
Through workshops, talks, field trips and social activities, participants were able to develop the skills and confidence to focus and expand on their ideas. UnLtd, the leading support organisation for social entrepreneurs, joined us to give practical advice, tips and share their knowledge.
Workshop sessions included talks on how to finance community projects and how to strengthen local economies; through to using unusual exercises to write project plans such as ‘plan how to learn to yodel’. (Fortunately, nobody actually set themselves a goal of learning this by the end of the three days!)
During the weekend, participants let loose their contagious enthusiasm and launched into discussions and story sharing sessions to relay their diverse experiences to each other. James from Hull told us about a scheme he has set up to help ex-offenders improve their employability by building garden furniture out of recycled materials.
Alan Cook talked about his love of his community and how he has set up a ‘dads and kids’ club. Dave from Hastings inspired us with his project that helps unemployed people get tailored career advice.
Rachel Smith from Durham, who’s in the start-up process of creating an online social marketplace, said: ‘The event has helped me to get more ideas from people and to focus what I’m doing. There has been lots of communality from everyone here – we all seem to have the same ethos behind us.’
Samantha Raywood, who is currently running a project that educates children about where food comes from and what the healthy options are, told us, ‘It’s been a great experience of the Eden Project. The weekend has helped to freshen up ideas and I’ve enjoyed meeting new people. I’ve learnt to plan, plan, plan and be organised!’
- ‘Thanks everyone for such a fantastic weekend, I am absolutely buzzing with ideas!’
- ‘4 days in heaven, loved every minute’
- ‘Feeling alive after this fantastic weekend! So many inspiring people and stories. Now to use this energy and connect and reconnect further…’
- ‘Still floating on a cloud of positivity inspired by the #biglunchextras event this weekend.’
- ‘Re-energised and completely inspired after an incredible weekend.’
If you have an idea for your community, help yourself to our online resources – and why not sign up for a free Big Lunch Extras event yourself? It’s all on our website.
Guardian journalist and beer sommelier Sophie Atherton explains how to get the best out of your brew – as part of our Beer, Wine and Cider Week this Harvest Festival.
Sophie’s talk on beer will take place at the Eden Project at 1pm on Thursday 3 October 2013.
Everyone knows how to drink beer. Lift glass to lips, tilt head back, tip beer into mouth, wait until it reaches the throat, then swallow. So obvious and easy, you wouldn’t think it even had five stages.
But merely tipping beer down our necks without a second thought means missing out on its vast potential and stunning variety of styles and flavours. So make sure you get the best out of your brew with this how to drink beer guide.
1. Choose your brew
There are dozens of styles of beer and hundreds of different brews within those styles – so it’s not just a matter of choosing between lager and real ale.
Look at the colour
Although colour isn’t always a reliable indicator of flavour, it’s a good guide for beginners. Lighter colours are usually more refreshing than amber or brown beers, and deep, dark brown or black brews will have considerably more depth of flavour.
Try something local
If you love a cold one (lager), ring the changes by trying a locally brewed alternative to the big brands. Cornwall is just the place to do this.
Step out of your comfort zone
If you like lager’s subtle flavour but want something less gassy, try a golden (cask) ale. Fancy a bit more bite? Ask for a hoppy brew (such as an IPA), especially anything with US or Antipodean hops in – which bring tropical but zesty fruit flavours to the beer.
Fans of coffee and chocolate who feel like branching out with a beer should look out for stouts or porters, as both these styles usually showcase cocoa and coffee flavours in varying degrees.
2. Use your senses
Our sense of taste is inextricably bound up with our sense of smell. Ask to try beer before you buy and, with luck, you’ll get a small taster in a large glass.
At home, pour a little beer to smell before you dive in and drink. Swirl it round and stick your nose in for a good old sniff.
It may sound strange, but you’ll get more from your beer by smelling it.Many of today’s beers include hops added specifically for their aroma qualities. Brewers want their beer to smell nice and they want you to smell their beer!
3. Match your beer to your food
Ever been for a pub meal only to have your beer taste just so wrong once you drink it with your food? Kiss that syndrome goodbye by becoming flavour savvy with your brews and food. Start by looking for similar flavours.
- Match subtle flavoured beer (lager, golden ale) with delicate or plain food. Think fish and chips, or unspiced, chicken dishes.
- Foods with caramelised flavours, such as roast chicken or burger with onions (but little else) work well with amber/brown coloured ales that aren’t too hoppy.
- Hoppier, amber brews lend themselves to stronger flavoured burgers and other grilled dishes.
- Having a curry? Forget lager and turn to those spicy American hops, but if your spicy meal is a chilli con carne pair it with a porter or a stout.
Seasonal and regional pairings are another good principle to work by. There’s only one real rule in matching beer and food and that’s ‘whatever works for you’, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Journalist Sophie Atherton was the first woman in the UK to be accredited as a Beer Sommelier and is the parliamentary beer group’s Beer Sommelier of the Year 2013. She writes regularly for the national press and also appears on radio and TV to talk about beer, as well as co-hosting a regular beer podcast.
You can see ice cream wizard Charlie Francis of Lick Me I’m Delicious give a live demo at Eden’s Harvest Festival on Wednesday 11 September 2013!
At Eden on 11 September, Charlie will be using a mix of the Eden Project’s own Extra-Ordinary Ice Cream to throw an edible ice cream pot on his portable gramophone pottery machine. It’ll look something like this:
Recipe for making ice cream in a bag
Have some fun at home and try Charlie’s recipe for a very unusual, but fun, method for making ice cream:
For your outrageously delicious ice cream
- 300ml double cream
- 300ml full fat milk
- 115g caster sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 free range egg yolks (large)
For your fantastic ice cream machine
- 1 large bag of ice cubes
- 10 tablespoons salt
- 1 large zip lock bag
- 2 small zip lock bags
First off, you’ve got to make your mega ice cream mix.
1. Whisk your sugar and egg yolks together until the mixture goes thick, looks pale in colour and your arm feels like it’s going to fall off.
2. Meanwhile, heat your cream, milk and vanilla essence together in a pan until just below boiling point, then take off the heat.
3. Pour your heated cream-milk mixture into your sugar-egg mixture bit by bit, whisking the whole time.
4. Now the important bit. Put your mix back onto a low heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring the bottom of the pan gently the whole time. This is the point where you’re making your custard and heating the egg to stabilise your mix, but you don’t want to overcook your egg as it will curdle and make your mix taste eggy. Don’t panic, just cook it slowly and take your time. You know it’s done when the mix is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.
With your mix done, pop it in the fridge and let it cool down.
To make your plastic bag ice cream machine.
5. Take your first small zip lock bag and put in a cup of your cooled ice cream mix. Pop this bag inside your second small zip lock bag for double bag security.
6. Fill your big zip lock bag full of ice and salt. The salt’s going to break down the ice, turning into liquid, but keeping its extremely cold temperature – you’re making liquid ice.
7. Put your small bag inside the big bag, zip up and shake for about 8 minutes. This movement is going to keep the mix in contact with fresh cold liquid ice and prevent the ice cream from forming into one hard lump.
8. Open up your bags and eat your ice cream! Repeat until you’ve used up all your ice cream mix or are full to bursting.
You can see Great British Bake off winner John Whaite give a live cooking demo at Eden’s Harvest Festival on Wednesday 11 September 2013! Here’s the recipe he’ll be making.
400g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
7g fast-action yeast (1 sachet)
280ml tepid water
For the garlic pesto butter
100g salted butter
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
1 tbsp green pesto
For the balsamic syrup
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Handful fresh basil leaves
Sea salt flakes
Large baking sheet (32~46cm/13~18 inches)
A piece of baking paper cut to fit the baking sheet
- Place the flour in a mixing bowl and stir in the salt, then the yeast. Slowly add the water to the flour, mixing into a messy dough. Turn out on to the worktop and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Alternatively, make the dough in a freestanding electric mixer with a dough hook, kneading for about six minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a damp tea towel, leaving to rise for about one hour, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 230°C/Gas 8.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the garlic and pesto, and take it off the heat.
- Put the piece of baking paper on the worktop, dust with flour and put the risen dough on it. Roll it out, dusting your rolling pin with flour, until it is a rough rectangle the size of the paper. Slide the paper, dough rectangle still on it, on to the baking sheet.
- Liberally paint about two-thirds of the garlic pesto butter all over the dough with the pastry brush, and leave to rest for about 25 minutes.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown, the butter has soaked in, and the bread has bubbled up in places. Remove from the oven and paint with the remaining butter mix.
- To make the balsamic syrup, simply place the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over a high heat. Allow to boil until it has reduced by half, then cool slightly before drizzling all over the baked bread.
- Finish with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, strew the basil leaves on top, and season with pepper and sea salt flakes.
You can see MasterChef winner Tim Anderson give a live cooking demo at Eden’s Harvest Festival on Friday 13 September 2013! Here’s the recipe he’ll be making: a Korean take on a Mexican classic.
1/4 Savoy or Napa cabbage
1 garlic clove
1 spring onion, white part only
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp hot chilli powder or 2-3 fresh red chillies
For the tortillas
100g masa harina, plus more for dusting
20g cold lard or butter, cubed
50ml hot water
1/2 tsp fine salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
For the tacos
1 duck breast
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
juice of 1/2 lime
1 spring onion, green part only
1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds
2 sprigs coriander
To make the Kimchi, roughly chop the cabbage and mince the garlic and spring onion. Place in a bowl adding the salt and chilli, and rub everything together. Press and squeeze the cabbage to release its juice before packing the cabbage into a container and weighing it down with a jar full of water.
For your tortillas mix the flour, salt, and lard in a food processor until it forms a crumb. Add the hot water to make a firm dough and let sit for 10 minutes.
Roll out into 15cm tortillas and cook in hot vegetable oil until slightly browned.
For your Taco filling, thinly slice the duck and marinate in sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, and lime juice.
Slice the cucumber and radishes as thinly as possible. Deseed and chop the tomato. Chop the spring onion and the coriander.
Fry the duck in a little veg oil on high heat until nicely browned.
To serve scoop into the tortillas and garnish with the veg.
Here in our steamy Rainforest Biome in Cornwall, we’ve just opened the first part of our new Rainforest Aerial Walkway – which brings you even closer to the precious plants of the rainforest. In celebration of all the vital things these tropical habitats bring us, we’ve put together a selection of our favourite rainforest products. By buying these natural, fairly traded or sustainably sourced products, you’ll help preserve rainforests worldwide too.
Our rainforest products
Immerse yourself in the rainforest with this relaxing bath soak inspired by the plants in our Rainforest Biome. The fragrances of wild orchid, jasmine and ginger are sure to sooth and rejuvenate.
These eye-catching coconut candles show just how versatile coconuts can be and are a great example of how we can find good uses for by-products. Filled with sustainable soy wax, the candles burn nearly twice as long as conventional wax candles. They’ll make a great addition to a dining table or as floating candles in a bath.
Want to recreate the famous baobab smoothies that are available in our Rainforest Biome? This versatile, tangy, superfruit ingredient can be used in a host of recipes for smoothies, curries, flapjacks and ice creams. Sustainably harvested and bought from rural harvester groups in Malawi, our baobab powder can also be used as an alternative to sugar or as a base for jams and chutneys.
Used as currency, served in golden goblets, eaten by gods – chocolate, in all its forms, has always been a luxury. The cocoa and sugar used in our chocolate is fairly traded through co-operatives in Central and Latin America and West Africa, ensuring this luxury has positive effects on the economy it comes from and conserves the habitat of threatened plant and animal species.
Does your child dream of being a rainforest explorer? This gift bag will give them the perfect start to discovering the great outdoors – without a plane ticket or travel vaccine in sight! Bring the gift bag to the Eden Project and your child could explore our plants and wildlife up close.
While the colourful and showy bird of paradise plant can flourish under a thick canopy of trees in the rainforests of South Africa, it can also be grown at home. Let the sun do its work in the summer months and bring your terrace or tropical border to life with this exotic, bird-like plant.
Our crabwood and lemongrass soap contributes to the preservation of the world’s rainforest as they are free of palm oil. Crabwood tree oil – which grows in the rainforests of South America – is naturally high in skin-friendly vitamin E.
Want to experience the canopy from the comfort of your sofa? Deep Jungle takes you on an adventure to one of the most alien habitats on Earth. Your encounter with the most unusual animals and plants will have you questioning why we look for signs of life elsewhere in our universe when the greatest range of life-forms that have ever existed lies right here on our doorstep!
Coffee connoisseurs tell us that Coffea arabica is known for producing the best coffee. That’s why we’ve included the plant in this quirky coffee lovers’ gift set. The bag of El Salvador coffee will help you to start the daily grind with an aromatic coffee from an ethical, rainforest-friendly source – in a locally designed mug.
In the rainforests of Africa, tribes use drums to communicate with other tribes and people outside of their village. Around the world, the Djembe drum has become a popular percussion instrument thanks to the range of sounds that can be made by slapping different parts of the skin and holding it in various positions. Have a go and fill your home with tribal sounds.
If you want to get close to the rainforest, come and take to the canopy in our Rainforest Aerial Walkway here at Eden.
You can get a wonderful new perspective on the tropical trees in our Biome from our brand new Rainforest Aerial Walkway. Here’s a little guide to what you’ll see when you’re high up on our Walkway:
Papaya (Carica papaya)
Growing up to 10m high with leaves 70cm in diameter at the top of it’s trunk, this tree is hard to miss on your Walkway adventure. Its versatile fruit is used for food, medicines and cosmetics.
Cassava (Manihot esculenta)
This tuberous woody perennial plant is the third largest carbohydrate supplier in the tropics. The tubers are ground to make flour or eaten like potatoes.
African quinine (Rauvolfia caffra)
Hanging over your head as you near the top of the Walkway is the African quinine. While it’s not the species that treats malaria (that one’s from South America), it is a major medicinal tree in its own right. The tree is also used as soft timber and its roots add potency to banana beer.
Cola (Cola nitida)
This West African rainforest tree once flavoured the fizzy drink, Coca-Cola. In Nigeria cola is grown next to the house and a nut is picked off and given to visitors as a warm welcome. Its pale yellow flowers with deep red lines running along the inside of the petals will add a splash of colour to the green foliage surrounding your head.
African green heart (Pipadeniastrum africanum)
Keeping you safe on your treetop journey our walkway hand rails are made from African green heart timber. The timber was sourced locally from Holifield Farm, who recovered it from Falmouth Docks when they burnt down years ago. This huge buttress-rooted tree is used in marine construction, traditionally canoes.
Sausage tree (Kigelia africana)
This tree is named after the shape of its fruit, which is used to flavour beer. In times of famine the seeds are ground into flour and used to make other food products such as bread. When the striking dark red tubular flowers are in bloom they are accompanied by an unpleasant smell.
Blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon)
This was the original ebony used for the furniture found in the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamen. Today it is used for carvings and to make musical instruments, but not until it’s reached at least 70 years old. The dark grey bark and small oval leaves polka dot the canopy.
Red stinkwood (Prunus africana)
A liquid extract of the bark is used in the fight against prostate cancer and the trunk’s hard wood is used for timber. Red stinkwood can be harvested sustainably every four to five years but increased demand and over-exploitation has led to it becoming endangered.
Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)
The edible pod-like fruit is used in cuisines around the world. It is the sour in sweet and sour and used to make Worcester and HP sauce. The tamarind’s crown has an irregular vase-shaped outline with dense foliage.
Crepe jasmine (Tabernaemontana divaricate)
Inspired by a trip to Eden, beauty company Estée Lauder use crepe jasmine in their perfume Beyond Paradise to provide a floral middle note to the fragrance. The five-petal pinwheel white blossom is borne in small clusters at the stem tips and are worth a sniff if they are within reach.
Visiting our Rainforest Aerial Walkway
Admission to the Walkway is included in the normal ticket price to Eden and is open to public every day during our normal opening times. You can get 15% off by booking online in advance.
The entire Walkway is accessible to wheelchairs and buggies. We have worked with the Sensory Trust to make sure the experience is great for all ages and abilities.
- Find out more about the Rainforest Aerial Walkway.
When you cast your eye around the huge variety of crops growing in our Biomes and outdoor gardens, or talk a walk up the aisles of your own supermarket, it’s hard to imagine that one eighth of the world’s population goes to bed hungry.
And with the world population set to hit nine billion by 2050, demand for food is only going to increase.
That’s what’s worrying Oxfam, and why we’re supporting their GROW campaign, which encourages governments and businesses to take action to enable hundreds of millions more people to feed their families, and to prevent climate change from destroying the world’s crops.
Find out what the problems are – and five ways you can help…
So what are the problems?
Climate change: Changes in average temperatures and rainfall patterns are causing crops to fail, and shortages are driving up prices worldwide. In July 2010, temperatures exceeded 40 degrees Centigrade in Russia, destroying millions of acres of wheat. Wheat production plunged by 30% and the price increased internationally by 85%.
Food price spikes: The average price of staple foods like maize and rice could more than double by 2030 – with more than half of that increase due to changes in climate. When large swathes of land for growing food is given over to producing crops for things like biofuels or palm oil it can exacerbate these shortages and price spikes – meaning people on the breadline can’t afford to eat.
Land grabs: Every second, poor countries lose an area of land the size of a football pitch to banks and private investors. High food prices and a demand for new fuels have both played a part. The people who live there lose the land they rely on to grow food and feed their families. Their homes, jobs and livelihoods are taken from them – sometimes violently – and there is nothing they can do about it.
Lack of support for small-scale farmers: There are 500 million small-scale farms around the world. Most of them are women, who work hard to grow crops such as cocoa or coffee beans – to make enough money to buy food to eat. By providing women with equal access to farming resources such as tools, seeds and transport, 100-150 million people could have enough to eat.
So what you can do about it?
The good news is that there are lots of ways we can all help make the global food system work better. Here are five to start you off.
- Do your bit to save energy
All that stuff that can seem a bit ‘sensible’– like turning off lights when you’re not in the room, turning down the thermostat by 1 degree, or taking the bike rather than the car for short journeys – really does add up to something. It means that, overall, we consume fewer fossil fuels, create less carbon dioxide, and help mitigate extreme weather conditions, which can affect the price – and availability – of food for all of us. Funny how a light switch in the UK can touch a farmer’s life in the Gambia…
- Don’t throw away food
Did you know that in industrialised countries, consumers and retailers throw away about one third of all food that is produced? There’s masses you can do: write a better shopping list, use leftovers, share grow-your-own gluts, make compost from peelings, pickle and freeze, buy misshapen veg (they taste just as good!).
- Buy good food that’s fairly produced
What you buy can make a real difference to the lives of the farmers who grow it. Your wallet really is your weapon. Choosing fairtrade food can help small-scale farmers get a fair amount of money for the work they have put into growing it.
- Eat less meat
So much valuable land and resource is taken up for crops that are needed to produce meat, leaving less to produce staple crops to feed people. Half of all maize and wheat in the world is used for animal feed. You can help reduce this figure by eating less meat during your week.
- Get involved in the GROW campaign
You can support Oxfam’s work in this area by joining the GROW campaign. Or if you’re at Eden between now and 2 September, you can come and talk to us about all this stuff at our stall, just next to the ‘Crops that feed the world’ exhibit (outside, near the giant WEEE Man sculpture). There, you’ll be able to see some of the most important staple crops in the world growing right in front of your eyes (potatoes, rice, beans, wheat, maize and bananas), and pick up an activity trail for kids, plus take home a free French bean seed to grow yourself.