Eating Local: Inspiration from the 100 Mile Challenge

I have been watching two food programmes recently that have really inspired me, one is Junior Masterchef (Australia)....boy, can those kids cook....they´re amazing! The other programme is the 100 Mile Challenge, where about 5 families were challenged to only eat food that was grown locally within a 100 Mile radius. I think it was really interesting and thoroughly reccommend that you watch both of these programmes.

I think the idea behind the 100 mile challenge/diet (I want to read the book now!) , that by eating only local products, you are reducing your carbon footprint by reducing the amount of miles your food travels and therefore helping the environment and the local economy and farmers, is a very provoking idea.However, loving Chinese and Indian food as I do and missing a few favs from England, I don´t think I could fully do the 100 mile diet. Plus I think it really does depend on where you live....if you live in the centre of the country (as I do!) it makes it very difficult to find fish as you aren´t near the sea.However, I intend to try and buy as much local produce as I can and this post (and future posts) are about finding great local produce and shops.

Although, I´m not much of a wine drinker and probably wouldn´t miss it if I had to give it up for the 100 Mile Challenge, there is plenty of local wine to choose from. One of the closest being wine from El Pago de Vicario winery. Its wine has won many awards and we even discovered it was being sold in Pittsburgh. It has white, red and rosé wines. Another alcoholic beverage that is produced locally is Sandevid from Damiel, a tinto de verano fizzy drink which is basically red wine mixed with lemonade or soda and is much more up my street!

Milk is a basic in all diets and it is available locally from Finca Cantarranas. They sell both UHT milk and fresh milk in skimmed, semi-skimmed and full fat. We bought some full fat fresh milk the other day and it was lovely and creamy and reminded me of English milk. My only complaint is that the fresh milk is sold in small bags and not cartons so it doesn´t last very long and is difficult to store so I´m not sure how often we will be buying it! After checking out their webpage though, it seems like they also sell yoghurts and jellies...I´ll have to keep an eye out for them in the supermarket or other shops!

Bread is also a staple in most people´s diets. As of yet, I haven´t found any sandwich bread that is produced locally but rustic loaves yes....one of the nearest and most acclaimed bread is Pan de Picón.

Condiments can also be important in diets or for certain recipes and I have discovered white wine vinegar in the supermarkets which is produced in Toledo. The brand is Vinagres Parras and looking at their website, it appears that they also sell red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar,cider vinegar and many more.

Manchego cheese is famous throughout Spain and is growing in popularity throughout the world too. One of our personal favourites is Rocinante. In fact, we visited the factory where they make it with my parents but unfortunately it was too late to actually visit the factory part. They sell sheep cheese cured and semicured, cheese in olive oil,goat´s cheese mild, with wine and with rosemary,Miguel Manchego D.O. cured, semicured and mature and our favourite (although we haven´t tried all of them!)Rocinante Ibérico mild, cured and semicured. They also sell a variety of cheesecakes too which are delicious too...we bought a lemon one, which was yummy!

That´s about all for now but I´ll be doing more posts about delicious local products and shops which sell local produce.I´d love to hear any reccommendations about any local products you´ve heard of or tried or your local or 100 mile diet food experiences!


Ladybird cake for my daughter´s first birthday & Annabel Karmel´s white and dark chocolate cupcakes

 I can´t believe my daughter has finally turned one!! The year has flown by and it´s been a busy but enriching one full of joy and happiness. My little baby is no longer a baby,now she´s a little girl! They grow up far too quickly in my opinion.

I was busy preparing her first birthday party,preparing and decorating the Annabel Karmel White & Dark Chocolate cupcakes and making and decorating her first birthday cake, a ladybird cake plus preparing two salads and other party food. Luckily, I had my parents´,my inlaws and my husband´s help but parties are definitely hard work....maybe next year we´ll have the party in a ball pool place so all I have to do is stick to making the cake!!!It also means that I´d actually get to spend more time with my daughter on her actual birthday!

I made the cupcakes on the Friday two days before the party and froze them,then took them out to defrost early on the morning of the party. I made the white chocolate buttercream and decorated them with red heart sprinkles and yellow and white star sprinkles.

The ladybird cake was a Hot Milk Sponge cake made the day before the party. I found this link about a ladybird cake, which helped me a lot. I covered the cake with red and black fondant and cut black fondant circles out for the ladybird´s spots using a bottletop (a great tip from the link I found)! Who says you need fancy equipment to decorate cakes? The leftover white fondant I had was rock hard but as I had a bit of white chocolate buttercream left I used that for the whites of the ladybird´s eyes but unfortunately it wasn´t quite as neat and round as I´d have liked and two more black fondant circles for the pupils. I was going to use pipe cleaners for the antennae but couldn´t find any so used the bendy part of two straws instead. I covered them in black fondant and then made two small balls for the feelers of the antennae. I was pretty pleased with the end result!
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