Mid-summer Supper in Oxford

03 Aug 2017 Mid-summer Supper in Oxford

On a balmy summer's eve we gather in the historic Vaults & Garden restaurant in the heart of Oxford; a crowd hungry for some eco-friendly eating. Fair Food Forager ambassador Shane Jordan, is the feature of tonight's feast, headed by Good Food Oxford and Low Carbon Oxford North. He likes things raw and plantbased. Author, chef, educational practitioner, and recent addition to the FFF team. 

Shane Jordan Author, educator and Chef and Vaults & Garden

The vaulted ceilings of this fourteenth century building are aglow as the last of the long daylight shines through the leaded glass windows. Shane begins with a short presentation about the work of Love Food Hate Waste, a movement that highlights the environmental impact of wasted food. And here's a shocking statistic to show you how important his work is: a quarter of the food the developed world wastes would be enough to feed all of the developing world.

After that, it's all hands on deck for the cooking demonstration. Well, I use the term ‘cooking’ loosely.

Shane likes to cook old school. Cast your mind back to a time before juicers, blenders, mixmasters and so on. He tries to avoid the use of electronic equipment in his recipes. It's all part of his approach to creating food with a lighter carbon footprint. So, we have a manual julienne peeler. Closely related to the standard vegetable peeler, it has a few extra blades so your courgettes / zucchinis are ‘julienned’ to perfection. After a mere 5 minutes, novice Sam Clarke from Low Carbon Oxford North is 'julienn’ing like a virtuoso.

Tonight we will dine on Raw Meditteranean Spaghetti. There is no pasta in sight - celiacs rejoice! The julienned courgettes/ zucchini masquerade as spaghetti! Now it's time to make sauce. The richness of the sundried tomatoes and olives is expertly balanced by the sharp acidity of garlic and lemon.

Raw Meditteranian Spagetti - Want to try it at home? Recipe here.

Topped with vegan cheese-substitute - a nutty mix of cashew nuts and engevita (an inactive yeast which has a ‘cheesy’ taste minus the dairy and high in B vitamins). The dish has the light freshness of a salad. Yet the full flavour makes it feel like a hearty meal. Handy helpers begin delivering the samples to guests. Gentle murmurs of surprise and delight fill the room. 

Shane is a kind soul with great enthusiasm for making food which is not only healthy but suitable for an everyday budget. We discussed the dilemmas often associated with raw food; the extra effort, the expense required for sourcing ingredients. Your wallet starts complaining when a recipe requires an exorbitant amount of cashew nuts. Or you have to visit different specialty food stores for eclectic ingredients. Shane believes ethical should be easy. His recipes are for regular folk who don’t have the luxury of time or money to burn. Even when presenting his dish with engevita & cashew nut topping, he stresses that it is a vegan option, which is easily substituted for regular cheese. And that's one of the reasons we love having Shane on board. He really is about making ethical easy.

Dayna from Fair Food Forager with Shane Jordan 

After some more feasting provided by the team at Vaults and Garden, the evening is capped off with fresh strawberries from a local farm. Shane fields questions from the audience as our venue host, Will Pouget, flits around the tables depositing ramekins of chocolate sauce. Tonight has confirmed our suspicions here at Fair Food Forager, Oxford is a growing hub for ethical food.

Boy are we are looking forward to joining in and making ethical easy in the UK, these are exciting times.

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Appetites satiated, the crowd disperses with a little inspiration for green living - keen to get their hands on a julienne peeler and try raw courgette-spaghetti at home. As for me, I'm eager to try Shane's recipe for Banana Skin Curry ....and my mind is whirring with ideas for other dishes I could create with ‘waste’...

For more info about Shane and his Food Waste Philosophy you can read our interview here or visit his website.

For recipes from the Mid Summer Supper visit the LCON website.


Dayna Ortner - Editor/ Content Manager

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