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Our children will accuse us

An extraordinary French documentary about the dangers of chemical pesticides to the health of our children. Contains interviews with farmers, parents and children living in France.

Ban pesticides which kill bees

Eurpoean Union proposals which will potentially ban the use of carcinogenic, mutagenic, neurotoxic and reprotoxic substances will be voted on by members of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee on Wednesday November 5th.

As neurotoxins, the group of substances known as neonicotinoids could be banned in the European Union. These substances have been shown to have a devastating impact on honey bees across the world, and a number of European countries have subsequently banned their use. We are urging the UK to do the same by supporting the new legislation.

As Hiltrud Breyer, the MEP overseeing the legislation explains, the new rules ‘will create a win-win situation for all – for consumers’ health, for the protection of the environment, but also for Europe’s farming industry’. The UK government is almost alone in opposing adequate safeguards.

The chemical industry has been making very misleading claims about loss of production from non-organic farming in the UK if these additional, and we think modest, safeguards are agreed by the EU.

Some of the claims are ridiculous; for example, an article in the UK farming press claimed that the UK would lose 100% of our carrot crop! Organic farmers grow carrots, along with many other crops, successfully in the UK, and yields are not much below, or are similar to non-organic farms. We hope that MEPs on the Committee will treat some of the claims they are being presented with from the UK with a healthy scepticism.

Peter Melchett, policy director of the UK’s largest organic food charity the Soil Association said:
“Other European Countries have recognized the devastating impact which these chemicals have had on the British honey bee population. The UK government should follow suit and support the EU proposals to ban these dangerous chemicals. The government should be acting to protect public safety and wildlife, not merely a small sector of the chemical industry”.

Quick Pumpkin Bread

Autumn makes everything pumpkin, Hallowe’en doubly so… This year, I perfected a Quick Pumpkin Bread technique thanks to canned organic steamed pumpkin puree. This stuff is 100% pure pumpkin, and while it cuts out the joys of cooking pumpkin bread from scratch, it also makes it a lot easier to bake pumpkin bread and still have time to make pumpkin soup.

Here’s my recipe for extremely delicious pumpkin bread in under 10 minutes (plus baking time)

You will need:

5 cups flour
4 cups baker’s sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
15 oz canned pumpkin
3 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/4 cups cold water
6 eggs, beaten

Set the oven to 325 degrees, and oil four regular loaf pans.

Sieve the flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl, then add the other dry ingredients. Add the pumpkin and mix well. In a pan, melt the butter over a medium heat, then add to the bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon, adding the water and then the eggs. Work quickly – the mixture doesn’t need to be mixed very thoroughly. If there are lumps, don’t worry. Pour the batter evenly between the four pans and bake for 1 hout and 20 minutes. Insert a toothpick, and if it doesn’t come out totally clean, bake the bread for another 10 minutes. Leave in the pans to cool, or eat it hot.

Persimmon Salsa

Persimmon Salsa

Here’s a super-simple recipe from Evonne Heyning. Good stuff to do with persimmons, goes very nicely with fish, chicken or vegetarian dishes.

5 very ripe persimmons (should fall out of their skins)
1 jalapeno (or 1/8 cup finely diced)
1/2 bunch of cilantro (1/8 cup finely diced)
1/8 cup green onions (about 3 long stalks, or red onion also works)
1 tablespoon salsa picante or other hot sauce of your choice
1 teaspoon sea salt (ground Hawaiian rose salt used here)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Mix and refrigerate. Also works well mixed with roasted tomatoes or your choice of peppers.

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