Author Archives: rachael

February Recipe – Lamb Tagine with Apricots and Couscous

This recipe was created for Fairtrade Fortnight 2021, utilising Fairtrade ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Fairtrade sunflower oil
  • 1 onion,  peeled and chopped
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 tbsp Fairtrade ground cumin,
  • 1 tsp Fairtrade ground turmeric,
  • 1 tsp Fairtrade ground coriander
  • 300ml lamb stock or vegetable stock
  • 75g Fairtrade dried apricots, chopped
  • 240g tin Fairtrade chickpeas, drained

Lemon and Mint Couscous

  • 250g Fairtrade couscous
  • 2 Fairtrade lemons , juice and zest of
  • 450 ml vegetable stock
  • 4 tbsp fresh mint (Chopped)

Method

  1. Add the oil to a large pan with a lid and fry the onion and mince over a medium heat until browned.
  2. Add the cumin, turmeric and coriander and fry for 2 – 3 minutes.
  3. Add the lamb stock, bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and cook for 30 – 40 minutes.
  4. Put the couscous in a heat proof bowl, add the lemon zest and juice together with the stock. Cover the bowl with a tight fitting lid or upturned plate and leave it for 5 minutes.
  5. Uncover the bowl and fluff the couscous up with a fork and stir through the mint.
  6. Add the drained chickpeas and apricots to the tagine and simmer for 5 minutes. then serve with the couscous

 

 

Green Shoots Project

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced a £40 million fund to help create jobs and support the environment. The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is available for a range of activities such as protecting species, finding nature-based solutions to tackling climate change, supporting conservation rangers and connecting people with the outdoors.

Middlesbrough Environment City has been successful in securing funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to deliver practical conservation opportunities helping bring people together from different communities and social backgrounds. Working with ACTES, The Other Perspective and Hemlington Linx, the Green Shoots Project is aimed at people from BAME backgrounds, refugees, asylum seekers and young people to help develop awareness of the town’s green spaces, connectivity with nature and understanding of the issues affecting our climate, wildlife and the habitats they depend on. The project aims to bring together people who are interested in building their own practical skills and knowledge based around conservation and wildlife habitats. It will empower participants with knowledge and opportunities to explore their own interests in nature while improving and enhancing the natural habitat around Middlesbrough in particular becks and streams passing through the town.

Green Shoots will offer volunteer placements, 10 incentivised traineeship opportunities and 20 Forest School sessions aimed at families and adolescents over the next year running until March 2022. The project will help individuals gain valuable practical skills and knowledge while building confidence, self esteem and belief in their abilities. The work will aim to make a positive impact to participants physical and mental wellbeing through a variety of inclusive practical based activities designed and delivered to improve our green spaces.

Interested in Green Shoots and want to hear more? Become a volunteer and help make a difference. Get in touch today!

Contact Casper Scallen:
Phone: 01642 579820
E-Mail: casper.scallen@menvcity.org.uk

National Cycle Network Route 65 – Hemlington to Middlesbrough

In this video, Mike O’ Reilly and guests will take you on a ride from Hemlington Lake towards Middlesbrough, stopping at secure cycle parking at Middlesbrough Cycle Centre. We hope you enjoy this route and we hope to see you cycling on it.

This video was recorded prior to the current lockdown.

With thanks to Ian Paine and in conjunction with Middlesbrough Council.

National Cycle Network Route 65 – Parkway to Middlesbrough

In this video, Mike O’ Reilly will take you on a ride from the Parkway Centre in Coulby Newham towards Middlesbrough, stopping at secure cycle parking at Middlesbrough Cycle Centre. We hope you enjoy this route and we hope to see you cycling on it.

This video was recorded prior to the current lockdown.

With thanks to Ian Paine and in conjunction with Middlesbrough Council.

January Recipe – Celeriac and Leek Gratin w/ Fried Cavolo Nero

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme, plus extra to garnish
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 300ml (1/2pt) vegetable stock
  • 50ml double cream
  • Butter, for greasing
  • 1 celeriac, finely sliced
  • 450g (14 1/2oz) floury potatoes, finely sliced
  • 300g cavolo nero
  • 50ml olive oil

To make a Vegan poaching liquor:

  • 500ml plant milk, oat milk or unsweetened soy milk
  • 300ml oat or soy cream
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. If using make the vegan poaching liquor by adding all of the poaching liquor ingredients to a pan and stir thoroughly. Heat on medium and bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Heat the oil in a large lidded frying pan. Add the leeks and garlic then cover and sweat, over a medium heat, for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the leeks catching. Stir in the thyme, then remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  3. In a small jug, stir the flour into 4 tbsp stock Add the cream, followed by the remaining stock; stir to combine. Set aside.
  4. Grease a 2ltr ovenproof dish with butter. Layer up the celeriac potatoes and the leek mixture, alternating between each until all are used up. Pour over the cream mixture, Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
  5. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes, or until tender and golden. Leave to stand for 10 minutes, before scattering with the extra thyme and serving.
  6. If the cavolo nero leaves are large remove the stalks and slice the leaves into strips about 1cm wide. To blanch them, cook in a saucepan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until just beginning to wilt, then drain well.
  7. Add the oil to the saucepan, turn the heat to high, then add the cavolo nero. Season, then cook for a couple of minutes, tossing frequently, until tender. Serve immediately.

 

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund

We are proud to announce that a partnership of locally based organisations, led by ourselves here at Middlesbrough Environment City, has been successful in receiving support through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund! The fourteen-month project will engage local people in practical action to improve our green environment, through volunteering and training opportunities.

The partnership includes Actes, The Linx Project Hemlington and The Other Perspective, and will work particularly with young people, BAME communities and refugees and asylum seekers. Focussing on Middlesbrough’s local wildlife sites, the volunteering and training opportunities will help improve and manage habitats, making them even better for wildlife. Through involvement, participants will also develop practical nature conservation skills and employability skills, as well as having a positive impact on their local area.

The project builds on previous projects including One Planet Pioneers, part of the National Lottery Community Fund Our Bright Future project, which has been helping young people into further training and jobs for over five years. Emily, pictured first, joined the initiative as an apprentice with Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, working towards an award in nature conservation. After completing her apprenticeship she was successful in finding work with Middlesbrough Environment City as a Forest Schools Assistant, helping children and families to learn more about the natural world and become more physically active. Emily said: “The opportunity to build my skills and experience through my apprenticeship at Tees Valley Wildlife Trust has really helped me to get work in the environment sector. I really enjoy being able to share my own love of the natural world with others.”

The project will also help support other communities in Middlesbrough to make a positive difference, building on projects such as the Albert Park Community Allotment. From a Council depot to a place to enjoy, Middlesbrough Environment City with Investing in People and Culture have created a thriving allotment where asylum seekers, refugees and people of more than ten nationalities grow plants, alongside other residents. Ibrahim, who manages the site sees it as a place to make friends and improve English language skills while growing and nurturing crops. For Ibrahim, “it’s like one big family and a way of improving your mental wellbeing. The community garden is a good place, you have no fear, your mind is at ease.”

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) , who have announced grants between £62,000 and £3.8 million, to help create and retain thousands of green jobs. The projects, spread across England, will see trees planted – 800,000 in total – and protected landscapes and damaged habitats such as moorlands, wetlands and forests restored, alongside wider conservation work. The projects will also support environmental education and connecting people with green spaces. The #GreenRecoveryChallengeFund is a key part of Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change. The fund is being delivered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said:
“These projects will drive forward work across England to restore and transform our landscapes, boost nature and create green jobs, and will be a vital part of helping us to build back greener from coronavirus.

“I look forward to working with environmental organisations as these projects help address the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change, while creating and retaining jobs as part of the green recovery.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“Supporting our natural environment is one of the most valuable things we can do right now. All these projects are of huge benefit to our beautiful countryside and wildlife, but will also support jobs, health and wellbeing, which are vitally important as we begin to emerge from the coronavirus crisis.”

The government’s forthcoming Environment Bill puts the environment at the centre of policy making to ensure that we have a cleaner, greener and more resilient country for the next generation. The fund is supporting a range of nature conservation and recovery and nature-based solutions projects, which will contribute towards government’s wider 25 Year Environment Plan commitments, including commitments to increase tree-planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025.

Our team here at Middlesbrough Environment City, alongside Actes, the LINX Project and The Other Perspective are proud to work #TogetherForOurPlanet and help to teach others expand upon their conservation skills, providing a better future for our planet, for future generations, for the BAME community and for the refugees and asylum seekers who now call Middlesbrough home.

December Recipe – Easy Fruit Christmas Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 300g  plain flour
  • 250g  butter, softened
  • 250g  light muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 410g jar of mincemeat
  • 3- 4 tbsp brandy (Can be substituted with orange, grape or apple juice)
  • 500g dried mixed fruit, soaked overnight with a tbsp of brandy
  • 1 tbsp black treacle
  • 20cm round or 18cm square cake tin, lined with baking parchment

Method

  1. To ensure the cake is positioned centrally in the oven, put one of the shelves just below the centre of it. Set the oven to 140°C/280°F/Gas Mark 1.
  2. Lightly grease the base and sides of your chosen tin and line with baking parchment. To prevent the outside edges of the cake drying out, tie a double band of brown paper, 3cm deeper than the depth of the tin, around the outside of the tin.
  3. Break the eggs into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, except for the remaining brandy. Beat the mixture until smooth, then spoon it into the lined cake tin. With a wet spoon, press the mixture into the tin and smooth on top, so that it’s level then in the centre make a slight hollow as this will help the cake to have a level top when cooked .
  4. Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 3 – 3.5 hours, or until the cake feels firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean after being inserted into the cake. If the top is getting too brown, cover with foil or greaseproof paper.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven and place the tin on a wire rack. Leave the cake to cool for about 15 minutes, then spoon over the brandy. Leave it to cool completely in the tin.
  6. Remove the cake from the tin and wrap it in more baking parchment and then foil, and store in a cool place for up to 3 months, until ready to cover with icing and decorate. If desired once a week ‘feed’ the cake with a drizzle of brandy.

Cook’s Tip

Soak your dried fruit overnight in a glass bowl if you’re choosing to make a non-alcoholic Christmas cake to avoid the cake being too dry.  Keep the cake in an airtight tin and don’t feed the cake with brandy.