Author Archives: rachael

South Tees Affordable Warmth Partnership Action Plan 2020

Covering both Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland, the South Tees Affordable Warmth Action Plan 2020-2022 sets out how we can all combat the scourge of fuel poverty across the South Tees.

The impacts that fuel poverty has on physical and mental well-being cannot be understated. Likewise, the scale at which this area is experiencing it cannot be understated: Currently in Redcar & Cleveland, 12.1% of households are in fuel poverty; in Middlesbrough this rises to 15.4%. In total, this means that around 16,567 homes are in fuel poverty across South Tees.

This action plan should give some healthy insight into the steps being taken, and that will be taken, into combatting this complex problem. You can download the PDF via clicking the link below.

STAWP Action Plan 2020

Let’s Go Tees Valley – 2019 In Review

2019 was a highly successful year for Let’s Go Tees Valley! Thanks to you, more people travelled greener, more people had a #HappyCommute and more people walked and cycled to and from school and the workplace! This video highlights the fantastic 2019 Let’s Go Tees Valley had.

Special thanks to Let’s Go Tees Valley for this fantastic video!

Festive Recipe – Luxury Mincemeat Biscuits

These biscuits are crispy, fruity morsels of goodness: Perfect for festive celebrations…or at any time of the year, really! Bake up a batch and enjoy across the festive season with a cup of hot chocolate, tea or coffee!

100g butter
150g caster sugar
2 small free range eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
75g chopped walnuts
200g sweet mincemeat

1. Preheat oven to 180 °C/Gas Mark 4 and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
2. Cream the butter, sugar and eggs together, then beat in the vanilla.
3. Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda together, and add to butter mixture. Mix until well blended.
4. Stir in the nuts and mincemeat, mix well.
5. Drop 20g of the biscuit mix onto the prepared baking trays. Use a fork dipped in plain flour to press the biscuits down to even thickness. Please make sure you leave enough of a gap between the biscuits as they do spread.
6. Bake the biscuits for 8 to 10 minutes until light but golden brown for a soft eat, if you prefer a crispy crunchy biscuit bake them for 12 – 15 minutes, dust them with icing sugar and leave them to cool on a cooling rack.

Festive Recipe – Orange and Ginger Stained Glass Biscuits

These fantastic spiced biscuits make for lovely treats at Christmas or…anytime, really! With just the right touch of spice and that hit of sweetness, these biscuits are certain to become everyday favourites!


Sunflower oil for greasing
175g plain flour, plus extra
1 tsp ground ginger
Zest of 1 orange
100g cold butter, cut into chunks
50g golden caster sugar
1 tablespoon milk
12 fruit flavoured boiled sweets
Icing sugar to dust
About 120 cm ribbon to decorate


1) Heat oven to 180 degress celsius/fan, or gas mark 4. Grease 2 large non stick baking sheets with oil.
2) Whizz the flour, ginger, zest and butter with 1/2 tsp salt to fine crumbs in a food processor.
3) Pulse in the sugar and milk, then turn out and kneed briefly on a floured surface till smooth
4) Wrap in cling film, then chill for about 30 mins
5) Flout the work surface again, then roll out the dough to the thickness of a  £1 pound coin. Using a 7cm cutter cut out main shape of cookie, then using a 4cm cutter to cut out the middles. Re-roll leftover pieces. Make a hole in the top  of each biscuit, then carefully lift onto the baking sheets
6) Crush the sweets into their wrappers with a rolling pin, then put the pieces into the middle of the biscuits—the sweets should be level with the top of the dough.
7) Bake for 15-20 mins until golden and sweets have melted
8) Leave to harden, then transfer to rack to cool.
9) Make some icing and decorate or just dust with icing sugar.

Festive Recipe – Creamy Carrot and Parsnip Soup

Don’t chuck out your vegetables, don’t waste that cream and don’t toss out that butter: This creamy carrot and parsnip soup is a fantastic, warming treat that makes the most of root vegetables this winter! Soups are perfect for making use of leftovers, and this soup is certainly an indulgent treat!


1 tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1 cm cubes
450g carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp freshly grated root ginger
600 ml boiling water
1 stock cube
Grated orange rind
100 ml single cream
Salt and pepper
Dried chilli pepper flakes or paprika to garnish


1. Melt butter and fry onion until soft. Add the carrots and parsnips, fry for 3 minutes.
2. Add stock, ginger and orange rind to pan.
3. Simmer for 30 minutes until carrots and parsnips are soft.
4. Remove from heat and blend with hand blender.
5. Stir in cream, season with salt and pepper.
6. Warm through and serve with crusty bread.



Festive Recipe – Winter Vegetable Crumble

This wonderful Winter Vegetable Crumble is a hearty delight that is perfect for tea-time! The mustard, creme fraiche and thyme give it a wonderful flavour, while the crumble topping adds extra substance to a flavourful dish. It’s certainly one to try!


400ml vegetable stock
450g celeriac, peeled and diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 onion chopped
3 small potatoes, peeled and diced
2 leeks, sliced
200ml tub crème fraîche
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp thyme

Crumble Topping

50g butter, diced
100g plain flour
50g strong cheddar,grated
25g flaked almonds

1. Pour the stock into a pan and bring to the boil. Tip in the celeriac, carrots and potato, then add the leeks. Cover the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes.
2. Beat the crème fraîche with the flour and mustard. Stir into the vegetables until thickened, then add the thyme and season. Remove from the heat.
3. For the crumble, rub the butter into the flour. Season, then stir in the cheese and flaked almonds. Spoon the filling into small ovenproof dishes and scatter the crumble on top. If freezing, wrap in cling film, then foil. To defrost, thaw overnight in the fridge.
4. To cook, heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and bake for 30-35 mins until golden.


Festive Recipe – Spinach and Ricotta Christmas Tree

Put a Christmas tree on the table! This Christmas tree makes for a set of beautiful hors d’oeuvres. Wonderfully creamy and cheesy, these little bites of scrumptiousness will be beautiful for your stomach AND your eyes!

1 tsp vegetable oil for frying
2 red onions, chopped
8 cups fresh spinach
Salt and ground black pepper
1 pinch ground nutmeg
255g fresh ricotta cheese
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg beaten
4 cherry tomatoes, halved


  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat and sauté onions until soft and translucent.
  2. Add spinach, salt and pepper and cook until spinach is wilted, about 5-7 minutes. Remove lid after 5 minutes and allow cooking liquid to evaporate.
  3. Chop spinach mixture and combine with the ricotta and parmesan in a bowl and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  4. Roll out puff pastry sheet and evenly cover with spinach-cheese mixture to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Tightly wrap and cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C, Gas Mark 5/6 or 375-400 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Slice pastry log into 3/4” slices so you have 16-22 pinwheels. Lay pinwheels on baking sheet in the shape of a Christmas tree.
  7. Bake in the oven until lightly browned, 20-25 minutes. Decorate with the cherry tomatoes and serve.

Festive Recipe – Brie and Cranberry Bites

These fantastic, bite-sized scrumptious morsels make for perfect hors d’oeuvres. Smooth, creamy brie and tart cranberry in crisp pastry are a classic combination, and it’s very simple to make them. Try serving these fantastic bites at a party this festive season!

8 oz ready roll puff pastry
Cooking spray, for pan
Flour for rolling out
8oz Brie wheel
1/2 cup whole Berry Cranberry sauce
1/4 cup shopped pecans or walnuts
6 sprigs of rosemary, cut into 1” pieces.

1. Preheat oven to 375 Degrees Fahrenheit / 190 Degrees C / Gas Mark 7 and grease a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out puff pastry and cut into 24 squares. Place into muffin tin slots.
3. Cut Brie into Small pieces and place inside the pastry. Top with a spoonful of cranberry sauce, some chopped pecans, add one little sprig of rosemary.
4. Bake until the pastry is golden (Roughly 15 minutes.) Serve while still hot!