March Recipe – Mini Quiches


  • 190g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100g cold butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
  • 10g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 medium free-range egg
  • 1 tsp ice-cold water


  • 2 medium free-range eggs
  • 2-3 slices ham, finely diced
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 80g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • Freshly ground black pepper



  1. First make the pastry. For the best results, keep your hands and kitchen as cool as you can while doing this. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the Parmesan, then mix in the egg and the water until the dough forms a ball. You may need a tiny bit more water depending on the size of the egg. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and chill it in the fridge for half an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4
  3. Grease the tin with a little butter and a sprinkling of flour. Press the pastry discs gently into the tin.
  4. Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and roll out the pastry. Using a pastry cutter cut out discs of pastry of a size to fit your mince pie tin. Think jam tarts – the sides must be high enough to contain the filling.
  5. To make the filling, mix all the ingredients, except 25g of the cheese, together and stir gently to avoid getting too much air into the mixture. Spoon the filling into the pastry cases and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Cook in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the egg mixture has lost its wobble!
  6. Serve hot or cold with new potatoes and a green salad.


February Recipe – Lamb Tagine with Apricots and Couscous

This recipe was created for Fairtrade Fortnight 2021, utilising Fairtrade 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)


  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.

133 people have been reached through engagement using outreach techniques face to face, Zoom sessions and by phone. The project has signed up 38 regular volunteers, mainly made up of people from black, asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, with twenty-one practical-based volunteer sessions undertaken, as well as nine Nature Walks. Most volunteers have shown an increase in confidence, self-esteem, improved physical health and positive impacts to their mental health by been able to get out, connect with nature and participate in Green Shoots activities, a particularly important milestone given the year and a half we have all had to endure. All in all, the volunteers have provided almost 300 hours of manpower! We also have ten Kickstart trainees now in post, having completed a variety of training modules including First Aid and Manual Handling to give them a key start in the workplace.

The activities are varied and offer an opportunity for all involved to meet new people and learn about nature, the issues the environment faces and how we can play our part in helping through conservation but also opportunity to learn about different cultures, races, and religions from around the world, the trainees and volunteers have really developed a good rapport with each other. Overall, everyone who has been involved in the project has expressed positive comments and had a really good experience, helping to do more than just offer volunteer experiences but help connect people with other people while connecting them to wider area where they live.

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

Contact Jade Harley
Phone: 01642 579820

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


  • 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


  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.