Archive for February, 2009

Fairtrade: A Students Perspective

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Richard: I had a really great day filming with and, most importantly, learnt a great deal from it. Since doing the segment I have made much more of an effort to buy Fairtrade than I did before – partly because of the things we did in the film and partly because Zöe now knows she’s converted me!

A mis-conception I had about Fairtrade was that the taste wasn’t as good as non-fairtrade products. I’ve found with the Fairtrade food that I’ve been cooking that you really can’t tell the difference! I don’t actually know where I even got the idea from that it wouldn’t taste as nice. In fact I think it might taste a little better, because you can eat it with a clear conscience, and know your helping others.  Something else I’ve found about Fairtrade is that once you know the stuff is out there you see it everywhere!  It’s really easy to build it into your shopping and some items, such as tea, actually work out cheaper.

There are far more FT products than I thought there was and you can also find them in much more places than you’d imagine. I know Co-op are the biggest provider of FT things but it can be easily found elsewhere. I really would urge people to make that step into buying Fairtrade, there’s no compromise on the taste and only a minimal effect on the price of your shopping. An extra cost I would say was worth it for what the farmers and producers get out of it.  If more people bought Fairtrade it would urge manufactures to make more selection and become more standard practice. We really can make a huge difference by changing our shopping habits in small ways.

Fairtrade Vs Normal…PRICE WAR!!

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Beer 500ml


Biscuits 125g

FAIRTRADE £1.23   NORMAL £1.15

Tea Bags (80bags)

FAIRTRADE £2.62    NORMAL £2.05

Instant coffee 100g

FAIRTRADE £1.79    NORMAL £2.98

Sugar Granulated Sugar 1kg


Honey 340g



FAIRTRADE £1.25 per kg   NORMAL £1.09 per kg


Fairtrade £12.10

Normal £12.66

*only non Fairtrade alternative

**based on buying 1 kg of bananas

Who eats a food like this?

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Thousand Year Old Eggs – China

Despite it’s name the eggs are not in fact a thousand years old. They’re created

by burying them in ash and salt for 100 days! This makes the white go grey and smell really quite awful. An acquired taste I don’t think anyone would really want to acquire.

Surströmming – Sweden

This is everyone’s favourite…fermented herring in a can. Most notable for it’s over bearing odour and famously banned by many airlines because of it! The herring is fermented for 2 months in barrels before being canned where the fermentation doesn’t stop. Oh no it continues until you gulp down one of these delicious slippery, slimy and stinking fish.

Isaw Manok – The Philippines

‘What pray tell is Isaw Manok?’ I can hear you ask. Well I can tell you that it’s barbequed chicken intestines on a skewer. Enough said.

Turtle Soup – Singapore

Are you having some problems with your ‘mojo’? Well take a leaf out of a Singaporean’s little book of sex tips and try the sex inducing aphrodisiac that is Turtle Soup. Despite turtles being close to extinction it is still cooked into a broth with Chinese herbs and made into a thick tasty soup. Mmmmm!

Nattō – Japan

It’s morning in Japan and I’m hungry for some breakfast, however I’m all out of cornflakes and there’s not a bacon sandwich in sight. I know I’ll just have some Nattō. Delicious fermented soybeans. Although they are a great source of protein, they’re smelly and sticky so I think I’d remain hungry till lunch…when I’ll ‘enjoy’ some raw fish.

Full English Breakfast – England

Although to a Brit this would entice many an ‘mmmmm’ to many international students it entices much confusion about why on earth we would want to start our day with such a lot of fatty fried food. In addition to this we throw in some fried pigs blood in the form of black pudding.

If you’ve got any experience of eating any of these or have something you think should be added we want to know!

All Hail Mick the Miner!!!

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

When came to Devonshire Hall I wasn’t quite sure what to expects. Talking to Mick the Miner I became very confused when he was talking about taking Jamie Oliver down underground in a mine shaft when I realised ‘Oh he actually is a miner!’ and that it wasn’t a random chef’s nickname. Everything started to make sense! We had a lively group of students gathered to take part in the cooking and that, coupled with Mick the Miner’s epiphany-like attitude regarding what he was teaching us to cook(‘It’ll change your life’ said in a thick Northern accent featured heavily in Mick’s speech), led to a brilliant time had by all! This was much to the dismay and envy of all the catered students queueing for dinner in the dining hall!

The team were all great to meet, very friendly and also very informative about all things foody! The food we learnt to cook, chicken with posh ham, was fantastically tasty and has become one of my own specialities! When it was time to go the team packed up in no time at all it was hard to imagine after that they had been there at all! We do however all remember the couple of hours of fun we had with with great fondness. Thanks for coming!

Chili Con Carne: To Hot To Handle?….Our Guide

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

If you would like to make a successful chilli con carne rather than a disaster here are a few tips to make it extra tasty and that innit:

1.    Cook it for a long time – the longer you cook it the more the flavour of the chillies get into the food. Makes it more spicy and I think more tasty.
2.    BOOZE – don’t just add any booze indiscriminately, I’m talking about wine. It doesn’t have to be an expensive wine but adding it does give a nice flavour. Add it early on and cook some of it off before you add you tomatoes.
3.    Adding Worchester sauce makes it taste amazing. You may call me crazy but I think you should try it. Add it in little bits to taste.
4.    Add some beef stock, just one Oxo cube will make it taste like an actually cow. Delicious.
5.    Always make too much, re-heating the next day you will find it tastes even better than the first time! Do make sure it’s piping hot all the way through though, stick a fork in the middle. If the end of the fork is hot when you pull it out it should be okay.

Chicken Breast With Crispy Posh Ham: Student Cooking.TV Meets Mick The Miner!

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

We had a great day with Mick in Leeds. If you like the look of the recipe this is a link to Jamie Oliver’s website where upon he’s very kindly uploaded it! Happy Days.

Fair Trade a-go-go: What You Need to Know…

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Fairtrade certification is a product certification system designed to allow people to identify products that meet agreed environmental, labour and developmental standards.

Many attempts were made to market Fairtrade products in the 1960s and 1970s but Fairtrade sales only really took off with Fairtrade labelling in the late 1980s. Sales prior to labelling initiatives were contained to relatively small world operated by alternative trading organizations (ATOs) such as Oxfam and Traidcraft.

The first Fairtrade certification initiative was introduced in 1988 in the Netherlands by Nico Roozen and Fran van der Hoff and was called Max Havelaar stitching. The idea was to offer disadvantaged coffee farmers meeting certain social and environmental criteria above market price for their crops.

The initiative was a great success and was soon replicated under different titles in many places across the world. In 1997 however all these initiatives were united under one labelling system called Fairtrade Certification, as we now know it today.

There are a series of Fairtrade standards that producers must meet in order to become and remain Fairtrade certified. There are separate standards for small farmers’ organisation and for plantations that have hired staff. The focus of the standards for small farmers is to ensure the money is invested into growth of their farming capabilities and an emphasis on bettering the economy of neighbouring communities i.e. creating jobs.

For plantations with hired staff the standards asses the quality of life for the workers such as decent wages, sufficient health and safety measures and also ensuring there is no child labour involved in the production.

Any Fairtrade certified producer or trader is regularly inspected by the governing body of Fairtrade in order to maintain the high standards required to attain Fairtrade Labelling certification.

Fairtrade certified products now range from coffee to cotton with sales amounting to $4.08 billion worldwide in 2008. The industry is growing at a rate of 22% per year meaning that the sales are due to keep expanding and growing to a predicted $20-25 billion organisation in 2020.

If you’d like to find out more about Fairtrade here are a few useful links:

To Can or to Cook?…That is the Question

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Ed: Can it or cook it…mmmmm. Wasn’t really sure what to expect at all and in all honesty I wasn’t fully trusting when the team said we’d have to be blindfolded and feel things in a box! Hence why it’s not me doing the feeling!

In the end though it was a lot of fun. We had a laugh and it’s given us something to remember. I wouldn’t say I’d particularly learnt anything from the experience other than don’t face plant a plate of chilli con carne filled with Piccalilli. On a serious note though it did go to show that cooking can be fun. A lot more often now me and my mates will all cook together or cook for each other. Everyone needs to eat so you may as well learn to cook and there’s no need to make it a chore.