Eat Happy, Eat Organic : BOOM Awards (Plus Minestrone Soup + Veg Dumplings Recipe)

This post is in collaboration with the Soil Association and BOOM Awards 

If you have been reading me for a while you know I am an organic food advocator. I know it is not always possible to eat organic (prices, accessibility, etc) However little changes sometimes can make a huge difference. When my child was a baby (11 years ago) I made sure I only cooked organic produce purees for him. Why? Because I didn’t want any nasty chemicals in his little body, and organic is the way it was intended to be since the beginning of farming days. However back then there was less information and availability of organic foods in the local markets across the UK.

These are the dirty dozen, when possible try to buy this products organic:

The 2017 Dirty Dozen List 

EWG’s Dirty Dozen (1)

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet Bell Peppers
  12. Potatoes

Research released today by the Soil Association shows that 80% of British shoppers now believe  eating organic is beneficial and more shoppers understand what organic food is all about. Yay! progress! The increase in people choosing organic is being driven by availability, with organic food becoming easier to find in shops. More and more chefs, restaurants and cafes are also choosing organic, as well as food writers who are increasingly featuring organic ingredients in their recipes.

BOOM Awards (Best of Organic Market Awards)

With the continued increases in both the originality of how organic food is being offered and the exciting products now available, the BOOM Awards (Best of Organic Market Awards) celebrate what’s currently happening in the market as well as encouraging future innovation. Winners last year included Davenport Vineyards, Waitrose, Plenish Organic Cold Pressed Juices, and Booja-Booja organic truffles. The most hotly contested award is the Nation’s Favourite, a public vote to find the most popular organic product in the shops.

“The findings are encouraging and show it’s a positive time for organic. More people buy organic food regularly with 39 per cent of shoppers making it a weekly choice.” – Soil Association Certification Business Development Director, Clare McDermott

The BOOMs are not just about what you can buy in the shops, more and more restaurants and cafes are also using organic and there are increasing ways to shop from box schemes to local independents, as well as growing ranges in the supermarkets and discounters alike.  The awards recognise all of this innovation and development.

The Soil Association needs the nation’s help to find the most popular organic product. Do you have any favorites? Where do you buy them? how often do you use organic? This is the people’s chance to nominate anyone they think deserves to win.

Nominations are open until 31st May and people can vote hereThe Nation’s Favourite

Now to the tasty yummy part! I cooked an (organic) Minestrone Soup with Vegs Dumplings and I have all the photos and recipe here so that you can too!

Organic Minestrone Soup + Dumplings (RECIPE)

Soup:

  • 3 tbsp organic olive oil
  • Sprig of thyme Bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp parsley stalks 2 onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, diced
  • 1 small organic swede, peeled and diced
  • 150g tinned plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp good red wine vinegar
  • 200g organic kale, stalks removed (reserved and chopped), leaves shredded
  • 100g orzo (or any kind of small pasta, I used small spaghetti)
  • Parsley and chervil, to garnish
  • Grated lemon zest, to garnish
  • Organic cheddar, to garnish Salt and pepper, to taste (I wanted to keep it dairy free, so I did not use cheese)

Dumplings

  • Pinch of coriander seed
  • Pinch of rye seed
  • 250g ricotta
  • 10g grated parmesan
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 100g pistachios, toasted and chopped
  • 200g spinach
  • Zest of 1 organic unwaxed lemon
  • tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp light organic spelt flour (I used Maize & Cornmeal which is gluten free)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Method

To make the soup:

Heat the olive oil over a medium to high heat. Add the thyme, bay leaf and parsley stalks and stir, cooking for a minute or two to infuse the oil, then add the diced veg and cook, stirring for 10–15 minutes, until softened and smelling good. Add the plum tomatoes and cook for a couple more minutes before adding a litre of water, vinegar and the kale stalks, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for another 10–15 minutes, allowing all the flavours to infuse. During this time, make the dumplings.

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Dumplings:

Dry fry the spices in a frying pan until they start to crackle. Remove and grind in a pestle and mortar. Wash the spinach and then wilt in a nonstick frying pan over a medium heat. There should be enough residual water on the spinach to mean that you don’t need to add any oil or water. After a couple of minutes, once wilted, transfer the spinach to a sieve and leave over the sink to drain. Press down on the leaves with a wooden spoon to squeeze out any excess water. Once cooled and drained, chop finely. Place the ricotta in a bowl and add all of the other ingredients.

Season with salt and pepper and stir well to combine and incorporate all the ingredients. Oil your hands lightly with olive oil and shape them into meatball sized balls.

Poach them in the minestrone. Alternatively, you could bring a pan of water to the boil and cook them in the boiling water for 5 minutes, until they float – removing them with a slotted spoon.

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Don’t forget you can get involved with organic too, the BOOMs Nation’s Favourite Award asks the people to find and vote for the most popular organic product. Nominations are open NOW until to Wednesday, May 31st – make sure you have your say here: https://www.soilassociation.org/organic-living/the-boom-awards-2017/nationsfavourite/

Jihane – @Onixjihane


Big thanks to  Rosie Birkett BOOMbassador for all the info provided in this post. 

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