I'm publishing a local shopping diary and recipe post every day this week in support of the #CamShopLocal campaign, a Cambridge initiative launched via a flurry of tweets between Carri Pavitt, Caroline Biggs, Gemma Whiting and Gavin Human. The week long campaign challenges local people to choose local, independent shops over supermarkets and chains in order to support the economy in our area and all those who contribute to it. Many independents have pledged their support for the campaign (you can follow its progress by using the hashtag #CamShopLocal on Twitter and by visiting the Facebook page) and a great number of locals have taken on the challenge. Find out more about the campaign on Carri Pavitt's blog. I hope the food-themed #CamShopLocal posts I'm sharing this week will help others to join in with the campaign too...
Saturday is here at last, meaning more time to visit the local independent shops and markets usually out of reach on weekdays for those of us who have full-time jobs. We started with Cambridge Quality Meats on Arbury Road for some bacon for breakfast: a good selection but a little pricey. We bought some smoked back bacon and Toulouse sausages for later (1lb of each), which cost us £8.50. We also visited Al-Noor grocer and halal butcher next door and picked up some vegetables and store cupboard ingredients for lunch and dinner. Breakfast was crispy bacon and avocado on toast, using a Les Ward avocado and Barker's Bakery bread from Spar on Chesterton Road.
Lunch was a white bean houmous with toast inspired by a recipe for butter bean houmous from the North/South Food blog's recent feature in Observer Food Monthly, which I've been wanting to try out for a while. The white beans, garlic, and lemon for the recipe were from Al-Noor and I used Tabasco sauce, olive oil, sea salt and black pepper from the store cupboard. I ate it with toasted Barker's Bakery bread. To make the houmous, I drained and rinsed about 200g giant haricot beans and mashed them up with a pestle and mortar, adding a couple of tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice and three roasted garlic cloves (I roasted a whole bulb, rubbed with olive oil and wrapped in foil, at 180 degrees for about 30 minutes), lots of black pepper and a generous glug of Tabasco sauce and stirring well. I then seasoned with sea salt with fennel and chilli to taste and drizzled half a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil on top. We spent just £7.30 in Al-Noor including some toilet cleaner and vegetables for dinner so the approximate cost of lunch ended up being about £2.
For dinner we used some beef from the freezer (previously bought from Radmore Farm Shop or the Co-op, not sure which) and the lamb's kidney from my trip to A Waller's yesterday to make a pie, with carrots from Radmore Farm Shop, onion and potatoes from Al-Noor, and homemade pastry. We also used some wine in the pie, which was a gift from work but I suspect originally came from Tesco! I wasn't in charge of making dinner but can tell you that it was delicious. The kidney was another great bargain at £1.30 for the whole lot. Approximate cost per serving £4.
The verdict: shopping local is making me think much harder about exactly what I need to buy and how I can be more imaginative with the ingredients I can find. Being forced to substitute ingredients at the last minute can be annoying but has also led to some tasty recipes, like the haricot bean houmous! I'm constantly planning what to do with leftovers too, rather than going to the shop and buying more food that I don't need. Another good day of #CamShopLocal.