Organic September and Chinese-Style French Beans

Hello everyone, today is the first day of Autumn! 🙂

Many bloggers have been writing about feeling “Autumnal” since the end of August, but I am only starting to feel like that now, also because for the past few days it’s been quite warm here…

But, if you are feeling the chilly weather and thinking of sorting out your wardrobe and bringing out all the A/W clothing, don’t forget that it’s easy to dispose of clothes you don’t want anymore sustainably, as you can:

We’ve been having Summer vegetables that are still in season as much as possible: groovy grilled aubergines, fried&steamed broccoli, crunchy carrots, fresh chillies, grilled courgettes, cucumbers in salads, frightfully addictive French beans, garlic, lettuce, sweet mangetout, onions, organic potatoes, Spring onions, tomatoes… and yesterday I got some newly seasonal sweetcorn and butternut squash too.

Graffiti Aubergine

Pretty Graffiti Aubergine

I have been grilling vegetables until soft and caramelised to have in seasonal salads too 🙂

Grilled Organic Spring Onions, Courgettes and Aubergines

Grilled Organic Spring Onions, Courgettes and Aubergines

At the supermarket, organic vegetables have a “Celebrate Organic September” sticker on them at the moment, this is an initiative launched by the Soil Association to encourage us to make small changes  and a big difference by choosing organic products.

Just a few days ago I saw this picture on Janina’s Food (Policy) for Thought blog:

Organic Makes a Difference

Organic Makes a Difference

This is what I like to encourage when I buy organic food.

Some may think organic is “double the price, and not better than the rest anyway!” but what they forget is that organic means without pesticides which are harmful for you, for children and which pollute soil and water (and fortunately organic food is not often as much as double the price!).

I bought a few organic vegetables such as potatoes and peppers, especially because they are part of the “Dirty Dozen” fruit and vegetables which contain the most residual pesticides and chemicals in them and really worth buying organic whenever possible.

Organic, seasonal and reduced in price

Organic, seasonal and reduced up to half the price

Organic, pesticide-free peppers

Organic, pesticide-free peppers

Peppers sold individually are usually 80p or 90p, so £1.85 for 2 organic peppers wasn’t far off.

Organic Butternut Squash and UK Potatoes

Organic Butternut Squash and UK Potatoes

The organic butternut squash was £1 down from £1.49 and so the same price as non-organic ones.

The organic potatoes were £1.57 per kg, so slightly more expensive than some types of potato but not as expensive as others either.

I had those lovely organic tomatoes, together with some orange ones, for a bruschetta with our amazing fresh basil.

Organic and orange tomato bruschetta

Organic and orange tomato bruschetta

Last night we enjoyed a couple of Wild Berry Rekorderlig ciders, they are so delicious!!

Wild Berry Rekorderlig

Wild Berry Rekorderlig – vegan

My boyfriend made us some lovely corn on the cob to have with them, he simply cooked the corn a few minutes in the microwave then blistered it directly on the hob to give it a smoky flavour and an added crunch, then added chilli flakes and salt on the plate, WOW!!!

Seasonal Corn on the Cob

Seasonal Corn on the Cob

Then it was time for home-made fresh organic rosemary, garlic and chilli crisps with a balsamic vinegar and fresh garlic dip!

Home-made organic crisps

Home-made organic crisps

And today, he made a fragrant and surprisingly creamy vegan soup.

Creamy and velvety seasonal vegan soup

Creamy and velvety seasonal vegan soup

He made this soup by softening organic potatoes, carrots, French beans, an onion, garlic, garam masala and chilli for a few minutes. Then he added them to a pan with organic stock in it, cooked them through and blended them. He added more chopped garlic and peppers for added crunch and texture and garnished it with sliced organic peppers and some of our fresh parsley.

It was warming, spicy and extremely tasty, especially with all the aromas from the garam masala. I tend to prefer chunky soups but this was really lovely and look forward to having some more soon!

I hope showing you what we’ve been enjoying can inspire you, and show that it can be easy and not expensive to eat more sustainably and following the seasons, plus all of these vegetables are so healthy!

I would also like to share a very quick recipe to make French beans in about…8 minutes or so.

I first came across and tried this recipe when I was 18, so about 7 years ago, on my Italian Chinese cuisine book.

It uses few ingredients and does not involve any boiling to death.

Only using a little oil, the French beans (or dwarf beans) are quickly stir-fried, softened, made crispy by the medium-high flame and retain their refreshing crispness and crunch. The garlic and sesame oil give them an amazing taste, the soy sauce seasons them and the chilli gives them a pleasant warmth and kick.

You can make them with the honey or without, for a vegan version. I have been making them regularly with no honey and I must say I don’t miss it, the main flavour comes from the rest of the ingredients, the honey would add a bit of sticky sweetness.

These are absolutely amazing, I can’t really describe how much I adore them. Great servedwith rice and crispy tofu.

You could experiment with this quick-cooking method and add different spices too, or use other vegetables such as Brussels sprouts.

Chinese-style French beans ingredients

Chinese-style French beans ingredients

Stir-fried French Beans – serves 4

Ingredients

  • 450g French beans
  • 1 or 2 fresh chillies, chopped
  • 2tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 2tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2tsp honey (optional)
  • 1tsp sesame oil

-Prepare the beans by taking the tips off and cutting them in half or bite-size length;

Prepare the French beans

Prepare the French beans

-Heat the oil in a pan until very hot, add the beans and cook on a medium-high heat for 3 minutes;

-add the chillies and the garlic and cook for a minute;

-Add the soy sauce, the honey if you are using it and the sesame oil;

-Cook for another 2 minutes to let the fragrant flavours mingle and serve.

Crunchy Crispy Chinese French Beans

Crunchy Crispy Chinese French Beans

Do you buy any organic vegetables? Which ones?

Are you looking forward to Autumn?

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