Tue 18th Sept – Allotment Soup at Edible Eastside

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We took a group to Edible Eastside in Digbeth to see another kind of community food growing project, everything is grown in raised beds and the site is surrounded by industry, with the Grand Union Canal running alongside. We had a tour of the gardens before meeting up with artist and chef Lizzy Bean who led a session on outdoor cooking. We had brought some bounty from the allotment, most of which was harvested that morning; Red Onion, Courgette, Runner Beans, Tarragon, Purple Spouting Broccoli, Sorrel and some Thyme.

Everyone helped to chop the ingredients which were put into a big metal  Serbian Cooking Pot along with some stock cubes, it was then suspended on a metal tripod above a small fire, right next to the canal. While we waited for the pot to heat through and everything to cook we took a stroll along the canal. We covered about a kilometer, following a short loop along the Typhoo canal arm, past the back of Edible Eastside and crossing over the River Rea before returning along Floodgate St. It was nice to get out and catch a bit of Autumn Sun and to spend some time close to the water.

When we got back we all tucked into our Allotment Soup, with bread rolls and a salad made using Nasturtium leaves and flowers and some tangy Sorrel leaves – a surprising and rare taste, but one that seems to grow really easily. For one of the group it was their first time eating Brocolli and another’s first time cooking outdoors. Once everyone was packed off in their taxis we did the washing up and reflected on the sense of freedom you get when cooking in the open air.

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