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Posted by the deTerra diarist

What’s new, nature nuzzlers?

I’ve recently found out that March is national vegetarian month in the UK, and I think it’d be a fab-tastic idea to try a few meat-free morsels for myself! There seem to be heaps of benefits to piling your plate with greens, so let’s eat from the ground – after all, that’s what deTerra means. I think it was meant to be!

Apparently, maintaining a vegetarian diet can improve your mood, helps fight disease, is purer, makes you feel fuller for longer and makes you live longer. It sounds like vegetables should all wear capes – they’re superheroes!

And the latest healthy diet advice says to go one step further, but I’m not sure I could be vegan though. I just love my cheese and chocolate way too much!

I’ve picked out a super yummy recipe that’ll kick out the last of this horrible snowy weather, originally from BBC Good Food.

The incredible ingredients:

75g broad beans – fresh or frozen

200g asparagus tips

170g peas – fresh or frozen

350g spaghetti or tagliatelle pasta

175g baby leeks – nicely trimmed and sliced of course

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

200ml fromage frais or crème fraiche

Chopped parsley and chives

Parmesan-style or Italian hard cheese – to serve

The marvellous method:

  1. Start boiling a pan of slightly salted water, and place a colander above the water. Throw all the beans, asparagus and peas in at the same time and steam until tender. Set aside your venerable veg and cook the pasta in the pan, following the instructions on the packet.
  2. Fry the leeks in the oil and butter until they’re lovely and soft, and add the fromage frais. Make sure you stir it constantly – otherwise it’ll split, and no one wants that! Then add the herbs, veggies and a little splash of pasta water.
  3. Drain the pasta and add it into the sauce. Season it to your taste and scatter the cheese (and a tiny bit of extra oil) over the top. Easy as that!

Here’s a healthy tip for you – it’s fine to replace the oil to fry the leeks with a low-calorie spray, and the crème fraiche can be swapped for half-fat tastiness!

All the important bits:

  • Serves 4
  • 476 calories per serving
  • Prep time: 10 mins
  • Cook time: 20 mins

If you cook this delish-sounding meal, will you let me know how it went? I’d love to know!

Ta ta for now,

The deTerra diarist

 

Posted by the deTerra diarist

Hello my kitchen lovers!

It’s nearly the day of good old St Valentine, and I hope you get spoiled with some fabulous prezzies! But have you ever wondered how couples in other countries celebrate their blossoming love? I have, and after some thorough research, I’ve picked the best nature-based Valentines traditions to share with you lovely lot.

Pressed flowers on a greetings card Image Credit: Pinterest

Pressed flowers

Isn’t this just the sweetest thing? In chilly Denmark, they’ve only celebrated the big day since the early 1990s but since then they’ve all put their hearts into it. Sweethearts and friends give each other pressed snowdrops because they last so much longer than fresh ones, and men also give women a gaekkebrev. What’s that, I hear you ask? It’s a funny letter or poem written on a piece of paper that’s folded beautifully, and signed anonymously. Ooh, think of the suspense! As an extra scrummy treat, if the lady guesses who sent the love note, she’ll be rewarded with an Easter egg a couple of months later. Yum – that’s a tradition I can really get behind.

Heart-shaped oranges can be found in some South Korean markets Image Credit: eugeniekitchen.com

Heart-shaped oranges and single soup

Doesn’t that sound like a catchy ditty? Actually, it’s all about how South Koreans celebrate their love for each other. Hopefully they’ll have time to celebrate while the Winter Olympics is on! I’d really like one of these heart-shaped oranges found in a Seoul market – don’t they look delicious?

South Koreans go all out to show their love for each other – the 14th of each month is devoted to showing your partner how much you love ’em. Aww! In February, women woo the men with choccies and gifts, and the fellas return the favour in March. Single pringles celebrate on April 14th by eating a black noodle soup, called jajangmyeon. That doesn’t sound super appealing to me (and don’t ask me to pronounce it!), so hopefully I’ll be swept off my little feet before then!

A joined pair of love spoons Image Credit: wikimedia

Love spoons

Just over the border from my glossy Gloucestershire hideout, it’s traditional for Welsh people to gift each other wooden love spoons to celebrate the day of Saint Dwynwen – their patron saint of lovers. I’m not too sure how it came about, or what you would do with lots off spoons, but each one is intricately carved to show the man’s love for the woman. They can symbolise things like luck, support and the keys to the man’s heart too. Much more thoughtful than some of the presents I’ve received before!

Nearly forgot – I’ve nattered on about Welsh love spoons before. Silly me! Read about these wonderful things by clicking here.

A woman with a coat in the snow Image Credit: pixabay.com

The key to health is… snow?

In Romania, the citizens have a different take on a day for lovers, celebrated on 24th February. The traditional Dragobete festivities vary slightly in different regions of the country, but most include smartly dressed folks searching for spring flowers to pick and give to loved ones. It’s said that at noon, the girls are chased back into the villages by the boys that fell in love with them, and if they like each other they kiss in front of the whole community. How daunting!

If you’re a married woman, you might have to wash your face in chilly, chilly snow to be joyful and healthy – I tell you what, kitchen lot, I bet those women are just joyful about washing the snow off!

If you’re doing anything funky and romantic for Valentines, please let me know – I’d love to hear about it!

Ta ta for now,

The deTerra diarist

 

Posted by the deTerra diarist

What’s hot, kitchen lot? Happy New Year from the deTerra team, and I’d like to start 2018 with some truly tree-rific facts! I’ve branched out and leafed through lots of info to amaze yew – discover the world’s tallest, oldest and weirdest trees…

Hyperion, the tallest tree in the world

Hyperion is the tallest tree in the world

Credit: Wikipedia

Glad you asked. It’s called Hyperion, which kinda sounds like a spaceship, and it’s a whopping 115 metres tall. It’d dwarf the Statue of Liberty but you’ll have to take my word for it, as I doubt the two will ever be side-by-side…! Hyperion is a coast redwood tree and is located in America’s Redwood National Park in California, dude.

As for the oldest named tree, well that’s also in Cali – Methuselah, a Great Basin Bristlecoat Pine, is ancient! Apparently it’s 4,849 years old – but I don’t think it looks a day older than 3,293. The actual oldest tree (sharing the same species and location) doesn’t have a name, but is thought to be 5,067 years old. That’s about twenty times the age of the USA!

The General Sherman redwood tree – the largest in the world

The General Sherman redwood tree – the largest in the world

Credit: Wikimedia

The largest tree in the world by volume (size, not how loud the tree is) is the General Sherman, a giant sequoia found in – you guessed it – California. They must really love their cool trees! It might not be the tallest, nor the widest or the oldest, but it’s very close to the top of all those lists. Imagine how long your kitchen worktop would be coming from General Sherman…

I know we’re quite a way in and we haven’t got to the rarest tree in the world yet. Don’t panic, I haven’t forgotten. There’s a lonely tree on an island off the coast of New Zealand that’s thought to be the only one in the world. How very sad! The rest of the Pennantia Baylisiana species was apparently nibbled away by goats, but scientists are working to bring the tree back from the brink of extinction. Hooray!

The Tree of Life in Bahrain is in the middle of the desert but still has green leaves all year round

Bahrain’s Tree of Life survives despite not having a visible water source

Credit: Wikimedia

There are also holy trees with religious importance. One, called Chapel Oak, is in France and is so called because not one but TWO chapels are built into the oak. If you fancy venturing further, Bahrain is home to the so-called Tree of Life, which survives despite being right in the middle of a seemingly inhospitable desert! The temperature in the area is often above 40 degrees and sandstorms happen frequently, but the tree has green leaves on it all year round. Some say it’s the location of the Garden of Eden and it’s kept alive by a mystical source of water.

The Canadian Tree on the Lake

Have you ever seen a tree grow in the middle of a lake?

Credit: Publicdomainpictures

And finally, my personal favourite cool tree, which I think deserves a mention. In Canada there’s a tree that lives on the top of a log that sticks out of a lake. The tree is a Douglas fir tree, and gains all its nutrients from the log – also a Douglas fir. It’s actually an award-winning tree (yep, that’s right!) because a photographer that took a picture of it won the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year award.

So there you have my top tree facts to get 2018 off to a good start – whilst these spectacular specimens won’t feature in your new kitchen any time soon, we have more sustainably sourced timber than you can shake a stick at – so we’re well supplied to create solid wood kitchens for you this year.

Ta ta for now,

The deTerra diarist

 

Posted by the deTerra diarist

Howdy kitchen comrades!

I have another tree-mendous fact for all you fans of solid wood today! Crown shyness may sound like it should belong in Buckingham Palace but it is actually a term used to describe the way neighbouring trees avoid touching each other. Now, they aren’t all bending their branches away from each other to avoid catching tree cooties – the avoidance of physical contact is actually for positive reasons!

Crown Shyness in Neighbouring Trees

In studies dating back to the 1920s, this phenomenon is also called canopy disengagement, canopy shyness or intercrown spacing – and I don’t know about you, my loyal kitchen crew, but I think crown shyness sounds the best. Amazingly, despite decades of deliberation, no one theory into the reasons behind this mass neighbourly wooden ward-off. Scientists who are researching this brilliant behaviour do think they know one thing – that it has evolved to ensure neighbouring trees help each other out, like one big happy family.

Just like people, every tree is different. Some spectacular species will do this for every tree in the vicinity, others will only do it for their own kind. The brainboxes behind the studies into these amazing arboreal actions suggest it could be for a number of reasons. Some suggest it is to avoid branches brushing up against each other in the wind and becoming damaged, others think it is the tactical arrangement of light and shade for those trees beneath them and some say it is done to protect peers from pests. Whatever the reasons behind it, I’m sure you will all agree this delightful decorum is brilliantly beautiful!

Ta ta for now,

The deTerra Diarist

 

Posted by the deTerra diarist

How do kitchen crew?

Stoves from Anevay are a great way to get cooking outdoors - and I thought I could only dream of a kitchen in the forest!

Credit: anevaystoves.com

I don’t know about you, but as the nights draw closer and greens turn to warm golds and reds I am always trying to think of ways to make things cosier. Cooking outdoors may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of the word ‘cosy’ but I have found a way to make it so. A crackling fire is a fan-dabby-dozy way to warm even the frostiest of peeps, but open fires are kinda dangerous. That’s where Anevay step in! They have created a DEFRA exempt stove that can be used for cooking in the great outdoors – they even have options suitable for inside tents!

Now, before you are all up in arms about the number of trees wasted, Anevay plant a tree for every stove sold – AND one for every tree donated to charity. That’s right folks, not only are they striving to be sustainable, but they also donate stoves so that they can make a difference for the 50% of the world’s population that still cook on open fires, causing respiratory diseases. These fantastic little fellas are available in a variety of designs and styles to suit all manner of settings.

My love for kitchens and solid wood products knows no bounds – and cooking outdoors is a fantastic way to combine the two – I am only shocked nobody thought of it sooner! I can think of plenty of campfire recipes I’m keen to try too – they just do not taste the same when you make them inside, and nobody likes a BBQ in October! Of course, you don’t need a fancy stove to get your grub on outside – I know I’ll be putting one on my Christmas list!

Ta ta for now,

The deTerra Diarist

 

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