Monday, 5 May 2014

Follow me on Fair Trade Living now!

Fair Trade Foodie has now become Fair Trade Living, a brand new blog which will not only feature recipes with fair trade products, but also inventions, crafts, product reviews, competitions and much more!

You can follow me on the new address below:

Monday, 21 April 2014

Desert Island Puddings #3: Fairtrade Chocolate Lava Cake (melt in the middle!)

Well, I just couldn't possibly survive in my island without a chocolate dessert, so this next recipe is of a Fairtrade Melt in the Middle Chocolate Pudding, AKA "Lava Cake".

There is something simply perfect about a well made Lava Cake... with it's crunchy exterior and melted chocolate center... you will feel like you are being transported to heaven...and it's also surprisingly easy to make, here's all you need to do:

-100 gr Fairtrade Dark Chocolate
- 100 gr Butter (plus a bit for the ramekins)
- 2 free range eggs
- 90 gr Fairtrade sugar
- 4 teaspoons (or so) of cocoa powder (unsweetened if you have it)
- 100 gr plain flour

1) Heat your oven to 160 C
2)  Break the chocolate into pieces and melt it with the butter in the microwave. Do it for 30 second blasts, stir well in between them to make sure you don't burn the chocolate.

3) Once melted, mix well until the chocolate and butter come together, then place in the fridge to cool for a little while.

4) Whisk the eggs with an electric mixer until they are pale and glossy.
5) Add the chocolate mixture when cool and whisk again.
 6) Butter the ramekins and add about a teaspoon of cocoa powder to each and turn to make sure it coats as much of the surface as possible.

7) Sift the flour into the chocolate and egg mixture little by little and fold it in.

8) Place the ramekins in the oven for 15 minutes.

9) When you take them out they should feel hard on the top... but still wobbly.

10) Leave them to cool until you can hold them, then using a knife cut around the edges and turn over. Cross your fingers now... and hope they come out whole!!!!

Decorate with some Fairtrade icing sugar and some strawberries, serve cut open and enjoy the lovely chocolate lava in the middle!!!

Oh yes, leave me stranded in an island with this type of volcano anytime!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Dessert Island Puddings #2 : Flan

I have been thinking a lot about what desserts I could 'cope with' eating on my island forever... and this second choice, also from my childhood, is certainly one I could eat over and over and not tire of it. 

It's called a Flan, and its origin is not clear, some recipes I found claimed it was a typically from Spain, whilst others claimed it was a Mexican dessert, in any case it's certainly very popular throughout Latin America, and I read that it might be perhaps because when condensed milk tins started to be imported  they used to have the Flan recipe printed on the label! I think it's certainly very much like the French dessert:  'Creme Caramel', although I'm not sure if the recipes and cooking methods are alike.

Anyway, here's the recipe, and I must say, it's really very simple!

1/2 cup Fairtrade Sugar
1 tin of Evaporated milk (standard UK size 400 g)
1 tin of Condensed milk (standard UK size if 400 g)
3 large free-range eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Orange zest (optional) 

1) Heat your oven to 170 C
2) Melt the sugar on a pan to form a caramel 
3) Mix the egg, milks, vanilla and zest in a bowl 

4) Coat the bottom of you mold or ramekin with the caramel, making sure it covers the entire bottom surface 

5) Add the milky mixture 

6) Place the ramekins or mold on a 'Banne Marie' (that is, swimming in about an inch of boiling water) 

7) Cover with foil paper and bake for about an hour. You can test it's completely cooked by inserting a knife close to the middle, if it comes out clean, you are there. 

9) Leave it to cool completely and place in the fridge until you need to serve it, although I recommend taking it out an hour or so before you plan to eat it so the caramel is runny when you carefully turn it out. 

9) If you fancy decorating it like I did, just melt a bit more sugar and once you have caramel make whatever design you fancy on top of a non-stick surface. I tried to make mine like the sails of a boat that I will build in my island! (of course you have already guessed by seeing the picture!) 

That's it. One of my all-time classic favorite desserts. Try it out! it's simple and homey, but can deliver on the wow factor with a bit of imagination!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Won 2nd place in the Fairtrade Banana Nut Bake-off!!!

After nervously waiting for what seems like forever, results of Liberation's Fairtrade Banana Nut Bake-off are in... and I've just found out that I've won second place!

The competitions featured in Good Housekeeping, Love It magazine, Student Noodles as well as on Facebook and Twitter, generating lots of interest (including over 1,000 entries from Good Housekeeping).
After all the entries were reviewed, Chris and I found out last week that we had made the final 6 in the shorlist, and then early this week the baked all our recipues and the judging panel formed by:Allegra McEvedy (celebrity chef:, Harry Hill (famous comedian ) and nutritionist Fiona Kirk | Fat Bust Forever (w tries them all and selected the 3 winning ones... and mine came second, with a special mention on the decoration!

So, a great way to start the weekend... knowing that I have a basket full of Fairtrade Goodies for my cooking experiments on the way! Happy days!

Friday, 28 March 2014

Fairtrade Dessert Island Puddings #1 : Tres Leches

My first Dessert Island Pudding is a cake that my mum always made when I was growing up, and since it's Mother's Day here in the UK on Sunday, it fitted perfectly, plus I hope you agree that it looks a bit like a Desert Island!

Tres Leches (Three Milks) is the Latin American version of the British Trifle or the Italian Tiramisu, and it's basically consists of a soft sponge that is soaked by 3 types of milks: Evaporated, Condensed and Double Cream. We spent a few years in El Salvador and Honduras in the mid eighties and this is where my mum learned this recipe, and since then it regularly follows her world famous lasagna, which we all still beg her to prepare when there is a sufficiently important cause for celebration in the family.

Here's what you'll need:
- 1 Cup of Sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1/3 cup of Milk
- 1 tsp of Fairtrade Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup of plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp of braking powder
- 350 gr of Condensed Milk
- 350 gr of Evaporated Milk
- 2 cups of double cream
- Fairtrade nuts
- 3 tablespoons of Amaretto

1) Heat your over to 170 C
2) Grease a pan with high sides
3) Separate your 5 eggs
4) Beat the yolks with 2/3 of the cup of sugar until pale and double in size. Slowly add the milk, vanilla, flour and baking powder

5) Separately beat the egg whites with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar until they form stiff peaks
6) With a metal spoon fold the egg whites into the yolks and place in the pan. Bake for around 30 minutes, test with a skewer. Leave to cool for about an hour

7) Once cool, pierce with a fork or knife repeatedly
8) Mix the evaporated, condensed milk and 1 cup of cream in a jug and bathe the sponge. You may want to keep some of the mixture aside for serving.
9) Leave in the fridge to soak for at least a couple of hours, but best overnight.
10) Whip the remaining cream, decorate with the nuts and serve!

It's really very simple and has such a lovely homely feel to it, no wonder it reminds me of my mum.

Somebody once told me that it's not until you have children you really understand your parents and the miracle of truly unconditional love. I can see that now, and sometimes when I marvel at the impossible perfection and happiness that my children bring me, I feel very close to my parents, because I understand that I however old I may be, I am still their baby too.

But its mother's day, so here go a few words about my mum. I think I could write a whole blog about her, but I will just say that she is the most beautiful, kind and annoying person I know, and that when I hear people joke about how all women inevitably become their mothers as they grow older... I just sigh and quietly hope I can become even just a little bit as incredible as she is.

So happy mothers day Mamuchita Morf - A - Lot... the ultimate foodie of the family!

Personalized Quote Sign for Mothers Day Handpainted  Wood by CRSWoodDesigns

Mothers do have a way of keeping things together (:

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Fairtrade Dessert Island Puddings Series

My husband is convinced that I am turning into an old lady. The fact that I have started to collect glass jars and plan on making jam this summer, coupled with my newly found passion for Radio 4 (which has unleashed my inner-geek apparently) proves his argument.

I don't disagree. Maybe I have always been an old lady, one of those... 'old souls'. I remember my parents laughing at the fact that I used to sit in a small rocking chair and do crochet, while watching soaps when I was only 9 years old. But luckily all things 'vintage' are now 'chic' and so I can let my laughed-at passion for cream teas, blankets and all things with floral patterns, run wild!

One of the programs that I sometimes catch on Radio 4 when doing the school run, is Desert Island Discs, which basically asks all sorts of famous people to play a few songs that they would take to their Desert Islands and talk about what they represent to their lives. I often find it very moving because like food, music plays a big part of me and my family's story and it is most certainly connected to the best and worse times...but, as I go through the exercise of wondering what what songs I would take.... I also find myself choosing what foods I would take to eat while playing the records!

So, I thought I'd do my own version of the program for the next few recipes..... and I will call it " My Fairtrade Dessert Island Puddings" (get it... desert, dessert... see the geek is out, hence grammar joke below) and I will choose 4 recipes that I would be happy to take and eat on my island 'forever' without tiring of them. 

:) The only time I find grammar errors funny

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Guest Post - Fairtrade Peanut Butter, Banana & Chocolate Swirl

Competition time! The wife entered Liberation's Banana Nut Bake Off. Emilia (my 3 year-old mini chef) and I thought we'd give her a run for her money this afternoon. 

So this one is really easy.
1. We chopped two bananas and squeezed half a lime juice on top of it to stop it going brown. 

2. We were feeling adventurous so also added the zest of the lime and also some grated nutmeg

3. Then Emilia rolled out the puff pastry and put on the chopped banana, then the chocolate chips 

4. The last bit was some dollops of crunchy Liberation Peanut butter 

5. We then rolled it up and cut it into slices about as thick as my thumb

6. Emilia then squashed each one under a plate and popped it onto the baking trays (make sure you use grease proof paper or silicon paper or a non stick mat)

7. After a quick egg wash they were ready to go into the oven for 16 minutes at 220

8. We let them cool....  just for 5 minutes and gobbled them up while the chocolate was still a bit melted. 

Mmmmmm easy, quick and yummy

Shopping List
Puff pastry
2 Fairtrade Bananas
Around 8 tea spoons  of Liberation Peanut Butter
Around 200g Fairtrade Chocolate Chips (dark is my preference)
1 Lime 
1 free- range egg 
Optional Extras (nutmeg / lime zest / FT Nuts)

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Fairtrade's power to bring communities together

I live in Edenbridge. A charming little village in the south east of England, which proudly boasts in a sign as you enter it that is it's 'Kent's first Fairtrade Town'.

Even though we moved out here from London almost 5 years ago, and all this while I have been working on Fairtrade, it is only recently that I have gotten involved with the local fellow activists from the Edenbridge Fairtrade Group; and what a lovely and passionate bunch they are.

I guess because my work to date has been focused on the other end of the spectrum, that is, on the impact that Fairtrade generates in producers in their countries, it is fantastic for me to now also discover the impact that it also has in bringing communities together in ours.

I have attended many events over the past few years where producers have been the 'stars of the show', but they have always said to me that meeting the many churches, schools, universities and towns and villages that promote their products, 'for free' is what touched them the most, because without them the movement really wouldn't be what it is today. I don't know what it is about Fairtrade, but something about it makes it very different from many other, very worthy consumer related causes, like say: free range eggs, or responsibly caught fish or local, seasonal and even organic food. Or even the work of many other conservation, environmental organisations or charities. And I think it's the fact that Fairtrade has also had this effect of creating such groups of community activists who are always thinking of different ways to promote it and spread the word. I may be wrong, but I have never heard of a say a 'free range town' or an 'seasonal school'!

My local group organised such an event to mark Fairtrade Fortnight last night and invited me to come along and blog about it. As a mum of very young children who hasn't 'gone out' on my own to any evening event (due to bedtimes etc!) in a VERY long time... it was a bit of challenge... but one that I was very happy to accept! and so with the support of my husband Chris, who took a day off and was left with lots instructions and tips on how to feed, and put the little ones down in my absence (why do mum's worry so much about this things!) I left home, at nighttime, during bedtime... on my own and without a nappy bag! wow... talk about small victories... :)

Anyway, the event was orchestrated by Rachel from the eAt@Eden cafe and was called Come Dine with Me, and it was to be a fun competition between local 'celebrity chefs and' food enthusiasts' who,  in pairs, had to cook a dish in 10 minutes using Fairtrade products and then the crowd would vote on which dish sounded the most delicious. After the cooking demonstrations, people would be invited to sample all 6 dishes. The event was sold out (over 100 tickets!) which for a small village on a Monday night is a fantastic achievement on its own!

The demonstrations were great fun and there was fantastic banter between the 'local food celebrities' and the crowd throughout, and even though I didn't stay for the sampling bit of the evening, I could tell that everyone was having a really good time, and there was a real sense of community spirit.

I rushed back just before 8 pm (like Cinderella from the Ball).... half expecting to find an orchestra of babies crying and my husband by the door... but to my amazement... both babies were down... the house was still standing... and my husband was sorting out our dinner... wow... double success.

Some photos from the event below.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Fairtrade Banana cake with peanut butter frosting

So, it's Fairtrade fortnight and as I mentioned in my last post, I decided to enter the #banananut bake-off organised by my friends at Liberation Foods. I'm not taking it too seriously or anything... but the 'creative process' (how fancy) has occupied my mind for the past couple of days! I even spent time yesterday sketching out the decoration of the frosting!

I decided to use my banana bread recipe (because it was so good) but to tweak it a bit and make it a bit 'healthier' by adding pumpkin and sunflower seeds for crunch... and then I came across a peanut butter frosting recipe and decided that would fit perfectly!.... my only problem was that I had run out of my last jar of Harry's Hill's Fairtrade peanut butter... and I didn't think I would find another Fairtrade pot in my village, but luckily, just this morning I had an e-mail from my lovely Traidcraft local contact, Jean, who sets up a stall to promote and sell Fairtrade food and crafts in my village cafe every month or so... reminding me to pop by... and so we did and luckily found a jar of Liberation's Crunchy Peanut Butter! so, all systems go!...The kids had a great time playing with Jean and for me, as always, I was so inspired to meet the incredible people who volunteer so selflessly for our 'cause' and without whom the movement would have never achieved as much as it has to date...

But back to baking... the recipe for the cake is:

285g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
110g butter
200g Fairtrade caster sugar
2 free-range eggs
4 Fairtrade ripe bananas, mashed
85ml buttermilk (or normal milk mixed with 1½ tsp lemon juice or vinegar)
1 tsp Fairtrade vanilla extract
100 g pumpkin seeds
100g sunflower seeds

And for the frosting:

1 cup of Fairtrade icing sugar

1/4 cup of Fairtrade crunchy peanut butter

1/4 water

1 ts vanilla extract

And for the 'special effects' we bought ready to roll and use icing and with the help of my daughter's play dough set we made super fun cake decorations,,,,

I guess the cake must have know it was made for a good cause, because like Emilia said, it came out smiling!

And so... drum roll.... here is our beautiful creation!

Fairtrade banana cake with a crunchy peanut butter frosting 

Maybe I'm not quite ready to sign up for the great British bake-off yet... but I am very proud of this one and we all had great fun!  

Monday, 24 February 2014

Banananut bake off ! watch this space...

My good old friends at Liberation Foods have launched a great FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT COMPETITION: the 'Great Banana & Nut Cake Bake Off’ - which is an invitation for people to bake a cake using Fairtrade nuts and Fairtrade bananas, plus whatever else grabs the imagination. (more details here or #banananutbakeoff) for a chance to win some fairtrade goody hampers.

I am not one to shy away from such fun challenge... so I have decided to enter... and I have decided not just to bake a cake... but also to DECORATE it....

Beware... this is what happened last time I tried to decorate a cake:

It's my little man's 1st birthday cake. Obviously a dinosaur (NOT). 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Fairtrade homemade granola

I recently read an article where Cafedirect's new MD explained how his strategy to strengthen this Fairtrade company  included, among other things, getting the message across to consumers that Fairtrade was not an 'act of charity'.

This statement really got to me and I made me think about what we really understand by 'charity' and why it often seems to have negative connotations. The way I see it, charity is essentially an act of 'kindness' towards someone in need... and so I don't understand why we feel the need to distance ourselves from such a noble attitude?... especially when it seems like, if anything, we are bombarded on a daily basis by news of the terrible acts that we humans are capable of committing.

I guess it has to do with the fact that we take great pride in achieving things independently (I see that all the time with my 1-year-old, who insists in feeding himself, going up the stairs unaided, etc) and perhaps there is also something about not depending on others in order to reach our goals. I completely understand both, and if I transfer this to how producers might feel about us purchasing their Fairtrade products, I can obviously understand that the reason for deciding to pay a fair price for a products is not, or should not be, about doing anyone a favour, but simply because it's the right thing to do.

But, bottom-line opting for Fairtrade is an act of charity because it involves a conscious decision to, through our purchasing power, 'help' others in their struggle to earn an honest living and provide for their families.

And we all need such acts of kindness, perhaps, us who are lucky enough to live in developed countries don't have livelihoods that depend on others making such decisions everyday,  but I do think that we still do very much need such small acts of kindness in our everyday lives, whether it's a kind word of encouragement  from your mother before a big day, or a smile from a stranger when you are about to lose the plot while juggling 2 babies, keys, your wallet and 20 bags at the checkout, or the act sharing that cup of tea with your best friend after a though day (or night in our case!).

I think in a way they are all small acts of charity, and even though they might not involve a donation of money, they involve giving some sort of  boost,  and we should not feel too proud to say that we all need one more often than we'd like to admit. For me, choosing a Fairtrade product is like sending a smile to all those hard working producers out there, not our pity, but instead our encouragement and understanding, and the message that we do also want to be part of a fair system where they can feed and look after their families in the same was as we can in our side of the world.

I'd like to think that the recipe I chose this time around is a little bit like such acts of kindness:  to ourselves, because we are opting to eat a super healthy combination, and to others if you choose like I did, to make a big batch to share with your friends.

300 gr of oats
250 ml of honey (I used a delicious local Kentish one)
50 ml of vegetable oil
3 tablespoons of water
50 gr Fairtrade Brazil Nuts
50 gr Fairtrade Pecans
50 gr dried coconut
50 gr pumpkin seeds
50 gr sunflower seeds
50 gr Fairtrade Almonds
100 gr dried apricots


1) Heat the oven to 140 C

2) Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl

3) Heat up the honey with the oil and water in a pan, until it gets very runny.

4) Combine it with the dry ingredients.

5) Spread on baking paper or non-stick baking sheets, and bake for 40 minutes, mixing it around every 10 minutes or so, so that it doesn't solidify.

6) It will still feel soft when you take it out, but it will harden once you let it stand for a few hours.

The Verdict
An absolute winner for me. I chose the nuts and seeds I had in the house left from previous recipes and some sent by my lovely friends from Liberation Foods (, but you can add any nuts of dry fruits that you prefer.

It's really delicious served with some plain yogurt or with milk and a banana or to just snack on as you wonder around the kitchen looking for something slightly naughty!. I think they also makes lovely homemade gifts to share with friends.