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Saran Davies

Saran Davies


I am a first year Biological Sciences student at the University of Bristol. I have a major passion for all things outdoors and cooking. I love sourcing local produce and cooking as many things from scratch as possible. I am currently a regular...

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10 May 2014

Day 10: The Last Supper

I woke up today knowing that this would be the last day of the challenge which made me sad. No more gorgeous local food and back to the basic student diet which mainly consists of pasta and pesto… But who can complain? Nothing smells as good as a bowl of pasta topped with pesto and cheese. Yea, I am not believing my own words here either! I am going to miss the incredible pieces of great quality meat that I got from Ruby and White and not to mention the various wholesome ingredients from the two shops: Wild Oats and The Better Food Company. One thing that will stay though is the veg box – that has been a cheeky order since January and doing this challenge has made me see how much more I should value it! Breakfast today was a mango that I bought from The Cambridge Farmer’s Outlet and it was only 50p! Amazing. The guy from the shop told me how he buys them in bulk as supermarket rejects and that if he didn’t buy them then they would either go to waste or be fed to livestock. Crazy to think that supermarkets can reject orders based on sales and demand. Makes it seem so much more important to cut the middle man out and buy directly from these farm shops and markets. And the mango was also juicy and delicious! Only 50p! Lunch was a little experiment with a combination of baked beans and kidney beans on toast. It was actually very tasty and a nice addition to your average tin of baked beans. Everything in this meal was organic and came from The Cambridge Farmer’s Outlet. Now I’ve never been too bothered whether my food is organic or not but since doing this challenge I’ve found that I feel better within myself, less hungry and better than anything I’ve lost a little bit of weight. I think that eating food which is less processed has really helped – I’m not even sure if my supermarket bran flakes are all that healthy! Processing food adds unnecessary sugar and salt when you can have a nice bowl of porridge and monitor your intake levels in a much more effective way. And to be honest, I’d prefer to eat a bowl of porridge with a sprinkling of sugar every morning; especially if it could help my bikini body on its way! Now you can never finish a challenge without going out with a bang! I can assure you that I well and truly topped this fun 10 days with an awesome meal. It could only be the one and only British favourite that is steak and chips! Oh my this was the best meal of the week and all homemade to boot. Again, every ingredient came from the same independent shop in Cambridge and this included steak, potatoes, onions, mushrooms and cream. I made this for my boyfriend and myself and I think it is safe to say that he enjoyed it too because he cleared everything on his plate! This may not sound like much but when you see the portion difference between his plate and mine then you may start to understand. So with the last meal of the challenge eaten and described it has to be the end of the Bristol Good Food Challenge blog… BUT don’t despair because I will be back! I am going to do another food related challenge so suggestions are very welcome although I do already have a few ideas in mind – they’re my secret though so stay tuned. I will be back after exams are over and I have a 4 month summer to write many more things on food related topics. Watch this space!

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9 May 2014

Day 9: Only One Day Left!

I woke up again today with that annoying question: to go to my lecture or not to go to my lecture? But because this lecture in particular happened to be the last one of first year, I felt an irresistible urge to go. I decided to go back to basics for my breakfast this morning and went with a trusty bowl of porridge. I did however go with my walnut addition which was also very tasty. This was yet another locally sourced meal; the oats, sugar and walnuts came from the shop Wild Oats and the milk came from The Better Food Company. It's always nice knowing that the food came from a sustainable source and I also think it tastes better too! I am blogging from Cambridge tonight as I am visiting my boyfriend in university. I had to make a meal for the train so decided to make a cheeky bacon sandwich because the one I had the other night was sooooo good! Again, everything that made up the meal was sourced very locally - and my favourite butchers delivered yet another great couple of slices of bacon. And who can deny that a bacon sandwich is tasty? Always a good choice. With a three and a half hour journey done, I had to source some local food from an independent shop in Cambridge. What felt like an impossible task at the time (it was 17.30 and shops were about to close!), I managed to find an Aladdin's Cave of amazing food! This shop was called The Cambridge Farmer's Outlet and they supply a wide range of fruit and veg, local farmer's meat and dairy produce, dried and tinned organic foods and much much more! Amazed, I was walking round this great independent shop for 20 minutes just picking out all the great looking food and I think I got enough for the next few days even though my challenge is ending tomorrow... But who can resist some amazing looking organic food?? Especially when it's reasonably priced too! Tonight's supper was a nice and simple 'bangers and mash'. I do love my leeks so I added some fried leeks in with the onions to add another dimension to the dish. The leek was much bigger than I thought and it ended up being more like leeks with a bit of mash and sausage. Oopsies. This was another really tasty meal and even though I was on a time and money budget to source it, I managed to find the perfect shop. I think if I lived in Cambridge then I would seldom shop anywhere else. P.S. Sorry about the lack of breakfast and lunch pictures! My phone won't connect to the internet so I can't upload them - these photos were luckily taken on my boyfriend's phone.

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8 May 2014

Day 8: Only 2 Days Left

I woke up this morning with a question: to go to my lecture or not to go to my lecture? I think you can guess what my decision was, especially with exams on the way and panic revision kicking in! Since I had leftover batter from yesterday’s pancake mix, I decided to finish it off. I was really boring too and instead of mixing things up a bit, I had it in exactly the same way as yesterday too! I did however have a cup of Fairtrade coffee on the side for extra energy (these coffee granules came from another local independent shop as well so all tying in nicely with the challenge). My National Geographic subscription came recently and funnily enough the covering topic is FOOD. As a great food lover I would have been interested in reading this anyway but since I am doing a food challenge at the moment it made me especially eager. So I sat down after breakfast and had a good read. Apparently there is an ever-growing concern about the food shortages we may face in the future; it is estimated that the world population will have reached 9 billion by 2050 and this will challenge the world’s crop supplies demanding them to double in yield! Sounds impossible and very scary! One thing that actually seems quite rewarding with these facts though is that eating local helps this problem – supporting local farmers encourages them to produce higher yields and cutting out the supermarket middle-man gives them a much higher profit too. Lunch felt a little bit more wholesome after reading this crazy information and I had leek and potato soup again which was accompanied with some bread. It was all sourced very locally in all the little independent shops I know so the challenge is still going very well. I had circuit training tonight so wanted a nice big meal to treat myself after. This was pan fried veal, mash potato and steamed carrots with a red cabbage and onion sauce. I felt a bit nervous about trying veal as I had never had it before plus I didn’t really like the idea of eating baby cow :( – I am sorry but I had to put a sad face there! But, getting over this and remembering that I eat baby sheep often I managed to enjoy my veal loin and found that it was really tender and flavoursome. Then again to be honest it was yet another great piece of meat from Ruby and White and they haven’t let me down once throughout this whole challenge! I made a cheeky apple crumble as a treat for pudding and this was also very tasty. I am getting increasingly sad that this Bristol Good Food Diaries challenge is coming to an end and so I am going to have to try and think up a future project that makes me think about food in another different way – I have really enjoyed blogging too. Also, I am very open to suggestions on potential food diary projects for the future so if you have any ideas, let me know… But still 2 days to go so don’t panic!

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7 May 2014

Day 7: Only Three Days To Go!

Today started beautifully with a fire alarm drill at 6.50am. If I had a lecture at 9 then I may have thanked whoever decided to do yet another drill at silly o’clock, but since today is a day off uni, you could say I was a little bit annoyed… ANYWAY after standing outside in the cold waiting for my name to be called for 10 minutes, I crawled back into bed where I actually managed to have an extra one and a half hours of sleep. After waking up feeling slightly more refreshed I decided to make pancakes! All of the ingredients were locally sourced and to accompany my lovely pancakes I had some strawberry jam which was made by a very amazing cook I know from South Wales called Tish. She makes awesome farmhouse food and I have never managed to find a Victoria sponge cake which tastes better than hers (she even gets the eggs from her own hens!). Due to yesterday’s severe lack of revision, I really had to go hell for leather and after almost three hours I had enough and the only thing I could think of was food. Lunch today was a take on last night’s meal because I bought two chicken legs at the same time so I thought I may as well cook them together then have the second one the next day with a salad. This turned out to be very successful and again I was amazed with how much flavour I got out of the chicken. Local butchers strikes again! My evening was a little bit busy so supper really came as an after thought. Firstly I had to attend the launch of a nature society in Bristol that I have been following since its start. This was named the Bristol Nature Network a few meetings ago and I think it is safe to say that its official launch party tonight was a great success! The evening didn’t stop there! I then went to a really fun ‘bat picnic’ where many of my course mates and I basically sat in a park at twilight with Ultrasound Transducers listening for bats as they flew overhead. This is why I love my course so much because it’s not always just about sitting through lectures and labs; we also get to measure bat frequencies, visit the Slimbridge bird reserve and also visit Bristol Zoo! Pretty cool huh! I came back at 10.30pm and immediately whacked some bacon under the grill and put some of my locally baked bread in the toaster. I had one of the nicest bacon sandwiches I have ever had! But this may have something to do with the fact that I was absolutely ravenous by the time I came home. This has been another successful day and I think I am really going to miss this challenge when it’s over!

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6 May 2014

Day 6: Local Food Tastes Better

I have done zero revision today and instead of feeling exceptionally guilty I actually feel great! I had two lectures so had no time to think about making an extravagant breakfast this morning, so porridge again but I added an extra twist by putting walnuts on top. It was great because this added to the creaminess of the porridge but also gave me an early morning protein boost. With lectures from 11-1 done I was about to head home until I remembered I had to pick up a report on Owl Pellets that I had completed last term. I think this is where today’s drive for revision died! I miraculously managed a first and after having a celebratory high-five with a course mate (so cool), I walked home with a spring in my step. I had another portion of my spaghetti bolognese for lunch and there is still yet another portion to go in the fridge! Instead of returning to my room and reading more exciting things about how plants have adapted to life on land, I spent the entire afternoon watching catchup TV on my laptop! Felt very cheeky. And the revision front didn’t improve after this… By 6 o’clock I had to go to my weekly Zumba class and revision time was disappearing fast! But with the combination of moves like ‘jazz hands’ and ‘milking the disco cow’ I had forgotten all about the need to learn more about plants and the only thing now on my mind was supper. This came in the form of roasted and pan fried chicken leg with roasted peppers, swede, onion and potato with some steamed broccoli on the side. Amazingly tasty! Chicken on the bone is so flavoursome. Think it also has something to do with buying it from the butchers – another reason to support our local food shops.

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5 May 2014

Day 5: Half Way There

Feeling revision stress so I am going to keep this very simple! Breakfast was porridge again which was good, lunch was toasted malt loaf with butter and to add a little energy I had a fairtrade coffee too. Supper was a very simple leek and potato soup (one I made earlier) and to top it all off I had a nice rhubarb crumble as a treat. Sorry for the brief log but it's time to get back to revision!

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4 May 2014

May The Fourth Of Food Be With You

Today has been brilliant! Had so much inspiration from the food festival yesterday that I have been thinking about food all day. So for breakfast I had a nice change with a brunch instead of my normal porridge which felt like a nice treat. Lunch time was in the name of leftovers! I had bolognese with salad which was quite refreshing and light. But the real bonus of today was my amazing pork chop with a carrot and swede mash and steamed broccoli with a red cabbage and onion gravy. All of the ingredients came from either the local butchers or from my veg box! Another very successful day in my challenge!

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3 May 2014

Day Number 3

Today was much better than yesterday both food-wise and time-wise. I visited the Bristol Food Connections Festival and it was brilliant! So to prepare myself for a long day of food hunting in the festival I had the hearty breakfast that is porridge (again!). I have actually started to look forward to my early morning fix of porridge which is great because all the ingredients come from such local places. For lunch today I had a very small top up of food to leave space for all the amazing things in the festival. This was just butter on 3 slices of some lovely organic malt loaf that I bought in the shop Wild Oats. So, with some extra fuel in the tank I set off for the food phenomenon dragging some of my flat mates along in the process. After we had walked around a few tents they all appreciated that I had brought them! I went to watch the recording of BBC 4's Farming Today at Harbourside which was great and I really enjoyed listening to the topics that came. Could say it was food for thought! After a long day of dribbling over so much amazing food it was time to come home and for supper I made the homely Italian favourite: Spaghetti Bolognese. It turned out to be really rich and tasty and the lovely mince that came from the butchers added to the dish. All in all a very successful day and no disasters like yesterday's!

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2 May 2014

Day 2: Going Veggie

Breakfast today was porridge again but with a berry and raisin twist. It was still really tasty and the added texture made it better. I had lunch at home today and had cheese and onion on toast with a small salad side garnish. This was a particularly good meal because the cheese was from Somerset, the butter was from 2 miles away from my childhood home in Pembrokeshire and the bread was baked in the shop Wild Oats! A very good balance. Supper came as a bit of a disaster because I tried to make an eggy vegetarian carbonara with mushrooms and onions instead of bacon and the eggs were overcooked and rubbery which made eating it unpleasant! The flavour was there but the texture was all wrong. Sad times, especially when all of the ingredients came from such a good place! I will try harder next time. Tomorrow I look forward to visiting the Bristol Food Connections Festival and enjoying a carnivorous day eating more lovely meat from the butchers!
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1 May 2014

Day 1 Of The Challenge!

Day 1 has been great fun and very tasty! For breakfast I had some locally sourced porridge with a cheeky sprinkling of demerara sugar BUT it was organic even though it had Brazilian roots AND it came from a local independent shop (Wild Oats) so I think it's only a slap on the wrist for that one.... I am not eating plain porridge! Lunch was also great and I discovered the amazing place that is St Nick's market. So many delicious looking food stalls! I chose to get a pulled pork roll from the Grillstock stall which turned out to be a major win - not only was it super tasty but the pork came from free range and organic pigs that were on a local farm. And supper wasn't too bad either, I say wasn't too bad, I mean awesome! I had an amazing lamb chop from the butchers Ruby and White and a tasty selection of roasted root vegetables which came from my veg box. All in all very good and this challenge is very fun. Look forward to what tomorrow brings!

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