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Beanfeast 23rd September 2012

LoVe Eating, a Sunday in September 2012, Muswell Hall. Here is Gemma setting out the food. About 20 people came along and the focus was primarily  UK grown pulses: field beans, yellow split peas, green split peas and marrowfat peas.

This was the first time LoVe Eating was held in a public setting and it worked really well.

Gemma's Venn diagram, inviting us to address this dilemma: what foods are there that are ethical, cheap and fun? Gruel is ethical and cheap, Bouja Bouja ice cream is fun and ethical, a MacDonald's Happy Meal is fun and cheap. How do we find foods that are all three?

This LoVe Eating afternoon we ate our way through several dishes that managed to tick all the boxes. We had vegan sushi, pancakes, sprouted beans, hummous, salads, loads of dips and that delicious layer cake Gemma is turning onto a plate in the picture above. It was like a banquet.

Here, Rebecca modelling the latest in sustainable extravagance; Urban Harvest cocktails made with foraged ingredients. The gin and vodka is UK sourced, the sugar for the syrups is not.

I forced myself to test them all. The bay liqueur and the mint one were my favourites.
Nick Saltmarsh from came to talk about the very lovely fava bean which he is able to sell and distribute in the UK. It was a tale of fickle dietary fashions, the insanity of 'boomerang' food trading and of exciting taste bud opportunities as we rediscover these little nuggets. I hadn't realised that lots of the beans we grow are exported to countries like Egypt. Are we buying them back as falafel?

Gemma was selling dried pulses at cost price. I bought a huge tub of marrowfat peas for 38p - what a bargain. I can't wait to try them out. Informative talks, cheap cooking ingredients, cocktails and a feast. What a winning combination!