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The Secret Seed Society produce a series of children's books, aimed at teaching children to take responsibility for their environment by encouraging them to grow organic vegetables. Each pack includes a packet of seeds for children to plant. The idea behind the project is to educate children through play and activity to learn about food and where it comes from, to encourage them to make healthy food choices for life.
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1. “Making learning fun is easy with Secret Seed Society”

London Early Years Foundation see active play at the heart of the learning which takes place at their nurseries. This Spring their open days for parents focused on growing activities and they designed some fun workshops around the Secret Seed Society characters and online activities. Which you can try at home or at your nursery.

LEYF open day

During Henry Fawcett Open Day




Every nursery received a boxset of Secret Seed Society Storybooks and Seeds. “The children were excited by the packaging and getting to unwrap their seed packet. They enjoyed the story and excitedly shouted out different vegetables and activities in the story.” Recounted Cat Wederell, who works at the Nursery at Marsham Street.

4-pack-bundle


“Children love the outdoors and are fascinated by things that grow. Exploring living things stimulates children’s creative thinking and instils a sense of awe and wonder. The books and seeds from the Secret Seed Society featuring vegetable characters are a great way to make learning fun.” June O’Sullivan, CEO London Early Years Foundation (LEYF)

Painting vegetable masks

Painting vegetable masks

At Marsham Street Cat helped the children to grow their Chrissie Cress seeds “They kept an eye on their seeds, having a daily look. They were happy to try the cress after seeing me eat some, but were surprised with the taste! I will include it in sandwiches next time!!” .

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2. What’s a propagator?

Here’s some tips on propagating plants from seed from a workshop we ran for young growers at Cultivate Waltham Forest.

My propagator

A propagator creates the perfect conditions for growing vegetables from seeds, keeping the soil moist and the air warm. You can buy a propagator like this in our shop
made out of recycled plastic and designed for re-use. You can craft a propagator out of a plastic food or drink container. By using a propagator your seedlings should be showing within a week.




DSCF4479

Make less mess and save on compost by holding your pots over the compost while you fill them.


3 prop

Lay your seeds out on top of your pots so that you know where you’ve planted. Label them before covering them with a layer of compost so you don’t end up double planting the same pot.


helping pot

Take the time to help younger growers learn how to do the simple tasks and then you can work as a team.


dirty hands

Don’t worry about getting your hands dirty, you can wash them later. Wearing an apron can help keep your clothes clean and give you something to wipe your hands on while your working.


DSCF4500

Growing vegetables together as a family is a great way to start eating more healthily. The curiosity and enthusiasm for cooking from scratch will stretch beyond the things that you grow.


DSCF4532

You can label the pots by cutting strips of plastic from yogurt pots or sticking card labels on cocktail sticks. Or if you want a surprise and are up for the challenge of trying to identify what you have grown in a weeks time don’t label them. Look at the leaf shapes and colours and see if you know what you have grown. Don’t be disappointed if it all looks like cress, lots of brassicas and leafy vegetables look very similar in the early stages.


DSCF4525

While taking it in turns and helping each other is important making up challenges like racing your brother to sprout a seedling first makes nurturing and tracking the progress of your plants even more exciting.


dirty hands 1

Remember to wash your hands after gardening and water your seeds regularly to keep the soil moist.

Traffic Light Propagator CU

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3. Tips to Start Growing in Spring

Germination: is the process of a seed bursting open and sprouting into a plant. Most seeds take warmth as a sign to begin germinating. When you feel warm sun on your skin, think of your seeds. Whether they are in pots on windowsills or in the ground outside, they will be feeling the warmth too. Here’s Rudi Radishes tips on germinating indoors and outdoors…




Making paper pots to give broad beans a good start

Paper pots ready to plant the broad beans

Germinating indoors:
1. Use a propagator will keep the soil warm and moist, the perfect conditions for germinating seeds into seedlings.
2. Homemade propagator, from upcycled packaging.
3. Paperpots are cheap and easy to make.



cover with upside cloche's

Home-made cloche's

Germinating outdoors:
1. Before you plant your seeds, warm the soil by laying black polythene over the area you are planning to plant.
2. When you plant your seeds, keep them warm and protected from hungry bugs by making a cloche or a mini-greenhouse. Here’s how to upcycle a plastic bottle into a mini-greenhouse.


Freshly pulled radishes.

Radishes take 8-10 weeks bo grow ready to eat


Hello Seed Agents! Have you read my storybook, Bong, Bong, Bongity, Bong? It’s perfect for Spring, because I really know what it means to have a spring in my step, because I’ve got rhythm. My storybook comes with secret seeds to grow radishes! So you could be pulling bright pink radishes like these out of your veg patch this year.

Happy growing!

Rudi Radish




Seeds for kids
P.s. You can order a Secret Seed Society delivery to your door!

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4. Make your own Vegetable Mask

Make and wear masks of your favourite fruit and vegetable characters from Seed City. This is perfect for a crafty classroom activity, family fun on a rainy days or an arty birthday party.

Albon Asparagus Mask

Albon Mask top JPG

Albon Asparagus Mask PDF



  • Skills: Observation and identification of vegetables. Colouring in and craft. Assembly of pieces.
  • Print out the PDFs to help you with your creation.
  • We recommend taking a look at the vegetable or fruit of the mask you are making to see the different textures and colours.
  • If you mount your mask on cardboard it will lasts longer and you can collage it in different materials.
  • Carla Carrot Mask Bunches JPG

    Carla Carrot Mask JPG

    Carla Carrot Mask PDF


    Sanghita Mask

    Sanghita Mask JPG

    Sanghita Spring Onion PDF

    Stella Strawberry Hat JPG

    Stella Strawberry JPG

    Stella Strawberry Mask PDF


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    5. Flipping all year long

    Today is Pancake Day! Also called Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday if you take part in Lent. It’s traditionally a day to eat up all sorts of yummy things in your house that you are promising not to eat during Lent, like chocolate. It’s a long month if you’re giving up your junkiest habit so first of all you need to eat a shed-load of pancakes.

    It’s strange people MAKE and EAT pancakes only one day a year.

    HOW ODD?! Why only eat such a great food one day out of 365? We must change this silliness once and for all.

    But how? …Time for a Seed Agent Mission.

    WHAT IF?! We rename pancakes Flippers! Every time we make a pancake we call it a Flipper. Everytime we eat a pancake we call it Flipper. Everytime we see a pancake we call it a Flipper. Soon the world will call pancakes – Flippers!! And then we can eat Flippers ALL year round, and not just on Fat Tuesday.

    There’s nothing that can’t be used to fill a flipper, sweet or savoury, hot or cold, the choice is yours Seed Agents! Try some veg-flippers! “Move along old-school lemon and sugar”, “Bye-bye gooey joys of chocolate”, “Hello pongy cheese, spinach and mushrooms!”

    Have a go at making your own flippers here and experiment eating them with different fillings. Discover which one you like best!

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    6. Seed Agents forage for blackberries.

    We are always pleased to get your photos. This is a photo of two Seed Agents, hard at work dodging the prickly brambles to forage blackberries from a hedge near where they live.

    Foraging means finding food in the wild. At different times of the year their are different things on offer in the wild.

    Picking food for free from the autumn hedgerow

    Delicious! Evie can not resist the blackberry taste.

     

     

    Have you foraged? if so please share your pics with us. send them to fun@secretseedsociety.com.


     

     

     

     Evie and Leila please take a picture of what you make with these luscious blackberries.

    These look ripe and juicy

    The bramble is scratchy but the fruit is luscious!

    Late Summer, early Autumn is the time to find blackberries, elderberries, crab apples, damsons and plums in the hedgerow.

     

    Mmmm delicious!

    Foraging in the autumn hedgerow.

     What will you make with what you pick?
    Evie spies some blackberries high up.

    Leila thinks there is enough already

     

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    7. Harry Birtwistle’s Magnificent Plum & Almond Cake


    Harry taught me to make a quick, easy and magnificently plum-packed cake while I was staying with him. It’s based on a Nigel Slater recipe but with twice as many plums as Nigel dares to put in. It’s a great recipe for fallen plums or for those just ripe because it hides the gooey bits and sweetens any tartness.


    Harry loves growing and cooking vegetables and he reminds me of Grandpa Swede because he’s wise and kind and a good teacher. This is a video of Harry in his garden and talking about composing music, you get a peek of the plum tree from which I picked the plums for this cake.




    In the UK plums ripen around August time. If you don’t have your own tree keep your eyes peeled for ones in public spaces, belonging to neighbours or friends. People are often overwhelmed by the quantity of plums they have and are grateful of help to eat them.



    Ingredients
    400g-600g fruit
    150g Sugar
    150g Oil (olive/ walnut/ sunflower)
    3 eggs
    110g spelt/ wholemeal flour
    90g ground almonds
    1.5 tsp baking powder



    Line an oven proof dish approx 20cm x 20cm with greaseproof paper.
    Warm oven to 180ºC.
    Collect about 30 plums, cut in half and remove stone.
    Beat the sugar, oil, eggs together by mixer or by hand.
    If you fancy adding a spice or essence this is your chance.



    In a separate bowl sieve together the flour, ground almonds and baking powder.
    Mix the wet mix into the dry mix.
    Pour into the baking tin.
    Push the fruit into the the cake mix. The plums will stick up out of the mix. Lean them on each other so that you can fit
    Cook for 30 mins then check and reduce to 160ºC for 10 mins.



    I think it will work with different fruits. I tried it with apples sprinkled in cinnamon and it was delicious too. Let me know what you try in the comments below. Thanks.

    Introduce a child you know to the joys of growing, cooking and eating vegetables through Secret Seed Society’s stories and seed packs..


    Great gift for young growers These storybooks are a great way to build up children’s confidence in recognising vegetables. The stories are particularly enjoyed by 3-8 year olds. Visit shop


    “Original, ethical and educational presents to be enjoyed by Children and grown-ups together. 5/5 rating from The Green Familia.Visit shop

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    8. Pumpkin fun for halloween and Thanksgiving

    Magically cook your Jack-O-lantern into some delicious meals. Prepare some wonderful food ready for Thanksgiving.

     

    Here’s some guidance on how to make 4 courses from your lantern. Every pumpkin is different so add your own flair!

    Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • Scoop the goo and seeds out of the middle of the pumpkin into a colander.
  • Remove fleshy bits to leave seeds.
  • Rinse seed under tap to remove remaining goo.
  • Place in oven or frying pan with glug of oil, sprinkle or salt / soya sauce, ground black pepper.
  • They should be done in 10 minutes and ready to eat
  • Spiced Pumpkin Soup

    To serve 6. Keeps in fridge for 3 days or frozen.

    Put the following in a tray to roast in oven 180 degrees, till soft and golden, about 30mins:

  • 1kg of roughly chopped pumpkin
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 onions cut into quarters
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • Optional, if you have some windfall apples that need eating up, core and cut into quarter.
  • Put the following together and liquidise until desired smoothness:

  • Roasted goodies from above.
  • 2 pints of stock of your choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • Optional, if you like it creamy, add 200ml of tofu or creme fraiche.
  • Place in a saucepan and bring back to the boil

  • Serve with your own spooky crutons or toast.
  • Roast Tomato, Rosemary and Pumpkin Spaghetti

    To serve 4.

    Put the following in a tray to roast in oven 180 degrees, till soft and golden, about 30mins:

  • 1kg of roughly chopped pumpkin
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 16-20 small tomatoes, the last of your home grown ones.
  • 4 large sprigs of rosemary, lots of people have it growing in their garden, and it grows wild, so ask around to find your own friendly and free supply.
  • 2 red onions cut into rings
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • Caramelised Pumpkin Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt

    Serves 4-8. Store in freezer to eat another day

    Put the following in a tray to roast in oven 180 degrees, till soft and golden, about 30mins:

  • 1kg of roughly chopped pumpkin
  • A glug of sunflower oil
  • 2 Tbspoons of brown sugar
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon
  • Leave the pumpkin to cool then blend:

  • Roasted pumpkin.
  • 500ml of vanilla yogurt, plain yogurt or double cream.
  • 15 ice cubes
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    9. Seed Agent: Bodhi, 5 year old, from Massachusetts USA

    Bodhi the proud red pepper grower

    This is Bodhi, age 5, who lives in Falmouth, Massachusetts USA
    He likes to grow beans, radishes, cucumbers, and red peppers. Here is a pepper he picked just before it was completely red so that he could have it, and not share with a pesky squirrel..
    Bodhi loves to grow flowers too. These are some moon flowers that he tried for the first time this summer.

    Moonflowers

    Would you like to be one of our featured Seed Agents on Secretseedsociety.com? send us an email with a photo of you and what you have grown. Your name and a bit about what vegetables you like to grow. fun@secretseedsociety.com.

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    10. Helping Children garden up-close with a proagator.

    Propagators show children growing in a protected environment. This means more success and easier for them to understand. Also some crops like micro greens are ready to eat in a short time frame. Here is how to acquire and set up a propagator and what to use them for. 

    Planting seeds for germination in your propagator.

    Attractive re-cycled plastic windowsill propagator

    A. Why do I need a propagator? 

    A propagator is very useful for several things

    1. Starting seeds growing (germinating)

    2. Growing micro-greens

    3. Growing cuttings (bits off an already growing plant)

     

    B. How does it work? 

    A propagator traps moisture and prevents evaporation. It also shelters small plants from draughts.

     

    C. Making a propagator.

    Re-use the clear plastic containers that supermarkets use for selling everything from cakes to fruit.

     

    D. Buying a propagator. 

    They are readily available from garden stores but not that attractive for your windowsill.

    Buy a flower shaped propagator already complete with pots looks much prettier on your windowsill!

     

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    11. Germination of Mungbean

    This is so cool. Try it yourself with Mung beans, they are the speediest sprouts and within a few days you’ll see them change.
    ORDER Mingo Mungbean Story & Seed Pack for the ultimate jam jar growing experience.

    By Wjh31 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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    12. What will you cook with Green Tomatoes?

    Green Tomato Chutney, this is a delicious recipe.


    How many tomatoes?

  • Pick all the tomatoes that remain on the vines
  • Weigh them so you know whether to scale the recipe up or down.
  • Ingredients

  • 2.5kg green tomatoes chopped
  • 0.5kg finely chopped onion
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 250g of chopped sultanas or other dried fruit
  • 1L of vinegar
  • 0.5kg brown sugar
  • 3 tsp pepper
  • Options:

  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1-2 chillies
  • Cloves or ginger
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • Cooking tips

  • There are two main things going on in this recipe. Firstly, there’s all the chopping. Secondly, there is the boiling. I’d recommend getting some help chopping, it can take a while to chop this many little, odd shaped tomatoes.
  • The vinegar, sugar, spices and dried fruits go into the pan first. Once the vinegar is hot and the sugar has melted.
  • Begin stirring in the chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic and chilli.
  • Overnight salting of tomatoes, allows you to drain some water out of the tomatoes. I think this is necessary if your tomatoes are very juicy it’s a good option. I didn’t have time to do this and I liked the consistency of the outcome so it is not vital.
  • Hot Jars, for preserving is key. Getting rid of any bacteria in the jar and providing a tight seal as the jars cool down.
  • Preserves are great to share and swap with friends and neighbours. Cramming the excess of today’s crop into jars for pleasure in the year to come.

    Great as gifts and to say thank you!

    I delivered the jars of chutney to some of my fellow vegetable growers from the Rhodes Estate, Dalston, to say thank you for helping to build the gardens this year.




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    13. How to grow microgreens with children

    Chrissie Cress, uncovers the latest fashion for microgreens and how easy it is to grow your own.
    What are Microgreens? Microgreens are leafy vegetables harvested when the stem and leaf are roughly 3-5cm high.
    How to grow Microgreens: Microgreens can be grown indoors, all year round. Some daylight is required. If you would like to grow something indoors without daylight try sprouting.


    Why use a propagator A propagator speeds up the germination and growth process by giving the seeds the perfect conditions of warmth and moisture. You’ll need to water them less and you’ll get faster growth.

    Make your own propagator by following the Upcycled Propagator Project using plastic containers.


    Order Kids Propagator Growing Kit with Stories and Seeds.
    Order Trio Propagator Set, without Stories and Seeds.


    Microgreens are easy to grow, as easy as growing cress
    “Nearly everyone has given growing cress a go. It’s often the first thing people try to grow as children. Kids are often creative with cress, growing it in egg shells with faces on, and on their granny’s carpet while grownups seem to have forgotten how good cress tastes with eggs at breakfast or in a summer salad. I recently noticed that grownups are secretly growing cress and serving it in restaurants and dinner parties by the name of Microgreens!” revealed Chrissie Cress.

    Different varieties of microgreens
    Mustard Cress
    Kale
    Endive
    Beetroot
    Carrot
    Spinach
    Radish
    Watercress
    Mizuna
    Peas



    Setting up your propagator for micro greens

    • Growing time 2-4 weeks.
    • Fill your pots with a light moist seed compost.
    • Avoid composts which contain peat, they aren’t good for the environment.
    • Scatter seeds densely in each pot.
    • For example seeds per 2cm pot: rocket 15, radish 10, peas 4.
    • Cover the seeds with compost and firm gently.
    • Water well.
    • Put on the lid and leave in a sunny place.
    • When they are 3-5cm tall cut from the stem.
    • To plant more, just sprinkle new seeds on top and cover with compost.



    Microgreens are nutritious, tasty and look cool on the plate.

    Order your reusable, recycled plastic, UK manufactured Secret Seed Society Propagator Kit!

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    14. Family Fun in Highgate Village

    Every Saturday there are theatre shows at Lauderdale House for the family. Looking out over London from Highgate Hill, this is a stunning building with gardens for you and the kids to explore.

    We performed our “What’s the Big Secret Show?”. Here’s the highlights.



    Our show’s really interactive and everyone gets a chance to be part of the show.

    Here’s the cabbages learning their move.



    Grandpa Swede was on hand to give tips on how to be a very strong cabbage in the allotment. It’s all in the curve of the arms.


    Everyone playing their part in Grandpa Swede’s allotment.


    Dancing like runner beans.


    Dancing like onions.


    Tommy P.Tato was playing some next level beats on the synth.


    And we finally let the secret out of the suitcase and now there are more young vegetable growers in Highgate than ever before.

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    15. Win Tickets to meet your favourite Gardeners and hear how to grow even more!

    Win tickets to meet your favourite gardeners at GIY in Birmingham at the University on July 20th.
    Alys Fowler, Mark Diacono, Mr Vertical Veg himself and many more.

    Read all about it here GIY

    .

    Kids preparing the ground to plant their seeds

    Children love to grow

    Send us a picture of your young grower with what they are growing to fun@secretseedsociety.com or direct to our phone 07968535020. Include your e-mail or telephone number. We will choose the one we like the best to win 2 tickets. Entrance closes midday Wednesday 17th July.

    We will be posting some of our favourite pictures on our web-site to encourage even more kids to join in gardening fun.

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    16. Vegetables provide the entertainment at London’s children’s parties

    The best kids parties are full of colour, music, games and laughter. A Secret Seed Society children’s party will bring you all this with vegetables as the stars, the heroes, the entertainers. Your guests will leave with a bounce in their step and an excitement for growing and eating vegetables.

    “Vegetables are great food for the imagination, the colours, textures, flavours, and processes from growing, to cooking and finally composting.” Ash Perrin, Secret Seed Society Entertainer.

    The parties bring to life characters from the Seed City storybooks. If your child has a favourite vegetable or character let us know and we’ll incorporate it into the show. if you want a special theme just let us know; Pirate Parsnips, Ghoulish Gourds, Princess and the Pea. Remember Cinderella went to the ball in a pumpkin!

    Sugar coated pink cup cakes and over the top goodie bags are out, London’s best children’s entertainers are ready to pick up their box of vegetable tricks and visit your party! The parties are adapted to suit your group. We recommend our parties for 3-9 years old.





    We provide party bags and prizes that provide fun and inspiration for all the kids after the party has ended without compromising your eco and ethical standards.






    Secret Seed Society has worked to make vegetables more loveable through storybooks, theatre shows and workshops but now you can invite us to your birthday party.
    Email fun@secretseedsociety.com with the details of your party and we will let you know if we can make it and give you a quote, or call Amy 07779 080776.
    Secret Seed Society kids parties are currently available in London, if you are not London based please contact us to express your interest.
    Specs: max 30 kids, 2 hours, space provided / chosen by you.




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    17. Tips to Start Growing in Spring

    Germination: is the process of a seed bursting open and sprouting into a plant. Most seeds take warmth as a sign to begin germinating. When you feel warm sun on your skin, think of your seeds. Whether they are in pots on windowsills or in the ground outside, they will be feeling the warmth too. Here’s Rudi Radishes tips on germinating indoors and outdoors…




    Making paper pots to give broad beans a good start

    Paper pots ready to plant the broad beans

    Germinating indoors:
    1. Use a propagator will keep the soil warm and moist, the perfect conditions for germinating seeds into seedlings.
    2. Homemade propagator, from upcycled packaging.
    3. Paperpots are cheap and easy to make.



    cover with upside cloche's

    Home-made cloche's

    Germinating outdoors:
    1. Before you plant your seeds, warm the soil by laying black polythene over the area you are planning to plant.
    2. When you plant your seeds, keep them warm and protected from hungry bugs by making a cloche or a mini-greenhouse. Here’s how to upcycle a plastic bottle into a mini-greenhouse.


    Freshly pulled radishes.

    Radishes take 8-10 weeks bo grow ready to eat


    Hello Seed Agents! Have you read my storybook, Bong, Bong, Bongity, Bong? It’s perfect for Spring, because I really know what it means to have a spring in my step, because I’ve got rhythm. My storybook comes with secret seeds to grow radishes! So you could be pulling bright pink radishes like these out of your veg patch this year.

    Happy growing!

    Rudi Radish




    Seeds for kids
    P.s. You can order a Secret Seed Society delivery to your door!

    Add a Comment
    18. Children’s recipe for mince sauce for spaghetti or jacket potatoes or pizza

    Susan shows her new recipe book.

    Diabetic Diva Susan with her latest recipe book.

    I asked our friend Susan http://www.diabetic-diva.com/ also known as Diabetic Diva whether she had some recipes that children could cook with their grown up.

    Diabetic recipes are ‘Healthy’ because they have limited amounts of refined sugars and salts so if you want more healthy recipes take a look at her website.
    Remember you don’t have to be diabetic to enjoy Susan’s tasty recipes, in fact eating these healthy feasts can help prevent you becoming diabetic so tuck in!

    TWIRLY SPAGHETTI & MINCE SAUCE

    A family favourite and so easy to make. The mince can be prepared in a batch and frozen for at least 3 months. Good with jacket potatoes, rice, pasta, mock pizza.

    Main ingredient: Mince beef, spaghetti Preparation time: 15 minutes
    Cooking time: 30 minutes Serves 4:

    EQUIPMENT
    Chopping board
    Sharp knife
    Can opener
    Measuring spoon
    Large saucepan with lid
    Wooden spoon

    For spaghetti
    Measuring jug
    Measuring spoon
    Medium size saucepan with lid
    Spoon for stirring

    INGREDIENTS
    500g lean ground mince beef
    ½ sweet pepper, roughly chopped
    ½ onion roughly chopped
    1 tin chopped tomatoes
    1 jar pasta sauce
    ½ tsp salt
    ¼ tsp black pepper
    2 tsp dried Italian herbs

    METHOD
    COOK the mince in a pot stirring with a wooden spoon until it’s brown in colour and no pink bits remain. ADD the onion and peppers and cook for another 3 minutes
    NEXT add all the other ingredients and let meat mixture cook until the sauce starts to bubble. TURN the heat down to low and let this cook for at least 20 minutes
    SERVE with spaghetti and a salad (even a teeny weeny one would be great) Remember your 5 A Day.

    SPAGHETTI
    PUT 500ml of water and ¼ tsp salt into a pot
    LET it boil
    ADD 100g wholemeal spaghetti to the boiling water
    COOK for 8 minutes (al dente) cooked still firm
    DRAIN and put on a plate
    SPOON some mince sauce over
    If you like sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over and dried parsley.

    Try these
    Make mock pizzas using the mince sauce. Slice a wholemeal French roll in 2. Spoon some of the sauce over and about 2 tbsp grated cheese. Grill under hot grill until cheese melts.

    Or add red kidney beans, ½ to 1 tsp chilli powder and dried Italian herbs to make chilli.
    Here is Susan cooking with some children.

    Susan cooking with some young friends.

    Children love to cook when there's a grown-up to help.

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    19. Earlyarts Network – Creative vegetables

    “Cultivate our children with creativity.” says Sir Ken Robinson of Patron of Earlyarts International.

    As part of the Earlyarts Unconference 2012 we were sharing our resources and enthusiasm for developing creativity, all with our own edible vegetable twist.


    Here’s Secret Seed Society creative with vegetables:

  • What’s the Big Secret Theatre Show
  • Write a story set in Seed City
  • Design your own vegetable villain and heroes
  • Make your own Secret Seed Character Masks.
  • Chrissie Cress’ Maize
  • Guess who veg cards
  • Colour in sheet
  • Interesting Earlyarts people we met:

    Put yourself on the Earlyarts Map or see who is in your area

    Add a Comment
    20. Secret Seed Society Weekly

    Is out today! Our weekly update sharing what we have found exciting in the world of edible sustainability. Food for thought around gardening, cooking and eating plus interesting debates around a more sustainable future.


    Published Editions of Secret Seed Society Weekly

    6th November 2012
    30th October 2012
    23rd October 2012
    16th October 2012

  • To subscribe to receive the weekly picks from the world of edible sustainability view one of the archived papers above and click on SUBSCRIBE.
  • To contribute We curate news, videos and pictures from links we spot on twitter, so tweet us LINKS so that we can look at putting them in the weekly
  • To advertise on Secret Seed Society Weekly email sales@secretseedsociety.com. We are particularly interested in gardening, cooking, family friendly products, services, events and books.
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    21. What to make with Green Tomatoes?

    Green Tomato Chutney


    How many tomatoes?

  • Pick all the tomatoes that remain on the vines
  • Weigh them so you know how to scale up or down the recipe
  • Ingredients

  • 2.5kg green tomatoes chopped
  • 0.5kg finely chopped onion
  • Options:
  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1-2 chillies
  • Cloves or ginger
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 250g of chopped sultanas or other dried fruit
  • 1L of vinegar
  • 0.5kg brown sugar
  • 3 tsp pepper
  • Cooking tips

  • There are two main things going on in this recipe. Firstly, there’s all the chopping. Secondly, there is the boiling. I’d recommend getting some help chopping, it can take a while to chop this many little, odd shaped tomatoes.
  • The vinegar, sugar, spices and dried fruits go into the pan first. Once the vinegar is hot and the sugar has melted.
  • Begin stirring in the chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic and chilli.
  • Overnight salting of tomatoes, allows you to drain some water out of the tomatoes. I think this is necessary if your tomatoes are very juicy it’s a good option. I didn’t have time to do this and I liked the consistency of the outcome so it is not vital.
  • Hot Jars, for preserving is key. Getting rid of any bacteria in the jar and providing a tight seal as the jars cool down.
  • Preserves are great to share and swap with friends and neighbours. Cramming the excess of today’s crop into jars for pleasure in the year to come.

    Great as gifts and to say thank you!

    I delivered the jars of chutney to some of my fellow vegetable growers from the Rhodes Estate, Dalston, to say thank you for helping to build the gardens this year.




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    22. One Pot Cooking

    One Pot cooking is perfect for family or friends, it’s a healthy, economical and low mess way to cook. Children love to help with all the chopping up of the All you need is a deep frying pan, large saucepan or wok to cook in.

    Rice Dishes





    Once you get the basics of cooking rice you will be able to create a meal super quick by combining not just the fresh foods that are in season but also making the most of leftovers and your store of tinned, dried or frozen foods. Here is inspiration from some traditional rice dishes.

     

    The Spanish created Paella. It is full of Mediterranean delights; tomatoes, peppers and freshly caught fish if you are by the sea. The rice is often yellow from Saffron (a spice which is made from part of a crocus flower). Sometimes a special pan is used.



    The British created Kedgeree a very tasty and filling breakfast by cooking rice with smoked fish, eggs, onions and curry powder. Wow – those are some flavours!!



    The Italians created Risotto, the rice is normally creamy in colour and flavour. It often features a couple of flavours some more whacky than others, the internet is full of interesting combinations: Mushroom & Parsley, Pumpkin & Parmesan, Asparagus & Walnut…



    A Simple One Pot Meal

    • This is for roughly 2 adults and 2 children. If you end up with too much, keep some back for the next day. It will even be delicious cold so you can pack it for lunch.
    • 1 mug of rice
    • 2 mugs of protein
    • Large onion
    • 2 mugs of vegetables
    • Tbspn Oil
    • 3 mugs of water with 1 stock cube. (look for low salt)

    We vary our ingredients by what we see is available, seasonal or on offer.

    Protein 2 Chicken thighs with meat cut from bone, 300g Sausage, Nuts, 1 tin Butter Beans, 300gFish, 1 tinChickpeas.

    Vegetables Peas, Celery,Peppers, Garlic, French beans, Broad beans, Tomatoes, Carrots, Parsley, Courgette.

    Method

    • Put oil in pan over medium heat and cook meat if using.
    • Take meat out and keep to one side whilst you lightly fry chopped onion and any fresh veg you are using
    • Add stock and bring to boil.
    • Add rice and stir. Keep boiling for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Return the meat to the pan or other protein. Add any frozen veg. Bring back to boil.
    • Turn down to simmer for 5 mins.

    Serve with a crispy salad

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    23. Cool for Kids Stocking Fillers & Gifts

     Original, ethical and educational presents to be enjoyed by Children and grown-ups together.

    Little stocking filler, perfect for posting £5

    Chrissie Cress’ or Mingo Mungbean’s Story & Seed Pack.
    I recommend either of these packs for a super speedy, indoor growing adventure.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Starter Kit £10

    The ultimate Starter Kit ; storybook and seeds of your chosen vegetable and funky windowsill propagator. The propagator is colourful, re-usable and made from recycled plastic in the UK.

     

     

     

    NEW! Hand Forged Secret Seed Society Trowel £15 not just for kids!

    This is a beautifully crafted tool for keen young gardeners or those with smaller hands. Made in Holland to last a life-time. Combine with Story & Seed Packs for the complete Secret Seed Society experience. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

    BOXSET £20

    Our most popular gift, the first 4 Story & Seed Packs as a Boxset. All printed in the UK with vegetables inks. READ, GROW, COOK & EAT.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    NEW!PERSONALISED Garden Tool Giftset £60  not just for kids!

    These tools will last a lifetime. A spade, mattock and rake with long handles will cover most of the gardening jobs. Great for raised beds. The tools will now arrive in the New Year, so we will send a Secret Seed Gift card to your lucky recipient for Xmas to let them know their tolls will arrive shortly.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    SPECIAL OFFER FREE POSTAGE ON ALL XMAS ORDERS

    Get in touch if you have any questions about our products or would like to have Secret Seed Society at your Xmas Fayre, we can offer you a retailer discount if you’d like to sell them for your fundraiser.

    Best Amy & Shena xx

    I love TED talks so I was well chuffed to get asked to talk about ‘My Adventures with Vegetables’

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    24. Tartlets for your sweetheartlet

    Easy recipe for kids to cook tarts

    February 14th is a strange time called Valentine’s Day, when a lot of Grown Ups go bonkers and buy flowers and chocolate for their best friends.

    This got Peter Parsnip thinking. As usual all his pocket money was spent so this is what he did…

    … Peter decided that instead of buying a present he would MAKE one! And for this he thought up a special Valentine’s Day recipe!

    This is what he used:

    • Bread
    • Some oil
    • A heap of colourful vegetables (about a small cup full for each tart)
    • Some cheese for melting
    • Tomato puree
    • & a patty tin to bake your tartlets in.

    (Should take about half an hour altogether)

    “I’ll show Chrissie Cress she is my best friend by making her some lovely tartlets,” he decides, looking around his kitchen for inspiration.

     

    Peter drinks his tea & uses the mug to cut out 6 circles of bread, he then flattens them with a rolling pin.

    After pressing them into a well-oiled patty tin he chops a heap of colourful vegetables (750g of onions, spinach, peppers etc) and softens them up in a pan with some oil for 10 minutes or so.

    When its nicely mushy he plonks it all into the patty tins and adds a little grated cheese, and stands back to admire his work.

    Something is missing…’ He thinks, like any great chef. And then, ‘Aha!’ he gets it:

    Peter thoughtfully squeezes a heart of tomato puree onto the top of the soft veg-filling, and slides the tasty tarts into the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes on a medium heat.

    And then what happens? His sister Carla Carrot comes and sticks her nose in. She peers through the glass in the oven door.

    Oooh are those for me? Oh brilliant! You must really love me!

    Of course I do!’ Peter tells his sister, and says to himself, ‘Phew. Lucky I made six of them!


    How do your tartlets look?

    Send us a picture via e-mail before they all get eaten.

    Basic recipes like Peter’s are perfecto because you can be really creative and add all your own ingredients. 

    All the fun of making, and scrumptious eating too! Unless you make a big mess of course… I had a go and things went a bit wrong. Click here to see What Happens When Baking Goes Wrong...

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    25. Gardening Mission: How to Make a Cloche

    One of the most important things to remember when you are gardening is to make sure that your plants are well looked after and protected.  There are lots of things that can effect how well your plants grow – cold weather, frost, heavy rain and even bugs!  The more you can do to prevent your plants being damaged the better.

     

    But how can I protect my plants?

    It’s simple!  You can make your very own ‘Cloche’!

    OK, but what exactly is a Cloche?

    A Cloche is something used as a cover and placed over plants.

    Cloche’s act like mini-greenhouses – they collect warmth from the sun during the day which warms the soil and keeps it warm at night.  This is how Cloche’s stop plants getting too cold when the temperature falls at night time. Clever eh?!

    That is clever!  So how do I make my own Cloche?

    The best way to make your own Cloche is to reuse any recycled glass or plastic jars and bottles that you may have.  Using something that is see-through is important because the soil under the Cloche needs light to help the plant grow.

    Remember: the number of cloche’s you need to make depends on how much room you have to grow your seeds.

    I used an empty jam jar, a plastic cup, an empty bottle of squash and an empty bottle of water.  I thought I would try different ideas see which worked the best. Keep a look out for see-through containers that could be recycled.

    Making your Cloche:

    1. Wash and remove any labels.

    If you are using jars or cups that already have an open end then you can go to the next stage – ‘Prepare Your Garden’.  If you are using a plastic bottle you have just one more thing to do before it is ready for the garden.

     2. When you have washed and dried your bottle, you will need to get yourself a Grown-Up who can cut off the top with scissors.

    Prepare Your Garden:

    3. Now you’re ready to get planting! Make sure the soil is loose using a trowel or fork.

    4. Next, place your Cloche’s upside and push them down into the soil so that you have made a circle mark – this is the area that you will plant your seeds in!

    Plant Your Seeds:

    5. Pour a few of your chosen seeds into the palm of your hand so that you don’t have too many all in one go.  Scatter them all over the circle and cover with a half centimetre layer of soil and firm down with your hand. If the soil is dry give them a sprinkle of water.

    6. Finally, place your home-made Cloche’s back over the circle and push down hard so that they are firmly in the ground.  Now your seeds will be nice and snug and ready to start growing!

    Remember: Your seeds will still need plenty of water to stop the soil drying out.

    If you don’t make a cloche many seeds can be started off in a pot on a sunny windowsill.

    Don’t forget to send us a picture of your homemade cloches! You can write to us at: Seed H.Q, Studio 013, Netil House, 1a Westgate Street, London E8 3RL. Or you can email us here.

     

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