Today kicks off the second week of Fairtrade Fortnight. I do try to use Fairtrade ingredients when I can but events such as these serve as a timely reminder. As do my children. Both boy and girl have undertaken projects on Fairtrade at school and keep me in check with eagle eyes to seek out the Fairtrade logo in the supermarket. Woe betide me if I buy the wrong bananas. This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight (23rd February to 8th March) is a two-week national campaign that encourages everyone in the UK to “choose products that change lives”. First launched in 1995, the 2015 campaign turns the spotlight on producers who grow some of the British public’s favourite everyday commodities, including cocoa, sugar and tea, to show the difference that Fairtrade makes to their lives. Visit www.fairtrade.org.uk/fortnight for more information.
Traidcraft, the UK’s leading fair trade organisation have just launched some new and improved cookies and sent us some delicious samples to try. They were devoured by my two, I only got the crumbs. The cookies come in three different flavours, Double Chocolate Chunk, Stem Ginger and Chewy Fruit & Oat and are the first cookies on the market to contain fair trade palm oil. Traidcraft has started working with smallholder palm farmers in Ghana to produce sustainable, ethical palm oil which has a positive impact on both deforestation and the lives of the farmers that produce the oil. That's the way the Fairtrade cookie crumbles.
Fairtrade Foundation sent us a parcel of goodies containing a selection of new Fairtrade products that make a real difference to the lives, and futures, of over 1.4 million farmers and producers in developing countries. Divine 70% Dark Chocolate Hearts, Waitrose Seriously Silky White Chocolate, Pukka Rooibos & Honeybush Tea, Squires Kitchen Sugarpaste (the first in the UK to be Fairtrade Certified) and Quinola Quinoa. I had the Quinoa for lunch and the kids had the chocolate. That doesn't seem a fair trade to me...
I loved the precooked ready-to-eat pearl and black quinoa from Quinola. Sustainable organic, fairly traded and just like Paddington, it hails from Peru. I've had mixed results cooking my own from scratch so ready made is a perfect solution. Fantastically crunchy and made a wonderful salad with a handful of fresh herbs, spring onions and some of my home cured Scottish Salmon.
Boy and Girl both love working with sugarpaste and quickly staked their claim to the blue and white packs of Squires Kitchen ready to roll sugarpaste. This is the very first sugarpaste in the UK to be Fairtrade certified.
Their plan was to bake and decorate a cake for Foodie Loon's birthday. They scoured Pinterest for blue and white inspiration and came up with the somewhat unlikely offering of a Piñata Lighthouse Cake. I can take no credit for this one at all, bar taking the photos. Perhaps it's not such a random theme for a cake as we did spend A Night at Buchanness Lighthouse.
Mary Berry's 20cm Victoria Sandwich Recipe was used and baked as three separate cakes in 18cm diameter tins. Two layers were sandwiched together with cream and jam with a hole cut out and filled up piñata style with Haribo. The third sponge was cut into ever decreasing circles which were then stacked up with support from jam, cream and a wooden skewer. At this point I did extol the virtues of a naked cake but my words fell on deaf ears
Next came the sugarpaste. They inform me that it was really good to handle with no extra icing sugar required. Not too crumbly and not too sticky. Apparently this is important. I wouldn't know never having tackled this particular beast. I reckon they did a pretty good job with the decoration. Particularly as by this point we were getting a bit pushed for time as we were heading off for a birthday treat of a picnic at Crathes Castle followed by a treetop adventure at Go Ape. Whilst they were most impressed by the marbling effect on their two tone waves, the pièce de résistance as far as I was concerned was definitely the yellow gummi bears and fried egg lights.