Tag Archives: Nadia Hillman

Organic nourishment from Neal’s Yard Remedies


As an organic fanatic, I apply the same quest for uncontaminated naturalness to skincare products as to food.

I don’t want to rub parabens (preservative linked to cancer) into my skin.

I don’t want my unctions laced with Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (chemical used in paint stripper linked to skin irritation and allergies), thank you very much.

About half of what you put on your body goes in your body.

Thanks to campaigning, the European Commission is considering a restricted ban on parabens.

However, worrying evidence already exists. Which is why organic standards have already banned parabens.

This is what I like about organic standards: they are based, o so sensibly, on the Precautionary Principle.

Does this ingredient pose a potential health risk?

Is this risk necessary? If not, then…

– don’t take it!

Thanks to the Precautionary principle, organic standards have already banned, as I said, parabens, and Sodium Laurel Sulphate. (And many more).

Factory-made chemicals with potential health risks are cheap to produce – they are in the small print on the packaging. The beneficial ingredients are in bigger lettering, shouted on the packaging, sounding as if they make up most of the product.

Organic skincare products avoid ingredients with health risks and have more active ingredients than non-organic products.

I am always happy to promote products that are as honest as they can get.

I work in PR but I’m also a campaigner. And luckily (could it be any other way?) I do both.

I have been working with Neal’s Yard Remedies, a campaigning (my favourite type) brand.

Please check out its up-to-minute information resource: NYR Natural Health News now edited by previous-Ecologist editor and investigative journalist and author, Pat Thomas.

This blog describes Neal’s Yard Remedies’ eco-factory at Peacemarsh, Dorset.

Neal’s Yard Remedies was founded 30 years ago by pioneering Romy Fraser.

Determined the company would not fall to greenwashing corporates, she sold it in 2006 to environmental campaigner, Peter Kindersley of Sheepdrove Organic Farm (which supplies Neal’s Yard Remedies with organic herbs). The organic products are now all 100% Soil Association certified.

Mini-digression: Romy Fraser makes soaps for Neal’s Yard Remedies, and runs courses on Trill Farm, her must-visit organic farm in Devon - with Daphne Lambert (for the-most-nutritious food education – and food).

Last month, we had a great evening at Neal’s Yard Remedies store in Bristol for Organic September.

We invited Bristol bloggers interested in organic products for babies.

Lovely people and what a great supportive blogging community. And yielding such fresh honest responses to the evening, such as from Tigerlilly Quinn’s night out, ShipShape’s review , Purple Ella, Knitty Mummy, and Circus Queen (moon cups and all!),

Brilliant to meet people previously only-met online. Despite being a social media maniac, I believe: Nothing. Beats. Real. Life.

Max from Neal’s Yard Remedies in Bristol gives Bristol blogger, Purple Ella, a hand massage.

Fantastic to have support from Neal’s Yard Remedies HQ in Covent Garden. Nicola Nolan gave a great talk about the company, and its Bee Lovely campaign to ban the lethal bee-harming and totally unnecessary neonicotinoid pesticides – please sign the petition.

Also, from Covent Garden, Jane Killingsworth.

Organic cheeses provided by Sheepdrove Organic Farm – its Butcher’s shop is just across the Whiteladies road.

The best of organic Mediterranean produce from artisan farms and cooperatives – breads sticks, dip-in spreads, olives. Thank you, Organico. (My fuzzy pic)

Me bee-hind the Bee Lovely campaign and Bee Lovely organic products stand.


Neal’s Yard Remedies is like an old-fashioned apothecary – rows of healing herbs and spices.

Thank you to all the Bristol bloggers and Tweeters.

Thank you, Nadia Hillman, for above fab photos – do credit her if you use them!

I took this one of Nadia!

Kedgeree

I ask Nadia over. Our plan: to make a video of cooking kedgeree, then scoff it convivially.

We assemble the ingredients, position Nadia at the cooker and I film the three-minute video on my iPhone without a script.

I like it fast and real, like my food.

According to Wikipedia, kedgeree ‘consists of cooked, flaked fish (sometimes smoked haddock), boiled rice, parsley, hard-boiled eggs, curry powder, butter or cream and occasionally sultanas’.

We use Organico Nerone (black) rice, into which, once cooked, we stir 1 tsp curry powder, quartered organic hard-boiled eggs, chopped dates, Fish4Ever peppered mackerel then lemon juice + chopped parsley.

We concoct curry powder with ground spices. Recipe for future ref: 4 tsp coriander + 2 tsp turmeric + 2 tsp chilli + 1 tsp ginger + 1 tsp mustard seed + 2 tsp cinnamon + 8 single cloves. We only use 1 tsp of this mix in the kedgeree. Would be wrong to overpower the rest of the ingredients…

No sultanas but miraculously I have dates, softening in water. We decide 8 cut-up small ones are fine. No butter because the fish is canned in plenty of organic sunflower oil. (I hope this encourages you to experiment when cooking).

Before Nadia arrives, I hard-boil eggs.  Note to self: try 3 next time.

I boil the rice.

250 g Organico Nerone rice simmers for 40 mins in 800 ml water. A whole grain, cook black rice as if brown rice: 1 cup of rice for 2 of water.

Listen, sometimes cooking is guess-work. Jamie Oliver uses 170g of long-grain rice for his kedgeree recipe but give no quantities of water. Water has to cover the rice generously because rice swells.

Amounts-wise, I’m a bit hit-and-miss. (Gad, how I hate reading posts like this when desperately seeking a recipe. Sorry). How do you cook your rice?

STOP PRESS: After saying on Twitter that I could not find a classic kedgeree recipe online, chef James McIntosh blogged this one! Fresh!

I was dying to try Organico Nerone rice. Known as ‘forbidden rice’, it did not disappoint. Dramatically black, the cooked grains are fragrant, dense and vibrant.

A speciality grain, it is grown only in parts of the Po valley. Charles Redfern, Organico’s founder and MD, is rightly proud of his artisan suppliers – Organico Nerone rice is cultivated and packed by the Picco family, growing it since 1878.

Organico Nerone rice recently won two stars in the 2012 Great Taste Awards. “Two stars = faultless” according to the Great Taste Awards.

Declaring interests, Organico and its sister company Fish4Ever are clients. I only promote what is Winkle-tastic real food. And I did the video just-for-the-love-of-it.

Fish4Ever, the world’s first sustainable canned fish brand, is store-cupboard convenience with a conscience. In organic world, everything is connected. Fish4Ever’s eco-practices include supporting local day boats, artisan fishing and local canning, and 100% organic land ingredients. The result? Quality fish. It’s a virtuous circle.

Here’s me eating it. Yup, I overcooked the rice a bit. And still, utterly delicious.

Black rice kedgeree served with grated carrots

And here it is, served the next day.

Harvest supper with Grofun

Grofun - 12.7.09

Sunday 6pm. Everything in the picture was grown on our community allotment: the beetroot, turned into slivered (use a potato peeler) salad, and the spiced Mumbai potatoes, both decorated with courgette flowers, and the green beans in their bag – all on the table in the evening sun, waiting to be eaten.

We have GROFUN, Growing Real Organic Food in Urban Neighbourhoods, to thank for this miracle.

Nadia Hillman, GROFUN’s 33 year-old Bristol-based founder, was on BBC’s Gardening World at Easter helping Birmingham set up a similar scheme.

Is your garden overgrown? Would you like help getting it fit to grow organic vegetables?

GROFUN volunteers pitch in and in return for their impressive labour they get reciprocal gardening-help either in their own garden or at the community allotment in St Werburgh’s, Bristol.

We are learning how to grow. And everyone involved gets invited to the harvest meals.

“The best thing for me is the connecting of people” says Nadia.

We sat around the fire into the evening. Mel played a haunting song on the guitar.

It sounds a moment of peace. And it was.