Cut the carbon calories in your kitchen

Good Energy teams up with Arthur Potts Dawson for a second year to encourage a low-carbon approach to cooking – Peter Morrell reports.

Good Energy is the UK’s only 100% renewable electricity supplier. They are investing in new sources of renewable energy production and support a growing community of over 35,000 independent generators across Britain.

But generating clean energy is only half the story. All of this effort will be wasted if it is then squandered at the point of delivery. One of the areas where savings can be made is in the preparation and cooking of food. For this reason Good Energy has teamed up with green chef Arthur Potts Dawson for the second year running to teach people about low-carbon cooking. Both Good Energy and Arthur believe we can all do our bit for the environment by the way in which we source, prepare and cook our food.

I recently went along to The Cookery School near London’s Oxford Circus for a demonstration by Arthur. The setting was quite appropriate as the school is a customer of Good Energy. Arthur spoke passionately about the totality of energy consumption in the food chain and he is a great proponent of using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients.

He prepared a meal using the most energy efficient kitchen equipment possible. Celery, new potatoes and sea kale simmered happily in a slow cooker, this season’s English asparagus with sustainable mackerel bathed in the steamer and a yeasty smelling loaf rose in the bread maker. But for me the stand-out dish was the raw pea, broad bean and violet artichoke salad with wild rocket and dandelion and its preparation required no energy at all.

The freshly shucked peas and beans were made into a pesto with a pestle and mortar, the heart of the artichoke was finely sliced and the rocket and dandelion were foraged. This was ecologically sound food at every level and it was absolutely delicious. To see the recipes for the three dishes Arthur prepared click here…

Sustainable cooking is all about where food is sourced and how it is used. Here are some useful tips for low-carbon cooking:

  • Eat more vegetables – Vegetarian sources of protein, like grains, pulses and nuts, have a carbon footprint three times smaller than meat products.  If you do like to eat meat, use it sparingly as a flavour, rather than the main ingredient.
  • Minimise waste – Try to buy little and often to avoid wastage.  Compost what you can. According to the Energy Saving Trust, wasted food is a big contributor to carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Be energy efficient in food preparation and storage – Typically the kitchen accounts for around a third of the average household’s electricity consumption.  The slow cooker is most energy efficient method of cooking, followed by electric steamer, microwave and then gas or electric hob.  Or, of course, many fruit and vegetables need no cooking at all!
  • Eat locally & seasonally – Choose seasonal food from the farmer’s market which has not travelled miles to get to your plate.  The best way to source your fruit and veg is grown your own, if possible.

It is well worth considering Good Energy as your supplier. Its standard electricity tariff is certified under the independent Green Energy Supply Scheme, you can compare the fuel mix of other suppliers at www.electricityinfo.org/suppliers.php

The company now has more than 29,000 homes and businesses using green energy across the UK. The Green Energy Supply Certification Scheme ensures that a minimum of 50kg of CO₂ is abated for each customer each year. It has won numerous awards including: Sunday Times Green Company 2009; Observer Ethical Award for best online retail initiative 2009; and CEO Juliet Davenport won CEO of the Year and overall winner of the prestigious People and Environment (PEA) Business Achievement Awards; PLUS markets CEO of the Year in 2009,2010 and 2011

Good Energy has not changed its domestic electricity prices since April 2009 and is usually cheaper than the Big Six’s standard tariff. So if you want to do your bit to help alleviate the effects of climate change go to www.goodenergy.co.uk for more information.

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