# Tuesday, 10 May 2011

article-1381435-0BCC4BC600000578-985_468x354According to this article the Red Kite is once again doing well after being brought back from the brink of extinction. Twenty years ago the birds were almost extinct, however, a conservation programme has been quite successful. According to a RSPB survey the bird is now the 53rd most common bird in British gardens. The birds were driven to extinction in the 1880s when they were thought of as vermin. A conservation programme was started in 1989 to reintroduce birds from Sweden, Germany and Spain. Since then kites have been successfully brought back to the Chilterns, Northamptonshire, Gateshead, Yorkshire and north Scotland. Now there are thought be around 1,000 breeding pairs in the UK.

posted on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 10:23:21 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback


According to this article this is the new sell out designer bag. Priced at £90 and resembling a Sainsbury’s carrier bag it has become popular with those who prefer a bag without logos. Described as a “contemporary carry-all” and made out of acetate it is the must have utility bag. The current trend appears to be for functional bags with other popular sellers being the £480 Prada rucksack and a £4,200 gym bag from Reed Krakoff. I’m not sure I would pay that much for any of these bags, I tend to prefer cheap and cheerful when it comes to bags for shopping or for the gym.

posted on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 10:21:41 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 09 May 2011

That’s according to this article which suggests there have been several planning applications launched for intensive rabbit farms. A total of 6 planning applications for rabbit farms have been lodged with local authorities across the UK. If they are approved they would be the first in this country in around 15 years. Each farm would house around 1,100 rabbits in wire cages stacked in barns. They would be reared and sent to slaughter at around 12 weeks old. The developer behind one of the farms has said that the rabbits would be housed in a light and airy environment with cages that are 18% bigger than required by law. With around 3,000 tonnes of rabbit meat being eaten in Britain each year and virtually all of it being imported it seems there is a demand for locally produced rabbit. I do wonder whether the general public will be in favour of more intensive farming techniques,  at a time when people are becoming more aware of where their food comes from and how it is produced.

posted on Monday, 09 May 2011 10:59:34 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article snails eggs are becoming popular as an unusual luxury ingredient. The eggs which have been dubbed “white caviar” appear to be increasingly popular in Spain where snails are already farmed for their eggs. At around 1,800 Euros (around £1,600) for a kilo there are not cheap but they are quickly becoming a prized delicacy. The eggs are hand selected before being washed and purified. They are then sterilised and lightly salted. It takes as much as four hours to fill a 50g tin as each egg is selected by hand using tweezers. If you fancy trying some Harrods have recently started selling small tins of the product . Apparently they have an earthy flavour.

posted on Monday, 09 May 2011 10:56:56 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 08 May 2011

001I spent a day at the Real Food Festival this weekend and had lot006s of fun tasting various produce. There were so many displays at the festival that it’s impossible to remember everything but a few caught my eye more than others. This (left) was certainly one of the most attractive displays with the jars of jam and jellies back lit to show them off to their full advantage. If I remember correctly the producer was Cornish Meadow Preserves.


Another stall that caught my eye was Calon Wen a small co-operative that produce milk, butter and cheeses. I particularly liked their attractive cow print bags (pictured right). The Blue Dragon stand had an interesting and informative cooking tutorial on how to use their staple cooking sauces such as their sesame seed oil, oyster sauce and light and dark soy sauce. Following the demonstration they also handed out free recipe cards so that you can give some of the ideas a try at home.



These cute lambs get a mention because, well, they are lambs and cute. Rather then being used to promote lamb burgers (which were also on offer) they were in fact a marketing gimmick for a competition to win a holiday in the Scottish countryside. Pictured right is a wonderful (although little blurred, blame the iPhone) picture of a display from Toftly Treats. They are a small family run business who specialise in handmade chocolate and chocolate buttons, Their chocolate was certainly yummy but it was the brightly coloured attractive display which really caught my eye.


023019These wonderful looking cupcakes also ranked as one of the most colourful stalls at the festival although I unfortunately neglected to note the name of the company offering them. I picked up a good selection of mixed baklava at this stall (right) and it really was a bit special.


There was also plenty of my favourite thing, cheese. I think I must have tried more than 20 different kinds and whilst I can’t remember all of them, this stall had a number of really good varieties.

028In all it was a really enjoyable day out and although tiring it was really good to try some new flavours. I have gathered a wide selection of leaflets and no doubt will be placing orders for lots more products once I have worked my way through all of my current purchases.

posted on Sunday, 08 May 2011 12:47:48 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 07 May 2011

That’s according to a recent study which looked at why certain birds are able to thrive in European cities. The study found that city dwelling birds have larger brains relative to their body size making them more more adaptable to the changeable conditions of living in the city. Researchers from the Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala, Sweden and the Donana Biological Station, Seville looked at birds such as tits, crows, nuthatches and wrens, studying 82 species of birds from 22 families. The key similarity between them were that they all had a larger brain size relative to body size. I wonder whether the same is true for other animals and perhaps even people.

posted on Saturday, 07 May 2011 09:05:49 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

This is an interesting idea, called campinmygarden.com it allows people to do just that. If you are happy to let people camp in your garden you can advertise on the website. garden owners charge around £10 a night for a pitch on their lawn. The website aims to provide more affordable accommodation for sports events, exhibitions and festivals in the UK although according to this article they are currently suffering from a distinct lack of gardens. It’s an interesting idea and as an experiment I typed in the Real Food Festival which I will be attending today. There appears to be 4 gardens available near by, should I feel like taking my tent with me, although personally I will commute back afterwards, preferring the comfort of my own bed.

posted on Saturday, 07 May 2011 09:04:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 06 May 2011

According to this article Nepal’s population of rhinos appears to be growing. the news is encouraging for the species as they have suffered years of decline caused by a civil war and poaching. It is thought the population now stands at 534 animals compared with 435 in 2008. The increase in numbers has been put down to an effective anti-poaching strategy and improved relationships with the communities near to where the animals live.

posted on Friday, 06 May 2011 10:07:51 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

That’s according to this article which suggests the term “pet” is insulting to animals. Leading academics claim that domestic animals should be referred to “companion animals” whilst their owners should be called “human carers”. The call comes from the editors of the Journal of Animal Ethics which argues that derogatory language about animals can affect the way they are treated. Other terms such as wildlife are also deemed to be insulting instead we should use the the term “free living”. The journal also condemns the use of “critters” and “beasts”.

posted on Friday, 06 May 2011 09:59:31 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 05 May 2011


This is cute, it’s a new European sport, rabbit show jumping. It was invented in Sweden in the 80’s but is becoming increasingly popular. The rabbits have to jump fences of varying height and length. the more jumps a rabbit clears the higher it’s score. There is also a time element to the competitions. It’s well worth checking out the video to see the rabbits in action.

posted on Thursday, 05 May 2011 10:58:27 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 04 May 2011

That’s according to this article which suggests females are drawn to pinks and reds and men to blues and greens. Apparently this is due to our hunter gatherer past meaning women’s brains have become fine-tuned to the purples and reds of ripe fruits and berries. Men, on the other hand have developed a preference for the blue skies that signal it is good weather for hunting. The theory comes from Chinese scientists who asked more than 350 students to study 11 colours and rank them in order of preference. This revealed the women to favour pink, purple and white and the men liked blue and green. Personally I have always hated pink but do have a preference for purple and lilac.

posted on Wednesday, 04 May 2011 11:07:36 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Allotment 1st May

The allotment is gradually progressing. From it’s initial bramble patch a month ago it has really started to take shape. We now have beans and potatoes in the ground and will soon be ready to put the sweet corn in. A couple more weeks and we should have the top part of the plot double dug and ready for more crops. We are leaving the bottom half wild for now, to give us a shaded area to get out of the sun and also to see what sort of crop we get from the damson trees. It’s certainly encouraging to see how far it has already come.

posted on Wednesday, 04 May 2011 11:01:54 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 03 May 2011

According to this article sprinkling your food with chilli peppers can help to curb your appetite. Researchers from Purdue University in Indiana found that capsaicin in the peppers helps to reduce hunger and also increases energy expenditure burning more calories. It is more effective in those people who don’t regularly eat chillies. The study measured the effects of half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and tested 26 people, 13 who, liked spicy food and 12 who did not. The study found that those who did not regularly eat chillies also experienced a decrease of hunger, especially for fatty, salty and sweet foods. It seems, however, that once people become familiar to the effect that it becomes less effective.

posted on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 11:27:34 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback


This is interesting it’s the case of a flock of white sheep that have produced only black lambs. The flock of 37 white sheep and 1 white ram have produced a total of 60 black lambs. In sheep the black gene is recessive so in cases where a white ram and a white ewe have both the black and white genes for fleece colour, they have only a 25% chance of producing a black lamb. However, the odds are actually much lower than this as it it a rare occurrence for white sheep to have both the black and white gene. It is thought that the lambs are either the result of a genetic throwback or perhaps a rogue black ram in the area breaking into the field.

posted on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 11:25:46 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback