Thoughts from December 2011

yam must read this

Feedback Madagascar is one of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that we support.The project we support promotes yam farming with training on yam cultivation techniques, the creation of demonstration plots and household plantations. Working with twelve community forest management associations, over 250 people are already producing and yams are taking off.

Famous for providing the fuel for Usain Bolt’s sprinting successes, the yam is commonly confused as a sweet potato (they are un-related), they are similar in properties.

“Anyone for yams?”


The project is based around the Malagasy rainforest, where people are reliant on inadequate rice and cassava harvests; the cultivation of yams reduces the impact of the annual famine and dramatically ups people’s nutritional intake.

And yams are fun. To raise awareness of yams and their benefits, alongside rainforest conservation, there are now yam festivals. Associations take stands, organise competitions, cook offs, speeches and full-on carnival singing and dancing.

Feedback madagascar

As part of the project, training on culinary techniques is included to make the most of the yam.

Here are 6 of their suggested recipes:

  1. Yam Pudding
  2. Yam Crisps
  3. Yam Pizza
  4. Yam Soup
  5. Yam salad
  6. Baked Yam.

Here in Fruit Towers, we think they all sound delicious and the soup sounds like a great defence against winter.

If you fancy trying your hand at Yam Pudding, here is an embellished Western version:


800g grated uncooked yams

300g milk

120g golden syrup

3 eggs

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

120g brown sugar

1tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground nutmeg

  • Preheat oven to 160˚c
  • Grease baking dish (approx 8”x8”x2”)
  • Combine all ingredients
  • Bake until a knife comes out of mixture clean, approx 1 hour.
  • Serve warm with cream or ice cream

For more information on Feedback Madagascar, please visit our foundations page: or their own website:

taste not waste competition winners

Tnw_blogheader_strawberry (2)


A couple of weeks ago we ran a competition for ten lucky schools to win a blender* from us as part of our taste not waste campaign, and we're delighted to announce that the following schools will be receiving their prizes in the new year: Trotts Hill Primary and Nursery School, Stevenage, Littledean C of E School, Gloucestershire, All Saints School, Putney Common, Rudyard Kipling Primary School, Brighton, Belvedere Infant School, Kent, The Acorns Centre Short Stay School, Lancashire, Courtlands School Widey Lane, Plymouth, Emmbrook Junior School, Wokingham, Dorothy Goodman School, Leicestershire and New York Primary School, North Shields.

Thanks to everyone who entered. It really wasn't easy picking the winners at all.

*No bike power necessary.

have yourself a merry little sustainable christmas

Mariah, Elton and Cliff are firm fixtures on the office playlist, the chocolate tin is steadily filling with empty wrappers and we're eating a lot more cheese. Christmas is most definitely on its way.

'Tis the season to be jolly, but we've got a few tips from our friends at Wrap and the WWF to help you get through the festivities as responsibly as possible.

1. Make friends with your freezer


A defrosted freezer is a happy freezer. It's also a more efficient freezer. And a man (or woman) who doesn't have to pick his way through 6 inches of ice just to get to his emergency pizza after a night on the tiles is a very happy man.

Each year in Britain we throw away around £12 billion worth of perfectly good food from our homes, most of which ends up in landfill. So over Christmas it's worth making full use of your freezer to store any food you won't get to eat in time. It's also handy for keeping bread in if you know you won't get through the whole loaf.

2. Wear your Christmas jumper with pride and turn down that heating


You'll look good, you'll feel good and you'll save money.

3. Embrace the Brussels sprout


Buy local, buy less and enjoy more seasonal fruit and vegetables such as spuds, parsnips and Brussels sprouts. Visit Eat Seasonably for information about what fruit and veg is in season now and visit Wrap for tips on how to reduce food waste.

4. Don't buy unwanted gifts


5. Make some stuff from other stuff

How to make a Christmas Tree from paper from RecycleNow, who have some other very nifty videos too.

Merry Christmas one and all.