Wednesday, 30 September 2015

UBU Green Thursdays and Apple & Blackberry Crumble

Last week, as I was settling in for my first RamAir show at the new time of between 11am and 1pm on Thursdays, I found that there was a rack in Student Central that was full of herbs like chives, rosemary and others as well as plums.  I looked at the What's On at the university sheet for that day, and found that this was the launch of UBU Green Thursdays Presents -, an initiative by the University of Bradford to encourage students and staff to grow their own fruits, vegetables and herbs (such as on the university's very own vegetable patches), buy food from local producers, and generally be "greener".  Today's launch was the Edible Campus Showcase, which included trying these foods harvested from the campus for free, taking an edible campus tour around the university to find the places where these fruits, vegetables and herbs are grown, and buying food from the main Richmond building canteen that was prepared using ingredients harvested on campus.  Events coming soon for Green Thursdays include a 1 Hour Love Your Campus Challenge on Thursday 1st October (yesterday) in which whichever team picks the most waste in 1 hour wins £200, a Sustainable Transport Festival on Thursday 8th October led by the Bradford Bike Hub which will include a how many people can you fit in a car challenge, an organic honey sale and cooking across campus on Thursday 22nd October, and a pumpkin cooking competition and carving, apple-bobbing, pies and peas event for Hallowe'en on Thursday 29th October.  During my RamAir show last week, which was during the Edible Campus Showcase event, I spoke on-air to Michael Allhouse from Cycling 4 All about the Green Thursdays initiative, and I've written up our little conversation below!

Interview with Michael Allhouse from UBU Green Thursdays

Katie: Can you tell us what this initiative is about?

Michael: Hello, I'm Michael Allhouse from UBU and I'm running a stall here giving away free fruit and vegetables grown on our campus.

Lavender grown on the University of Bradford campus.

Katie: There's potatoes here, there's apples, there's blackberries, there's lavender, which I actually helped to put into bunches last week for Fresher Fayre.  And then there's a big, green - what is that?

Michael: I think it's a marrow, but I'm not entirely convinced that I'm correct.

Katie: Is the marrow heavy?

Michael: It's extremely heavy, but we do want somebody to come and take it.  It's heavier than my 2 year old son, so it's pretty heavy.

Katie: Do you know of anything you can make with marrow, to encourage people to take it?

Michael: We do have some recipes right here, things you can make with our produce here that we are giving away, so we do have some recipe cards.

Katie: Is there anything with marrow in those recipes?

Michael: You had to point that out, didn't you?  No, there isn't.  I don't know anything to do with marrow.  I was trying to get out of that question.  But just so you know, the edible campus is something we are very proud of here at the University of Bradford.  All around the campus, you can find food which is grown here and we want students and staff to take it.  It's scattered around the campus.  As I said, you can take anything you can find.  You can take it, you can eat it - cook it first perhaps.

Katie: I'm eating one of the apples now and it's quite nice, and I've had a plum and some blackberries. 

Michael: Super!  So just to let you know, the Green Thursdays initiative - every Thursday, there's going to be a new, different event.  For example, next week we are going to be promoting sustainable transport.  We're going to be doing some trips to local beauty spots on the train.  We'll also be doing a led ride to a nearby spot.  And that will be happening every week, every Thursday there'll be some kind of green and sustainable event.  Hopefully, it'll be fun and interesting for students to get involved with. 

Katie: There's some herbs there?

Michael: There are indeed.  We have various things.  Dill, other herbs, again grown on campus for people to take.  They need to go so please come and take them.  The herbs are actually in Student Central all the time, so you don't just find them here today - you'll find them on other occasions too.

Katie: So can you identify any of these herbs?

Michael: Yes, I can.  We've got chives, thyme, rosemary, mint, sage, parsley, dill, all kinds of stuff.  We've already had a number of people point out to me that all of this stuff costs a great deal of money in Tesco, in the supermarket, so there's big savings to be made by taking this free stuff and please do.  Please encourage students to do so.

Katie: So this is in Student Central.  Are you here until a particular time?

Michael: We'll probably be here until about 2 or 3pm, or at least until the marrow goes.  So one HUGE marrow is left.  We've already had one huge marrow taken and there's one to go, so please come and take it.

Katie: I've seen on your leaflets that you have tips for being greener.

Michael: Yes, we do.  There's a lot here about saving water and saving energy, so please come here and get our tip sheet.  Another thing we have been promoting is that we actually have free allotments here at the University of Bradford, so if anybody wants an allotment, just contact the Students Union.  They're free to students for you to do with as you wish - y'know, for food, that is!

Katie: Do you think it's difficult to be sustainable and green as a student?

Michael: Umm, no?  But it might not be at the top of anybody's priority list.  And we understand that, but of course any little effort you can make is a good thing and most students have got a sort of commitment to that sort of thing.  We're giving away little 2 minute timers for people to use in their showers, challenging people to shower for 2 minutes to save water, save energy, but hopefully still get clean.

Katie: I'd find that difficult, I think.  So do you have any recommendations of where else to find information about this?

Michael: Yes, we have all these leaflets and the herbs will be in Student Central all the time, so just come to the Students Union reception any time and pick up our advice leaflets as well.  Get involved with Green Thursdays.  We're here every Thursday doing something sustainable.

Katie: Will you have the smoothie bike around?

Michael: The smoothie bike will be on in about 2 weeks, so it'll be here in Student Central in a couple of weeks.

An orange, grape and apple smoothie, produced using the smoothie bike!

Katie: Thank you for talking to us.

Michael: Thank you!

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

At the stall, there was also a recipe sheet containing dishes that incorporated items of the foods and herbs grown on-campus.  This apple and blackberry crumble incorporates both apples and blackberries, which could both be found on-campus!


For the crumble topping:
120g plain flour
60g caster sugar
60g margarine (such as Pure) at room temperature, cut into pieces

For the fruit compote:
300g apples
30g margarine
30g demerara sugar
115g blackberries
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
vanilla ice cream, to serve (you can use vanilla banana nice cream)


  1. Heat oven to 190 degrees Celsius / 170 degrees Celsius with fan oven / gas mark 5.
  2. Tip the flour and sugar into a large bowl.  Add the margarine, then rub into the flour using your fingertips to make a light breadcrumb texture.  Do not overwork it or the crumble will become heavy.  Sprinkle the mixture evenly over a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly coloured.
  3. Meanwhile, for the compote, peel, core and cut the apples into 2cm dice.  Put the margarine and sugar in a medium saucepan and melt together over a medium heat.  Cook for 3 minutes until the mixture turns to a light caramel colour.
  4. Stir in the apple and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the blackberries and cinnamon, and cook for 3 minutes more.
  5. Cover, remove from the heat, then leave for 2-3 minutes to continue cooking in the warmth of the pan.
  6. To serve, spoon the warm fruit into an ovenproof gratin dish, top with the crumble mix, then reheat in the oven for 5-10 minutes.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.

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