Are you up to the challenge?


So what’s in your loaf of bread? Where does your fruit and veg come from?  How much does all this cost?  These are big questions for both our wallets and the environment.  Food is becoming, dare we say it, a political hot potato.

20 Mile Radius

Food isn’t just about cost, it’s about sustainability. So we have also challenged our chefs to come up with a meal created from ingredients within a 20 mile radius of Lancaster.  The results will be available at the festival and more details will be appearing here.

45% Increase

Since last Christmas, in Lancaster alone our local food bank The Olive Branch is reporting a 45% increase in demand for its food packages. How can this be the case in one of the largest economies in the world? So how do we respond to this challenge?


We have challenged our Trust chefs to come up with a meal for four people for £3 or less. Can they do it?  Well if they can the ingredients that they use and the recipe will be available for you to buy at the Health Festival for…wait for it…..£3

Recipe 1: Butternut squash soup

Serves: 4

Prep: 10 min
Cook: 40 min




2 tbsp Olive oil
1 Onion, sliced
1 clove Garlic, crushed
675g Butternut squash, seeds removed and cubed
1/2 tsp ground Ginger,
600ml vegetable stock
Juice of 1 or 2 Limes (dependant on size and to taste)
salt and black pepper




  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and fry until softened, but not coloured.2. Tip in the butternut squash and add the ginger. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.3. Add the stock and lime juice and simmer for about 30 minutes until the squash is tender.4. Leave the soup to cool slightly, before puréeing with a hand blender until smooth. Season to taste, reheat if necessary and serve.

Recipe 2: Ribollita

As far as choosing beans, I usually opt for cannellini. On the bread front, I often use a loaf of day-old whole wheat sourdough, but have at times opted for ciabatta. Canned beans can be used here, the equivalent is roughly two or three 15-ounce cans. As far as the kale goes, look for cavolo nero – a craggy evergreen-hued kale that might also be labeled lacinato or Tuscan kale. The ribollita is pictured here drizzled with a simple herb oil made by pureeing olive oil, a couple garlic cloves, parsley, and marjoram together.


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots or equiv. winter squash, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 14- ounce / 400 ml can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound / 16 ounces / 450g cavolo nero (lacinato kale, Tuscan kale), stems trimmed off and leaves well chopped
  • 4 cups / 22 oz / 620g cooked white beans
  • 1/2 pound / 8 oz / 225g crustless loaf of bread
  • 1 1/2 + teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • zest of one lemon
  • lots of well-chopped oily black olives


  1. In your largest thick-bottomed pot over medium heat combine the olive oil, celery, garlic, carrot, and red onion. Cook for 10 -15 minutes sweating the vegetables, but avoid any browning. Stir in the tomatoes and red pepper flakes, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, long enough for the tomatoes to thicken up a bit. Stir in the cavolo nero, 3 cups of the beans, and 8 cups / 2 liters water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the greens are tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, mash or puree the remaining beans with a generous splash of water – until smooth. Tear the bread into bite-sized chunks. Stir both the beans and bread into the soup. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the bread breaks down and the soup thickens, 20 minutes or so. Stir in the salt, taste and add more if needed. Stir in the lemon zest.
  3. Serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate overnight. Serve reheated, or “ribollita” meaning reboiled, the next day ladled into bowls. Finish each serving with a drizzle of olive oil and some chopped olives.

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 25 minutes

Total Time 40 minutes

Serves 10


Makes a large pot of soup – enough for 10 servings.

“Cakes are healthy too; you just eat a small slice.”

― Mary Berry

Food should be fun! In fact, it shouldn’t be just fun but healthy and fun.  After all what’s a birthday without a cake.

Can cake be healthy you ask? Well clearly 5 cakes a day might not be the recommended guidelines.  However, if you are stuck in all week, find yourself a bit isolated, got too busy…. well popping into town once a week, having a cup of coffee and slice of cake, chatting to friend is just the tonic.  Human beings are social creatures we need time with others and since time immemorial we’ve done that with food.  Bon appetite!