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5114647647_c304752be3_zBrits increasingly embrace the American Halloween traditions but are missing out one crucial aspect of the festivities, according to food waste charity Hubbub. While we are usually better at reducing the amount of waste we produce, we seem to have a blind spot when it comes to that Jack O’Lantern.

Pumpkins are now a familiar sight in the British supermarket at this time of year, but it seems around two-thirds of us regard them as a novelty rather than a food. Hubbub’s research suggests 18000 tons of pumpkin flesh is simply thrown away in the UK. Decomposing food waste contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, so this obvious waste is also actively damaging the environment.

In the US, pumpkin flesh is used to make sweet pies, so the flesh of the seasonally carved pumpkin is regarded as an opportunity for a festive treat. We’ve found a couple of simple savoury recipes that may help you to introduce your British palate to the delights of this underused vegetable.

Pumpkin soup (serves two):

Ingredients

700 g roughly chopped pumpkin flesh

1 chopped onion

25 g butter or margarine

275 ml cream or milk

275 ml stock

seasoning

Method

In a deep saucepan, melt the fat on a medium heat. Add the onion and stir until soft. Stir in the pumpkin flesh and season with salt and pepper.

Sweat the onion and pumpkin over a lower heat for about 10 minutes, then add the cream or milk, cover and simmer gently for about 20 minutes

Use a hand blender to puree the mixture, leaving a bit of texture. Serve hot.

 

Fruity winter curry (serves four)

Ingredients

Flesh of half a pumpkin, cubed

4 carrots and 2 parsnips, cut into batons

8 large ripe tomatoes

2 thinly sliced onions

2 tbsp vegetable oil

200 ml water

3 tbsp curry paste

6 peeled garlic cloves

A thumb-sized knob of root ginger, peeled and chopped

200 g brown basmati rice

6 tbsp low-fat natural yogurt

100g mangoes, cut into cubes

1 tbsp mango chutney

Fresh coriander, chopped

Toasted, flaked almonds

 

Method

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook until soft. Stir in pumpkin, carrots and parsnips, and cook until they begin to soften. Add in the curry paste and cook for a further 3 mins.

Blend six of the tomatoes with the garlic and ginger until smooth. Pour the mixture over the vegetables and add the water. Stir in the coriander, saving a handful for garnish. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender (about 40 mins), then cut the remaining tomatoes into wedges and stir them in.

Reduce to thicken the sauce.

Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet.

Stir the yogurt, mango and chutney together in a small bowl.

Serve the curry over the rice and scattered with coriander and almonds, with the fruity yogurt on the side.

 

 

Let us know how you get on!  What’s your favourite pumpkin recipe?

 


While the weather may be getting worse, your nights out needn’t dampen down. Here are three deliciously sweet, vibrant cocktails to enjoy this autumn. You could even have a go at making them yourself!

1, a Mojito: the proper Cuban way

Probably the world’s most famous rum-based cocktail, the Mojito is renowned for its refreshing and zesty flavours. But for the autumn season, only the proper Cuban way will do. Strong, warming aged white rum with a bit more citrus makes this the top choice for many.

You will need:Mojito

Stirrer
Muddler/Crusher
Tall, highball glass
Handful of crushed ice
Whole lime

2tsp, cane sugar
Havana Club Anejo Blanco rum (1 part)
Handful of fresh mint
Soda water (2 parts)

How to concoct the proper Mojito:

Add the sugar to a highball glass along with the juice of half a lime (save the other half for garnish later) and a handful of mint sprigs. Crush together gently with a muddler while slowly filling the glass about half full with soda water.

Add a generous handful of crushed ice and fill to the near-top with the Havana Club Anejo Blanco Rum. Make sure to leave a little room at the top for the lime. Stir well.

Slice the remaining half of the lime in two, carefully drop one quarter into the cocktail and use the final quarter as a garnish, perched on the rim of the glass.

There you have it! Enjoy responsibly.

2, The slightly spicy Ragamuffin

Designed by the folks over at Circo Bar, this is a heart-warming, spicy and fruit-sweet cocktail designed to leave you “feeling naughty”. Although Circo suggests using Licor 43, if you prefer coffee flavours try using Kahlua instead for a darker, richer, spicy cocktail.

In the picture, I have used Licor 43Ragamuffin

You will need:

Cocktail shaker
Strainer
Oval-based Martini glass
Scoop of ice cubes (for shaking)
Licor 43/Kahlua Espresso liqueur, 50ml
Cinnamon spice
Cloudy apple juice
Juice from half a fresh lemon
Cinnamon stick (optional)

How to shake up the perfect Ragamuffin:

In an ordinary tall glass sprinkle half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Add a single 50ml measure of Licor 43 (or Kahlua). Add ice cubes and the juice of half a fresh lemon. Shake together hard in a cocktail shaker before straining the mixture into an oval-based martini glass.

Top up with cloudy apple juice and, if you like, garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Yum!

3, fresh n’ floral Willow Fizz

For this excellent cocktail – usually one best enjoyed in the summer – why not follow our recipe below for a slightly sweeter, but just as refreshing, autumn take.

You will need:Willow Fizz

Cocktail shaker
Strainer
Wine glass
Chase Elderflower liqueur, 50ml
Southern Comfort, 50ml
Schweppes Canada Dry Ginger Ale
Scoop of ice cubes (for shaking)
Scoop of ice cubes (for glass)
Sugar syrup, 25ml
Juice of half a lemon
Slice of lemon (optional)

How to whip up a Willow Fizz:

Pour the measures of Chase Elderflower liqueur, Southern Comfort and sugar syrup over ice. Add lemon juice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a wine glass full of ice and top up with ginger ale.

Simple, but refreshing, sweet and delicious.

Got a cocktail you like? Share it with us!

Written by Ben Franks

Edited by Laura Thompson

Photo credit: Niamh Harkett


download (1)For those of us that don’t want to shell out a significant sum to see London in all its splendour at the top of The Shard, there are many beautiful views of the Capital that are completely free! Read on for Peppermint’s favourite views of London that promise to be kind to your wallet. Read more…


glastO-SIGNgShake off that post-Bestival/Festival No 6 daze – if you haven’t already, it’s time to get organised for the 2015 summer festival season. The daddy of them all, Glastonbury, has already announced the dates for 2015′s ticket sales.

Coach and ticket packages, which will be sold in advance of the general ticket issue, will be made available at 7pm on Wednesday 1 October, with general weekend tickets following at 9am on Sunday 5 October.

If you’ll be aged 13 or over when the Festival starts you’ll need to register before you can buy your ticket. You’ll be asked for basic contact details and to upload a passport photo (which is subject to an approval process) to be printed on your personalised, non-transferrable ticket. If you photo is accepted, they’ll e-mail you an unique registration number that you’ll need to quote when you book.

You’ll also need to re-register or edit your registration if you last registered for a festival earlier than Glastonbury 2007, or if you’ve changed your e-mail address. More recent registration numbers remain valid, but if you’re not sure you can check their database to see if you are registered.

Registration is already open but will be suspended at 23:59 on Tuesday 30 September and stay closed until tickets go on sale, so don’t get caught out – do it now! Registering doesn’t reserve or guarantee you a ticket and you’ll still need your trigger finger ready for when the tickets are released. You’ll be able to buy up to six tickets when you get through, but only with valid registration numbers for all of them.

Seetickets, who will again be handling Glastonbury ticketing, have said they intend to respond to registrations within 24 hours during the working week, so look out for that all-important e-mail, and don’t forget to check your spam or junk folder. If you haven’t heard anything within the stated time, you can also check the database to see if you’ve appeared. If in doubt, try again at https://glastonbury.seetickets.com/Registration/Register.

Glastonbury Festival takes place at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset over five days and next year’s is planned for Wednesday 24th to Sunday 28th June 2015.  As usual, acts are unlikely to be revealed before the tickets are sold. A standard adult camping ticket will cost £225 (inc booking fee) per person, with deposits of £50 per person payable on October 5th and the balance due in April 2015.

Tickets are already on sale for the 2015 versions of many in-demand festivals including Reading & Leeds, End Of The Road, Bearded Theory, Green Gathering and Creamfields.

I’ve registered for Glastonbury 2015, have you?


discoball_3027891bAs the 2014 summer festival season draws reluctantly to a close, we can look back at yet another season dogged by disappointing cancellations as well as studded by stellar highlights. There’s little doubt the UK festival scene has been overcrowded for a few years now, and the burgeoning US scene has added more pressure. But this year’s casualties included both the ten-year-old, award winning Irish mainstream music festival Oxygen and idealistic dreams of the first ever major crowdfunded festival, Alt-Fest. And both radical new concept Orchestival and grass-roots Welsh music showcase Swn had to downsize from a weekend to a one-day event for 2014.

Many, like Sonosphere, do regroup and return, of course, while others with a particularly strong concept and identity, such as All Tomorrows Parties, are welcomed as stages or arenas at larger festivals with broader appeal. But if Oxygen’s reliance on headliners doesn’t work, and inspired new concepts can’t always be made to fly, what’s behind the success of festivals like WOMAD, which has been a worldwide programme of successful festivals for some years now, or Bestival, which having spawned Camp Bestival and other spin-offs, recently announced plans to take the concept across the US and continental Europe?

Bestival was set up by DJ Rob da Bank as an extension of his ‘Sunday Best’ club concept but its become a labour of love which promotes an eco message and benefit the youngsters of the Isle of Wight, a holiday destination of his South Coast childhood. Choosing the beautiful site at Robin Hill Park was just the start, as he told local website iLife a couple of years ago:“We didn’t want people just to turn up at a white canvas tent in the middle of a field with some DJs in it. It has always been about being magical, escapism and far from reality. I want people to think they are in a different world, just as I did the first time I jumped over the fence to get into Glastonbury.”

Acknowledging that most funds raised are ploughed back into making the next event even more remarkable, he said: “I believe that is the only way to do it.” He more recently told the Telegraph: “I’ve never been in this industry for the money.” He felt the event was ripe for expansion to North America and Europe because “We’ve made a real impression on the festival market and pioneered a lot of ideas.”

A measured attitude to headliners is also part of the event’s resilience. Of Stevie Wonder’s appearance in 2012 he said: “I don’t want to set a precedent of bringing huge global icons, because there are not that many” adding “I just want everyone to have a good time.”

We can’t wait to see what Bestival has his store for us over the next few years at the Isle of White, and intrigued to see where it may pop up elsewhere in the world.


digital rThe creative industry is essential to our economy, art in the UK is more popular than ever before with 76% of English adults engaging in the arts in the last 12 months. London alone is home to three of the top ten museums and galleries in the world, with 857 art galleries based in the city in total.

With so much art around us, there is always the opportunity to take some time out to appreciate the works on offer. With summer now ended and autumn gradually taking over, September is playing host to a number of exciting and gripping art exhibitions.

5 exhibitions we think you should see this September:

1. Pangaea: New art from Africa and Latin America

(Until November 2014)

The Saatchi Gallery, one of the most visited museum exhibitions in London, is currently hosting an installation from a number of new and upcoming artists from Africa and Latin America. Named Pangaea, the exhibition consists of sculptures, paintings and various art forms from 54 African countries and 21 Latin American countries.

2. Digital Revolution

(Until mid September 2014)

Digital Revolution claims to be an immersive exhibition of art, design, film, music and video games based at the largest performing arts centre in Europe, the Barbican Art Gallery. The exhibition not only lets the viewer observe digital culture but also allows them to interact with wearable technology and a three-dimensional laser light field. For something exciting and new, Digital Revolution is a must see exhibition this September.

3. Wedding Dresses 1775-2014

(Until March 2015)

For fashion and textile lovers everywhere, the Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 exhibition at the V&A Museum is the place to be. Tracing the development of wedding dresses over the last two centuries, the exhibition showcases dresses from leading fashion designers such as John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and Vera Wang. The museum is open from 10am daily and is open till 10pm on Fridays.

4. The EY Exhibition: Late Turner- Painting Set Free

(Until January 2015)

The EY Exhibition is the first exhibition devoted to the late artist J.M.W. Turner, showcasing work from the UK and abroad which were created between 1835 till his death in 1881. On display at Tate Modern in London, many of Turner’s finest oil on canvas paintings are known to have been controversial and according to critics, unjustly misunderstood.

5. Ming: The Golden Empire

(Until mid October 2014)

For those not based in the capital, Ming: The Golden Empire, is an exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland which takes viewers through riches of the Ming Empire. The exhibition features portraits of all 16 Ming emperors, ceramics and artefacts imported from the Nanjing Museum in China and refined objects taken from the royal Chinese heritage.

 

ming-20 panagea2


Festival-No-6Long famous for its rolling green hills, Wales also has a vibrant new music scene, so it should be no surprise that it hosts some of the finest summer music festivals in the UK. Let’s take a look at four of our favourites.

 Focus Wales

Various venues in Wrexham, North Wales

This four day April celebration of Welsh new music has been going for four years now, but this year it seemed to well and truly arrive as a force to be reckoned with. A music festival in the conference style, it stages cutting-edge live music, comedy and interactive happenings in the impressive, purpose-built venue of the Llangollen traditional Eisteddfodd and in venues dotted around Wrexham’s pretty town centre and also features music industry expert talks and discussions. This year’s event impressed with a music bill featuring Welsh music heroes Euros Childs, Islet, Y Niwl and Little Arrow, BBC radio DJ and Welsh new music champion Huw Stephens, and special international guests including German innovator Damo Suzuki from Can.

It’s due back on 22-25th April 2015 and early bird adult weekend passes are already on sale, priced £30. No accommodation is included, but Wrexham has plenty of guest houses and B&Bs.

 

HowTheLightGetsIn

Various venues in Hay-on-Wye, Powys

Over ten days at the end of May, the festival described by Prospect Magazine as “Hay’s sexy younger sibling” shares the charming market town of Hay-on-Wye with the now world-beating literary festival. The six year old philosophy and music festival aims to excite the imagination and renew the spirit with around 500 events including music across seven stages. This year Mr. Scruff and Andrew Weatherall provided the beats while Emmy the Great, Martha Tilston and the Blaenavon Male Voice Choir were in excellent voice. There was live comedy and film-screenings, and philosophers, writers, academics and politicians in discussion.

A ten-day pass gives access to all gigs, evening discussions and parties, or you can buy shorter passes. There’s camping and parking available nearby, and you can look around the Hay Festival while you’re there. Early bird deals are likely to appear from around November 2014.

 

Green Man

Glanusk Park, Powys

Firmly established on the UK’s major festival circuit after twelve years, this playful four day August event on a stunning, compact Usk Valley site takes the music very seriously. More than 100 thoughtfully curated live acts and DJs feature beside equally carefully selected films and spoken word across 17 stages including a picturesque walled garden. This year’s highly respectable line-up included Mercury Rev, Beirut and Neutral Milk Hotel, comedy from Josh Widdicombe and speakers Viv Albertine and Howard Marks. Art installations, ongoing pagan theatre, circus, inspiring workshops for all ages, all night bonfires and gorgeous local, organic food and drink completed what was once again a magical experience.

As well as the usual weekend camping ticket, Green Man offers a Settler’s Pass, allowing you to camp onsite all week and make a holiday of it. £145 super early bird tickets for 20-23 August 2015 may have already sold out, so watch the website for the next release.

 

Festival No 6

4-7 September 2014
Portmeirion, Gwynedd, LL48 6ER

Even smaller but equally perfectly formed, the third Festival No 6 will be a little earlier this year, with hopefully better weather than previously. Conceived as a broader ‘arts’ festival and a more intimate event, No 6 offers pop up-theatre performances and mini-raves, comedy, readings and talks, film screenings, art trails and installations and other quirky delights in the Italianate village and surrounding woodland of Portmeirion, island location of the surreal 60′s TV series The Prisoner.
Musical treats for this year include Pet Shop Boys, Beck, London Grammar, tUne-yArDs, Tom Odell, Steve Mason, Kelis, Neneh Cherry, Laurent Garnier, Andrew Weatherall, Todd Terje and Bonobo. The Brythoniad Male Voice Choir, who traditionally cover a track by the headliners, have this year prepared their version of ‘Go West’, and there’ll be a new floating dancefloor in the woodland Chinese Lake.

£160 weekend camping tickets are still available for this weekend

 


sushisambaThe summer is in full swing turning London, especially the underground, into a huge sauna. The daily commute has become a humid, unbearable hell and the lack of air conditioned buildings makes for long hot days in the office – you definitely deserve a pint. Peppermint has scoured the capital to give you some of the best beer gardens and rooftop bars that London has to offer, to cool you down this summer with a refreshing beverage al fresco. Read more…


There’s one thing Brits love –062_PE_martinskikulis.com possibly more than any other nation on earth: their local pub. Just over the past couple of years, as pubs have gone under in the financial crisis, people have rallied together to bail out their local. It’s become as integral a part of our communities as your local park or job centre.

So while the supermarkets may be ploughing ahead with their cheap beer crate offers and discounted wine,let’s spare a moment for drinking out. A thought for all those moments with friends in stylish bars; the laughs you shared with a mate queuing for that cold lager at last year’s festival; and, of course, sitting at the bar of your local with a rum n’ coke, nibbling on some pork scratchings.

Without further-a-do, here’s five reasons why drinking out trumps bringing a crate home…

1, Beers on draught and wine-by-the-glass

While we often take both of these for granted, these are two reasons you can’t make up when you’re at home.

Every man and woman knows beer on draught is the way a pint is supposed to be drunk. It pours the perfect head and any bar or pub doing it right will serve it the temperature it was born to be served at. This kind of perfect beer is only available across the bar.

And for you wine drinkers, we all know once the bottle is opened at home the stopwatch kicks off to finish it before it goes bad. Sometimes you don’t want that kind of pressure, so why not take a wander down your local and enjoy a glass of something extra special instead?

2, The social buzz where your best ideas bloom

C’mon, admit it! When we’re down the pub with friends, we always have our best ideas. Let’s be honest, having a laugh about a new idea is nine times out of ten the best way to get excited about it.

Who knows, you might even be the world’s next Richard Branson.

3, Trying something new

This one’s fairly obvious, but nonetheless a vital shout out. When you’re in the supermarket you buy what you already know you’re going to like. It’s like some sort of contract you have with yourself: I’ll buy this one because, let’s face it, I’m the one who’s got to lug it home.

It’s not like that when you’re out and about. Instead, most bars will let you try something before you buy it – and you’re far more likely to run into an all-new selection than you are at those chain off licences and supermarkets.

It may just turn out to be your new tipple.

4, Laughing out loud

I’m not saying you can’t have a good laugh at home, but out and about you’re always increasing your chances.

Clubs are set for comic disasters and dancing worthy of YouTube fame; pubs are just waiting for the kind of conversation you only have when you burst out your shell over the frothy head of a Guinness; and festival or event bars are the place you take the weight off your feet for a hearty catch up.

No better place to laugh, eh?_DSF0445

 5, Meeting your next best friend

Whether you’re getting on with the bar staff like a house on fire, or you’re being charmed by a co-drinker’s stories, drinking out is one of the world’s best places to meet new people.

You’ll meet some characters, you may even meet your hero, and who knows, you might even wander into your next best friend.

So put down that crate and head on out. There’s a world out there just waiting for you.

 

Written By Ben Franks, Edited by Laura Thompson


fireWhether you’re a fire-eater by profession or simply like to be able to make tea at your campsite, a weekend greenfield festival is likely to bring you into contact with a few naked flames. But there’s no need to fear. We’ve compiled a few tips so you can make sure your festival experience is a safe and happy one.

1. Practice makes perfect
Many camping accidents happen because people are using unfamiliar equipment. Don’t leave reading the instructions until you’ve already had your first pint of scrumpy. Try fitting your first ever gas canister or having a practice barbie in the garden at home where there’s both space and easy access to water.

2. It’s good luck to plan for fire
Arrive while it’s light and look for campfire or cooking areas, escape routes, water sources and where to go for help. Read safety notices, and make an escape plan. A tent can burn in seconds, so be prepared to cut your way out. Have water to hand when you cook.

3. A gas canister can become a missile
Never throw a gas canister onto a fire. The explosion will often propel it with some force, which could cause serious injury. If you think there’s a gas canister on a fire or in a burning tent, raise the alarm and make sure everyone stays at least 100 m away.

4. Tents should be 6 m apart to prevent fire spreading
That’s the guidance at some campsites, but you’re unlikely to manage it at even a tiny festival, so be super-vigilant instead. Keep lighted cigarettes and flames away from your tent and take care to extinguish everything fully, especially before sleeping. Use electric torches, never candles, and don’t take flammable liquids.

5. Rules can vary
Much of fire safety is common sense, but organisers consider the site, crowd numbers and culture of that festival before creating specific safety strategies. Some provide communal campfires or heaters, for example, but won’t allow yours. Some have designated cooking areas. Check before you leave so you know what to bring.

6. Your tent can become a bomb
Never change a gas canister inside a tent. It’s not just about inhaling the gas. Add an open flame, and boom! When you’ve had a few drinks it can be frighteningly easy to forget that cigarette in your hand, or the joss-stick you just bought, is alight.

7. It’s not just about the flames
Never cook in your tent or bring in a lighted barbecue. People have died after taking portable barbecues inside for warmth. They give off lethal carbon monoxide for several hours after use and tents with sewn in groundsheets fill up in minutes. Fumes can overcome you before you notice them.

8. There are flares, and flares
A wax garden flare is intended to be safe if handled sensibly, but cheap ones can explode, so some events ban them.
Marine distress flares burn extremely hot and can cause injuries or fires even after they’ve gone out. They are unsafe around crowds and banned from most events.

9. Chinese lanterns are surprisingly destructive
Chinese lanterns (aka sky lanterns or wishes) are banned by many events. Don’t buy them, even if they say they have ‘biodegradeable’ bamboo frames. They each have to come down somewhere and can start fires if still alight. The debris they create, particularly the frames, kill both wildlife and livestock.

10. Your phone is a safety tool
If there’s a fire, call the emergency services and tell them exactly where you are. A mobile will make it easier to do this quickly, and may also be able to provide GPS co-ordinates to help them to find you in a place that may not have an exact address.