The Grain Chain

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Monday, November 16th, 2009

Recipe Videos

In June 2009, we conducted evaluation sessions with teachers of both primary and secondary aged children.  Teachers liked the fact that a number of our recipes were supported by video demonstrations, but said that while they were suitable for viewing on a computer screen they were too small to show to a whole class on a whiteboard.  We have subsequently enlarged all the Licence to Cook recipe videos on the Grain Chain site.  These include recipes for biscuits, breads (dinner rolls, Finnish fruit plait), savoury/sweet pancakes, muffins and pizzas.  Use our search function to find recipes with an accompanying video by clicking here.  If you have any comments or suggestions on the Grain Chain website that you would like to pass on please feel free to email us.


Elsewhere on the sitFranz on phone Image 18e we have a range of podcasts aimed at students aged 14-16 years old.  These cover issues such as food and values; diet and weight loss and food prices. 

In Food and Values, Franz explores some of the issues affecting consumers’ purchasing decisions and asks “in tough times will we put value for money before personal values?”  As part of the investigation Franz interviews the Food Ethics Council, an organic farmer and the Fairtrade Foundation before asking shoppers at his local supermarket what factors they consider when making food purchases.

Harvest – global perspective

In the last blog post we reported on this year’s harvest, where wheat production for the 2008/2009 season was estimated at 14.2 million tonnes.  From this crop it is eShip_200xpected that 1.5-2 million tonnes will be exported overseas.

  • The EU has seen another large harvest in 2009, with 136 million tonnes of wheat estimated to have been produced. This high level of production will lead to greater trade competition.
  • Globally, 667 million tonnes of wheat is estimated to be harvested in the 2009/10 season.
  • Growers with easy access to ports have a greater market opportunity for exporting their grain abroad. The main ports in England are Immingham, South Humberside; Tilbury, Essex and Southampton, Hampshire.
  • Between July-August, the UK exported 265 thousand tonnes of wheat, the majority of which has gone to Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. These countries use UK wheat for bread making e.g. barra gallega and flama bread in Spain, to biscuits and feed wheat.

The 14-16 year old section explores the wheat market further.  You can discover how the wheat grown in the UK is utlisesd, how agricultural land in the UK is used and other related farming issues such as income, commodity prices and workforce.  To find out more click here.  

Diary Dates

WHAT:                  The Design and Technology (with ICT) Education Show

WHEN:                  19-21 November 2009

WHERE:                NEC, Birmingham


In its 20th year, the Design &Technology Show will be hosting a full programme of FREE educational and informative workshops and seminars with some of the most experienced people in the industry. The event will cover the latest Primary Curriculum Review and how to prepare for the changes; support for the compulsory Food curriculum; news about the new funding for Food rooms; new GCSEs and Diplomas; KS3 curriculum support; SEAL materials; and Digital D&T hands-on workshops.

The event boasts free entry, free parking and a free showguide.  To gain free entry you must pre-register.  Click here to be redirected.

Harvest’s here

Friday, October 23rd, 2009


Virtually the entire UK cereal crop has now been harvested.  Figures from DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) breakdown this year’s harvest as follows:

Crop Size (in million tonnes) Uses
Wheat 14.18
  • Feed people and animals;
  • some will be exported;
  • some will be used to produce renewable petrol fuel for cars.
Barley 6.75
  • Feed animals;
  • Make beer (in England);
  • Make whiskey (in Scotland).
Oilseed Rape 1.938
  • Crushed to produce cooking oil;
  • some may also be used for renewable diesel fuel for cars.
Oats 0.731
  • Used to make breakfast cereals and biscuits.

Designed for 14-16 year olds we have developed a whole section on arable farming.  This provides further information on wheat growing, storing grain and the wheat market; plus a case study of Upper Farm – a 500 hectare arable farm situated in Bradley, Hampshire and growing mainly wheat and malting barley.

Seasonal Recipes 20091026 muffins

There is plenty of delicious produce to be had as we head into autumn.  Apples were among the first fruits to be cultivated in the world and now there are more than 7,000 varieties.  Apples can be divided into two types – eating and cooking.  Cooking apples, as well as having a distinct flavour, hold their shape while cooking.  This is especially important for dishes such as pies and flans.  When buying apples ensure they are well rounded, firm and that the skins are as unblemished as possible. 20091026 Farmhouse Breakfast

Why not try our delicious apple muffin recipe – it takes just half an hour. 

Farmhouse Breakfast Week (24-30 January 2010)

Farmhouse Breakfast Week runs between 24–30 January 2010.  The new theme is ‘Breakfast Benefits’ and its aims are to demonstrate that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.  The campaign raises awareness of the nutritional benefits of eating a healthy breakfast as part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle. 

Schools can get involved by setting up or promoting an existing breakfast club, organising their own Breakfast Games, or researching the history of breakfast.  For more information, to download an activity pack or to order free promotional materials including recipe booklets, event posters and stickers call 0247 647 8735 or visit

Grain Chain Newsletter

The Grain Chain newsletter is delivered by email and issued once a term.  It covers topical information such as Farmhouse Breakfast Week, new resources, diary events and opportunities such as farm visits.  Don’t miss out on your copy of the next newsletter, sign up here and be the first to find out what’s new.

Summer’s cooking

Friday, July 3rd, 2009
Children's Food Festival

Raymond Blanc at the Children's Food Festival. Image courtesy of Kate Raworth.

Keep cooking over the holidays

It will soon be holiday time, leaving your pupils with even more time on their hands to experiment in the kitchen. Why don’t you set a summer holiday project for your pupils to practise recipes at home with their parents and report back in September? There are plenty of recipes on the Grain Chain site to help them. They could make scones for a summer afternoon tea party, or decorated fairy cakes to sell at your school or local summer fête.

Summer fair news

Don’t forget The Royal Show is taking place on the 7-10 July. For more information see the last blog entry, and their website:

Open Farm Sunday was a huge success this year, with over 140,000 visitors being welcomed onto 425 farms, supported by over 5,500 helpers! Read reports and see photos of the day here. If you missed out on a visit this year, make a note in your diary that next year’s Open Farm Sunday will be taking place on Sunday, 13th June.

The Children’s Food Festival took place in Oxfordshire at the weekend, and also proved a big hit with children and adults. Over 14,000 families were treated to hands-on cookery demonstrations and talks from more than 20 top chefs and cookery writers, including Raymond Blanc and Sophie Grigson. Read more and see photos here

Summer fairs over the holidays

Even though the summer holidays are fast approaching there are still plenty of events happening all over the country to keep your pupils busy over the holidays. Here are details of just a couple for you to tell your pupils about:

Hampshire Food Festival – Around 140 events spread over the county!

When: All through July

What’s going on? All sorts of food activities happening across Hampshire Download the full programme here.

For more information, go to

New Forest and Hampshire County Show

When: 28th- 30th July

What’s going on? Agricultural and Equestrian Show – animals, competitions, children’s entertainment and more.

To find out more and arrange a visit, go to

For more information about what is happening in your area over the summer holidays, check the events calendar on the Think Food and Farming website (

That’s all from the Grain Chain blog for the time-being, but we hope to see you back here in the autumn! Have a great summer.