Emily celebrates best of Norfolk with new cookbook

Growing up on a farm inspired 19-year-old Norwich girl Emily Rout to write a new cookbook celebrating our county's produce and the joy of eating locally and seasonally. EMMA LEE reports.

Having grown up on a farm, Emily Rout is passionate about supporting local food producers.

The 19-year-old is a part-time grain trader and student of agricultural management at Easton College and the University of East Anglia and wants to encourage people to shop local, eat more seasonally and reduce their carbon footprint.

Which is why she's written a cookbook which celebrates the best produce Norfolk has to offer.

Emily believes buying locally means 'your food will taste better because it's fresher'.

'The amount of food imported into this country is far too high and there is a real need to start sourcing locally,' she says.

'We wanted to do something to promote agriculture and needed an easy way to do it and catch the general public's eye and a cookery book seemed the best idea.

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'I grew up on a farm and I've always had an interest.'

The book, called A Seasonal Cookbook, contains recipes and ingredients made by some of Norfolk's best-known food champions, including Michelin-starred chef Galton Blackiston, cheesemaker Catherine Temple from Wighton, near Wells, Clarke's Ice Cream of Wattlefield, near Wymondham, goat's cheese producers Sam and Bertie Steggles of Fielding Cottage, and Swannington Farm.

The book is divided into seasonal sections with suggestions of ingredients to use at certain times of the year, such as asparagus and duck in the spring, fish and soft fruits such as strawberries and blueberries in summer and pears in the autumn, and some recipes to whet the appetite.

The book contains three recipes from Galton Blackiston, who believes firmly in eating seasonally and locally and designs the menu at his award-winning restaurant Morston Hall around which local ingredients are at their best each morning.

He says: 'Emily sings from the same hymn sheet I do. It's absolutely important – regional, seasonal is the way forward. If you go and buy local from your little farm shop or whatever, it's probably cheaper than it is buying it beautifully packaged in the supermarkets.'

Emily, from Tibenham, in south Norfolk, has written the book as part of ITV Fixers with vinspired.com, a campaign which gives young people between the ages of 16-25 the opportunity to tackle any issue that they feel strongly about.

What they choose to do is up to them as long as it benefits at least one other person.

Emily explains: 'I became an ITV Fixer after winning the Bernard Matthews Young Farmer of the Year in 2010 and because I want to make a difference in agriculture and highlight the importance of supporting your local economy, as well as reducing food miles.'

Margo Horlsey, executive producer for ITV Fixers, has been impressed by the work the young people involved with the project have done.

'ITV Fixers are young people setting the agenda and changing stereotypes. We want to give young people the chance to decide what they want to do, develop their own projects, and give them a little bit of help if needed. I've seen how energetic and committed they are when what they're doing means something to them.

'What we're seeing has really made me question whether young people deserve such a bad press.'

A Seasonal Cookbook, by Emily Rout, is available from www.itvfixers.com for �5, plus 95p postage.

Find out how to keep the kids' entertained this Easter with some egg-citing crafts on the Life Matters pages in tomorrow's (Wednesday April 13) Norwich Evening News.