Xanthe Gladstone is a chef, organic grower and sustainability advocate based in North Wales. Through her cooking and talks, Xanthe demonstrates the positive effects that the right food choices can have on ourselves and our environment. For this summer Time to Make, Xanthe guides us through a simple summer vegetable broth recipe, which can be adapted to use a variety of vegetables abundant locally to you. Here, Xanthe shares her path to eating more sustainably, info on her upcoming supper clubs and the benefits of eating seasonally for us and the planet.
"I grew up in a rural part of Scotland with five siblings. It was amazing fun and an incredible way to grow up. Spending my childhood there meant that from then onwards I had a yearning for the outdoors. I studied in Edinburgh, which is such a special city and again gave me the option to spend lots of time outdoors as Edinburgh is so close to so many amazing walking and exploring spots in Scotland. Then, after two years of living and working in London in food marketing, I moved to North Wales where I still live, growing vegetables, cooking, and working in a bakery.
I think I was always interested in food. My mum is definitely a mentor of mine when it comes to cooking and food. She’s an amazing cook and we always had the most incredible food growing up, nothing out of the ordinary, just really nourishing and delicious, always cooked from scratch. I definitely didn’t appreciate it at the time (quite the opposite, probably) but I really appreciate it now. I have also been lucky enough to work with some amazing chefs over the last few years who I have found endless inspiration from.
My approach to food and sustainability is to try and make it more accessible. I think the topic of climate change and food’s role in that can be quite overwhelming and scary. Food is a huge part of the problem but it’s also a huge part of the solution too, so I try to keep a positive spin on things and give people manageable tips to eat more sustainably. For example, checking the packaging on your produce to see where it comes from and if it comes from further away than Europe, maybe swap it for something more seasonal. Food actually tastes better when it’s in season, so it’s worth waiting for British asparagus in May rather than getting it flown in from Peru in January. I really try to spotlight British vegetables when they are in season in my recipes online, so others might be inspired to try them too. Growing my own food is a huge part of what I do too, and although I am very aware that it’s a huge privilege to have the space and ability to do this, if I can use it as a way to show people how we can connect with where our food comes from, then that’s a tool that I’ll use.
This is such a simple and delicious recipe that I make quite often. I love it because I can really make it with whatever vegetables I have in my kitchen or in the garden, no matter the season. The base of ginger, garlic, and good quality vegetable stock is not only really nourishing and warming, but also has so much flavour and kick to it. The cherry tomatoes in this summer broth bring so much to this and I love it how the juices of the tomatoes seep out into the broth, so sweet and delicious. I usually enjoy it with a big hunk of fresh sourdough bread, which is the perfect combination. The nasturtium oil on top is optional but a delicious addition that I use in lots of other recipes too."
Summer Vegetable Broth
A thumb of ginger
2-3 cloves of garlic
1L hot water
1 cube of vegetable stock (or a teaspoon full of vegetable stock paste)
200g cherry tomatoes
A big handful of chard
Juice of half a lemon
8-10 broad beans, podded
240g white beans
1 small handful of herb fennel, roughly chopped
- Finely grate the garlic and ginger and add them to a pan on a medium heat with the hot water. Let this simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the garlic and ginger have really infused and there is a nice smell coming off the water.
- While the water is infusing, prepare your vegetables. Pod the broad beans if you haven’t already, and half the cherry tomatoes, chop the chard finely, and drain the white beans.
- Once the water has been boiling for about 10-15 minutes, add the broad beans and cherry tomatoes and season with a pinch of salt. Let these cook for about five minutes and then add the chard and white beans. Turn down the heat and let simmer until the chard has cooked. Squeeze in the lemon and season again, if it needs it.
- Take the broth on the heat and serve into two bowls, sprinkle the herb fennel over the top and serve with a good hunk of sourdough bread. Enjoy!
Watch Xanthe demonstrate the recipe in full on our IGTV channel. Xanthe wears our Linen Workwear Apron and uses the Leach Pottery Preparation Bowls, Ambrose Vevers Scorched Ash Chopping Board and Lucy Rutter Bottle Vase.
More of Xanthe's recipes along with her talks and upcoming supper clubs can be found on her website.