Reception to launch and Great Reskilling of Lewes and Lewes Library’s new collection of books on climate change and peak oil

Tuesday 18th September 2007, 6pm, Lewes Library, free

About 35 people attended the dual launch of Transition Books at Lewes
Library and the Great Reskilling of Lewes. Melanie Nicholls, Senior
Librarian at Lewes Library, had ordered a splendid range of books about
climate change and peak oil (see below for the Reading List), as well as
books on reskilling, which will be on display in the library over the
coming month along with a leaflet pointing people to the books.

Launching the Great Reskilling, Cllr Bob Tidy of East
Sussex County Council pledged council support to Transition Town Lewes.
Just that day, he said, ESCC councillors had met to discuss the
strategic plan for the County over the next decade. Climate Change,
apparently, was by far the largest concern for all the councillors,
although energy scarcity, he admitted, was not yet being discussed.
Cllr Tidy said how impressed he was with the work being done by
Transition Town Lewes and that he looked forward to creating a strong
working relationship and a sharing of knowledge with TTL as a means of
reducing the carbon footprint of our community, and preparing for the
effects of climate change.

Pippa Johns of the Brighton Permaculture Trust spoke
about the roots of TTL in permaculture, and the need to look at the
whole picture while working towards practical solutions. She spoke about
the way in which permaculture takes principles by which natural
ecosystems work and applies them to human environments. Thus we see that
a natural woodland is a robust, self-perpetuating, no-waste community
made up of lots of different elements all supporting each other and thus
the whole. In the transition town movement this is precisely what we
are hoping to create for our own local communities and we can use
Permaculture principles and design tools to help us achieve this.
Pippa’s running an Introduction to Permaculture in Lewes on 29/30
September.

Adrienne Campbell told the gathering about the work of TTL to date
and how we’re steadily bringing more issues in to the picture this
Autumn such as the need to repair the Lewes economy, once thriving in
Victorian times. The Great Reskilling, she said, was a way to revive
basic skills such as growing, cooking and mending, as well as crafts
such as basket making and rug weaving, in order to rebuild resilience in
to our lives, which will be very different, and possibly much better,
as oil supplies decline and become less affordable.

Andi Mindel’s locally sourced food fuelled much admiration, especially her pastries, the recipe for which is below.

With thanks to Delia Smith…

Caramelised Balsamic & Red Onion Goats’ Cheese Tarts
(makes 8 using 11cm (4.5inch) flan tins)

PASTRY
75g butter
175g spelt flour
extra for rolling
50g grated mature cheddar
pinch cayenne or paprika
half teaspoon mustard powder
little cold water
egg for brushing
Lightly rub butter with flour, then add cheese, mustard and cayenne, and
enough cold water to make a smooth dough – 1 – 2 tablespoons.
Wrap and place in fridge for 20 mins.
Roll out as thinly as possible, cut out rounds and place in greased flan tins.
Prick base with fork and bake in 180 degree celsius oven for 15 – 20 mins.
Cool on a wire rack.
Bases can be stored in airtight container for later use at this point.
FILLING
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
900g red onions very finely sliced
200g soft rind goats cheese
25g butter
dessert spoon chopped fresh thyme
fresh thyme sprigs for decorating
a little olive oil
cayenne pepper or paprika for sprinkling
salt and pepper
Melt butter in saucepan, stir in onions, balsamic vinegar and chopped
thyme. Season and let it cook gently for 30 mins, stirring often. Let
mixture cool until you’re ready to fill tarts.

Brush tart bases with beaten egg and bake in oven for another 5 minutes at 180 degrees celsius to seal pastry.
Spoon mixture into bases and top with goats’ cheese and a sprig of thyme that has first been dipped in the olive oil.
Finally sprinkle with a little cayenne or paprika and bake for 20 minutes.