The Last Drop

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It is often difficult to extract the last of a product from the container using the regular method of dispensing.  However, there are ways of getting the best value from what you have bought and minimising the amount of waste.

Bottles of shampoo and tubes of toothpaste are classic examples of where there is often unused product which is discard.  Buying the largest bottle available is a good strategy because you come to the end of the bottle less frequently.  You can add a little water to shampoo, conditioner and laundry liquid bottles and get several more uses from them.

Tubes can be cut open to reveal more than you can ever hope to extract via the nozzle.  Here is a tube of face wash which I have cut the end off.

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This is not the face wash I usually use but it was left behind some months ago by a guest and I felt it would be a waste to just throw it out so a few weeks ago I decided to use it.  There was not a lot left in the tube but once I had squeezed out what I could I then unscrewed the lid and was able to get a bit more on the tip of my finger for several more days.

I cut the end off yesterday and discovered that there was quite a bit more.

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I estimate that there is at least enough for another week, possibly longer.  It is definitely a worthwhile exercise to spend 2 seconds to cut off the end of the tube rather than tossing all of this in the bin.

What do you do to make sure that nothing gets wasted?

Gobsmacked

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Sometimes titles for my posts are really easy to choose and other times it is a little harder.  The title for today was immediately obvious.

According to the dictionary it means utterly astounded.  Yes, that really sums it up.

I and many, many others care about waste, saving the planet, using resources wisely and so on.  Some people are more passionate and devoted to their cause than others and all of us do our bit in different ways.  However, almost everyone makes some effort.

So, I was shocked yesterday when a young work colleague appeared with a large handful of good quality, plastic-coated paper clips and announced that someone was throwing them out.  I have a small box of these at work which I carefully use and re-use as files become obsolete and and put in the confidential waste bin for shredding and the large handful was more than my entire collection.

Worse was yet to come.  She returned with another handful and announced that there were ‘heaps more’.  My curiosity got the better of me and I went with her to check out the source.  I found that someone had thrown a bulk quantity of these paper clips into a green wheelie bin in another area of the office.

I quickly considered my options and located a reuseable shopping bag from another work colleague and we set about retrieving as many as we could.

These paper clips were loose and not contained so they would quickly and easily slip to the bottom of the bin which was already about 2/3 full.  We carefully scooped up handfuls and although we could not get them all, I feel that we probably saved about 90% of the discarded paper clips.

Here is the result of our efforts.  I apologise for the poor quality of the photos.

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Half a bag full of paper clips which I estimate weighs between 5 and 8kg.  It was so heavy when I lifted it that I carried it in my arms rather than by the handles because I was concerned that they would break.

Here is a close-up.

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I am still angry when I think about the appalling waste that this represents – both in environmental and economic terms.  The other question that bothers me, is why did someone come to have this many paper clips in the first place?

What did I do?

Firstly, I have no idea how these are going to be used, so at the moment, the bag is in the bottom of the small storage cupboard beside my desk.  It is just as well that I maintain minimal ‘stuff’ at work as well as at home so there was some spare space.

Secondly, I sent an email and photographs to the team who are responsible for sustainability on a corporate level.  I do not know who discarded these paper clips, nor do I want to, but the team who work hard to improve the sustainable credentials of the business need to know where there are problems and develop strategies to change this sort of behaviour.  I believe that this is an extreme but not isolated incident.

The next challenge is to work out how best to distribute these paper clips to people who will use and reuse them wisely.  What do you think?

Pizza Recipe – An Update

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2017-04-20 01

It has been brought to my attention that I made what could only be described as a monumental error in the recipe for the pizza bases which I posted yesterday.

There were 2 lines which were different quantities of olive oil – one line should have read ‘warm water’.  This has now been corrected and I sincerely hope that no-one has made it from the original copy.

Secondly, in response to a comment on the post I will explain a little about psyllium.  Yes, it is a laxative but that is not the reason for using it in the pizza bases.  As Monica Topliss, the author of the recipe book explains, it is the ‘secret ingredient’ in many of her gluten-free recipes as it provides the elasticity that is lacking with the absence of gluten.  Using this theory I have managed to successfully make my own gluten-free pasta.  Psyllium is also purported to assist in lowering cholesterol levels.  Here in Australia it is readily available in supermarkets and health food shops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Perfect Pizza

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For the past couple of years I have been making gluten-free pizza bases and tonight I want to share the recipe with you.

I have previously posted about making pizzas here but did not published the recipe as it included a specific blend of flour which was only available in the recipe book.  However, the ‘recipe’ for the flour blend is now available on the internet and you can look it up here.

The recipe below is the quantities I use.  It is actually double the original recipe and I find it makes 6 bases.

Pizza Bases

Ingredients

600g MGF flour blend
16g psyllium
2 teaspoons raw sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons dried yeast
40ml olive oil
520ml warm water

Method

  1.  Turn the oven on to 100 degrees C and set a timer for 5 minutes.  Turn the oven off after 5 minutes.
  2.  Place all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Add warm water and oil.  Mix well.  (I use the Kitchen Aid mixer on a low speed).
  3.  The mixture will seem quite runny at first but will soon firm up as the psyllium absorbs the moisture.
  4. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and place in the warm oven to rise for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and divide into 6 equal pieces.

The original recipe suggests rolling the dough out on a greased tray, allow to rise for 20 minutes then add toppings and bake for 15 minutes at 220 degrees C.

My version is a little different.  I roll the dough out on baking paper, bake on a tray for 8 minutes at 180 degrees C.  When cooled I freeze the pre-cooked bases ready for future use.

This is the pizza maker that I use which has a pizza stone set into it.

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Here is a sample of the end result.  We ate it tonight.

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NOTE:  I reuse the baking paper and store it in a ziplock bag in the freezer between uses.

Easter

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2017-04-18 01

The celebration that was Easter has been and gone since my last post.  The lead-up here was pretty low-key.  In fact, it was Wednesday before I really even gave much thought to the family lunch on Sunday.

Our menu ended up as follows:

Hummus with rice crackers and vegetable crudites

Cold Chicken Curry
Brown rice tossed with french dressing
Tossed green salad
Baby spinach, roast pumpkin and feta salad

Mango sorbet

Whilst we are far from self-sufficient I do like to include some of our own produce and this time I was able to make use of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocadoes, pumpkin, mangoes and eggs.

The Cold Chicken Curry is a family favourite and usually makes an appearance at most family get-togethers.  Unfortunately, I did not take a photo but I will add the recipe to the recipe files later in the week.

We had a quiet and peaceful weekend spent with various family members visiting and staying overnight.  It was relaxing and enjoyable and I hope your Easter break was, too.

Yesterday we managed to spend some time in the vegetable garden and I will show you the results of our efforts later in the week.

Sourdough Success

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I am pleased to report that in a little under 2 months since his first attempt GMan has baked a very respectable sourdough loaf.

In this post from February I mentioned that the first effort was a failure.  In fact, unmitigated disaster might be an accurate description.  Since then he has persevered and tweaked the technique with a few more loaves which have been edible – best toasted.  I have been watching from the sidelines as this is not gluten-free.

The loaf which GMan baked tonight is the most impressive so far and he is justifiably rather proud of it.

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I think a couple of things contributed to the success.  Firstly, the ‘starter’ is maturing with time and secondly, he cooked it in an enamel cast-iron lidded pot rather than on a tray.

This is about as ‘cooked from scratch’ as you can get with only 3 ingredients used – flour, salt and water.

My next challenge for GMan is to create a gluten-free ‘starter’.  Watch this space for more details in the future.

B.T. – Before Tissues

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Once upon a time ladies carried a lace handkerchief and gentleman had a fancy one tucked in their breast pocket.  Over time handkerchiefs evolved into a simple cotton square which everyone carried.  When I was a child you did not leave home without a clean hanky tucked in the pocket of your dress or trousers.  Handkerchiefs were as much a part of your wardrobe as your underwear and were usually stored in the top drawer along with the rest of your underwear.

When tissues became the norm there was no longer a need to store them.  It was a simple matter of having a box in a convenient location.  Quite often, it could be several locations – a box in the bedroom as well as the bathroom and living room as well as the car.

There is a renewed awareness of the environmental cost of disposable items and this is seeing more people return to using reuseable products and this includes the use of handkerchiefs.  This has led to the inevitable question of, “How and where do you store you handkerchiefs?”

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I keep my handkerchiefs in the small drawer on the left-hand side of my dressing table.

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Here they are stacked in 2 small piles.  I have about 15 handkerchiefs.

Although I do not use it, I have a fabric handkerchief bag which belonged to my grandmother and is close to 100 years old.  This is essentially an envelope and was used to ensure that the handkerchiefs stayed together and were easy to locate.

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The bag is made from fine cotton fabric and measures approximately 22cm x 22cm.  It features white on white embroidery and the photo below shows a close-up.

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The final view shows the bag with the flap opened.

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I find it interesting that there are people who have grown up in a world of tissues (and other disposable products) who have no previous experience of how to store the reuseable version.

Perhaps there is a whole new market for handkerchief bags awaiting an enterprising individual.

Do you use handkerchiefs?  How do you store them?