Bad vs. Worse

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You would think that a single-use plastic take-away food container would be the last thing I would post about during Plastic-Free July.  Bear with me while I explain.

During the week there was a meeting at work which I was not involved in but this was some of the leftover lunch catering.  At the end of the day someone mentioned that if anyone could use the leftovers to please take them.  I am one of the last to leave the office so I had quite a pile to take with me.  The first stop was to leave a tray of sandwiches and wraps at the park for some of the homeless who are often nearby.

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This container had not been opened and contained a mix of pumpkin, onion and baby spinach.  It seemed to have a seasoned oil dressing on it.

This morning I decided to make a vegetable curry.  The pumpkin chunks had not been peeled so I removed the skin.  I know that it is edible, however, I choose not to do so.

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I fried a couple of small chillies (diced) and some curry paste, added green beans and capsicum (bell pepper), some coconut cream and finally the pumpkin and spinach.

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This was our dinner which I served with some brown rice.

So, I have acquired a plastic container.  However, I saved perfectly good food from landfill.  The container will be used many times over.

I also salvaged some fruit from the same event.  The container on the left is my lunchbox which I filled with fruit that was on skewers (kebab-style) and the other container was provided by the caterers.  This is now in my recycling bin.

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I put all of the fruit in the blender along with some frozen pineapple, passionfruit and mango from the freezer.  This made enough for 4 large semi-frozen fruit smoothies.  Here is mine which I had for breakfast.

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I could have refused to have anything to do with this excess food because of the plastic waste, however, I chose to take responsibility for it and use the food as well as doing the best I can with the plastic.  Much better than it all ending up in landfill.  Do you agree?

 

 

 

 

 

Must Watch

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There is a relatively small amount of information and resources for Australians and it gives me great pleasure to share a link to a video which is made by Australians, about the Australian situation, using Australian statistics and information.  The video is titled ‘Waste Deep’ and was produced by the group at Sustainable Table.  The headline is “Waste Deep, a documentary that will change the way we cook and eat”.

This is not an over-the-top production designed for its shock value.  It simply and eloquently states the case for all of us to dramatically reduce our acceptance of plastic packaged, perfect food and the culture of convenience.

Please watch the video, preferably more than once.  Listen to the message and commit to acting to make a difference.  We all can make a difference.

Sustainable eating
Some of the themes are menu planning, growing your own food, reducing the amount you buy at supermarkets, supporting bulk/loose food stores, taking you own containers to be refilled, buying direct from the farmer or Farmers’ Markets and reducing before recycling.

Although this is an Australian video, the message and actions are applicable wherever you live.

What are you already doing?  What are you going to do?  Please share your thoughts and ideas so that we can build an online network to follow these principles and make a difference.

Lunch – Local and Leftovers

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I dislike seeing food being wasted, so whenever I am at home during the day my lunches can be interesting, to say the least.

2012-06-08 01Here is what I found for my lunch today.Clockwise from the top – last of the home-made tortillas from the freezer, some leftover coleslaw, a bell chilli, an avocado, spoonful of cold, mashed potato and the block of cheese.

The chilli and avocado are from the garden.  I then picked a perennial onion and a bunch of parsley.

2012-06-08 02The avocado skin had been nibbled by some of the local wildlife and there was dirt on it from where it had been lying on the ground but the inside was smooth, creamy and perfect when I cut it.

2012-06-08 03I spread the potato on the tortilla and then cut and piled all of the other ingredients on top, created a wrap and toasted it in the sandwich maker.

2012-06-08 04Here is my toasted gourmet wrap and a glass of lemon cordial.  I finished my meal with a mandarin from our tree.

What do you eat for lunches – at home or when you are at work?

A Lesson From The Past

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Some people in various parts of the world are living in economies that are officially described as being in a recession but wherever we live, these are definitely uncertain times.  At the same time there is research showing that many 1st world nations waste up to 20% of all food purchased.  That is the equivalent of bringing home 5 bags of groceries and throwing one bag of groceries straight into the bin.

Perhaps it is time to look back to earlier generations and their ‘waste not, want not’ mentality.  Everything was used, re-used and re-fashioned until not a single thing was left.  This applied in equal measure to food, clothing, furniture and so on.

Today I want to show you how we can easily make better use of the abundant food that we have.

This morning I juiced a large carrot, 2 apples and about 1/3 of a pineapple.  I drank the juice for breakfast and saved the pulp.

Next was a 600 ml container of cream.  This was bought in January and not required for a luncheon we were hosting so it was put in the freezer.  Last weekend I thawed it to have some cream on dessert.  Only a small amount was used so today I put it in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and made butter.  I followed the description from here.  I was very pleased with the result.

2012-05-19 01I used 100g of the butter when I made pastry and this is what was left.  From about 500ml of cream I made 220g of butter and had 250ml of buttermilk.

I used the buttermilk tonight when I made a bacon and mushroom quiche for dinner.  I mixed a couple of tablespoons of milk powder into the buttermilk to make a thicker liquid for the quiche.

2012-05-19 02While the oven was on I also made a batch of muffins using the leftover fruit pulp from my juice.

2012-05-19 03I made beef curry in the slowcooker from a recipe in one of the Sally Wise cookbooks.  This is now divided into portions and frozen along with several serves of bolognaise sauce and a dish of lasagne.

2012-05-19 04Making these meals is a reminder of how we can use our own condiments.  The curry called for tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, chutney and curry powder as some of the ingredients.  I had home-made versions of all of these to use.  Some of the pasta sauce I made during the summer when tomatoes were very cheap and plentiful went into the bolognaise sauce.  The lasagne sheets were ones I had made some weeks ago and frozen.  It is great to have so many of the ingredients for meals at your fingertips and know that they have been created in your own kitchen and you know exactly what went into them.

The Duke has made our bread from bought pre-mixes for a number of years and now he is experimenting with making it from scratch.  He has the white loaf pretty well perfect but has working on getting the wholemeal loaf the way he wants it.  Here is the result of his effort today and naturally he is very pleased.

2012-05-19 05Tomorrow I plan to make lemon butter which will use our own eggs and lemons as well as some of the butter I made today.

How do you make the most of the food you have?

The Ones That Got Away

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Yesterday I ventured down to the vegetable gardens and found these zucchini.  At 1.8kg and 2.8kg they could certainly be regarded as the ones that got away.

2012-01-15 01The photograph shows them beside the food processor which gives an indication of the size of them.

In keeping with my previous post, there was no way I was going to waste them so I cut them up and and scooped the seeds out.  I then cut them into manageable pieces and fed them through the food processor with the grater attachment.  Since the skin is fairly tough on these large zucchini it did not grate particularly well but my work still yielded 8 x 400 g packs of grated zucchini in ziplock bags ready to freeze.

2012-01-15 02These are now packed away in the freezer, ready for use.  I make zucchini quiche/slice which works perfectly well with previously frozen zucchini.  I also add it to bolognaise sauce and lasagne.

I will post the recipe for the Zucchini Slice on Friday in Friday Favourites.

What do you do when you have a glut of a particular fruit or vegetable?