Veg box week 1

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On Friday, I went to pick up my first veg box from Locavore. Veg boxes are seasonal produce grown from Locavore’s farms, as well as other local organic farms. Each week I will pay £5 and will receive something different.

I have been researching farmers markets in Glasgow for a while, but couldn’t find anything conclusive or satisfactory. Since I live close to Locavore, I decided to trust fate and subscribe to a veg box.

This means that I don’t get to choose what I am given; I simply have to make do with what I receive. This pleases me, as it will enable me to discover new vegetables, think up new recipes, and explore my culinar-adventurous side. Certainly in a few weeks, when my work load will have cranked up, I will be damning the kohlrabi or cabbage I’ll receive. But for now, I plan to have a great week of fun dinners.

And obviously, I like knowing my food doesn’t have any air miles; that I am supporting local farmers; that setting up a direct debit means I don’t produce receipts; that I can bring the plastic bag back next time; that I walk to Locavore and back…

This week, I received potatoes, carrots, a cabbage, onions, and sprouting broccoli.

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Past self’s decisions

I have this insane habit of ferociously stocking up on food. It’s like I am terrified of running out of food at a critical moment, or of running out of money and being unable to eat. I don’t know where this comes from. My friends make fun of me and of my piles of food under my bed.

So this is why it is only now that I am finishing a few packets of food that I had bought about 6 months ago (seriously).

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Do you ever feel frustrated about your past self’s decisions? There are big things you can be angry about, like that partner you should have separated from earlier or that letter you really shouldn’t have sent… And then there are the small things, like a comment you made a few months ago that lacked empathy, or buying a £13 cheese when you really need a hairdryer so you don’t go out into the cold with wet hair…

And then there’s a slightly ridiculous habit of having vast amounts of food stashed in ever corner in case disaster strikes.

Needless to say, I will now buy ground almonds from the bulk bins!

Maybe I’ll just have glass jars full of food under my bed from now on… Old habits die hard…

Galette des rois – or when homesickness for another home produces trash

I don’t celebrate any religious festivities – however since a few years I make a galette des rois on the 6th of January (recipe below). Because it is the most scrumptious thing on this planet and I will take any excuse to make a cake, especially in grim and grey Glasgow.

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It’s a French puff pastry-frangipane delight, light enough to eat bucketloads of and tasty enough to make even the meanest kid smile. Normally, bakers add a porcelain figurine somewhere in the frangipane for a lucky eater to find (Peau d’Âne style). Typically, the youngest child scrambles under the table and dictates who gets which piece of galette, so that there can be no peeking. When someone finds the figurine during eating, they become “king” and don a golden crown.

This is the first year when I consciously took stock of how much trash this tradition produces in my household. As you can see in the picture above, the puff pastry came with its own baking sheet. It also came in a plastic wrapper and cardboard box.

This time of year has probably been the hardest so far on my quest to reduce my trash production – and not even because of presents, which we don’t really do in my family. Simply because of all the foodstuffs that I chose to bring back from France or Switzerland (heaps of chocolates) and that sustain me for the time I am away in my other home. A friend often comes back from Italy with 2 litres of olive oil. Another French friend brought lots of raclette cheese back and had a raclette party a few years ago. All of us who have left home to find another home use food as a reminder of what’s left behind, and what we carry with us everyday.

So how can I produce less trash, whilst still fulfilling this need of mine?

Galette des rois recipe (via)

  • 1 rectangular puff pastry
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 50g butter at room temperature
  • a few drops of almond extract (optional)
  • 1 egg yolk

Heat oven at 210 C.

Cut the puff pastry in half. Put one half aside, and lay the other one on an oven dish. Prick the latter with a fork.

Mix the almonds, sugar, egg and butter (and almond extract) to form a paste. Spread the paste evenly on the pastry. Cover with the other half, and seal the edges well (I see a fork).

Dilute the egg yolk in a bit of water and spread on the surface and edges of the galette. Using a knife, lightly trace decorations on the top of the galette. Prick the top a few times, to let the air escape.

Cook in the oven for 30 minutes (start to monitor from 25 minutes onwards, don’t hesitate to leave it in for 40 minutes if it needs it).

Food haul #3

Funnily enough, here I am talking about peanut butter again. I think it will be a recurrent theme. In real life, few of my friends have the patience to listen to me wax lyrical about peanut butter. My brother does, thank goodness.

We are peanut butter brethren.

I wonder if we were surreptitiously bathed in it as children.

To be honest, I’m in admiration with myself. I haven’t bought a jar of peanut butter since the last Ground Peanut Butter Jar. My determination has not wavered on this point (but it has elsewhere, as you will see). I have held fast through all my cravings, through all my trips to various stores displaying lovely little jars of Peanut Butter Of The Gods. Singing Siren Peanut Butter. Orpheus Music Peanut Butter. Watching A Sunrise From The Top Of A Mountain Peanut Butter. Swimming In The Sea Peanut Butter. Listening To Birdsong In The Morning Peanut Butter.

I went grocery shopping today and prepped some jars:

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(Because I don’t have any cloth bags and have stolen all the tupperware the flat has, to my great surprise. It was only when my flatmates asked me where their tupperware was that I realised I had completely monopolised them. I promptly fessed up and opened my food cupboard for all to see my food stocked in THEIR shiny tupperware. Woopsies. So instead I steal their jars from the recycling bin. I hope they don’t find me too odd.)

WHOLEFOODS HAS THEIR NUT GRINDER BACK.

A NUT GRINDER IS IN GLASGOW.

CLOSER THAN 42 MILES AWAY IN EDINBURGH.

Holy mackerel.

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I was vastly unprepared, having only brought small jars, rather than a 5 kilo one.

I spent all afternoon spoon-feeding myself peanut butter.

It also made me think – once again – about Calvin and Hobbes and the great wisdom within it.

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I’m beginning to have a lot in common with Calvin’s dad: a hatred of over-consumption; a love of camping and an adoration of cycling.

Buying only what you need

I am leaving my Glasgow home for a few days today, and have been emptying my food stocks over the last week, so as not to throw away any food.

Yesterday, I was invited to a dinner with friends and made these super scrumptious Salted Caramel Crack Brownies – I had everything in the cupboard apart from eggs and chocolate. I went to Locavore to buy eggs, and I only bought three – just what I needed.

It made me feel quite still and silent inside, this idea that I didn’t need to buy six eggs. That what is not “mainstream” sometimes makes a lot of sense. That I wouldn’t have to give away another three eggs. That we can, if we want to, choose how we consume. That we can, if we want to, think about our choices.

I was in a hurry and didn’t take a photograph of the eggs to illustrate this post, so instead I am posting this image of the postman’s paper slip a few days ago.

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Because we do have a glitter ball outside our door.

A Bar of Soap

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When I saw 1976’s Carrie (probably around the age of 12), I remember asking my father (who would always pause a movie when we asked questions) why she would wash her hair with a bar of soap, and if people really did that.

With hindsight, I’m like: HONESTLY?? That was the question I asked??

Anyway, what a bloody introduction to this post! Can you see it in the image, the small green soap in her hand?

About two months ago, I started using a bar of soap too. I always thought people who used soap, bicarbonate of soda, or no-poo were total hippies – tee heeeeeee, how life can throw your prejudices back in your face! I really like the process of using a bar of soap to lather up my hair, and how I use it over my body as well. I like that it’s now my go-to product, that I don’t have to think about buying new shampoo, don’t have to figure out which shampoo works for me because I found one that does, which chemicals I’m putting down the drain, that it lasts me a long time, etc.

Oh yeah, and that is doesn’t produce trash. This soap is simply wunderBAR!

 

Eggstatic and eggcellent

Today I went to buy eggs. I couldn’t resist making a few puns.

Because I’m punny.

(Not even my joke).

Anyway! As I mentioned yesterday, I’m on full baking mode. Hence the butter chat, and hence today’s egg chat.

This is the last egg box I bought in September, three months ago. I’ve been going to Locavore since then to buy my unpackaged eggs. And also, those eggs are from Locavore’s happy chickens who live locally.

I bring my box, open it up, grab an egg, place it in one of the 12 alcoves, and repeat until the box is full.

Today I also bought soya milk for tomorrow’s lunch recipe, and realised I hadn’t bought soya milk since September either, and had managed without (I use water to cook my porridge, and water in my crêpes – it makes them way lighter and doesn’t affect the taste). I therefore pulled this little tin out of my cupboard and made myself a delicious chai.

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When this box is finished, I’ll be able to go to Tchai-Ovna and get a refill of their famous Yogi Yogi Chai blend.