Monday, July 15, 2019

Getting Back to Glass Milk Bottles

We are all becoming more conscious of the amount of plastic that is in everyday use. It's impossible to get through the week without contributing in one way or another to the mountain of indestructible plastic. Much plastic waste can go into the recycling bin collected by the Council but it really isn't the answer. Did you know that just one item incorrectly dropped into your green bin can ruin the recycling potential of a whole truckload of waste? The waste that can't be recycled is shipped to the Far East. The countries that are paid to take the waste can't cope with the huge quantities, so much of it is left lying in giant mountains. It worries me what sort of legacy are we leaving for our grandchildren - mine are aged only five and two. We are merely temporary custodians of the (inappropriately named) Green Planet. So I'm trying to do my bit.

Milk in glass bottles, delivered to my doorstep, as in the old days, is my latest effort. I used to buy four or five two-pint bottles from the supermarket each week - that's at least two hundred single-use plastic bottles each year!  On the other hand, glass milk bottles are washed and reused up to twenty-five times at the bottling plant. Yes, it's more expensive to buy milk this way but the cost can be offset by using a little less milk each week and cutting costs in other areas - like buying the weekly grocery shopping at a cheaper supermarket. In addition to the environmental advantages of glass milk bottles, the milk is bought from independent farmers who are paid a fair price. I pay online, in advance, and the milk appears as if by magic on my doorstep. I never hear or see the milkman!

The Milk Delivery Video

Another way to help recycle plastic is by saving empty crisp packets and taking them to a collection point. Perhaps you don't eat many bags of potato crisps. They are a guilty treat in my household and the resident son has developed a habit of tucking a packet into his lunch box every day. It has to stop! In the meantime, I send the packets off and they are transformed into rather enterprising products. Watch Walker's Crisps video to find out more.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Yummy Spiced Fruit Loaf Recipe

Hello, and Happy Sunday!

I have been baking. Not a frequent pastime these days as the end products are too tempting for one determined to lose weight. But the man about the house takes a packed lunch to work every day and needs plenty of calories to sustain him during a long physically demanding day (or so he tells me).  Often he takes a few breakfast biscuits for snacking but I've decided that they contain too many chemicals (and can be rather expensive). Which is why this light spiced fruit loaf is now resting on my worktop.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Egg, Chorizo, Kalettes, Parmentier Potatoes and Tomato in a Sunday Brunch Hash

The tiny leaves of kalettes are a fairly recent hybrid of kale and Brussels sprouts. High in vitamins K and C (but not as high as kale)


Chorizo - a staple in my fridge. Intense flavour. A little goes a long way.

 I adapted a recipe from the March issue of Waitrose Food magazine to incorporate the kalettes and the chorizo, substituting them for the specified kale and bacon lardons.

The result got a thumbs up from the man about the house so I'm sharing a link to the recipe -

 Bacon, egg and kale oven hash

Friday, March 08, 2019

Easy Bread Making - A First Attempt

The cookery writer Elizabeth David said that every cook should know how to make soda bread. And now I do. I watched James Martin make it on Saturday Kitchen last week and have been itching to bake some ever since. It is so quick and easy - mixed and kneaded in a few minutes and no need to prove the dough. A loaf of bread warm from the oven in 45 minutes. Most recipes seem to include wholemeal flour but James Martin used brown flour, so that's what I did. Not bad for a first attempt. I should have kneaded it for a little longer and cut the traditional cross deeper since it disappeared during the baking. But nevertheless, it tastes great.Why not give it a go? Lots of recipes online. Try these James Martin
BBC Food
175 g brown self-raising flour
175 g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
284 ml carton buttermilk plus milk to make the liquid up to 300 ml

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees fan.
Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl Mix in the buttermilk and draw the mixture together
 Add a tad of milk if the mixture seems too dry ( but it must not be wet)
 Place on a floured surface and quickly knead
 Shape into two round loaves
Place on a floured baking tray and slash the top
Cook for  18-20 minutes

  • Ensure that the baking tray is adequately covered with flour or the dough has a tendency to stick to the tray
  • Half a teaspoon of salt was not quite enough for my taste. I will add a little more next time
  • Make a deep slash, or it will virtually disappear as the dough rises. 
  • Some flours absorb more liquid than others.