Pot of soup cooking on new stove.

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A Billion Acts of Green

So yesterday and today are Earthday.

This statement should remind us that there is no us and them. The fact that it is still the 22nd for my USA readers while that was yesterday for me shows we are one big globe. A closed system in which the actions of all affect all.

I think the most serious problem we as a globe have are the beliefs ‘that my little bit can’t really help’ and that ‘someone else will take care of it’.

Well that someone is you and that single act multiplied by a billion people has lead the earthday.org to now register over a billion acts of green. An astounding number but remember that for every act of green there is probably an act of non-green (is that a word).

So the Earthday folks are now aiming for 2 billion acts so you too can now register to help out.

There a lot of simple acts you can make.

  • Turn off the lights when you leave the room
  • Turn down the thermostat and put on a jumper
  • Buy local food from local farmers
  • Cook your own meals from scratch
  • Refuse a plastic bag.
  • Take public or ride your bike.

None of these acts by themselves will save the world but the combined total of everyone doing one or two will have a major impact on the earth.

In the end we will all stand together or sink together.

To me the aim is to reduce my waste further in the household. So I would leave you with this thought in a closed system such as our planet there is no putting out the garbage and sending it to another place. There is no ‘other’ place just this one we all live and on and depend on.

A New Easter

As I sit here eating left overs I would have to say the urban hippie household has had a great Easter.

IMG_1916-2000With the sad passing of the matriarch of our family my grandmother last year this was the first year where we mixed new and old traditions. Making new traditions or reviving old traditions is becoming more and more important. Our culture has had 50 years of traditions being ‘reinvented’ every couple of years to keep the market going and keep the economy ‘healthy’. Buy your traditions is the motto of the defining western culture 😦

For us every Good Friday was at my grandmother’s house. A traditional German fare of pickled foods, heavy casseroles and my Oma’s famous ‘vegetarian’ chicken stock dumpling soup 🙂

This year I hosted my immediate family and we had by any rule of thumb a feast. Wild salmon, smoked salmon, local fast growing sustainable fish and squid crumbed and fried. A few old favourites such as the herring salad my mother resurrected from grandmothers recipe and fish casserole.

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And an old favourite with a small twist my potato salad with wasabi and the crunch of fresh cucumber.

For desert pavlova from my parents pasture eggs with cream and berries.

We tried to make the event as sustainable as we could. Potatoes and veg where from the local farmers market, local olive oil to fry, pole and line caught tuna for the casserole, local fish such as bream, trevally and local shark (quick growing and sustainable in the way it caught here) we had wild salmon (frozen and transported but wild caught) the only down side was the smoked salmon and gravlax that came from somewhere in Europe and was probably farmed.

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But with the feast and the over cater gene I got from my grandmother comes left overs. Which is what we had for the next day. We try to waste as little as we can in our house.

Sunday was again family with a Croatian feast with A.’s family cabbage salad, potatoes, pork and beef cheeks. Baked cheeses, polenta and lemon meringue for dinner. None of which I am sure of where it came and if it was local or sustainable or anything else but you need to be careful to make sure that you are leading. People can be non-Newtonian liquids forcing your views on them is not going to work unless you lead by example. My local dinner was pretty damn fine and you can taste how fresh the just caught local fish. Fish most people have not eaten not because they are no good but because they are not exotic enough or are ‘not in fashion’

After the big lunch we all grazed in the evening feeling stuffed and I got a little insight into how not to waste things. A’s mother had some of the left over polenta with milk for dinner which all the grandkids proceeded to try and all loved. We have to relearn such uses. Nothing should go to waste.

We need to remind ourselves that feasts should be just that. Something special, a time to eat those things that we only have once in a while. One of problems with the middle class of which arguably most permaculture people are from (whether they choose to believe that or not) is that most western middle class folk eat better than kings of bygone eras. To that end we will be living off left overs and the last of my parents and my garden for a few weeks. Seasonal food to balance out the feast.

But enough comments. I hope you all had a brilliant Easter and are living of the left overs of your feasts J post some left over recipes if you can be interested to see what people do with their recipes. Below is the recipe for fish casserole we eat each Easter and the potato salad with wasabi and cucumber.

OH And as a bonus for me J I planted out some of my winter brassica’s just an hour or so in the garden to weed and plant and bit of pruning but it was very nice 🙂 need to get out there a bit more don’t I 🙂

Fish Casserole

  • Potato’s for 3 layers in your container parboiled and sliced
  •  Two 2 gram tines of tuna (you are looking for skipjack tuna pole and line caught. Aldi sells a good one) alternatively my mother has used baked fresh fish in place of tinned fish
  • 6 – 8 hardboiled eggs sliced
  • Mustard sauce as below
  • Cheese to top.

Mustard Sauce.

  • 80 grams of plain flour
  • 80 grams of butter
  • 900 ml of milk
  • Mustard to taste (you need to use a bit I used a small whole jar of German mustard)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Method: Fry off the butter and flour to make roux or paste. Make sure you fry off the flour long enough to make sure you remove the flour flavour. Add a little bit of milk and mix to make paste and then add a bit more as you got to make smooth white sauce and mustard and salt and pepper to taste.

To put together the casserole put a layer of potatoes on the bottom of a casserole dish, a layer of the tuna, then add sauce to cover. Ad the eggs and another layer of potato and tun then more sauce then a final layer of potato and the last of the sauce to cover then add the cheese to top.

Cover and cook for a while remember most of the ingredients are already cooked so it is just combining and warming it thought. At the end take of the lid and let the cheese brown off.

Freezes well and tastes better next day 🙂

Potato Salad.

  • 1 kg of potatoes cooked till just cooked (not over cooked) an important thing for both the casserole above and the salad is to start the cooking from cold water and bring to the boil it is a trick I learnt making chowder as it stops the potatoes starch breaking down incorrectly.
  • Mayonnaise (as A. is pregnant I used kewpie mayonnaise) about a cup
  • One cucumber deseeded and sliced into 5mm squares.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Wasabi paste to taste.

Cut up the potatoes once warm but not hot mix through the ingredients and serve and room temperature. Needs an hour or so of sitting time to combine the flavours.

Real Food Again

So we have been to New Zealand for a holiday (more on that later) and have had builders working on our house for the last 2 week (much more on that latter!) so we have been living in an apartment a bit closer to town.

I cooked while we were there but it was very basic based on what I could get and make at the nearby ALDI or local takeaway.

So when we moved back in on Friday we went to the local fish and chip and decided that was it for a while. Enough we need real food.

Having to work all evening Saturday complicated this but we had, had enough.

Having access to my kitchen, larder and garden made this easier.

I had a pumpkin, sweet potato and some pears from my parents just staring at me as I opened up the fridge.

Some bacon off cuts from the freezer and soup cried out at me.

It was interesting adding the pears as it made it a little sweeter but also added a greater depth level in the flavour that I had read about but you have to taste to understand. A little cultured sour cream and mmmmm J and the soup was very filling.

It is interesting to. I have noticed in the last few months that nutrient rich foods are making us less hungry. We get our tortillas for Mexican from a place in South Kensington who uses corn fresh ground on the premises.

A pack is enough to feed us to stuff point but other brands just don’t seem to fill us up I wonder if food, real food, nutrient dense food makes us less hungry. Or perhaps a better way to look at it is the calorie rich, nutrient poor food is leaving us craving these nutrients and leaving us hungry as our bodies seek the nutrients despite the calories and we can only get these through eating a lot more?

Either way for the next months we are eating a lot more of these nutrient dense foods. I have hit my parents place as our garden needs some love courtesy of the madness leading up to our trip and the work on the house. On the upside I am seeing the lots of nettle coming up J nutrient dense, low energy weeds are the best tonic for all in regards to our society. Now if we could just stop the council spraying them.

Recipe for Pear, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup.

  • Half a butternut pumpkin or equivalent
  • A very large sweet potato (or a few small ones)
  • 2 pears cored but with skin on
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sticks of celery sliced
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Teaspoon of curry powder of choice (I used a Jaffna Sri Lankan style one)
  • 100 – 200gram of bacon off cuts or ham or prosciutto ends)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Olive oil
  • Optional but recommended cultured sour cream to server.

Method

I used a pressure cooker but this can be done in a pot if required the cooking time just goes from 15 minutes to about 45 minutes.

Sweat down the carrots, onion, celery and garlic in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes. Ensuring they don’t brown add the bacon pieces and bay leaves and let them sweat for a further 2 -3 minutes until you can smell the bay leaves.

Add the other ingredients excluding the sour cream.

Cover with cold water and bring to the boil and simmer or to pressure in a pressure cooker. (15 minutes for a pressure cooker or 45 for a normal pot)

Remove from the heat and allow to cool remove the bacon and bay leaves and use a stick blender to blend. Shred the bacon and add back in and reheat until it is simmering. Simmer for 5 -10 minutes. Season with more salt or pepper to taste.

Server with sour cream and crusty bread.

Freezes very well but don’t add the sour cream when freezing.