Harvest Monday, 15 October 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The state of New South Wales is 100% drought declared, but we have had rain in the Sydney Basin for the past fortnight. Rain not where the farmers want it. But it is falling in the city so way the cityslickers don’t realise that just because it has rained in the city, does not mean that we are still not in drought. I have gone from saving every drop of laundry grey water to water my plants with, to letting it run down the sink because everything is so soggy.

Butter Lettuce:

Butter lettuce

I got some seedlings via crop swap, and this has just grown so much from the rain. I have been stir frying lettuce for dinner greens.

Pepino Melon:

Pepino melon

These have been hanging on the plant (Solanum muricatum) basically all winter. Most of the greenery and smaller fruits were lost to frost. The original plant cutting I also got via a swap.

Curly Kale:
Curly kale

My brassicas have been covered by a net to keep the worst of the vermin off. It has kept the aphids on the kale to manageable and squashable numbers, but reduced the “chill hours” that the brussels sprouts need. I think this year is my last attempt at brussels sprouts.

What about you dear reader? What have you been harvesting this month?

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Moroccan Soup Bar Two Go, Fitzroy North

I love the Moroccan soup bar. I love its ethos, the fact that it gives refugee woman a place to work and find their feet, and I love the vegetarian food.

Everytime I visit Melbourne, I find an excuse to wander past on the no. 11 tram and have my fix of the chickpea bake. I have tried to make this dish, but even with the release of the recipe as part of the cook book, I could not get the taste right.

So when I found out that Hana Assafiri had opened a second soup bar, it was open for lunch and now PIZZA was available: how could a good foodie say no?

At lunchtime, there are two options, an open plate and soup with bread.

Open plate ($12.50):
Lunch plate - angle 1

Lunch plate crispy potatoes

Moroccan cabbage salad, cous cous salad, pearl barley salad, a little chickpea bake, hummous, a piece of deep fried haloumi, a mixed vegetable fritter, crispy slices of potato. I was dining in a party of four, and everyone else had googly eyes for my plate.

Spinach and Lentil Soup ($7.50):

Spinach and Lentil Soup

There are two kinds of soup available when we visit: harira and a spinach and lentil soup, both with a tomato base. The harira soup is like an Italian minestrone with chickpeas instead of pasta. It’s lifted with the addition of pureed preserved limes. The spinach and lentil is tangy, perhaps with a little vinegar.

Marrakizza pizza ($15):

Pizza>

Moroccan pizza. This has a thin crust but an extra yummy chewiness. It’s not just pizza toppings on a flat bread. Tomato base with feta, dried black olives, diced tomato. The whole lot is topped with crispy sweet potato shards, fresh rocket, a swirl of spicy chermoula and preserved lemon puree. Gluten free is available for $1 more.

Dinner box ($12.50):
Dinner Box

You can order an open dinner plate to eat in ($15), takeaway with or without your own container. The takeaway dinner bowl included chickpea bake, saffron rice, tomato & lentils, baked vegetables, some green salad and a few pickles.

Nus nus:
Nus Nus

This is Moroccan style coffee, served with a mini piece of Turkish delight. There is a layer of milk, a shot of espresso, and a layer of foam on top. Like a little weather system, the whole thing kind of swirls around with the temperature differential. It is good to sit and sip, and I want another one.

I love the Moroccan soup bar, but I love the two go version a lot more. It’s open at lunchtime (so i don’t have to wait until after 6pm for my fix), and the lunchtime open plate is a bargain. You can still get the banquet here. Service at night can be a little haphazard as they rely on a raffle ticket numbering system for both dine in and takeaway. You save $2 if you bring your own takeaway container. And yes, you can still ask for a whole serving of chickpea bake in your takeaway box.

Moroccan Soup Bar Two Go
street: 316 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North, VIC 3068
Phone: +61-03-9486-3500

11:00AM – 3:00PM , 6:00PM – 10:00PM
1100-1500 hours, 1800 – 2200 hours.
Closed Monday lunch

Plastic Free July Day 31

60. Plastic Spoon

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My plastic spoon, rescued from an aeroplane dinner service a few months ago, made up part of my “takeway cutlery kit”. Today, it broke. Vale poor spoon, I guess it’s time to find a metal one instead.

In some good news, my workplace, them that use incredible amounts of plastic plates and cutlery, decided to give away double wall steel reusable water bottles today. Woot.

Plastic Free July Day 30

57. Fish wrapper

Plastic Free July

I bought fish for dinner. It came wrapped in plastic. Considering that the last time I went direct to the fishmonger and asked if the fish was sustainable and was given a blank look by the 14 year old school kid behind the counter, I didn’t have high hopes of pulling off the reusable container stunt from when I got pork mince. Also, convenience.

58. cheese wrapper

Plastic Free July

Cheese comes wrapped in plastic. Unless it’s a whole round that is dipped in wax. I can’t eat 30kg of cheese in one sitting. The only place that I remember which used to wrap smallish rounds in wax is Tilba Real Dairy, but that was a long time ago.

59. Bulk teabags

Plastic Free July

My other half likes a particular brand of tea. Even if bought in bulk, plastic is involved. I have also heard that some teabag manufacturers use plastic in the teabag “weave”, or some plastic to non-staple the tag to the tea bag.

On the plus side, I attended a little workshop on how to make beeswax wraps using just beeswax and an iron. Not recommended to use beeswax wraps on fish though.

Plastic Free July Day 29

54. pork roast wrapper
55. tetrapak plastic neck/pouring spout
56. plastic lid

Plastic Free July

I knew that buying meat would be my downfall, and winter hasn’t helped.

Short of cracking open a coconut myself, I really don’t know how to get coconut water without plastic. I have seen it come in a glass bottle with a metal lid (and plastic liner/seal). I use coconut water to make coconut water kefir, a fermented drink.

Plastic Free July Day 28

47-53. Zip lock bags

Plastic Free July

I went to the markets to buy sourdough bread. I can’t really eat a whole loaf of bread quickly enough before it goes stale, so I have to freeze some of it. I used to use single use cling film/plastic film/sarin wrap to wrap my loaves of bread up in before freezing, but I have recently shifted to zip locks, because at least they are sort of reusable. But I guess the question is:

Which has less impact: aluminium foil or a zip lock plastic bag?

I think aluminium foil has a larger energy footprint to produce. Generally though, you can really only use it once before it tears. But the foil itself *is* recyclable, if it’s clean and as long as your country’s waste system actually recycles it.

A plastic bag is petrochemical derived. A zip lock bag I can reuse multiple times. Again, it *is* recyclable, if it’s clean and as long as your country’s waste system actually recycles it.

What would you do?

Buying bread on a “as needs” basis isn’t really an option, because sometimes I just get super busy and I just need something in the freezer to pull out if I need to.

Plastic Free July Day 27

NO PLASTIC

A half day meeting at a not-normal office location. Catering is provided. I eat sandwiches using my reusable container as a “plate”. Everyone else uses the disposable plastic plates. Rummaging in the woeful kitchen cupboards reveals another reusable plastic container in which leftovers from the fruit platter can be placed and given to another meeting attendee.