Archive for the ‘sustainability’ Category

Harvest Monday, 10 June 2019

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. For the background behind Monday harvests, please visit the Our Happy Acres blog.

Guava season has started. I have recently found out that my variety of guava is the hawaiian guava.

I pruned the tree back quite hard after the harvest in Winter 2018, so the crop this year is not bending the tree in half. It has also been a really warm autumn, so my laziness in not bagging the fruit this year means I have had some fruit fly.

This is 1-2 days worth of crop:
guavas 2019

I don’t have the quite the quantities I have had in the past to make such amazing swaps as I did in 2017, and the crop is compromised by the fruit fly. Any takers must be “willing to cut the bad bits out”. The smell is so heady and intense though, and the edible bits of fruit are still quite delicious.

I have recently acquired another dehydrator after my last one went on permanent holiday to a friend’s place (reluctantly!).

So this year, I thought I would try dehydrating the unswappable guavas to a “fruit leather”. I remember reading somewhere that guavas need to be blended with another fruit to make successful fruit leather, so I sort-of-but-not-really-followed this recipe from thorseby cottage, except with apple instead of pear and no thermomix. Oh, and I didn’t measure my ingredients.

Cooking down the fruit:

guavas cooking down
This might be 10-20 good bits of guava, with the seeds scooped out, and one apple. No additional sugar, but a little lime zest and some citric acid to assist preservation.

Ta da!
dehydrating guavas

Hmm. Not quite what I was after. This was dehydrated at 50 deg C for 12 hours. I spread the mixture thin-ish, but in a continuous sheet. I wanted a “leather”, but I didn’t want to have to dehydrate for longer than 12 hours. This clearly hasn’t worked.

Oh well. I have had some suggestions on facebook to blitz this to a powder, and then use as a muffin or icecream flavouring ingredient. I’m not sure. I may keep it as a “crisp” for now. Anyway, I have a little more mixture to play with – I’m going to add some more apple, and try again!


Yummy things inside

I spotted this in a second hand store recently:


Schlemmertopf! Apparently in German, it is slang for “yummy pot” or “yummy things inside”. This is the first one I’ve seen, and well I ended up buying it. I figure that I can give it a go as an experiment, and if I don’t like it, I can always re-donate it for someone else to discover. Before humans learned to work iron, we cooked in pots like this. I have never seen one of these before, in at least 10 years of op shopping. A friend and talesfromchiconia both claim that these pots were very popular in the 1970s.

First up, I “deep cleaned” it by boiling both the lid and the base for 30 minutes, according to the Römertopf USA distributor’s instructions.

Then I tried to slow cook a steak and vegies. 150 degrees for about 6 hours, lid soaked in water for 30 minutes before cooking.

(lid soaking in the background, as per instructions)

Steak and veg, schlemmertopf style

Steak and Veg - after schlemmertopf

Although it kind of smelled good while cooking, the meat turned an unappetizing shade of grey.

Next up on the menu is sourdough bread. I am not a confident baker. Usually I start the proving process, then get too busy and the dough becomes overproofed. I am also not confident in my kneading skills and the rigor required to ensure the gluten strands end up in one direction.

My recipe was inspired by the swirling spoon, but with timing instructions from Livestrong. Of course, not having fully read the instructions from the swirling spoon, I don’t realise that the recipe is for two loaves. So I have made ONE LOAF, but with double the amount of starter, and 150% of the flour required. I also have a pumpkin from last season that I had to break into, because the stem broke off and the vermin started to nibble it. The starter was a combo of a 100 year old starter, recently received via a crop swap; and another crop swap starter, about 1 year old. I told you I wasn’t very good at following instructions.

The pumpkin/onion/potato just after roasting:

Roasting Veg in the solidteknics lid

The dough, just after shaping:

Bread proving

Baked bread:
Pumpkin bread - ta da

I cooked this for 250 deg C with the lid on for 20 minutes; then 200 deg C with the lid on for 15 minutes. I then removed the lid and checked at 5 minute intervals until the skewer came out clean. 45 minutes total.

I let it rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

Pumpkin bread - sliced

It smelled pretty tasty. With the onion though, not sure how well it will go with the morning’s peanut butter!!

So dear reader. What mysterious item of cookware have you recently rediscovered?

Plastic Free July Day 31

60. Plastic Spoon

Share from Pixlr

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 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


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.

Plastic Free July Days 25-26

45. sponge cake plastic wrapper
46. plastic bag for a takeaway bun

Plastic Free July

I am in a different location to normal for a two day conference. I have had to get up stupid early to get public transport to this alternate location. I refuse to get a bacon and egg roll from the fast food joint at the train station, but two blocks away I am now hungry. I buy the egg white sponge for my mum because she likes it, and it comes in a plastic wrapper. I have bought a sweet bun to eat for my second breakfast, also served in a plastic bag. This latter bag is reused to take home some extra cake from the conference. I don’t buy lunch the first day because everything in the food courts is served up on a plastic plate.

On the second day, I get that bacon and egg roll. At least it’s wrapped in something resembling paper.

Plastic Free July Day 24


All day work meeting at a hotel. I refuse to take the “complimentary” bottle of water provided as part of the meeting catering. I put some buffet lunch leftovers in my reusable container. A really nice fennel & red cabbage salad. This contributes to dinner.