I am delighted to be back with a brand- new column at Smorgasbord Magazine. Thank you, Sally for inviting me back x
Those of you who know me well know how passionate I am about cooking from scratch using fresh ingredients, the environment and ensuring that the food I make for my family is clean and as chemical free as it can possible be.
I am also of an age where I need to keep myself as healthy as I can by eating a varied diet which will also keep me at a healthy weight as long as I continue to exercise which in my case is walking daily…
This monthly post will cover sustainability, news on food production…changes for the better and maybe a villain or three…haha, a recipe or two including some plant- based recipes, hints and tips on making my household a little greener…aka recycling and composting.
I will make mistakes of course … there is so much we could do just not all at once, some changes depend on our own lifestyles as above all… we want a happy household not one which is fanatical about going green at the expense of being frankly… miserable …what works for one does not work for another we have to find our own happy medium based on our circumstances and budgets.
It isn’t easy …in theory we know what we should do …ditch the plastic…grow our own vegetables…install solar panels…there is so much…we could empty all our cupboards, our fridges and freezers, throw out all the plastic, the bottles of household cleaners, shampoos etc etc …Start from scratch…
The reality is it wouldn’t work …our recycling bins could fill a skip all on its own, veggies take time to grow and imagine all that shopping you would have to do to replace everything.
THEREFORE I have looked at what I can do gradually…every small change is a bonus.
You knew that sooner or later Covid 19 would come into the conversation…many of us have been confined to our homes and immediate neighbourhoods for nearly a year now…
The upside is that it seems we are becoming a nation of cooks again we are baking bread, cooking from scratch, hearing how the environment is changing for the better …wildlife is returning so many good things have come out of this maybe it is what was needed to make us focus on change…A reset…
I now bake bread every other day…Sandwich Loaf…a Nigella Recipe…
• 500 gm Bread Flour
• 2 tsp sea salt
• 2 tsp caster sugar
• 7gms instant yeast
• 125ml milk
• 150 ml of cold water
• 100 ml of boiling water
• 3 tbsp butter melted
Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl and whisk to combine then add liquids and butter and draw the mix together cover and leave for 10 mins…I now use a shower cap which is brilliant as plastic wrap never stuck to the bowl and the cap stays put…Leave for 10 minutes then knead for 10 seconds(yes) and leave for 10 mins and repeat this 3 times…
On the last one shape and put in a bowl cover and leave to prove for about an hour…Knead and shape and put in a 2lb loaf tin for the final prove of about 1 hour sprinkle a little flour on the top of the loaf…
Once proved put into a preheated oven on 180/200 and bake for 45 minutes…remove from the oven if you like a softer crust I cover the loaf once I removed it from the oven with a clean t/towel for about 5/10 mins just to soften the crust slightly.
I followed this recipe to a T and it came out perfectly it slices very well for sandwiches and makes lovely toast or just bread and butter…
It is the first time I have followed Nigella’s recipe and it is one of my top 5 bread recipes now…The whole family loved it!
N.B…Now I am confident making this bread yesterday I swapped 100gms of the flour for a stoneground whole wheat flour it was perfect. Next time I will use 150gm the reason I am doing this gradually is that it is such a nice recipe that by doing gradually I can see if I need to make changes to the liquid so far no… maybe today I will need a little more liquid we shall see.
I have also learnt about how different flours affect the texture and rise of my bread…I have had some disasters I have learnt how salt can halt the rising of the bread if it comes into contact with the yeast, now I am using the shower cap to cover the dough it means plastic wrap has been taken off the shopping list… I no longer use it.
When I looked at what I really used it for …I didn’t want to buy it anymore …The cost to the environment is stunning…
My First change: This is an easy one…
- Today, consumers around the world have plastic wrap brands at their disposal made of PVDC, PVC, and polyethylene.
- Plastic infiltrates the environment
- Thin, flimsy, plastic-like bags are difficult to recycle; without specialized equipment they clog machines. And even when plastic wrap is recycled, it’s costlier than using virgin materials.
- When it ends up in landfills or incinerators, both PVC and PVDC can release a highly toxic chemical called Dioxin, says the World Health Organization.
Did you know?
Americans buy enough plastic wrap to shrink wrap Texas?
Yes, I use a shower cap but it can be reused over and over it in no way reflects the amount of cussing and plastic wrap I use trying to get it attached to the dang bowl…
My bread making is now stress free… plastic wrap begone…Two birds with one stone!
But I hear you how can I keep my sandwiches fresh…
Everything you need to know is here…Here’s one I prepared earlier…smile x
Clean food and chemical free is another passion which means all my recipes will portray that…
“There are too many people who count calories and not enough counting chemicals”
I truly believe this and now we are spending more time at home …can we not take 5 and start looking at the foods we eat and use so we know what they really contain? Any highly processed food will contain preservatives and chemicals…That’s a given..
All these chemicals do affect our health…I am not saying don’t ever buy processed foods I buy some things maybe products I can’t replicate at home but there is much I can and frankly most of it is so easy I ask myself why have I not done this before…
I do not spend every waking minute in my kitchen…its too hot for one thing but I do spend time researching recipes and the content of some foods and whether or not I can replicate them at home…For me time well spent…
If you have any favourite food and would like me to do the research on whether or not it will be easy to replicate in your kitchen please let me know.
Did you know?
- It’s a given that processed foods can save you a little time. But what you gain in convenience, you lose in money, environmental impact and maybe even health.
- That’s because processed foods require more labour to convert them from their natural state to something that fits in a box, bag or tub.
- You’re also paying for the chemicals added to the processed food to keep them fresh.
- You’re paying for the packaging, too, which is totally worthless once you get it home. Indeed, $1 out of every $11 you spend at the grocery store you spend on packaging you throw away.
I will give you a simple example…Shredded Cheese.
Pre-shredded cheese always comes in a plastic bag or tub along with chemicals to prevent mould growth and even the dust from wood pulp…yes, that is correct it is added to prevent the cheese from clumping.
Why not grate your own cheese instead?
It will be fresher, cheaper and you can minimize packaging if you buy a chunk of cheese from your deli counter rather than in the dairy aisle.
To me so many of these changes are minute…Take minutes to do and tick all the boxes pun not intended…lol
Are you ready to join me in making your kitchen a little greener, are you ready to cook from scratch more often and to count chemicals instead of calories?
Love Carol xx
©Carol Taylor 2021
Delighted to have Carol back again for another year with her new column which I am sure will give us plenty of food for thought about our own food, preparation and storage practices.
About Carol Taylor
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: Amazon US
Thanks for dropping by today and I know Carol would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.