Thursday, January 31, 2013

Banning the Bag

Last year the Fremantle Council started making plans to ban single-use plastic bags. It seems, that following a State Government ruling yesterday, this will become a reality. Woohoo!

Last week I was able to go on another (this was my third) tour of the Tamala Park landfill. These tours are always incredibly informative and a huge eye-opener. The people that deal with our waste do such an amazing job. One of the aspects that always amazes me is the number of single use plastic bags that are at the site. These are so lightweight that once they get caught on the breeze they seem to be off on their own adventure.

I strongly urge you to get in touch with your council and ask if they operate tours of your facility. The rubbish truck that comes around and empties our bins is not a magical fairy that can make the waste disappear. It all needs to go somewhere.

Even recycling in an interesting topic. Many think that because they are filling their recycling bin that they are doing a great thing for the environment. Now, it is so much better to recycle than have it buried in a hole, but please be aware that this all needs to be transported, sorted, a buyer needs to be found, and then transported again (sometimes overseas) to be processed. Paper and cardboard can be dealt with easily on-site (at home) through compost. Why buy bags of compost for your garden when you could be making your own? Paper and cardboard are great sources of carbon, something very important for healthy compost. Please reduce, reuse, (repair) and then recycle.

I will now get down off my soapbox. Gosh, I went off an a bit of a rant there.

Remember that I will draw the winner of the giveaway tomorrow morning so if you want a chance to win Homemade Pantry leave a comment on the last post.

Take care

Friday, January 25, 2013

More Solar Cooking (and a giveaway)

With the mid-to-high 30 degree cloudless days we are having here on the west coast at the moment, there are so many opportunities to get the sun oven out.

Dried fruit is a bit of a favourite as it can be snacked on at any time in the drying process.

I came across a great step-by-step tutorial for making a pizza box solar cooker. Super simple and just in time to fill in the last week of the Australian summer holidays. Make sure to let me know if you have a go.

If you live around Perth you might even be interested in a workshop being run at the Lockridge Community Garden. I am on their mailing list and received this earlier in the week.

Sunday 3rd Feb
Solar Oven Cooking
Come & see how to cook in & build a solar oven. Free energy to cook your food at home or when camping is very handy so you won't want to miss this one. Taste tests included!
- 10:30am - 12 noon
- Cost $5 p/p
- cnr Arbon way & Diana Crescent, Lockridge
- Fresh homemade pizzas from the Pizza Oven & sausage sizzle on the day

On another note, this blog has just turned two and this happens to be the 200th post. It has been such a great way to connect with people as well as being a way to diarise what we are doing to try to live a little greener.

So time for the giveaway.

I am giving away a copy of Homemade Pantry by Alana from Eating From the Ground Up. You may remember I made the mustard from here. Delicious!

Just leave a comment in this post and I will randomly select a winner on Friday 1 Feb at 9am Perth time. I will send this anywhere in the world.

Take care and thanks for reading.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Making the Most of Summer

Perth is a very sunny city. Even on the cooler days in winter, the sun is still out there doing its thing.

The 'Mouse House' is a late 1960s place that is quite small and once the summer heat gets in, it can become very uncomfortable. Knowing this, very little cooking takes place over the warmer months, where we tend to rely fairly heavily on the barbecue instead.

I had read about solar cooking at Eat at Dixiebelle's and seen one in action at the Royal Show and was very excited at the idea of being about to cook and bake throughout the Perth heat without heating the house. The possibility of being able to dehydrate food was also great. The experiences I have had with dehydrating (here and here) were really rewarding but I felt guilty with running an appliance for about 12 hours.

After a lot of research I decided on a Global Sun Oven. Although these are transported from the U.S., the distributor was only a suburb away so I was about to head over to their house and have a good look and a chat.

I was so excited about getting the oven that I put it to work straight away. What better way to test an oven that to cook something chocolatey.

The next day I thought that I should start having a look at some different bread recipes. Bread from the local bakery is really tasteless and filled with air, something that I just couldn't handle eating all summer. I found a great recipe for Portuguese White Bread, but do you think I can remember where I saved the recipe?

Our first sun oven bread loaf. Delicious.

On a trip down south, I bought a huge box of apricots from a road side stall in Mount Barker for $15. When we returned home the solar oven was again facing skyward. (The difference between cooking and dehydrating is that the lid is clamped down during cooking and when dehydrating, the lid sits on top of the latches to let the air escape.)

Unfortunately I didn't get around to taking any photos of the dried apricots before they were all eaten. We have also been really happy with the results from the apples, pear and nectarines. Yum.

Over the last few weeks we have had the oven out just about every day either cooking or dehydrating.

I thought I would show you the results of today's cooking. I have been using this recipe a lot lately as I wanted to make white bread recipes first to experiment with the oven. I split the mix in half and used half as a focaccia and the other as a small loaf.

And the house is pretty cool.

Take care
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