Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Top Tip on Freezing Tortillas

We are very fond of tortillas - generally wrapped round a spicy chilli with a handful of salad and a dollop of creme fraiche.  Eaten thus, a packet of eight does our family of 3/4 for one meal.  However, when called into service as a bit of light relief from the boring sandwich, we only require a couple at a time.

The trouble is that, even when the packet is resealed with a clip, the remaining tortillas tend to dry out.  Freezing them does preserve their shelf life but I find it difficult to prise them apart when they are rock solid.

Yesterday I tried a different technique. I rolled each tortilla into a tight tube and replaced them in their packet.  This makes them much easier to remove individually.

Ta dah!

Monday, 3 September 2012

National Zero Waste Week 2012

The theme of this year's week is One More Thing and mine is to make more effective use of my freezer.

Dinner this evening was lamb tagine leftover from yesterday.  There's still a small portion remaining which I shall freeze, clearly labelled, of course!

If you've chosen to do One More thing then I hope you've got off to a good start too.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Hurrah for my Green Box

I came home yesterday evening to find this waiting for me on our doorstep.  It's our new green recycling box.  I can't tell you how eagerly I've anticipated its arrival and how delighted I was to see it.  After seeing me take this photo of it my neighbour must have had his worst fears about my sanity confirmed.

Bristol City Council actively promotes recycling and we already have an excellent weekly kerbside collection for glass, paper, tins, aluminium foil etc.  However, until today, we have been unable to recycle plastic or tetra paks other than by taking them to one of only a few recycling stations, most of which tend to be located at the far end of supermarket car parks! 

Now I know I should be cutting down on plastic consumption and I am trying to.  Honest!  But there are still a number of essentials(?) that come in no greener packaging.  Chief among them are dairy products - milk, yoghurt, cream.  We have milk delivered in glass bottles but it's no longer delivered every day and we sometimes require extra at short notice.

So now, while I shall continue to try and 'reduce' first, I am thankful that I'm now able to' recycle' more easily.   

Friday, 6 April 2012

Water Water Everywhere - or not?

Yesterday the government introduced a hosepipe ban for counties in the south east of England.  Although it doesn't affect us, it reminded me of my continuing commitment to reduce the amount of water I use.

We have a hosepipe which we rarely use, mainly because our tiny backyard doesn't require it but also because the connector doesn't fit properly so that whenever we try to use it water squirts out all over us and the bathroom walls.  A couple of years ago we installed a water butt which saves us from having to fill buckets from the bath tap and provides us with 'free' water.

Apart from that I turn off the tap when I brush my teeth, I shower, I only flush when necessary, I wait until I've a full load before switching on the machine, I've installed a watersaving device in the cistern, I only fill the kettle with the amount of water I need etc.  It's difficult to see how much more I can do but I'm certainly more aware of my usage than I was even a week ago, which is no bad thing.

Photograph courtesy of the BBC

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Freezer Roulette - Day Five

On Thursday I learnt my lesson for failing to label items before putting them in the freezer.  I removed two small containers which looked as if they both held bolognaise sauce.  However, once defrosted, I discovered that the smaller of them was in fact chilli.  Fortunately both of them went with pasta!

The project is on hold for a few days, mainly because I've not been cooking.  (We have been eating but it's my daughter and husband who've been in the kitchen.)  But also because most of the rest of what's in the freezer is either in single portions or requires more thought than I've had occasion to give it at the moment.  Still, as I hope to spend try and spend some time this weekend planning next week's meals in advance, I should be back on track on Monday.

Top of my list is what to do with the considerable quantity of puff pastry I seem to have accumulated over the years!  I was tempted by Paul Hollywood's sausage rolls which featured in the finals of The Great Sport Relief Bake Off, but they'll do nothing for my New Year 'intention' to shed a few pounds!  Hey ho.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Freezer Roulette - Day Four

This morning I removed the ingredients for this evening's dinner - a pack of lamb and rosemary sausages and a container of braised red cabbage.  I think the sausages were bought at last year's Organic Food Festival.  The pack had been opened and one eaten which was strange.  I suspect that it's not advisable to eat cabbage that's been in the freezer for almost two years but I like to live dangerously!

We ate them with boiled new potatoes and sweetcorn.  Proper winter grub!

Tomorrow, if I get up in time to make a bowl of porridge, I shall eat it with some blueberries.

They don't look very appetising in this photo but I'm sure they'll taste delicious.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Freezer Roulette - Day Three

I have an annoying habit of rarely labelling the food I put in the freezer which has, on occasion, led to some 'interesting' discoveries.  Today, however, I have found a labelled container, in my husband's hand!

This will do me for lunch tomorrow and the day after - perhaps with a crusty slice or two of Mark's bread.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Freezer Roulette - Day Two

This evening's Cullen Spink was delicious.  I tweaked the quantities, adding more potato and water than was required and I left the potato slices whole.  The cayenne pepper provided a bite and the turmeric a pale golden hue.  There didn't appear to be enough fish but its strong smoky flavour made up for it.

Today's discovery is a pair of chicken drumsticks, which will do very nicely for my daughter's tea tomorrow.  She'll have them drizzled in olive oil, baked, perhaps with a couple of cloves of garlic smothered in IKEA gravy and served with a jacket potato.

Last night and again tonight I've also taken out a couple of wholemeal rolls for packed lunches.

Apart from a small loaf of interesting bread to mop up our soup I haven't had to buy any extra food today.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Freezer Roulette

I don't know about you but my kitchen is bursting at the seams with food, in the fridge, in the freezer and in the cupboards.  What's the problem with that, I hear you ask.  Well, it's because some of it has been there for a long time.  Instead of using it up I go out and buy more food, and the jars and packets and tins spread out over the surfaces until there's very little room left to work.  It's got to stop one day and the New Year seems the best time to begin.

So, starting tomorrow, I've set myself the challenge of preparing a meal based around at least one ingredient from my stockpile.  I'm beginning with the freezer.

For the uninitiated, this is an Arbroath smokie, a smoked haddock, originating from Auchmithie, a fishing village a few miles north of Arbroath.  My smokie was one of two I bought at the Tobacco Factory market some time ago. We ate the first one the day we bought it, dotted with butter, flashed under the grill, with Mark's oaty groaty bread and diced beetroot.  Its partner was frozen for a later date, which is now tomorrow.

A quick Google produced the ideal recipe, Cullen Spink, a variation on the traditional Cullen Skink.  I have enough potatoes, onions and other ingredients to produce a meal for two.  I know that my daughter will not eat so smelly a fish, and will be happy enough with yesterday's leftover sausage casserole.

Now that wasn't too hard, was it?