Category Archives: Food Stuff

Stuff about food

Vertical farming

Standard

Just wanted to share this little snippet with you while I trawl the paper and sip my morning coffee:

http://smh.domain.com.au/real-estate-news/plans-for-vertical-farms-on-unit-blocks-take-off-20140128-31kbz.html

I think it’s a great idea and I saw something similar in a documentary last year. On one hand I think it’s a really nifty idea for cities but on the other it makes me a little sad that we have to resort to something like that instead of the world getting it’s shit together so that we actually have a sustainable future instead of being driven by greed and profit. I do think that things are changing little by little – as evidence, my local organic farmers market has expanded to being open on both Saturdays and Sundays due to demand, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s all a little too late? I’ll remain optimistic though 🙂

Food ethics – killing stuff

Standard

I’ve been percolating on this post for a while and really it’s a multi-part rant of sorts so you may want to just click on by but I’m just gonna come out with it. I read a lot of blogs during my lunchtime trawl of the new real estate listings (still slim pickins I’m afraid) and I’m adding a new one to my blogroll as she writes really well and not only that, I agree with everything she writes about and basically is what I aspire my little place to become one day. If you only read a couple of her posts please make it the 2013 posts as they echo my mind at the moment.

http://provenancegrowers.blogspot.com.au

From her July 2013 post:

“Our worlds are becoming so monotone. We have taken away the need to feel icy winds on a cold day, to eat the bitter leaves of a plant, to feel the resistance to our teeth from an unprocessed grain, to have the scratch of wool clothing against our skin, the ache of a worked muscle, the pang of hunger in our bellies waiting to be sated, or the need to relate intimately to death.”

“Our lives are so sterile that we have taken away all of the bitter things that make the sweet parts taste better, the cold that makes the fireside delicious. I think, to some degree, we need to have scratchy, bitter, chewy and painful things to be able to properly feel comfort and joy. I have had the luxury of choosing to connect with the life and death of these animals. I made the choice to pat them, to care if they had dry straw in their beds and a cool wallow on a hot day, and tomorrow I’ll cook them a warm pot of scraps for their last breakfast, scratch their fur one last time, look away as they are shot and hold a bowl under their necks to catch the blood when they are stuck, probably with tears streaming down my cheeks.”

“So many people tell you not to name an animal you are planning to eat. I would argue otherwise. The more distance we put between ourselves and the animals who provide us with meat, eggs or milk, the more we lose sight of the fact that they are sentient beings deserving of respect and compassion. It is this distance that allows us to perpetrate cruelty in the name of economics.”

Couldn’t agree with her more. I want to keep my own chooks, pigs and maybe cows and I’ve thought about their dispatch because I cringe at killing anything even bugs (I’m the type that will catch spiders and put them outside). I thought about maybe sending them off to an abattoir but after reading this post I think I would be happy to participate as she did but the actual killing part I would have to look away while I’m giving thanks to the animal for its life and sustenance. And strangely, I think I could kill a chicken but pigs and cows would be more difficult for me and I’d have to get someone else to do it. Not entirely sure why I feel that way because they all have their own lil personalities but it’s something I think I could cope with where as with pigs and cows I can’t. Maybe because they’re larger… no idea.

I have this odd habit of naming things, I name everything (my car, my ipod, my laptop included) so I would name the animals on my farm and I like her take on this subject and she makes a good point – slaughtering at home means no stressful transport and no strange holding pens, no stress to the animal which I think would be reflected in the quality of the meat. It’s the hippyness in me that likes the idea of them just going about their daily business in the sunshine not realising what is about to happen and then peacefully being dispatched. Well as peacefully as possible when it comes to slaughter, you know what I mean.

It’s the giant disconnect between producer and supermarket that makes me angry. (Not to mention the ethics of food growing both plant and animal but I’ll get to that in rant part 2 I think)  Jamie Oliver did a series on school lunches and I remember a segment where he brought in a box of veggies into class and the majority of the class had NO IDEA what most of the veggies were. And it’s not as if he’d brought in a bunch of exotic veggies either. That sort of scenario scares the shit out of me, where a kid can easily identify a burger or chicken nugget but has no idea what a carrot is.

I’m going to pick up on this topic in my next post as it’s getting rather long (and I’ve gotta get back to work dammit). Food ethics rant to be continued….

Getting there… slowly…

Standard

Well I started writing a ranting and raving post but didn’t post it and I’ve calmed down now and rewritten it so it’s a lil less venty. Basically I got my house building inspection report back which is a mandatory report required for selling your house here. My house got a pretty good EER rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 so I’m quite happy with that (EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio). What I did discover is that my bbq/patio area is not “development approved” and is also on the electricity and drainage easement which means that even if I did seek approval that it probably wouldn’t be approved because of the easement. Basically the water company could come in at any time and rip it all up if they needed to get access to the drainage.

Had a chat to my wonderful lawyer cuz I was freaking out thinking I’m going to have to tear the whole thing down and put something else in it’s place and she said that if it’s stated in the contract that it’s not DA approved then the seller cannot get me to seek approval or seek compensation for it so that’s a massive relief. So if the buyer wants the house they’ll just have to wear the fact that there is a potential risk that the water company could come in if they needed to.

The house is basically in good nick but I’ll have to get the sagging fence repaired (which I kinda figured anyway). The photographer is booked in for next week so I’ll  be packing and decluttering to stage the house properly this weekend. I had a bit of a karma moment last week in that I Freecycled the agapanthus plants from the front of my house with the catch that the person had to come and dig them out themselves. I was teeheeing to myself that I was getting someone else to do my dirty digging work AND carting all the unwanted plants away (they were a bit straggly and not happy in that position so didn’t look very good). Unfortunately I wasn’t very specific and she took some of the plants from my front garden as well and left me with an ugly bare patch. So I had to put chips over it and I’ll probably put in a few flowers or something to make it look less ugly. I’ve planted some dwarf nandina in their place and it’s looking really pretty because of the winter color.

This is the other thing that I’m doing this weekend as there was a glut of lemons from the guys at work:

from: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1898654/lemon-marmalade

Lemon marmalade
marmalade
Cooking time
Prep: 20 mins Cook: 3 hrs Plus cooling

Makes 6 x 450ml jars

Ingredients

1kg unwaxed lemons
2kg granulated sugar

Tip

To sterilise your jars, wash them in hot, soapy water, rinse, then place on a baking tray in a low oven to dry completely. Keep them warm until you fill them.

Method

1. Chill a saucer in the freezer, ready for checking the setting point of your jam. Wash the lemons and remove the top ‘button’ which would have been attached to the stalk. Put the lemons in a large saucepan with 2.5 litres water. Bring to the boil, then cover the pan and simmer for 2½ hrs or until the lemon skins are lovely and tender, and can be pierced easily with a fork.

2. When the lemons are cool enough to handle, remove from the saucepan. Measure the cooking liquid – you’ll need 1.5 litres in total. If you don’t quite have this, make up the difference with water. If you have too much liquid, bring to the boil and reduce to the required amount.

3. Halve the lemons and remove the pips – reserving the pips and any lemon juice that oozes out during the process. Cut the lemon peel and flesh into strips, as thick or thin as you like. Put all of this, including any juices, back into the pan. Put the pips in a small piece of muslin and tie up with string. Add this to the pan, as the pips will aid the setting process of the jam.

4. Add the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring until it has completely dissolved. Boil rapidly for about 20 mins until setting point is reached. Test the setting point by dropping a little marmalade onto the chilled saucer, allowing it to cool for 1 min, then pushing gently with your finger. If the marmalade crinkles, the setting point is reached; if not, continue to boil and check again in a few mins.

5. Leave to cool for 10-15 mins (this will prevent the lemon shreds sinking to the bottoms of the jars), remove the muslin bag, then gently stir in one direction to disperse any scum (small air bubbles on the surface). Pour jam into warm sterilised jars and seal straight away.

Seems pretty easy and I have jars at the ready, will post an update once I’m done.