Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sustainability Mondays: back, if only briefly

I got back from the UK last week, after a wonderful week of seeing Mr G and doing the rounds of visiting friends and family. I have a week at home before leaving again, but the rare occasion of an entire weekend at home with no external plans (the first in months!) allowed me to make some steps forward on the grand plan. A week's absence really made a difference to my meagre little garden as well, with the summer garden starting to blush and show rewards.

1. Plant Something -
  • I built an autumn veg garden! I used an existing framed-but-not-full garden bed, dug over the soil, lined the base with removalist's paper from the move, then filled with the contents of my two Bokashi buckets and topped with potting mix. I've planted this and four pots with eight punnets of veg seedlings bought from a local small-family herb growing business.
  • Asian green seedling: tatsoi, bok choy, mizuna and mixed asian greens
  • Lettuce, mixed pick-by-leaf varieties
  • a mix of green-sprouting, purple sprouting and romanesco broccoli
  • Purple violetta cauliflower
2. Harvest something - (including buying local food)
  • Wild apples from the roadside near my place
  • Nashi from a colleague's tree
  • Lettuce leaves and spring onions from the summer garden
  • tomatoes from the potted tomatoes
  • Habaneros: about 10, from two plants in pots, and lots more ripening
  • Curry leaves from my curry leaf tree (now ensconced in the bathroom)
  • Lots of purchased locally-grown garlic
  • Asian greens, spinach and courgettes bought from the local market gardeners.
3. Preserve something -
  • I had plans to make a fruity HP-style sauce from the apples and pears but it hasn't happened yet. I might try to get to the during the week.
  • Lots of sourdough bread baked and stored in the freezer
4. Waste Not (reducing wastage in all areas)
  • Used the compost and spent tomato plants to make the fertile base of a garden bed.
  • Recycled the tomato pots to plant asian greens into.
5. Want Not (preparing for shortage situations)
  • Nothing this week.
6. Build Community Food Systems
  • Supporting local people who are growing food.
7. Eat the Food
  • With my own tomatoes and habaneros, lettuce and spring onions and locally grown fresh garlic, what else to eat but Mexican? I've made lots of fresh salsas and eaten that in various ways. With home-made sourdough tortillas and my own bread.
8. What I bought:
  • Baking stone and pizza peel
  • Plastic utility trug, to act as a washing basket/general tote
  • A new computer: the old one has been increasingly unreliable and crashed on Saturday.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

A hiatus already!

I'm taking a few weeks off from Sustainability Mondays. This week, because I haven't done anything much new in terms of being sustainable other than slowly using up the veg in my fridge (but nor have I bought anything!), and for the next two weeks because I'll be travelling to and from the UK. My life will remain busy and full of travel until mid-May.

Happy sustainability to you all!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Seasonal eating: zucchini, halloumi and harissa tagine with couscous

This is a recipe I came up with to use up one of the giant zucchinis the neighbours gave me, in addition to a number of leftovers in my fridge from a housewarming and guests. It's a good way to make a spicy, wholesome meal out of a zucchini and would be vegan if the halloumi were omitted. The halloumi in this case was a ewe's-milk version, made by Grandvewe cheeses.

Zucchini, halloumi and harissa couscous
Would feed 4, or 1 for many meals!

3/4 cup couscous

2 tbsp olive oil
50 g halloumi, cut into dice
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic and 1-2 chillies, minced together (I used a jalapeno and a Thai chilli in this case)
1 carrot (I used a purple one), finely chopped
1 large or 2 small zucchini, cut into small dice
3 roma tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tbsp ras el hanout
2-3 tbsp harissa (or more, I used about 1/4 cup as mine was home-made and mild)
2 tbsp each chopped fresh mint, coriander and parsley
1/2 vegetable stock cube, or 1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup olives (optional: I used lemon-garlic marinated green olives and tossed in the lemon slices as well)

Add the couscous to a cup of boiling water, cover and allow to sit while preparing the rest of the meal.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan or wok and fry the halloumi until crisp on the edges. Add the onion and cook until softened, then add the garlic, chilli, carrot and zucchini, frying over a medium-high heat until the zucchini starts to brown. Add the tomatoes, stock cube (if using), ras el hanout and harissa along with a cup of water or stock and cook for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly and the tomatoes have softened but not disappeared. Taste and season with salt to taste, adjust spices if required. Toss the mint, coriander and half the parsley through the dish. YOu want there to be quite a bit of liquid still in the dish as this will be soaked up by the couscous

Fluff the couscous with a fork and tip into a serving bowl. Pour the tagine over the couscous and garnish with the reserved parsley. Eat piping hot.