Friday, October 21, 2016

How to cut up a pumpkin

Back in June in a cycling accident, a car cut me off and my arm was broken, in a sling. I got my brother to help with things around the house including cutting up a whole pumpkin.

Whole pumpkins are an easy way to avoid plastic while still enjoying pumpkin. They have a good shelf life uncut if stored in a cool, dark place. After cutting the pieces will keep for days in a container the fridge, or you can roast then freeze it. I do a bit of both.

My brother improvised the following technique using my paring knife which is usually a big no-no with pumpkins. I was a little worried he'd snap it! I was so impressed with the process, I have documented myself doing it - with a 16cm chef's knife - so you can. Essentially you carve out just the stalk and cut it up into segments and clean up as usual. The key is how you deal with the stalk as it's the hardest part to cut through. With this you don't cut the stalk at all.

Use the tip of the knife to make a series of cuts about an inch deep, close around the stem angled towards the centre. The number of incisions determines the shape created and is dependent on the diameter of the stem.  In this case, for a Kent aka Japanese pumpkin, it's in the shape of a hexagon. Lift the stalk out and you have a pumpkin diamond! Once the stem is gone it's like cutting a big round carrot. Cut along each groove into wedges then do whatever it is you do with pumpkin.

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I use a peeler rather than a knife to peel, as there is less flesh wasted, it's quicker and safer. Hold pumpkin wedge in one hand and start peeling from the corner, then flip it around to do the other end. An inline peeler as seen here or a Y shaped peeler are equally good; it just depends on what is comfortable for you.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Vegetarian Baked Potato

1 washed potato, jacket on
1 avocado
1 clove of garlic, in skin
3 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
A handful of greens to wilt eg baby spinach, chickweed etc.
A twist of lime juice
A small nob of butter (optional)
Freshly ground salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200C
Skewer potato 
Put potato and clove of garlic in oven proof vessel and bake. 
Remove garlic after 15 minutes. Squeeze out from skin.
Bake potato for an hour or until cooked.
While potato is baking combine lime juice, roasted garlic flesh, and yoghurt in small bowl.
Wilt greens in microwave, or in a pan with a lid or by washing over with boiled water.
Put potato on plate, and cut in half then - depending in size and shape -quarters or sixths.
Place small dabs of butter in cut potato.
Distribute greens over potato, then slices of avocado.
Dollop yoghurt mixture on top.
Season to taste.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Compulsory Palm Oil Labelling in Australia

Here we are at Federation Square, Deakin Edge last night to help promote
the petition to make labelling palm oil compulsory in Australia.
Parliament will decide next month, so it's important we get as many signatures as we can now. Hoping to get 100,000! Please help by signing and sharing.

The orangutan is the gardener of the forest, spreading seeds to create more forest, an umbrella species that others like tigers and rhinos, and countless more rely on.

#labelpalmoil #iwantthechoice #dontpalmusoff #turnmelbourneorange #inyourpalm #orangutan #endangered

Melbourne Zoo , as organisers of both the petition and event, donated 1000 orangutan plush toys which were hidden outside of Deakin Edge, and seated throughout the auditorium. The plushies were for everyone to find, as a reward for attending and promoting this important petition. These toys represent the real live orangutans lost to unsustainable palm oil production every year. At this rate they will be extinct within a decade. Attendees were actively encouraged to take selfies with their plushy, and use the hash tag #labelpalmoil when posting it on social media. Also there were bags of oranges kindly donated by Orange World. Thanks for the juicy evening snack Orange World!

Afterwards we were instructed to swarm/surround Livinia Nixon doing the weather report. I mimed my plushy Kiani, to also do the weather report. I hope we were in frame because it would have been HILARIOUS.

The lower left corner image is a live study of Maimunah, using an enrichment puzzle at the Royal Melbourne Zoo. You can see this drawing on Instagram as the initial live study if you're on there:
I'll be posting an exclusive work in progress shot here.
And the final drawing here first.

Finally there is a free shopping app. for your phone to help you shop ethically now, by avoiding unsustainable palm oil. Read about it here.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Waste Deep

WASTE DEEP from SustainTable on Vimeo.

The title says it all. Made in Melbourne - I'm soproud of my city, we're awesome, we do awesome things!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Everyone is here and ready to roll!

Keeping these hard waste finds together to take to my parents' house for my nieces to play with, was best done like this:


Friday, September 16, 2016

Make a laundry filter for microfibres

After reading about synthetic microfibres becoming marine microplastics I was inspired by Blair Jollimore to improvise a filter I sit in my laundry tub.

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Each wash catches about a pea sized amount - when compressed into a ball between my fingers - of wet fibres. We are running a front loading washing machine with the hose running into the laundry tub rather than straight down into a pipe. If you are doing the same then this set up should work for you.

I recommend checking occasionally to see how the water is draining throughout the first wash to ensure there is no risk of overflow. It is possible to collect the fibres as they clump while there is water in the tub. Scrape your fingernails across the strainer then pinch and you should be able to clear it enough to improve the drainage. Top loader users should exercise greater caution as they do use more water, and this system will slow down the draining of water from the laundry tub.

To make this simple, microfibre laundry filter I used an off the shelf sink strainer, an oversized press button and a cut up fry splatter guard* to make a rigid filter.

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The press button allows me to detach the filter to clean it out between washes. You can find oversized press buttons at a haberdashery store. A regular sized press button may still work depending on the strainer's holes, but could be fiddly to use.

I got the stainless steel sink strainer and splatter guard from an independent kitchenware store. The fine aluminium mesh of the splatter guard is easily cut with a box cutter style, snap blade, utility knife leaving an edge that is safe to handle. The gauge of the holes is approximately 1mm. I had previously tried cutting up an old stainless steel sieve but it proved difficult to do neatly, without injury and it was tricky to clean out as a result. A scrap of flyscreen mesh while not as fine at about 2mm gauge, should still catch some fibres. When cutting the circle of the filter, it's better to cut it slightly too big in diameter than too small, because you will ensure the strainer holes are completely covered.
Confession: mine is a fraction undersized but I haven't gotten around to cutting a bigger one yet.
Attach the filter behind/under the strainer. It will filter better and be easier to clean than if you put it on top.

 photo FilterAssembled_zpsbvsc5ehp.jpg

Alternately, you can make the filter and strainer in one - ie sans button and premade manufactured strainer, basically a super fine DIY sink strainer - but I find this doesn't sit as well in the drain hole, and is prone to distortion, requiring adjustment to ensure a good fit for each use.

Clear your filter while wet after each use, by rubbing your finger over the surface.
Always remember to lift the whole assembly out of the drain hole before carefully removing the press button halves.
Avoid removing mid wash if you want to catch the most fibres.
Due to its buoyancy, there are a lot of fibres in the suds which won't drain away the way they usually do. Allow all water and frothy suds to drain and dissipate away before retrieving filter.

On the left, an entire wash's fibres, scale in millimetres. 
On the right top down from another singular wash the fibres: in the suds left in the tub post wash; cleaned from the filter only post wash; scraped from the top of the filter during the wash.

*super fine mesh, aluminium screen used when frying food that spatters. The one I used was by Metaltex.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Spell broccoli correctly!


Never mind that English is my first language - I have trouble remembering how many Cs versus how many Ls there are in the word broccoli. Sure, in this age of autocorrect and spellcheck it's less critical than it used to be, but what about your hand written shopping list, or wrapped up, plastic free produce you have labelled in your crisper?

Here is a handy typographic I have just come up with to help me spell broccoli correctly everytime. Remember :
You only need one L to make the stalk
The choicest broccoli has a nice big head in proportion to the stalk, so extra Cs!