I had a day off the other week and spotted a ravioli-making workshop online. Making pasta has always been one my list of things to try but always seemed like too much effort. I remember my uncle, who used to be a chef, made a big batch and promptly dropped it all in the cat litter tray, which somehow put me off even though I don’t have a cat. Funnily enough, this was the last thing I did before discovering I had a broken finger. You can see my blissful ignorance (and swollen and bent finger) in the picture below.
- 2 eggs
- 180g 00 flour
- 100g mascarpone
- 100g ricotta
- 40g Parmesan
- 40g rocket
Put the flour on a clean surface. Make a well in the middle and crack in the eggs.
Use a fork to combine the egg and flour. Once it starts to come together, knead until smooth adding more flour if needed. About 5 minutes.
Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.
For the filling, combine the ingredients and season to taste. Leave and allow flavours to develop.
Once the dough has rested, transfer to a floured surface and roll out until you can see light coming through it.
Gently score down the centre of the pasta to mark where you will fold it.
Take walnut-sized balls of filling and place on one half of the dough.
Brush water all around each piece of filling to allow the dough to stick. Fold.
Working from the centre out, seal each raviolo being careful to get all the air out. You can pierce any bubbles with a toothpick. The dough can take rough handling.
Cut out your shapes.
Leftovers can be cut up and used in soups etc.
The only part of this workshop that I really didn’t like was the enormous amount of waste generated. We were not allowed (apparently because of license problems) to eat the pasta, which meant that loads of perfectly good food went straight in the bin. I asked if I could take the ravioli if I assumed the risk but I was told no.
The positive is that I now feel confident to try it on my own.
I received my latest OddBox a couple of weeks ago. It also contained bananas but I had already cut them up and put them in the freezer before taking this picture.
I tried out a few different recipes. I used the mushrooms and spinach in a polenta dish. The polenta was absolutely delicious. I wasn’t that sold on having the mushroom and spinach mixture with it, but I will think about other dishes with which it would pair well.
I spent quite a bit of time on Sunday cooking again. I used some of the cauliflower to make these quinoa meatless balls. Because the recipe calls for cauliflower rice, I blitzed it up in the NutriBullet.
I used the cauliflower florets along with the purple kale in this frittata. The recipe came with the OddBox. I am quite fussy when it comes to egg dishes and think I added too much kale (of which I’m not especially fond), so this was a bit of a miss.
I also made a butterbean and carrot soup that I’ve had before. I have a LOT of dried butterbeans in my cupboard so it was good to use some of them up.
The recipe suggested using three 400g tins of beans but I used 300g of soaked and boiled beans instead. Aside from being less waste and less weight to carry from the supermarket, apparently dried beans produce less flatulence than canned. Good news for my flatmate! I replaced the milk with water + 30g of flaked almonds. I also added the cauliflower stem and leaves to save throwing them away.
I’m quite looking forward to Veganuary. I’ve mostly cut meat out of my diet but I’m finding eggs and dairy much harder to kick. Part of the issue is that it would take more effort for me to look up vegan recipes or convert recipes. I will be more motivated to try harder since Veganuary is only one month.
Since I haven’t yet found a decent nutrition tracking app aimed at vegans, I’ve just been using MyFitnessPal in the interim. So far the app indicates that I’m not doing too badly with protein, though I definitely need to supplement if I want to reach my aim of 100g per day. I have access to pea protein in bulk and I’m building up a bank of recipes that disguise the taste.
My diet is quite high in fat. I don’t think that’s necessarily a problem as long as I’m not eating too many calories, but it does surprise me.
My flatmate and I had a friend coming over for dinner who is also doing Veganuary. I thought this was a perfect excuse to try out some new vegan dishes.
The lentils were flavoursome and my guests commented positively. Even though I added a scotch bonnet (whole during cooking and then discarded) I felt the mix lacked kick. Patties are generally quite spicy. Next time I might add half of a de-seeded scotch bonnet.
I used this vegan pastry recipe since I eat gluten and avoid hydrogenated fats. I added two teaspoons of curry powder to the mixture. Next time, I think I would add some extra turmeric and perhaps a drop of yellow food colouring since patties are traditionally yellow.
I really enjoyed the pastry but I did find it a bit dry and very short. To be fair, I made a mistake in refrigerating the dough before I used it, which meant I had to handle it a lot more than I would have liked. I will probably test again before passing final judgment.
I also know that my grandma’s rule of thumb was half fat to flour so I might up the coconut oil too. I’ve been considering adding pea protein. Not sure what grandma would make of that!
I also made ackee sin salt fish. I can’t lie; I really missed the salt fish. Even though you use only a little amount of salted cod, it’s a huge part of the flavour. I was so immersed in cooking that I didn’t take pictures so these are nabbed from my friend’s Instagram stories.
For dessert we had pistachio ice cream. I might even take some better pictures and write a separate post about it. I thought it was yummy.
As the person who posted the recipe notes, the dates do dull the green colour. I think it’s worth it for the taste.
As a note, I quite a bit less than half a cup of dates (maybe 2/3 cup?) and found that was plenty. If making this, it’s worth tasting and adding as you go. I ended up with a lot more ice cream than expected. Blended with almond milk and ice, it is a delicious mylkshake.
I added spirulina to brighten the colour and I don’t you can taste it. Using matcha might be a great option to add both colour and flavour.
I also made sorrel, which is a traditional Jamaican Christmas drink. They sell hibiscus tea at The Source so it’s really easy. I used this recipe as a base but would note that I don’t think you need that much hibiscus. A cup costs around £2.50 and I think half a cup would be fine.
I’m so proud that this meal was almost entirely free of plastic waste. And really cheap too! The most expensive thing was the ice cream. I’m starting to feel ready for Veganuary!
As an additional note, the leftover patties are really nice cold. They’re a bit dry because I cooked the lentils down a lot- didn’t want to risk a soggy bottom.
I’m trying out a few new recipes. Changing my diet is inspiring me to cook differently, which has been fun. I also went to an amazing vegan supper club with my flatmate.
I’m definitely going to do Veganuary so I’ve also been getting a few recipes out of my system. Karelian/Carelian pastries (both spellings appear to be acceptable) were one of my favourite foods from Finland and I suddenly had a hankering to try making them last Friday.
Karelian pie sounds absolutely repulsive but tastes amazing. It’s thin rye pastry filled with savoury rice pudding and topped with egg butter. Lots of fat and carbs to help withstand the freezing Nordic temperatures. Or London in November.
I followed this recipe quite closely, using a mixture of arborio and pudding rice. I had around 1/3 of the pastry left, I believe because I put a lot of filling in each one. I considered trying to freeze the dough, but I think it will be a while before I attempt this recipe again so I just binned it.
The only plastic waste generated from these was the chive package. I had purchased the chives for a new black lentil recipe I was trying to use up my OddBox potatoes. I went to a greengrocer and Eat17 but neither place had them unpackaged and I wasn’t willing to go without.
Oh! I nearly forgot that I bought milk in plastic for this recipe too. I trialled making two of the Carelian pies with almond milk and they were nice but I made a slight mistake using a sweetened product. I think oat milk would work better.
I am continuing with my veggie journey. I’ve made a few meals with little to no single-use plastic, including soups, salad and a barley risotto. None of the meals was especially photogenic.
See? (Thai-inspired quinoa salad).
Supermarkets do seem to be making a bit more of an effort to sell unwrapped veggies so some of the meals were very easy to make with little waste. Where food is still wrapped up, I have been voting with my wallet and looking for alternative sources for my nude veg. I’m still finding it a bit of a fun challenge to get ingredients without plastic. I especially enjoy re-filling containers with things like washing-up liquid. It’s very sad but I don’t care.
I only get my OddBox once a fortnight, when know I will be around at the weekend. This system works for me because, while it can be fun to look up new recipes for the OddBox veg, it’s also quite time-consuming. I like to be able to just buy what I want some weeks.
I still had a lot of pumpkin left after last week’s pancakes. I decided to eschew making the same recipe again and tried out a pumpkin vegan ‘fudge’ I saw on Pinterest. Unfortunately the recipe couldn’t live up to the salted caramel bites. In fact, it was inedible. Fortunately I was able to salvage the ingredients by adding almond milk, protein and dates to make a breakfast smoothie.
I used the rest for pumpkin soup.
It’s nice but a takeaway for me is that I prefer sweet potato and butternut squash to pumpkin.
A really easy zero waste hack that anyone can employ is to stop peeling your veggies. I didn’t peel the pumpkin and the soup is still really smooth. I hardly ever peel veg any more- less waste, saves time and the peel contains fibre and nutrients. Win, win, win.
One of my concerns about going more plant-based is getting sufficient protein. I do a little bit of weight training and growing muscle needs protein. I’m looking for a new meal tracking app that has more of an emphasis on micronutrients. But I can’t seem to find one that’s free or even has a free trial. I don’t mind paying but I’d like to test any app before committing.
Unsurprisingly, given how ubiquitous halloween has become here in the UK, last week’s OddBox contained a pumpkin.
I think this is my first experience of having a whole pumpkin in the house. I’ve carved one before but I normally substitute butternut squash or pumpkin in recipes.
I decided to try a new pancake recipe that Anna tagged me in on Instagram.
The batter is fantastically smooth and these are much more like traditional pancakes than the egg and banana ones I normally have. I wasn’t crazy about the flavour but I steamed enough pumpkin to try again. I’ll try adding more cinnamon and using more exciting toppings. Maybe a berry compote and some soured cream.
I actually hate pumpkin spice lattes so maybe I’m just not a fan of that flavour combination.
I was also invited to a Halloween party and in a bit of a quandary about what to do about wearing a costume. I’m generally quite lazy when it comes to fancy dress. I’ve never been able to see the point of buying things to wear only once so my costumes have tended be assembled from things I already own or can re-use. For example, a few years ago I dressed as Super Mario.
I can’t believe I used to post such terrible images on my blog! I bought the dungarees and top secondhand (on eBay, but still). The top and hat entered my regular wardrobe, the box was used to package a gift and I upcycled the dungarees into my Cateralls.
I have a pink wig, a shameful leftover from the year I dressed as Nicki Minaj and I had to buy a second wig because I’d accidentally ordered the first from China). I was quite keen to wear that but didn’t have much to go with it. I looked around a couple of local charity shops for inspiration and found this Wonder Woman costume for £6. It was a no-brainer.
After looking at some images of WW online, I was very tempted to buy a headband to finish the costume off. I’m pretty sure the costume had a horrible wig with it- thankfully the charity shop employee didn’t realise. It was much more fun and empowering to be a brown Wonder Woman with my own hair out.
Anyway, after nearly purchasing an official Marvel headband on Amazon I decided instead to get a metre of gold ribbon and make my own.
It’s funny to realise how I still feel drawn to buy things in order to make experiences ‘more fun’ or legitimate. Luckily I hadn’t had the idea sooner or I would have probably bought an expensive handmade head piece on Etsy and justified it by saying I’d ‘saved money’ on the costume so it’s okay to splurge on the accessories. Capitalism is so deeply engrained and pernicious.
In the end I was thrilled with my costume and thoroughly enjoyed wearing it. I’m so grateful to the person who donated this perfectly good item to be loved again rather than going to landfill.
A disadvantage of trying to reduce waste is becoming hyper-aware of how wasteful society is. Here I share things that have bothered or worried me.
I still haven’t found a way to compost my food waste. I’ve started saving some veg scraps in the freezer to make stock but this only works for a small proportion of vegetables. I’m researching community composting but it’s quite slow going. I’ve tried emailing some local parks with greenhouses. I’m on the verge of wild composting (aka collecting the scraps and dumping them in a park).
I just saw a video about Germans being legally obliged to compost and I really wish that our government would start taking the health of the planet more seriously. Instead, my taxes are wasted on Brexit nonsense. I’m at the point where I would pay to have my food waste composted but no one seems to be offering this service in London.
I got my fourth OddBox delivery last week.
I made ‘crack broccoli’ following this recipe that I found on Pinterest.
The broccoli tasted fine but, unlike crack, not that moreish. My fault for believing the hype I guess.
I also tried a couple of different salads. This is rainbow salad with halloumi. It was decent.
My favourite was this griddled peach and goats cheese salad. I didn’t even add the dressing and it was delicious.
I also watched Cowspiracy with my friend Anna. I first heard about this documentary at a talk by Bosh, two middle class guys who set up what they call ‘the vegan Tasty’ (that channel that makes birds-eye views of someone cooking recipes). Apparently everyone that watches Cowspiracy immediately goes vegan. I was genuinely a bit scared.
One thing the documentary did make me think was that I have been approaching zero waste slightly sideways. For example, dairy milk is much more resource-intensive to produce than plant-based milk alternatives. It is probably ‘better’ to consume plant-based milk in recyclable packaging than milk in a glass bottle. I’m going to try switching to barista-style Oatley rather than getting my milk delivered.
A disadvantage of trying to reduce waste is becoming hyper-aware of how wasteful society is. Here I share things that have bothered or worried me.
This week’s tilt is brought to you courtesy of Transport for London. Since I changed jobs, I needed to purchase a new annual travel card. This was an opportunity to finally sort out the six Oyster cards I had in a drawer.
I checked my TfL account. Three cards were registered and three unregistered. Annoyingly it was not possible to register the cards since I technically did not buy them- my old workplace did on my behalf. There was a total of nearly £40 on the registered cards, and getting a refund meant the cards get deactivated.
I phone TfL and it transpires that I cannot register any of the three cards I have. I have to go out and buy a seventh card, register it, and then add the annual travel card. In the end, I also couldn’t register this card because I hadn’t used it for a journey. So I had to go to a ‘travel centre’ and buy an eighth Oyster card. I understand that it’s important to protect customers’ data and money, but this this is ludicrous.
We are at a stage where we don’t actually need stupid pieces of plastic to store passes. I have a phone with near-field technology that comes with me everywhere. Why can’t I just have the pass stored on an app?