A nice bit of crumpet…

It’s funny how not being able to have something, even if you didn’t have it so often when you could get it, tends to make you crave it. In Germany crumpets are not sold in supermarkets (or I haven’t ever found them), even the little ‘Food From Home’ shop where one can buy staples like vegemite, milo, self raising flour etc. has been out of crumpets everytime one of us has visited over the past year.

After a crumpetless 2013 what better way to start 2014 then to make our own and stock the freezers!
Growing up with all of the mass produced products available in supermarkets I’ve often not considered that at sometime or other these products (crumpets, english breakfast muffins, biscuits, breads etc) were made in the home.
Because one doesn’t want just any crumpets, but rather the perfect crumpets, we followed this recipe from the guardian http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/mar/21/how-to-cook-perfect-crumpets
I remember a friend commenting something about her mother believing everything if the guardian had written it so I figured they would know how to make a good crumpet!
Unfortunately I forgot to buy crumpet rings so we had to use cookie cutters and have heart and star shaped crumpets:
The batter was looking good after the first 1.5 hour ‘rising’ – It’s winter so I used the oven, after adding the bi-carb though and the second rising there were fewer bubbles.
They turned out ok though. I might have to make heart shaped crumpets everytime!
They even taste vaguely like bought crumpets… they were a little salty and a little doughy, I think this is more because of my lack of proper measuring utensils than the recipe. Definitely has potential though, it will be nice to have a freezer full of crumpets again!
If you try them let me know how yours turn out.
Have a wonderful start to 2014 everyone!
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the road less travelled

A piece of sage advice from my younger brother:

It is true. Despite the way the world has changed ‘travel’ of this sort is, ironically, still the road less traveled  When you get out here there are heaps of people doing similar things, but not enough that these things are considered normal. Not enough people to have smoothed the way and trampled a nice neat groove of a path. We still need to scramble our way up steep hills and navigate through scary jungles, become completely lost, but never turn around and go back. Instead look for another way out of the labyrinth.

It is clear to me that he has learnt and grown so much more from his experience than he might have had he stayed put. With all of 23 (when he wrote this to me) he already had a wisdom about him which I admire greatly.

My brother and I on the road less traveled.

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Anyone would think we’d never lived without plastic!

Having invited Eva-Melina of inglorious plastics over with another friend for a girls evening of cheese, bread, tea and knitting, I committed in my shopping for our fare to going without plastic. I had it all planned out, my cheese man wraps the cheese in a waxy sort of paper, bread would come in paper, Olive oil in a glass bottle, fruit I would put straight in my calico bag and so on. Excellent in theory. In practice, as I soon realised, nearly impossible. In practice you have to contend with other peoples notions on plastic and their plastic related habits.

I got home early and went straight to the fresh food markets. A Supermarket was never going to work, with everything in it’s individual vacuum sealed cling wrapped glory. All started well, I picked out my cheeses (which I noted were wrapped in cling wrap in the display fridge) and chatted to the cheese man. He discovered I was having people over and said you should try these (indicating some crispy bread chips) they’re great for entertaining etc. etc. So I tried one, knowing full well I didn’t want them but not able to say no. Then I bought some. Again only because I didn’t want to be rude and say no. I did ask if he would please put them into a paper bag for me, which he obligingly did, then proceeded despite my protests to put the paper bag of bread chips into a plastic carry bag. Bother. He insisted it was bad for the cheese because the bread was still warm or something. He’s just such a nice man though that I didn’t stand my ground and took the plastic bag because I didn’t want to be rude.

1 x plastic bag and the bread chips did not get served at the girls night.

Then I managed to pick up figs and grapes with no plastic, although admittedly the grapes had been sitting in a plastic container at the stall. Then to the baker to get bread, no plastic!

For the oil I went to a fancy overpriced spice place in the hope I would find plastic free good organic olive oil, which I did. Well, it was organic and olive oil, I don’t know that it’s that great though. The shop lady asked and I said I wanted a good oil to dip bread into. She then proceeded to ask me what else I was going to have with the oil (really I didn’t think I needed anything else, good oil, good salt and fresh pepper is enough). I told her this and she proceeded to show me this Greek oil dip spice mix. Again I didn’t stand my ground and let her sell me the smallest amount. Admittedly that happened to me the last time I bought something in this shop too. I have to stop going there. The sales people are too pushy (or I could just admit to being a complete push over). I protested against the little plastic bag the girl was about to fill, stealing Eva’s story that I was going without plastic so my protests seemed well founded. The shop assistant thought it was a cool thing to do and found me a little jar. Of course the jar was extra, but not too much. She packaged that up and then went to put it in a plastic bag. Again I protested, she went to protest back that it would be safer or some such thing, then I had to point out, “No it’s more plastic you see”. “Oh!” goes the shop lady, “I see”.

After my lovely guests had left I went back to my ‘cheese paper’ and had a closer look at, finding, to my disappointment, it is  in fact very thin plastic that just looks like paper.

So in the end I came home with two different kinds of plastic and two products which I neither wanted nor needed.

My attempt, for one shopping trip, for one evening, to go without plastic completely failed. When I think about it I was even serving water out of a plastic water filter jug.

Next time I need to be more aware. I also need to stop feeling guilted into buying things I don’t want. It’s really very silly. That person’s business is not going to go under if I don’t buy their bread chips.

For more (successful) plastic free escapades visit inglorious plastics
If you try this yourself write a comment, I’d love to hear about your experience of going without plastic. Hope you can do better than I did!

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