Hello July. You crept up quickly. Other than a few days spent in Sydney catching up with my brother, a cursory glance at the June calendar shows that it wasn’t really an action packed month. Yet here I am, staring down the barrel of July. A quick check of this month’s calendar shows that I have a lot more comedy, cabaret, get togethers and exhibitions coming up so I need to get myself sorted with meal planning and prep. This past weekend has been spent getting organised with the usual spare lunches and dinners in the freezer as well as writing some posts for Plastic Free July.
In my July kitchen…
…there is an impulse buy. Cactus nopales. To be honest, I actually do know how to use these as I’ve had them in the US but also to be honest, will I ever get around to it? I saw these when I was in the Indian grocer at an unexpected bargain price of 99c. I guess most people aren’t going to the Indian grocer for their Mexican staples. Perhaps I should just put these straight into the ‘to be used up’ basket I featured last month’s IMK?
In my kitchen…
…is another impulse buy (do you see a theme?) Crunchy Corn Milk Chocolate. Apparently that’s a thing now. I know every chocolate maker in the land makes some weird hybrid crossover, limited edition, novelty chocolate these days but I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting to see this. It’s made by Frey, who are the number 1 chocolatier in Switzerland. The corn is the crunchy ‘corn nuts’ that are so popular in the Americas. I would have preferred dark to milk chocolate. As these were (unsurprisingly) reduced to clear, I’m prepared to compromise on my Swiss chocolate standards.
In my kitchen…
…are dehydrated apples slices. A lot of dehydrated apple slices. I saw two bags of small Granny Smith apples that I thought I could dry and turn into chewy snacks. I’ve never dried apples before and, knowing how long it can take fruit to dry out, I sliced them extra thin on the mandolin. A little too thin as it turns out. Rather than chewy, they are almost crunchy. I sluiced them in a small amount of lemon juice and water but was surprised that they did not discolour. I didn’t bother to core or peel them. They have been going into my daily spartan bircher muesli mix and last night, in a delicious mustard and prune sauce for pork chops. Next time I will core and slice them thicker, so they are more akin to the dried apples you see in the supermarkets.
In my kitchen…
…it is Plastic Free July. Plastic Free July is not about getting rid of the plastic you have. Once it’s on the planet, it’s on the planet forever. It’s about saying ‘no’ to new single use plastics; trying to buy plastic free where you can; reusing the plastic that you do bring in to the house for another purpose; and, if you need to dispose of plastic, doing it responsibly.
In past IMKs, I’ve talked about our move to buying dry goods from bulk stores where and when we can, as well as taking our own containers to the local butcher. I’m no saint – we have plenty of plastic in our house as well as in our grocery shopping. I wanted to show you three easy things we are doing to stop plastic going back into landfill.
- Net Bags – fruit & veg in net bags at markets are often only tied at the top. You can re-purpose these bags by threading some kitchen string through the opening and turning it into a drawstring produce bag.
- Plastic Containers – butter and cream cheese containers are great for storing small amounts of leftovers in your freezer or for popping in lunch bags. Wash and use again and again.
- Plastic Sheets – usually interleaved between frozen pastry, these can be washed and re-used to interleave between items you are putting in the freezer (eg: bacon, steaks, crumpets etc). I store mine in an old cheese box.
To be honest, every month is plastic free in my kitchen. We have made great inroads but still have far too much plastic in our lives. Cheese is turning out to be particularly challenging. I’ll be writing more about it over the coming month but wanted to give you some food for thought. Visit the website for more info: Plastic Free July
In my kitchen…
…are nasturtium leaves. It’s the middle of winter so there are not a lot of local, seasonal fresh greens available. Thankfully, I planted some nasturtiums before it got too cold, with a view to having more flowers in our backyard for our native bees. Though the nasturtiums won’t flower until it warms up, they are prolific in their leaf growth. Small leaves go into salads and larger ones are chopped through stir fries. I hope to make a nasturtium pesto for pasta but need to check just how peppery the final product is.
So that’s it for IMK July. I’m so glad we have passed the winter solstice and can look forward to incrementally longer days. Sherry from Sherry’s Pickings is our host. You will find kitchens from all over the world in the link up and perhaps you would like to add your own.