Tiny Sparks of Joy

The Vermeer exhibit and seeing just how amazing art can be in sculptural form.

Hot weather for two days, resulting in BBQs, meals out, coffees under our browning lilac tree and general good form.

Fishing tops out of a bag destined to the recycling bin and deciding they need to be back in rotation as part of my no clothes buying until further notice decision.

Geraniums I had written off but replanted in the hope they’d surprise me blooming into life.

Looking forward to a hot shower at the end of a hot day. Bliss.

Tiny Sparks of Joy

More Adventures In Zero Waste

I ordered a box of vegetables and a large fruit bag from a farm delivery service. I’ve ordered before and to be quite honest I have never been 100% happy with the price and quantity, but I have given it a chance because the food is organic, comes with minimal packaging that can be returned and often throws up unusual options I can’t get unwrapped in local shops.

This week, I felt a little ripped off with the fruit. It is nice fruit, but it is expensive. Like, really expensive – I could have bought twice the amount if I had decided non-organic and packaged food was perfectly fine. It’s hard to reconcile spending so much on so little, when there are other alternatives.

Today I went to Lidl and Aldi for the first time in a long time – I had time on my hands so this was a good use of it. I got organic milk and meat (in packaging which may or may not be recyclable, I need to check). I got a lot of (non-organic) fruit and some minimally wrapped vegetables. I bit the bullet and stocked up on some plastic packed pulses and nuts because, to be honest, the prices were very low compared to other options. And I stocked up on organic porridge oats in paper wrapping and passata in glass jars.

I unpacked everything and pondered on my purchases. It is really hard to actively choose to spend more money to buy anything loose when the quality is comparable. I like to support small businesses and organic farming and sustainability. However, the costs are something that’s certainly got to be factored in. I want to spend less, save more, and achieve financial security in the least amount of time possible. I want to be a good citizen and a responsible consumer.

It shouldn’t be one or the other. It’s really annoying when you’re left to choose between the organic fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic and the ‘normal’ stuff that’s not creating waste in my bin. I have to wonder why the organic bananas need to be wrapped in plastic but the ‘normal’ ones don’t.

It is really frustrating to be weighing up the relative merits of every choice. I know it is an absolute privilege to have the time and head space to do so, and I am thankful every day for being lucky enough to be able to make these choices.

More Adventures In Zero Waste

Dutch Oven Bread

I’ve read a few things about baking bread in a Dutch oven AKA a casserole dish. Yesterday, I decided to take the plunge because I had all the ingredients to hand. I followed the instructions (except for using warmer water than I used) and I’m pleasantly surprised by the results. I’m going to mix another batch tonight and vary the recipe slightly.

Bread and salted butter is one of my favourite things to eat. For zero waste purposes, I’ve been buying bread from a local bakery and a bakery I pass on my way to work. It’s an expensive but delicious option. However, for budget purposes I’m going to try bread this way for a couple of weeks and perfect my technique.

I used this recipe and we have this casserole dish in blue, bought about seven years ago. I’m going to reuse the parchment paper I used to line the casserole dish to stop the bread sticking. I’m also going to use warmer water and flatten the dough a little more before baking next time.

Dutch Oven Bread

Sophie’s

Today I had brunch at Sophie’s, a restaurant in the Dean Hotel. A friend had booked it for a long overdue catch up and it was an excellent choice. There aren’t many places in Dublin with rooftops views, so it was lovely to eat in a place where we could enjoy the view. The food was delicious, and even though the table was only available for an hour and a half we didn’t feel rushed. In fact, we ended up snagging a table outside and availing of the sunshine and chatting over a bottle of prosecco. It had been a long time since the three of us had met so we had a lot to catch up on. I will definitely be back, for food and drinks, as it was good value for money and a nice central spot.

Sophie’s

Wedded Bliss.

We are married for six years now. It feels like we only got married a year ago, which I am assured is a very good thing indeed. We went to see a play and had dinner, which is exactly what we did last year to celebrate. This year we ate in the same place, but it has changed hands, for the better it turns out. We thoroughly enjoyed our second visit to Mr. Fox, the pre-theatre menu is great value and we had the same wine as last time.

The play this year was Private Lives, which is about two couples on honeymoon. This day six years ago I was packing for our honeymoon and I am extremely grateful our Private Lives haven’t turned out anywhere near as complicated as those of the characters created by Coward.

Wedded Bliss.

When Life Hands You Lemons (And Leftover Egg Yolks)…..

I made a big pavlova for dessert over the weekend. It’s my failsafe, tried and tested dessert but the only problem is the leftover egg yolks that invariably end up going off in a jar in my fridge because I didn’t fancy carbonara within a day or two. This week I’m off work and, therefore, feeling, as Marjorie might have put it, a little domestic. I bought some lemons today and whipped up a big jar of lemon curd. It’s a delicious balance of sweet and sharp and the colour glows nicely. Yummy.

I use a similar recipe to this, but I always use whatever egg yolks I have and throw in one whole eggs. I learned the hard way this is not something to make in a rush. The slower you go, the better.

When Life Hands You Lemons (And Leftover Egg Yolks)…..