Taste test: Spiral’s dip and toss oils

spiral-oils

Spiral Foods has an exciting range of Mediterranean inspired dip and toss oils, made from 100% extra virgin olive oil. They come in three flavours:

  • sundried tomato and basil which was great in a greek salad (below)
  • rosemary and roasted garlic which was a perfect match for cold lamb and roasted vegetables salad
  • and basil and Parmesan which turned a simple potato salad into something special.

greek-salad

You could also use the oils for dipping bread in, or tossing through pasta for a quick and easy dinner. The best thing about these oils are that they are certified gluten-free and sugar free. What I really like about these products is there’s only natural real ingredients listed on the bottle, and there are no strange unpronounceable nasties.

All three flavours are balanced well and would make a delicious addition to your kitchen. They come in an attractive slim bottle, and would make a nice gift idea paired with packet of fancy pasta.

Available from the Spiral Foods website.

Thank you Spiral Foods for allowing me to trial these products. 

How to cook spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and chilli

delia-spaghetti-olive-oil

The second recipe I cooked for my Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge was Spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and chilli. Now if you look closely at the photo you may think that’s a lot of chilli, but actually since I’m allergic (well, intolerant) to chilli I used capsicum instead.

I’ve cooked pasta plenty of times before but I read Delia’s instructions and followed them as closely as I could. One thing I have stopped doing is salting the water, as we doesn’t like much salt in our diet. But in this instance I did and didn’t really notice any difference. I made enough pasta for one for lunch today. I got garlic all over my fingers, but I don’t mind the smell.

I was tempted to test the pasta by seeing if it would stick to the wall when it was al dente, but I’ve recently cleaned the tiles above the stove top so I gave it a miss. I don’t want to clean them again so soon! Anyhow, Delia says the “only real way to tell is to taste it.”

So that I only had one pan to clean up I slightly deviated from Delia’s instructions. I cooked the pasta first and then made the sauce in the same saucepan, while the pasta drained in the sink.

I love Delia’s instructions on how to eat spaghetti and other long pasta. I pretty much do what she suggests, but the olive oil dripped down my chin! Sometimes I like to use a fork to twirl the pasta around on the bottom of a spoon. I think it’s authentic, but perhaps that’s a myth.

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

My Town in Transition video – by Rob Hopkins

An inspiring talk by Rob Hopkins “My Town in Transition” video.

Rob Hopkins is the author of “The Transition Companion: Making Your Community More Resilient in Uncertain Times

I love it when he says:

…let’s be more brilliant than we have ever been…

Organic pest control recipes

pest_detective

It’s important to think of your backyard as a mini ecosystem where all the elements need to be balanced. So when you do get an invasion of pests, the predator bugs will deal with them in a few days and keep their numbers down. Some times the best solution is just to sit back and let nature sort itself out.

If that doesn’t work, then you can make your own pest control solutions with these organic recipes:

Chilli soap mix – Aphids
Add a generous handful of hot chilies and a tablespoon of pure soap flakes to a litre of hot water and puree in a blender. Strain the mixture through  a stocking. Spray directly onto the aphids and they will quickly die. Several applications may be necessary for particularly bad infestations.

Coffee spray – Slugs and snails
Dilute one part strong espresso coffee to ten parts water and spray it liberally over the foliage of plants that are being eaten by slugs and snails, and on the soil around their base. When the pests travel across the coffee mixture, they absorb it and quickly die.

Milk spray – Fungal diseases, including powdery mildew
Combine one part organic milk to ten parts water and cover the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves and stems thoroughly. This can be used as a preventative measure during humid conditions which favour mildews.

Vegetable oil soap mix – Mites and scale
Blend 2 cups of vegetable oil with half a cup of pure liquid soap and mix thoroughly. Dilute one tablespoon of the mix with a litre of water and spray over infestations. The pests will suffocate and soon die.

Do you have any tried and true organic pest contol methods?

How to make your own furniture oil

Apply sparingly and buff up to a gleaming shine.

250ml olive oil
20 drops lemon essential oil

Pour the olive oil into a clean dry bottle, add the essential oil and shake well.

To use, place a little oil on a soft cloth, wipe onto wooden furniture and buff to polish.

List of Transition Town groups and initiatives in Brisbane

transition-brisbane

Transition Brisbane aims to support the city transition from oil dependency to local resilience.

It is a Hub of the Transition Network, which is a world wide movement to support community-led responses to peak oil and climate change, while building resilience and happiness.

Here is a list of the Transition groups and initiatives in the greater Brisbane area:

  • Enoggera Transition
  • Samford Green Street
  • Scenic Rim Transition
  • Sandgate Transition Town
  • Sustainable Jamboree – based in the Jamboree Ward of Brisbane and surrounds (all are welcome)
  • Sustainable Redlands
  • St. Johns Wood Sustainability – St John’s Wood
  • Transition Ashgrove
  • Transition Annerley – Annerley, Fairfield, Moorooka, Fairfield, Tarragindi, Yeronga
  • Transition Bardon – The Grove, The Gap, St John’s Wood
  • Transition East – Balmoral, Bulimba, Camp Hill, Cannon Hill, Hawthorne, Morningside, Norman Park, Seven Hills
  • Transition Kurilpa – Highgate Hill, Hill End, South Brisbane, West End
  • Transition The Gap
  • Transition The Grove – Arana Hills, Ferny Hills, Ferny Grove, Grovely, Keperra, Upper Kedron
  • Transition Town Kenmore – The Pullenvale Ward; Anstead, Bellbowrie, Brookfield, Chapel Hill, Kenmore, Moggill, Pullenvale and Upper Brookfield

Please note these groups are run by volunteers and some are still in the start up stage.

Join us online: http://www.brisbanetransitionhub.ning.com/

 

Rob Hopkins – Transition to a world without oil – TED video

In case you missed it, like I did here’s Rob Hopkins talking about the ‘Transition to a world without oil.’

Rob Hopkins writing is positive and thought-provoking on the Transition Culture website and the following books:

How to get rid of mould

gloves

We had some persistent mould in our house, and finally got a professional to have a look at it. We received the following advice on using vinegar:

Vinegar

1. Vacuum the area with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner, using the small brush.

2. Wash the area using a mixture of 80% Anchor white vinegar and 20% water. Use three buckets, two filled with clean water to rinse your cloth in-between.

The off the shelf products on the market contain mostly bleach, so it will appear as if the mould is gone, but the spores may still be present. Try not to wipe in big strokes – otherwise you’ll just spread the spores. It’s best to use a micro-fibre cloth over a board and do a small area at a time.

Clove oil

Tracey Stranger says:

“Cloves are naturally potent as antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and analgesic….

To kill mould, first you need to dilute (12 drops per 100ml) the pure essential clove oil in filtered or purified water then put it into a spray bottle. Spray the surface and then leave for 20 minutes. Wipe the surface clean and re-spray and leave it as it will take 24-48 hours for the mould spores to die.”

Prevention

Once you have cleaned the area, you need to keep it dry to prevent the mould from reoccurring. Annie Clark recommends closing all windows and doors when it rains to stop moisture entering your house. A dehumidifier can help take moisture out of the air. You can also use products which absorbs water in your cupboards and wardrobes, such as  Cli~mate Dry Egg or Indicating Silica Gel packets.

Resources

Documentary films for foodies

Here’s a round up of some of the better documentary films which deal with food and diet that I’ve seen in the last couple of years:

Future of Food– A scary film about the dominance of certain companies trying to monopolise food supply and the dangers of genetic modification. See also the Future of Food website. Sadly the GM ban was recently lifted in Australia – so please be wary of any products containing canola, cotton, cotton seed oil, corn and soybeans.
King Corn – A documentary about two friends who grew an acre of corn over a year. They then follow its path into the food chain and into their hair! Corn feed cattle feedlots are disgusting.
Simply Raw – Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days: An amazing story of a handful of courageous diabetics who go raw for 30 days. Some of them reduce their insulin dependence and lose weight, and others drop out from the sheer difficulty in sticking to the diet. But it’s pretty inspiring, nevertheless. There is an accompanying website called Raw for 30 Days.
Super Size Me – A popular film featuring Morgan Spurluck, who documents his health while eating McDonald’s for 30 days. Maccas was forced to change their menus after it’s release, and withdraw its super-sized fries and drinks.
Food Matters – A panel of experts talk about the important role that diet does play in the prevention and reversal of many diseases.