Monday, March 10, 2008

Weekend eats and shops

First up, the eats. Saturday night we had lime and basil chickpea cutlets, topped with Almost Sour Cream and sweet chilli sauce. I’ve changed the recipe around to suit our tastes, using a mixture of gluten and regular flour. The gluten makes the texture meaty, but cutting it with plain flour keeps the cutlets from being stringy. On the side, we had garlic and spring onion mashed potatoes, and a fresh corn, capsicum and caper salad.

Lime and Basil Chickpea Cutlets
Based on the recipe from Veganomicon, but changed enough that I’ll post it

What you need:

2 c. cooked chickpeas, mashed fairly well
¼ c. olive oil
½ c. gluten flour
½ c. wholemeal flour
1 heaped cup rolled oats, processed into crumbs (or just use bread crumbs)
juice of 1 lime, topped up with water to make ½ c.
¼ c. soy sauce
zest of one lime
½ t. dried basil
½ t. onion powder
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
¼ c. minced fresh basil

In a large bowl, mix everything together. Knead for a few minutes. Form into 6 patties and fry over medium-low heat until browned and firm.

The first time I had lime and basil in combination was in the form of ice cream from Frosty Mango, and it was such a tangy and delicious combination. Of course, any kind of citrus and any kind of herb will work—lime & coriander, lemon & parsley, etc. But if you make those changes, you can't call them lime & basil cutlets.

Sunday night we had the leftover cutlets in burger form. They were good, but they are better solo. With the burgers we had sautéed spinach and carrots with soy sauce, spring onions, garlic and sesame seeds. And another fresh corn salad, this time with browned zucchini.

We’ve also been slowly making our way through the Peanut Butter Silk Pie’s from our picnic. Andy thought they were a little bit too rich, but discovered that a blob of strawberry jam on top cuts through the richness and makes them very nummy.

This is Andy's photo, which he took while I was at a seminar. He posed it in front of the window for optimal lighting. A future food blogger?

Now for the shops.

Sunday morning we headed to the market like always, and afterwards went to the organic shop nearby. We got allll this stuff:

From the market, three ears of corn, 2 red capsicums, 3 green capsicums, a kilo of zucchini, 6 big carrots, 3 red potatoes, 3 white potatoes, 2 bunches of bananas, 4 onions, and a bunch of asian spinach. All that for $20. From the organic shop, a pack of nut yeast, a half-price pack of soy flour, and some organic fresh ginger.

On the way home, we stopped at a few shops and decided to purchase our most expensive piece of furniture. Aside from our mattress, this new item is more expensive than all of our furniture combined. That isn’t a hard feat, as most of our furniture cost us nothing, coming from freecycle or the side of the road. But still, it was a lot to spend on a bit of wood covered with some carpet.

At first, Nacho was a little wary, but it didn’t take long for her to start licking and biting the edge of the base. With a bit of enticing in the form of yarn, she climbed up onto each level. She chased her tail for a few minutes in the hidey-hole, and looked down on her kingdom from the top perch. Our clumsy little kitty had a bit of trouble climbing down at first, but she seems to be getting the hang of it. Even after all that exploration, she still spent the afternoon napping on the floor, with her head or paws resting on the base of her new tree.

Now, a wee little rant while we’re on the topic of shopping. Yesterday’s newspaper had a big cover story about how the Government may impose a fee on plastic bags from shops. The story speculated that the fee could be $0.25, but it could be up to $1. Shock! Horror! The reporter seemed ready to take up arms to fight for his right to use environment-degrading plastic bags. The photograph for the story was two women and a child with arms full of plastic bags—the caption read “[Their names] want retailers to provide an alternative to plastic bags”. Hello! You can buy reusable green bags for $1 at every single store! You can buy them in a variety of colours, you can get them with your favourite sports team logo printed on them, you can get them in various sizes and you can even get insulated ones for your cold items. They are such a popular item that they are often given out for free—in about 18 months living in Australia, I’ve gotten four free bags (red, green and 2 blue), and we hardly ever go anywhere. If you don’t like the style of those ones, you can always make your own. Or, you could pack your groceries into cardboard boxes instead of bags. Okay, so alternatives are sorted. A news report last night said people thought even $0.25 was too much, but, isn’t that the point? If it’s an easily affordable number, people will just pay for them without thinking. But the purpose of a levy is to phase out the use of plastic bags altogether, and the only way to do that is to charge an amount that people are unwilling to pay. Peter Garrett, former Midnight Oil lead singer and current Environment Minister, has ruled out a levy and says the process of phasing out plastic bags must be voluntary. Call me cynical, but I just don’t think an education campaign will work the way a levy will. There has been a very concerted education campaign over the past several years, but according to the figures given on the ABC last night, plastic bag usage hasn’t even been halved. People have come to see plastic shopping bags as a god-given right, and they don’t seem to be giving them up willingly. So what do you think—is a levy the answer?


Anonymous said...

Mmm... more ways to eat chickpea cutlets. Delicious!

David J said...

Two comments:
Firstly: The food looks fantastic again!
Secondly: I can't believe they've wimped out on the levy!
I'd love to reduce my plastic bag use and am trying but my efforts often falter when there is no direct down side to forgetting my re-usable bags. I aren't penalized a single cent for using the plastic ones at the shop. I am so cheep any levy no matter how small would help me remember.

Surely a national levy set by the Fed Gov is the perfect solution! That way retailers won't feel the need to compete over who is charging the least for their bags.
What is wrong with you Peter Garret? Be brave.

kristy said...

I am going to give your version of the cutlets a try, thanks!

Vegetation said...

Ooo! I like the idea of using normal flour in the chickpea cutlets as well. I fried my last ones for the first time and they came out stringy :(

I think the levy is a good idea too. I'm the first to admit that I often forget my bags (and as a result we own about 30 of them). But if people don't have to pay for them they're just going to keep on going like they are now.

Vegetation said...

Oh and hug Nacho for me, sooooo cute!

Alec said...

Delicious food as always. We finally cooked the cutlets last night for the first time and they were delicious. I'm really interested in trying your version now.

That fresh food looks incredible. I'm ignorant of what food you can still get local and fresh down there. Is that food local? I feel bad that most of our fresh fruits and veggies now come from thousands of miles away. Our CSA should start up soon though :)

I'm glad to hear you getting fired up about the plastic bags. I agree that a levy is the only way to reduce the usage. I doubt they'll do it here in the states unfortunately. I read that when Ireland started taxing people per bag usage dropped something like 90% in one year!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Those little pies are just too cute. I want to have picnic now just so I can make them.

Leng said...

Lime and Basil Chickpea Cutlets look AMAZING! it sounds really yummy too. Thanks for the recipe. I'm looking forward to trying it.

Nacho is too cute! And that is a nice looking cat tree. My cats have abused their extensively.

Cookiemouse said...

Some lovely pictures there! Paying for plastic bags is a great idea. They have this in Ireland already. I think a levy is a good idea.

Monika K said...

Lime and basil - what a great combination! I've spent more than I probably should buying treats and used toys from goodwill for my dog, but he just loves them so much (and he's so cute, how can I resist?).

I wish more people would use their own bags in a store, but I don't necessarily think a government-imposed levy is the answer. It's just one more thing people would have to pay for.

pleasantly plump vegan said...

i KNOW for a fact i'd love all the food you guys make. you always make me hungry. i like how comforting yr food looks.
i need to get more reusable bags. we have a dog and have to pick up her waste, so we do re-use the plastic bags. i'm sure though we could stand to cut waaaayyyy back on how many we bring home. i think charging is a grand idea.

VeggieGirl said...

looks like a DELICIOUS weekend that you had!! yum!!

oh my goodness, I completely agree with you - buy reusable bags, people!! they're cheap and prettier than plastic!! :0D hopefully the levy will be passed in the near future.

vko said...

Food looks delicious!

and Nacho is too damn cute- just wanted to share with you: yarn/string is dangerous for kitties (because their tongues are barbed they can keep swallowing back the yarn into their stomachs where it can knot up and tangle their intestines-painful & expensive surgery). Years ago when my kitty little she almost ended up swallowing a 2ft of ribbon but I was lucky to catch her in time.

I could look at Nacho pics all day!

Theresa said...

David J--maybe Peter Garrett is planning to write a song about plastic bags, to make people stop using them...

Alec--the food is partially local, though some of the market folks buy it wholesale. Even that is coming from within Australia, unlike some supermarket food which comes from peru, botswana, and other far corners of the globe!

VKO--thanks for the tip! All of our string toys are tied up to bigger pieces of cardboard, etc, so she won't be able to get them too far down her gob. But I'll be aware of it now!

miss mara said...

I totally agree about the plastic bag garbage. I got soooo fired up about that article! (Well, the South Australian version of the same thing...)
All the arguments against the levy are pathetic, trying to prove that people would have to spend $600+ extra a year on bags, or that there aren't alternatives, etc etc. It's so lame, people are lazy, and just need their thought processes changed, it's seriously just a matter of habit!! I don't reckon I've taken a plastic bag from a supermarket for about 5 years!! MAN it annoys me.
Like someone already said (and was brought up in the article too?) Ireland have been doing it for years, and their usage dropped by 95%. So that means we can too.

Man, Australia is full of whingers.

Thankyou for letting me rant by the way!!! I like your blog too!!


missblueberry said...

Hey! I am going to try the cutlets tonight with the basil. great idea.

And....your cat is just way too cute.
Thanks for your post on sexual violence and female prisoners.

Liz² said...

Peter Garrett is the environmental minisiter? I had no idea! I hope they keep the 1$ levy, grocery bag consumption is RIDICULOUS.

and lime and basil cutlets sounds so nice!

Liz² said...

oh, and tell Andy his shot of the silk pie is gorgeous!