Friday, October 21, 2016

How to cut up a pumpkin

Back in June in a cycling accident, a car cut me off and my arm was broken, in a sling. I got my brother to help with things around the house including cutting up a whole pumpkin.

Whole pumpkins are an easy way to avoid plastic while still enjoying pumpkin. They have a good shelf life uncut if stored in a cool, dark place. After cutting the pieces will keep for days in a container the fridge, or you can roast then freeze it. I do a bit of both.

My brother improvised the following technique using my paring knife which is usually a big no-no with pumpkins. I was a little worried he'd snap it! I was so impressed with the process, I have documented myself doing it - with a 16cm chef's knife - so you can. Essentially you carve out just the stalk and cut it up into segments and clean up as usual. The key is how you deal with the stalk as it's the hardest part to cut through. With this you don't cut the stalk at all.

Use the tip of the knife to make a series of cuts about an inch deep, close around the stem angled towards the centre. The number of incisions determines the shape created and is dependent on the diameter of the stem.  In this case, for a Kent aka Japanese pumpkin, it's in the shape of a hexagon. Lift the stalk out and you have a pumpkin diamond! Once the stem is gone it's like cutting a big round carrot. Cut along each groove into wedges then do whatever it is you do with pumpkin.

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I use a peeler rather than a knife to peel, as there is less flesh wasted, it's quicker and safer. Hold pumpkin wedge in one hand and start peeling from the corner, then flip it around to do the other end. An inline peeler as seen here or a Y shaped peeler are equally good; it just depends on what is comfortable for you.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Vegetarian Baked Potato

1 washed potato, jacket on
1 avocado
1 clove of garlic, in skin
3 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
A handful of greens to wilt eg baby spinach, chickweed etc.
A twist of lime juice
A small nob of butter (optional)
Freshly ground salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200C
Skewer potato 
Put potato and clove of garlic in oven proof vessel and bake. 
Remove garlic after 15 minutes. Squeeze out from skin.
Bake potato for an hour or until cooked.
While potato is baking combine lime juice, roasted garlic flesh, and yoghurt in small bowl.
Wilt greens in microwave, or in a pan with a lid or by washing over with boiled water.
Put potato on plate, and cut in half then - depending in size and shape -quarters or sixths.
Place small dabs of butter in cut potato.
Distribute greens over potato, then slices of avocado.
Dollop yoghurt mixture on top.
Season to taste.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Compulsory Palm Oil Labelling in Australia

Here we are at Federation Square, Deakin Edge last night to help promote
the petition to make labelling palm oil compulsory in Australia.
Parliament will decide next month, so it's important we get as many signatures as we can now. Hoping to get 100,000! Please help by signing and sharing.

The orangutan is the gardener of the forest, spreading seeds to create more forest, an umbrella species that others like tigers and rhinos, and countless more rely on.

#labelpalmoil #iwantthechoice #dontpalmusoff #turnmelbourneorange #inyourpalm #orangutan #endangered

Melbourne Zoo , as organisers of both the petition and event, donated 1000 orangutan plush toys which were hidden outside of Deakin Edge, and seated throughout the auditorium. The plushies were for everyone to find, as a reward for attending and promoting this important petition. These toys represent the real live orangutans lost to unsustainable palm oil production every year. At this rate they will be extinct within a decade. Attendees were actively encouraged to take selfies with their plushy, and use the hash tag #labelpalmoil when posting it on social media. Also there were bags of oranges kindly donated by Orange World. Thanks for the juicy evening snack Orange World!

Afterwards we were instructed to swarm/surround Livinia Nixon doing the weather report. I mimed my plushy Kiani, to also do the weather report. I hope we were in frame because it would have been HILARIOUS.

The lower left corner image is a live study of Maimunah, using an enrichment puzzle at the Royal Melbourne Zoo. You can see this drawing on Instagram as the initial live study if you're on there:
I'll be posting an exclusive work in progress shot here.
And the final drawing here first.

Finally there is a free shopping app. for your phone to help you shop ethically now, by avoiding unsustainable palm oil. Read about it here.