Saturday, 8 March 2008

On becoming an Urban Trolley-Dolly (and other adventures)

There's been much excitement in the Almost Average Household over the last few days.

We've been expecting... but not in the antenatal sense. Our deliveries have been much more straight-forward and far less painful.

I have become a regular visitor at our local market, but I have found the weight of the shopping quite strenuous. So this week I treated myself to the mother of all trollies, a beautiful black & white beauty. We're talking a gorgeous huge handbag on wheels.

I took it out on its inaugural trip into town today and it was a dream. I admit to feeling a bit self-conscious at first, as being a lady in my thirties (only just, I know) I didn't think I was ready for the Trolley Dolly Club quite yet. However, what we must remember is that we can learn a lot from our elders and trust me, after my outing today I can confirm that there are many advantages in simply wheeling your shopping around town rather than lugging it about with increasingly extending arms in a back-breaking fashion.

Before I actually left for town this morning, I also took delivery of my second arrival....The ORGANIC FRUIT & VEG BOX, which I ordered from our milkman last week. It was pretty hard to contain my excitement.

I rushed indoors...opened the box....

...and had a good rummage through the paper bags...

It was a bit like a lucky dip and really before ordering I should have thought twice about Mr A's vegephobe tendencies. It's not that he doesn't like vegetables, but there are some that make a distinct negative impression, bringing back childhood encounters of the culinary kind that he would much rather forget.

The carrots passed muster and surprisingly the cabbage and parsnips somehow managed to go unnoticed, but one look at the swede brought about the familiar turned-up nose accompanied by the fiery comment,

"I hope you're not going to try and make me eat that!"

I guessed that was the end of the swede. Not even I could give it much of a welcome, with my own faded memories of having to eat it mashed and mixed in with potato. What a funny vegetable, loved by some but disliked by many. I thought the best plan of action was to give it to a friend of mine who is a fabulous cook as she can do wonders with extraneous vegetables.

As soon as I handed it over, she quipped,

"Veg box delivery?"

I smiled and nodded my head and she quickly revealed that she'd already taken delivery of an unwanted aubergine from her daughter this week.

"Good", I thought, blessed in the knowledge that I'd discovered an excellent orphanage for unwanted vegetables, which should be a pre-requisite of any responsible veg-box customer.
However, if Mr A is fussy about winter root vegetables, I think I may have to hold off regular orders until the summer, when more salad options are available.

In the meantime, remembering that Mr A was out for the evening I decided to start as I meant to go on and I dug into the veg box in the hope of using the ingredients to make some fresh vegetable soup.

I flicked through a recent issue of the Good Food magazine, which offered a range of ideas for simple soups and in no time I found inspiration to make use of an onion, some carrots as well as some old peppers that were almost at death's door.

My "new adventures in soup land" were pretty much a success. It really was just a case of bunging in some vegetables with a dab of olive oil, adding some vegetable stock and just letting it all simmer before giving it a whizz in the blender. And cor blimey, some tasty soup appeared. However next time, I'll just remember to add less to the blender to prevent it spitting at me and perhaps blend it a little longer to avoid complaints about chunky carrots from the junior posse.

The great news is that I've avoided any form of plastic packaging today, so as far as The Rubbish Diet is concerned, progress is looking good. Thanks to the market shopping and the veg-box delivery, the only thing that I will have to throw in the black bin is the flimsy plastic bag, which contains the beef joint that I picked up from the butchers today. Everything else was provided loose or in a small paper bag that can be composted.

So, with the aim of Zero Waste, that's not bad, especially as it's only a couple of days before the official start of Zero Waste Week. More on that tomorrow.



Anonymous said...

I was reading your article (came here after hearing you on woman's hour) and about to make a suggestion for your swede, when lo and behold, you have already made a lovely winter soup. I have a veg box delivery and quite often use up the remaining items each week in a soup. Swede will go in there just as well as anything else! As long as you put in other stuff like carrots, leeks/onions, there won't be an overpowering taste of one vegetable. They are so delicious and nutritious!
One question I have about the zero rubbish - what do you do with small plastic cartons such as margarine tubs, yogurt pots etc as it seems to me they are not wanted in the recycling for plastic bottles as they are a different plastic? Perhaps your council has an answer? I'd like our council (Harrogate) to take up the challenge.
One suggestion for breakfast - rediscover porridge! Again it's very nourishing, keeps you going all morning and comes either in a box only or in a thin plastic bag!


Thank you AB for your fabulous suggestions. I really like the idea of including the "unwanted" veg in soup. Despite being adventurous in my creations, I've never really tried soups apart from the odd French Onion in the past, so that's great news for the odds and ends in the fridge.

Re margarine tubs etc, I have switched from the carton to wrapped packets of unsalted butter (which will be a problem, as they are non-recyclable). However, the cartons can be put in our recycling bins in St Edmundsbury along with the yoghurt pots. It's always worthwhile speaking to your local council to see what they can do.

As for the porridge. That's perfect. Thank you.

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