Blogging is certainly more challenging than I had thought but while the blogwaves have been silent my mind has been all of an eco buzz. Changing to being green has a lot more to it than I thought. More and more things come to mind every day from my beauty products to my clothes to household items. I’ve realised that it will take more than a month to change my lifestyle so be prepared to enjoy a few more months of blogging from me, hopefully with more regular postings.
After my initial shop in Lidl I next decided to try Dunnes Stores for environmental products. They faired much better in the meat department. I bought a whole decent sized free-range chicken for €5 and the free-range chicken breasts were also €5. This is fantastic value and I simply have begun to refuse to eat non-free-range chicken. I found it difficult to find vegetables from Ireland but I was shopping in the small Dunnes on Georges Street so hopefully, being an Irish brand, you could find Irish grown vegetables in a larger size Dunnes.
This weekend I tested out the Temple Bar Food Market that runs every Saturday come rain or shine in Meeting House Square. It has, for several years now been my Saturday tradition to brunch there. J. Hick & Sons hotdogs at €4 are the bizz when it comes to hangovers. The pork is the best quality with no extra added nastiness that you can get in ordinary sausages. I occasionally bought vegetables in the market in the past but I was wary that the organic produce would be more expensive. However this week in the spirit of my eco-challenge I bought most of my produce in the market. I got some great looking beetroots for a reasonable €2.50 for about 5 good sized roots, (I intend to use them in chocolate beetroot brownies from the River Cottage cookbook -stay tuned for a review). There were cabbages and carrots too at a good price for organic and I splurged on a bag of wild mushrooms for €3. I didn’t need too many vegetables this week so my lot came to €6.50 and was accompanied by a smile and some recipe suggestions from their charming salesman. In the Corleggy Cheese stall I was tempted into a log of creamy perfect goats cheese that will inhabit my lunchbox and my stomach for the week. And again, served with a cute smile. While all of the above was local and organic, coffee is never going to local, but neither will it be ousted from my shopping list. However I can buy organic and so I got 100grams of Peru organic for €3 freshly ground before my eyes in the Ariosa coffee stall. If it does the job of waking me up at 7.30 every morning this week, I’ll be back there for more next week!
I tend to avoid white bread, and sliced white breads and rolls in particular because they don’t really agree with me. I’m not sure whether it is the wheat or the extra preservatives added by the manufacturers but either way it’s not good. Spelt flour is a milder form of wheat that is quite tasty and when I make the bread myself there are no additives I don’t know about to make my stomach gooey. I also learned recently that Spelt is a great organic grain because it has good natural protection against pests and diseases in its hard shell. Apparently the spelt crop has barely been modified since Roman times and on the back of the packet of organic spelt I bought there is a recipe for Roman spelt bread. Having a minor degree in Roman archaeology I can’t turn down a good reconstructive archaeology food challenge. The challenge previously was a Roman wine recipe that was incredible successful and strong (add a teaspoon or two or four to some red italian wine, reseal the bottle and leave for four weeks then drink). My only problem is that Fallon&Byrne was the only place in the city centre I could find spelt and it cost 3 euro something to buy a 1kg bag. If anybody knows of a cheaper supply and/or bigger bag let me know.
All in all my green food shopping has gone well. Green and local is cheaper than I previously believed. Eating out has been another story however. If I get up late and don’t have time to pack a lunch or have an evening engagement so I can’t get home for dinner I generally grab something cheap and cheerful in town. I’ve found that the green choice in eating out cheaply is not very easy. Vegetarian options generally suck although the puy lentil burger in Gourmet Burger Kitchen is very nice. Chicken is never free-range so forget about it and sandwiches with meat in them tend to be the cheapest meat available and poor quality. Locally produced salad and cheese are also unlikely in most lunch options. In most places you haven’t a clue where the produce is sourced. Since I have begun this challenge I have become increasingly aware of the scarcity of green choices when dining out cheaply and don’t get me started on the packaging. Now that I have gotten the hang of shopping and cooking green, I’m going to have to start eating out green too so I’ll be giving it serious thought over the next few weeks.
In sweeter news I managed to make my baking more eco-friendly buy buying reusable cupcake cases that last 1000 cupcakes each. That’s a lot of cupcakes but with my new Magnolia Bakery cookbook I intend to hit that mark eventually while perfecting my icing skills!