Archive for the ‘food’ Category

A better fake milk?

January 11, 2021

Eating avocados on toast and drinking almond milk won’t save the world. — Glen Burrows

Plant-based food. The latest Big Business con, peddling ultra-processed crap at massive profit, putting family farms out of business.

Do not take my word for it, take a long hard look at the long list of ingredients.

Occasionally I try. I tried fake-meat cocktail sausages from M&S, only because reduced. They were disgusting, one bite was enough to turn stomach over. Thrown out for the wildlife. Even after days of hard frost, food scarce, remained untouched.

Food scientists devise novel ways of peddling cheap ingredients laced with additives.

We are into second week of Vegauary. Always hyped how many signed up, rarely mentioned the numbers that drop out. And it is neither healthy nor good for the planet.

Vegetarian even vegan, can be healthy, delicious, it does not have to be over-processed meat imitations, unhealthy alternatives.

For many years I used to eat in Food For Thought in Covent Garden, excellent food, sadly no more, forced out of business by greedy landlords.

Fake milks cause environmental damage. Soy distraction of rainforests, nuts grown in California drain the water table, then consider the pesticides, herbicides, artificial fertilisers, water run off, flash floods.

Fake milk makes disgusting coffee. Of all the fake milks, oat-based marginally better, Minor Figures cheap and nasty. When seen in a coffee shop is because they are not willing to spend the money on a superior alternative. Oatly marginally better, the best of a bad lot, but now owned by Vulture Capitalists and thus not an ethical choice. None of these fake milks will make a decent cappuccino. The best that can be done blend the milk in with the coffee to make a muddy brown singularly unappealing coffee.

If do not wish for milk, real milk, for whatever reason in your coffee, ethical, lactose intolerant, then drink V60 pour over in a speciality coffee shop.

Support regenerative agriculture, agroforestry. Grass fed cows, the grass is a carbon sink, improves soil structure, good for wildlife, reduces runoff and flash flooding. Contrast with rows of monoculture crops, poor soil structure, runoff and flash floods, bad for wildlife, no carbon capture. The artificial fertilizers, which run off into our rivers, are manufactured from fossil fuels.

Replacing factory-farmed meat with processed vegan food, is not solving a problem, it’s shifting it somewhere else.

If like me, enjoy a cappuccino, then maybe, and it is a Big if, I have yet to try, then maybe Rebel Kitchen Mylk for Baristas.

Rebel Kitchen claim a better fake milk for baristas. Is it? Is it good for the environment?

Rebel Kitchen do at least appear to be making an effort to be environmentally sustainable. It was also interesting to hear an explanation and rationale for each of their ingredients. How many food scientists would have the honesty and integrity to offer an explanation for each of their ingredients?

Nothing beats raw unpasteurised milk off a farmers market added to muesli in the morning.

Lincoln Eco Pantry

December 20, 2020

Passing through Lincoln Central Market I learnt of a zero waste shop uphill, ‘competition’. As I was en route to the Lincoln Christmas farmers market on Castle Hill, I decided to try and find it and check it out.

Lincoln Christmas farmers market a very sad and sorry affair.

Lincoln Eco Pantry in Bailgate opposite Redhill farm shop, not difficult to find. A queue outside, though everywhere had a queue outside.

Lincoln Eco Pantry a long time in opening. There was rumour of opening in the town at least two years ago, but a bad location, then at St Marks, another bad location. The current location, should have opened early November, finally opened on Friday.

Letting agents Banks and Co which means will be paying high rent or a surprise if not, Bailgate location would also be high rent, though in current dire circumstances maybe rents are starting to fall,

The location, apart from the high rent, excellent as compliments butcher, baker and greengrocer. All we now need is a specialty coffee shop, currently lacking in Bailgate.

Sympathetic restoration of an old building. How it has been fitted out creates a pleasant environment.

Ground floor, bulk refill for shampoo and laundry liquid. No names I recognised. For shampoo, Faith in Nature from the health food shop opposite Mary le Wigford Church just off the High Street, laundry liquid the zero waste shop in the Central Market.

The point was made, choose suppliers to compliment not compete with what already exists in Lincoln.

All the more baffling therefore a large amount of prime shelf space by the counter which encounter as enter the shop devoted to poor quality chocolate laced with additives, chocolate that can buy in any Oxfam shop and in most supermarkets, with not very environmentally friendly package. A definite negative.

Helpful young lady manning the till fed me nonsense additives were because vegan chocolate. Er no, emulsifiers substitute for cocoa butter because the emulsifiers are cheaper. Dark chocolate cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, occasionally vanilla, nothing else. Only milk chocolate and white chocolate are not vegan due to addition of milk.

For quality chocolate visit Imperial Teas on Steep Hill. Excellent selection and knowledgeable about chocolate. The only place in Lincoln for quality chocolate.

Limits on numbers in the shop, limits on numbers on the first floor, a notice on the door, not that anyone took any notice of the notice on the door, nor was it enforced.

Upstairs on the first floor, loose nuts, cereals, dried fruits, tins of tea and coffee. All bagged and weighed by a helpful young lady.

But, this is not how to handle coffee beans, loose in the tins the beans will oxidise, they will already have oxidised in the plastic boxes shipped in, no information on the coffee beans, their provenance, where roasted when roasted roasted, their origin, country not sufficient.

I have recently been in discussion with a coffee shop and roastery, shipping of green beans, roasting, then supply to the coffee shop. I did consider supply in boxes, but dismissed, not good for the beans, they will oxidise.

DT Coffee Roastery supply roasted beans to Coffee Lab Academy and to The Square by Coffee Lab. The beans are supplied in bags even though located near each other in Winchester. Also true of coffee shops where the roastery is located within the coffee shop, the beans are bagged.

Beans popped in bags after roasted will outgas CO2 which creates a positive pressure in the bag, keeps out the air and stops the beans from oxidising. Roast, leave to rest for a week, then at their optimum for three weeks. Once the bags are opened, coffee beans go stale very quickly.

Coffee should have a wonderful aroma, a hint of things to come. I lifted the lid of the Brazil beans. Instead of a pleasant enticing aroma, I saw burnt over roasted beans with accompanying smell of burnt stale beans. Not pleasant.

And even if by happenchance bagged freshly roasted beans as they arrived in a brown paper bags, by the time arrived home, the beans would have oxidised,  not unless arrived prepared with vacuum storage jars.

If wish for coffee beans,  visit a reputable coffee shop where they care about coffee, Madame Waffle or Coffee Aroma, or try the zero waste shop in Lincoln Central Market.

Tea is fine in the tins, but for tea I would visit nearby Imperial Teas on Steep Hill.

Indy coffee shops and roasteries are always ahead of the game. Much work is being done on closing the loop with sustainable coffee bags. There are no easy answers, no quick fixes, packaging for shipping coffee beans keeping the beans fresh whilst at the same time reducing waste. [see Horsham Coffee Roaster – Recycling our coffee bags]

On sale reusable coffee cups during a coronavirus pandemic when coronavirus is out of control and a new strain is spreading like wildfire is an absolute no no. No responsible coffee shop will accept reusable cups for the simple reason it is to introduce an unnecessary  disease vector. They care about staff and customers and do not wish to place them at risk of infection.

The only reusable cup worth considering is a glass KeepCup, but if dropped, smashed to smithereens or consider a huskee cup. But why use reusable cups, why takeaway coffee, reusable cups addresses a symptom, not the underlying problem, stop using grab and go takeaway coffee.  During covid-19 crisis takeaway cups a necessary evil to reduce cross contamination.

Walk in Coffee Aroma, only one person at a time, strictly enforced a sign No Reusable Cups, and they will refuse to serve anyone who insists on using their reusable cup. Safety of staff and customers paramount.

Post-pandemic, relax and enjoy coffee in glass or ceramic served in an indy coffee shop.

In the natural world the concept of waste does not exist in space or time, the output of one process is the input to the next. Therefore we either use natural materials or we emulate a closed loop system with our manmade materials,  as we do with glass, steel or aluminium.

In Athens it is the norm, loose nuts and dried fruits, loose bars of chocolate, shops, stalls outside Athens Central Market, no special name as this is the norm.

Cashew takes it to another level, loose nuts, dried fruits, bars of chocolate jars of honey and peanut butter combined with a coffee shop serving speciality coffee. Coffee beans on sale are in bags.

The big difference to UK, far wider choice far higher quality. For example, more than one grade of dried apricots, pistachio nuts, peanuts.

I picked up muesli and chocolate-coated coffee beans, bagged, weighed and down to the till downstairs to pay. I may have lingered longer and bought more but it became unsafe, too many people allowed in.

The muesli, soft muesli, more like a muesli base, could have done with added fruits, but nevertheless excellent with the raw unpasteurised milk off the Christmas farmers market.  The chocolate-coated coffee beans reasonable but very poor quality when compared with chocolate-coated Brazil nuts from Athens or chocolate-coated coffee beans from Colombia.

The name Eco Pantry always wise to check if already in use. I found myself wondering why looked different to the shop I visited. I was looking at Eco Pantry in Sevenoaks.

Covid-19 biosecurity poor if not very poor. Ground floor door open thus ventilated, tiny crack window open first floor not sufficient ventilation, a girl on the first floor handled all the goods and bagged, but there were too many people in the store, this when we have a mutant highly infectious strain of covid-19  spreading like wildfire and Lincoln  recording double the national average of new covid-19 cases. Sale of reusable cups highly irresponsible. No one should be taking reusable cups to a coffee shop and no coffee shop should accept. The lax covid-19 biosecurity so poor Lincoln Eco Pantry should close until further notice until they address these issues.

Hanki revisited

December 7, 2020

Hanki is a little a Korean restaurant in Jeffries Passage.

Whenever I pass by it is empty. Not so Saturday, not only busy, but very noisy Chinese.

Today lunchtime, empty.  I discuss with the ever helpful young Korean guy, the steamed white rice stir fry with vegetables and ease off the chilli.

My  suggestion taken up by the chef and oh what a difference. The rice changes from bland boring and not very tasty to to very tasty. The deep fried chicken now bland in comparison. Maybe a little chilli.

I also added tempura prawns. These were excellent.

But, generous portion size and too much. Sufficient for two people to share. I found myself struggling to finish.

 

Lunch at Hanki

December 5, 2020

Second visit to Hanki.

It is always empty. Not today. Today packed, Not wise to eat in a packed restaurant.

Pain in the neck ignorant Chinese, shouting. Apart from annoying, shouting is spreading coronavirus.

I do not enjoy my meal. Too noisy and nowhere as good as Sticky Rice n friends.

Problem is white rice. It is nether healthy nor tasty.

I think I will have a word with the chef. Stir fry the steamed rice with vegetables.

Part way through my meal, young guy brings me crispy pancake rolls.

Too the credit of the young guy he does listen. Last time I ate there I raised Deliveroo a disease vector.

There is now a notice on the door telling Deliveroo to wait outside. Half ignore, walk in, weaning crash helmet and leaving door open.

I pop back later. I say pleased to see Notice on the door, but maybe also add remove crash helmet wnad wear mask.

I mention the ignorant Chinese. Young man tells me they are usually far worse.

4 Seasons

December 4, 2020

4 Seasons greenwash writ large.

Three weeks ago Thursday, Athens lockdown day six, I passed by a small supermarket, 4 Seasons,  greenwash writ large. Proclaims environmentally friendly, the shelves tell a different story.

Everywhere in Athens, nuts and dried fruit, loose, high quality, pick what one  wants. Not in 4 Seasons. Everything packaged in plastic.  Height of plastic obscenity, coconut with shell hacked off, shrink-wrapped in plastic.

Products from Big Business, Whole Earth is not quality. Peanut butter bulked out with with palm oil. Why Whole Earth when there is local quality peanut butter?

For quality Greek food, the little deli tucked behind The Acropolis Museum, not far from Little Tree.

For cheese, a little cheesemonger around the corner from the nut and dried fruit stalls Athens Central Market. 

For quality loose nuts and dried fruits, spoilt for choice in Athens, but cannot go far wrong with the fruit and nut stalls outside Athens Central Market or the shop next to Foyer Espresso Bar (same owner).

And for freshly roasted coffee beans spoilt for choice with indy coffee shops, where a skilled baristas will advise. 

Do shoppers enter this little supermarket mesmerised by the greenwash bullshit on display then wander around with their eyes closed and not see the reality on the shelves?

Nuts and dried fruits Athens Central Market

December 3, 2020

The place for nuts and dried fruits in Athens the stalls outside Athens Central Market.

Spoilt for choice, not only between the different stalls, but also between different grades or different origin.

Nuts, dried fruits, chocolate coasted, yoghurt coated.

Quality is vastly superior to anything found in England.

 

Behind the stalls the Fish Market and Meat Market. Across the road fruit and vegetable stalls

Nearby Mokka for excellent coffee.

Sticky Rice n friends revisited

December 2, 2020

Three weeks ago Tuesday lunch from Sticky Rice n friends .

I had visited Sticky Rice n friends a couple of days before and had lunch, enjoyed, decided to try again. Athens was in lockdown, very little open.

Lunch from Sticky Rice n friends, Filipino street food.

Grumpy Greek not around. Young Filipino guy who I had not noticed before very helpful, together with Filipino chef discussed what to have. Deep fried chicken in batter with stir fried rice and vegetables.

I walked to a little square outside Thissio Metro Station. Very warm in the sun.

My lunch tasty and generous portion size. Stir frying the rice with the vegetables made a big difference to the taste.

I had made myself lunch, cheese and bread. I gave to a guy on a park bench, maybe homeless. He thanked me.

Backtracked to The Underdog for a takeaway coffee.

Later, I looked in Sticky Rice n friends, thanked for my excellent lunch.

Sticky Rice n friends

November 8, 2020

Walked around The Acropolis to Thissio, then along a road to find Sticky Rice n friends, a Filipino takeaway I had encountered the previous day. They had only opened a couple of weeks before lockdown. Saturday at least half a dozen Filipinos, today two and a not very helpful Greek guy who claimed to be in charge.

I explained what I wanted. I did not want full portion, I would be eating later. No, argued Greek guy. I drew attention to empty street that we were in lockdown.

I talked to the Filipinos. They prepared what I asked for.

Reasonable portion size, tasty, but not great, chicken deep fried, stir fried vegetables and steamed white rice (no brown rice).

Had I realised the vegetables to be stir fried I wold have asked for more.

Excessive if not obscene se of plastic packaging. They wished to use a black plastic tray. I said no. Use a round card bowl (though did have a plastic lid.)

Covid-19 biosecurity reasonable. Open to the street, hand sanitiser, staff wearing masks correctly.

pork chop at No 1 restaurant

October 31, 2020

Few people about, very little open.

After tonight everywhere will be closed, end of season.

No 1 restaurant one of the few places open. Tonight their last night before closing for the season.

Excellent pork chop served with salad and chips accompanied by half a bottle of red wine.

Covid-19 biosecurity good. Hand sanitiser on entry, sat outside, marble top tables easily cleaned, staff wearing masks correctly at all times.

pork chop Ithaki Garden

October 27, 2020

A very warm evening, Ithaki Garden empty but told fully booked but will squeeze me in.

Pork chop accompanied by red wine.

Pork chop tasty but tough.

Poor compared with grilled pork chop at Andama.

Ithaki Garden need to improve what comes with their meat dishes, a not very fresh morsel of salad not acceptable, needs to be fresh salad or vegetables, and improve the chips. Contrast with Andama or No 1 restaurant in Protaras.


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