/ Meat/travel/stuff reducers week 4

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Deadeye 16 May 2019

We need to talk about aubergines.

I feel there's a great vegetable hiding in there, but I have difficulty getting it out.  Mostly it's like eating neoprene (especially the skins seem to come up tough).  I'm not so worried about bitterness - although I can't be doing with all the salting business.  So my aubergine and black bean casserole was a misfire.  maybe needed another hour or 10 in the oven.

I've fallen off the wagon a bit this week on the meat front - blaming my recuperation from surgery. Only 2 meat-free days.  However, on the bright side, no miles travelled - the benefits of crutches - and I only got tempted into buying a second hand Sine bar.  Also, the meat was a free range chicken that got re-incarnated in various forms through the week, but I really need to break the mindset of meat being a "treat".

How are you doing?

Post edited at 16:58
MeMeMe 16 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

Aubergine is great if you cook it right and grim if you don't! I usually pre-fry until it's soft before putting it in any kind of sauce, otherwise you're risking wasting a great vegetable!

mbh 16 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

Aubergines are great. One use for them is to thicken soups. Slit the skins, roast them in the oven (eek!) then scoop out the insides and into the soup they go. I then chew on the skins  

They also go into most of our meals, chopped up. For example, latterly I have also been using them for one of Ottolenghi's recipes, where you first roast them in slices, then later add them to a tomato sauce and add pasta. A kind of puttanesca. I sometimes add anchovies (oops).

I never bother with salting. Waste of time.

Sl@te Head 16 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

Planted aubergines from seed this year, they've germinated and will soon be rehomed in my Polytunnel  Great fried in olive oil or on a bbq....

ericinbristol 16 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

I worked with my University's Sustainability manager on ideas related to reducing the University's carbon emissions via flying based on acting like there is a climate and biosphere emergency. Some of the ideas we will be discussing more widely at an upcoming University workshop will include gathering data on, recognising and rewarding reduced flying; rationing University support for flying; requiring much more justification of flying in funding requests/bid; engaging in particular with the University's most frequent fliers; identifying where the largest reductions can be made most quickly; challenging the legitimacy of going to far-flung conferences/meetings especially for trivial meetings; and enhanced provision for video conferencing.

Deadeye 16 May 2019
In reply to ericinbristol:

> I worked with my University's Sustainability manager on ideas related to reducing the University's carbon emissions via flying based on acting like there is a climate and biosphere emergency. Some of the ideas we will be discussing more widely at an upcoming University workshop will include gathering data on, recognising and rewarding reduced flying; rationing University support for flying; requiring much more justification of flying in funding requests/bid; engaging in particular with the University's most frequent fliers; identifying where the largest reductions can be made most quickly; challenging the legitimacy of going to far-flung conferences/meetings especially for trivial meetings; and enhanced provision for video conferencing.


That's awesome.  Aiming not to fly this year.  It's also awesome because it's nto a post saying how great aubergines are...

nathan79 16 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

Aubergine Parmigiana is a great use for it. Option to make it vegan by switching out mozzarella. Both my girlfriend and her mother make tasty ones. (I openly tell my girl her mothers is better, lovely and crisp on top).

Regretting not getting my garden sorted earlier in the year and planting some food stuff.

wintertree 16 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

> That's awesome.  Aiming not to fly this year.  It's also awesome because it's nto a post saying how great aubergines are...

I’ve not flown since 2013.  One of the best decisions I have made in a long time.  This has drawbacks for my career, largely due to an implicit requirement to fly to engage in activities to tick measured boxes.  So I’m heartened to read ericinbristol’s post.

Not flying also gives me guilt free bacon.

I’ve been sticking with meat free lunches which is about as far as I am willing to go.  On the greening front, I’m looking for some cheap used tanks to expand my rainwater system and thinking about plumbing the down stairs bog in to it.

aln 16 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

The only thing I like aubergine in is ratatouille. They always seem slimy and horrible. I think I remember being told if you slice or dice them then sprinkle with salt, leave for a bit then get read of the salt, they won't be as slimy once cooked.

Wilberforce 16 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

Try this, it goes down a treat. 

http://www.salskitchenblog.com/2018/01/smoky-aubergine-pasta-with-herby-pangrattato/

I usually skip the sugar but add red onion, smoked paprika and whatever else comes to hand (olives, sun dried tomatoes etc.). Pure comfort food. 

jimtitt 17 May 2019
In reply to Wilberforce:

> Try this, it goes down a treat. 

> I usually skip the sugar but add red onion, smoked paprika and whatever else comes to hand (olives, sun dried tomatoes etc.). Pure comfort food. 


Is there some connection between this and buying seasonal, locally-sourced produce that I'm not aware of?

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Deadeye 17 May 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

Hi Jim

I guess these threads started off as meat reduction, particularly red meat - as it's a huge carbon impact. BBC say animal agriculture = global transport.  I think the three "foreign" ingedients there will all be shipped not flown.

To make it simple for me my pecking order is:

1. Don't eat red meat

2. Don't fly

3. Don't eat flown ingredients

4. Consume less stuff generally

5. Reduce chicken/fish

6. Reduce driving

7. Reduce land/sea food miles

8. Reduce carbon consumption at home

All of those are a challenge for me, apart from 4 and 8 which I feel I've got quite well in hand. 1 and 2 probably add up to more than 3-8 total though and Wilberforce was trying to make 1 more palatable

subtle 17 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

Trust the op went well and the recuperation going well.

Not a bad week for me, red meat free so far, one car day for work (bike rest of week), started to make own bread for breakfasts etc. salads for lunch - but going to friends for bbq tonight so guess it will be a meat feast although I will try and stick to chicken and fish 

Aubergine - they are like courgette - never to be eaten, yeurgh.

Local farmer taking order for spring lambs, tough one, I can see the lambs in the filed, normally buy one each year from him, stick it in the freezer and lasts a while, dont think i can pass on this so will have to fall at that hurdle. 

jimtitt 17 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

Shipped? More likely to have been produced in a Med country by illegal workers from Africa and hauled up in a truck driven by an East European on slave wages that hasn´t been home in a month.

4
Sealwife 17 May 2019
In reply to subtle:

But your lamb will have been fairly ethically produced and minimum food miles, no?  

Aubergines can be hit or miss.  When nicely cooked they are gorgeous, but sometimes they are slimy and horrendous.  I have no idea what makes the difference and I've been cooking them for years.  The recipe which has the most consistent results for me is :-  Slice and fry aubergines in batches in olive oil, if oil is properly hot the aubergine shouldn't absorb "quite" so much.  Then chuck in a tin of tomatoes (or fresh ones if you like), and a heap of chopped garlic.  Cook for maybe 10 minutes or so.  Dump the resultant veggie mess into a heat proof dish and add a big dollop of butter to the pan until it melts.  Throw in a couple of slices worth of breadcrumbs (any type you fancy), they will absorb all the melted butter and what's left of any garlicky, tomatoey juices.  Pop these on top of the aubergine and tomato mixture and sprinkle with some grated cheese if you like.  Grill until crispy on top.

deepsoup 17 May 2019
In reply to Sealwife:

> But your lamb will have been fairly ethically produced and minimum food miles, no?  

That was my thought - it's falling off the wagon as far as avoiding red meat goes, but it certainly gets top marks for 'local'.

deepsoup 17 May 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

Another 'dislike' from me.  Your post is clearly out of step with the vibe of these threads, they're intended to be supportive and friendly.  If you have a point to make I'm sure that would be very welcome if you can do it without the judgemental sniping.  Maybe save that for, well, pretty much every other thread on ukc.

Deadeye 17 May 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

> Shipped? More likely to have been produced in a Med country by illegal workers from Africa and hauled up in a truck driven by an East European on slave wages that hasn´t been home in a month.

Sure... But at least not flown. I'm trying to improve, not to fix everything at once. If I tried that I'd just fail and get discouraged. So, onions stay for now, even if we don't grow them in Buckinghamshire (I'd want to see the rest of the developed world setting their house in order before I committed to a diet of oilseed rape and nettles).

How's your reducing going?

Deadeye 17 May 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

To put it in context, 20 years ago I flew a lot, and ate meat virtually every day. A decade ago I flew a bit less and probably ate meat 5/7, of which red meat 2/7. These are hard habits to change. 

As of right now I haven't had red meat in approx. 2 months, and on average none 4-5 days a week. I won't go on a plane before 2020 (and maybe not then). 

But most importantly of all, I'm thinking about all these things much more and making a genuine, sustained effort to change.

tlouth7 17 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

Well I managed a meat-free week, though largely because my girlfriend is away so I have defaulted to low effort food. Mostly it has been bread, humus and soup.

Tried Deadeye's sauteed savoy cabbage but found it still too cabbagey so ended up bunging a jar of sweet-and-sour sauce over it. Will have to try again with more flavourful ingredients.

Deadeye 17 May 2019
In reply to tlouth7:

> Well I managed a meat-free week, though largely because my girlfriend is away so I have defaulted to low effort food. Mostly it has been bread, humus and soup.

Wowza. If you want to jazz it up I can provide, well, nettles and oilseed rape.

Well done though.

tlouth7 17 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

Cheers, I'll bear those in mind. I have found capers (presumably not local?) can be added to many things and give a little zing, just one of the jars of oddities that seem to be building up in my fridge door.

I would also like to master the art of making veggie curries from individual spices, at the moment I struggle to get the depth of flavour that comes from a jar of gloop. What options are there to create a thick sauce?

Sealwife 17 May 2019
In reply to tlouth7:

A lot of Indian restaurants used puréed onion as a base for curry sauce.  This gives thickening and flavour.

I like to use curry paste and also fresh ginger and garlic.  A quick and easy curry sauce - fry some very finely chopped, or grated ginger and garlic for a minute or so, add curry paste of your choice, fry another few minutes, add a can of tomatoes and the solid bit from a can of coconut cream.  Simmer until the consistency you require.  If too thick, add some of the coconut liquid.  Add to veg or meat of your choice.  Sprinkle with coriander or mint if you like.

climbingpixie 17 May 2019
In reply to tlouth7:

We do a lovely cauli, green bean and aubergine korma with toasted and ground cashews in the sauce. A little bit of faff but it thickens the sauce and tastes amazing! On the other hand, the rendang we make has loads of liquid in (coconut milk) and it needs to be reduced down for ages to properly thicken it. The key is to do this before adding your veg so that you don't end up with thick curry with annihilated overcooked ingredients.

P.S. Wrt getting the flavour into your curries, for me three things have made a big difference. 1) Being generous with seasoning - often the flavours of the spices don't really emerge until you've added salt. 2) Being generous with oil/ghee - the fat carries the flavour through the curry. 3) Using whole spices and toasting/grinding them myself - a bit more faff but the spices last much longer and the taste difference is amazing, plus you can adjust what kind of texture/blending you want.

ericinbristol 17 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

Cheers! Yes, looks like a bit of a non sequitur but in line with the thread title 'Meat/travel/stuff reducers' and what I did this week. 

it624 17 May 2019
In reply to tlouth7:

One way to make a thick vegetarian curry is to make a dhal, using red lentils.

Fry onion, garlic, chili, and then the other vegetables involved (aubergine, carrot, and peppers are good) for about 10min, then add the spices (I like coriander, cumin, ginger, and turmeric). Add a stock cube, ~150g of red lentils, and enough water to cover, then simmer for 20-25minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils have broken down into a thick sauce.

Re: local food, it seems that cutting the meat has a much larger climate impact (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181023110627.htm), but I still try to avoid foods that will have been air freighted (fresh things from almost anywhere outside Europe).

jimtitt 17 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

> Sure... But at least not flown. I'm trying to improve, not to fix everything at once. If I tried that I'd just fail and get discouraged. So, onions stay for now, even if we don't grow them in Buckinghamshire (I'd want to see the rest of the developed world setting their house in order before I committed to a diet of oilseed rape and nettles).

> How's your reducing going?

I did my bit to save the planet today

Deadeye 17 May 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

That's great!

girlymonkey 17 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

Sadly I had to drive my van around aimlessly for 40 mins this morning to get my phone sufficiently charged for the day. I switched it off with half charge when I went to bed, and had it in bed with me to keep it warm (I was sleeping in the van), but when I switched it on in the morning it died within 3 minutes 🙁. I was doing DofE with some kids so had to have functioning phone. 

My husband is currently cooking us some sort of aubergine ratatouille type thing with eggs on top (eggs from local farm) for dinner, so that feels very in keeping with the thread!

My bigger thing at the moment as I am into exped season is trying to minimise packaging with hill food which has to last for several days and not carry hunners of boxes with me. Things packaged in individual portions are very convenient and survive the rucksack well. 

My camping dinners are meaty at the moment as they were a bulk buy in the reduced section a while back, so will use them up before getting something better!

1
Jimbo W 17 May 2019
In reply to ericinbristol:

Great stuff Eric. Looking forward wjat you learn from this and how to spread such a constructive approach. Bit of pareto thought never goes amiss.

Jimbo W 17 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

One slip from me this week, chicken curry, because I missed the sandwiches which were all gone, and veggie option in the canteen. Couldn't face a meal of just crisps and fruit, so had the curry.

Otherwise meat free. Its been crazy late nights but some great seasonal veg coming through now. Have eaten some glorious tasting Asparagus.

Aubergine I always hated until I discovered the whole salting, prebaking thing was not necessary. Now we have it cubed in indian and thai curries, but also sliced in parmigiano melanzane, which just needs cooked sufficiently. Sometimes a prefry helps, but mostly just cooking enough. The latter was great this week and is a great basic dish to play with herbs and umami flavours. Had a pizza this week which I complained to my wife it was a meat pizza. It wasn't a meat pizza. It had smoked aubergine on it, which tasted really meaty, which I'm afraid is a good thing!

ericinbristol 18 May 2019
In reply to Jimbo W:

Cheers. I will be posting about what we come up with to reduce our emissions and act like there is a climate and biosphere emergency 

climbingpixie 18 May 2019
In reply to girlymonkey:

Wow, I've never known any car/van that doesn't let you charge your phone with just the ignition switched on - that seems bonkers. Too late now but I'd recommend a little power pack, you can get ones now that are only 200g or so and easily portable enough to take on the hill if you need to charge something urgently.

Eric9Points 18 May 2019
In reply to ericinbristol:

> I worked with my University's Sustainability manager on ideas related to reducing the University's carbon emissions via flying based on acting like there is a climate and biosphere emergency.

I guess one of the other things the uni could do is only serve veggie food when it lays on buffets and the like.

The travel thing strikes a chord. I was at a meeting in Grenoble this week. It was a big meeting with folk travelling from Singapore and the Philippines. One of the guys from Singapore was told he had to attend another meeting in Singapore on the Friday even though he needs to be in Grenoble next week as well. That meant home travelling back to Singapore on Wednesday night to return to France on Sunday. Unbelievable.

We've a sustainability officer somewhere in corporate land, I'll send him an email this week about air travel. Maybe every site needs a carbon budget as well as a money budget.

girlymonkey 18 May 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

You can for a while, but I don't know for how long without flattening the battery. My van is old and battered enough that I am almost certain it will let me flatten the battery!!

Yes, need to look into some other means of charging 

Deleted bagger 18 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

Cycled over to my son's house on two days this week. Had a saddle bag full of lump hammers and chisels. Working on landscaping the steep hillside that his garden. Much earth and rock dug out and stored for future use, no skips or landfill. I'll use a minimal amount of cement to set the flags but otherwise all the stonework is dry stone.

deepsoup 18 May 2019
In reply to girlymonkey:

> You can for a while, but I don't know for how long without flattening the battery.

Long enough to charge a completely flat phone battery many times over, unless something is really quite seriously wrong.  Your paranoia is completely understandable, but it really shouldn't be a problem at all.

One of the specs offered by the manufacturer of a car/van battery is "reserve capacity" - that is how long in minutes you can draw 25A before the battery is flat.  (So, kinda sorta, how long you can use it to crank an engine that is refusing to start.)

To put your 40mins into context - the cheapest car battery on Halfords website has a reserve capacity of 105 minutes.  Worst case your phone charger might be drawing about 0.5A, so you'd very roughly expect it to take about 105x25/0.5 = 5250mins (or rounding down a bit, 87hrs) to flatten the battery.

Deadeye 18 May 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

> Wow, I've never known any car/van that doesn't let you charge your phone with just the ignition switched on - that seems bonkers. Too late now but I'd recommend a little power pack, you can get ones now that are only 200g or so and easily portable enough to take on the hill if you need to charge something urgently.


Well, not too late for next time.  I winced a bit at the thought of driving a car to charge a phone!

Separately, today marked the point where I generated as much electricity as I used at home this year (to-date).  Is there a source that tells me the energy cost of manufacture of PV panels, does anyone know?

Edit: I've realised that the generation meter measures generation *before* I use anything from that source.  So a little while still to go; nevertheless, on the way

Post edited at 20:00
girlymonkey 18 May 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

Thanks, that's good to know. I've not changed the battery since I got the van, so no idea how good that is either, but it sounds like it should be ok. I have flattened a battery on a much newer and better van (which I assumed would have a cut off which wouldn't allow me to flatten it!) in much shorter time than that by charging a phone and running a cool box from the 12v point. I think it ran it flat in less than half an hour. I guess the cool box must draw a lot. (Maybe the radio was on too? I can't remember) I had to go scrounging around the campsite for jump leads and someone to come for me to jump it from and was late picking up my clients!!

Once bitten, twice shy!

deepsoup 18 May 2019
In reply to girlymonkey:

> I have flattened a battery on a much newer and better van (which I assumed would have a cut off which wouldn't allow me to flatten it!) in much shorter time than that by charging a phone and running a cool box from the 12v point. I think it ran it flat in less than half an hour.

Maybe the battery was slightly knackered or a bit flat to start with.  A coolbox is definitely a much bigger draw than a phone charger, I'm not sure but I don't think you'd really expect anything that plugs into a lighter socket to flatten the battery quite that quickly without blowing a fuse.

I've never heard of a car or van having a cut-off to prevent you flattening the battery.  It wouldn't be hard to do, but perhaps they don't do that on safety grounds because it would mean hazard lights etc., would cut out sooner than they otherwise would.  Although there's no reason there couldn't be something like that on just the lighter sockets I guess - I'd never thought of that, might be a very good idea.

A lot of campers and conversions have a separate leisure battery and a split charge relay.  When the engine is running the relay connects the second battery to the vehicle electrics so that it gets charged up, when the engine stops the relay disconnects it so that it can be flattened without the battery that starts the engine being affected.  (Also a leisure battery is a 'deep discharge' battery - less powerful than the one you want for the starter motor but able to withstand repeatedly being flattened, which will eventually completely wreck a normal car battery.)

girlymonkey 18 May 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

> Maybe the battery was slightly knackered or a bit flat to start with.  A coolbox is definitely a much bigger draw than a phone charger, I'm not sure but I don't think you'd really expect anything that plugs into a lighter socket to flatten the battery quite that quickly without blowing a fuse.

It was a rental van, so could be rubbish battery.

> I've never heard of a car or van having a cut-off to prevent you flattening the battery.  It wouldn't be hard to do, but perhaps they don't do that on safety grounds because it would mean hazard lights etc., would cut out sooner than they otherwise would.  Although there's no reason there couldn't be something like that on just the lighter sockets I guess - I'd never thought of that, might be a very good idea.

I've certainly driven vehicles where the radio switches it's self off and flashes up with a warning along the lines of energy saving mode enabled. I presumed that was the same thing. It also doesn't run for that long before it cuts out. 

> A lot of campers and conversions have a separate leisure battery and a split charge relay.  When the engine is running the relay connects the second battery to the vehicle electrics so that it gets charged up, when the engine stops the relay disconnects it so that it can be flattened without the battery that starts the engine being affected.  (Also a leisure battery is a 'deep discharge' battery - less powerful than the one you want for the starter motor but able to withstand repeatedly being flattened, which will eventually completely wreck a normal car battery.)

Yeah, I'm not going down the lines of leisure batteries. More electronic faff than I need. I am looking into various phone charging thingies which you recharge at home first. (Electronics is not my area of expertise! Lol)

deepsoup 19 May 2019
In reply to girlymonkey:

> I've certainly driven vehicles where the radio switches it's self off and flashes up with a warning along the lines of energy saving mode enabled. I presumed that was the same thing. It also doesn't run for that long before it cuts out. 

Ah, I've never met that before.  Suspect it might be a feature of the radio rather than the vehicle, but really don't know tbh.  Perhaps you're right (and I'm wrong) and there are newer vehicles out there that won't let you flatten the battery.

> Yeah, I'm not going down the lines of leisure batteries. More electronic faff than I need.

Don't blame you.  I'm not suggesting you should get a leisure battery/split charge setup, just mansplaining what one is. ;-)

> I am looking into various phone charging thingies which you recharge at home first. (Electronics is not my area of expertise! Lol)

If you were to get a little 'power bank' type thing, you could also charge it in the van while you're driving around and you could pop it in your bag and carry it with you in case your phone needs charging while you're on the hill.  (Perhaps put it in a ziplock bag or something to be sure it won't get wet.) 

I have one that I take with me for a long day or an overnight trip, my phone, compact camera, headtorch and VHF radio (for sea kayaking) all charge via USB so it's potentially very handy to have.  In practice I rarely need it, but it's reassuring to know I can recharge any of those devices if I need to.

SenzuBean 23 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

Well so far after some tentative meals with hostas, it seems they're all good. They are about 75% as tough as a kale leaf, but with a taste no stronger than lettuce. We had burgers tonight and I used these leaves as the buns (microwaved for 20 seconds to soften them) - managed 24 big leaves! It's only a small thing (not buying lettuce or kale), but it saved a few quid and it's probably healthier too.
I would highly recommend you plant them in your garden if you have the space and enjoy lettuce/kale. They're in the asparagus family too if that helps convince anyone.

I'm beginning to definitely wonder about my driving habits though on the weekend. I don't really see a solution other than to move closer to the mountains, or make my own fuel (I'm not sure it's much more eco to buy one of the current electric cars - hopefully we have carbon batteries by the time I can afford one).

Post edited at 04:59
subtle 23 May 2019
In reply to SenzuBean:

> I'm beginning to definitely wonder about my driving habits though on the weekend. I don't really see a solution other than to move closer to the mountains, or make my own fuel 

Recycle the fat used in the friers from your local chip shop as fuels for your car - using it twice has to help.

Post edited at 09:58
wintertree 23 May 2019
In reply to SenzuBean:

> I'm beginning to definitely wonder about my driving habits though on the weekend. I don't really see a solution other than to move closer to the mountains

Motorbike.  Far less environmentally harmful to produce, lower emissions in use and the mountains come to you faster.


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