Monday, 7 July 2014

Paprika biscuits, plastic and a nice surprise

There's no missing the fact that these school holidays are the winter holidays!  We have slushy areas underfoot, it's been bitterly cold and one day last week the sun failed to show through the fog.  That's almost unheard of in these parts.  The Bureau of Meteorology predicted a 'mostly sunny' day but it didn't eventuate.  The temperature only reached seven degrees!
It was on this particularly biting day that Buddy Boy and Pumpkin took part in a football holiday program.  The idea was for the parents to drop the children off and leave.  I was looking forward to a rare day alone with Belle.  However, it wasn't to be.  Within an hour I received a phone call to say Pumpkin was crying with cold because the cuffs of her pant were wet.  I was still in town so I raced to the op shop and bought a complete outfit including a long sleeved thermal singlet!

The poor little girl was sitting in a car shivering when I arrived but a change of clothes and a cuddle and she was ready to play again.  I didn't want to leave again in case I was needed.  After all, the day was not improving. Hence Belle and I found ourselves outside for most of the day on the coldest day for ages!
I did decide though, to take Belle to a local coffee shop for a nice, warming hot chocolate as a bit of a treat to get us through the day.  As it was an unexpected visit, I was unprepared and had no cash.  Our purchase was under ten dollars (the minimum allowable for use of a card) so I quickly looked around and saw a packet of freshly baked short breads.  That took our purchase to around thirteen dollars and I could pay with my card.  And that's how easily it happens!!  It wasn't until we got outside that I realised the biscuits were prettily wrapped in plastic.

At the end of the day, the children were presented with show bags of goodies.  Rulers, a football, all wrapped in plastic.   And again, that's how easily it happens.
I'm taking part in the Plastic Free July challenge and thought it would be easy this year, having done it before and being relatively happy with our efforts.  I thought it would get easier each year.  So much is dependent on what you are doing though.  I had my eyes wide open for the supermarket, expecting this was where I would need to avoid plastic.  I was caught off guard with the extra activities we participated in.  I wasn't about to tell my children that they had to miss out on the show bags that every other child was receiving.
In a similar way, Belle and I brought plastic home yesterday.  Hubby kept the younger two at home so that Belle and I could have some time together and we headed of to a charity craft day.  Lots of little raffles during the day saw us gather several little gifts covered in plastic.
At home it's a different story.  It seems fairly simple most of the time.  Most ingredients we need are already on hand from our bulk food buy.  With the addition of butter (paper wrapped) and milk (straight from the goats) I can provide cakes and biscuits galore without a scrap of plastic rubbish.  A large pot of soup full of veggies and herbs wasn't too bad either.  The shanks were plastic wrapped but I cooked enough soup to see us through three meals.  Yay!
A large casserole (three meal size too) and enough snacks baked to last several days meant limited plastic use.  The diced beef also came in single use plastic but that was the only piece for three meals.  Cooking in bulk is a great way to reduce rubbish and it also means less work later in the week.  Bonus!!  I made sure I had savoury snacks as well as sweet by cooking some cheese and paprika biscuits.  They remind me of a particular brand of small cheese biscuit that I used to love snacking on years ago.  But no packaging, no palm oil, no preservatives and very easy to make!  I'll give you the recipe so you can try them but be warned, they are more-ish!

Paprika Biscuits

85g butter
85g cheese (grated tasty)
1 cup plain flour
1 tspn paprika
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 tspn dry mustard
poppy seeds to sprinkle

Beat together butter and grated cheese until soft and creamy.  (Beat for a few minutes)  Sift together dry ingredients, add to cheese mixture, beat until well blended.  (The recipe I used, suggested dessertspoons rolled into balls but I made mine much smaller.  I find them a better size for nibbling on.)  Place on greased oven tray, flatten slightly, sprinkle poppy seeds lightly over each biscuit.  Bake in moderate oven 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  Loosen and cool on tray.  (Made about forty little biscuits for me)

This recipe is taken from the ancient copy of The Australian Women's Weekly,1970, that I bought at the op shop once.  I have converted the ounces to grams.

Now for my nice surprise.  One of my dorking hens often refuses to sleep in the pen, choosing to perch up a tree instead.  Well, she wasn't up the tree over the last three weeks, unbeknownst to me!!  Out she came the other day with ten little charges.  Although we don't want 'moggy' chooks (these are crossed with the Australorp rooster) you can't fail to be happy when you see these little chickies.
 Daisy was most surprised to see ten little chickens running around in the milking shed in the morning!
Here's hoping your life is giving you nice surprises too!


Caro said...

Thanks Linda- I'll be making those biscuits tonight!

Linda said...

I hope you like them as much as I do Caro. The kids aren't so keen, which suits me just fine! More for me. I'm sitting enjoying a couple now as a matter of fact.

Chris said...

Those wee chickadees are so adorable. What a lovely surprise to find and virtually no work required from you.

I'll give the biscuits a try, but I'll have to tweak them for Gluten free. :)

Anonymous said...

We had a Lucky surprise the other day. Out of the 10 eggs laid and sat, 1 ducky egg hatched. Hence, the duckling is called Lucky. :) Love the arrival of new babies even if they don't have the sense to wait until they're supposed to have babies... In Spring! ;)
Love your ducks and nice to meet another Dorking fan too. Here's to goat milk and being as plastic free as is possible. :)

Jenna King said...

I'm really keen to try those bikkies too! Though it will be a double batch. I had a feeling that I never made single batches of anything, which was brought home last night when my big boy made anzac biscuits, and when he read out the ingredients, he automatically doubled everything without even asking!

Linda said...

Good luck Chris! I haven't cooked gluten free so don't even know what you'd substitute.

Hi Rabidlittlehippy, I love ducklings! They are so cute. We have geese creating nests atm too. Hope they can manage to produce some goslings out of season.

It makes sense to do a double batch Jenna. Once you get the wood stove going you might as well cook lots. That's so funny about the Anzacs. He must think recipes are weird!!!

Kim said...

Just printed off your biscuit recipe to put in my recipe folder. It is the one thing we end up always going back to in the supermarket - plastic wrapped savoury I don't have to.
I think you have done very well with the plastic free July.It is difficult to control the actions of others (plastic wrapped football ...mmmm where they worried it would go off?) .
Plastic is a funny thing - I have people who won't buy my soaps if they aren't wrapped . I think that people have become addicted to the idea of everything being sealed up .
Cold here too - have the fire roaring this morning!

Robyn Sadler said...

Thanks for the biscuit recipe! Like Kim I usually buy savoury biscuits and, although I can put the cardboard box in the compost, I need to place the foil or plastic bag in the rubbish bin :(.

Linda said...

Kim, the trick is to cook them the perfect amount of time. Too little and they are chewy rather than crunchy. Yes, plastic free July has been worth doing again. I'm amazed by the amount of plastic that comes out of the woodwork.

I hope you enjoy the biscuits Robyn. :-)