Saving the planet, one drink straw at a time

We like a regular drink of what we usually call ‘pop’ around mealtimes. No, it’s not a euphemism for the dastardly inebriating grog: it really is ‘pop’ or, to be more specific, a sip of cordial such as Rocks lemon, for example. Not fizzy but tastes just like old fashioned lemonade. (Just add water.)

We tend to sip our cordials (yes, with our little finger raised, if that’s how you want to imagine itย  ๐Ÿ™‚ย  ) through a drinking straw.ย  But let’s not bother about the various etiquettes of soft drinks. The key here is that our straws have been, up to now, made of (insert shudder here) plastic!!!

But no more. Because other kinds of drinks straws are available. Properly washable and reuseable straws. We bought some (which arrived through the mail today) which are angled, rather than straight, and are made of glass. A four-pack of 6mm straws (larger gauges are also available that are more suitable for shakes and smoothies) cost just over a fiver. Shana will put some product details at the end of this post soon, as woolly-headed me has mislaidย  them. (Aw shucks.)

Our new eco-friendly straws will pay for themselves in less than a year (because of no more need to buy the plastic version) and will also mean we are putting less yucky plastic into landfill or anywhere else in the environment. Thus we will have saved the planet. Feel free to join us in doing the same.

Not sure what we’ll actually do with the planet now we’ve saved it. Still working on that one ๐Ÿ™‚

Shana’s Edit: My profuse apologies for Chris’ woolly-headedness, I told him his yarn stash would get the best of him one day! We bought our straws from ecostrawzย , and no, that is not an affrilliate link, just a helpful pointer as to where to go to do your bit to save the planet ๐Ÿ™‚


Absolutely Nakd

We tried some delicious ‘Nakd’ bars recently and decided it might be cost-effective to make our own. Good Nakd bar recipes are easy to follow and require absolutely no cooking. It’s all just chopping, blending and pressing, and then letting them set in the fridge till they are the right consistency.

We may be upgrading our equipment soon, although we won’t be spending a fortune. But we managed to make a batch of Nakd bars using just the following rudimentary gear. First, a Crown single-blade stick blender (made in China!) that we bought probably over ten years ago. It is a mere 180 watts power and the specification plate says that you must not run it continuously for more than one minute. Oh, so that’s why Shana thought the handle felt a bit warm after ploughing through half a packet of Whitworths ultra-gooey stoned Sayer dates this afternoon ๐Ÿ™‚

Meanwhile, I was doing an impression of someone trying to start a petrol-engined lawnmower (or perhaps a jetski outboard motor?) as I got to grips with a more recent purchase of ours, the Zyliss Easy Pull Food Processor. (No money-grabbing afiliate links there, btw, so just click merrily away. )ย  You may pooh-pooh the little Zyliss, but actually it’s pretty robust and certainly saw off a packet of cashew nuts with barely a second glance. Fifteen English pounds well spent, I’d say.

Other ingredients we threw into the mix were a pinch of Food Thoughts natural cacao poweder, and a weeny drop of Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Madagascan vanilla extract.

I churlishly calculated at one point, that after my exertions with the Zyliss, the calories I would consume from the bars we produced would result in simply recouping the energy outlay. I could have been wrong though, because we reckon we churned out the equivalent of about seventeen of the commercially made Nakd bars. All in all then, we are, as Rockefeller once said, ‘quids in’. Definitely ready for a good sit down though. (Maybe we should rename them ‘knackered’ bars?) ๐Ÿ™‚

The curious tale of the Cornish pasty on the radiator

‘Why is there a Cornish pasty just below the radiator?’ asked Shana, who was sitting on the living room floor, dazed and contused.

A fair question, I thought, noting also her concerns about randomly scattered boiled new potatoes, one or two nestled comfortably by the maze of wires under the computer desk. And sharing her puzzlement at the row of garden peas lodged between the living room wall and the radiator pipework just above the skirting board. It struck me that the peas were lined up rather like a row of green balls ready for a snooker player’s trick shot.

Thankfully, this evening’s meal had included no gravy. (Big phew! there ๐Ÿ™‚ ) ย And the little helpings of butter that had adorned the potatoes had hardly had time to melt before disaster struck, and so were fairly easy to clear up.

If you had just walked in the scene would have been a little like that on the ill-fated Marie Celeste, albeit a Marie Celeste manned by very messy eaters and with two of the scurvy crew (viz. Shana and I) still on board.

It’s a bit like one of those Sherlock Holmes locked-room mysteries, this, isn’t it? I bet you can’t wait to hear how this sorry scene came to be.

Well, it’s all quite prosaic, alas. We had just sat down to a late afternoon/early evening meal, when Shana decided to fetch a cushion from another part of the living room.Unfortunately she tripped over my foot, which had been so inconsiderate as to be on the end of my leg and also directly in Shana’s path. I am now designated as a human trip hazard and shall hand myself in to Health and Safety later this week, to return only when clad entirely in Shana-resistant padding.

Anyway, Shana now has more bruises than a crate of dropped apples, and feels like she’s been cage fighting with a grizzly bear.

I helped by clearing up the food debris and by wiping the floor with antibacterial wipes and doing lots of brushing. Then I checked on how Shana was faring. You may argue that I got my priorities wrong, but I contend that bumps and grazes always improve over time; whereas some of our floor covering was from an end-of-line selection and may very well be irreplaceable.

Anyway, I did make an excellent pot of tea soon afterwards, so I’ll have my gold star and nursing badge back, thanks all the same.

Tomorrow, I shall be wearing a hi-divisibility (sic?) jacket in order to be more noticeable. And Shana will be trundling around with the aid of a pair of those little stabiliser wheels that three-year-olds have on their bicycles.

Because you can never be too careful, can you? ๐Ÿ™‚

Montezuma’s Chilli and Lime. Amazing!

I consider myself something of a chocolate expert. Name any well known bar of chocolate and chances are that, over the years, I have eaten it.

Except one, back in the 1970s as far as I recall.

Yes folks, I never did ‘risk it for a Swisskit’. Too late for my chocolate bucket list, I suspect.

The best chocolate, though, I have only just discovered, thanks to Shana’s chocolate-hunting skills. And it is this: Montezuma’s Chilli and Lime organic chocolate bar. It’s a big flavour, so I’ve given it a big link. Click on the pic to visit their site. (By the way, they’re not paying me for writing about them, in case you wondered…)


It’s one to savour, to allow to gently melt in the mouth, and one to certainly remember as the finely balanced hit of chilli reaches the taste buds. The lime resuces you perfectly from what, made by any other than Montezuma’s, would be a mere bout of coughing and spluttering.

Get hold of one of their chocolate bars (made right here in England) now, But remember one thing:

Make sure you hide it where I won’t find it ๐Ÿ™‚

Now we’re cooking with gas

Last year we dissed ‘Black Friday’ on this blog. It’s all about greedy people chasing stupid special offers, I wrote. And I advised people to ignore it all and leave their shopping till the Saturday after.

This year we actually chose to grab a Black Friday deal.

Only , we placed our order and made our payment on the Thursday immediately before Black Friday proper. ย Oh, and the shop, a local Euronics dealer only two minutes’ walk from Waffle Towers, was empty save for us and the storekeeper. So there was no jostling amongst other shoppers. It was all very civilised and polite, which is how shoppery should be ๐Ÿ™‚

Our purchase was delivered and installed around midday today. Here’s what it looks like.


It’s a Valor gas cooker, no less. Twin cavity, with double-glazed doors and interior light. It’s 50cm wide, so it fits the kitchen perfectly. And Shana cooked chips, mouthwatering beef burgers and baked beans this evening just to let it know what it has let itself in for.

‘It’s warmed the room up nicely,’ I said, enjoying the respite from today’s ‘bracing’ temperatures.

‘Yes, but you might not be so keen to be around it on a hot summer day,’ said Shana.

‘Oh, I’d forgotten about that,’ I said. ‘Can’t wait to cook a few salads next June and July. I can just imagine the aroma of chargrilled Chinese leaf lettuce wafting through the air.’ ๐Ÿ™‚

One side-effect of having a new cooker is all the extra worktop space that has now been freed up. For almost ten years, we have used ‘alternative’ cooking methods, everything bar a firepit in the back lawn. Continue reading “Now we’re cooking with gas”