#15 A Simplicious Challenge: Finding flow through connection

The Simplicious Challenge: I’m cooking all 306 recipes from Sarah Wilson’s book Simplicious, to see the impact it has on the way I buy, cook, consume and waste food. Read the first post here, if you missed it.

I was planning on writing about homemade cleaning products in this post. I know – riveting! I’m glad that I didn’t too. (But, if you are interested, I’ve made a surface spray and glass cleaner from Live Simply which has worked well. Brooke McAlary has also been discussing ‘slow home cleaning’ on her Slow Your Home podcast recently.) 🙂

Instead, I’ve been reflecting on ‘flow’ and how this looks in different parts of our lives. I had this lovely conversation last week with a couple of work colleagues, about the dire and depressing state of the world (yes really, it was lovely!). We ventured into what sometimes feels like the hopelessness of our efforts to contribute to positive environmental change. I REDcycle, use a bamboo toothbrush and own a keep cup; but my house is still hooked up to gas heating, a finite natural resource. My friend is spending a lot of money to double glaze his windows to reduce their energy needs, but at the end of the day – it’s just one house. Does it ever really make a difference? Are we all just doomed anyway?

Our conversation ended up in a hopeful place. We realised that a) we each just do what we can in our own small ways, recognising that we each have different capacities to make change at different points in our lives; b) there has to be hope, otherwise there is no point, and c) hope is found through connection. In our mid-afternoon conversation, we incidentally shared information with each other about the pros and cons of double glazing versus solar power, shifting from gas to electricity, and the virtues of drop toilets. In that moment, we were contributing – through the encouragement and sharing of ideas and information.

A nice little flow has come out of that connection too. I still have a leftovers problem. It’s not so much about wasting unused produce in the fridge now, as it is about having small children, who drop food on the floor, decide they don’t like what’s on their dinner plate, or return uneaten items in their lunchbox. Usually, the bottomless eating machine we keep in the pantry (aka my husband) will eat it on their behalf, but it can get a bit gross. Toddler germs! My office roomie and I have now set up a slightly complicated system whereby I bring in a container of my scraps and leftovers twice a week, so she can feed it to her chickens and add it to her compost bin. It’s not a perfect system (it would be better not to waste it to begin with), but it’s a start – a certain kind of flow, created from connection.

The food:

I made 17 recipes in March:

  • Pumpkin Pie Kombucha (p 345): I fell off the kombucha wagon for a while but it’s nice to be back on! I’ve been enjoying it diluted in a glass of water each morning to start the day. This pumpkin variety made a nice change.
  • Soothing Asian Poached Pot (p 216): The last of the Chicken Pot Au Feu’s, which was lovely, as the other two were. My eldest son loved the broth. We used leftover shredded chicken to make:
  • Creamy Gratin Crumble (p 262): This was sensational. A variation to the Pizza Bread and Butter Crumble, it was creamy, buttery, and cheesy.
Creamy Gratin from Simplicious

Creamy Gratin from Simplicious

  • Marinated Goat’s Cheese (p 46): I will NEVER buy fetta in a packet again. Or marinated fetta for that matter. It’s so easy to make this! And so cheap! I’m shocking at only using half a packet of fetta before it goes off, but this marinated fetta is an excellent way to make it last. Using a good quality olive oil is better than the majority of store-bought marinated fetta, which is usually made with vegetable oil. I used this in the:
  • Clean Bitters Bowl (p 128): The final abundance bowl, which was sweet, bitter, salty, and peppery, all at once.
  • Raw Snickas Ice-Cream Bar (p 279): If you need a crowd-pleasing low sugar treat, this is a great one. It has the most delicious raw cookie dough base. We kept ours in the fridge rather than freezer for a gooey caramel slice.
  • Beef Jerky (p 209): I wanted to like this one! But I wasn’t overly keen, to be honest. It probably doesn’t help that I’m not much into jerky. It was ok. I persisted and made:
  • Beef Jerky in a Leaf (p 120): It still tasted a bit like an overcooked hamburger patty.
Raw Snickas Ice-Cream Bar from Simplicious

Raw Snickas Ice-Cream Bar from Simplicious

  • Grilled Sardines with Chilli, Haloumi and Lemony Pesto (p 157): Since I’m officially not keen on sardines, I used mackerel in this dish and made it for lunch. It was nice! I used leftover mackerel to make:
  • Untinned sardines wrapped in a leaf (p 120): Ok, well my untinned sardines were such a terrible failure; I just used mackerel. Yes I cheated!
Mackerel and haloumi with lemony pesto from Simplicious

Mackerel and haloumi with lemony pesto from Simplicious

  • Parmesan Prosciutto Stock (p 43): I finally got around to making this indulgent stock. It’s super rich and full of flavour. I used some of it in a mushroom risotto (yum!), and the rest with:
  • Cooked beans and legumes (p 28): Which I turned into IQS Slow-Cooker Sunday Beans. Which we served with:
  • Really Simple Poached Eggs (p 44): Breakfast for dinner, winner!
  • My Indian Kimchi (p 338): This is absolutely my new favourite ferment. I couldn’t get my hands on a daikon, but substituted with swede instead. I’ve nearly finished the entire batch already, I add it to nearly everything. Its beautiful colour warms me up. I used it to make:
  • Kimchi Chicken Choucroute (p 258): A variation to the shortcut choucroute, made using chicken sausages and kimchi. I also used kimchi to make:
  • Easiest Ever Korean Breakfast Custard (p 264): This lives up to its name (it’s SO easy), and came out silky smooth. I used vegetable stock. Loved this one.
  • Thai Lattes (p 323): A jelly dessert made with lemongrass and ginger tea, which I was surprised to find my kids loved too! I omitted the coconut frosting and served it with peanuts and coconut flakes.
Thai Lattes from Simplicious

Thai Lattes from Simplicious

280 recipes down and 26 to go! I have to face a couple of fears next month – those bone marrow bombs (which I said I would make this month) are still hanging around – I’ve asked my husband to help with those ones – and I also have to make chicken pate. But on the plus side, I get to make Tam Tims too….

Read the previous post here: #14 A Simplicious Challenge – REDCycling, cold soup and an enormous beetroot cheesecake.

Read the next post here: #16 A Simplicious Challenge – A Sustainable Giveaway.

8 Comments

  1. Anita says:

    True, that, about each of us just doing what we can. And the more we communicate and share ideas, the greater the awareness and collective consciousness of such matters.

    I consume less energy now as a family of five than over a decade ago when it was just my husband and I (it does amuse me when we get our power bill and it tells us we consume less than the average one person household in our area)

    I’ve enjoyed following, and sharing in the challenge to cook all 306 recipes from Simplicious; I made 56 recipes last month! And just realised last night that I have FINALLY cracked the halfway mark. I think I’m going to be a bit sad once you complete the cookbook.

    Love all your photos Erin!

    • Erin says:

      That’s SO nice of you to say Anita, thankyou. And very impressive that you’ve cut down your energy so much.
      56 recipes, you are smashing it! That’s doubt the maximum I ever made in a month! You will definitely hold the record for cooking all the recipes in the shortest amount of time!

  2. Wow! you have been busy! I pick and choose recipes from the IQS 8 week program which I LOVE but committing to cooking all the recipes from Simplicious makes you step outside your comfort zone – mine would be the goats cheese! 🙂 Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Erin says:

      Thanks for the feedback! 🙂 Do you like regular (non-goat) fetta? I reckon that recipe would work just as beautifully with cows milk fetta! It has definitely pushed me outside my comfort zone… the fermented sardines may have pushed me too far!! 🙂

  3. Can’t agree more about doing what you can. It can seem so overwhelming otherwise, which can result in you doing nothing.

    I’m connecting with your flow and making my own marinated fetta. Like you, I never want to buy a packet again.

    Great post Erin.

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