broken cake and other catastrophes

Filed in Blog by on June 9, 2008 15 Comments
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Anyone for cake
Preparing Sunday lunch yesterday was an interesting and reflective time. I realised, that without thinking, I was putting any ‘rubbish’ onto the worksurface to deal with once I had prepared all the veg.

One short week ago I was automatically throwing things into the dustbin.

Since our rubbish collection last Wednesday, we decided to keep a container on the kitchen worksurface instead of using the kitchen bin. Not exactly pretty, but then our ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude tends to lead us into the convenience of throwing things away without a thought.

There was a moment when complete catastrophe struck at Chez Green. Sunday lunchtime is a time for ‘something chocolatey’ for pudding. It’s the family’s weekly treat and gives me the chance to flex my creative culinary muscles. Little Miss Green’s first questions on a Sunday morning are ‘What time’s lunch and what’s for pudding?’

I was tired, so resorted my trusty recipe of chocolate crunch (or chocolate concrete as some parts of the country call it). Ah the memories of school dinners that brings back – we all had it with pink custard sauce through the 70s and 80s. It filled our bellies and kept us going through a boring afternoon of maths and country dancing with the boy you didn’t want to have to dance with.

Anyway, I opened to cupboard to see that we had no cocoa powder. I’d finished it last week and by the time the plastic lid and foil lined container were in the bin, I decided not to buy it again and to look for a better way of purchasing it with less packaging.

I rummaged around in my secret chocolate stash. Any parent (or wife of chocolate addicted husband) will understand why I need a secret chocoalte store. Children have this uncanny knack of sniffing out one part per million of cocoa, much like an alsation on a drugs swoop. You go to make something only to realise all you have left are some crumbs in a wrapper – why do they do that? Do they think you won’t actually notice and will just go ahead and add a pack of fresh air to a cake or something?. Do they then say ‘Oh Mum, you’ve really surpased yourself this week; this is sooooo chocolatey’ with one of those convincing stares that make you question whether or not you are finally losing it?

Anyway,I found some small bars of chocolate and knocked up a rather intriguing chocolate chip kind of cakey thing. I dropped it on the floor when I took it out of the oven but thankfully the cat wasn’t around. She’s a bit partial to a bit of homemade cake for some reason.

With a layer of cream on top and a very flamboyant name; snow topped chocolate mountain or similar – they love that, don’t they? I really could get myself a job creating names for meals in restaurants. Fish, chips and tomato sauce? Oh no! Siren of the sea with potato thins drizzled with cardinal delight here at Chez Green thank you very much – I’m happy to report that in true zero waste fashion, my two happily polished it off.

After the meal I was figuring out if the butter wrapper was foil lined or whether it could go in with the paper or compost, inspecting the stock cubes wrapping – are they just foil that can be washed and recycled? Yes I know, this challenge should really come with a Goverment health warning – you’ll find yourself inspecting everything in your cupboards. I mean, a stock cube wrapping; geeesh, how bad does it get. After that I meticulously separated the foil and paper wrapping from the chocolate bars and even took apart the cornflour packaging to see what it was made of (paper and card I was pleased to see).

Lunch arrived half an hour late because of all the sifting, sorting and recycling I’d been doing en route. Much as your shopping takes ages when you’re examining all the packaging, so does meal preparation when you’re separating your rubbish. I’m confident I will be a recycling whizz at this very soon……

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (15)

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  1. iluv2cook says:

    Now thats taking recyling to the limit. I have been known to collect up the Quality Street wrappers at Christmas and separate the shiny coloured foil from the cellophane wrappers to put in the recycling πŸ™‚

  2. LOL Mrs Green, I should have warned you that you would need a detective’s kit in this kind of business.

    The worst culprit you will find is the degradable plastic bag…now that’s a waste of recyclable resource if I ever saw one. Can’t recycle at the supermarket, neither is it any use in your compost bin ;-(

  3. Mrs Green says:

    Well, Iluvtocook, I see I am in great company. Quality Street wrappers LOL! What did you do with all those different coloured papers? I bet you made a stained glass window or something πŸ˜€

    Tell me more about the degradable plastic bag please, Mrs A, and I’ll update our ‘reduce plastic carrier bags’ page

    Mrs G x

  4. Sue says:

    Well done on your Sunday Dinner adventure! Is your ‘snow topped chocolate mountain’ recipe a secret recipe, or one you can share!

    Quality street wrapper, yes, well, I’ve been there too, removing the foil inners for foil recycling, and putting the shiny seethrough bits into the art draw for ‘works of art’! After they have had fun looking through them, and trying different colours on each eye to see what colour you actually see!

    I remember having a degradable carrier bag full of foil, as we raly go to Cheltenham (where it can be recycled) I used to store the foil in bags down the side of the house, and then try to rememeber to take it with me when I went. Well, on one particular occassion it was raining, I had forgotten to get the foil, so I ran back very quickly, grabbed the top of the bag and started to walk (or run) away, the carrier had degraded, the foil went all over the floor, the oxo wrappers, the quality street wrappers, and those take away curry dishes! What a mess, in the pouring rain! I must admit I just left it, and one dry day I swept it back up into another bag for my next trip.

    I no longer have the issue with oxo foils, I now use marigold stock, by the Kg!! I enjoy it as a quick soup, as well as using it in cooking, and when I have finished the pot, it is either used for something in the garage, or dismantled and put in the card recycling, the metal bass with go with the metal tins, and the plastic lid eventually ends up in, you guessed it – the bin!

  5. Mrs Green says:

    Hello Sue,

    I will email you the recipe – it’s the most versatile and easy recipe in the world.

    Your bag of foil story was so funny – thank you for sharing; it made my day. What I’m learning from the comments on this thread is that I’m not alone; how scary is that πŸ˜€

    Well done for sorting the oxo foils issue!

    mrs G x

  6. Hi Mrs G – will send you some info on the degradable demons very soon….horrible things….booo…hisss. xx Sorry, it’s the pantomime dame in me ;-D

  7. Fumblina says:

    I had been wondering about Oxo too but I don’t think I can add it to my recycling. I seem to remember something about it needing to be a certain size so it passed through the sorting machine properly?

    I have been tempted to wash them and ball them up until there is a big enough ball… but that is a LOT of spag bol!! And I’m not sure I can cope with the ridicule I will get with drying the wrappers out on the drainer! πŸ˜‰

  8. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Fumblina – welcome to the site and thanks for leaving your comment. You’ve taught me something new – I never knew there was a minimum size for recycling foil. I take the tiny tabs off the soya milk seals and put that in there too. So this is something I need to find out for sure – thank you for highlighting this! I’ll let you know what I find out.

    I love the idea of an oxo ball LOL!

    Hope to see you around the site, (and you know where to come for support, should you decide to wash and dry your tiny wrappers ;))
    Mrs G x

  9. Fumblina’s right. They are far too small for the Materials Recycling Facilities to deal with. If you have got the patience to roll them up in a ball that’d be great. You can combine them with other odd scraps of foil and milk bottle tops ;-D

  10. Mrs Green says:

    Thanks Mrs A, well it’s no problem to wrap everything together if that makes it better for the machines to cope with. That can be a job for Little Miss Green – she’ll love that!

    Mrs G x

  11. Poppy says:

    Quality Street? Yep done that!
    Oxo wrappers? Yep!
    Foils of blister pack tablets? Yep!

    I keep a foil dish and collect them all together and eventually screw them all up in a ball together.

    I didn’t know about the size issue, I just did it to keep them tidy(er!)
    Now what about staples then? Are they okay to go in metals or are they too small?

  12. Mrs Green says:

    Glad to see there is ‘another one of us’ Poppy, who pick out the tiny pieces of foil πŸ˜€

    Staples in metal recycling; now you have me thinking. I reckon they would be much too small; you’ll have to come up with a wonderful way to create them into something bigger too…… πŸ˜‰

    Mrs G x

  13. maisie says:

    I tend to use the Kalo organic stock cubes, especially the garlic and herb in with pasta and rice.

    Anyone know if they are just foil or paper foil mixture.

    They scrunch into a ball like foil but there is a waffle pattern on the inside.

  14. maisie says:

    Re the Chocolate Crunch as it was called in my school we used to have it with Peppermint Green Custard.

  15. Mrs Green says:

    Maisie, I put the kallo organic stock cube papers in with the foil. I’m sure it’s foil – I just add it to a big foil ball that I’m creating πŸ˜€
    Oooo, peppermint green, ours was always pink – teletubby custard!
    Maybe your kitchen assistants had sneezed into it πŸ˜‰

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