Spicy lentil patties – linsedeller

SPICY LENTIL PATTIES

Danish vegetarian dishes: lentil patties

INGREDIENTS:
Use a measuring jug to measure out the ingredients. We used a mixture of walnuts and almonds for the nuts and seeds.

200ml dried green lentils, boiled until tender
100ml nuts or seeds
100ml oats
100ml flour
100ml water
2 onions, finely chopped
3 teaspoons curry powder
3 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 pinch smoked paprika or cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt and pepper

METHOD:
Mix all the ingredients together. Heat some oil in a frying pan. Make the mixture into small patties and fry on both sides until crisp and heated through. Put on a plate and cover to keep warm.

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When does grid parity happen in the south of Spain?

A view of grid parity from someone who has been living off grid for 10 years.
The date of writing this post is 8th July 2017.

What is Grid Parity?

Grid parity  occurs when an alternative energy source can generate power at the same  price as buying power from the electricity grid. Or to put it another way: After installing an alternative energy system how long will it take the before the cost of installation will be the same as if the house had been connected to an electric company. This is called pay back time.

The Quick Answer

In case you just want a quick answer in my opinion it would take 8 and a half years.
Below I will explain how I calculated this figure.

Calculations

Our annual electricty usage is 2005 kWh per year.
This is in our  house which is not connected to the grid.
The average occupation is about 4 people.
We do not use electrity for heating, cooking or AC.
The biggest electricty use we have is the swimming pool pump.
We live a fairy normal life and we have a freezer and  fridges.
We very occasionally have to use a generator when there is a prolonged cloudy spell but the cost is minimal. Maybe 20 euros per year.

We calculate the costs of the electric company by looking at the electricty bill we have for another house. The name of the company is Iberdrola.

We use the figure of 3000 watts as the maximum amount of power that can be used at any one time. (la potencia) The figure we use for the price of electrity is 0.16 euros per  kWh. There are other expenses such as electricty tax (impuesto), equipment hire (alquiler) and VAT (IVA).

The price per year of electricity from the GRID.

The cost if we bought the electricty from the grid would be 598 euros per year.
224 for additional costs and 374 euros for the electricity.

How much our solar electrical installation would cost.
To replicate our system you would need
1250 watts of panels – 840 euros 
50 amp combined inverter charge controller 750 euros
12 x 2v Lead Acid batteries 800 amp hours. 3500 euros.

Total cost 5090 euros

Total installation cost divided by GRID cost is 8.5

So time to parity is 8.5 years

Conclusion:
There are lots of other variables such as battery life and efficiency of the batterys which we have not considered here but 8.5 years  is a good basic figure and it feels about right..  

If I lived in a city would I cut off from the grid?
No probably not. If you have solar power  you always have to be a bit conscious of the time of day and if there is sun or not. The battery technology is the most important factor.  Batterys like the TESLA powerwall sound very promising and could provide about the bare minimum which would satisfy most people. I imagine that within 10-15 years in the future we will see a green energy revolution with excellent power storage and the  demise of the internal combustion engine.

The best thing about this situation for me is that we have been here for 10 years so our electricty is now effectively free. I just hope that our existing batterys can hold out long enough so that there are very good possibilities are available when the time comes to replace them.  

Aparently  450g  of carbon dioxide is put into the atmosphere per Kwh for electricty bought from the grid.

According to these figures we have not caused 9 metric tons of C02 to be released into the atmosphere.

 

 

 

Steamed broccoli with Asian dressing

This is a great idea for when the broccoli season starts. The salad can be served warm or cold.

INGREDIENTS:
broccoli florets
inch ginger, finely chopped
3 or 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 chilli, cut into strip (remove seeds if you don’t want too much heat)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lemon
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

METHOD:
Boil some water is a saucepan and steam the broccoli for 5 minutes.

Whisk the sauce ingredients in a bowl.

Add the florets while they are still warm.

Olive Oil FAQ

Click here if you would like to BUY OUR OLIVE OIL.

OLIVE OIL FAQ

Is oil made from green or black olives?
All green olives eventually go black. The olives in Spain are mostly green in mid November but by January almost all of them have turned black.

Is olive oil made from the stones or the flesh of the olives?
The oil in olives is concentrated in the flesh not in the stones. After milling, the stones are mostly intact. Stones do not make any distinctive contribution to the flavour of the oil and in some extraction techniques the stones are removed.

What is the difference between virgin and extra virgin olive oil?
Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality and most expensive. Extra virgin olive oil must be extracted using only mechanical means without the addition of any solvents and with a temperature of less than 30C.

Extra virgin olive oil must have less than 0.8% free fatty acid because better oils have a low acidity. Each time an olive producer takes a load of olives to the mill, a random sample is taken and this is analysed in a laboratory. The acidity influences the amount that is paid for the olives.

Extra virgin olive oil must have a peroxide value of less than 20. The peroxide level is an indication of how much oxidation has happened, all oils oxidise but excessive oxidation results in rancid flavours.

In order for an oil to qualify as “extra virgin” the oil must also pass an official chemical test in a laboratory and has to be evaluated by a trained tasting panel recognized by the International Olive Council.

What is the basic process of olive oil extraction?
First the olives are ground up into a paste. This was traditionally done with 3 massive heavy conical stones which were dragged around in a circle by a donkey. One of the cooperatives where we take the olives uses a more old-fashioned technique (click here for more info).  Nowadays,  the olives are ground up using electric motors. Traditionally the olive oil paste was then spread out on circular mats which were stacked in a press and pressure applied to squeeze the oil out of the paste. Pressing the olive paste would now be considered an old-fashioned technique and nowadays most oil is extracted in centrifuge-based systems.

Can I use olive oil for frying?
Olive oil is versatile and can be used for roasting, sautéeing, shallow frying, dressing and drizzling. Since it has a high smoking point (210ºC) which is higher than the ideal recommended frying temperature of 180ºC for most foods, it can also be used for deep-fat frying and many chefs recommend it.

Click here if you would like to BUY OUR OLIVE OIL.

Novella Carpenter – Urban farmer

Novella Carpenter

Novella Carpenter

There are not many people crazy or weird enough to actually enjoy producing food on a small scale so for me it was really great to read Novella Carpenter’s book. Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer.
Her book describes how she got into urban farming in a rough barrio in Oakland California using a vacant lot next to her house. She also has kept pigs, goats, chickens, bees, made wine, grown vegetables, planted trees etc but in an urban environment. The video below has an interview with Novella and it gives a very brief idea of what she does. Like us, Novella is a sociable person who would not want to be socially isolated on a farm in the middle of nowhere. Part of her childhood was spent in the middle of nowhere and it seems that the urban farm satisfies both the urge to be sociable, be part of a city  and also  the appreciation of nature and a more rural life. We ourselves have a similar dilemma but we solve this problem by having visitors and volunteers. If you like the idea of self sufficiency this book is a great read. Novella has a very pleasant way of writing and I particulary like her no nonsense style which includes plenty of  swearing. If I were inventing a fantasy neighbourhood including the most interesting people  I would definately have Novella as one of my  neighbours. She also has a blog here

The book is available at Amazon UK
or Amazon USA

 

Chickpea courgette mash

Chickpea courgette mash

chickpea and courgette mash

Chickpea and courgette mash

This recipe for chickpea courgette mash is made with the same ingredients as those used in hummus: chickpeas, garlic, tahini and lemon juice as well as the courgettes. Inspiration for it came from the courgette hummus recipe.

The important thing about growing and harvesting courgettes is to pick them when they are small before they get too big. My favourite way of preparing courgettes is to thickly slice the courgettes and then slowly fry them in a splash of olive oil before dressing with salt, black pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice and a knob of butter.

Courgettes or zucchini are low in calories and contain folate, potassium and Vitamin A. They are extremely flexible and can be prepared and eaten in many different ways (raw, boiled, fried, roast or barbecued). Interestingly enough, there is no difference between a courgette and the larger marrow, it’s simply that courgettes are harvested earlier while marrows are left to grow larger. That said, however, some species taste better as courgettes while others taste better as marrows.

In the summer when courgette production is in full swing, it’s good to find new ways of cooking courgettes. For more recipes for courgettes, check out this recipe book on Amazon: What Will I Do with All Those Courgettes?

INGREDIENTS:
courgettes, cut into 1cm cubes
400g cooked chickpeas
1 tablespoon tahini
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon cumin
olive oil
salt and pepper

METHOD:
To make the chickpea courgette mash, heat some olive oil in a frying pan and add the cubed courgette. Fry gently until they have lost all their liquid and are almost starting to brown.

Add the chickpeas, garlic and cumin and stir well for a minute or so. Stir in the tahini and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Heat through.

Remove half of the mixture to a bowl and blend with a stick blender. Pour back into the frying pan.

The idea is to evaporate some, most or all of the liquid depending on how dry you want it. I like to make it fairly dry so that it browns as you continue frying it.

Peeling hard-boiled eggs

Peeling hard-boiled eggs using ice

peeling hard-boiled eggs using ice

Peeling hard-boiled eggs in ice

 

An eggshell is permeable to air and water. A newly laid egg is covered by a natural coating called the bloom. This prevents loss of moisture from the egg and bacteria getting in. In my opinion, it is better to take advantage of this and not wash the eggs. The eggs are protected naturally and so do not need to be kept in the fridge. You can then wash the eggs just before you use them.

There are two membranes inside the shell: the outer shell membrane which adheres to the eggshell and the inner shell membrane surrounding the egg white and yolk. As time goes by, air enters the egg through the pores and fills the gap between the two membranes and the egg cell expands. It is this gap between the two membranes which affects how easy it is to peel a hard-boiled egg.

I’ve read that in order to peel very fresh eggs, it helps to immerse them in cold water and ice cubes so I thought I would give it a try to see if it helps. For the purpose of the “eggsperiment” I used 15 eggs of varying sizes and laid between 0 and 3 days ago (0 being a couple of hours previously).

The eggs were cooked in boiling water for 10 minutes. Cold water was then run over them and they were they plunged into the iced cold water. I left them for 45 minutes.

I found that eggs laid the same or the previous day were very difficult to peel. Eggs that were two days old were OK. Eggs which were three days old or more were good. I also found that putting the eggs in ice made no difference whatsoever and is not worth doing.

 

Smoked salmon pasta

Smoked salmon pasta

smoked salmon past

Smoked salmon pasta

This pasta dish is made with smoked salmon, spinach and cream cheese. A couple of spoonfuls of the pasta cooking liquid are added to the dish at the end to moisten it slightly. The dish is then served with freshly ground black pepper and grated parmesan cheese.

INGREDIENTS:
100g pasta per person
1/2 or 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
50g spinach per person, finely shredded
50g cream cheese per person
 zest and juice of 1/2 – 2 lemons
1/4 – 1 packet smoked salmon
handful of basil, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
olive oil

METHOD:
Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water.

Meanwhile, heat some oil in a large wok. Gently soften the garlic for a few minutes before adding the spinach to wilt. Add the cream cheese and mix well to combine, before adding the lemon zest and juice. Season with black pepper.

Drain the pasta, keeping back some of the cooking liquid.

Add the smoked salmon to the sauce along with the pasta and basil. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in a couple of tablespoons of cooking liquid to slacken the pasta slightly.

Serve with grated parmesan cheese.    

Vegetarian meal plan

Vegetarian meal plan

vegetarian meal plan

Vegetarian meal plan

The aim of this vegetarian meal plan is to provide some ideas for tasty vegetarian meals.  We are not normally vegetarian but have recently have been eating more vegetables. As the season progresses and we grow more and more of our own vegetables, it makes sense for vegetables to play a larger role in our meals. The criteria for a recipe to be included in the vegetarian meal plan was that it was tasty and worth cooking again.

The inspiration for this vegetarian meal plan was Hannah – a Canadian girl who came in April. The original challenge was to write a post with a 14-day vegetarian meal plan. The food varied according to what was in season and what was available. As time went by, the meal plan grew and now totals 31 meal ideas. As I discover new recipes they will be added.

vegetarian meal planThe recipe and video for how to make the garlic mayonnaise can be found here.

vegetarian meal planDAY 1: tortilla de patatas, steamed broccoli with soy sauce and sesame oil, guacamole, green salad, garlic mayonnaise.

vegetarian meal planDAY 2: spicy chickpea stew, fried eggs, red cabbage coleslaw, green salad, garlic mayonnaise.

vegetarian meal planDAY 3: vegetable cauliflower and broccoli curry, brown basmati rice, pimientos padrón, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 4: fried eggs, rosti potatoes, steamed broccoli, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 5: pizzas, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 6: moussaka, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 7: falafel, devilled eggs, kale salad, green salad, garlic mayonnaise.

 

vegetarian meal plan

DAY 8: green lentil and kale stew, coleslaw, fried eggs, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 9: huevos rancheros (pinto beans and friend eggs), steamed broccoli, green salad, garlic mayonnaise.

vegetarian meal planDAY 10: spaghetti puttanesca, salad.

DAY 11: curried rice salad, fried eggs, coleslaw, green salad.

vegetarian meal plan

DAY 12: vegetarian tagine with couscous, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 13: mushroom risotto, green salad, red cabbage coleslaw.

vegetarian meal planDAY 14: leek, mushroom and goat’s cheese quiche, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 15: spinach and ricotta pasties, small jacket potatoes, salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 16: Mexican meal: kidney bean stew, tortilla wraps, sour yoghurt, tomato salsa, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 17: curry meal 1: dal, sag aloo, curried aubergines, brown basmati rice.

vegetarian meal planDAY 18: pumpkin risotto, steamed broccoli, green salad.

DAY 19: vegetarian chilli sin carne, brown rice, green salad.

DAY 20: pasta with tuna and tomato sauce, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 21: spinach and ricotta omelette, tomato salad, cucumber and mint raita, salad.

fried polenta cakesDAY 22: fried polenta cakes, braised chard, fried eggs, tomato salad, salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 23: rosti potatoes, sautéed broad beans, fried eggs, salad.

vegetarian meal plan

DAY 24: curry meal 2: chana masala, vegetable samosas, onion bhajis, creamy egg curry, rice.vegetarian meal planDAY 25: leek and cheese quiche, jacket potatoes, sautéed broad beans witth spring onions, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 26: scrambled eggs with garlic sprouts and oyster mushrooms, fried jacket potatoes, tomato salad, green salad.

DAY 27: fennel and lemon risotto, tomato salad, salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 28: vegetable stir-fry, egg-fried rice, salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 29: stuffed cabbage leaves, fennel chickpea salad, tomato salad, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 30: cheese and mushroom omelette, cucumber tomato rice salad, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 31: pumpkin canneloni, green salad

Cucumber tomato rice salad

Cucumber tomato rice salad

cucumber tomato rice salad

Cucumber tomato rice salad

This fresh summer salad is made with brown rice, tomatoes, cucumber and mint and is dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. It can also be made with cous cous.

INGREDIENTS:
brown rice, cooked
1 cucumber, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
juice of one lemon
a handful mint, finely chopped
salt and pepper
olive oil

METHOD:
Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl. Pour over the lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.