Delicious peach tart recipe

By |2019-09-15T13:23:49+02:00September 13th, 2019|We cook|

Delicious peach tart recipe This week, with the peaches I got from the eco basket, I made a peach tart. Discover this delicious, easy-to-do tart, that will delight all your guests. Ingredients Shortbread dough 1 egg 100 g sugar 200 g flour 100 g butter Almond cream : 1 egg 100 g powdered sugar 125 g almond powder 40 g butter Topping : 3 peaches Recipe Shortcrust pastry Break the egg and separate the yolk from the white. Reserve the white. Beat the yolk of the egg with the sugar. Stir in flour at once and sand with fingertips. Add the butter by mixing by hand. Shape into a ball and set aside 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Place it into the pie pan. Put back in the fridge for 30 minutes. Cook the dough for 15 minutes at 200°C. When it comes out, brush immediately with the egg white. Allow to cool. Peaches Rinse them under water quickly, cut them, remove the stones and then slice them not too thin. Reserve it. Cream Mix the egg and sugar, add the almond powder and butter. Pour over the cooled pie shell. To finish Arrange the peach slices and put the pie in the oven at 220°c. When the cream is puffed up and golden, the pie is baked. Post written by Delphine Stein

Indesit, it’s indecent!

By |2019-09-15T13:19:41+02:00August 11th, 2019|We speak, We try|

Indesit, it’s indecent! Do you know the Indesit brand? If so, it means that, like me, you belong at best to the middle class. We have an Indesit washing machine. For five years. It’s not long five years for a washing machine, is it? Well, for corporations, it’s probably as long as the age of the universe. A device that lasts 5 years is a financial pitfall. We need to find a solution. Scheduled obsolescence What a wonderful invention! The programmed obsolescence, or the continuity of the capitalist logic. How would they do if we kept our appliances for life? Just one purchase for everything and that’s it. Well, the manufacturers of refrigerators and other television sets would soon go bankrupt, poor ones… There is only one acceptable solution for these people: the appliances should not last too long. Scientists are therefore striving to make our devices less efficient and much more fragile. The aim being that these devices die soon after the warranty, unfortunately mandatory.    How do these people do such work, regardless of their salary, knowing that they contribute to the impoverishment of the most fragile populations and, above all, to the impoverishment of our poor Earth, dying beneath our murderous feet? Let’s get back to the topic of the day The scene happens on a misty winter morning. Everything is quiet in the house. The husband works, the child is in school. Only the mother works at home on her new project. Everything’s quiet in this house. Too quiet thinks the mother who started a laundry machine an hour ago. The washer doesn’t make the same noise as usual. You can hear that something is not right. Indeed, everything seems to work normally but there is something that doesn’t work: the drum…. In your opinion, reader technician laughing at her ignorance, what is the problem? Apparently, it looks like the belt blew off. Bingo! You’ve found it! At least, that’s what you think. She dismantles the back of the washing machine to access her bowels. The belt is well out of the wheel. In the evening, when the husband is back home from his exhausting workday, they both try to put the belt back in place. They put it back on, it jumps off. They put it again several times, the belt jumps off irreparably. How much does a washing machine cost? Because right now, they don’t have the money for that! A piece of shit like that already costs at least 400€! They don’t want to buy a new machine knowing that it works very well, when all the parts are linked together. The husband decides to buy a new belt. He goes out to look for a belt he won’t find. The corporations do everything in their power to ensure that your devices break down quickly and nothing is in place for any repair. There’s a store in town that sells [...]

Alternative to conventional laundry detergent

By |2019-08-28T20:12:17+02:00August 11th, 2019|We do, We try|

Alternative to conventional laundry detergent I've been doing my own laundry powder for 3 years now and I have to say that I'm very satisfied with it. It washes as well as industrial detergents and is much environment friendly! In the early days, I used to do my liquid laundry detergent but it takes a lot of time and I inhaled a lot of soap and other products fumes, it wasn't pleasant.  That's how I wondered why I was diluting the soap in water? I've come to make my own laundry powder. It takes me about 1 hour to do 2.5kg of laundry powder. I prepare 10kg of powder a year. Occasionally, I dilute the powder to wash black clothes. Ingredients for 600g of detergent: 300g of Marseille or Aleppo soap flakes 150g of soda crystals (Attention, this is not caustic soda!) 150g of baking soda 100g of sodium percarbonate (optional bleaching agent) 100 drops of blended essential oils to choose from (Lavender, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, lemon...) How to Proceed: Blend the soap flakes in a blender. Incorporate the soda crystals, baking soda and essential oils. Mix all the ingredients well. Transfer your laundry powder to your usual container and that's it!   For your white laundry, add one tablespoon of sodium percarbonate to your dose of detergent. Sodium percarbonate is a bleaching agent. It only takes effect from 40°C. The powder is not ideal for washing black laundry, it may leave white spots. It's better to liquefy it. To make liquid laundry detergent, use the same ingredients and dilute them in very hot, but not boiling water, as soap would foam a lot. Introduce essential oils only once the preparation has cooled down. When it cools down, the detergent will harden. If this is the case, add water and stir the detergent until a homogeneous mixture is obtained. Store the detergent in a can that you will shake vigorously before each use. As the detergent is diluted, it will be less effective. Is this powder more economical? Let's compare the prices. I am very bad at math and I don't take into account the prices of essential oils in the calculation.  1 packet of laundry powder costs 6.94€ per kg. I chose as reference the big box of 2.5 kg of Ariel at Carrefour - 39 washes at 17,60€   The bag of 1 kg of Marseille soap flakes costs about 10€ 1kg of baking soda is 5€ 1kg of soda crystals is 5€ 10ml HE about 5€ each for medium ranges I do about 40 washes with 2.5kg of powder. 600g of powder costs me 4.83€, so  1 kg costs 8.05 € which is more expensive than the Ariel detergent sold at Carrefour. The funny thing is that the same detergent sold in 650g boxes costs 7,25€ that is 11,15€/kg. In this case, our homemade laundry powder is much more economical! [...]

Comparing (eco)toxicity of commercial and home-made laundry detergents

By |2019-08-28T20:12:17+02:00August 11th, 2019|We speak, We think|

Comparing (eco)toxicity of commercial and home-made laundry detergents I have worked as a research chemist for many years in a water treatment company. The knowledge I acquired during that period of my life allows me to be appalled when I read the chemical composition of some commercial or industrial products. The thing is, alternatives do exist. The reason why these are not implanted on an industrial scale, I’ll let you guess… What I will do here is follow up on an inspiring article I read a few days ago, written by Delphine Stein. Delphine presents an alternative recipe to laundry detergents. She developed it herself by trial and error, and has been using it now for years with success. In her article though, she admits lacking certain knowledge in water chemistry, which implies that she couldn’t propose strong scientific arguments on why it should be used instead of what is proposed in supermarkets. This is where I jump in. This article will compare the toxicity and eco-toxicity of Delphine's eco-aware laundry powder recipe with that of a commercial laundry powder you can buy in supermarkets. Delphine’s homemade formula Let’s start with Delphine's home-made recipe and discuss the ingredients. Marseille soap is made by saponification. Saponification is a well-known reaction that has been used for millennia in order to produce soap: Fatty esters (triglycerides) + caustic soda --> glycerol + sodium salt of fatty acids. Glycerol is not toxic neither for humans [source], nor the environment [source]. It is actually edible. Fatty acids easily biodegrade in the environment and are non toxic for animals and humans [Source]. Sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) should be handled with care by humans. It can provoke strong irritations upon contact and inhalation. Consequently, use gloves, eye protection and a mask when manipulating large quantities [Source]. Sodium carbonate is not toxic or ecotoxic per se, it is its buffering pH that can cause a problem if released in the environment without care. It should be neutralized first which is done easily in water treatment plants. Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) is non-toxic and non-ecotoxic. As with sodium carbonate, bicarbonate has a strong pH buffering power (that’s part of why it's effective), it should not be released in the environment without prior neutralization. Percarbonate is actually sodium carbonate bounded with peroxide. Peroxide is an oxidant so it is harmful to life, however, when released, it degrades into sodium carbonate, and peroxide which turns into oxygen and water. [Source].  During such degradation, molecules surrounding the peroxide can be oxidized, but this process can occur in the sewer and at a water treatment plant. So when handled correctly, it is eco-friendly. In the home-made formulation, Percarbonate takes the role of the bleaching agent. Essential oils are used to perfume the laundry powder. They do not intervene in the cleaning process, although they can act against bacteria and fungi, protecting clothes. That’s a good thing, right? Well, this is actually also the problem… many essential oils are eco-toxic, [...]

Synthetic sponges are toxic. Opt for a bio and effective alternative: The Loofah.

By |2019-08-28T20:12:18+02:00August 11th, 2019|We do, We speak, We think, We try|

Synthetic sponges are toxic. Opt for a bio and effective alternative: The Loofah. Did you know that your go-to sponge is stuffed with toxic and eco-toxic chemicals? Up to a few days ago, I didn’t know either. In this post, I will detail how this is. I even made a little experiment of my own... results are quite scary... Then I will present an amazing alternative: The Loofah. Today, my kitchen sponge is a kind of large cucumber: Yes, you read well, a cucumber; a special type of cucumber called a loofah. And it does the job very effectively! A few weeks ago, a friend gave me a piece of Loofah sponge for me to try. It didn’t look too appealing or practical and I kind of forgot about it. Until, one day I ran out of sponges. Looking in my housecleaning closet, I found this thing and gave it a try. I started cleaning the mountain of dishes that had been piling up in the kitchen. Well, I was just amazed. It works really well. Intrigued, I inquired about it, and at the same time investigated the toxicity of the sponges I used to buy in supermarkets. Now, I am ready to replace all sponges in my house with Loofah, you will see, it's really a no-brainer! Let's dive in... What are “supermarket” sponges made of? In essence, synthetic sponges are made from non-biodegradable polymers like polyurethane, synthesized from petroleum. Not really eco-friendly… But wait it gets better… Your supermarket sponges come in all ranges of colors, right? So there must be dyes that are added to give them their specific colors… Remember, when you do your dishes, the sponge you use is in close contact with your plates, glasses and cutlery… What are the compositions of the dyes used? Well good luck finding out… For example I found a blog where the author found out that a ScotchBright sponge from 3M that he had purchased in a supermarket was leaking a blue dye. 3M responded. They wouldn’t inform the person of the composition of the die…”trust us, it is not toxic…”. Appalling… Check the avalanche of comments that followed: Many people using this product complained of the same thing, and some were even feeling sick after using the sponge… I also made my little experiment. I plunged a brand new sponge in the mid price range (2 sponges for 1 Euro) in water. The water didn't turn blue, but was filled of particles of the abrasive side... yuck... But this is not all… A sponge can get quite unhealthy real soon: if just left soaking after use, sponges are great places for bacteria and fungi to develop. So industrials have found a solution - let’s stuff our sponges with chemicals like Triclosan - Triclosan is an antibacterial and an antifungal agent that is known to be a [...]

Winter is coming? Keep calm and breathe!

By |2019-08-28T20:12:18+02:00August 10th, 2019|We try|

Winter is coming? Keep calm and breathe! Winter is approaching and with it, colds and blocked noses, sore throats and coughs. Last year, I tested a homemade recipe of a crème that is very similar to Vicks VapoRub ointment. I easily found all the ingredients in The Netherlands and of course I privileged organic ingredients. Did you know that it is easy to make your own? This ointment has been used for several decades to relieve coughs and other cold symptoms. This decongestant, used to fight common respiratory diseases (colds, coughs, simple bronchitis) is actually easy to make. We can therefore make ourselves an organic and natural version, from vegetable butters, beeswax and essential oils. The Recipe Ingredients: 20g coconut oil 25g Shea butter 4g beeswax (optional) 25 drops essential oil of eucalyptus radiata 20 drops essential oil of menthe piperita 5 drops tea tree essential oil 15 drops essential oil of lavandula angustifolia 10 drops Essential oil of lemon 5 drops essential oil of Ravintsara Procedure: Melt the coconut oil and Shea butter together in a Bain Marie. Let the mix cool down. Add the essential oils one after the other and mix well. When it has become smooth, pour it into a jar previously disinfected with 70° alcohol. Beeswax: Optional To thicken the formula a little bit, it is possible to add 4 g beeswax to the coconut oil and Shea butter mix. Without beeswax, the preparation has the consistency of a creamy honey. Usage As soon as the first symptoms of a cold appear, apply the value of a small teaspoon - or a hazelnut - once or twice a day on the chest and/or back and massage well. Do not use for more than 5 consecutive days. Wash your hands thoroughly after use. This balm is RESERVED FOR ADULTS AND CHILDREN OF 6 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER. Not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Essential oils should be used sparingly. Find out before using them. This article is the fruit of my personal experience. I decline all responsibility for the consequences of improper use of the products mentioned. Illustration credits: Background of initial picture : Joe Yates on Unsplash Post written by Delphine Stein

What to do with all those limes?

By |2019-08-28T20:12:18+02:00August 10th, 2019|We try|

What to do with all those limes? Some of you have been very creative in using the limes we got in our baskets. As the lime invasion continues, here are 3 recipes to get rid of them all. 1 - Candied limes in olive oil Can be kept 1 year Step 1 Rinse and dry the lemons. Step 2 Cut them into 1/2 cm thick slices. Put them in a sieve, sprinkle with salt. Step 3 Let it drain for 12 hours. Step 4 Wipe them dry and store them in successive layers in a jar. Step 5 Add 3 or 4 cloves and a bay leaf (optional). Step 6 Cover with olive oil. Step 7 Close tightly and store in the refrigerator in a cool place. Step 8 To be consumed only after 6 to 8 days. To use in Tajines, fish dishes... Thanks to Isabelle for the recipe and photo! 2- Lime juice ice cubes In case of urgent need of mojito! The photo is sufficient, isn't it? Thanks to Carine! 3 - The Margarita Mix (Sweet n Sour) For the perfect Mexican evening! Equal parts Simple syrup and lime juice (can also use lemon juice) Simple syrup: Equal parts water and sugar. Put water in a pan and bring to a soft boil, add sugar and stir util sugar dissolves completely. Let cool to room temperature. Combine lime juice and simple syrup to make the The Margarita Mix (Sweet n Sour). Sample it at this point, you may need to dilute this mix with some water. The liquor mix: 2 parts Tequila - Use your favorite 1 part Orange liqueur such as Cointreau, Triple Sec or Grand Mariner The Margarita! In a pitcher mix: 2 parts Margarita mix 1 part liquor mix Use a lime wedge to wet the edge of your class, dip the glass rim in the salt, add ice cubes, carefully pour the Margarita in the glass without washing the salt off the rim. Thanks to David for the recipe! Abusing Alcohol is dangerous for your health and you should drink with moderation. Eco & Co cannot be held responsible for the hangover resulting the reading of this article.

Lime Pickle

By |2019-08-28T20:12:18+02:00August 10th, 2019|We cook|

Lime Pickle Recipe Beverley opened the new pick-up points a few weeks ago. She already made a few recipes out of the Eco & Co baskets. Here is her Lime Pickle recipe Ingredients: 6 limes quartered (I cut them into small bits as quarters were too big). 60g/2oz/1/2 cup of salt. 1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds. 1 tsp fenugreek seeds. Seeds from 2 star anise. 4 small green chillies, finely chopped. 125g / 4oz / 3/4 cup light muscovado sugar. 1tbsp ground ginger. 3-4 tbsp water. Directions: Put the limes into a large bowl and sprinkle over the salt. Leave for 24 hours. Next day, put the mustard seeds, fenugreek, star anise seeds and chillies into a saucepan and cover. Place over a high heat and roast the spices, shaking the pan constantly until the mustard seeds start to pop. Remove from the heat. Strain the liquid from the limes into a small pan. Add the sugar, ginger and water. Boil for 2 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Combine the limes and spices and put into one or two large preserving jars. Pour over the sugar solution, making sure that it covers the limes. If it doesn’t, cram the limes further down into the jar, or remove a few pieces. Cover the jars loosely, and when quite cool, screw on the lids tightly. Label each jar, adding on the date which the pickle was made. Keep in a cool place for 4 weeks before using. Recipe written by Beverley Wye.