Broccoli pesto

16 December 2013
Broccoli pesto
I first made pesto when I was living on my own at University. On my kitchen windowsill sat three happy herb plants; parsley, mint and basil.
The basil plant always did a little too well. I would come back from class or work, and it felt like the plant had grown another 5cm. I was constantly adding basil to dishes so none of the herb would go to waste.

Even now I do not like having food go to waste. So when we had a growing collection of left over stalks from broccoli I decided to turn it into broccoli pesto. It is great to toss in with roasted vegetables, a cold pasta dish or on roasted sardines. I opted for some pistachio nuts as we had no pine nuts in the house. Necessity is definitely the mother of invention. This will make 1 1/2 - 2 cups.

2 cups of raw broccoli stems
1/2 cup of pistachios roasted
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 tablespoons grated lemon
Salt and pepper to taste 

How to put it together
Place all the ingredients into your blender or food processor and blend. If you find the consistency is not smooth enough add olive oil until mixture is at a consistency you enjoy. Freeze what you don't use and write on the jars how much is in there. That way you know if you have 1/2 cup or 1 cup frozen. The pesto will be good to freeze for six months

Optional: Add basil leaves. Basil leaves have a sweet peppery taste. If you add basil leaves wait until the end to see if the pesto needs any pepper.

My first clothing exchange

5 December 2013

clothing exchange australia

When I was young one of my favorite game was dress ups. My mum kept a lot of her clothes from the late 70s and early 80s.
They sat in large garbage bags in her closet. A treasure trove for the imaginative kids that we were. My siblings and the neighborhood kids would regularly ransack the pile, making a mess as we put together worlds built on the outfits we assembled. You could say that from then I have always had an affiliation for second hand clothes.

Where I grew up there were no malls or buildings worthy of being called a shopping center (at least to a girl in her teens). The next town over had a handful of shops that my friends and I would trawl through for that magic outfit. As much as I loved doing the circuits with my friends I undoubtedly preferred second hand clothes.

What the area lacked in popular clothes stores it made up with the abundance of second hand clothes stores known as opportunity shops in Australia (affectionately called called Op shops). I would purchase items and take them home where I would get my mum to use her talented sewing fingers to adjust for me.

My style had always swayed between second hand and new. That was until I learnt about fast fashion and the waste produced. About that time I had moved to London and with my goal on saving for travel rather than shopping I switched my style to second hand or re purposed clothes. With London you have an HUGE variety of second hand clothing stores and places like TRAID could fulfill buying “new”.

As I write this I am wearing second hand jeans and a old top my friend did need anymore. I had never traded clothes with a friend before. It was sustainable and cost efficient way I could update my look and stick to my second hand mantra.

I remembered reading about The Clothing Exchange and saw they were hosting a fashion exchange for ahm in the city. I had to go!
Here is how it works:

1. Bring up to 6 items of clothing (anymore and it would have been even more crazy than it was!). The clothes are inspected by staff to ensure the clothes are good quality (no stains or holes). I took four dresses, one shirt and a handbag.

2. Receive a token for each of you items.

3. Use your tokens to swap for clothes.
I had not expected the large crowd of women and men, but the day worked seamlessly and was fun. There were a floor of helpers available too. Plus whatever is left over is given to charity.

clothing exchange australia

clothing exchange australia

clothing exchange australia

clothing exchange australia

clothing exchange australia

If you decide to visit a clothing exchange here are my tips:
  • Go to where the tops are. That seemed like the first to go!
  • Try to only take 3 items into the change rooms (yes, there are change rooms). This keeps the swapping field fair for everyone. 
  • Hang around after the first wave of people try on their clothes. You never know what will come back out of the change rooms
I scored a new skirt, a top, sweatshirt, and a slip. Not bad for my first clothing swap.

UPDATE: Have you been thinking about getting a new outfit for that work Christmas party? You are in luck. The next clothing swap for Melbourne will be on the 9th December. Head to Deakin Edge, Federation Square at 6:30pm to check-in your clothes. Swapping starts at 7:00pm. You can get your tickets here.

Wondering what fast fashion is? Check out this video:

Let me know if you have ever been to a clothing swap and what your tips are. And if there are stores in Australia that let you swap your old clothes i'd love to hear your experiences there?

Trashed the movie

2 December 2013
In the last six months I have dug my heels in, striving towards a sustainable life.

It has become a passion, learning to wean out the disposable plastic from my life, buying in bulk, wasting less and just trying to be plain ol’ kinder to the earth that I get to walk on each day. Articles and books about plastic and waste are devoured each week. It seems to be a drum I can’t stop beating and left the builder asking if I’m going to turn into a bare foot plastic fearing hippy.

Recently I have stopped patting myself on the back for the efforts made to be more sustainable. Instead parts of my life that are not wholly sustainable are magnified, and I feel like I have lost the battle. The mountain looks too big. The other day I was left wondering why I bother as I pick up another handful of rubbish from the footpath on my way to get the bulk items free of packaging. Nobody else cares, so why should I? It was a bit of a pity party.

Last Thursday night I was reminded why I care as I sat in the dark, with other like minded people watching the movie Trashed. From the moment Tim Silverwood of Take 3 Clean Beach began the introduction to the film right until to the end I was thrust back onto my path and felt more fired up than ever.

Trashed is a documentary about our garbage, what we do and don't do with it. It is the type of film you hope more people see as it screams out a message that we are in trouble if we don't change our ways. The subject studies the effects of trash on our health as he talks to a range of people. It is somber and had me wiping away at tear or two. Jeremy Irons takes us around the world showing this is a global problem that is oblivious to most of the world. It's the somber message that makes you want to stand up and make a change. The film ends on a warmer note as you witness individuals, groups and cities that have made it there goal to be sustainable as no other option. It was a message I needed to see and hear. To be reminded why the choice I am making is not in vain.

Image from
If you can, get your hands on a copy and watch it with a group of friends. Don't forget the tissues hanky.
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