Archive | December, 2014

Attack of the eco-snob!

19 Dec
PageDooley - Flickr  https://flic.kr/p/dRst2P

PageDooley – Flickr – https://flic.kr/p/dRst2P

I’ve recently moved north of Sydney to a suburb just outside of Gosford. The primary reason is to be closer to an eco-village we are involved in. So obviously living and being “eco” is at the front of mind, particularly in the “honeymoon” period of moving up here.

But I did have to catch myself the other day. The green waste bin was full and rather than put it out for collection I decided to keep it and throw it in my compost bins – why waste good compost?

Then I was on the train coming home and the train really empties out by the time I get off. Every other seat had discarded MX newspapers and a scattering of soft drink bottles. With a bit of a hmph I picked up what I could and took them home to my recycling bin.

I’m sure my state of mind can only be a good thing but is there a risk I’ll become an “eco-snob” or worse a “born-again-greeny” (are they on par with born-again non-smokers?). I like to think that I am actually just enlightened by my focus on living more sustainable! I certainly dont think I’ll become that bad but who knows. 🙂

Have you had any “run-ins” with eco-snobs? Someone that complains about driving the car 10min down the road? Or using petrol powered lawn mowers, or using the drier instead of the clothes line?

An interesting story about run in’s for doing the right thing is the story of John Francis (TED). Here’s a man who witnessed a horrible accident of 2 petrol tankers colliding and leaking petrol into the waterways. As a result he decided not to travel by petrol powered vehicles anymore and to walk everywhere. On his walks he had people criticise him for his actions, with some even accusing him of making THEM look bad!! After having to defend himself so much he decided to stop talking – for 17 years. A bit extreme but it does highlight potential reactions against people that are trying to do the right thing.

Have you been made to feel bad by someone else actions? Are there things you do that you know are not great but do it anyway? Are you an eco-snob?

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Spring onions vs green onions vs scallion vs shallots

7 Dec

Let’s start with clarifying what I mean by spring onions. It’s a confusing vegetable particularly in Australia and could be the cause of messed up dinners due to international differences.

Let’s go through them.

The most common, in my experience, is the Allium Cepa – this is your gold old garden variety onions with brown/golden skin and one of them fits nicely in your hand.

Then we move down in size to what I believe the Americans call Spring Onions and Australian’s call Spring Onions (sometimes), also known as Allium cepa var. aggregatum. Note it’s the same family of Allium cepa but of a botanical variety (i.e. characterised by it’s similarities with other species) of aggregatum. These are your small golden bulbs that a more elongated than your usual Allium Cepa (normal onions).

Scallions

Now this is where things get confusing. What do you call the long green leaves that are onion tasting and no bulb….It depends on where you live and they’ll either be:

  • Eschallot / Shallot
  • Spring Onions
  • Green Onions
  • Scallion

Most commonly in NSW at least we call them Spring Onions or Shallots. However they are more technically called scallions. But again they could be “Welsh Onions”.

Jumping onto Wiki (BTW I recently donated some $ to keep it free – highly suggest you do the same) we can get it’s view.

  • Allium ascalonicumknown as eschallots or shallots. These are small golden bulbs similar to small general variety onion (Allium cepa). If you have recipie that calls for Shallots or even Spring Onions and you need to add it very early in the cooking process (like normal onions) – this is probably what they are talking about.
  • Allium fistulosum – also known as a “Welsh Onion” which will never grow a bulb. These are sold as long green leaves in bunches of 4 or 5.
  • Scallion – pretty much the leaves of any of the above and indeed any leaves of the Allium family that haven’t yet formed a bulbous root.

The last 2 you’ll add these late in the cooking process and really don’t want a strong onion flavour – stir frys for instance or added raw to a potato salad.

Still confused? I’m not surprised. At the end of the day you want to think about they “WHY” you are putting in an Allium family plant.

  • Is it for strong flavour (normal onion (Allum Ceda) or Garlic)?
  • Mild flavour (bulbous alliums like the Allium ascalonicum)? 
  • Subtle flavour (green leaves like scallions or chives)?
  • Visual appeal (subtle red onions, scallions or chives)?

Some good links that might help clarify are:

I wonder if there are other names people use?

My next post will be how to get a life time supply of scallions  / green onions almost for free! I haven’t bought any for over 5 years and have more than I need!