Drink less coffee! Eh?!

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

I believe we are all inter-connected.

What happens to you, affects me and what happens to the earth impacts all of our wellbeing. To me this now seems undeniable.

So, in the spirit of trying to reduce the impact of my coffee habit and in the hopes that others are looking to do the same I have decided to dedicate this month’s blog post to tips I have found that help me to reduce it’s impact. If you have anything you could add I would love to hear it as this is, most certainly, a mission of discovery.

1.Cutting back. What??!! Yes! Drink less coffee but enjoy it more. Really take the time to sit and enjoy it without having to get it down as part of some unconscious habit.

2. More coffee at home. I realise that so far these tips are not very glamorous but I have found a new love of coffee with some new brewing methods I have bought for my house. As I mentioned in my September blog post, I adore my Aeropress. It makes a simple yet beautiful cup of coffee.

And who can deny the elegant beauty of a French Press? You can’t rush it. The falling grinds, the gentle pressure… wonderful.

3. Shop local and shop small. Stewarts of Trent Bridge have a new, stunning Columbian bean with rich aromas of chocolate, roasted right here in Nottingham. It is a wonderful example of a small business using micro lots with goals around traceability and transparency.

4. Bring your own reusable for takeaways.

5. Compost your used grinds.

And there we have it, my 5 simple tips to a greener coffee habit. It is also worth mentioning that at The Split Screen HQ we are doing are best to make sure the coffee you receive from us is following these same principals and we continue to look for new ways to reduce our business waste and increase the bean transparency. Our friends at Nottingham’s Zero Waste Collective are always giving us top tips in the world of packaging, we have now ditched 1 kg coffee bags and have a reusable bucket we fill at our local roasters, Stewarts of Trent Bridge. We continue to be part of the countywide Eccocuppa initiative giving you all a whopping 50p off any hot drink when you use a reusable and we keep composting our used grinds in our own allotment or with our fellow trader Primary Gardens.

But we are ALWAYS looking for more ways to educate ourselves and welcome any tips you may like to add.

Do comment or let me know via social media.


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Unsure about Latte Art but sure about Soup

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My fight with Latte Art

I am having a dilemma when it comes to Latte Art.  There!  I’ve said it!  God it feels good to confess.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Latte Art is a wee bit silly but I am also worried that it may be a defence mechanism I have unconsciously put in place because I am just not that good at it.  The above image isn’t mine.  It is from the wonderfully humble Aaron Prittyfrom Stewarts of Trent Bridge, our lovely coffee supplier.

As part of a team building exercise we spent 2 hours at Stewarts learning more about the coffee we sell as well as trying to come to grips with the art of Latte Art because I have signed myself, and husband, up to Nottingham’s first every Latte Art Throwdown.

44590312_1962420457147613_2301707230585552896_nUnder Aaron’s tutalage a few weeks ago all seemed to be going well.  I corrected some mistakes I’d been making in terms of heating the milk, the way I held the cup in my hand and the distance I held the jug from the cup.  Great!  My ability to mentally process what I needed to do and my body’s ability to perform the task were in alignment.  The following week continued along these lines of progression, my brain communicating in symmetry with my hands and all looking ok. Not greatmind you, not; I’m going to smash this competitionbut a more gentle self-confident; I’m not going to utterly embarrass myself and soil the name of my business I have worked so hard to create these past 3 years in one disastrous evening among Nottingham’s coffee elite, kind-of-feeling.

But things have now taken a turn for the worse.  With the competition now days away my Latte Art has deteriorate.  My hands are no longer playing ball and doing what I have mentally set them as a target.  I am putting this down to nerves.  To a natural reaction to not having competed personally in much in 20 years but there is a nagging feeling that I may be getting too old for learning these kinds of new skills.  It’s bloody annoying as I care much less about what others think of me now so will do crazy things, like sign myself up to Latte Art Throwdowns, but my ability to acquire new skills seems to have slowed.

So if you find yourself in Nottingham on Friday and feel sympathetic to my cause do support an ageing hippy (ster), it would be fab but please do come in the spirit of solidarity and humour.

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Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup

Warming soup with a hint of ginger and hit of chilli to keep you toasty on cold markets.  We serve ours with crusty sourdough bread from our local bakery Tough Mary’s Bakehouse  during the Autumn months with a splash of cream but topping with pumpkin seeds, a good grind of pepper and rosemary makes a lovely vegan alternative.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 onionfinely chopped
salt and pepper
3 cloves of finely chopped (or grated) garlic
5 cm (2in) piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped (or grated)
chilli flakes(to your spice-level-liking)
1 cinnamon stick
900g (2lbs) of butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced
900ml of vegetable stock

Method:
1. Preheat slow cooker on low setting. Heat oilin a large saucepan over a medium heat.  Once hot add onionswith a good grind of salt and cook till soft, approximately 4-5 mins.  Add garlic, ginger, chilli flakesand cinnamon stickand stir for 1 min before adding the butternut squashand giving it all a good stir to coat evenly.
2. Add hot stock to the squash pan and give everything a good stir.  Bring to the boil and then add carefully to the preheated slow cooker.  Cover with a lid and head out for the day while your butternut squash softens to autumn loveliness.
3. After 8 hours (or thereabouts) remove the cinnamon stickand blend until smooth using a hand held blender or liquidiser.
4. Top with a spot of cream, a good grind of pepper, roasted seeds or more chilli flakes and enjoy.  The soup freezes very well and a great one to make for a lazy Sunday lunch and bring to work later in the week.