Tuesday, 15 October 2013

If I was to only eat Tahini for the rest of my life, I'd be contented.

Dibis w'rashi is a dip consisting of just Tahini and date syrup - some recipes call for a splash of lemon juice too. It originates from Iraq, yet similar dips can be found all over the Middle East. 

Man oh man, this will change your life, it certainly did mine. Its velvety smooth, nutty, texture makes it so luxurious, scooped up generously with a warmed whole meal pitta. Pure autumnal bliss.

I generally go with a 1:4 ratio of date syrup to Tahini, but be liberal with your pouring.

Its also great mixed with a little lemon juice and tossed through a salad as a dressing, then topped with some toasted seeds, it definitely brings a boring lunch up a few notches.

I've been trying to establish whether it's acceptable to indulge on this everyday, as I really do love it. Tahini is sesame seed paste and by nature is full of fats, making it pretty calorific - something I discovered when I made the rookie mistake of googling how many calories it does contain. (Don't do it, it's best not to know). But on the upside, it's a wholefood so low in saturated fat! Paired with using date syrup as a natural sweetener, this dip is pretty damn healthy with no processed sugar in sight. If you want to read up on how jam packed tahini is with magic minerals and general goodness, have a look here: a site found as a product of great procrastination. So whilst I'm bursting with vitamins, championing a detoxified liver and healthy skin, I'm going to enjoy this savoury chocolate glory(an analogy I've just come up with to suit its indulgent feel - think it fits it quite well)guilt free. Maybe I'll just cycle home extra fast from now on.

Although, perhaps not ideal for diving in everyday. It's pretty pricey and a bit of a luxury buy for me. Whereas I can find Tahini in bulk at 900g in a local Asian supermarket cheaper than the regular sized jars, date syrup seems impossible to find cheaper. Jars going for around £2.49 for 250ml!! - Maybe don't be so liberal with the pouring, after all!

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/11072319/?claim=c6r4gtnqsak">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

How much do you know about the supply chain of your favourite high street brands?

Well, as it turns out very little. 

Last Sunday morning I was sat in the garden enjoying some unexpected October sunshine, coffee in hand, whilst flicking through the Observer magazine. This weeks issue was the Autumn style special, a good week for me as it's brimming full of the fashion and food pages I relish goggling over. 

One article stood out like a sore thumb. It made me feel uncomfortable with the society I identified with in Britain. And shamefully, it was about something I did know about, we all know about, but choose to bury. Something fundamentally wrong and unsettling but that's far too easy to turn your head away from.

The article was about how ethical the clothes production is for our high street brands. And as we are all too aware, it's far from ethical. This problem has been brought back to the surface following the tragedy of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh 2013. 1133 killed. 2500 injured. A factory, over-filled, gambling human rights and worker safety to feed the demanding beast it's 'fast-fashion fix' the cheapest way possible, ensuring profit.

Born out of the rubble of the Rana Plaza disaster, the Bangladesh Fire + Safety Accord, has joined retailers and trade unions in a legally binding 5 year pact which makes health and safety checks compulsory. This is obviously a positive move, 93 brands signed including many well known names on our high street.

Something still doesn't sit right with me, though. I've got a chest of drawers full of clothes. I'm just as susceptible to fashion marketing influences as the next person, inducing those moments of madness with their, "this seasons must-haves", tactics.
No. This is not a necessity. It's so far from a necessity. 
All the while the factories, largely in China, Bangladesh, India and Cambodia, are working for wages that barely cover their necessary costs and are put under pressures from restricted supply times, all in efforts to drive prices down and profits up. Now I don't know an awful lot about the industry, and I'm not pretending to. But I can see how wrong the ethics are, therefore surely that says something about the big brands culprits who know the industry inside-out. 
I'm pretty sure that, when the finger's pointed at them, the big brands will deflect blame onto the attitudes of our society. They'll say, "it's the consumers, they want low prices", "how else are we to meet the demand". 

Let's not let them say that.

24th April 2014 is Fashion Revolution Day. The aim is to raise awareness about the journey our clothes have made before landing in our basket; the hundreds of people involved in getting that crocheted cami to the check-out; the money they've been paid; the dangers they've been put in. The message is clear, a sustainable future for fashion is possible, and a change in attitudes and expectations will make it happen. 

For nearly two years I worked as a sales assistant at a well-known retail giant. One thing that became apparent when I left was the excessive purchases that were made by it's customers (and staff). The daily deliveries of new lines would spark and feed the addiction, but this wasn't a fashion addiction. In my eyes it's far from fashion, this is the consumer being wrapped right around the little finger of these retail marketing companies solely interested in profit. It's throw-away fashion.    

On the Fashion Revolution Day website, there's inspiration for all sorts of ways of getting involved in promoting awareness of retail production supply chains. 
Here's my, little, way...
  • I'm not going to buy from high street chains from now until the 24th April. 
Once the challenge is set, the option's not there, the temptation is removed, it's easy. I actually feel pretty inspired, and I think that's what fashion should be about. It's about individuality and expression, not looking like Topshop has thrown up on you and the rest of your peers. 
I'll track how I get on with various charity shop hauls, ebay finds and carboot treasures - perhaps organise a clothes swap??? Who knows - the possibilities are endless!  

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Ironically, this post has no photo.... therefore I understand whole heartedly if no one reads this.

So exams are over. Well nearly. Re-write, exams are over Friday. But in my mind I am already planning a raucous weekend to celebrate the much anticipated freedom. Clearly this is the latest form my procrastination has taken. From Friday, there will be no more guilt felt when socialising instead of slumming it in the library, regardless of whether said time in the library was productive. Which shamefully is typically not. My fingertips became all too used to logging on to the PC's there and automatically trawling the guardian website, food blogs, Hotmail (I know? Surely no more thrilling than essays, right? Apparently not), and then going back through them again to see if anything had been updated before actually managing to put my head down. I'd refuse extra shifts at work because it was exam season and just wasn't the 'wise' thing to do in these last few crucial weeks, however, I'd then find myself, for those 5 hours I could have been earning money, NOT REVISING. But instead, making cups of tea (from spearmint to green, all professing marvelous life enhancing properties that I'd previously read about online... whilst procrastinating), thinking about the next meal time, cooking, eating, jogging (actually a distraction I've found quite advantageous), then going back to searching the house for a healthy snack that wouldn't crown my jog utterly worthless. All this just to pass the time, whilst endless mind-maps for essay preparation swirled over me in a dark looming cloud. My head's been filled with various things that I'd so rather be doing and will be doing once I was free from the bounds of revision, whether these things will still be appealing when I'm finished... well that's yet to be established.

Actually food has increasingly become a pretty prominent feature in my day-to-day life. Whether it be drooling over recipes online, or goggling at beautiful baking blogs, researching foods that promise great things meaning I'll never have to exercise again, or simply raiding the fridge for my next carb or sugar hit. Yet when it comes to food blogs, I'm still unsure to whether it is the delightful food itself that keeps me coming back for another bite or whether I'm simply being lured in by the seamless aesthetics, arty designs, and writing styles these bloggers fashion. One thing definitely prevails for me when deciding whether a lifestyle blog will make the cut for my ever cumulative and disorganised list of bookmarks, and refreshed weekly, eager for that next post to hit the spot, although it's never quite satisfied. It's all down to the photographs. Every time. If there's no eye pleasing, inspiring, snaps of that perfectly tempting slice of homemade banana bread screaming out for that strong, steaming mug of black coffee tactfully lingering in shot.... then thanks, but no thanks. 

Oh wait. Backtrack. Having initially confessed that I was undecided to why I read lifestyle/food blogs, quite helpfully, writing this paragraph has banished any doubt in my mind. It's not the food, no matter how knee-weakening that seductively moist chocolate brownie is, lay on a bed of strawberries(making it healthier and all that more justifiable). No. It's the photographs of it, hands down. 

Well at least I've achieved something today, albeit it not revision.