March 28

Published by Panetary Health Initiative on


Repurposing plastic with a sewing machine

Tonight I decided to experiment with the sewing skills I’ve been developing over the last few weeks to see if I could repurpose plastic. I’ve had a beautiful old ceramic lamp stand without a shade that I haven’t been able to use, and I had a broken lamp with a fabric shade that I didn’t like.



I also had a large tub of old slides in plastic sleeves from when I used to be an art teacher. They’ve been sitting in the attic for decades.



So tonight I dragged them out and began cutting and sewing empty plastic sleeves to see if I could turn them into a light shade for my ceramic lamp base.



I was so chuffed. The machine sews plastic beautifully and I managed to create a shade with a lot of my favourite old slides. The great thing is I can take them out and replace them with others to have a changing exhibition!



PLANT-BASED EATING: Ottolenghi’s Black Pepper Tofu

Whatever you do, or don’t do,  you change the future of the world. On Sunday a friend decided to come to the Community Farm instead of staying at home. We picked raspberries, and talked about plant-based eating, and how important it was to make vegetables the predominant part of our diet, both for environmental and for health reasons, especially since we’re growing so many locally. The rain suddenly bucketed down so we headed back to my place for a cuppa and talked more about food and cooking and why it’s so important to make the effort.

She’s always loved cooking but work has become so consuming that she hardly ever does it any more.

Later that evening she recounted our conversation, and the consequences, on Facebook:

As I said, “I am often too tired to cook” she told me how she reframes this thinking to “ I am too tired NOT to cook”.
What a great way to look it at it. When we do the things we love, and take the time to nourish ourselves and our souls, everything becomes easier.
And so here is what Pete and I cooked for dinner together. Ottelenghi’s, black pepper tofu. Plant-based and amazing !!!

So guess what I made tonight too!

By both making a choice to go to the Community Farm on Sunday morning, the trajectory of both our lives altered … for the better!

The Black pepper tofu was an excellent option for us tonight because I had big bunch of green onions we’d grown. These Welsh bunching onions have provided a never ending supply all year and have thrived in our wet season. Because I didn’t have shallots I just used an ordinary onion.



The original recipe is for 4 but I halved it for two of us. It is so tasty it could easily be padded out for four by accompanying it with other veges next to the rice. For vegans, just use oil throughout (instead of the butter).

Black Pepper Tofu (adapted from Ottolenghi)

  • 420 gm firm tofu
  • vegetable oil for deep frying
  • cornstarch to dust the tofu
  • 5 tbsp butter (optional)
  • 6 small shallots (180gm in total)
  • 4 fresh red chillies
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1.5 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 1.5 tbsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
  • 1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2.5 tbsp coarsely crushed black peppercorns
  • 8 small and thin green onions, cut into 3 cm segments
  1. Start with the tofu. Pour enough oil into a large frying pan or work to come to 1 cm up the sides and heat. Cut the tofu into large cubes, about 2.5 x 2.5cm. Toss them in some cornstarch and shake off the excess, then add to the hot oil. (You'll need to fry the tofu pieces in a few batches so they don't stew in the pan.) Fry, turning them around as you go, until they are golden all over and have a thin crust. As they are cooked, transfer them to a tea towel.

  2. Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan, then put the butter inside and melt it. Add the shallots, chillies, garlic and ginger. Saute on low to medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients have turned shiny and are totally soft. Next, add the soy sauces and sugar and stir, then add the crushed black pepper.

  3. Add the tofu to warm it up in the sauce for about a minute. Finally, stir in the green onions. Serve hot, with steamed rice.


I have a little spot set up under cover outside, with seed raising mix and trays, so it only takes a few minutes each day to plant more than I consume foodwise.

Today I planted coriander, kohlrabi and Mammoth Red Rock cabbage. A big thank you to Sue who dropped me in a pack of kohlrabi seeds!



Meredith’s action today was to plant a mustard green manure crop to fumigate the beds where she had just had tomatoes growing. This felt particularly important for soil health this year as the wet weather meant the tomatoes weren’t very healthy and were particularly fungus-y. She also watched some videos on how to clean up and sharpen her garden shears, so that she can successfully chop down the green manure crop when it’s grown up. And she learnt how to make her own Echinacea tincture.

On the weekend Tomas repaired his broken shovel, and persevered even though it broke a number of drill bits to do it!

Also on the weekend, Sarah and Rachel repurposed old gates into a fence. The old one was too low (dogs, children etc) and will be repurposed vertically as trellises for plants. As a friend said – we are now living in a “gated” community!

Here’s a photo – it looks fabulous!



Others have continued to email me about actions they hope to do on the 7th April for World Health Day so that we can try to reach 365 actions in one day. Would love everyone to contribute on that day if you can!

Research by academics at Leeds University, engineering firm Arup and the C40 Cities climate group has identified that 73 per cent of all changes needed by 2030 to keep the world on course to meet the Paris agreement targets need to be made by governments and industry. But private citizens have considerable influence over the remaining 27 per cent. So let’s get cracking!


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