Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Beautiful beetroot and butternut frittata!

On the first weekend in October we went to our local fruit and veg pick your own farm and came back with several pumpkins and butternut squashes. They have been sitting in my house for a few weeks now! When I went to check on them recently I noticed the butternut squashes were starting to get a little furry, so I had to do something with them straight away! I also had some problem beetroot - I kept forgetting to cancel them in my veg box and had loads which needed using up. Finally I had some left over salsa and sour cream from a dinner party, which also had to be used.

I chopped and peeled the butternut squashes, put some in the freezer, turned some into soup and also made this delicious and beetroot and butternut frittata here:


  • Sliced raw butternut squash - make discs and then cut in half. You need enough to cover the bottom of your pie dish
  • Sliced raw beetroot (make discs - again will need to cover the bottom of your pie dish.
  • 6 eggs (or more if your pie dish is large)
  • Dollop of sour cream (you could subsitute this for homemade yoghurt instead -see how to make yoghurt here)
  • Dollop of homemade salsa (see recipe here )
  • Cubes of home made ricotta cheese (see recipe here)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mixed herbs
  • Small amount of chopped onion


  1. Toss beetroot and butternut slices in a little olive oil.
  2. Roast beetroot slices in the oven at 180degreesC on a naturally non-stick tray or sheet for 30 mins and butternut for 15 mins.
  3. Layer them in an ovenproof round dish - beetroot at the bottom and then the butternut on top.
  4. Mix up the eggs with the salsa and sour cream (or yoghurt) and herbs and chopped onion
  5. Season eggs with salt and pepper
  6. Pour eggs over beetroot and squash slices, making sure they are entirely covered. Add more eggs if necessary.
  7. Arrange small dollops of salsa and cubes of homemade ricotta on the top
  8. Cook for 40 minutes and then serve hot or once completely cooled down keep in the fridge  for a a few days.
Not all beetroot is the same, some of the varieties don't dye your hands red and are really very pretty when sliced up. Have a look around and see if you can get hold of some interesting varieties!

Hope you enjoy this recipe! If you decide to make it at home, let me know how it turned out!

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Monday, 9 November 2015

How to store Jerusalem artichokes and 20 ways to eat them!

We went to a seedling swap a couple of years ago and came back with some Jerusalem artichoke tubers. You can read more here, but basically we took some seedlings and swapped them for other people's seedlings or in this case tubers - it was great! My husband planted the tubers in our garden and each year they have come back in greater numbers. Top tip if you are thinking of growing them, don't plant them anywhere you don't want them to keep coming up year after year! This year we had two massive tall plants and a couple of days ago my husband dug them up to find loads of really good sized and interestingly shaped tubers.

In case you are wondering if Jerusalem artichokes are the same thing as sunchokes - they are. They are sometimes called that as they are the tuber of a type of sunflower. It makes more sense than their other name as they taste and look nothing like globe artichokes and they are not from Jerusalem!

A common complaint about Jerusalem artichokes is that they can cause wind. I haven't had any problems with them though and according to various articles they are high in fibre and are a good source of prebiotics. 

We can't eat them all straight away and I haven't got enough room to put them all in my freezer, so I looked into how to store them over the winter and came across this extremely helpful video. 

It probably would have been a good idea to watch this video before harvesting them all, as it says they are better off left in the ground until needed. Luckily it does show how to store them in a bucket with soil (worth a watch to see specifically how to) if they have been dug up. It definitely does not tell you to leave the tubers just lying around for a few days like I have (we had a busy weekend), so I know what I will be doing tomorrow!

I asked around for some recipe suggestions and I got some great ideas - thanks guys! I have made a list here, including some of my own ideas and linked to some recipes so I will never be at a shortage of things to do with them!

  1. Soup - this was a popular choice! I like the look of this recipe here  as well as a suggestion for Jerusalem artichoke and horseradish soup.
  2. Mash 
  3. Dauphinoise style with winter savoury - I had never heard of this herb before, might have to get some for the garden!
  4. Boiled in water with a bit of salt and once cooked topped with scraped (grated) or dessicated coconut - apparently this is the way they do it in Sri Lanka according to Saumya from this Facebook group
  5. Use instead of potatoes in a pasty
  6. Finely sliced and deep fried
  7. Frozen raw then shaved on salads or fish (freezing isn't compulsory but it is easier to grate)
  8. Chutney with cauliflower, mild turmeric and pink peppercorns!
  9. Roasted - I have tried them this way and liked them!
  10. Baked - similar taste to roasting I would imagine.
  11. Finely sliced and used in stir fries - I think they taste a bit like Chinese water chestnuts and make the perfect homegrown substitution in stir fries. 
  12. Eaten raw on salads - this recipe here looks really nice 
  13. Coleslaw - grate and mix with grated carrot and mayonnaise
  14. On a pizza
  15. In a quiche
  16. Added to a pie - this recipe here looks yummy! 
  17. Chopped into sticks and eaten raw with a dip
  18. Casserole
  19. Hasselback style
  20. Cake! There is a recipe for Jerusalem artichoke cake here
Some of these ideas won't work for me as I follow a sugar and grain free diet (mostly - it is hard to stick to it all the time), so I think that I will definitely be doing some experimenting to see if I can make alternative versions! I don't plan to eat too many Jerusalem artichokes at once though, just to be on the safe side ;).  If you have any further tips and advice on growing, harvesting and eating Jerusalem artichokes, please let me know in the comments below - thanks!

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Thursday, 5 November 2015

Tado Heating Thermostat coming into winter number 2.

Tado is a thermostat with a difference, it's smart and saves you money by only heating the house when you are at home.

We have had it installed now for almost 2 years, and more importantly for a winter. Coming into the winter I thought it would be worth looking at how we have got on with it. Well it shows me how much the heating is on (which is quite a lot), it shows how quickly the temperature in the house drops overnight (which is too quickly for my liking) and it turns the heating off as soon as we leave the house and back on again when we are on the way home (which I really like).

They have updated their app this year which has introduced scheduling, allowing you to set different temperatures for when you are at home at different times of the day and for different days, the same as you would with a dumb timer thermostat. But why would you want to if it turns off when you are at home? Well for us, with Zoe at home during the day the heating would be on all the time in cold weather and that could get expensive. Instead she is quite happy to put a thicker jumper on if needed, so we lower the temperature during the week day. At the weekend with the kids around we find it hard enough to get them to put a jumper on when we go out let alone in the house so we want it a bit warmer, plus the temperature often plummets in the evening.

Tado have also brought out a new model with the temperature shown on the wall unit and you can change the temperature on it as well as from the app or website. It looks good but I still have the original :(

I am looking forward to them adding a few other features which I think will really make this product fantastic, a heating boost feature and an advance to next temperature feature, they have talked about some new features before the next heating season but I won't hold my breath.

Would I recommend Tado, certainly, its one of those gadget's that just work, you don't need to do anything but get on with your life and it saves energy when you are not at home.

If you are thinking about getting a smart thermostat do it, if you're not, why not? Buy it here.

This was a guest post from Mr ETL.

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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Sustainable Book Club no.5 - The Moneyless Manifesto by Mark Boyle!

I read the Moneyless Manifesto quite a while ago and blogged about it here and here. At the time the book had quite an effect on me. It really put me off money! I could relate to a lot of it, but had a lot of questions at the end:

  1. How did Mark eat for free? I don't think it explains it fully in the book - is it really possible to pay nothing for food for a whole year?
  2. What (if any) practical advice can/ will you take from this book?
  3. Would you consider going for an extended period of time without spending any money be it for a week, a month or even a year? If yes, why and how and if no - why not?
  4. What is your attitude to giving - how often and what types of things do you give e.g. gifts, volunteering etc? How does it make you feel? Is it of benefit to you?
  5. Can an economic system that relies on money ever be sustainable?
  6. Is stockpiling money for future needs selfish or sensible?
  7. What would a localised gift economy look like and would a gift economy really work in practise?
  8. If we all abandoned money, what would happen to public and private products and services, like healthcare, the internet and clean water?
  9. If you could ask the author one question what would it be?
  10. Would you recommend this book to a friend?
Join us today on Twitter - look for #susbc and Facebook - here between 12.00&13.00 and 20.00&21.00. Feel free to comment with your answers on this blog post too or even email me on ecothriftyliving@gmail.com

Our next meet up is going to be on 9th December between 12.00&13.00 and 20.00&21.00 and this time we will be reading the Last Rhinos by Lawrence Anthony - I look forward to chatting with you today and then!

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