Eco Fashion – Livia Firth Hits Red Carpet in Upcycled Gown

Livia Firth Golden Globes Upcycled FashionLivia Firth kicked off her Green Carpet Challenge last night at the Golden Globes wearing a black and white gown designed by Giorgio Armani. The fabric is made from water bottles and is a true testament of upcycled fashion

She wrote in her blog that “To work with Armani was a real lesson in the design process. Everything begins with the material. Fortunately, Giorgio loved the eco material and knew he could work with it. ”

Less impressive was the food served. After last year’s menu which emphasized eco-friendly local ingredients, the theme this year was “Global Food Harmony” and “featured chocolate flown in from Switzerland and honey caramel from France. Terrapass even tabulated the carbon footprint left behind on just those two items along with hazelnuts from Italy almond paste from Spain to come up with 9,261 lbs of CO2 emissions to get them all to big event, raising the ire of Global Green U.S.A.” (Source: SCPR)

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In Season: Cauliflower – Smoky Frittata

Smoky Frittata - Yotam Ottolenghi
Smoky Frittata – Yotam Ottolenghi

Cauliflower is never very exciting on its own (at least to me) so I am always on the lookout for recipes to make it more interesting than the quintessential Cauliflower Cheese.

This smoky frittata is taken (once again!) from Plenty from Yotam Ottolenghi.

Quick, easy and tasty .. just the way I like my midweek diners to be.

My kids love it to even if it can be a little spicy for some.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 small cauliflower, cut into medium florets
  • 6 free range eggs
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped chives
  • 150g smoked scamorza (or smoked cheese) grated (including the skin for extra flavour)
  • 50g mature cheddar, grated
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and black pepper

Method

1. Simmer the cauliflower in a large pan of boiling salted water for four-five minutes, or until semi-cooked. Drain and dry.

2. Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5. Break the eggs into a large bowl. Add the  crème fraîche, mustard and paprika and whisk well, making sure the eggs and crème fraîche are thoroughly blended. Now stir in the chives and three-quarters of the cheeses, and season well with salt and pepper.

3. Heat up the olive oil in a large ovenproof frying pan. Fry the cauliflower for about five minutes, or until golden brown on one side. Pour over the egg mixture and use a fork to spread the cauliflower evenly in the pan. Cook on a medium heat for about five minutes.

4. Scatter the remaining cheeses on top, then carefully move the pan to the oven. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the frittata is well set.

5. Remove from the oven and leave to settle for two-three minutes before cutting into wedges. Eat immediately, with a peppery green salad.


Eco Fashion : Livia Firth’s Green Carpet Challenge 2012

Photos by Jason Olive

Back in 2010 Livia Firth (eco entrepeneur and “wife of actor Colin Firth“) started her eco fashion Green Carpet Challenge in association with Vogue and has since been gracing the red carpet with some great eco fashion creations.

Colin Firth is quite a lucky man, busy collecting awards and nominations while being accompanied by his beautiful wife Livia dressed in the best creations eco fashion has to offer.

So what is in store for 2012? According to the Guardian 10 top luxury designers will be matched with 10 A-list stars to create and wear sustainable and ethical gowns. Stella McCartney, Gucci, Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen and Alberta Ferretti are already on board for this great eco fashion challenge.

What is Eco Fashion ?

Eco FashionIn a world of fast, cheap and disposable clothes, eco fashion brings us clothing made from eco textiles under fair trading practices.

Eco fashion is often believed to be plain, earthy and unattractive. Nothing could be further from the truth as very talented designers are working with innovative materials to create some great and trendy clothes.

What makes eco fashion different from conventional clothes is not their style but the fabrics it uses and the way it is manufactured.

Eco fashion uses eco textiles such as organic cotton, hemp, bamboo. Those fibres are kinder to the environment as they are grown without pesticides and insecticides. Eco fashion is a great choice for people with sensitive skins as eco textiles tend to be kinder than conventional fabrics for people with skin conditions or allergies.

Eco fashion also uses upcycled materials such as wood, plastics or leftover fabrics to transform waste into clothes.

But eco fashion does not only benefits the environment and our health. With fair trading practices it enables disavantaged communities to earn a decent living far away from sweatshops that plagues conventional fashion.

Eco fashion is fashion with a conscience. So if you care about the environment, fair trade and animal rights, then it is time to become an eco fashion victim.

Click here to view our latest Eco Fashion collections

Wildlife Havens Bring Gardens Alive

Bird Nesting Box, Bird Feeder House, Insect Hotel Bug BoxHere is a new range of stylish wildlife havens designed by Sophie Conran including matching Bird Nesting Box, Bird Feeder House and Bug Box Insect Hotel.

The Bird Nesting Box, Bird Feeder House and Bug Box Insect Hotel are made from sustainable FSC wood.

The Bird Nesting Box gives birds in your garden a safe place to roost and nest. There is nothing nicer than watching a pair of birds move in and start a family. Simply hang up, ideally at least a couple of metres off the ground and wait for the new inhabitants to arrive. Suitable for a wide variety of garden birds.

The Bird Feeder House is perfect to encourage lots of birds to visit your garden – hopefully they will scoop up a few tasty slugs on their travels! Fill the tray with bird seed or nuts and then just hang it up so the opening faces away from the prevailing wind – to keep the food dry.

The Bug Box Insect Hotel is the perfect home for some of the little creatures. Without insects our gardens would not bloom, our plants would not fruit and the birds would be very hungry.

You can see the full range here

 

6 Eco Toys for a Battery Free Christmas

Fed up of scouring drawers and cupboards in search of batteries? Or have your rechargeable batteries had enough? By Nature declares a Battery Free* Christmas with its selection of solar toys, wooden toys, craft toys and other ethical toys.

Here are the top 6 Best Sellers.

* “Make Your Own Recycled Paper Train Set” does require a small battery to operate the train .

Bird Box Café Craft Kit

Bird Box Café Craft Kit

The bird box café kit enable children to create their own posh palatial perch for birds! Where else could you possibly watch all our feathered friends stopping for a rest, a savoury snack and all the latest garden gossip?

Recommended age: 5 years +
SRP £14.99  click here for details

Hevea Pond Bath Toys

Hevea Pond Bath Toys

The Pond, contains three squidgy tiddly toys – duck, fish and frog – just right for tiny babies and tots. Made from 100% natural rubber Hevea bathing toys are soft and malleable, yet durable. It’s easy to grasp and squeeze for even the tiniest hands, encouraging baby’s all-important early development skills. BPA, phthalates and PVC free

Recommended age: suitable from birth

SRP £24.99  click here for details

Make Your Own Recycled Paper Train Set

Make Your Own Recycled Paper Train Set

This revolutionary toy helps children understand the full process of paper recycling. The Recycle Factory turns waste paper into train sets!

Imagine having a train track as long as your house can fit it! But having to buy new train tracks can be expensive. With this kit there is no need to buy new tracks.

The train set comes with an electric train (which needs to have a battery). Create the largest train set without having to buy new tracks. If the track is broken, it can be recycled again!

Recommended age: 6 years +

SRP £24.99  click here for details

Mustang Dynamo Race Track

Mustang Dynamo Race Track

Slot car racing with a difference – no batteries, no mains just wind up. Endless hours of battery and mains free fun. Connect the hand generators to the track, place the racing cars in their slots, start rotating the hand generator and off you go!

POWERplus introduces the Mustang Dynamo Race Track, a complete 3,8 metre race track including 2 illuminated racing cars and controllers.

Recommended age: 10 years +

SRP £39.99  click here for detail

Congo Basin Chess Board

Congo Basin Chess Board

This wooden chess board game will help you support the work of WWF UK and discover some of Africa’s spectacular wildlife.

Sure to inspire a whole new generation of chess champions! 32 wooden animal chess pieces. Animal themes: african elephant, gorilla, okapi, lion, hippopotamus, and bonobo. Features wood gameboard with storage compartment complete with playing instructions. All components made from FSC materials.

SRP £19.99  click here for details

Grasshopper Hybrid Toy Car

Grasshopper Hybrid Toy Car

The Grasshopper uses the latest technology in eco energy power and teaches children that they can play with electrical toys without using batteries or mains power.

By winding the generator, the Grasshopper can move forwards and backwards. On sunny days, children can play outside with the Grasshopper and then the car can be powered by using the solar energy panel.

Unusual Christmas Eco Gifts – Edible Festive Bouquet

Edible Festive Bouquet - Seasonal British Flowers BouquetLooking for an unusual gift that is bound to get noticed this Christmas?

By Nature’s Edible Festive Bouquet is a unique & beautiful gift sure to get the wow factor and be remembered for years to come. Each bouquet is hand-tied and created using seasonal herbs ethically and sustainably sourced in the UK.

It is the perfect bouquet for the cook who has everything or for anyone questioning where their flowers are coming from and how they are grown.

This unique posy contains the following edible herbs grown on the Tregothnan estate in Cornwall and nearby growers, ensuring your flowers reach you with the fewest “flower miles” possible.

The Edible Festive Bouquet makes a beautiful table decoration and can then be hung in a kitchen and dried giving you a unique, natural source of herbs to enhance your cooking. If you haven’t eaten the bouquet while it’s fresh then why not dry it and pick bits off in the kitchen as you need them.

The Edible Festive Bouquet contains the following herbs:

  • ‘Tregothnan Cherry’ Chillies
  • Sage
  • Bay
  • Rosemary
  • Pepperleaf (Drymis)

The Edible Festive Bouquet is priced at £35 (including standard delivery within mainland UK)

Pumpkin curry with chickpeas

Pumpkin curry with chickpeas
Recipe by Barney Desmazery – BBC Good Food

 

Made this curry a few days ago.

Perfect comfort food with the cold weather.

Ready in under a hour and all the family loved it!

Recipe by Barney Desmazery – BBC Good Food

 

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 tbsp Thai yellow curry paste
  • 2 onions , finely chopped
  • 3 large stalks lemongrass , bashed with the back of a knife
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp mustard seed
  • 1 piece pumpkin or a small squash (about 1kg)
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 400ml can reduced-fat coconut milk
  • 400g can chickpeas , drained and rinsed
  • 2 limes
  • large handful mint leaves
  • naan bread , to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan, then gently fry the curry paste with the onions, lemongrass, cardamom and mustard seed for 2-3 mins until fragrant. Stir the pumpkin or squash into the pan and coat in the paste, then pour in the stock and coconut milk. Bring everything to a simmer, add the chickpeas, then cook for about 10 mins until the pumpkin is tender. The curry can now be cooled and frozen for up to 1 month.
  2. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the curry, then cut the other lime into wedges to serve alongside. Just before serving, tear over mint leaves, then bring to the table with the lime wedges and warm naan breads.

Itamar’s Bulgur Pilaf – Yotam Ottolenghi

Itamar's Bulgur Pilaf - Yotam Ottolenghi
Itamar’s Bulgur Pilaf – Yotam Ottolenghi (Plenty)

This is one of my current favourite dish.

Great comfort food, it’s also super quick to make.

Taken from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi voted Best Cookbook in the recent Observer Food Monthly 2011 Awards.

Plenty is a brilliant vegetarian cookbook by the way that everyone should have with recipes inspired from North Africa, Lebanon, Italy and California.

Itamar’s Bulgur Pilaf
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
About 6 tbsp olive oil
4 small white onions, thinly sliced
3 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
2 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp pink peppercorns
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2/3 cup currants
1 cup medium bulgur wheat
1 3/4 cups water
Salt and black pepper
Handful of chopped chives

Method
Heat up the olive oil in a large pot and sauté the onions and peppers together over medium-high heat for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they soften up completely.

Next, add the tomato paste, sugar, spices and currants and stir as you cook for about 2 minutes. Add the bulgur, water, and some salt and pepper. Stir to mix, then bring to the boil. As soon as the water boils, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, remove from the heat and leave to sit for at least 20 minutes.

Finally, fluff up the bulgur with a fork and stir in the chives. If the pilaf seems dry, add a little more olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning; it’s likely to need more salt and pepper. Serve warm.