Friday, 31 October 2008

Day 5 - halloween goodies

What I neglected to add yesterday was the day's waste total: one of those annoying plastic seal thingies from a new jar of honey, one plastic bottle top, and two crisp packets and two small chocolate wrappers which were on the snacks we were given while helping out at the running club, stuffing 3,000 race packs for the upcoming half marathon. Also the wrapper from a greetings card as it was Mark's birthday - and he got given a box of chocs by his workmates, but that's not empty yet :)

On to today - it's Halloween of course. We don't usually get trick or treaters, but I knew some neighbours' kids would be dropping by. Not wanting to buy packaging-heavy sweeties, I decided to get baking again (any excuse!), and quickly put together some banana cupcakes. It's another favourite recipe of mine, and a great way of using up very ripe bananas (that you might not want to eat on their own) as all the other ingredients are store cupboard staples.

Banana cake/cupcakes
50g margarine or butter
75g light muscovado sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 ripe bananas, mashed well - riper = more banana-y
few drops vanilla extract
175g self raising flour (or plain flour + 3tsp baking powder)
pinch of salt

Grease a 1lb loaf tin, 9" round or square tin, or 12-muffin pan. Preheat oven to 180C.

Beat the butter/marg and sugar together until light and fluffy (this is the key to light cake!). Add in the eggs a bit at a time. Mix in the mashed banana and vanilla. Sift in the flour and salt, and combine well. Pour into tin and bake for around 25 mins for cupcakes, or 45 mins for large cakes. Check with a skewer to see when it's done (see Delia if unsure).

Optional additions: dates, nuts, Werther's chewy toffees (packaging red alert though - they're all individually wrapped in two layers). For Halloween, add a liberal blob of orange icing (icing sugar, water, red and yellow food colouring).

Hey presto - happy trick or treaters, and no immediate waste. I just hope my two takeaway containers come back when they are empty :) Sorry there are no photos this time, but I had to leap into action to ice the cakes while still warm when some witches and skeletons turned up on the doorstep!

Today's waste: the plastic lid from the apple juice bottle I opened on Monday, and the bottle cap from a bottle of beer. Er, and we also received our new laptop. However, the packaging is not actually too bad - one soft plastic/foam bag, two expanded foam inserts, two cardboard boxes, and four poly bags holding discs, cables etc. We are going to hang on to it all for now in case anything has to go back (!) but eventually it will all be reused or recycled. The "problem" items are the foamy bits, but they can be used for padding, packing, insulation, plant pot drainage, etc. I think we might have just about got away with that one ;)

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