Saturday, 23 November 2013

ethical clothes - and what about fur???

Every autumn when the days are getting colder the discussions are heated up by the obligatory "fur debate". 
I was thinking about it too, as for example my grandma has an old fur coat and I moved to a country where hunting and fishing is considered normal. When I checked my newsfeed yesterday I stumbled about this picture. It is the new Alexander McQueen ad and it uses a pheasant in a still life style to promote the items.

Feeling slightly surprised by the pheasant lying in front of the bags,  reading the comments in the social media became actually even more disturbing and showed also how unaware people are regarding the origin of their clothes and also their food. Or what do you think when you read, "I like the snakeprint bag, but the bird is horrible."...

Thinking of ethnical clothing three things come to my mind: fair-trade, organic and animal rights.

Fairtrade is a certification of the Fairtrade Foundation which ensures that the working conditions for the people in the production are good. 
The term organic includes ecological, social and economic aims based on the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements. Their principle aims to protect the land that is being farmed and also those working on it and their communities. The emphasize lies on the protection of the environment.
The animal rights are getting stronger and stronger and there is a movement among the designers to not use any animal product in their collections which means no leather, no fur and also no silk.

vintage fur: Marlene Dietrich
and Dovima

But let's get back to the fur debate:
I for myself try to consume consciously and would rather prefer that people ask more questions where their clothes and also their food comes from than this big outcries when seeing a dead animal.
I think we can all agree that no one wants to eat or wear anything of a creature which has been tortured during its whole short life span.

Option 1: If you like to have a nice reindeer stew from time to time and you know that the farmer let them run their whole life through Lapland and they are enjoying their reindeer life, wouldn't it be a waste of resources not to use the leather or skin as well. Or an animal killed on the road.
Also regarding sustainability a fur coat might last for several generations and keeps people warm under rough conditions, whereas the lifespan of a cotton shirt might be less than two years.

Option 2: If you say no animal should die for me, I highly appreciate this too. I would like to prepare a new post which shows what the different fibres are and what environmentally friendly materials there are.

No option in my opinion is vintage fur. For me it is just a lame excuse not to ask where it comes from and under which conditions it was produced, because it would simply mean that all the fur coats which makes us scream out aloud now, would be wearable with a good consciousness in 20 years...

Lady in Red's oriental stew

How about some oriental tastes like the sweetness of apricots, combined with fiery chilly and fresh mint. This lamb couscous is one of my favorite dishes and I used to make is usually with chicken peas, but for a nice change I experimented a bit with sweet potatoes and found out, it works just as great!

150 g sweet potatoes
800 g lamb
400 g carrots
400g red onions
4 cloves of garlic
2 tomatoes
50 g dried apricots
4 tblsp olive oil
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2-3 dried chillies
2 tsp cumin
2 tblsp tomatoe pulp
salt & pepper

300g couscous and a knob of butter

1. cut the meat in 2cm bits, then cut the vegetables except for the sweet potatoes (those will come later): carrots in approximately 1cm thick slices, apricots in two halves and everything else in 8 pieces. Easy!

2. fry the meat in a hot pan with the olive oil, so that it gets roasted from all sides. If your pan is too small then fry it in portions. Take it out and let it rest for a while.

3. Now fry the carrots, onions, garlic together with the crumbled chillies, cumin, fennel- and coriander seeds for a couple of minutes at a middle temperature. Stir well.

4. Add 1/4l of water and the tomatoe pulp. Season with salt and pepper and add the rest of the vegetables and the meat. Let it boil for 1 hour.

5. now cut the sweet potatoes in easy eatable pieces and let them boil with water until they are soft. I think 15 minutes should be fine. Then remove the water and mix them under the stew.

6. Prepare the couscous according to the instructions and add a knob of butter.

7. Serve the stew after 1,5 hour cooking time on top of the couscous and add sliced mint leaves as a garnish.


Sunday, 17 November 2013

culinary metropolis

Having lived in one of the big cities of Germany for a while, I always enjoyed the ethnical variety. In Hamburg I did my weekend shopping at the Turkish supermarket with lovely fresh fruits, bought a huge bunch of flowers at the wholesale which I distributed to my friends and the office cleaning lady, had a Portuguese coffee and pie after the shopping or some tasty asian snack.

While exploring Berlin, we also found some amazing places with terribly good food and relaxed atmosphere.

Galao A Pastelaria
An espresso bar in Portuguese style where you can enjoy delicious "Galao" and "Pastel de Nata" - portugues milk coffee and a little cake with vanilla pudding. In summer you can sit outside on the green plastic chairs an watch the people passing by and on colder days you can sit on the window sill and watch outside.

3 minutes sur mer
the Bistro is the little sister of the Restaurant Bandol sur Mer, which is located just next door. The ambience is relaxed and the interior has elements from the GDR, as for example the lamps from the former Palace of the Republic. The food is French bistro style and includes the classics. Though it is also worth following the daily recommendations as I enjoyed a very nice fish filet on pumpkin mousse.

Restaurant Si An
is located in the heart of Prenzlauer Berg and serves traditional vietnamese food with an emphasize on vegetarian dishes and Phó soups in a beautiful surrounding of paper lanterns and origami birds. The food is delicious and I especially fell for the banana cake with coconut milk. But beware it is addictive! I have searched already the net for a good recipe!

Das Meisterstück
Rustic meets modern could be the theme of this restaurant which is specialized in crafted beer and sausages. Already the interior is a mixture of modern concrete walls and old-fashioned flower wall papers covered with dozens of cuckoo clocks on the wall. The dishes based on different types of sausages from German manufactures were delicious and the craft beer surprised with it different taste notes such as orange and oriental spices or pineapple and citrus.

I hope you got curious and enjoy the selection!

Lou Doillon - Places

Lou Doillon has many facets: model, actress, singer and songwriter. 
As the daughter of Jane Birkin and Jacques Doillon, she was casted for movies already at the age of six. With 16 she became the face of the French fashion house Givenchy. But a famous family and an early start in the world of glamour are not a key for satisfaction and it seemed to make Lou Doillon also sad to always play someone else. So she picked up a guitar and started to write and sing her own songs about the daily life of a girl who falls for the bad guys, songs like a diary. First she just played in her own kitchen, but dared to publish her songs in 2012. Her first record is called "Places" and here are two songs out of it. 

Lou Doillon - ICU

Lou Doillon - Questions & Answers