Rescuing meticulous artisan work: Accessories by Andres Gallardo 

Rescuing meticulous artisan work: Accessories by Andres Gallardo  

“Our selected run productions and unique pieces series are handcrafted in collaboration with Spanish and Portuguese artisans, recovering traditional production methods to combine fine materials with contemporary aesthetics through an artisanal process based on high quality standards. As this decorative style has become unpopular the women sculptors and workshops are diminishing in quantity. We take pride in rescuing such a delicate and meticulous artisanal process.”   

Andres Gallardo

I first saw Andres Gallardo designs in a fashion magazine. I loved the ABC Series and decided to buy one for myself. Since I was visiting Madrid, I went to the workshop/studio to get my necklace. Over there I found much more beyond the ABC necklaces and, what’s more important, I got a chance to speak directly to the people involved in this brand design and production.

I love the way in which sustainability together with a conscious approach is embedded in these designs. Not only are they just beautiful, they actually give a contemporary look to traditional materials like ceramics and leather.

What truly stands out here, in my opinion, is the celebration of artisan production: the making of which involves local artisans and their traditional techniques and skills. This gives a unique quality and sustainability to their pieces.

I personally identified with the way their designs and business emerged, as I often have a similar approach when it comes to using (rescuing) what is available to give it a new life. In the resources below, I’ve included the video that tells how this brand design started out and how it came to be the production that they are today.

images found at Andres Gallardo official web site and Google Image Search

Here are the links to two videos where the founders of Andres Gallardo speak about the birth of their brand, their philosophy and their work process.

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Coconut love sequence 3: Coconut toast bread

Coconut Love Sequence – 3. Make coconut toast bread 

I never used to eat bread until I moved to Spain and tried a “tostada con aceite y tomate” (toast with olive oil and tomato). It ended up being one of my preferred breakfast items. My favorite toast was made from a multigrain bread with seeds.

In search of something that would allow me to enjoy this tostada on a low carb lifestyle, I made this “integral” bread by slightly modifying the fantastic recipe for Four Seed Bread by Ine from Low Carb is Lekker. I’ve been eating this bread ever since I started my low carb journey. This and other recipes from Ine’s cookbook made the low carb lifestyle sustainable for me in the long term. Thus I will always be grateful for having discovered her work. Naturally, after getting used to low carb cooking and baking, I slowly started finding some inspiration and gathering the courage to try new things such as altering recipes and then even creating my own. 

Even though the original recipe is delicious and satisfying, I found that by making small alterations it works much better for me. My new coconut bread, when toasted, reminded me so much of this bread from the “previous”, carb-loaded life. The most significant advantage for me is that by using the coconut milk leftovers I close my sequence cycle without generating any waste and, at the same time, omitting store-bought flours. Not to mention that coconut is a much cheaper alternative to nut flour, especially if homemade.

I hadn’t thought about my “innovation” being mentioned or posted anywhere until I had several friends asking me to share the recipe and explain how to do it so that it would become available to others. Then I decided to accept a bigger challenge: I would try to make it vegan. I did succeed and tastewise the final product is still good. However, it is a bit moister and more compact than I would like, which means I have a new challenge to work on. If you are not vegan, it might be better for you to stick to the original recipe (with egg).  

Those who don’t want to give up baked goods on a grain/gluten/carb-free lifestyle should check out Ine’s recipes. Even if you don’t have any dietary restrictions, you should try low carb bread as it is quicker to make, full of healthy fats and fibers, and it won’t leave you feeling horrible after eating it. If you follow a nut-free diet and you still want to go low carb, my version of the recipe is excellent for you.   


Step 1  Turn on the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Step 2  Mix all the dry ingredients.

Step 3 Beat the eggs with Apple Cider vinegar (in case of vegan bread, make the egg replacement before moving on to the next step since it needs 10-15 min to rest before use)

Step 4  Add the eggs to the dry ingredients and mix to incorporate.

Step 5  Pour min amount of boiling water over and add a bit more if needed.

Step 6  Work your dough into a ball or roll by moving it gently around inside the bowl. Be careful and don’t press it firmly or overwork it because it will become too compact and it won’t rise.Po

Step 7 Pass the dough onto an oven dish and bake it for min 40 min. You might want to reduce the temperature and bake it a bit more on lower for it to dry more.

When your bread is done, wait until it cools down to cut it (especially in case of vegan bread)


Dry ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups of homemade Coconut flour*
  • 1/2 Cup of Ground Flax Seeds**
  • 3 Flat Tbs of Phsylium Husks
  • 3 Flat Tbs of Pumpkin seeds
  • 4 Flat Tbs of Sunflower seeds
  • 4 Flat Tbs of Sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • A little less than 1 flat tsp of sea salt 

Wet ingredients

  • 3 Egg whites (for vegan make the egg replacement***)
  • 1 Tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • min 1 1/2 Cups of water (I use a little bit less than  300ml) 

Optional ingredients

  •  spices: 2 flat Tbs of Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp of mixed garlic, pepper and herb spices
  •  chopped olives or sundried tomato

This recipe works only with homemade coconut flour. Using the store-bought one would probably make something that might look like bread but the result and taste would be completely different.  

** I buy whole flax seeds and grind them just before use. Because ground seeds often go rancid quickly, I recommend you do the same. Grinding your own will also save you some money. I use brown flax for “whole grain” coconut bread as this results in a bread that resembles more the one I used to like. You can also use golden flax. Experiment and discover which ones you like better. 

 

*** Egg replacement

  • 3 Tbsp of ground Golden Flax seeds
  • 8 Tbsp of water
  • 1 Tbsp of Apple Cider Vinager
  • 1 tsp of baking powder

Mix the ingredients and let the mixture sit for around 10 min.

l usually double the quantities so in the end I have double the size. I then cut the bread in slices when it’s cold and I freeze half of them so that I can toast those when needed. I’ve noticed that toasting on lower intensity a few times gives the best results. If you don’t have a toaster, you can toast it lightly on a pan. You can also put them in the oven and even use them to make bruschetta. 

Ine Reynierse’s s Four Seed Bread recipe:

https://www.lowcarbislekker.co.za/recipes-1.html

Ine Reynierse’s s Low Carb cookbooks:

https://www.lowcarbislekker.co.za/cookbooks-4.html

photos by Mili

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Sustainability and coffee: Reusable DIY filter

Approaching sustainability over a pour-over: Reusable DIY filter 

For most of us, the first logical move in our effort to ‘go green’ is switching to more sustainable and compostable products. As a less harmful option compared to using polluting ones it is a step forward, still, it is buying products and using resources that could be avoided in the first place. Not to mention that most of the items we use do not go to composting or recycling.

The next-best solution would be finding a reusable replacement for a single use item. Due to us being so influenced by modern day single-use society, by all advertisement and consumerism this can sometimes feel like a “weird” idea at first. In most cases, this is as simple as going back to what people use to do/use before we introduced a single-use version. 

Ultimately, when possible we can look into completely eradicating the need for the particular product (habit). I think of it as an exciting concept, with a lot of possible benefits. Other than being utterly more sustainable, for us and the environment, minimalism and simplifying help us regain a conscious approach towards our routines and habits. 

One of the habits I am currently omitting only occasionally is my coffee ritual. After having tried all the delicious, inherently waste-free ways to brew coffee, I am still a pour over-lover. In alignment with my waste reduction efforts, I decided to stop buying paper coffee filters. At the same time, I bumped into a post on reusable coffee filters on Remodelista web. Excited about that product idea, I wondered come the use of fabric coffee filters had not become the standard practice already. And I realized that it was before until we all fell victims to the disposable society mindset. All these times that I’d been having coffees, I did not think about this consciously.  

After my first consumerist urge to go after the fabric filter immediately, my DIY spirit kicked in and I decided I could make one myself.

Only when I started testing the “dripping rate” with different organic hemp and cotton fabrics did I realize how bad my pour over technique was. Thus, I decided to look into those a bit more. As a result, this whole project became even more rewarding. I still need to improve the pouring, but I managed to get satisfying results using my filter. The ultimate test will be taking it to my favorite coffee place (as I never found a place with a tastier pour over) and ask their barista to make my coffee with my filter. I will let you know how it goes :).

Initially, I planned to sew and make a V60 shaped filter. Then, I remembered some folded Chemex filters I’d once bought and I thought that could be a better model to mimic. It would be much easier to make and possibly more practical as it could be used for both V60 and Chemex. Moreover, I would avoid the stitches on the usable filter area.

I’ve tested different organic cotton and hemp fabrics. I went for the hemp one as it gave me the best results when it comes to dripping rate and flavor. In addition, hemp fabric is much more sustainable to produce (compared to cotton), it is more durable than cotton and it is naturally antibacterial.

I wouldn’t be able to say precisely which combination of factors (weight and density) you should go for. I suggest you do your own empirical research, test different fabrics you have available and find one that gives you the most satisfying result.

Step 1  Cut the fabric into 15x15cm squares. 

Step 2  Boil them to remove any impurities or dust, and to ensure it will shrink now rather than when the filter is done.

Step 3  Once you have decided on the fabric you can stop at this step. However, I suggest doing at least some kind of edging at the seams. Otherwise, the fabric might unravel.

Step 4  Cut in a desired shape (optional). I decided to cut and shape my filters before edging (one in a round shape and one in a flower shape). I did this by folding it in 4 and marking the quarter of the circle by hand. Use a round shape dish or plate for more precision.

Step 5  Edge with a sewing machine or by hand.

Step 7  Boil the filter again to get rid of any leftover impurities.

all photos by Mili

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