Butter substitutes, timebanking and fashionable rags

Last week Laura from Paeroa had a question for readers. “I would like to do some baking but with butter so expensive at the moment I would like recipes that use oil instead. Can you replace butter with oil? ”

Andie from Christchurch says yes – essentially the conversion ratio is 1 part butter to three-quarters of oil. So instead of using 1 cup of butter in a recipe, the replacement is ¾ of a cup of oil.

Andie has also referred us to a website that lists a number of butter substitutes that can be used in baking. Here are some of the ones that are likely to be of the most interest:
• Applesauce: use 1/2 cup applesauce instead of 1 cup of butter
• Avocado: 1 cup to 1 cup of butter
• Greek yoghurt: 1/2 cup to 1 cup of butter. Most suitable for baking cakes.
• Pumpkin puree: 3/4 cup to 1 cup of butter.
• Coconut oil: 1 cup to 1 cup of butter.

Andrea writes, “Margarine can replace butter in just about every recipe, which makes it cheaper. It can be used in recipes where the butter is melted or softened or creamed. I’ve used it in scones, biscuits, slices, cakes, muffins and everything, really. Oil can replace butter in recipes where the butter is melted, but it won’t work in recipes where it calls for the butter to be creamed. I have used oil successfully in muffins, some cakes, and loaves, but not in slices or biscuits.”

DJ from Whangarei writes, “There is a movement called Time Banking. There are TimeBanks set up around the country. You might pay a small joining fee then list your skills, connect with others and request help on things and offer help to others in return. Everyone’s time is equal.”

This is what Time Bank says on their website (timebanks.nz): “TimeBanking is a way of trading skills in a community. It facilitates the sharing of skills between its members, both individuals and organisations. TimeBanking activity is measured by the time it takes to complete a piece of work. It’s a kind of money, a complementary currency…Time Credits are used as payment, not money. You earn time credits for the work you do and then use those credits to ‘buy’ another member’s time to get the services you need – from any member of the TimeBank, not necessarily the member you helped. The member you kindly assisted may not have the skills that you need…Everyone’s Time is Equal – no matter what type of work is undertaken, one hour always equals one time credit. 1 = 1. It really is that simple…we all have something to offer. Every person and every skill is equally valued.”

According to their website, there are 14 TimeBank organisations in the North Island and 15 in the South Island.

It’s a nice way to give time to others, and receive their time in return.

Many thanks to DJ for sharing the information.

While on the subject of organisations doing good things, an article in the media caught our attention recently. It was about a group in Christchurch called RAG (Repair, Alterations, Garments). Its purpose is to “upcycle” clothes that would otherwise be thrown out.

It seems “sustainability” is spreading to fashion. Whereas once upon a time recycling clothing was an oily rag sort of thing to do out of necessity, now in these modern times, it’s the trendy thing to do because it displays how much you care about the big global issues of the day. So having a patch or two, or a nip and tuck here and there is a badge of honour to be displayed and celebrated rather than concealed. Even movie star celebrities are joining the trend – or perhaps inspiring it.

We think the thing about clothing is to measure value by the number of times the item is likely to be worn. In simple terms, paying $200 for something that will be worn say 100 times, works out at $2 a wear. That’s much better value than a $50 shirt that will only be worn 10 times.

So the moral of the story is to think of clothing in terms of cost per wear, and give items a second life – making sure the alterations are obvious so that everyone knows you are a ‘hate waste’ oily ragger who is concerned about sustainability and saving the planet!