Monday, 27 April 2009
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Mrs Jones' Butterless Cupcakes
6oz SR Flour (sifted)
150ml vegetable oil
2 duck eggs ( or 2 large chicken eggs)
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. It will look really different to your usual butter mix (maybe greasy or a different shade) but don't worry!! spoon mix into cupcake cases and cook at 175oC for 15minutes till lightly golden.
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
Essential Oils - Drops of your favourite essential oils can be added to homemade cleaners, or mixed with water in a spray bottle to make a room fragrancer.
Originally uploaded by Thirtyoneteeth
Guess what? For the first time in 6 years I have a job!! I am in old-skool terms a 'dinnerlady' at the local school, for the politically correct it's SMSA (school meals supervisory assistant). Anyhoo, its messing with my schedule, taking me out of the house in the middle of the day. I havent baked for a week now!! Excluding last weeks bread disaster, where it didn't mix properly in the maker so I did it by hand and then it was still runny in the middle when I sliced the loaf - who said the simple life was all roses!
Seeds are still being sown, sunflowers, sweetcorn, parsnips and poached egg plants have all gone in over the last week, as well as planting my beetroot seedlings out into the garden :) On the downside I lost alot of the swiss chard sedling because they got scorched, along with some summer squashes. Tomatoes, chillis and peppers have been potted up.
Whats going well in your garden at the mo? and whats not?
Thursday, 16 April 2009
- Take 1 4oz bar of natural soap and grate it
- Pour 4 cups of water into a saucepan and bring to a boil, then pour in grated soap and stir until melted.
- Leave to cool.
Step Two - make a herbal infusion
Select herbs for fragrance or beneficial properties. For my soap I have used 2oz of lavander. *Herbs can also be substituted for a suitable herbal teabag.
Mix the herbs in a lidded jar. Boil 2 cups of water. Add 3 heaped tablespoons of the mixed herbs into the boiling water. Remove from heat and let infuse for 30 mins. When cool strain the herbal mixture into a bowl.
Make the shampoo
- Pour 2oz of the herbal mixture and 4oz of the liquid soap into a bottle together.
- Shake the bottle to mix
- Shampoo is now ready to use.
After shampooing rinse hair with 1 capful of cider vinegar diluted in a glass of warm water.
Do you have any favourite recipes for shampoo?
What other products do you enjoy making at home?
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
The absence of television in the house has seen an influx of books into the home.....
From friends, charity shops, mobile library and college I now have a good selection of reading material to keep me company in bed or in the garden on a lazy afternoon
The current selection include:-
Carrots love Tomatoes & Roses love Garlic - Louise Riotte
Getting Started in Permaculture - Ross and Jenny Mars
Food from Green Places - Rosamond Richardson
Urban Eden - Adam and James Caplin
The New complete book of Self-Sufficiency - John Seymour
I think my favourite is Food From Green Places, I wish I'd found this for sale rather than in the library, I'm a sucker for recipe books and this one really focuses on the simple ingredient. It would be invaluable when you have a glut of something on the plot and find a hedgerow harvest.
Carrots love Tomatoes and The Complete Handbook of Self-Sufficiency would both make great additions to the bookcase as reference books.
Urban Eden and Getting Started in Permaculture are both good general entry level books but both leave you 'wanting more'.
I'm glad I found the Permaculture one in the college library, Permaculture had been on my radar for a while and this explained the basics. I think when I plan my next garden it will be based on a permaculture idea. If you aren't familiar with Permaculture, Downsizer.net explains it extremely well here I think.
What books are you reading? What would you recommend from your bookcase?
Monday afternoon I planted the sweetcorn. This was the one vegetable requested by all of the others for me to grow!! I haven't ever grown this before so I've gone for 'Applause' which is a full of flavour super sweet type.
Sweetcorn it turns our is also super easy to plant!
*Fill a 7.5cm pot with multipurpose compost
* Make 4 holes 2.5cm deep in each
* Plant your seed (kernel?) in the holes - I don't know why but I was surprised to see little shriveled kernels in the packet not seeds!!
* Cover and water. Place on a windowsill and after 2 weeks remove the weakest seedling from each pot.
Mmmmmm I can almost taste it now!
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Basic Flour Tortilla recipe
1.5 cups Plain Flour
3 tbsp shortening, lard or veg suet
1 tsp bicarb of soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 - 3 tbsp warm water
- Mix all dry ingredients together, then cut in shortening/lard/suet until well mixed.
- Gradually add water and mix until it forms a soft but not sticky dough
- Knead dough for 3-4 minutes
- Turn out onto a well floured board and cut into 6. Roll each 6th into a ball then roll into a circle making sure the dough is very thinly rolled.
- I find it best to use lots of flour at this stage to stop the tortilla from sticking to board or rolling pin!
- When you have your circle, transfer tortilla to a hot, dry pan and 'fry' until cooked 20 - 30 sec each side.
Now we are home I am amazed by how noisy our house is!! We no longer set alarms to wake us, the kids wake up bang on time everyday, any lie-ins we embrace and enjoy even if it means we are late for something !! The noise starts soon after.... neighbours banging doors, scrapping tables across floors. Cars passing peep to scare cats out of the way or to pick up work colleagues. Hard drives hum as I read through blogs, freezers make the strangest noise defrosting themselves.
I'm slowly trying to gain back some peace, and this week I'm making an effort to sweep instead of hoover and even the 'effort' of using a scrubbing brush to hand sweep the hall and stair carpet has a theraputic calmness to it even if it takes a bit longer than hoovering. I also have the satisfaction that it does a bettter job than my hoover!!!! I'm opening windows and working in the garden. Guess what..... we have birdsong here too, it was just too noisy to appreciate it.
What sounds does your house make and what would you prefer to hear?
Saturday, 11 April 2009
Friday, 10 April 2009
Thinking cap on, I've come up with a way that will give lots of nice straight growing length, be free draining and hopefully fox those carrot root flies too!
Using your dibber / finger make 4 holes in the compost 2cm deep. Leave enough room between hols and sides to allow 2 to grow to maturity and 2 to be harvested as baby carrots.
Camping is a big big thing for us, we LOVE it!!!! So much so we have a VW Campervan and a caravan, last year we had two tents too, but one broke and the binmen walked off with the other one by accident! This spring we decided to streamline our camping paraphenalia. We've retired the campervan into dry storage (awaiting a possible resoration) and treated ourselves to a new family tent. It was a bargain on Ebay. It's Easter here in the UK and according to the news this morning camping and caravanning is becoming ever more popular. Unfortunately rising popularity across the UK for camping instead of holidays abroad has a knock-on effect for those of us who've always done it; Prices go up and campsites are full! The campsite so we've been hoping to book at for this weekend wasn't even answering thier phone because they were so busy when I rang up in the start of March.
So this Easter we are trying out the new tent in Nanny's backgarden (it's too big for ours!!) At least we've cut our carbon footprint!!!! Surely if we are happy at home we shouldn't always need to go away to be on holiday?
How about you? Have you got any good tips for holidaying 'at home'?
Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Have you worked out what it is yet? I'm a bit of a sucker for Tescos sushi and about 3 or 4 times a year I give in and buy some if I'm out and without lunch. This time as I sat in the car munching on my californian rolls I looked at the box and it screamed propagator to me!!!
The box was cleaned thoroughly and I folded a kitchen roll up into a 9th and popped it inside - perfect fit. I moistened the kitchen roll and sprinckled it with red cabbage sprouting seeds - and a few mustard seeds I had spilt from the packet and accidently mixed, at the weekend!!
Voila, perfect little propogator to get them started!
What have you managed to see in a new light and reuse????