Howdy do,

Today was very productive as far as the kitchen goes.

Yesterday, saw a lot accomplished elsewhere: lawns mowed, lawns fed, loads of laundry, etc. Oh and the Accidental Cat decided that I was okay and we were going to be friends after all. Naw!

Jam drops

Jam drops

Today, I harvested some silver-beet from our ‘allotment’, went out to take my first steps on our land – now the big, water-filled barriers to the development have been removed (and did a private little ‘happy dance’ in the rain) – then came home and baked biscuits and put dinner in the slow cooker, before The Boy reappeared from his travels.

So, dinner tonight was some slow-cooker Mongolian Beef that I jazzed up a bit – because that’s how I roll.

Do you remember the red basmati rice that I purchased way back here?

Red Basmati Rice.

Red Basmati Rice.

Yeah. I’d forgotten about it too until I came upon it during a small (very small)  tidying frenzy yesterday. So tonight I cooked it up with some regular basmati. Then, during that last five minutes off the heat, I put the smallest of the silver-beet leaves that I harvested today into the pot and replaced the lid. That way they wilted a little without cooking too much.

Red and White Rice and Silver-beet.

Red and White Rice and Silver-beet.

It all looked very pretty in the bowl. Then I topped it with the beef, and it tasted pretty darn good. The recipe is a keeper, I think.

Slow-cooker Mongolian Beef

Slow-cooker Mongolian Beef

So now, I’m going to sit down and write a post about those biscuits for all of you in the Land of Oz with kids on school holidays and the weather snapping cold again.

See how I think about you?

Naw!

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Today started with an introduction to what – I think –  could be called vertigo. I’ve never really had it before. I bent down to get my slippers and the world spun around my head. This continued any time I was actually in motion.

I should have considered this before I headed off to a new local farmers market that is being held at our showgrounds. The Jiggety Jig market looked so interesting too! I left my walking stick in the car so my hands would be free for photography and then wobbled in unaided….

That was a mistake. Every time I turned my head to look at something the world spun, every step I took the world got spinnier. I left unsteadily, vowing to return at its next iteration.

*shakes fist at sky, shouts “Coises! Foiled again!”*

Thankfully, it wasn’t a problem when I was behind the wheel. Phew.

Anyway after much dilly-dallying, which included the regular cat-claw-trimming and fish-feeding ritual, The Boy finally left for his camping trip sometime around 15:30. Ahem.

When shall we three meet again?

When shall we three meet again?

So I got to do some food prep.

I sat perfectly still and cubed one of those packages of chuck steak that I showed you all yesterday. It was then divided into zip lock bags, introduced to spices and sauces and popped into the freezer for ‘slow-cooker meals without thinking’ in the future.

Dinners of the future.

Dinners of the future.

All to the accompaniment of the Accidental Cat, who woke up from her fish coma, discovered that The Boy was gone, and started calling for him.

FIVE AND A HALF HOURS AGO!

Kill me now. Please.

The Accidental Cat wants chicken

The Accidental Cat

I then made up some dough for pizza bases, got it portioned up and in bags for freezing.

Future pizza bases.

Future pizza bases.

I freeze it before it rises/proves. I find that, if I get it out of the freezer the day before I want to use it, it thaws and starts to rise in the refrigerator. Then all I need to do is ask The Boy to roll it out and get it in the pizza tray for me. See what I did there? Very good.

The evening was upon me by this stage so Pasta à la Sharon was made with enough leftover for dinner tomorrow too.

Pasta a la Sharon.

Pasta a la Sharon.

Tomorrow, I shall process that rather large package of bacon, hopefully bake some biscuits/cookies and get to our plot at the Community Garden.

Assuming I get any sleep tonight – which assumes that Sara, The Accidental Cat, stops calling out for The Boy anytime soon.

Sigh.

At least the world has stopped spinning.

ttfn

 

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Traffic lights = antioxidants galore.

Hi everyone,

sorry I wasn’t on last night. I had my semi-annual review with my neurologist yesterday. This is an occasion which takes a lot out of me emotionally, so I came home and curled up into a small ball before the television and stayed there. Surrounded by cats.

Toasted sandwiches were had for dinner.

Today, however, I greeted the dawn mid-morning with renewed vitality and went out to shop.

We don’t really need that much at the moment, so I stocked up on baking supplies and bought a fair amount of meat – for us anyway.

H ere is the breakdown. For all my new readers *waves hello!* a gentle reminder that the prices are in Australian Dollars (AUD) so, if you are in the USA, you could probably comfortably halve the amount mentioned. Okay? Moving on then…

At Aldi was bought:

Dry goods.

   Dry goods.

  • 1 x 397 g tin condensed milk              $1.69
  • 1 x 400 ml tin coconut cream             $0.89
  • 1 x 225 g olive oil spray                        $2.99
  • 1 x 800 g tin apple pie filling               $2.99
  • 1 x 500 g baking soda                           $1.79
  • 1 kg Self-raising flour                           $0.75
  • 1 kg Plain flour                                       $0.75
  • 2 kg sugar                                                $1.79
  • 2 x 1 litre UHT milk                                $1.80
  • 2x largish sweet potatoes                   $3.38

Total = $18.82

I also bought meat at Aldi

Freezer stuffers

Freezer stuffers

  • 1 kg of middle rasher bacon         $7.69
  • 1.5 kg chuck steak                         $16.41
  • 500 g kassler steaks                        $4.78

Total = $28.88

Then I toddled off to the green grocer and bought the following:

Traffic lights = antioxidants galore.

Traffic lights = antioxidants galore.

  • bok choy                                           $1.59
  • zucchini                                             $3.92
  • pumpkin                                           $3.46
  • red capsicums                                 $2.38
  • cup mushrooms                             $2.50

Total = $13.85

Then I went to Woolworths and gathered a few things there:

  • 1 litre Soy Milk                                 $2.99
  • Tartaric Acid                                     $2.75
  • wonton skins                                   $2.60
  • Beer batter chips                            $3.00

Total = $11.34

Grand total = $72.89

Which leaves me $27.11 for anything else that may occur to me during the next fortnight.

I also bought a 1.5 litre (1 quart) slow cooker at Woolies for a student friend of ours who is doing it hard at the moment. It cost $20 and, if an opportunity to give it to them doesn’t present itself sooner, it will make an excellent Christmas gift. It’s only a few months away you know!

I’d not seen Kassler steaks before – so they were the “fun” thing for this shop. They’re thick slices of ham, and no doubt I shall find a use for them.

I bought the tartaric acid for the ginger beer I’m attempting to make; apparently it’s not the same thing as Cream of Tartar, which would be why my first attempt was rather lack lustre. Sigh.

The won ton skins will enable me to restock the freezer with gyoza-like dumplings at some stage. In fact, I might use some of the remaining money to get some chicken or pork mince and do that in the next few weeks. They’re a really tasty and easy lunch dish to have to hand.

I shall dice up the chuck steak and freeze in portions; some with marinade and some without. I have a new slow-cooker recipe for teriyaki beef that I really want to try and I can see that happening relatively soon.

The bacon will be divvied up and frozen in portions.

We do not currently need any of the flour I purchased – indeed there’s no room for any of it in the storage containers!  However, I want to make 4 pizza bases worth of dough to freeze and that will use a large chunk of what is there.  We used to buy wholemeal bases from the supermarket for around $3, but recently they have gone up to $5.50!  Buying those is just not happening when they are so very easy to make. I must do a post on them…

The Boy has decided to go camping tomorrow afternoon, so I shall be cooking for one this weekend. The mushrooms are a treat for me and I shall be including them in everything I possibly can.

Hasta mañana,

S.

Three can Curry in a Hurry

If only I ate a plant-based, whole-foods diet.

This is one of those dishes that you can throw together in a very small amount of time (about 20 minutes) and with a minimum of effort.

It relies on you having certain store cupboard ingredients and basic vegetable supplies to hand, but everything – and I mean everything – is completely flexible. All up it costs about $5 AUD to make.

The reason I call this a three can curry is because I use a tin of coconut cream, a tin of kidney beans and a tin of chickpeas in my version of it. You can use whatever beans you like: black beans; borlotti beans; cannellini beans, etc.

Given how quickly the first part goes, I would recommend doing a mise en place (oo er, fancy!) and having your base vegetables diced before you begin.

Also this recipe calls for the use of a curry paste. I tend to have a few of these in my pantry at any given time.

These were in my pantry at the time of writing...

These were in my pantry at the time of writing…

They cost about $2-$3 at Aldi and may cost a little more at other supermarkets. You don’t have to use the whole jar all at once, and they keep quite well in the refrigerator once opened.

Use whichever flavour profile suits your tastes – or experiment to determine exactly what your tastes are. Also, if you want to make your own curry paste, then go right ahead.

I’m not into a raging hot curry, but The Boy is. So, if I were making this just for him, I might use a Thai Green Curry paste or perhaps a Madras curry instead. The pictures you will see here use a Tikka Masala Paste. This is a sweet curry, it smells divine and has no heat to it – making it ideal if small children will be at your table.

Sorry it's blurry, I was rushing.

Sorry it’s blurry, I was rushing.

Now – and vegetarians look away – if you wish to add meat to this dish, feel free. I find that the beans suffice and the lack of meat is not actually something you think about. However, if you have a family member who requires meat to make a meal, you could easily add some diced bacon and sauté before adding the curry paste, or some diced rotisserie chicken just before serving.

After the liquid is added you are simply looking to heat things through and further soften the vegetables- you aren’t actively trying to ‘cook’ anything.

So, place a Dutch oven, casserole dish or a large saucepan over a low flame and heat about a tablespoon of butter with a splash of oil. The oil will stop the butter from burning. (Or you can just use all oil.)

Then add a teaspoon of crushed garlic (if you like it) and a diced onion.

Diced onion.

Diced onion.

Sauté until the onion is translucent, then add some diced celery, stirring continually. I used two largish stalks.

Celery for crunch.

Celery for crunch.

Add your carrots and go find your curry paste. We’ll wait.

Add carrots.

Add carrots.

You only want a tablespoon or two of the curry paste. It’s up to you how much you use – the flavour will get stronger with each spoonful.

Add it to the pan and allow it to fry gently for a few minutes. This will give you time to open a can of coconut cream.

Fry off your paste.

Fry off your paste.

As the heat works on the paste the aroma of the spices will be released. Be warned that, if you have chosen something that is very hot or full of chilli, you will probably start to cough uncontrollably if you breathe in over the pan…

Mix through.

Mix the paste through the vegetables, breaking up any lumps.

Mix the paste through the vegetables, breaking up any lumps.

Now add your coconut cream. I find it separates in the tin and add only the solid portion at first, reserving the liquid for if I find the sauce becomes too thick or is insufficient.

Spoon the solids into your pan.

Spoon the solids into your pan.

Don’t fret, the solid part will melt down to a thick liquid quite quickly.  As an aside, if you can’t find coconut cream (or are allergic) use a tin of evaporated milk instead.

It looks improbable, doesn't it?

It looks improbable, doesn’t it?

Once that is melted nicely and simmering gently, drain and add your beans.  I used kidney beans…

Looking good

Looking good.

…and chick peas.

Nearly done.

Nearly done.

Stir it all together and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or so.  This will give you time to set the table. It will also enable you to reheat any leftover/planned-over rice you may have in the refrigerator or to cook a sachet or two of microwave rice.

If you don’t have/want rice you could always cut a few potatoes into small dice and add them to your simmering pan. The dish will then be done when your potatoes are cooked.

I like to make my meals as colourful as I can – this ensures maximum flavour and nutrition. Think traffic lights: Red, yellow and green. This dish looks very yellow at this point, so I’ll add a diced red capsicum. This adds vibrant colour as well as crisp fruitiness.

A red capsicum or bell pepper.

A red capsicum or bell pepper.

And for greenery I have added kale, spinach or broccoli; like so.

Green for go..

Green for go..

I’ve also just added some frozen peas straight from the freezer.

Use what you have.

Use what you have.

When the peas are cooked, so is the dish.

Basically you can add whatever you have to hand. This meal is a great way to clean out the refrigerator before the grocery shopping has been done.

Serve over rice if you wish. However, be aware that this is very filling (beans, donchaknow) and will easily feed 6 people of normal appetite. So, I suggest you under-serve and allow seconds to avoid arguments with small people.

Three can Curry in a Hurry

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

oil

1 clove garlic, crushed (or 1 tsp jarred garlic)

1 onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 sticks celery, diced

2 tablespoons curry paste

1 x 400 g tin coconut cream or evaporated milk

1 x 400 g tin kidney beans

1 x 400 g tin chick peas

Other vegetables to taste: frozen corn, frozen peas, diced peppers or capsicum, kale, cavolo nero, broccoli, sliced cabbage, diced potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, etc…

Rice to serve.

Method

Place a Dutch Oven, casserole dish or large saucepan over gentle heat and add oil.

Add onion and garlic, frying gently until onion is translucent.

Add celery and carrot, frying gently until celery softens.

Add a tablespoon (or to taste) of the curry paste to your pan and allow to fry for several minutes. The heat will start to release the aromas of the spices in the paste. Mix the contents of the pot together, breaking up any lumps.

Add the coconut cream or evaporated milk. If the cream has separated in the can, just add the solid part using a spoon but keep the liquid in reserve should you want more sauce later.

Mix well.

Add the kidney beans. Stir well.

Add the chick peas. Stir well.

Allow the curry to come to a simmer and leave for 5 minutes.

Add any fresh vegetables you wish and cook through.

Serve over rice.

Variations:

  • Add several diced rashers of bacon and fry off a little before adding the curry paste.
  • Add a cup of diced, cooked chicken after the chick peas. (or any other cooked meat.)
  • Instead of serving over rice, add 2-3 potatoes diced small after the chick peas. Cook until the potatoes are tender. Add water if necessary to ensure the potatoes are fully immersed.
  • Serve over cous cous instead of rice.

Chick pea tikka masala.

Howdy do.

Today was not a cooking day as our power was out for most of it while the company fixed whatever caused our issue the other night.

We’d had a week’s warning though, so I read a bit of my bookclub book in between bouts with the Accidental Cat. I ended up locking her in the study so she wouldn’t bite me and the other cats.

It’s been a trying day in many ways.

Dinner tonight has been a repeat of the vegetarian/vegan curry I made a week or so ago.

If only I ate a plant-based, whole foods diet, my health would be so much better...

I’ve had so many of the people I know say how delicious it looked, so I did it again. This time however, I made it on our little butane cooker under better lighting so I could get photos for a future recipe post.

Just for all of you lovely peeps out there. Natch.

It was served on a mix of the rice and freekeh I cooked yesterday and was lovely and filling for something that is so simple to make.

You get a lot of nosh for your dosh in this one.2015-09-15 19.11.20

Speak soon.

S

Double Chocolate Cookies.

The Boy's favourite cookies.

These are the cookies that are the way to The Boy’s heart. Every time that I make them for him he gets this far away look in his eyes and lights up like he’s just spotted a litter of kittens.

That’s good, by the way.

This recipe is basically a riff on the Condensed milk chocolate chip cookie recipe I have posted previously. I substitute a few tablespoons of the flour for dutch process cocoa, use chunks instead of chips of chocolate and add a sprinkling of sea salt. It all works.

I shall repeat the recipe with the tweaks in its entirety right here for you though. It will save lots of jumping about – although that may help you to deal with the calories…

It begins with creaming softened butter and caster sugar.

Cream butter and sugar.

Cream butter and sugar.

Then you whip in the condensed milk until combined.

Condensed milk joins the mix.

Condensed milk joins the mix.

Measure out your plain flour, add the cocoa ( I use Dutch process, but you don’t have to) and sift together with the baking powder.

Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder.

Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder.

Add the lot to your butter mixture and stir well.

That just looks sinful, doesn't it?

That just looks decadent, doesn’t it?

Now, you may choose to use choc chips for this part of the recipe. I use a ‘family-sized’ block of dark cooking chocolate that I have placed in a paper bag and smashed to smithereens with a meat mallet. If you wish to smash things too then you can use whatever heavy implement you have to hand. Enjoy this bit.

Add to the mixing bowl.

Add your chips or chunks of chocolate.

Add your chips or chunks of chocolate.

For a really special touch, add a good pinch of sea salt flakes. The touch of salt serves to intensify the chocolate flavour beautifully. I haven’t tried this with milk chocolate, but with dark chocolate it’s pure heaven.

Use a pinch of sea salt flakes.

Use a pinch of sea salt flakes.

Stir to combine.

Use a metal ice cream scoop with a 1 inch diameter to measure out the cookies onto a paper lined baking sheet.

Use a 1" scoop to measure out your cookies.

Use a 1″ scoop to measure out your cookies.

Press down gently on the top to flatten slightly and pop into a moderately hot oven for around 15 minutes. If you forget to flatten them, then bake for 20 minutes.

Not that I have ever forgotten this step, you understand. Ahem.

Leave them to cool for 5 minutes on the tray before removing to a cake rack to cool completely. They will still be soft when you take them out of the oven.

Also, DO NOT eat a hot cookie. Melted chocolate will burn. You have been warned.

Let your cookies cool completely.

Let your cookies cool completely.

Prepare to look for kittens.

Double Chocolate Cookies

  • Servings: makes 28
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

200 g (7 oz) butter, softened

75 g (2¾ oz) caster sugar

125 ml (4 fl oz) sweetened condensed milk

250 g (9 oz) plain or all purpose flour, minus 2 Tablespoons

2 Tbsps Cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp sea salt flakes

300 g (10 ½ oz) chocolate chips or chunks (or less, if you prefer)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Line one or two baking sheets with baking paper.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and creamy.

Pour in the condensed milk and beat to combine.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa and baking powder.

Add to the butter mixture and mix to combine.

Add the chocolate pieces and salt flakes and stir well.

Roll into tablespoon sized balls (or use an ice cream scoop) and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving room to spread. Press down gently with your fingertips or a fork to flatten slightly,

Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden.

Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before transferring to a cake rake to cool completely.

Cookies will harden on standing.

A full cookie barrel is a happy barrel...

A full cookie barrel is a happy barrel…

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Freshly cooked freekeh.

Today I was a martyr to MS fatigue and achieved very little.

Although I did manage to locate my tea!

A few weeks ago, when we hit our savings target, I decided to treat myself to a haircut and a shipment of my favourite tea from Adore Tea back in Canberra. It was supposed to arrive last Tuesday. I received an email from Australia Post on Monday evening saying it had been delivered – which had me literally racing for the front door…

I was running toward disappointment – it wasn’t there. I called Auspost the following morning and they started an investigation. The tea had been delivered, but to the wrong address, someone was trying to get it back, I’d be kept informed…

But I wasn’t. In the meantime, Adore Tea sent me a complimentary 50g pack of my fave to tide me over. I called Auspost again today and was told it was at the local delivery centre – drove over there to find they had no idea where it was. Having used all my energy, I got back in the car and left the Fort Knox-like facility to get a call saying they’d found it!

So I went back. The package had been opened (SMH) but everything was there. Yay!  Got home, slept for 4 hours. Then I drank tea.

Tonight we shopped the fridge for dinner (because, see above). Basically we finished the leftovers from Saturday’s pasta bake.

Bits and bobs pasta bake

Bits and bobs pasta bake

I also mustered enough energy to cook some rice to stock up our refrigerator for quick meals. I used chicken stock instead of plain water this time, just to add a bit more flavour to future meals.

Rice steamed in chicken stock

Rice steamed in chicken stock

While that was cooking, I put some freekeh on to cook and took a few pictures so I can write all of you lovely people out there an informative and interesting post about it at some stage in the future.

Freshly cooked freekeh.

Freshly cooked freekeh.

It will also go to stock the fridge and add some wonderful wholefood, high fibre, slow carb goodness to meals during the days to come.

Now I am sitting down with a pot of Golden Mao Feng (OMG!) and a bowl of vanilla ice cream drizzled with pomegranate molasses to watch the Australian leadership spill on TV.

You simply must try this sometime.

You simply must try this sometime.

The world will be different tomorrow – come what may.

Until then, sweet dreams all.

S.

My treasure from the market.

Hello,

today I feel every bit the lesser mortal that I am.

We finished weeding and mulching the poisonous, barren soil of the garden beds that form our backyard and then went out to our plot at the community garden. Once there, we discovered that the broccolini that had been just starting to put up buds on Wednesday is now in full flower.

Four days, people.

Four days between a possible crop and a lost one. Sigh. Well, we harvested anyway and I resolved to peel the stalks and cook those.

Dinner was to be freekeh, corn, broccolini and coconut chicken fillets.

I thought I’d try steaming the freekeh in the rice cooker and put the vegies in to steam with it.

Steaming corn and broccolini stalks.

Steaming corn and broccolini stalks.

Unfortunately the freekeh seemed to be taking much longer to cook than I had anticipated and I ended up serving the chicken – breaded with panko and coconut  – with the vegies, while I waited for the light on the rice cooker to switch from cooking to warm…

Chicken and veg.

Chicken and veg.

I had come to the conclusion that, in future, I should freeze the chicken uncooked as it was a tad dry reheated. I was also complaining that it was taking longer to cook the freekeh in the rice cooker than it would have on the stove … when The Boy investigated and found it had boiled dry.

Ahem.

But, Your Honour, the lights! The lights was all wrong!

There was enough uncremated for The Boy to have some slow carbs with his meal. I’d quite gone off the whole idea by then.

We all have days in the kitchen when things don’t quite go to plan and this was one of mine.

Tomorrow I shall cook freekeh on the stove top, take photos and wax lyrical about it to you all. Until then, I’m making a cup of tea and going to bed with a cat and a book.

Night,

S.

P.S. Oh and I seem to have missed the first birthday of this site. So, to celebrate that and getting over the 100 mark on Facebook likes, I’m thinking of holding a small competition.

Details to come.

Bits and Bobs Pasta Bake

Hello everyone, especially all my new followers!

Today was quite a productive one in spite of myself. I slept in until lunchtime and so did The Boy. I don’t think we’d realised just how stressed-out we were about the whole house financing business and, now that it’s all pretty much settled, we fell in a messy heap.

Thankfully, last night’s 15 minute tidy up in the kitchen and dining area achieved results in 10 minutes – so I had a clean kitchen to drag myself into for my morning cuppa. The herd of cats got to have a tumble outside and then it was off to the car wash to vacuum up the snail bait in the boot (trunk).

Because everyone has snail bait loose in their car, don’t they? Ahem.

My new canisters for tea and cat deterrence.

My new canisters for tea and cat deterrence.

I decided to treat myself to some canisters I had been wanting for our kitchen counter-top and have a little splurge before we head back into Saving For The House Mode. Because the mortgage is only the first step and nowhere near the last.

Anyway, our counter has been cluttered with tins of different sizes filled with tea bags, cookies and other sundry items for as long as we’ve been here. It’s not because we need these things to be on the counter for our convenience, but more to discourage the cats from getting up there. It’s mostly successful, but it looked horrendous. I saw these little guys at Big W a few weeks ago and thought they’d be just the ticket. Add to that the fact that they are the colours we are wanting to be using in the new house and they were only $10 each, and they were an easy sell.

I played with those for a bit when I got home and then spent a good hour weeding and mulching what laughingly passes for a garden here. I then engaged in the therapeutic activity of baking cookies.

The Boy's favourite cookies.

The Boy’s favourite cookies.

These look uninspiring, but contain chunks of dark chocolate and a sprinkling of sea salt. The Boy loves them and the look on his face as he bites into one makes just about everything seem worthwhile. Even weeding.

They are a riff on the cookie recipe I posted here, but I shall do a post just on them in the next few days.

Then it was time to make dinner. We had a small amount of corned beef left in the refrigerator, so I used it for a pasta bake with some macaroni, a red capsicum, a tin of chickpeas (for texture and fibre), some frozen peas and corn and a cheese sauce.

Bits and bobs pasta bake

Bits and bobs pasta bake

While we ate ,The Boy totted up the cost and declared that I had spent $5 to make enough to feed 6.  Not too shabby, just quietly.

Looks like the savings drive is back on track.

Later, S.

 

When life gives you lemons…

Future cleaning products.

I would naturally suggest that you make lemon butter or lemon curd if you were handed large amounts of lemons.

Lemon Butter.

Lemon Butter.

Although, there’s any number of other things you could make with them, like Caraway and Lemon Biscotti or some of the other recipes I have planned to post for you.

But, what can you do with all the leftover lemon shells? They look like sunshine and smell heavenly and it always feels like such a waste to simply toss them into the compost…

Make a cleaning spray with them.

I kiddest thou not.

All you need is your lemon ‘husks’, some plain old household vinegar and a largish jar with a lid.

If you are an instant coffee drinker with a fairly decent habit, you probably find yourself with largish glass jars all the time. Use one of those.

The vinegar you need is not the high-brow, ultra-gourmet, aged in oak barrels, caressed lovingly by mountain maidens type vinegar. No. You want this stuff.

This is vinegar.

This is vinegar.

Plain old household vinegar. You can get a 2 litre bottle at Aldi for around $1.20. You can now buy ‘household cleaning vinegar’ in the detergents section of many supermarkets, but you don’t need that. This stuff will do.

You’ll find it on the bottom shelf in the pickles and condiments sections of your supermarket aisles. I tend to buy 6 litres at a time.

Vinegar is acetic acid. Acid cleans stuff. Better yet, vinegar doesn’t contain nasty fragrances that will set off hayfever sufferers until the perfume finally disappears. It doesn’t need you to suit up in coveralls and goggles to use it and doesn’t come with a Poisons warning.

Zest and juice your lemons

It cuts through grease, it’s antibacterial, and it’s biodegradable, it’s also highly unlikely to trigger eczema and other skin reactions like harsher (more expensive) chemical cleaners. It also kills moulds and mildew, unlike bleach which simply “bleaches” them and makes things smell clean.

It can be used in all sorts of things. But sometimes you don’t want stuff to smell like vinegar for even a short time. (However, the scent does dissipate really quite quickly.)

So try doing this:

lemons in white vinegar

lemons in white vinegar

  1. Thoroughly clean your jar.
  2. Pack it with your used lemons.
  3. Fill with vinegar until the lemons are covered.
  4. Tightly cap the jar.
  5. Place in a dark cupboard for a minimum of 3-4 weeks.
  6. Strain the liquid from the lemons and reserve.
  7. Discard lemons.

The vinegar will draw the essential oils out of the lemons and take on their colour and fragrance.

It can then be diluted 50:50 with water and used to clean floors, glass, shower recesses and counter tops. Use  a microfibre cloth and it will be even more effective.

It may require a little more elbow grease than a stronger store-bought chemical, but you also won’t require breathing apparatus to be in the same room immediately after you’ve used it.

Sturdy, inexpensive spray bottles are available in most supermarkets or hardware stores. I use this kind.

Spray bottle filled with lemony vinegar.

Spray bottle filled with lemony vinegar.

This is filled with undiluted vinegar. I had a greasy grill I wanted to get clean, so I didn’t add any water this time. As you can see, the liquid has taken on the colour of the lemons.

The house I am currently living in has hardwood floors throughout. It was costing me a fortune to clean them with commercially available liquids – then I discovered this. It cleans beautifully with a microfibre cloth on a swiffer-type mop, with no streaking at all and a fresh scent.

My subscribers may have noticed that I make large amounts of lemon curd when the fruit is in season as The Boy seems to inhale it. This leaves me with 6 half lemon shells for each batch. Into a jar they go, and I will keep topping up that jar until it is full. I have about 6 jars steeping in the back of my pantry at any given time.

It doesn’t go off.

Future cleaning products.

Future cleaning products.

You can also use orange peels in exactly the same way. So, if you are a maven for freshly squeezed OJ, here’s a way to generate less waste.

A word of warning though: do not use this spray on a marble surface, or you will get etching. That would be bad.

Laminates are fine, as is solid granite and other stones.

However, check with the manufacturer as I accept no responsibility for any damage that might be caused…

 

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