upcycling the kitchen disaster

One of the pitfalls I faced when I first began decluttering was the little economical eco-freak who sat on my shoulder and whispered little things in my ear like “you could keep that broken jug, break it up a bit more and use it for drainage in the bottom of your pot plants.”  Yes I could, but I knew I wouldn’t, by the time the summer came and I was planting out my seedlings I would have completely forgotten where I had put my collection of broken crockery.  I know my limits.

On the other hand there are somethings that I have no problem reusing or finding new uses for.  Using up leftovers is something most of us do by second nature.  More recently I have discovered I can use up kitchen disasters as well.

At the moment I only have an aga, my electric oven having died some months ago.  Lovely though it is, as every aga owner will know, you cannot smell anything that is cooking.  The opportunity to prepare a burnt offering to the aga god is frequently presented.    That is why on Saturday afternoon I popped some bread in the oven and went out to do some gardening.  It was over an hour later when I finally removed an exceptionally well cooked loaf.  Believing that even the chickens would reject it I left it on the kitchen surface and  went back to the garden to work off my frustration.  The Boss wasn’t going to let an overcooked loaf get the better of him and when I returned he had bashed it up and pronounced it an excellent alternative to Grape Nuts.

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The second culinary disaster was the yoghurt, also made on that same Saturday.  I left it too long and too close to the aga and it had curdled.  I poured off the whey (it went into the ill fated loaf) and mushed the residue around a bit.  It tasted like yoghurt, but the texture was all wrong.  Bingo Chocolate Coffee and Maple Brunch Cake (by Charlie Scott-King of the Durham Dales Clandestine Cake Club).

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While I don’t aim to have kitchen disasters, it is good to know that I can usually find someway of using them up.  Failing that there are always the animals.  The chickens loved my overdone granola 🙂

 

 

reverse decluttering part one

So the reverse declutter begins.  No that does not mean I am bringing stuff in – heaven forbid.  No, this alphabetical mularky, the one that is supposed to encourage me to look beyond the easy declutter and get rid of things that I didn’t really know I had or go into boxes I would prefer were left untouched.

Z is for zips.  As it happens my haberdashery (the posh name for the boxes containing sewing sort of stuff) boxes contained no zips but they did contain a lot of dross.  All of which is now gone.

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Nice and tidy.

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Rubbish and ebay (there wasn’t much in between).

Y is for yellow.  This isn’t actually mine, it belongs to the Boss.  It’s a truly vile yellow sweatshirt.  Goodness knows what he was thinking when he bought it.   He has never worn it and if he did I would disown him.  The yellow chicken has been sitting in my study for years and gathering dust.  Out it goes

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X is for x-tra (well sort of).  Time to get rid of duplicates and things of which I have more than one.  Despite all they have done to provoke me over the years I am keeping all three daughters, dogs, cats and chickens.  Instead I hoofed out two orange squeezers (each one bought whilst on holiday to take advantage of the wonderful fruit.  We now have one small juicer living permanently in our suitcase along with a tin opener, sharp knife, corkscrew and bottle opener – the essentials of any holiday picnic 🙂 ).

W is for wellies.  How many “spare” pairs of wellies do we need?  I used to keep them because we live in the middle of nowhere, it can get very muddy and when the girls were small and had friends over they were useful to have to hand.  I think we are past that stage now.

V is for vittels (it was all I could think of).  Combined three jars of honey into one and ditto various pasta shapes.

U is for undies.  Now there is not a lot I like more than a good clear out of my knicker drawer.  Sad I know.  This time I did underwear drawer and sock drawer and I feel very virtuous.

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Undies

 

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Socks etc.

I know.  Not quite an item a day.  But If you add up all the items going out the door they certainly exceed 365 so not bad for a fortnight I think.  Oh and the first half of the last wardrobe sale on ebay netted over £150.  Wonder what I’d get for a pair of twins and an elder sister with a clean driving licence?

 

V is for

from haybox to wonderbag

Those of you old enough to remember the three day week and the oil crisis will remember sudden and unexpected power cuts and half cooked dinners.  My mother overcame this by making a haybox.  To be fair rather than using hay she used a sturdy wooden box and a selection of cushions.  The idea was that you brought the meal (usually, but not always, a soup or casserole) to the boil, popped it in the box, surrounded on all sides, top and bottom by cushions and left it to cook.

Fast forward some 15 years and I went out to work as a health education volunteer in Umtata in the Transkei with Project Trust.     It was an amazing experience, I hope as much for the people we worked with as it was for us, the volunteers.  As a side line if you are or know somebody who is looking for a volunteering experience in the developing world PT is not only one of the oldest, but also one of the best in the business.  They are not, unlike many, in it to make money.  They have been going since 1967 and have sent over 6000 carefully selected volunteers overseas.  But I digress.

One of the issues faced in the Transkei was the lack of fuel.  We built a simple haybox (this time using hay!) and with our trusty three legged potiji

potiji

we went out to show people how to save on fuel and still have a hot meal at the end of the day.  We used it ourselves and it failed us only once, a particularly stringy goat at Sitebe.

Recently I came across this.

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My newly arrived Wonderbag.   Essentially it works in exactly the same way as my mother’s cushion box and our haybox.  But there are three fundamental differences:

  • For every Wonderbag purchased another bag is donated to a family in Africa.
  • The Shwe-Shwe bags are made by women in South Africa creating jobs and income.
  • The World Wildlife bags generate a donation to WWF for every bag purchased

It’s also great for:

  • Camping
  • Picnics
  • Students
  • Bulk cooking
  • Working families – cheaper than the slow cooker and no worries about leaving the slow cooker on whilst you are out.

If you are still unsure have a look at this.    What are you waiting for?

raw chocolate

In my determination to reduce our waste I am reducing what we buy and looking at ways to reproduce products at home.  So today I made chocolate.  Well, I might as well practice on something I eat a lot of!

I  have a school friend Sarah Wheeler  who set up Pure Melt Chocolate in Mulumbimby.  I bumped into her whilst I was in Australia (as one does) and she inspired me to have a go at making our own chocolate.  I purchased the cacao butter, agave syrup, pure cacao powder and dried vanilla and off we went.

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First melt the cacao butter.

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Then add the cacao powder

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Then add the vanilla.

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Finally the agave syrup.  According to the instructions it would take approximately 100 stirs to incorporate.  That was about right.  It became the most beautiful shiny mixture.

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Then into the moulds and the fridge.

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Less than an hour later we had this.

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Oh my goodness, it is the most delicious chocolate I have ever tasted.  Even the Singers and the Dancer are converted.  I am never going to buy chocolate off the shelf again.  I have a head full of ideas to try.  Ginger is close to the top of the list, I may crystallise some orange peel, or add some cacao nibs for cruch,  chilli is an option.  Too many to list.

food wrap and parrots

EDIT!!!!

I have been advised that due to the low flash point of beeswax (ie. the fumes produced become exceptionally flammable and could cause a fire) it should always be melted in a bain marie (ie. in a bowl over boiling water).   As beeswax also has a very low melting point (approx 62 degrees) this should  not take long.

I suspect that dipping the cloth in the liquid wax would result in a cloth with far thicker wax covering than required or even useful.  So I am going to experiment with melting the wax and brushing it on. Will feedback later.

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Forgive me if this post is full of typos but this

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has been on my right shoulder for much of this afternoon.  And whilst we now get on quite well and she no longer tries to give me multiple ear piercings, she does still have rather sharp claws and I am wearing a sleeveless top and my right shoulder is rather sore.  Also she is moulting and so is intent on removing her loose bits of feathers.  She does not seem to have appreciated that I am not a bird, I do not have feathers and I do not need the feathers I don’t have to be removed…..

Today has been a busy kitchen day.  I think  a month away has given me aga homesickness.  So today I made, yoghurt, granola, kimchi (for the first time), granola bars, yoghurt cake and bread.  But the most exciting aga experiment did not involve food, but this.

P1000525Beeswax.

At the Artisan Fair at Byron Bay on Friday evening last week I came across a lady selling waxed cotton food wraps.  This appealed to me on several fronts.  First, no plastic, second the food can breath and third it is a lot prettier than cling and fling 😉  What appealed to me less was the price.  So I had a go at making my own.

First cut your cotton.  Taking the modern connotation of the word organic out of the equation for the moment, cotton is an organic substance, polyester is not.   Linen or hemp would probably work just as well, but I happen to have a lot of cotton oddments lying around so I used cotton.

Place on a baking tray.  Use an old one, you are not going to be cooking with it again.

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Sprinkle granules (or grated) beeswax over the cotton and place in the oven.  I used the aga on Bake but about 180 would be about right.  Do keep an eye on it.  The wax melts fast and you don’t want it to burn.  It’s not as if you are making a souffle, opening the door is not going to cause a culinary disaster.

Once melted brush the wax evenly over the fabric (again using a brush that isn’t going to be used to spread beaten egg over your prized apple pie).

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Hang up to dry.  I put ours outside.  It is a windy day.  They were dry in seconds.

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Wrap up your food.

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You will have noticed that the baking tray is quite small.  I wanted some bigger clothes.  So this time I just sprinkled the wax, folded and sprinkled again (a bit like making puff pastry!).  The wax melts through all the layers.

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It worked just fine.  So now I have sizes for cheese, for small bowl and for large bowls.

I had intended to read the paper now, but the parrot seems to have eaten it

how cut food waste, cut bills and see the back of your fridge

How often do you eat?  I rest my case.  You will spend a LOT of time in your fridge and larder (or food cupboards or wherever you keep the food that doesn’t live in your fridge, please don’t email me, larder is an easy word that you all understand 🙂 )

Is your fridge full of little bowls of leftovers, unidentified things in silver foil?  Do you take one look and think it would be easier just to pop out and buy a couple of chicken breasts for dinner?  How much money are you wasting on food?  Combine decluttering with the essential post holiday belt tighten and clear out your fridge.

Give it a really good clean whilst you are at it (a paste made from water or water and vinegar and bicarb is an excellent cleaner and gets rid of any unwanted smells).  Put back all the regular essentials (milk, butter, fruit juice etc.) and have a good look at what is left.  Divide it up into OMG how long has that been there , it is no longer recognisable as food, and the rest.  You can chuck the former.  This is the only time you will do that.  From now on there will be no more UFOs (unidentified food objects) in your fridge.

The rest needs to be sorted into what you have to eat fairly quickly, the open packet of bacon for example and what can hang on for a while yet, that hard heel of cheese.  Take the first group and work out what you could cook with them.  I tidied my fridge after the Christmas holidays, it was full of bits of leftovers and was driving me nuts.    The last bits of cooked ham, some cold boiled potatoes, some rather dried out sausages and the end of homemade terrine (ie I knew what was in it) was chopped up and added to the butchers scraps and cooked up for the dogs.  We had crunchy topped  cheese and squash bake using only leftovers from the fridge.  1 elderly and slightly worse for wear squash, 1 bowl of dried breadcrumbs, the remains of a pot of creme fraiche, the open packet of bacon and all the left over and rather hard heels of cheese from the holidays.  It was delicious.

If you really can’t think of what to cook with your assorted ingredients then hit the internet.  “Cabbage and cranberry recipes” alone brought up pages and pages of recipes.  So now you have tonight’s supper sorted you can put those ingredients to one side and look at the rest.

Again sort them into order of decay – i.e. use the ingredients that will last longest last.

Hey presto!  You have cleared your fridge AND written a menu plan for the next few days and you haven’t even spent a single penny.

If you are feeling brave you really ought to combine a fridge clear with a freezer clear.  With careful jiggling and swapping of ingredients you can take the hassle out of “what are we going to eat tonight”, save a fortune on groceries and find order in your kitchen.  What’s not to like?

I plan menus every week, it makes life so much easier and cheaper.  I don’t subscribe to the 15 (or whatever) circulating recipes.  How boring that must get.  Instead I start my shopping in my pantry and freezer.  Then I get out 2-4 recipe books and look for new recipes to try using the major ingredients I have found on my “in-house shop”.  I have planned every meal this week without having to purchase a single ingredient.  Last night we had pan fried steak and cranberry sauce using the left over cranberries and two rather small steaks from the freezer.  We are a family of five so cut the steak into strips after I cooked it, laid it over a mound of mashed potato, poured the sauce over the top and added lots of veg.

Once you have your recipes  allocate them to days of the week, taking into account any evenings where you will have to serve at different times to accommodate other people’s commitments or will have little time to prepare.  Baked potatoes and pasta (not together!) are our” no time to faff in the kitchn”meals.  The shopping list is made on the basis on the ingredients I need which are not in the pantry or freezer.

And this is what our fridge looks like now.

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Yes I know there are still some foil covered bowls.  One is the last of the brandy butter and my life is not worth living if I don’t keep that, but I know it will go.  The other is the meat from the remains of a game pie I made which I am keeping to pill Meg (an elderly springer spaniel not my daughter – she has six tablets twice a day and it can be a bit of a challenge persuading her to take them).  Oh and you know those little plastic punnets that you get with soft fruit?  I keep them and use them to hold little things like garlic, chillies, ginger, cherry tomatoes, shallots etc.  It stops them rolling around in the vegetable drawer and means I can see exactly how much I have left of anything.

Tonight is cauliflower cheese by the way 🙂

where did all that cheese come from?

I was going to title this post “leftovers”  but it sounded so uninspiring  I did think of “bits and bobs” (a phrase a friend uses when answering her children’s question “what’s for lunch?”) “endless little bowls and tupperware boxes” (which is what my mother’s fridge is often full of)  but as cheese is the decluttering item in question today I went for the one above.

The Boss and I were in Italy a couple of weekends ago.  Consequently (a) I filled the fridge with food for the girls lest they should starve (as they are very good cooks in their own right I am sure that was unecessary but hey I’m a Mum) and (b) we bought rather a lot of cheese and salamis, bresola and lardons back with us.  Combine that with my inability to throw anything away and the result was fridge overload.

The fridge is now neat and tidy.  I have one smallish chunk of once quite nice ham that is now well past its best which will be perfect for the administration of the copious amounts of pills our eldery Springer requires and the following:

  • Small amount of spinach
  • one leek
  • half an onion
  • half a packet of feta
  • mozarella that needs using
  • the heel of some gruyere
  • assorted heels of cheeses too small and hard to eat but I won’t throw away

Leftover cooking here I come.  First up is a made up cheesey bake.  You will note the lack of precise amounts because I just shoved in what I had.

  • Leek sliced finely
  • onion chopped
  • spinach
  • garlic
  • eggs (i used 4)
  • double cream (a healthy swig until the consistency looks right 🙂 )
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • feta
  • mozarella
  • gruyere
  • salt and pepper
  1. Sweat onion, garlic and leek.
  2. Cook spinach (I put mine in the microwave but feel free to steam or whatever)
  3. Beat eggs with cream until it looks about right.
  4. Add crumbled feta and chopped mozzarella.
  5. Add onion, garlic , leek and spinach
  6. season.
  7. Pour into oven proof dish (the size depends on how much you have,  you want it to be about 2″ deep at least)
  8. Halve tomatoes and place cut side up in mixture.
  9. Grate however much gruyere you have over the top.
  10. Bake in medium oven (about 170, I used the aga on 150 and it was fine) until firm to touch and lightly browned,

Try not to eat it all as soon as it comes out of the oven.  I am afraid I had a taste before I remembered to take a photo.  By now there is an entire strip missing.

 

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It was DELICIOUS.  Obviously you can mix and match to use whatever is in your fridge, most cheeses will be fine and  you could experiment with the vegtables.  I like the tomatoes because they give a slight edge to what could otherwise be a rather rich dish  (in the same way I add tomatoes to macaroni and cauliflower cheese).

Next up is cheesey tear and share bread.  Now this is a “proper” recipe as you can’t really guess with bread.  It’ from Jo Wheatley’s Home Baking.  I am only at the second prove stage so can’t  tell you what it tastes like but thus far it feels rather heavy.  It was a pain in the neck to knead (I always knead by hand) and never reached the light stretchy stage I would usually expect.  Having said that it rose well in proove one, I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  • 500 g (17.6oz) strong white bread flour
  • 7 g (0.2oz) easy-blend/fast-action yeast
  • 8 g (0.3oz) sea salt
  • 10 g (0.4oz) caster sugar
  • 10 g (0.4oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 handful of picked herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 120 ml (4.2fl oz) hot water
  • 200 ml (7fl oz) cold full-fat milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 g (3.5oz) mozzarella, grated
  • 150 g (5.3oz) Gruyère, grated
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp milk
  1. Tip the flour, yeast, salt and sugar into the bowl of a free-standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, or a large mixing bowl. Mix together to combine and make a well in the centre.  I did this by hand.
  2. Combine the butter, herbs and garlic in a food processor to form a paste .  I did this by hand too – does this woman have an army of people to wash up after her?! Add to the flour mix. In a jug, mix the boiled water with the milk and egg and slowly add to the dry ingredients. Mix until combined, then knead for 6 minutes in the machine or 10 minutes by hand.
  3. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove for at least 90 minutes or until doubled in size. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 30 seconds to knock back the dough.
  4. Divide the dough into 14–18 pieces and roll into balls.
  5. Mix the two grated cheeses together and set aside one third. Make an indent in each of the dough balls, divide the cheese between them then seal up the dough. Place the balls on the two prepared trays: start with the middle rolls and build around them.
  6. Loosely cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove again for 1 hour
  7. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6. Brush the buns with egg wash, sprinkle over the remaining grated cheese, and bake in the oven for 18–22 minutes until golden.

 

 

I will not be usuing mozzerlla or gruyere as I used them up in the last recipe and will instead be using a selection of  old heels of assorted cheese last seen mooching around the back of my fridge.

Finally Cheese straws.  I also happen to have some puff pastry in the freezer so the last of the cheese will be used up. 

What is lurking in your fridge?  What could you turn it into rather than feed it to the bin or the compost?

take 4 pints of full cream milk….

My apologies for my absence.  Life has been rather busy.  First my 50th birthday, then during the following week the Durham Shopping Extravaganza (of which I was chair this year) and my godmother’s 70th birthday followed by a trip down to Oxfordshire to celebrate my oldest friend’s (we were at prep school together 43 years ago) 50th birthday.  It has all been wonderful.  However, this week has mainly been spent filling and unfilling the washing machine, identifying strange objects in the fridge and reacquainting the dogs with the concept of a walk.

So today I am more or less up to date and contemplating my nice clean tidy kitchen I opted to muck it up rather than attend to any of the extremely dull jobs on my to do list.

How many things can you make out of 4 pints of full cream milk?  I am not including the carton (though I held a competition for that once and some of the entries were extremely entertaining.  Another post perhaps).

Mozarella.  I used this recipe, combined a little bit with the one from Cheesemaking made Easy by Ricki and Robert Carroll.  I don’t think I pulled it enough.  Actually I really didn’t pull it enough at all.  I need more practice (what a shame 🙂 )  However, I have some perfectly passable white cheesy stuff that is a teensy weensy bit like mozarella.

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I fear my friend Gio would weep if he saw it.  But he’s safely in London so that’s okay.

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Ricotta  Not a great deal, but enough for a little starter before supper this evening.  It is pretty straightforward to make.  See here.

The draining

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The finished product.

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Whey and lots of it.  Some of this will be used to make soft dinner rolls.  In fact, if we could eat enough rolls I would use it all for this as it really does make the most beautiful soft bread.  I’ll mix some in with the dogs supper tonight and the rest I will freeze for more rolls later on.  If you are swimming in whey there are some good ideas here too.

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I used to make lots of cheese and fell out of the habit when I was working.  There are only so many hours in a day after all.  There is something magical about watching the curds and whey separate, in fact I think that’s probably the main reason I make cheese at all.  I’ve yet to have a go at hard cheese, but I have a press now, so that may be the next project.

i have a secret weapon

I have run out of window cleaner.  It is at these moments when you are prompted to look at a viable home made alternative.  Yes I can all hear you shouting vinegar and newspaper, but we have a lot of glass in our house and we are none too keen to live in  something that smells like a pickle jar and we are trying to reduce our newspaper purchases.

However, I am nothing if not resourceful, for that read enjoy research, otherwise known as nosey.  Prior to the arrival of the internet I began collecting recipes and books for homemade toiletries.  I collected rather a lot, far more than I would ever need.  Yes, I did pass some of them on in the Great Book Cull of 2013.  Who knows you might even have one of them now.

Post WWW I began to collate websites and links to recipes.   I have made a scientific, evidenced based discovery.  I cannot be faulted for the breadth of my research, the number of (unwitting) trial runs into thousands and are spread throughout the world.  Granted there was an element of self selection but in any trial you chose participants who actually suffer from the ailment if you are looking for a treatment.  No point putting Mrs Bloggs through a long trial for prostate cancer is there?

So drum roll…. big, prestigious scientific boffiny prize ……

Result: For any one homemade toiletry or cleaner required there will be no more than four ingredients using practically identical recipes.

Conclusion:

  1. Vinegar, alcohol, lemon juice form the core of every cleaner.  Beeswax and oil form the basis of every toiletry.  Amounts vary depending on recipe and product required.
  2. The stuff we buy off the shelves must have some pretty expensive and quite probably unsavoury ingredients to justify the cost.
  3. I have been wasting money for donkeys’ years.
  4. I have a secret non-vinegar smelling solution.

So back to the windows.

The recipe that gets the most stars is vinegar, alcohol, water and cornflour.  As we can’t get rubbing alcohol (isopropanol – your useless fact for the day) my options would be surgical spirit, or if I fancied a change from the pickle jar smell, meths, which has the added advantage of giving it a gentle purple glow.

I am opting for the surgical spirit.  Not sure I am going to like the smell.  However as the Boss is currently bubbling vats of beer in the kitchen it might mask the hoppy yeasty aroma that is seeping out of every pore….

Now, the bit you have all been waiting for, the recipes:

Top Rated Window Cleaner from Crunchy Betty

  • 1/4 c. rubbing alcohol (or in my case surgical spirit)
  • 1/4 c. white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 c. warm water

Shake up and spray.  This is still going to smell of vinegar so I have a secret weapon.

Orange all purpose cleaner

  • Orange peel
  • Vinegar
  • Water

Yup that’s it.  You will need a large jar, I have a 2 litre kilner jar.  Fill it with orange peel.  I bought several bags of past their sell by date oranges, made copious quantities of orange juice (earning Mum of the year award to add to my scientific boffin award), shoved the peels in the jar and covered with white vinegar (or brewed condiment as it was quaintly called on the bottle).  Leave to soak for 4-6 weeks.  During this time the orange oil will seep into the vinegar and the vinegar smell completely goes (or so I hope).  Dilute with water and pour into spray bottle.  Hey presto.  I have at least 3 weeks to go before I can report back.

It strikes me that if I substitute my lovely orange smelling vinegar for pure vinegar in the various cleaning concoctions we will live not in a pickle jar but an orange grove …. where would you prefer to live?!

breaking rules

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.  Burns knew of what he spoke.  If one is to ship out the entire contents of a large Gin Gan (have you looked it up yet?) then one must empty the car of the 4454  envelopes currently residing there.

Quick advert break for The Durham Shopping Extravaganza (I know it seems very counterintuitive for a minimalist blog but stay with me).  We have been going for 25 years and have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities in and around County Durham.  For my sins I am joint chair this year and it fell to me to deliver the 4454 envelopes that we had stuffed with invitations and stamped with addresses to the the offices of the lovely Brewin Dolphin who are going to frank and post them for us.

But first I had to wait for the Singers to get ready so that I could drop them off at the station and then finally set forth to Teesside.  Reader Teesside is a very confusing place.  Even my sat nav was getting confused “Exit at the next junction, take the first left, keep right, turn left”.  How does one keep right and turn left without inducing the ire of every white van man in the North East?

Stage one complete and thence to Spennymoor to pick up the Dancer who is working in a GP surgery.  There are a surprising number of GP surgeries in Spennymoor, particularly bearing in mind it is really not very big.  They must be a poorly lot.  Four surgeries later I found her.  I returned home at 2.45pm  Clearly not a lot of clearing out was going to get done before I had to pick up the Singers…..

I am completely against multitasking.  I have done my fair share and I am pretty good at it, but as part of my mission to slow down I now ONLY DO ONE JOB AT A TIME (sorry about the shouting).  I do get interrupted, but that’s life.  If I must then I stop job one and complete the more important interruption, if not the second job waits until the first job is done.  Life has become much less stressful and I am getting more and not less done.

Today was a day to break the rules, for what are rules for if not to be broken?  I cleaned the kitchen and made the latest batch of rosehip jelly.  I cleared out the fridge and chopped up roast chicken for sandwiches.  I sorted out the clean washing and  cleared a “dumping corner” in the hall.  I sorted and wiped all the jellies, preserves and salves we have made recently whilst doing the washing up.

Sometimes needs must.  I will not be doing it again in a hurry though.  I have zero appetite tonight, I couldn’t eat supper if you paid me.  A sure sign of stress for me.  Tomorrow normal slow service will resume