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Thursday, 13 December 2018
grubs (aka truffles) which were lovely but we decided to make them vegan with coconut condensed milk and Nice biscuits. This made them a bit softer so I added a little coconut and reshaped them.
condensed milk choc chip cookies with wholemeal plain flour instead of white self raising. They weren't quite right and I made another batch when she was in bed. It made me smile to see her offering her "failed cookies" to friends the next day. They actually were quite edible.
lemon slice and, just to prove you are never too old to make mistakes, I accidentally added the butter to the condensed milk and heated them together rather than adding melted butter to the condensed milk. It was a hot mixture rather than cold but I think it was still ok.
More jam recipes from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Apricot, nectarine and vanilla jam (gf, v)
Mixed berry jam
Plum and raspberry jam
Plum and rhubarb jam (gf, v)
Rhubarb and strawberry jam
Strawberry chia seed jam
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe and taste.com.au
Makes about 8-10 x 250g jars
2 kg of apricots
2 kg sugar
1 lemon juiced
Stone and cut apricots into 1.5cm chunks. Place in stockpot with sugar and lemon juice. Gently simmer until fruit drops off the spoon in rather than runs off as a liquid (or when you place a spoonful on a chilled saucer you can run your finger through and leave a clean line rather than jam pooling back). It took me about 2 hours (but I added a cup of water that I would leave out next time - just add a little water if it was sticking to saucepan before sugar melted). Scrape off any scum if possible, though try to avoid scraping out fruit chunks. Bottle jam using this method or your own way (such as the dishwasher). Keeps about 6 months to 12 months.
NOTES: I added 1 cup of water but would not do that next time - maybe add a little water to stop it sticking if necessary. I hope this would bring down the cooking time. I didn't simmer the whole time - when I got impatient and it was late I boiled for a bit to cook it down a bit faster and once it started spitting too much I brought down the temperature. I think I should have boiled off some of the water earlier. If you tip the jam upside down for 5-10 minutes once the jar is full and lid on, then it helps to seal it. I know it is sealed when the metal lid is drawn down - often with a loud pop. You should not be able to put your finger on the lid and feel the metal go up and down once sealed.
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe and taste.com.au
Makes 3-5 x 250g jars of jam
juice of 1/2 lemon
Cut strawberries into 2 or 4 pieces (depending on how big they are). Add sugar and lemon juice. Sit for an hour. Then gently simmer and follow instructions for Apricot jam above. It should take less time than apricot jam once the fruit and sugar has sat together.
On the stereo:
Rip it up and start again: postpunk 1978-1984: compiled by Simon Reynolds
Friday, 7 December 2018
I don't like sewing. I have a small sewing box I have had since I was a kid and that it it. I mostly sew to save. So lately I have made an effort to a bit more sewing and sew some patches onto jeans and sheets that have holes. It has extended their life. I don't have a sewing machine but handstitching can be quite zen. When I mentioned to friends that I had used curtains to patch my jeans I realised I was a bit Scarlett O'Hara. But she didn't get inundated with plastics in the 19th Century like we do. Nor did Maria in The Sound of Music who also liked clothes made of curtains. Oh, I also realised my friends thought I had curtains with huge holes in them but the curtains I meant were the offcuts.
We have had reusable bags to take to the supermarkets for years. Since the major supermarkets stopped giving away single use plastic bags for free earlier midyear, we have made extra efforts to take our own bags. More recently I am trying to take the smaller vegie bags to the shops instead of taking away plastic ones. However I am still grappling with lots of plastics. Our "single use" bags from supermarkets were never single use. We used them to line the bin, and take wet bathers home from the pool, and to collect rubbish at a picnic. And then there are all the foods we buy from the supermarket that come wrapped in plastic. I have a long way to go to reduce my plastic intake but am slowly trying to make change.
I grew up with chickens in the backyard and so many food scraps went their way that we needed gumboots to go in the chookhouse and collect eggs. I don't think I will ever have chooks as an adult but I am living in search of ways to use food scraps in a home with a small concrete backyard. I tried a compost bin but it didn't work with concrete. Then I found a local community garden needing compost donations. They closed the scheme after a while. My latest venture is a worm farm which I think is a pretty good option. I have had some vinegar fly infestation but mostly got through it (I cut my food scraps pretty small now). The worm juice is great for the pots and I love the occasional bit of extra soil from the worms to keep our pots healthy or to re-pot some new plants. It reduces some of the food waste but we still have food waste going in the bin.
Sylvia is a lover of straws. We went from plastic straws to paper straws but they came in thick plastic packaging, which seemed like one step forward and two steps back. There have been quite a few anti straw campaigns lately (such as Straw No More featured on War on Waste on the telly). More recently we have bought metal straws. Both places I have seen them for sale (The Source and Aunt Maggies) also have those thin straw cleaning brushes which I think are essential. Disposable straws sometimes make their ways into the house but we have reduced them considerably.
I have been aware of how using disposable wrapping such as clingfilm is one habit that doesn't do the environment any favours. This year I have been experimenting with different wraps. (You can see some of these in the top photo as well as above.) I bought some vegan wraps and was using them to wrap sandwiches to take to work but am finding they have got too sticky and seem to leave a trail of wax behind. So I have been using beeswax which works better. For bread making I don't use cling wrap most of the time but either cover with a large sheet of beeswax wrapped around the dough on a baking tray (so I can wrap it underneath - see below photo) or I put rolls in my baking tins with the lid on. I am also using cat patterned bowl caps (like shower caps) for covering bread dough rather than cling wrap. However I have become very dependent on baking paper for baking bread and bikkies. I have bought some brown baking paper but perhaps will be able to reduce my use of this.
Celia and Joey are doing is quite inspirational (check them out and let me know if you have great links and reflections of your own).
If you are here for inspiration (or even if you aren't), here are 5 links to articles I found recently that make me feel more positive about the future for our fragile environment:
Australianwide bag ban leads to 15 billion fewer plastic bags in the environment - news.com.au
Going green: are fake Christmas trees more eco friendly than the real thing - Pursuit
What should I do with my broken kettle (design for disassembly) - BBC News
Printable solar panels - research from Monash University - YouTube
Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles - The Guardian
And for more reflections on how my lifestyle is kind to the environment, see this post.
Sunday, 2 December 2018
Despite feeling quite overwhelmed, there are some very nice moments in the lead up to Christmas. Take for example the Coburg Night Markets that run for the four Fridays before Christmas. We love it for a food truck dinner, some socialising and Christmas shopping. Above is a photo I took after the first night market this weekend. We love our Sweet and Salty popcorn from Pop'd, the candles from Nook and Burrow, the angel tree decoration from remaki and I can't wait to try the smoke maple syrup from Smalt.
cheese ball can be successfully added to my cheese and parsley muffins instead of the grated cheese. I really loved that all the poppyseeds around the edge make an interesting texture as well as the cheeseball flavours really making the muffins taste great.
squeezy bottle pancakes and decided to make the mixture herself. We amused ourselves making fried egg pancakes which looked quite real while cooking, though a bit less so once made.
gudetama. This was much harder than a fried egg but gave us lots of laughs.
banana and coconut cake with minimal supervision and was very proud of herself. Now she is very keen to bake alone. This sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.
Below are some oat cookies she made one morning and woke me at 7am to give me a taste of the cookie dough after the cookies had gone into the oven. They were lovely. I only helped with working out when to take them out. (I have learnt a thing or two about dealing with my temperamental oven though sometimes still get caught out myself).
choc chip condensed milk cookies while I was out and added wholemeal plain flour rather than white self raising. They didn't look great but actually tasted good still. She is also becoming quite good at baking pizza and cooking gnocchi from a packet. So she had some friends around recently and they made pizza for lunch together.
bread the dough is rising so much faster than in winter! When it rises this high it sticks to the bowl cap but at least it is warm enough to dry it quickly after washing.
I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event, that was started by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 13th of the month. Or just head over to her blog to peek into more kitchens.