Thursday 30 August 2012

Milk gone 'off'?

OK, so 'off' milk is never a good start to a day...

But (providing it is only slightly 'off' & therefore past the point of pleasant drinking, NOT milk that is actually physically trying to escape from the bottle) you could:
  • use it to make scones
  • make pancakes
  • make yoghurt
  • make a cake (I loved the sound of this coffee cake)
  • use it in bread making
  • use it in a recipe that has milk as an ingredient and will be cooked
  • soak bone handled knives/cutlery in it to strengthen & maintain whiteness
  • top it up with water & give your plants a calcium boost
  • add it to your bathwater
  • use it as a facial cleanser
  • make clothes from it  (yes, I was bemused too!)
When I was a child, I remember making delicious cottage cheese from milk. I looked it up online and was a bit baffled by the difference between 'off' milk and 'sour' milk. My understanding is that pastuerised milk goes 'off' and can be used for all of the above. Unpasteurised milk goes sour and can indeed be used in cheese making. (Please correct me if I'm wrong!)

To make pastuersied milk 'sour' you need to add a tsp of acid (lemon juice/vinegar) to about a litre of fresh milk & leave it for about 10 mins. Then you can make cottage cheese...I feel another project coming on! Alternatively you can use yoghurt as a cheap replacement for soured milk in recipes.

What other uses do you have for 'off' milk?   

I'm talking slightly 'off' milk that wouldn't taste normal on your cornflakes, not curdled milk which should not be consumed raw.

Tuesday 28 August 2012


I don't like weapons.

But if I did, I'd have a collection displayed like this...

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Why are Flies so Irritating?

I've never understood why flies:
  • need to be quite so noisy
  • congregate around light fittings when the lights are not even on
  • like to settle on the screen of the TV when I'm trying to watch it
  • always turn in right angles when there are no obvious barriers in their way

Mr TH gets even more irritated than I do & has been known to vacuum them up with the hoover nozzle. Despite the fact that this has high entertainment value for me, I do prefer to by fly-free.

There are obvious ways to deter flies such as keeping all surfaces clean and clear of food & food debris.

Additionally, you could rummage in the household cupboards...

To repel flies:
  • put strong smelling spices/herbs (cloves, mint, basil, bay, etc...) in a dish near the window/door.
  • spray the flies with hairspray (acts in a similar way to fly spray).
  • create a room fragrance spray by adding a few drops of essential oil to a small spray bottle. Flies really dislike the smell of lavender and eucalyptus. Alternatively, you could use other oils such lemongrass, citronella or clove.
  • spray them with strong tea (probably not a good idea inside your house).
  • plant rue, lavender or bay near your window/door.
  • put dots of a strong smelling essential oil along the bottom of curtains/blinds. (Please be aware that oil may stain some fabrics/damage paintwork. Always test first or put oil on pieces of fabric/cotton wool/absorbent paper & put in saucers along a windowsill. Alternatively dip cocktail sticks in the oil and put them in a cup on the windowsill).

To attract flies; 
  • buy a carnivorous plant.
  • encourage spiders.
  • hang a bunch of sage leaves from the ceiling (I've seen it work- the flies like the smell of sage & congregate around the leaves instead of the rest of the room).
  • use good old fashioned fly-paper).You could make your own using jam/ honey/syrup/treacle/beer, etc...messy but less chemicals than the real thing!
  • set up a jam jar trap by adding a small amount of sticky sweetness (see above) & water to a jar. Hopefully, they will spend their time there instead of irritating you.

What works for you?

Monday 20 August 2012

Grandad's Apron

Grandad's large butcher's apron was found, unexpectedly, amongst some cotton sheets in the airing cupboard. It brought a host of childhood memories whirling back...

I started to wear his apron for cooking. It's large & covers almost everything.

Others started to admire it's significant coverage...

Tracing round it, I've made quite a few replicas.

The latest apron reincarnation

Why do so many aprons have pockets? (Grandad's doesn't) What would you put in an apron pocket? - a dirty spatula? a tin opener? a butter paper?

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Marrow & Chocolate Cake

As requested, adapted from a Co-op recipe...

Cream together 150g butter/marg with 100g soft brown sugar (recipe said 150g). Then mix in 1 tsp vanilla essence & 2 tbsp cocoa powder. The mixture should be light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, weigh out 250g self-raising flour & 1 tsp baking powder.

Gradually add 2 large eggs to the creamed mixture along with a little of the flour to help absorb the liquid. (I used 3 small eggs instead)

Then mix in the rest of the flour, 2 tbsps of milk and approximately 200g of grated, peeled & de-seeded marrow/courgette/zucchini. (I was overly enthusiastic and added 250g- it worked out fine!)

If you're making it as a loaf cake, cook at 180 degrees centigrade/Gas Mark 4 for approximately 50 mins. Alternatively fairy cakes would take 15-20 mins.

It was very moist & very chocolatey.

The recipe declared that it was best eaten fairly swiftly but that it did freeze well. After we'd tried a slice each we decided that eating it 'fairly swiftly' wasn't going to be a problem....(freezing it- well I'd probably have to make another cake to test that theory...)

Sunday 12 August 2012

Marrow Madness

How much marrow can you cope with?

Our neighbours presented us with a vast marrow. I was thrilled, I love marrow. I cut it in half & stuffed it with spiced meat and vegetables. It lasted us 3 days. (I was too busy eating it to photograph it!) Then I sliced another section, heavily seasoned it with salt, pepper & nutmeg & fried it.

The other quarter sat forlornly in the fridge until today. I was toying with the idea of Marrow Rum but Chocolate & Marrow Cake won...

It was delicious!

Monday 6 August 2012

First Harvest

Originally there were 6...(quality control was a necessity).

I grew them for free: leftover seedlings donated by our lovely neighbours; pots from the shed; soil from the wormery, council & garden; water from the water butt (but mainly the skies!)...

Space inspired by Vertical Veg.

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