First on my “things to try” list was making butter so I stocked up on cream and had a go.
First of all let me say the cream was expensive! I used 4 600ml pots of Tesco double cream which was £3 for two pots – so £6 in total for my cream, this just made me glad I hardly ever buy cream!
You will also need a food mixer, a sieve, a few different bowls, a sterilised jar of some kind for the buttermilk and some greaseproof paper to wrap the butter in.
First of all pour your cream into the mixing bowl (I had to do this n two batches as there was too much to fit in one load. Then begin to mix on a medium setting, the cream will stiffen
Then the fat globules will begin to separate and the buttermilk will start to pool in the bowl.
Continue to mix until there is a reasonable amount of milk in the bowl then place all of the butter and milk into the sieve and drain off the milk into a bowl.Once you have done this once put the bowl of butter back on the mixer and mis again for a minute before repeating the draining process. Next run cold water over the butter and squeeze the butter with your hands to get the remaining buttermilk out, do this twice each time draining the water and replacing it with fresh cold water.Once the water is clear (so not buttermilk is left) shape your butter into the shape and size you want and wrap for the fridge.
In the end I made about 1.2kg of butter and 700ml of buttermilk from my cream. Tesco English Unsalted butter is £1 for 250g so my butter was worth just under £5. St Ivel buttermilk is 50p for 284ml so my buttermilk was worth just under £1.50.So for my £6 of cream I got £6.50 of butter and buttercream – so pretty much broke even. It does taste really fresh and actually making it felt like watching a little bit of magic happen!
Medieval Pottage was the staple meal of medieval people. Made up of whatever they had to hand and heated slowly before being thickened with oats. This turned out to be a really delicious and satisfying meal and probably cost less than £1.50 for a large pot full to serve 4.
Butter for frying
2 handfuls of oats
Chop the veg.
Fry the leek and onion in butter in a large saucepan until soft then pour the stock over. Add in the rest of the veg, season to taste and bring to the boil, reduce hear and simmer until the veg is all nicely cooked then add in 2 handfuls of oats, stir in the continue to simmer for around 10-15 minutes until the oats have cooker and the pottage is thickened. Serve with bread and cheese.
These cherry shortcake bites came about in an effort to try and use up some leftover marzipan.
180g plain flour
75g Glace cherries (chopped)
55g marizpan (grated)
Rub together the butter and sugar until the are combined then add in the flour to make a shortbread dough. Add in the grated marzipan and chopped cherries and mix into the dough. Shape the dough into rectangles (or whatever shape you want) and bake in an oven at gas mark 5 (190) for 15-20 minutes.
Yesterday I realised we are nearly out of liquid soap in the bathrooms. This was my first opportunity to put into practice my less is more philosophy so I hit google.
Starting on this website http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ I looked into the ingredients in my current soap, as it turned out it wasn’t great – I think I had actually picked the worst one I could possibly find (oh dear). So then I started to look at some of the other liquid soaps available and they were pretty similar.
I finally found glycerin soap bars which seemed a lot better and so for now I have settled on glycerin soap for the bathrooms and some liquid castille soap for making into shower gels etc.
SO fewer strange sounding ingredients and I actually saved about £4 as well.
More info when they arrive!.
I have started looking into making soap as well so perhaps a further soap change will be coming!
When I look around my home I see a sea of modernity, truth be told the plastic toys and kitchen cupboards full of ready made “ease of use” ingredients make me feel comfortable – “how lucky I am to be able to afford all of these” I think to myself. At the back of my mind though, I wonder is this best for us? for my children?. Are the chemicals I lather over them at every bathtime really the best way to care for them? Is the mass of rubbish we put out for the bin men each week really how necessary?. Our family is known for our constant sickness with 5 children in school and nursery we seem to pick up every bug, cold and virus going perhaps our lifestyle contributes to our apparent love of illness!
As a family we LOVE technology, we make a living from it and our house is a shrine to the god of computing but does this mean we can’t also live a life that is more natural and less damaging to the world around us. I intend to find out.We have already been transitioning to a diet with fewer processed foods (I have already lost 12 pounds simply doing this) we have also begun growing our own food in small quantities. Over the next year I am going to try and replace as many mass produced or non natural products as I can with more natural items, either from natural materials or handmade. I am also going to try and reduce waste by recycling and reusing as much as possible.
I am no expert, I have no idea what I am doing or how this is going but I just can get rid of the feeling that there must be a better way for us to live and that the cycle of illness, allergies, waste and dare I say it financial strain must be a symptom of our lifestyle rather than of living itself.
I should probably add I am not great at housekeeping, cooking, gardening or most crafts. I can crochet, but my skill pretty much ends there so this is going to be a challenge.
So here I go off into the first day of the experiment and already i realise that the disposable nappies are going to have to go arent they? gulp!
It is the last day of the Christmas holidays and everyone is bored, the older children have occupied themselves but the younger two are following me around like little lambs and generally being grumpy. I read not long ago about making foam in the food processor so it seemed a perfect opportunity to give it a go!
Simply put a small amount of washing up liquid and water in the food processor and mix until it foams up, a word of warning here don’t put much in each batch it overflows very quickly!
I used a cardboard box since it was about to go in the recycling and i knew the activity would be over before the box disintegrated but if you have children with a slightly longer attention span a cardboard box obviously wouldn’t be a good choice!
It took around 5 batches of foam to fill the box which wasn’t much washing up liquid so this activity is a wonderful activity if you are looking for a cheap way to entertain toddlers.
The children LOVED it after I took the picture the older ones came and joined in so it actually entertained 5 children from age 22 months up to 9 years old for around 20 minutes – which is miraculous.
The only problem was a box of soap and toddler eyes don’t mix so you have to watch the younger ones like a hawk to stop them dipping their heads in or otherwise causing the whole thing to descend into chaos, so if you are looking for an activity for the kids to do while you get on with something else this probably isn’t the activity for you!. It is great for passing half an hour on a rainy winters days though!
1.Hardboiled egg and avocado chopped up and mixed with spinach
2.Sliced mango and apple
3. Date, nut and apple bites.
Date, Nut And Apple Bites
I forgot to measure how much i used but i don’t think the actual amounts really matter in any case.
Put a handful of dates and a handful of nuts in the blender until you have a paste (there can be lumpy bits it doesn’t need to be totally pureed.Add is a spoonful or two of desiccated coconut and chopped apple and mix again . Form the mix into balls and roll in some more desiccated coconut and they are ready to eat! Mine recipe made about 8 balls.
4 days into being paleo and I have gone from 185 pounds to 181.6 pounds – which is amazing since I haven’t had to go hungry at all. I am guessing that now the initial shock to my system is done the weight loss will slow a little!
This morning I am waiting for this weeks shopping to arrive and when I got up looked in my pretty empty fridge and heard a slice of toast calling me. I resisted the urge though and instead used up some odds and ends to make this breakfast. It made 2 -3 servings depending on how hungry you are.
Paleo Breakfast – Cabbage and Bacon Hash
8 Slices of bacon (chopped up)
1 small white cabbage (shredded)
250g mushrooms (sliced)
1 onion (sliced)
A few herbs
Fry the bacon for a few minutes then add the rest of the ingredients and fry until soft, add in the herbs. Eat!