Friday, September 30, 2011

The skeptic was wrong... phew!

Well this is too good to miss.
Might I say, that I FLAT REFUSED to go to the two Norwex parties/demos that a friend invited me to.
AFTER I'd researched it to the hilt and realised that this could be bigger than Tupperware (with the SAME Antibac Microfiber being used in hospitals in MY country. I found lab tests, clinical and hospital trials - Proof! Proof! Proof! After getting up off the floor.. and picking up my jaw,  I decided, arms crossed, scowl and skepticism on the inside, to go and see a Norwex demo.

It was THE WORST party plan/direct selling moment I'd ever been in. The lady stood at the front and droned on and on and ooooon. I think once she said, "if you want to try one...".
I sneaked in the other room with the hostess and one of the cloths (Antibac Enviro) and with my TUT and eye-roll found a vegemite smudge on the carpet... "HANG ON! did that actually come out?? Oh... it did".

Before I'd even touched one myself I was signing up (still with skepticism) as the urge to join at such an early stage (first two years) of Norwex being in the country was too good a chance to miss.
Back then it was $149 to join, now it's $59.95 - darn it! :o)

I am STILL FLABBERGASTED at how good this stuff is. The fact alone that it SELF SANITIZES still gets me.

Did I tell you the time when I proved the self sanitizing ability myself?? It's GROSS but totally worth hearing.

My husband is a Paramedic and has come home with a stomach bug three times now. I used one Antibac Enviro, damp, wiped over the door handles, taps, sink, then the loo - button and top, lid, inside the lid, seat, everything.. then used some Norwex loo cleaner. I think I even wiped the floor around the loo just incase.
Then EVERY TIME he used the bathroom in that unfortuante way, I used the SAME CLOTH to do the same things and only rinsed it very very very well under the hot tap and hung out to air on a hook near the sink.

NO-BODY GOT SICK! And you know very well that once a bug is in the house it rips through everyone!
I'm happy to say that I haven't had a stomach bug since I've been using Norwex and that's almost 2 years ago now.

I LIKE!     click on the LIKE button on the right hand side below followers and you'll have access to my personal monthly specials. So worth it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

~Don't ask for lemon butter~

Well since our new rental property has NO available growing space (ok so there might be a smidge but it's kid chaos in the garden), I've decided to take up preserving ("canning" in the US and "bottling" in the UK) to hopefully take some of that itch away.

So far it's not really working.. I'm enjoying bottling ALOT but there is no substitute for getting my hands dirty in cool loamy soil and planting out the first seedlings of Spring. Smelling the warm fragrant air, knowing that in a few months time I'll be overrun with zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, beans, shallots, herbs, lettuce, silverbeet, beetroot, potatoes etc etc etc!!! We never got overrun with starwberries but we'd at least get about 250g per day for a month. That was nice. Plus a few experimentals..

Here in the new nest.. it's... well... in the bush (trees/wilderness). So even if I did grow anything it would be quickly devoured by possums or bandicoots. They'd either eat them or sit on them. Grrrr!

Our garden is NOT a place of tranquility as there's a 10ft retaining wall of climbable boulders at the rear going up onto the private road. I have boys. Climbers. Clever climbers. Oh help me!

Anyway, so I'm getting stuck into the food production side for a year at least.

6 ft leeks that were at the market for $1.50 each! LOVE leek soup so I chopped and froze them. Too bad I sold that tucker box freezer..

Lately I've been Strawberry Jaming. Because I have small kiddies, I like to do the recipes that have stages so I can stagger out the work and not ruin anything because of kids underfoot.

Here we have batch 1 and 2. Aka Strawberry Jam with bits and .. er... Strawberry Jam.
Batch 1 was 1.5kilos of strawberries (sliced and sat over night with sugar in fridge). Cooked with a packet of vacola jamsetta, juice of one lemon (there for the taste not the pectin) plus a knob of butter at the end to disperse any scum. YUM! Thanks Delia.

Batch 2 was 1.5kilos (smooshed and sat over night in sugar in fridge) with juice of 1 lemon and no pectin. Without that Jamsetta it took longer to reach setting stage. In comparison I thought this was too cooked. It lost that lovely fresh zing and was darker in colour.
Knob of butter at the end.

My cupboard!
 From left to right we have: Hickson mandarin marmalade (didn't set but tastes sooo gooood!), Murcot mandarin marmalade (set. nice.), Piccalilli by the book, Piccalilli without electric scales (curried piccalilli actually tastes really yum too!), Batch 1 Strawberry Jam (the best one).

Below we have the bums so you can see the deliciousness. On the far right is a small sample jar from Batch 3 Strawberry Jelly Jam;
(ran out of time, sat in fridge for two nights so s.berries got almost dehydrated with the sugar sucking the juice out of them so they didn't cook down to mush. Then I had 2kilos of fruit and added 2 packets of Jamsetta so it's rather... jelly like. It's not conventional but oh my Gosh! the flavour is so there!)

So to tally up I have(Large jars are size 20 Vacola, approx 540g):

3 large jars Apple sauce (ok it was supposed to be apple pie filling but processed it wrong and had to re-cook it. YUM!)
5 med jars Piccalilli - by the book
6 large jars Curry Piccalilli
6 large jars Strawberry jam (1 each of Batch 1+2 and 4 of Batch 3 the Jelly Jam - yuuuuUUUm)
5 small Marmalade jars (1 Murcot, 4 Hickson)
2 large jars wild plum jam
3 large jars pickled onions

Not to forget the fridge:
3 large jars of Strawberry jam, one of each batch
1 large Murcot Mand. Marmalade
1 small Murcot Mand. Marmalade
1 Piccalilli by the book

So! My strawberry jam tips:
  • Use Jamsetta as you keep that lovely fresh flavour and appearance of the fruit as you're not having to boil it for very long (maybe 16mins or less).
  • Do batches of 1.5kg at a time
  • Add juice of one lemon for flavour, it really compliments the strawberry. Then a knob of butter at the end, also for flavour
  • If you do the slicing the fruit and leaving over night in sugar method then don't leave it any longer and smoosh that fruit once it's in the pan.
Happy Jamming!

P.s. We stripped the lemons off our tree before moving.. how silly of me to think I'd have time to make lemonade and lemon butter. We gave lots away and the rest spoilt because of my optimism in having time in a new home. So don't ask for lemon butter.. there is NONE!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

August - more-ish

Ok so here's the most beautiful thing that happened in August (well, this year!). Meili and Sam got married.
This little boy was very shy and waited for quite some time watching his Meili being photographed before he had the chance to give her a temple garden picked posy.

Sorry... I know! So totally inappropriate to put these two subjects together... (sorry sorry sorry) BUT there's nothing more refreshing than the smell of brining vegetables. HONESTLY! It smells like fresh air.

 Here's the mix after having the salt washed and washed and washed out. Then cooked up in spice, sugar and vinegar mix.
 Piccalilli cooling and popping while I get the apple pie filling ready to bottle up. It ended up being apple sauce as I didn't know you had to process them straight away in the Vacola unit so I had to cook them up and re-sterilise all the jars before processing them again. Still... loving the apple sauce! I have it on good authority from my friend Sarah and her extended family that it's super delicious! (Glad it's not just one of those things you love because you were fed it all you're life!).

Here's the one good photo of me in years. It's likely to be a while before I post another pic of myself! I'm not the type to make my face the subject of my blog entries (so conceited when people do that!). Food is so much more interesting!

Don't I just make those braces look cool for a thirty something Mum to be wearing!? (er.. ha ha can I even use the word 'cool' at my age?)... Not too bad. After 2 years of invisalign and 4 months of braces I'll have straight teeth - yay!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

.. finally

Well after weeks of anticipating moving house, making mum's piccalilli (really more like a relish), strawberry jam and yet more mandarin marmalade.. we're in and settled.
The garden makes me anxious. Too many unsafe places, too exposed to the private road and NO ROOM TO GROW!
Gosh I miss growing vegies already. This is spring and I have this desperate urge to stick my hands in dirt, dig, sew, water, mulch and plan what I'll do with gluts of giant zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and potatoes. I was even going to try corn again this year. At least I kept my curry leaf tree...

Humf! How dull. Still... I've got my new vacola unit and can start using up some of these age old jars I got on freecycle. I'll just have to make a trip down to the markets before the apples hike in price as the season changes. Make some pie filling.. then maybe some strawberry and apple jam next time.