A Few Seasonal Recipes

Lemon Jelly Soap

2 saucepans, 1 large one small
1 empty liquid soap dispener, or a detergent, shampoo or other bottle
6 cups lemon rind, fresh or dried but NOT mouldy (or lime rind, orange, mandarin or a mixture)
1 cup grated soap, either fresh or elderly
5 cups water

Simmer soap in 2 cups water till smooth; stir as needed.
Simmer lemon etc rind in 3 cups water , with the lid on, till the liquid is reduced to about a third of a cupful. Doesn't have to be exact. Strain out the soggy peel.
Mix the warm soap mix with the warm lemon liquid. Pour into soap or shampoo bottle. You may need to shake befoire use every now and then,in case the mixture separates a bit, but it shouldn't.
To use: squirt a little into you hand, rub in, wash off.
Note: this stuff smells delicious (do not eat it), softens your hands, and is great for cleaning off stains and grot. But if a rash develops, or you are allergic to lemon oil, stop using it!!!!

A Bit of Spring Cleaning
Note my knowledge of housecleaning doesn't mean I DO it...just enjoy telling other people what to do!

Green Gunge
(tiles, baths- not fibreglass- ovens, toilets)
1 tb detergent
1 tb baking powder
Wipe on
Spray with white vinegar; let bubble, wipe off.

Lemon Splodge Scouring paste- may scratch surfaces
1 stick white chalk
half cup soap flakes
6 cups oranges or lemon halves after you'd squeezed them for juice, boiled with 6 cups water till about half a cup remains.

Blend. beware- it bubbles- or smash chalk with a hammer then mix by hand. Nore: chalk in a blender will scratch the plastic. I use a hand blender in an old saucepan

Dirty stoves: leave a little detergent and water on the grot to soak for an hour before cleaning.
Glass tables: vinegar and a clean cloth or old newspaper
windows:add a cup of meths to 1 bucket of warm water. DON"T wash on windy days or they'll streak.
Shower heads: 1 part white vinegar, 1 part water
Fly screens: put rubber gloves on; rub screens well and the grot will move to the other side. Dust it off.
Discolured grout: white shoe cleaner
Soapy shower screens: rub with a little clear polish; wipe off; soap won't accumulate
Greasy oven racks: soak in half a cup washing soda to a sink of hot water
drains : buy a plumbers mate; buy it on a busy staurday morning so someone in the queque can tell you how to use it when you ask

Bath and toilet stain remover- use with gloves, goggles and a face mask!
6 tb white flour
6 tb white vinegar
6 tb hydrogen peroxide
Rub in with a soft cloth; leave overnight; scrub off with a scrubbing brush or even old toothbrush. repeat if necessary- the stain may only face a bit each time

It's much simpler to flavour honey than make jam.... esp in spring!

Marmalade honey

1 cup sliced citrus
2 cups honey

Heat both together till honey is runny. Take off the heat. Leave for an hour. Reheat; strain when honey is runny. Pour the still runny honey into a jar. (Honey will thicken as it cools). Keep honey in the fridge.
Note: this honey will be runnier than it was before the citrus was added. It should last at least several weeks, and hopefully longer

Honey Butter
Mix equal amounts of honey and butter. Store in the fridge. Keep as long as you would keep plain butter.

Honey and walnut Butter
Mix half a cup ground walnuts with half a cup butter and half a cup honey. Store in the fridge for as long as you would keep the butter.

Honey and Walnut Cream

half cup honey
half cup cream
1 tb butte
quarter cup ground walnuts

Simmer five minutes; bottle; keep in the fridge for a week-or possibly more, but do check it hasn't gone off. This cream will thicken as it cools.Great with icecream as well as on toast, scones etc.

Rose Honey
Heat 1 cup honey till runny; add 1 cup fragrant rose petals, white bit cut off. Leave with lid on for two hours. Heat with lid on till runny; strain; bottle- or repeat with more petals if it's not fragrant enough.

Roast Chicken Soup
(about 8 serves)

The remnants of one large roast chook
4 large red onions, peeled and chopped
1 bulb garlic, peeled and chopped
4 tb olive oil
half a cup barley
10 - 12 cups chicken stock
1 cup creamed sweet corn
3 tb soy sauce
3 sticks celery, chopped, with a few chopped leaves
4 tb parsley, chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
juice half a lemon or 1 lime
1 tb corn flour (or 2-3 if you like a thicker soup)
optional: 4 tb garlic chives, chopped
4 tb spring onions, chopped
a little fresh cauliflower, chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 cup fresh peas or broad beans
white of 2 leeks, chopped
half cup orange sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 tb fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1-3 fresh red chillies, chopped

Stir onions and garlic in olive oil in a large pan till soft. Add the flour; Stir. Add the stock, stir so it isn't lumpy. Add everything else except the chook. put the lid on, simmer half to 1 hour. Chop the chicken meat. Add to the pot. Simmer 1-5 minutes. Serve hot with good bread.
Keep in the fridge, and have a good big bowlful for lunch or dinner for the rest of the week.

More recipes from November

2000 Dried apples without a dryer
Peel apples; slice as thinly as possible, then as you slice them dunk into water and lemon juice - 1 lemon to 3 cups water.
Now thread them onto a needle and thread - leave about a finger space between each slice. Hang them up in the sun and wind, preferably under the eaves of the house where they won't get wet in the dew or rain. Bring them in when they feel rubbery.

How to dry apricots
Cut perfect fruit in half. Sample them often just to make sure they are perfect. Brush the cut side with lemon juice to stop them turning brownish - or don't bother.
Stick them cut side up on alfoil in the sun on a stinking hot day. Take them in at night. Turn them over the next day to bake the other side. Repeat till they are rubbery. Store in a glass jar or other sealed place. NB commercial apricots are dusted with sulphur to keep them soft and orange. Yours will toughen and darken - or you can buy sulphur from the chemist in small white jars. But they taste better without sulphur and many asthmatics are allergic to sulphur - even if they're not aware of it. And you can always soak them or simmer them in a little water to soften them, or suck them lovingly for an hour or so- great on long trips..

Avocado butter
Use avocado as a healthy alternative to butter or margarine on bread. Kids love 'snot' sandwiches.
Avocado dog food: mix half avocado and half dog food. Dogs usually love avocado; it's great for shiny coats. You do however need either a large income, a very small dog or your own trees.

Carob doesn't have chocolate's caffeine, theobromine (the stuff that makes you feel WONDERFULLLLL ... ) or its taste. It's also much higher in cholesterol. On the other hand, it's brown, can be made sweet and has roughly the same texture.

Carob 'Cocoa' Powder
This is made by grinding the carob pods in a coffee grinder or blender (but don't blame me if the blender breaks) till they are powdery (not the seeds - they are too tough).

Carob cocoa
Pour a little water over 2 - 4 teaspoons carob powder, 1 teaspoon sugar (sort of optional) and a few drops of vanilla (also sort of optional). Mix till smooth. Add one cup of milk, heat slowly, stirring all the time. Drink hot and pretend it's cocoa.

Carob 'chocolate'

1 cup carob powder
2 cups caster sugar
half a cup milk
quarter of a cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar and carob in a saucepan with a little of the milk till smooth. Add the rest of the milk then the butter. Heat slowly, stirring all the time, till it's thick enough to coat the spoon, then a bit more. Take off the heat, add vanilla, beat for about five minutes (you need to do this for a smooth texture). Pour onto a greased oven dish or into patty cases or drip drops for 'buttons' onto a greased tray etc. Cut if needed when cold. Whole Preserved Spiced Lemons
Prick lemons at least twenty times; cover with salt and leave for three days. Rub off the salt and pour boiling vinegar scented with a touch of nutmeg, cloves and black pepper over them. Leave for three months before using.

Lemon Essence
Grate off lemon zest with absolutely no white; place in a jar and top with vodka.

Limes in Salt
This is very good indeed - wonderful in summer.
Take a dozen limes, prick at least ten times each. Place in a dish and cover with salt. Leave alone for a month. The juice will seep out and form brine. When needed take out the limes and slice thinly. A thin slice of salted lime is excellent with cold water or soda water; it can be added to curries; mixed with natural yoghurt as a side dish; added to honeyed chicken.

Vine leaves
Take a nice young grape leaf, check for resident caterpillars and brush off beetles. Do not use leaves sprayed with pesticides or fungicides. Dip in boiling water for ten seconds.
Now take some of last night's left over fried rice - or any stuffing you like - and wrap it up neatly. Put your spoonful of rice mixture in an elongated heap towards the edge of the leaf. Now roll up in a sausage shape, tucking the ends in as you go to keep the whole parcel neat and tight. After you have done a couple you will develop a connoisseur's eye for the best shaped grape leaves (one without very deep indentations and a wilted main leaf rib so that it bends rather than breaks).
As with all of these operations doing the first half dozen makes you feel clumsy and incompetent and produces very strange shaped parcels (over full and bursting or half empty and deflated looking) but after that you can start revelling in your amazing competence and dexterity.
Place your stuffed vine leaves in a casserole sprinkle on a little lemon juice and olive oil and either water or chicken stock, say one lemon for every ten leaves and the same amount of olive oil and maybe half a cup of stock; and bake for half an hour in a moderate oven. You can also cover them with a herbed tomato mixture for a change (and as your skill level rises and you want to do more and more you will be looking for variations to play on the main theme).
Now you've got dolmades. Eat them hot, or eat them cold

Kiwi Fruit Chutney

2 kg peeled chopped kiwi fruit
6 cloves garlic, chopped
350 gms sugar
300ml white wine vinegar
1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 small chilli, chopped
2 teaspoons allspice

Simmer till thick; stir well and often. Bottle in sterilised containers. Good with curry. Lillypilly Cordial

2 cups fruit
juice of 1 large lemon
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons tartaric acid

Stew fruit till soft. Push through a sieve. Replace liquid in pan; add sugar and lemon ; simmer 10 minutes. Take off heat; stir in tartaric acid. Bottle and seal at once. Keep for up to a month in a cool place. Discard if it bubbles, changes colour or grows anything odd. Passionfruit Cordial

two cups of sugar
half a cup of water
one cup of passionfruit pulp
juice of 2 limes or 1 lemon
1 teaspoon tartaric acid

Boil the water and sugar for five minutes; take off the heat; pour in the pulp and juice. Simmer five minutes. Strain. Add tartaric acid. Stir well and bottle at once. Keep in the fridge. Throw out if it fizzes or grows mould. Vegetables
If a meteor destroys civilization tomorrow, we have enough carrots to see us through to next summer (as long as the wombat doesn't get them first.)
There is a great sense of security in knowing that whatever pain or poverty the next year brings, you have tucker in the garden.
There is also the even greater pleasure in knowing that tonight's dinner is going to taste of soil and sunlight, not styrofoam and plastic from the supermarket; that the stuff we eat is just one breathe away from still growing, and not hauled from Darwin or even California at who knows what pain to the envirmoment, both in the growing and the transporting.
But even more than that, there is the sheer extraordinary joy of picking the stuff, washing off the dirt and eating it. You only have to look at a kid's face as they eat peas straight from the pod in the garden to realise that there is something very deep and ancient in the joy of growing and picking your own.
A good vegetable garden can provide most of your food, saving you I hate to think how much money. (No, we're not vegetarian...but it's amazing how little meat you eat when you've gota basket overflowing with asparagus, or great fat bunches of fresh beetroot, or tiny sweet red lettuces..and besides, the veg garden provides most of the food for our chooks, who give us eggs and meat as well, not to mention fertiliser for the garden.) Vegetable gardens are a damn sight more work than any other part of the garden- although they don't have to be all that time consuming if you mulch mulch and MULCH (less watering no weeding no other feeding and no digging either). But to be honest if I'd feel a damn sight more naked without my vegetable garden than my underpants- and if I had to choose between knickers and vegies, I know what I'd choose.

Tofu Soy Bean Curd (Tofu)

(Note: you can also make tofu from fresh or dried soy beans. Soak dried beans in water overnight- no need to soak fresh ones. Then blend beans with five cups of boiling water. Strain. Toast leftover solids as above. Now bung the 'milk' in a pot and continue as described below.)
Take two cups of soy flour and add eight cups of cold water. Leave for half an hour, stirring a couple of times. Transfer to a pot, bring to the boil, keep stirring or it will stick to the bottom. Take off the heat and add three tablespoons of lemon juice at once. Keep stirring. Cool (don't chill it in the fridge). Line a colander or sieve with cheese cloth or even a tea towel. Tip the mixture in and leave overnight.
Store bean curd in the fridge when it is set, covered with water.

Marinated tofu
Place tofu in the following marinade for at least an hour.

3 tablespoons dry sherry, Chinese rice wine or sake
half a cup tamari or light soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons grated peeled raw ginger
2 tablespoons chopped chives or shallots or the white part of spring onions
optional: 1 chopped red chilli
half a teaspoon honey

Serve marinated tofu by itself, or topped with toasted sesame seeds. Carrot Gingerbread

125 gms butter
100 gms brown sugar
125 gms self raising flour
2 eggs
1 dessertspoon treacle
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 dessertspoons crystallised ginger, finely chopped
125 gms carrots, grated
2 tablespoons ground almonds

Melt the butter, add the treacle and sugar, stir well. Take off the heat, stir in the eggs, then add the other ingredients. Moisten with a little milk if necessary.
Bake in a slow oven for an hour, or till a skewer comes out clean (this will depend on the size of the cake tin.)
Leave uniced, or spread thinly with lemon icing when cold. Lemon icing
Add a dash of lemon juice to icing sugar, with one tablespoon of butter for every cup of icing sugar. Don't add too much juice at once in case it gets too runny - just add more as necessary.

Sweet Potato Cakes

1 cup sweet potato, boiled and mashed
1 egg
1 tb plain flour
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 tb olive oil

Fry garlic and onion in oil till soft. Scoop them out of the frying pan, leaving as much oil as you can and mash with the sweet potato, egg and flour.
Heat oil in pan again, drop in spoonfuls of the sweet potato mix, flatten a bit with the back of the spoon and fry till brown. Then turn over, brown the other side and serve at once