April 2001 Recipes

The Perfect Chip

1 very large spud per person
olive oil
optional chilli, garlic, thyme, salt, black pepper
Splash olive oil on a baking tray. Place it in a hot oven -325- while you cut the spuds.
Spuds can be peeled, or just scrubbed. Cut into slices about as thick as your little finger, unless you have very big fingers. Dry them on a clean tea towel.
Take tray out of the oven; rub cut sides of spuds in the hot oil. Don't crowd too many on the tray or they'll turn soft with too much humidity. Add crushed garlic, thyme leaves, powdered chilli as you prefer during the rubbing process.
Place back in the hot oven till the chips are brown and crisp and slightly puffy- about 15 minutes. Eat at once, with salt if you like, though with the chilli and garlic and thyme you won't need it.
ps these are actually good for you

The Internet Cookie
(Recipe may be halved)
2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. soda
2 cups sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal ***
24 oz. chocolate chips
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 - 8 oz. Hershey Bar (grated)
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)
*** Measure oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder.
Cream the butter and both sugars.
Add eggs and vanilla, mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda.
Add chocolate chips, Hershey Bar and nuts.
Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.
Makes 112 cookies.
Note: I just use self raising flour and leave out the soda, baking powder and salt; instead of a Hershey bar I've tried Kit Kats, Violet Crumble bars and Mars bars...all good. It's also good even if the rolled oats aren't blended.

Pumpkin and Tumeric Rissotto
Tumeric used to be known as 'Indian saffron' ..which is why the so called 'saffron robes' are dyed with tumeric, and often saffron cakes were flavoured with tumeric instead.
Tumeric has also been used as an anti inflammatory herb.
(it really is delicious- don't let the pumpkin put you off)
half cup basmati rice
3 teaspoons tumeric
1 Spanish /red onion, very finley chopped
1 cup pumpkin, peeled and cubed(tiny cubes)
5 tb ghee or margarine
juice half a lemon
2 cups chicken stock or water
salt if necessary; black pepper
Melt butter in pan on VERY low heat; add onion and rice; stir till onion is soft(Add more ghee/margarine if necessary); add tumeric; stir for another three minutes; add other ingredients; simmer till rice is soft; add more stock/water if necessary. Add salt(if desperately needed only) and pepper when you take off the heat.
This is excellent.

A Pot Pourri to keep away goblins, lightening, warlocks, dishonest politicians and other evils
1 cup marjoram leaves, dried
1 cup clary sage leaves, dried
1 cup vervain leaves, dried
1 cup bay leaves (at supermarket)
1 cup dill leaves (at supermarket)
6 cloves garlic
Leave by open windows to ward off warlocks; chimneys for the goblins and on the tv for the politicians.

A Totally Aphrodisiac Pot Pourri(would I lie to you?)
NB you may have to lie face first in this for it to be effective
1 cup lavender flowers, dried
2 cups Mm Alfred Periere or other very fragrant rose petals
1 cup jasmine flowers
1 cup orris root if you can get hold of it
2 sticks cinnamon bark, crumbled
1 box dark chocolates with firm centres
a few drops rose oil, ylang ylang oil, jasmine oil, lavender oil, or as many of these as you can be bothered with
Offer the chocs to your beloved. Mix the rest.

A Totally Fake But Very Pretty Pot Pourri
Place this in an elegant glass container ie wide mouthed vase, attractive bottle, glass storage jar with cork top etc
Mix any of the following:
rose hips, dried
eucalyptus buds or seed pods
whole macadamia nuts
dried red rose petals
dried calendula flowers or dried marigolds
cinnamon bark
dried lavender flowers or ANY purple flower
shreds of bark
the odd small bit of driftwood
any essential oil you like the scent of, because this lot won't smell of much at all

Jaffa Pot Pourri
Use the same containers as above. Make sure you put the lid on. Mix:
1 pk jaffas
1 pk smarties
1 pk coloured jelly beans
1 pk black jelly beans
10 musk sticks, broken roughly into pieces
1 pk jelly babies or other subtley colured jube like lollies

Unkillable Pot Pourri
1 attractive glass jar or shallow box
small pebbles ie milky quartz or rounded river pebbles or sea washed small rocks etc
Add a few drops essential oil every few weeks. The oil will be absorbed by the rocks, and then slowly evaporate

Grenadine Syrup from Pomegranates
Place equal amounts of sugar and seeds in a bowl; leave overnight; boil for five minutes;
strain..and there you are.
You can use grenadine syrup just like red cordial; or add it to orange juice to make a Welcome Sunrise... add a dash of tequila to the granadine and orange juice and you've got one of the famous Tequila Sunrises.

March 2001 Recipes

Apple Pancakes

1 cup grated apple
1 tb lemon juice (optional- sprinkle it on the apple so it doesn't go brown if not using right away)
half cup SR flour
2 tb csator sugar
1 egg
half cup milk

Mix dry ingredients; add apple then milk; stir till smooth. Drop spoonfuls onto a  hot greased pan; cook till bubbles appear; turn; cook other side till golden brown. Serve hot with butter, or maple syrup and icecream, or lemon juice and sugar,  or cold with butter  and possibly jam.

Garlic Cream 1

cider vinegar
lavender flowers(optional)
chamomile tea bags

Simmer either 3 chamomile tea bags or 1 cup lavender flowers or both in 1 cup of cider vinegar for twenty minutes. Cool. Add 6 peeled cloves of garlic.  Whizz in the blender. Keep in a sealed jar in the fridge. Apply a light smear to pimples. (or to chook's legs- live ones- for scaly leg, or to bulbs to hasten flowering)

Garlic Cream 2

virgin olive oil
lemon juice or natural yoghurt
salt: optional
red chillies: optional
Smear olive oil lavishly on baking pan. Turn the oven up to highest setting. Peel spuds and garlic; chop spuds into squares about twice the size of the garlic cloves. Scatter both on the baking pan, with a fair amount of space between each piece or they won't brown. Turn them around afew times so they are oily. Place in oven. Turn heat down to 200C after 10 minutes. Leave till spuds are slightly browned and soft.
Serve hot cold or tepid  with a touch of lemon juice or tossed in the yoghurt. A little finely chopped red chilli can be added to either dish.

Honey and Peppermint Hand and Foot Cream (wierd but it works!)

2 tb honey
2 tb powdered milk
2 tb avocado oil
6 tb glycerine
1 tsp peppermint oil
Heat honey till runny(about 10 seconds); take off heat; add milk and beat well; add other ingredients one by one. Store ina sealed jar.
To use: rub on; wash off. the honey helps clean all those ingrained grotty bits; the avocado oil misturisers, and the lactic acid in the milk really does help soften horny callouses.

Strawberry Champagne Granita

one and half cups champagne- not too dry, as a lot of sweetness is lost when food is frozen
half a cup very ripe strawberries
1 tb castor sugar, or to taste- depends on sweetness of berries
2 splashes of bitters
Mash berries  with sugar till sugar melts.
Add chmpagne and bitters. Freeze in a  shallow tray- this should take about an hour at most in a good fridge, so if you bung it in when you put dinner on it'll be ready for a lazy dessert.
Chill two wine glasses, so the granita doesn't melt too fast. Now take a solid spoon and scrape the granita till it's grainy and slushy; spoon it into the glasses and eat at once.
Note: this SHOULD be grainy and slushy, not smooth like sorbet.
ps if you want to serve this to kids, use 2 cups water, the juice of two lemons, and 3 tb castor sugar(or to taste)  instead of champagne.

Chocolate Mints and  Other  Chocolate Goodies

1 heart shaped cutter, if you want heart shapes
1 tray
alfoil or baking paper
1 microwave oven
2 bowls
1 knife
1  wooden spoon
100gm dark chocolate
30 gm unsalted butter
another 100gm dark chocolate and
another 30 gm unsalted butter
1 cup icing sugar
1 tb milk
half teaspoon peppermint essense, or almond essense with 1 tb ground almonds, or replace the milk with rum, or cointreau and  2 tb grated orange zest, or kalhua and 1 tsp instant cofee granules
Cover the tray with alfoil or baking paper.
Melt the first lot of chocolate and butter-break up the chocolate into chunks and place it with the butter in a bowl. Put the bowl into the microwave and put it on high for 30 seconds minute.
Poke the chocolate with a spoon to see if it's soft. (It'll still be the same shape, so you need to poke it. DON'T do it with your finger, or you might get burnt!)
If it's not soft give it another 10 seconds, then another and another, and check each time. Overcooked chocolate tastes HORRIBLE, so take it out as soon as it's soft.
Now mix the melted chocolate with the melted butter. (You can also melt chocolate and buter in a bowl over a saucpan of simmering water)
Mix the melted butter and chocolate with the wooden spoon. Spread it over the tray. Leave it to set in the fridge for about ten minutes while you do the next bit.
Mix the icing sugar, milk and peppermint essense(or replace milk and essense as mentioned in the list of ingredients). You may need to add a little more milk- the icing mixture should be thick and spreadable, but no gooey or it will run all over the place! If it's too gooey add more icing sugar.
Spread this stuff over the chocolate. Leave it in the fridge to set for ten minutes while you do the next step.
Melt the next lot of chocolate and butter.  Speard that on top of the other two layers, and bung it back in the fridge for about half an hour, or till set firm.
Cut it into small squares,or diamonds,  or use a tiny heart  shaped cookie cutter to cut it into shapes- or oneginat heart shape!
Keep in sealed container, or wrap each one up in alfoil or coloured metalic paper from the newsagent.

How to Kill Your Pests.

(Otherwise known as Murder in the garden, and definitely a last resort...concentrate on growing things well, and you won't need to go akilling)

 Very Simple Pest Control

In most cases you don't need to know what the pest is.  You can control if if you just watch what it's doing.
*Little things that suck sap so your plant turns yellow or looks sand blasted or has a tracery of fine lines over the leaves or little beasties that cluster on leaves or new shoots: (aphids, mites, thrips, bean fly, scale): hose aphids off or squash them between your fingers or use an old toothbrush to scrape off tougher pests.  If you need to spray, use an oil spray according to directions on the bottle. This suffocates pests.
*Things that go chomp, chomp, chomp and take great chunks out of your leaves (caterpillars, smaller beetles): mix one cup derris dust (from the Garden Centre) to ten cups water and spray (buy a pump sprayer at the Garden Centre).  Derris is a stomach poison so any insect that eats the leaves it's been sprayed on dies.  Repeat every few days.
*Great horrible bugs and beetles:  Shake the tree and stamp on the beetles. Spray the leaves with a derris and water spray - don't spray the beetles, they won't be affected.  They need to eat the poisoned leaves.

Plant Checklist

Does your plant have wet feet?  (The roots will probably rot.)
Is your plant in a hot exposed place?  (Small leaves, drooping yellow leaves or brown blotches may mean it's getting sunstroke.)
Is it choked by weeds or grass?  (It may yellow and die of mildew and starvation.)
Is it getting enough light?  (If the poor thing strains towards the sunlight, move it or prune around it.)
Does the soil around it feel like concrete? (Mulch and water.)
Remember:  Pots dry out and heat up faster than gardens, and need more frequent feeding and watering.
Is your plant hungry?
SYMPTOMS: foliage yellows, either young or old leaves or between veins; plants are stunted,crops are small and may drop off before maturity
: the best food for plants is the residues of whatever has lived before- plant and animal matter. Compost and mulch should be all the feeding plants need. .If in doubt give plants a daily dose of liquid foliar fertiliser for a couple of weeks. If this improves your planst keep doing it, once a wek or fortnight (depending on how strongly your plants are growing) while you correct your feeding program.

What yellow leaves may tell you

If the oldest leaves are yellowing and not the young ones you have a nitrogen deficency. If the young leaves are yellow you may have a phosphorous deficency.If all leaves seem to be yellowing evenly check that the plant isn't waterlogged or starved of water - plants need water to transfer their nutrients.  Rock the plant to see if it seems loose - this would mean root rot.  Cold weather will cause leaves to turn yellow. So will herbicide drift. Check the base of the plant for collar rot or injury from a motor mower.

Glue Spray

This looks disgusting, but it works very good; on shield bugs especially, plus of course aphids, bean fly et al, and VERY good on tiny caterpillars that are too small or green to see and squash.
mix 1 cup boiling water with 1 cup white flour. Mix well. Add cold water till it's thin and sprayable. Strain well. Spray on thickly on top and under the elaves. Repeat after five minutes if you think it;s not quite thick enough. Wash sprayer well or you'll have to soak it for ages.

February 2001 Recipes

These are the recipes I've been making in the past couple of weeks, to try and use up the monster zuchinnis that lurk under the leaves gathering their strength before they take over the world. I recommend the iceblocks- the recipe was about the first one I ever made up, when I was just a kid- eight or nine, I think, and had been stuffing strawberries and mulberries and bananas into the freezer for years to eat when I came home from school, and halved frozen oranges, which are delicous eaten with a teaspoon, like a very simple sorbet.
Lots of love,

Grown up Iceblocks

(pretty fantastic for kids too)
1 cup pineapple, chopped
1 cup rockmelon, chopped
1 banana. chopped
half cup cream
half cup sugar
half cup water OR Champagne or good white wine
juice half a lemon
1 tsp mint, chopped, optional OR 1tsp ginger root, peeled and chopped, optional
half cup grapes, optional
half cup paw paw, chopped, optional
half cup strawberries, chopped, optional
half cup lychees, chopped, optional

You will also need: iceblock moulds or plastic or disposable cups, iceblock sticks or teaspoons
Boil sugar and water or wine with the mint or ginger (or no ginger and mint as you prefer) for 5 minutes. Cool.
Add the fruit. You must have pineapple and banana and preferably rockmelon too, but other fruit can be added from the list.
Take long iceblock moulds, or plastic cups or even disposable cups. Pour about tb of cream into each, then carefully add the fruit mixture, so that the cream stays mostly at the bottom, and doesn't mix through it too much. Poke an iceblock stick or teaspoon into each one; freeze, and eat.
Zuchinni Fruit Slice
185 gm butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 and three quarter cups plain flour
1 and a half teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
1 cup chopped dates
half cup chopped sultanas
half cup chopped walnuts
half cup coconut
2 cups grated raw zuchinni
Cream butter and sugar; add eggs; mix in other ingredients. Spread into greased and floured tray; bake at 200c for 30-40 minutes. Test with a skewer. Cool a little before turning out of the tray. Cut into slices with a sharp knife while still warm, but out of the container, so help prevent crumbling.
Chocolate Zuchinni Cake

185 butter/margarine
1 cuo brown sugar
2 eggs
one and a half cups self raising flour
one and a half cups grated zuchinni
2 tsp grated orange rind
quarter cup cocoa
three quarters of a cup milk
Cream butter and sugar; add eggs; fold in other ingredients. Grease and flour a cake tin; pour in batter; bake at 200C for about 50 minutes till it feels firm and springs back when you press the top lightly. Leave 5 minutes before turning out on rack. Ice when cool
Rich chocolate icing

125 gm dark chocolate, melted
quarter cup sour cream
half cup icing sugar, or more if seems runny
Icing: Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate till mixture is thick enough to spread. Add more sugar if it isn't thick after an hour.
Sweet and Sour Zuchinni Pickles

2 kg zuchinni, sliced
6 cups white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 small red chilli
2 tb yellow mustard seeds
2 tb black mustard seeds
1 tb black peppercorns
1tsp tumeric
1 very large or two medium onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 whole cloves
Boil everything except zuchinni for five minutes; add the zuchinni; boil 1 minute; bottle at once.
Seal; keep in a cool place; eat after three days but better after a week or two; throw out of they look or smell odd or cloudy; keep the jar in the fridge when opened.
NB make sure the zuchinni are quite covered at all times in the jar by the sweet vinegar mixture.
Toilet Water

(And no, I don't mean stuff that comes out of the loo...'toilet' was just a euphemism, like 'powder room', because a toilet room (or toilette room) was a place you spruced yourself up to face the world.and now after all those years of being polite 'toilet' has got rude connotations too)
This stuff is great for spraying on in stinking horrible hot weather to make yourself feel fresh, slightly temporarily cooler and definately better smelling
You need:
1 cup lavender flowers
2 cups lemon grass leaves, chopped
half cup vodka
Stuff flowers, leaves and vodka in a jar; leave on a warm windowsill for three days, and shake every day.
Drain liquid out into one of those squirty bottles- either an elegant and expensive one, or just a cheap plant sprayer you bought at the supermarket if you're not trying to look glamorous.(I use the tatty plastic sort)
Add about four cups of sparkling mineral water. Bung it all in the fridge..and when you feel hot sweaty and generally disgusting, hold the squiter at arm's length, and give yourself a long slow spreading squirt.
ps if this stains your best silk blouse, do not blame me...this stuff shouldn't stain, but it might, so try it first
pps if you don't have lemon grass or lavender flowers, add a few drops of lemon grass oil and lav oil to the mineral water, and squirt that instead. But again, do check for shouldn't, but it might, and it's you're responsibility if it does!
ppps Do make sure kids don't drink it! (ie don't keep it in the fridge where kids may read the fridge) The lavender and lemon grass are okay, but the vodka isn't!
pppps And naturally don't use a sprayer that's been used with anything deadly in it.

January 2001 Recipes

This is a new year resolution..every month I'll put any new recipes I've been experimenting with here on the web site. Like most new year resolutions, this has about a 1 in 50 chance of being done. But anyway, here's the first lot.....

[apart from the recipes here there are others scattered throughout the site under book descriptions and via the links page]

Lemon Mint and Eucalyptus Tile and Bathroom Cleanser

This smells great, and works a treat!

half cup white chalk, broken into small bits
half cup Lux soap flakes
half cup bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon eucalyptus oil
1 teaspoon lemon grass oil, or lavender oil, or peppermint oil
3 tb glycerine

Bung everything in the blender(Do clean blender well afterwards) or place in a bowl and bash with the back of a sturdy spoon till amalgamated. Pleace in a wide mouthed container. Do keep the lid on when you're not using it.

To use: dab a damp sponge into the mix; scrub on; wipe off.

Peppermint Pelargonium/Geranium Cake

Line your cake tin with peppermint pelargonium leaves.

Beat 185 gm butter or margerine with 2 cups of brown sugar; add 3 eggs one by one, one and half cups self raising flour and half cup plain flour, two thirds of a cup of cocoa, 1 cup cream, 1 teaspoon peppermint essense but if you don't have the peppermint pelargonium leaves, add two do need to add some because the leaves will only flavour the outside of the cake.

Pour in the pan; bake for 45 minutes at 200C; ice it when cool if you like icing.

Pineapple and Roses Fruit Cake

(very rich and good)

Take 1 cup sherry, rum or whisky. Fill a jar with scented rose petals then pour in the alcohol. Soak the petals in the alcohol for an hour; replace with more petals; continue till the alcohol smells fragrant. Instead of roses you can use carnations, orange blossom or scented dianthus.

Now mix:

the scented alcohol
3 cups sultanas
1 cup currants
2 cups chopped crystalised cherries
2 cups chopped glace or dried pineapple
half a cup pineapple or apricot jam
3 tb grated fresh orange rind or lemon rind or both mixed
1 cup finely chopped fresh or canned pineapple
1 cup brown sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge. Leave for at least 3 days...3 weeks is even better!

Now melt 250gm butter; take off the heat and mix in five eggs one by one; then add half a cup of ground almonds and 2 cups of plain flour and the fruit mixture. Mix gently but well...don't keep beating though once it's all amalgamated.

Place in a deep cake tin; I line the edges with baking paper. Bake at about 150C for 4 hours. if the cake seems to be browning too fast turn the h eat down.

Cool in tin before turning out. Wrap in alfoil and keep till Christmas. I make more of the rose mixture and dribble a little on the cake every week.

Seed balls

Bird tables can concentrate droppings and spread disease. Bird balls are better (no I am not making a rude joke here). The birds use bird balls as a snack, not as a major food source, so they don't depend on them, which can be dangerous if the supply is interrupted.

ps if you really want birds, provide clean cool cat-safe water. Good water is much scarcer than food!

Cooked Bird Seed Ball

This doesn't contain glue, so it really the best!

Whip 4-6 eggwhites; mix in seed; press into an overproof dish, poke in a bit of coathanger so you can tie string onto it later, and bake at a low heat (about 75C) till firm.

Glue and Seed ball

Take a mould like an old icecream container; fill with bird seed; buy any of the glues at the newsagent that claim to be 'non toxic' and 'not soluble in water' on the label, and pour it in! Poke in a bit of coathanger before it dries.

This is the simplest way to make a bird seed ball, but while a glue may be non toxic I'm not sure that means it's good for them!

Saucepan lid bird ball

Make the ball as above but make a glue of 1 cup white flour to 1 cup boiling water. Poke in coathanger etc...but when you hang it up thread a roof on it, so it doesn't dissolve in the rain. The easiest roof is a saucepan lid without it's knob (leaves a convenient hole to thread string through). Just keep a lookout for convenient bits of metal or even plastiuc. If necessary, drill a hole yourself. Hub caps are also good!

ps Bryan places wire netting around our bird seed balls so that the large birds can't hog it all.

Chocolate Cumquats

Cover 3 cups cumquats or calamondins with water; simmer 20 mins. Pour off water. Add 3 cups water, 2 cups sugar. Simmer till the cumquats look transparentish- it know this sounds vague but you'll see what I mean when you do it. At this stage you can add 2 tb whisky or rum, and leave the cumquats to marinate for a few hours; otherwise proceed straight away as below.

Place cumquats on a greased tray till cool. They'll still be sticky- don't worry about it. Use a toothpick or tweezers to roll in melted chocolate; place back on the tray till set. Store in a sealed jar in a cool place. Throw out if they look or smell odd or start bubbling- but they shouldn't!

Chocolate Peppermint Truffles

2 cups cream
500gm GOOD cooking chocolate
5 tsp unsalted butter
a few drops peppermint oil
cocao powder

Melt butter and chocolate in the cream over a very low heat. Do NOT simmer. Take it off the heat at once and add the peppermint oil; beat for 5 minutes. Put it in the fridge to cool, and beat for a couple of minutes every five minutes or so till it's cold and thick. Now roll spoonfulls into small balls between your fingers, then roll in cocoa. Try to handle them as little as you can. Cool again. store in a sealed container.

Ps. try not to lick your fingers till AFTER you've finished the lot.

(other flavouring can be used instead of peppermint: cointreau and a little grated orange zest, rum, various liquers, almond essense)


Note: neither of these cordials contain preservatives; they should last for a few weeks, but do keep an eye on them and store in a cool place. If they look cloudy or fizzy or smell odd, disgard at once.

Ginger cordial

1 cup grated ginger(don't bother to peel)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp citric acid
2 tsp tartaric acid
3 cups water

Simmer ginger in the water for 15-20 minutes, or till really gingery. Drain off ginger; add sugar; boil 5 mins; add other ingredients. Bottle. Add a little caramelised sugar if you want it to be dark brown- I don't bother.

Add ice and water for cordial, or soda water or mineral water for gingerale. Store in a cool place. throw out if it looks or smells odd.

Chilli cordial

24 chillies, fresh or dried
3 cups water
2 lemons
2 cups sugar
2 tsp tartaric acid

Simmer chillies for 15-20 minutes. Scoop out. Add sugar; boil 5 mins; add other ingredients. Bring to the boil. bottle. Keep in a cool place. Throw out if it looks or smells odd.