A quick citronella spray to keep those biting bugs at bay …
Into a little spray bottle I put a good 40 drops of citronella then a few drops each of of tea tree, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils. About half of the bottle was filled with witch hazel and then I added a slug of vodka and a couple of teaspoons of glycerine. (It isn’t recommended to put citronella essential oil directly on skin).
While the citronella was on hand I put some in the diffuser mix and dabbed some on the bedroom curtains …
At this time of year our herb pots provide more than we can use so I like to make fragrant posies. This time I used some well soaked oasis to support the stems in a wide necked pot and found they lasted much better than in water.
Blame me if the weather breaks … I have just converted his shirts (some of them) to short sleeved.
A simple chop and hem job using a ‘proper’ short sleeve shirt to get the length right. Just cut off an inch and a half below the intended hem line. Keep the chopped off bits for crafty projects.
Turn shirt inside out, press a hem along the intended length and then turn under the raw edge about a quarter of an inch. Press again, pin and stitch around the sleeve.
Tip: remove the bed from your sewing machine so you can turn the fabric as you sew. Tip 2: start stitching at the under arm seam so if there are any gathers (if the sleeve tapers) they can be hidden underneath.
The things we find during a lockdown cupboard clean…in this case a big bag of walnuts gifted by our neighbours last autumn. Determined to put them to good use here are some of the recipes I found on walnuts.org (California walnuts promo site)
Walnut pesto (replace pine nuts in the classic recipe)
Walnut and Parmesan ‘cream’ a veggie pâté alternative
Walnut ‘meatballs’ where mushrooms are used
Walnut honey butter, a sweet chunky ‘peanut butter’
These waxed wraps really come into their own when you are cutting down on cling film and foil.
Today I ‘re-waxed’ some of my older fabric squares to renovate and extend their life. It is more efficient than starting from scratch, even after months of use the fabrics still hold quite a lot of the original wax.
I sprinkle a teaspoon of wax pellets over the cotton square then sandwich it between parchment paper (baking or waxed paper will do) and run a hot -no steam- iron over it until the wax has melted in. I turn the fabric over and iron again so that excess left on the paper can be absorbed by both sides.
Subsequent sheets to be ironed need less wax (you can shave a beeswax candle if you don’t have any other wax) because you will have some residue left on your parchment paper.
These wraps fold nicely over bowls, around cheese or seal opened packets in the fridge. The warmth of your hands helps shape them enough to fit and they just wipe down between uses. You can see I store mine on the side of the fridge with magnets so I have them to hand.
New menus and cooking methods have flooded into our kitchen recently. Many discovered when browsing digital magazines courtesy of our library card. So here are the tastiest (we think) so far …
1.Savoury bread and butter pudding: basically fried leeks instead of jam on the bread and cheese in the ‘custard’ rather than sugar
2. broccoli pasta – cooking broccoli in with the pasta for the last 3 minutes makes it a lighter, tastier dish, even for the broccoli hater in the household. Top with your usual pasta sauce
3. Frozen bananas found lurking at the back of the freezer work brilliantly in banana bread. Made more mix than fits your loaf tin? Dig out the mince pie tray to make Muffins
4. Ingredients intended for stuffing that never made it to the Christmas table combine to make great meatball replacements. Why these hid behind the frozen bananas is a mystery.
5. Jamie Oliver is an inspiration. His no frills gnocchi (mashed potato leftovers with just enough flour mixed in) are lighter and lovelier than bought
6. Dredging steaming hot, par-boiled parsnips in flavoured flour means the flour sticks without need for egg wash. You can roast them immediately or freeze them ready floured so they can be roasted at a later date