Archive for May, 2012

I mostly drink water when I am thirsty with top ups of tea and a coffee at breakfast and lunch, I don’t usually drink cordials but I do like a homemade lemon and barley. It’s also really good for you especially if you get the occasional UTI  I believe it flushes out your kidneys and it’s a really refreshing drink. So here is a recipe for making your own lemon and barley health drink, you can dilute to your taste.


•1/3 cup Pearl Barley

•1 ½  litres Water

•3 Lemons

•1/3 cup brown Sugar… Citric acid [ optional ]

How to make Lemon Barley Cordial:

Put barley and water in a pan and bring to boil. Discard water and refill pan with another 1 ½ litres of water bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat, cover the pan and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

Strain the liquid in to a jug and set the barley one side… [ Cooked  barley can be used in vegie burgers later ]

Return barley water to the pan

Peel the lemons very thinly, juice the lemons,  add  juice and rind to the pan together with sugar

Bring to a boil again stirring until sugar has dissolved, taste at this point if too sweet add 1 tsp

Citric acid

If not sweet enough add more sugar

Leave to cool then pour into a sterilized glass bottle and keep in the fridge

I like to dilute  by  50% with water


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Very occasionally I will buy half a red cabbage to mix a small amount into some coleslaw. I am always left with the rest of the cabbage that sits in the fridge while I ponder what to do with it.

I don’t usually make pickles as I am the only one that likes them, but this time thought why not. I don’t like wasting food and it would be just a small amount anyway, but I actually made 2 large jars of pickles from the leftover red cabbage.

Here is the recipe that I used it’s very easy…

Cut off and discard the outer discoloured leaves from the cabbage.

Quarter and remove the tough inner stalk and shred the cabbage, wash and drain well.

Layer in a glass or plastic basin with salt between layers, ending with a layer of salt.

Cover and leave for 24 hours.

Wash thoroughly in cold water and drain well.

Pack into clean, sterilised jars and pour in cold, spiced vinegar, make sure vinegar covers the cabbage

Replace lid on the jars and label with contents and date and store in the fridge,

Ready to eat in a week if you can wait


You can make your own spiced vinegar by heating 1 ½ litres of white vinegar

Together with 2 tsp of pickling spices,[ or your own mix of favourite spices ]

Turn off the heat and leave to cool, strain vinegar and store as usual.

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A few years ago the grocery stores here in New Zealand  said they were not supplying plastic bags for our purchases. This was an effort to reduce plastic waste in the landfill. I think they could have used bio friendly plastic that breaks down much quicker or provide boxes if they were so concerned. They gave up the idea after a while because not everyone was willing to buy the cloth bags.

I already re-used the larger plastic bags for bin liners in the kitchen and had quite a few of them, so decided to crochet them into up-cycled grocery bags. These bags are very strong and can easily hold 2 – 3 litre bottles of milk, the plastic bags they provided were already quite thin and I never trusted them to hold such a weight.

There are several tutorials on the net on how to prepare the plastic so you can knit or crochet the ” plarn ” basically you just cut off the handles and the bottom of the bag and then cut the whole bag into loops. Then link the loops together and wind into a ball.

I made a crochet base the size of the bottom of the bag  just with single crochet back and forth then started to crochet around the base. After a few rows it starts to look more like the bottom of a bag as it begins to stand up, just keep going until it is the height you want. At the top I counted how many stitches I needed in the middle and at the sides then worked to the first handle, crochet the length of the handle then join to the side. Work until you reach the other side where the second handle goes and do the same, then go round again working another row on the handles secure the end of the ” plarn ” by weaving in and out of your stitches and your done.

I have made quite a few of them so far and have given some away, it got so I felt really guilty throwing any plastic in the bin. I even collected the bread bags to crochet, these are a bit more difficult to crochet as the hook developed quite an annoying squeak trying to make a stitch but I persevered and the finished bags are very colorful. I even made one from an old video tape this had the same problem squeak though. I don’t have a pattern just made it up but if you need some basic instructions I can let you know how many stitches and rows I used, can’t write a pattern though.

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