04 February 2013

Brown Sugar, Yoghurt and Sprouts

This morning has been a busy one in the kitchen. I took the meat from the freezer for tea tonight and decided what would go into the salad.

While I was poking around in the fridge I noticed the brown sugar canister was empty (did you know if you keep your brown sugar in the fridge it doesn't go hard?). Brown sugar is very easy to MOO and that's just what I did.

The mixer was already set up and 1 kilo of white sugar measured into the bowl. The molasses was a little thick so 10 seconds in the microwave fixed that and three tablespoons were measured and poured onto the sugar. A flick of the switch and the mixer was making me some lovely fresh, fragrant and moist brown sugar. 

Now you can mix the molasses in by hand, with a balloon whisk or even a fork, but it will take a while to get it all mixed through. If you have an electric mixer use it.

While the sugar was turning from white to cream to caramel and working it's way to brown, I put on a pot of vanilla yoghurt and another of plain (to make cream cheese).

My garden isn't doing so well at the moment. It's a combination of us being away a lot and the weather - searing days, no rain, hot winds and relying on the kids to remember to water. So I have had to buy lettuce - or at least look at buying lettuce. There is no way I will pay $2.50 for lettuce, so instead we are sprouting.

Cress is the sprout of choice at the moment. Sprouts are so good on salad sandwiches and rolls, and they sit nicely on a plate as the base of a salad. They grow really easily indoors, take up very little space and require very little attention. And they don't cost $2.50, then go brown and slimy or rot from the inside out like supermarket lettuce does. Sprouts are quick too; three days and you are picking them. I usually start a new lot when I start picking the first so we have a continuous supply and I'll keep doing this until the lettuce start producing again. I gave in and bought some seedlings from the nursery so in about 4 weeks we'll have lettuce and sprouts for our salads.

Brown sugar, yoghurt and sprouts aren't terribly exciting. But they are three small things I can make for my family, that they enjoy and that otherwise would be out of our budget. The brown sugar will go into baking for them, the yoghurt will make cheese for dips and add a nice element to fruit or cereal and sprouts - well they'll save us at least $2.50! And they'll make sandwiches more appetising (and healthier too).

 It's in this way that Cheapskating, homemaking, simple and sustainable living go hand in hand - a part of the circle of a frugal life.  

4 comments:

  1. We also suffer with no lettuce or green 'leaves' available in the garden at this time of year (hot and dry in the vegie patch) - I have been experimenting with small 'wicking' pots in shadier parts of the garden - we can have baby leaves in a couple of weeks! You can easily make these out of old pots/buckets etc - just make sure the bottom of the pot has a large saucer or line the bottom with plastic (so water cant escape). This is where the water will sit. Then fill 1/4 of the pot height with some sort of gravel and insert some sort of pipe that rests in the gravel (this is where you top up the water so needs to be at least as tall as the top of the pot if not a bit taller). Cover the gravel layer with some sort of weed fabric, shade cloth scrap, fly shade scrap or similar (don't want soil going into gravel/water layer but want plants to be able to access water). Fill the pot up with potting mix and plant your salad leaf seeds or seedlings! These are great - you can tell how much water is in there by the pipe (should only need filling every week or so). Only water the soil in the first week or so while your seedlings are getting established - after that just water down the pipe. Fantastic for when you are away too!

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  2. hi
    when you sprout cress what do you need to buy -- seeds of some sort, do you sprout them in cotton balls?

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  3. Can you explain how yoghurt becomes cream cheese? Do you need a machine of some sort?

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  4. It sounds like labheh, a middle eastern yoghurt cheese. Here's a link to 2 online recipes -

    http://howtoshuckanoyster.com/2009/08/31/in-love-with-labneh/

    http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/3227/mezze+plate

    I make greek yoghurt in the easiyo and place it into a chux as I have a stash of them. I pull up the corners and tie the chux to the handle of a wooden spoon I lay across the top of the bowl. It seems to drain better this way. The longer you leave it, the better it is.

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