The broad beans are ready! Oh yay, say the family, who are such fans of broad beans. But that is fine, because I adore just cooked, double peeled broad beans, and see no reason to share. I only plant a square metre or so every autumn, which is just enough for me to have brilliant green spring lunch treats.
Someone asked a few months ago about double peeling broad beans, and here is the technique - it really is the only nice way to eat broad beans, because who wants a plateful of giant, sad grey bullets?
First, pop your little green babies out of their furry pod beds. I have all sizes here, because there are no vegetable size standards here at Chez Blueday. We do not discriminate against small, large, or odd veg.
Pop the bean babies into a pan of boiling water for 3 minutes. Set that stove timer! Drain and rinse in cold water.
Beans will now be an unappealing shade of grey. If you look carefully you can see cracks in their ickle grey onesies. Now you pop them out of their shells and you will have vibrant grassy green beans for your lunch.
My thrifty lunch today was leftover cooked quinoa, lovely broad beans, rocket and calendula petals from the garden, plus feta and salad dressing.
Who else is
Again, I have been very good, and been cleaning out the leftovers from the fridge all week. Today I made chicken stock from a chicken carcass. Soup tomorrow with carrots, onions and the saved broccoli stems.
I just have one question. Is making walnut cakes to use up leftover lemon icing actually a thrifty solution?
Yesterday I made a big pot of bolognese sauce. I took half of it and added peas, steamed carrots and Worcestershire sauce, and topped it with mashed potato from the last of wrinkly old potatoes. That was last night's cottage pie, or as we like to call it, Rustic Hot Pot a la Margot Leadbetter. I am looking for pasta-free ideas for the rest of the bolognese sauce. Maybe over jacket potatoes when I go grocery shopping Monday..
Last week Gretchen Joanna asked if my new home-made window cleaner worked on stainless steel. Well, yes indeedy, I can tell you now, it does make it very shiny and all. Of course, before I shined it, I used my secret stainless-steel appliance cleaner, which is the only thing I have ever found to get those pesky fingermarks off - bicarb soda (baking soda). Shake some onto a wet cloth, rub, rinse, then shine with the window cleaner. Job done.
Funny story. I keep bicarb soda under the sink in this old sugar shaker, which is quite similar to our chocolate powder shaker. I was industriously cleaning the kitchen with my arsenal of home cleaners at the same time as The Girl was making chai tea with steamed milk. She used the wrong shaker. Maybe a label? Apparently there are some things bicarb soda not so good for..
Another fun cleaning moment - I ran out of toilet cleaner. Yes, so fun I hear you saying. Well, I kept telling myself that I would look up a toilet cleaning recipe before I ran out of the current bottle, but... didn't. So Tuesday morning I wasted some time hunting for the definitive toilet cleaning recipe, which doesn't exist. I DO NOT like to use vinegar for cleaning, even though everyone recommends it. I do not want my bathrooms to smell like a chippy.
So I read all the advice, and made something up. A quarter cup of citric acid, dissolved in half a cup of hot water. Two teaspoons eucalyptus oil. Make up to 500mls with a nice, eco dishwashing detergent. I really liked the consistency of this, and I do believe it made the toilet whiter than the eco cleaner I was using before. Do not, as I was tempted to do, use castile soap instead of detergent. I read just in time that soap (alkaline) and citric acid will go all lumpy and separate if combined.
The last new cleaning trick I tried was dripping a couple of drops of essential oil inside the toilet roll. Now our whole bathroom smells like Oil of Cloves. So quite effective. But I'm not sure now whether cloves was quite the scent I was aiming for. Maybe lavender next time?