Green and Thrifty

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 cheap frugal like me, and buys a block of feta, chops it into cubes and marinates it themselves in a jar of oil and herbs? When the feta runs out, I just pop more in and top up the jar with more oil.

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?


Anonymous said…
Broad beans harvested here the other day too. :) First time I've ever grown them or eaten them and I have to say YUM! Gobsmackingly, so do Jasper and Allegra! SQUEEEEE! :D
Fresh beans picked today, the last of my cauli's, a few more titchy sprouts of purple broccoli (it is so nearly done now, just a few last tiny hurrah's), a garlic to try cooking up a fresh garlic and my first onion and first potato onions (too small yet). Exciting harvest! All to be served with hot chips from the shop! ;)

We use castile soap disolved in water in a spray bottle and a shaker of 1/2 salt 1/2 bicarb. Sprinkle on the salts, spray on the soap and a quick scrub and it's a blinding white loo like those ads on tv with the glowing loo. But better cos it's bleach free! Yours sounds good too. Must dripper the loo rolls. Sadly, no matter how often I clean, our loo usually smells of freshly toilet trained kids. :(
Anonymous said…
I was never a broad bean fan until I tasted them in a curry.

Last weekend I made curried broad bean fritters. Really good.

Poor Girl, at least her tea was clean.
Jo said…
Congratulations on the broad beans! The first harvest is the most exciting!
Interesting your toilet cleaner is all alkaline, mine all acid. Does the job either way it seems. I do use straight bicarb for any stains in the bathroom, or anywhere in the house really, except painted walls. It is the bomb!
Lucinda, those fritters sound YUM. Except it takes more concentration than I have to make fritters and not turn away for a minute (or two) and burn them. Sigh.
Anonymous said…
Making walnut cakes is ALWAYS thrifty no matter the reason. Remember the war effort (well...not literally as neither of us were old enough but you get my drift ;) ).
Walnut cakes were sent across oceans in the name of thrift...go forth young lady and bake those thrifty walnut cakes and then slather them with delicious leftover lemon icing and while the kids are eating the walnut cakes you can have a second helping of those gorgeous broad beans. I outsourced my broad bean production this year. I did it last year to. A friend offered to grow them for me as my garden was too full and this year it was too "not ready" and I gave her my red flowering heritage broad beans and she gives me half back. Sounds like a good deal to me! :).

I adored Margot Ledbetter :). Good info on the window cleaner and it probably does other things as well...might have to make some and try but truth be told...I only clean my windows when all of the dog nose prints have joined up into one and made it look like the window is frosted ;)

You have had a wonderfully thrifty week. LOVE the idea about the feta as my dear Stevie-boy is a feta addict but he tends to buy it and forget about it and when I find it in the back of the dairy section of the fridge it has turned into an entirely unpleasant creature as fresh feta is want to do. I am going to hunt feta and chop the ends into a jar of olive oil. I have a jar of delicious mixed olive oils tipped from antipasti unctuousness past that I am going to use for this purpose. Cheers for the save and the great idea :)

Ye Olde Christmas clove bathroom lesson learned and shared ;). Good idea about the few drops of essential oil though...might be a nice idea for rose or lavender? GREAT idea about the toilet cleaner. We have a septic tank and our lecturer told us NOT to use bleach (Steve's old favourite) as it kills off the microbial activity and makes you have to get the tank emptied faster. He said he hasn't had to have his tank emptied in years because he stopped using bleach...but as you say vinegar leaves an "interesting" smell. He also told us to wash garden dirt down the sink on the odd occasion to balance out the ecology in the loo. I wash kefir down the sink etc. so I figure there are plenty of microbes doing their thang down in the dark so I don't often flush any dirt ;). I am going to mix up some of your patent Jo Loo mix and give it a go...another share!

By the way, Steve is doing the shopping today (Saturday) so will be dropping eggs off Ninja style this morning. I realise that you probably won't read this before the eggs get there but hopefully one of you finds them before the neighbour’s dog ;). Have a great weekend
Linda said…
Oh, I loved your post, Jo. Never double peeled the old broad beans, will do from now on as they definitely look so much more appealing! Your bit about running out of toilet cleaner hit a cord with me. I did the same last week - the first time in 42 years!!!!! My solution? Send out my husband to the local small shop for a replacement! Crisis averted! How's the tea-free diet going? Have you tried a thin slice of root ginger in a mug of boiling water? Very refreshing. I even enjoy boiling water on its own( add a little cold water to the boiling water and allow to cool a bit, obviously !)
Jo said…
Fran, THANKYOU for the eggs, I went for my morning walk, and on returning, found that the egg fairy had been:) I am so lucky xx
We had a septic system once, and the advice was, every so often, chuck a dead possum in. Encourages microbial activity apparently!
Linda, I imagine dpouble-peeling a mountain of broad beans would be a pest, but I generally use broadbeans to 'decorate' a pasta dish or salad, rather as a whole veg course..
Tea - I am going rooibos because you can put milk in it, and after a couple of weeks without 'proper' tea it is a very acceptable substitute. My big problem is - what to drink at cafes? I know, first world problem. Today I popped into a Turkish cafe with a friend and we drank apple tea and ate Turkish delight. Tannin and gluten-free. Problem sorted!
I love lemon and ginger in boiling water, though you can't quite call that tea.. it is very refreshing though..
Bek said…
I likewise have broad beans in the garden. I use them to make a broad bean felafel (recipe is on my blog if you wish to check it out), which I love as it requires no double podding.
But I LOVE the description of a broad bean onesie - I'll never be able to look at a broad bean without chuckling...
On the lemon icing - if it was just icing sugar and lemon juice you could just heat it to dissolve the sugar and you'd have lemon cordial... but I like the cake excuse much better!
Thanks for the broad bean tip, I think we have some planted here somewhere.
I do that same with feta, but have yet to produce anything like my fave S.Cape. Maybe it's all in the feta and I should source some Persian stock? cheers Wendy
i must check my broad beans! they have been very slow. but i do not mind them in all their skins, as long as they are tender. i have not the pateience for double podding!
not a label on that lovely sifter - what about a pretty ribbon around the handle for the icing sugar one instead?
Jo said…
Bek, I made felalfel once, will have to try it agiain.
Wendy, good luck hunting for the broad beans. Sadly, I don't think even highly flavoured oil will make inferior feta any better. Well, it makes it slightly better...
e, sometimes those beans sneak up in a matter of days. I don't know how they do it! often eat them raw when they are tiny. Sadly, my kitchen too full of grubby children for pretty ribbons. They would get covered in icing sugar and milk and attract ants. The ribbons that is. Probably the children as well.
Judy said…
Coca cola - apparently the best loo cleaner ever. Several of my friends highly recommend it. Tip leftover flat coke down the loo and leave it overnight. It does put you off ever wanting to drink the stuff though!

I discovered micro-fibre cloths recently and have found them a miracle. You just rinse them in water and then they clean up anything. They have silver particles in them to kill germs and just go in the washing machine when needed. There are different types designed for different surfaces. The one for metal is outstanding. It cleaned my kitchen extractor hood, that was so greasy small flies were getting stuck to it, WITH JUST WATER!!!!!! it was shiny and no stickiness at all afterwards. I dont like the cloth for windows, but the kitchen cloth is great. I do more cleaning now because it is so simple with no rubber gloves and cleaning products.

We like to make a batch of pancakes and stuff them with the bolognese sauce. Then sprinkle with cheese/ sour cream and pop in the oven to brown. Really simple and delicious as the pancakes are soft and yummy. It still has flour in it, but less than pasta. Do you have any gluten-free flour you could use?

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