Saturday, April 14, 2018

Green and Thrifty




Apples! I did  a pruning job for a friend last week and she told me there was a vacant block across the road from her house with two big trees laden with apples, and to help myself. Well, beautiful beautiful apples, hundreds of them. I picked a huge bucketful and have been giving them away, drying them and cooking up huge pans of stewed fruit for apple crumble which my family eats as fast as I can make it.

I planted garlic. I planted three of the biggest and most succulent of my own summer harvest, and a bulb given to me by a friend who has a seed business and experiments with different varieties of all the vegies. It is Syrian garlic, which I have never seen before, a white variety - hopefully it grows well in Tasmania. We will see.

I pulled out the capsicum plants to put the garlic in. The capsicums have done so well this year as it has been so hot this summer. So many ripe, red capsicums. I picked the last of the red ones last week, and before I pulled out the bushes I filled a basket with the last of the greens. I love their shiny smoothness. I thinned the carrots and chopped tiny, tiny carrot rounds into the soup.



I have been painting - first the porch which encloses my front door. It is made out of five old doors, which the paint was flaking off, so that has been a project I have been meaning to do for some time. I have been putting it off especially because - look at those window panes, or pains, I should say.



So much painting with a tiny, tiny brush. Then, yesterday, painting in the bathroom. Much of this house was only painted very sketchily when I bought it, and needs a couple of extra coats. The girls flew away to visit their dad on Thursday, so now is a good time to tackle a painting project. Now, why is this green and thrifty you may ask? Well, I bought a very low VOC (volatile organic compound) paint to do the job. I chatted to the man at the paint shop, and apparently it is the paint tints that cause VOC levels to be higher, so I chose builder's white - plain white paint with a dash of black. Black is also very low on the VOC front. I don't know why. I didn't ask, I just nodded. Sometimes men in trade shops provide too much information for my state of mind on a given day. I decided to use the exterior paint I bought for painting outside to paint the bathroom as well, as there is just as much precipitation in the bathroom as outside. All the rest of the painting gear, including gap filler and silicone, I already had in the shed and am using up diligently. It is so nice to have those jobs done. Two more tiny outside painting jobs to do outside before the winter weather sets in.

Yesterday I found Posy sewing up one of her skirts. I was beswoggled, as Roald Dahl puts it so eloquently. Fancy that, child does mending. Well, I never. I am rather encouraged by such industry.

Maggie gave me another box of pears from her tree when I did the gardening this week, so I dried half in the dehydrator, and made the other half into a giant pear crumble. So many fruit crumbles so far this autumn. We like crumble for breakfast around here. I make up a lot of crumble mix in the food processor and keep it in the fridge to throw onto stewed fruit for almost instant crumble. Yum.

Easy Peasy Crumble Mix

100g (3.5oz) butter
100g (3.5oz) flour, any you prefer
50g (1.75oz) sugar (I use raw and brown)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
100g (3.5oz) oats

Whiz up first five ingredients in food processor (or rub flour and butter together with fingers, then stir in other ingredients) then add the oats for a few seconds so they are mixed in but still look like oats.
Store in fridge until required.
To serve, sprinkle over HOT stewed fruit (if fruit is cold the crumble will go soggy before the fruit heats in the oven) and bake at 180C (375F) for 15 - 20 mins until the crumble is golden brown and the fruit starts bubbling up from below.

I am now up at Paul's cabin on the mountain in the pouring rain listening to cello music and watching the weather. Before I left home I cooked up everything in the fridge - bottom of the fridge soup, as every housekeeper knows, is the staple way to use up vegetables 'that want eating' as my granny used to say. I also did several trays of roast veg - all the vegies cut up into chunks, drizzled with olive oil, rosemary, cumin, ground fennel seed. This makes the basis of a wonderful salad to which you can add anything - chicken, chickpeas, feta, greens, toasted seeds, lots of salad dressing. Yum. So we are set for food for several days, and today we are making sourdough bread as well, with our starter from a week or so ago. Rainy weather, warm house, good food, good company. What more could anyone want?

Tell me about your thrifty adventures..





5 comments:

simplelife said...

Yep I'd do well at your place, crumble ✔️, roast veg salad ✔️, clean out the fridge soup ✔️, sour dough 💯.
Cheers Kate

Jo said...

Kate, nice, a kindred spirit! xx

Grow Gather Enjoy said...

You've been busy Jo. My neighbour has just offered me a whole heap of granny smith apples from his mother's farm so I'm looking forward to getting my hands on those on the weekend. They'll probably mostly be stewing apples so I'll do a big spiced batch for adding to winter porridge - yummo.
I too planted the garlic last week - I'm hoping 40 cloves will be enough but I always get scarcity mindset when planting those 'once off' crops! Same goes for the broad beans that went in at the same time - surely 20 plants will be ok??
Enjoy your time at the cabin - sounds blissful.
Cheers,
Laura

Clarissa Morris said...

Wow you sounds so busy, especially with all that painting. Those apples would have been a wonderful treat.

Jo said...

Laura, apples are the thing right now aren't they? Have a happy time squirrelling them away for winter! Twenty broad bean plants? I hope your family likes broad beans:) But garlic, well, who can ever have enough??

Clarissa, the apples are wonderful. I love 'rescuing' apples from abandoned trees.