Green and Thrifty

Another week, another slightly wholemeal sourdough loaf. I am fairly unimaginative with my bread, but it is consistently satisfying and good. Except that Rosy doesn't like sourdough and pleads for bread with actual storebought yeast in it. Which just goes to show.. something.

I have been growing ugly carrots, small parsnips, leggy broccoli that has been grown in the shade, and perfect beetroot. Pretty much all the veg I grow would fail the supermarket test, but we don't discriminate against ugly veg here, because it's all beautiful on the inside, right?

 My favourite way to eat ugly veg is to chop it all up and roast it with dabs of ghee, olive oil, salt, spices (cumin, ground fennel), rosemary and sage, 200C (390F) for 15 minutes, then turn it down to 180C (350F) until done. Each veg has a different cooking time, so you have to keep checking and taking out the done veg with tongs.

Then (and this is the good bit, but no photo), you make a salad with everything green from the garden, the roast veg, and sunflower seeds that have been dry roasted in a frying pan for a couple of minutes. My favourite salad dressing on top, and there is lunch. You can add all the other salad veg, quinoa, chick peas, boiled eggs or anything else that takes your fancy. Yum.

In other thrifty news, I think sometimes it is good to re-examine our social habits and maybe notch back the spendy side of them while keeping the social part. I do brunch with some excellent girlfriends every couple of months at a cafe, but this month I invited them over to mine, and we had a delightful and satisfying brekky this morning, with everyone bringing something. This worked out well because the busy full-time worker can still pick up her contribution from the gourmet deli, but we all have the choice to cook from scratch on the cheap if we want/need to.

Today I went to visit my mum, and goodness, I never come home from hers empty-handed. Half a packet of out-of-date brown sugar (2016) which she decided she was probably never going to use, an Agatha Christie novel from the op-shop (The Mysterious Affair at Styles - her first novel, and I didn't have it), packets of blank cards for the girls to make cards with, which came from.. someone at Craft Club?? Just guessing here. Some cellophane bags to put Christmas goodies into when Christmas baking season comes round again. A jar of jam. Some slices of fruitcake. It's sort of the opposite of Red Riding Hood. We come home from Grandma's with the basket of goodies..

I love the going around and coming around cycle of goods that travel back and forth between friends. You know how at some point you start getting hand-me-ups clothes from your teenagers? Well, this week I was given a pair of hiking shoes by Posy's friend, who had grown out of them. This is a child I have known since she was born, whose feet are now bigger than mine... anyway, it was wonderful serendipity, because my decade old hiking shoes are literally falling apart and I was wondering if I was going to have to break my six month streak of buying no clothes, even second-hand ones. I will have to soon though, because I have no jeans left without holes. Either op-shopping, or creative patching is in my future.

This week I have have had lots of free reading matter to hand. Library books, of course, three Monthly magazines from a friend, books borrowed from another friend's book case, the offer of new reading matter from yet another friend who just arrived back on Australian shores from the US, with, as far as I can work out, a suitcase full of books. All of that, along with the Agatha Christie novel from Mum equals a cornucopia of literary happiness.

For the last week I have been over the moon to - be doing the washing. My washing machine broke three weeks ago, and I have been lugging baskets of dirty washing around various kind washing machine owners. The part finally arrived, and the nice washing machine repairman fixed it up for me, and two-and-a-half minutes after the front door shut behind him I had the first load on. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. I love my washing machine. And I love clean sheets. And even though it is way more inconvenient than going out and buying a new washing machine, I love that my machine could be fixed with a tiny metal part, rather than throwing away 70kg of metal and plastic. That feels good.

And more free food - I walked the dog right past a box of free lemons on the pavement outside someone's gate. Ooh, yes, lemons. I took three.

From the garden this week: lettuce, broccoli, broccoli leaves, parsley, rosemary, sage, kale, carrot, beetroot, parsnip.
Dried: lemon verbena tea
From the shed: garlic
From other people's gardens: limes, lemons, apples, kale, rhubarb

Tell me about your green and thrifty adventures this week.


Beznarf27 said…
Seriously Jo, try that sourdough potato bread in a bread tin. Rosy will loved it! Unimaginative but consistently satisfying and good bread is the business. When you start wandering around in bread experimentation territory for too long your lower half starts to expand exponentially.

Your veggies are spectacular. I am SO jealous of your ability to grow veggies in the soil. Your roast veggies sound scrumptious. That's an awesome idea about hosting brunch as well as being cheaper and more frugal, its a whole lot easier to be yourself if you are in someones home rather than a cafe.

My mum was the same as your mum and we never came home without cartons of homemade ginger beer, some of mum's homemade wine, a few jars of "something preserved" and usually cake and biscuits etc. Time for some Shibori on those jeans :)

We still haven't managed to get out to build that garden yet as it hasn't stopped raining and on the odd day that it has we have had to do other things to make the most of the sunshine. I have Egyptian walking onions that want to walk into a garden bed but no garden bed for them to walk into at the moment and pretty soon spring is going to "spring" and all of my dormant plants that also need that new garden bed are going to go mental!

I have 7 little persimmons happily growing on my kitchen table. I filched their deceased parents from a man who has the most spectacular espalier fruit tree garden just up the road from us. Some blackbirds had been pecking his glorious garden ornaments (persimmons) and so he hurled the pecked fruit over the road to the other side where I happened upon them and took them home gleefully. On breaking them open I was most delighted to find seeds as most persimmons you buy from the shop don't have seeds. I planted the first lot and got 7 to germinate and as the blackbirds are voracious I keep my eye out for whenever he throws out more persimmons and have 13 more pots with seeds in them and a few more germinating in damp kitchen towel in a ziplock bag (note to self, see if you can use another container to germinate seeds...) All in all I am most happy about the germination rate and can't wait till my baby persimmons grow a bit :)

I am about to plant out apricot stones as I want an apricot tree and the parent of these stones has amazing huge apricots on it and never gets watered in any way, shape or form so that tells me it is perfect for here (if I can keep the possum invaders off it for long enough for it to grow that is and I won't even think about the fruit situation as that won't happen for a few years, "bad luck possums!" ;) )

Every time I read your posts I get galvanised to do things. I have taught myself to knit watching YouTube videos and currently have socks, a hot water bottle cover (gift for a friend) and an apple pincushion and some sweet little knit tea bag envelopes for holding individual tea bags in your purse on my needles for a good friends birthday. I love being able to make pretty and useful things for friends that I can completely customise to their taste. Frugal living is seriously good and the challenge is to make sure that it is fun at the same time so that you don't ever want to stop living this way.

It was my birthday yesterday and we decided that we were going to have ice cream with the homemade sticky vegan ginger cake and sticky toffee pudding sauce that we made but a tiny tub of vegan ice cream costs $12 in the supermarkets and I point blank REFUSE to pay that for something that I can make myself. I found the most awesome recipe for dairy free vegan ice cream that resulted in an amazingly silky smooth, easy to scoop and most unctuous result and I will NEVER go back to brick hard shop bought overpriced rubbish! Here's to the frugal life and enjoying that incredible sense of satisfaction that comes from being blissfully happy with what you have :)
Beznarf27 said…
Sorry, I forgot to post a link in case you wanted to try making this awesome ice cream that is also pretty healthy compared to shop bought :)
Anonymous said…
Hello. The green-and-thriftiest thing lately was the picking of 19kg of kumquats (gulp!) from our single tree. Over three days they have been prepared and most of the pulp frozen, ready to be made into delicious marmalade. Thank goodness for the crate of jars in the basement! Now there are lemons - many lemons. I will do a lemon marathon soon, and make cordial, lemon drizzle cake, lemon honey and all the other lemony things I can think of.

We are very happy to eat ugly vegetables too. They taste every bit as good as perfect ones. In fact, they probably taste much better for being fresh from our own bit of dirt. Your salad sounds delicious.

Linda in NZ
Hazel said…
Green and thrifty- finally got last two water butts connected, now I just need some rain. I also need another, smaller, butt to put out the front but I think the wall needs to go first, so that one can wait.
I went to visit my mum too and came back with self raising flour, maple syrup, ketchup, potatoes and various other bits she realised she wasn't going to get through (quite a lot was left from an event she organised).

And I've just finished running a holiday club for 2-6 year olds (and so in my 4 weeks off will tidy the garden, the house, get rid of all clutter, crack sour dough bread, make vinegar and verjuice, pickle everything in sight, ferment cucumbers, make acar and jam, cook more meals and bake bread over an open fire, as well as family days out and a weeks holiday. No problem!) The children at the club need to have activities on offer, and preferably some things to show their parents at the end of the day. In the 3 years I've been doing it, I've gradually changed it from foam and plastic craft kits to a cooking activity that fits in with the theme- turtle bread rolls, cheesy starfish etc- and a (mostly) recycled craft. Everything we did this time was made from stuff we had already apart from one roll of sticky backed plastic. I tried not to make it too 'worthy' (we did use straws to make paper kites, but we already had them) but the children were just as happy with their creations as if we'd bought them all a kit.
simplelife said…
The way money seems to be fleeing from my bank account lately, I'd say I've been neither green nor thrifty.
Some months just seem to be like that, I don't like it, it makes me feel anxious and stressed.
Cheers Kate .
Pam in Virginia said…
Hi, Jo!

At least your vegetables don't need a magnifying glass. Mine are not only ugly, a lot of them a really small, even when ripe. Except for tomatoes and peppers. Perhaps I should know when I'm licked? Highly unlikely . . .

Treaders said…
I turn all my ugly veg into soup usually and it is always delicious. And free books - my idea of heaven. Having at least a 90 minute bus commute every day (and the same again by car) I have to admit I do get a lot of reading in (but I REALLY would prefer a shorter commute or no commute at all!). Anna
GretchenJoanna said…
I call that carrot cute!

I knew my carrots in the farm box were fresh, because two of the bunch were still sweetly entwined, so they weren't straight and yes, they were a little harder to clean... I felt that their embrace was not only cute but sweet because they were Nantes carrots -- ooh la la for sweetness!
Meg said…
I think any homegrown carrot is a good one, twisted or entwined with another doesn't matter. They taste the same! Glad silly supermarket specifications don't apply at your place, otherwise you'd have a pile of sad and unwanted carrots wasting in your garden. Your roast veg looks yum, I regularly have a tray of veg in the oven when I'm cooking something else. Just so easy to throw into an omelette then or a salad, like yours. Meg
Jo said…
Fran, ah, my goodness, you have so many projects - I love hearing tales from the mini-farm! Such a productive life! Be wary of the apricot tree experiment. You could get anything from no fruit to brilliant fruit or anything in between from a seed. If you know the parent plant much better to get a cutting. only reliable way to guarantee good fruit.

Linda, there, see? It is so important to keep all the jars.. wow, 19kg of kumquats. That's some harvest..

Hazel, good lord, a holiday camp for 2-6 year olds? Did they give you a medal or a knighthood or something?? That is brilliant to hear that you are stealthily turning the waste situation around. As a parent I can attest that baking is so much more appreciated than plastic craft that i then have to find a home for.. and then dispose of somehow..

Kate, yes, money flying out of bank account, check. Note to self, no more renovations.

Pam, sign of an addicted gardener, unlikely to stop trying new things!

Anna, I almost, but not quite, envy that commute, just for uninterrupted reading time!

Gretchen Joanna, I'm so glad you didn't unentangle the carrot lovers - together forever:)

Meg, yes, Spanish omelette with roast veg. Brilliant idea! Thanks!

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