DIY Butter

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Part of my Green Journey has been working to reduce the number of processing steps between me and the raw materials of my diet…In many on my experiments, I have been using alternatives to staples like butter but, sometimes, nothing butters like butter…

Growing up, strawberries and cream was a Sunday dinner treat but the risk always was that we would be a little too enthusiastic with the beating and the cream would become butter. This was the first time that I set out deliberately to take cream as far as it would go…like many such ventures, the doing was a lot easier than the thinking about the doing prior…

The recipe I used I found, like most, via Google, this one on Stuff, it is so simple. I bought a litre of cream because I thought that there would be more loss than there was – that litre made me a good 250 grams of butter and, if I hadn’t accidentally spilled it all, an easy 250mls of buttermilk (know you know where that comes from)  .

As you can see from the Stuff article, the process is dead easy: beat the cream with an electric mixer – a hand one won’t cut it once it starts to thicken up – until it is thick and lumpy, then beat it some more. Drain off the buttermilk – without spilling it! – and, using your hands knead some fresh chilled water through the butter to rinse out the rest of the buttermilk. Strain the water out through some cheese cloth or voile et voila, your own homemade butter…

I actually made way too much for my needs, I just wanted to try it in my stock [insert your vege here] cake recipe but had made so much that I had to keep using it before it went off…next time I’ll probably only use a quarter litre of cream and just make enough for a the menu at hand…

Looks like butter, tastes butter, butters like butter, can’t beat it, it is butter…

 

 

DIY Almond Coconut Milk

My green journey began after the reducing dairy conversation with Bubble…my initial resistance was based on the impossibility of life without cheese, yogurt or ice cream, all of which quickly found dairy-free alternatives for…”Plus think I have mastered the bannoffee breakfast drink now and must have milk for that!!” The comeback “Sometimes milk is needed (e.g. nice cafe latte) other times vanilla almond milk is great (smoothies, cereal and instant coffee!)” set me on the path of alternative milks.

Until this point, I had only associated alternative milks with soy which I never much liked: that there might be other options out there was total news to me…I always pushed obliviously past those shelves at the supermarket. I started out with prepacked almond and coconut from the supermarket but was never that comfortable with all the big words in the ingredients panel on each package plus each empty package = waste…

It didn’t take much Googling to learn that making my own almond, coconut or almond coconut is actually quite easy, actually so easy that I wonder why anyone would bother with the store-bought packs..? I’ve expounded the benefits to a lot of people online and in real life and I thought that it’s probably past time for a bit of a tutorial…

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I have a dedicated blender for milk making…it was only $24, heavily discounted at Briscoes…the advantages it brings to the game is that it has the capacity to hold the nut and 1.2 litres of water, and I can pulse the mix every ‘while’ as it sits.I used to use my bullet blender but had to amalgamate the mix in a separate bowl.

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The raw materials: I buy the chopped almonds in 3kg lots from Happy and Healthy, and the coconut chips in 1kg lots from Bin Inn or similar bulk stockists. I add a cup (approx 100 grams) of each to the blender and cover it with boiling filtered water – our water here is all rain water, but we’re well into the filtering habit and it doesn’t do any harm…

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Pulse the mix of nuts and boiling water for a minute or so…I think that the boiling water helps bring out the oils and flavours from the nuts…

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It’ll look something like this..DSCF0453

Top it up to the Max mark with cold filtered water – you could use more boiling water but I don’t thing it adds anything and you would need to be a lot more careful pulsing the mix until it cools down…

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Let the mix sit for a few hours or preferably overnight, giving it a quick pulse stir up every time you walk by or get bored…

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After sitting overnight, the milk has separated into the meal at the bottom and the oils and good stuff has risen to the top…the same happens in the bottle hence the good shake before use…

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Spread your filter cloth over the target bowl. My filter cloth is polyester voile I bought as a bulk end lot from Spotlight ($12 for 5+ metres)…I just sliced off a half metre square and find this much easier to use than nut milk bags which are also more expensive and harder to clean.

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Pour the mix into the centre of the cloth…

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Draw in the edges and let the bulk of the liquid drain through into the bowl…

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Hold the top of the filter cloth and twist the ball of meal so that the tightening cloth squeezes the remaining liquid into the bowl…

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Voila! one litre of almond coconut milk, fresh as with no big words or other additives. This will last in the fridge for a week. It will settle and will need a shake before you use it. I use this any place I would previously have used milk except for cheesemaking where it probably will not work (haven’t actually tried that) but may still be doable for dairy-free cheese (also not tried yet – with this milk)

I save the leftover almond coconut meal to use in baking. I generate a lot of it and so dry it over the fire or in the oven after baking (I switch the oven off and let the residual heat do the drying) and store it in a sealed container until I need it.

I use the meal in bread (1/2 a cup into every mix), almond coconut cookies, as a substitute for flour-heavy recipes and also recently used it to absorb the additional fluid when I put too much milk in the mix for my roast baby armadillo recipe

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Share Your World – 2016 Week 30

Another template, I stole from Inspiring Max – not sure if it will become a regular or not…although I do miss Mama M‘s old Five Question Friday challenges…

With your answers, please remember we are in the SYW world which may not always match our reality.
Source: Share Your World – 2016 Week 30 – Cee’s Photography

Do you prefer a bath or shower?
Generally a shower because showers are quick and I am always in a hurry; also because it has been a long time since I actually had access to a working bath…I’d like to replace the bathroom external wall with a double-glazed slider or bifold, tile the interior and be able to lie in the bath (the same bath that has been sitting in the garage since the end of 2009) and gaze out into the native bush. Somewhere, I’d also like to spot a couple of external baths, preferably with solar heating, actually out in the bush for even more chilled chllin’…

Imagine…

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..this wall but…

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…with a view like this and…

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…this bath where the current shower is…
If you had an unlimited shopping spree at only one store, which one would you choose? Why?
ITM. I would stock up on unlimited building supplies and tools so that I can start and ultimately finish all the projects I want to do here: bathroom, kitchen, post and rail fencing down the driveway, around the boundary, and around the Lodge and the cottage, decks from the front door, dining area and bath room, and retaining walls against the banks. The only resource that I would need that would not be available from ITM would be time.

Imagine four bar post and rail fences….

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…running along both boundaries and…

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…closing the cottage in…

If you could be one age for the rest of your life, what age would that be?

My thirties were a lot of fun…I think I’d like to try them again but knowing what I do now…

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List at least five movies that cheer you up.

Love Actually. I don’t like all the plot lines in this but some I do and, combining a neat sound track with happy endings, this is my – for now – bestest feel good movie…

Brainstorm. I’m not sure why – this movie is set, in the real world, against the tragedy of Natalie Wood;s untimley death…the story itself is vaguely technobabbly…but it always leaves me with a good buzz…

The Quiet Man. A babe, a brawl and a bully. A John Wayne classic set in an Ireland of along ago…

John Carter. An epic that flows and that works – for me anyway – totally unchallenging, I can just let it flow over me…

Remember the Titans. I just like it…greta story…great soundtrack…

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

DSCF0329I am actually grateful for the big fridge deciding to pop a fuse. I put the back-up fridge – it would be THE beer fridge if I ever got round to putting beer in it – in the kitchen as an interim measure…while I miss the capacity of the big Bosch – possibly because I have to think a little bit harder about what goes where – I really like the more open appearance of and access to the kitchen area…

With your answers, please remember we are in the SYW world which may not always match our reality. Do you prefer a bath or shower? If you had an unlimited shopping spree at only one store, which on… I think that I may keep the small fridge here as the ‘ready use’ fridge and relegate the Bosch to the back pantry for longer term storage…after three years, finally making changes that suit me…

 

The Story of O



OK, OK, minds out of the gutter…the WordPress Daily Prompt a couple of days ago was “You just inherited $1,000,000 from an aunt you didn’t even know existed. What’s the first thing you buy (or otherwise use the money for)?

Well, even though that sounds like a whole lot of money, these days it’s probably not as life-changing as it may sound…It would really help at the moment but for the most part, I’m thinking small for my top three…

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This is my PC keyboard – the camera is a harsh mistress and (in theory) does not lie but it isn’t really as dusty as it would appear here – it has given long and trusty service and I have finally started to wear through the markings of some of the keys…N was the first to go, followed by O and then I; T and A will most likely be next…A clever cryptologist who cares about such things might be able to develop some stunning insights into my writing patterns from this wear pattern…or maybe these keys just weren’t as well-manufactured as the rest…who knows?

What this means though is that the number of unmarked keys is directly proportional to the number of typos in my work – if I am not careful. And as careful as I am – I still have that difficult transposition habit between ‘now’ and ‘not’ (just play around with that for s second and you’ll see the potential) – the occasional error still slips through and the one that has been slipping through the most is substituting O for I…so a million dollars would mean a new keyboard and the end of the subliminal recounting of the Story of ‘O’…

Second

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I would give these guys a full makeover and invest in a pallet of Purina One food for them. I won a year’s supply of this at the end of last year in the annual Purina contest; even though even Purina admit that it’s a year’s supply for a much smaller dog, this has been much appreciated while times have been a little tight, and has been, literally, a lifesaver for Kirk. At the end of last year, he was getting very sore and stiff around his hips, getting up off his mat was a real strain for him, and I was having to seriously consider that one-way trip to the vet’s.

In less than four week’s after going onto the Purina One food, all stiffness and pain had disappeared and now, almost six months later, he has only indicated pain in his hips once and that was after his older sister shoved him into a post when they were playing (older siblings…it’s so good to be one!!!). It don’t really get into 100% product endorsements but this has made a massive difference to Kirk’s quality of life and thus my own. It is not that much more expensive but in this rural area, the larger more economic bags are hard to find.

Third

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There wasn’t a door here on Friday morning…

I would get someone in to finish the bathroom. It probably would have been done already if this year had not presented its unique blend of cash flow challenges. The electrician came in on Friday to reposition the light switch that had been hanging down from the centre of the ceiling since we pulled out the partition that enclosed the second shower. That turned into removing the wall between the shower and the bathroom…progress of a sort. The ultimate plan is to replace the current windows with glass (double-glazed) down to the floor so that one can sit in the bath and gaze out at the scenic splendour outdoors…once there’s some minor relocation of the clothesline and some ugly scrubby stuff…

PS Just saw the trailer…I’d go and see this in 3D as well…

Gone with the Windfall | The Daily Post.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

I think this is Hers because its mouth is always open….

We love our home but the entire interior is brown…wood grain, chipboard of one form or another, for a little variety, maybe varnished woodgrain or chipboard of one form or another…boringly, depressingly brown…

It was designed to be functional as a ski lodge, not as a home, and everything is very hardy, pretty much (but not always) practical, and functional. It didn’t have bedrooms when we bought it, just cubicles for bunk beds – lots of them – and they were the first to go in the first month of our occupation.

The interior doors were all white…boringly, depressingly white and functional…a few years back we used to spend the better part of two hours a day driving to and from work (back in the good old days when we both worked in the same place) and, in winter, that used to be a whole new source of depression as it’d be dark when we left and dark when we got home: we’d turn on the lights to be confront with brooown, and more broooown…and the brooownest most depressing part of the house is the back hallway which doesn’t get much light to brighten it up….

This one night, on the way home, we decided to add a splash of colour to the booooring brooooown back hallway (well, actually, it’s just THE hallway as it’s the only one we’ve got). We stopped at the ‘Kune Bunnings (when such still existed) and bought a litre (quart for those less enlightened) of nice purple paint; had a quick snack as soon as we got in the door, and set to de-hanging doors…there were nine doors coming off the hallway (got that down to eight now with the absorption of the spare shower into a larger bathroom – yes, it actually has a bath in it now; before it was just a ‘basin’ room – one day the bath might actually get hooked up to some utilities…) and over the next two night we removed cleaned, sanded and painted four of the them (His, Hers, laundry and #1 shower).

In a previous episode of Raurimu Renovation, we had scored some wooden heads from the Teak import shop in Te Kuiti and, after much intellectual discussion on which was His and which was Hers, mounted them to respective doors….

This might also give you a teeny taste of broooown…..