Where I got my yoghurt information

This post is just by way of an acknowledgement, because I’ve written a few posts about my yoghurt making experiments, but could never figure out just where it was that I got the milk powder tip… well it was from Christine at Slow Living Essentials. She has a great two part post about making yogurt. It’s also in the comments on that post that I first read about using UHT milk to avoid the heating and cooling step – which I think I had attributed to my mother (but she says she doesn’t do that).

Decluttering – the work continues

It’s time I provided an update on my decluttering progress. I’ve realised I should be taking some before and after photos, but then, I’m not sure I could bring myself to publish the really good before photos – it would be too embarrassing. 

Anyway, the decluttering is continuing only very slowly at the moment. I have a charity box at the front door which I was trying to fill every week, but that’s lost some momentum since I’ve been carrying around several small boxes to drop off for weeks and not getting around to it, mostly because for boxes I have to actually go into the store, which means parking and getting the baby out of the car, and there’s never a park out front… I know I know, lame excuse. Okay then, I will do it next Tuesday. 

In the meantime, I’ve realized (and I may have said this before)  that I need a Plan. As in, let’s declutter this particular space first, not just vaguely toss things into the Vinnie’s box as I happen across them. So I have a plan, which is to begin- or continue I guess – with the study, aka our bedroom (since Ms Elli, our one year old has taken over our room).  

If we can clean up the study, and get rid of the big desk that mostly just provides space for clutter to collect, then we can put a door through from the study to the walk-in-robe and have access to our clothes and ensuite again. Because the fact is that until/unless we extend, our room is likely to become the girls’ room, while what is currently the big kids’ room become’s just Liam’s room. 

So we might as well face that reality now and stop living in clutter with our clothes piled up on the desk chair and the bed pushed against the wall because the desk takes so much space. 

So, that’s where the decluttering is at. Some progress, but not a lot. But a definite plan of what to do next. 

Vegetarian Dishes: Liam’s Incan Bean Stew

A tortilla in a bowl filled with a pumpkin, tomato and nave bean stewLast week Liam* and I went hunting for some haricot beans to cook a bean stew recipe from a book on the Incas that my mother gave him for Christmas. It took us a while, but eventually we discovered that haricot beans are what we call navy beans, which are also the beans in baked beans.

Anyway, we made the stew and Liam made himself a bowl inside his bowl out of a tortilla, and heaped the stew inside. And, he declared the whole meal delicious. He’s not always terribly keen on new food, but whether it was having chosen itnd cooked it himself out of his own book, or the novelty of serving it in a tortilla bowl, he loved this meal. Or, you know, maybe it just was delicious! Because actually, everyone except my four-year-old daughter enjoyed it. And she didn’t actually try it!

Of course, the recipe as written was a little too spicey so we modified it to suit our tastes. This is how we made it:

250g dried haricot (navy) beans
4 tomatoes
500g pumpkin (after removing skin and seeds)
2 tsp Paprika (the original recipe called for 2tbs, which seemed to spicy for us, but play with it to get the level you like)
mixed herbs
black pepper
100g sweetcorn

1. Wash the beans thoroughly in cold water, then put them in a large bowl and cover them with more cold water. Leave them to soak 3-4 hours.

2. Drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan. Cover with yet more cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for two hours or until tender.

3. Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes finely, peel the pumpkin and chop it into 2cm cubes.

4. Heat 100ml of water in a medium saucepan. Stir in the paprika and bring to the boil. Add the tomatoes along with a good sprinkling of mixed herbs, plus salt and pepper to taste. You may need to add a little more of these later when you have added everything else, just do a taste test to see. Simmer for 15 minutes or until thick and well blended.

5. Drain the beans then return them to the large saucepan. Add the pumpkin and the tomato mixture and stir well. Simmer for another 15 minutes.

6. Add the sweet corn and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the pumpkin has almost distintegrated and the stew is quite thick.

7. Do a taste test – see if you need to add more salt or pepper. Sun gods and sacrifices, the lost world of the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans

8. Serve in bowls. We served it with rice and tortillas. The book also suggested corn bread as an accompaniment.

Simple but delicious.

The book is called Sun gods and sacrifices, the lost world of the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans by Fiona McDonald & Philip Steele. It also has other craft activities, from making feather fans to mozaic masks to a full size felt Inca tunic! Liam hasn’t actually done any of the other craft activities (most probably need some level of parent involvement), but he has been enjoying reading the book. The next thing he wants to do is try the recipe for making our own tortillas.
*Have I been cagey about the kid’s names? I just can’t do it anymore – Liam is my nine year old.

This post is linked to Delectable Tuesday and Meatless (Vegan) Mondays and Real Food Wednesday .

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