Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ahh...the bounties of the summer garden

Proper summer has really only just arrived here in the mountains, so our summer vegies are just getting going now.

However, I am expecting a deluge of zucchinis any moment :)

Here's my recipe for zucchini pikelets.
I suggest making up a huge batch of dry pikelet mix. That way when you feel like making them, it hardly takes any time at all. I originally found a basic recipe for this in Cathe Olson's The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook. You can read Cathe's blog, all about food politics and wholefoods, here
Basic dry mix
10 cups unbleached flour (any kind)
1/4 cup baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt or kelp powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Whisk together and store in an airtight container in a dark place. Use the mix within a few months.

To make zucchini pikelets, add the following to the basic mix:
1 egg
1 1/2 cups milk (dairy or non)
2 tablespoons oil (I use sunflower)
3/4 cup grated zucchini

Add a little sesame oil or vegetable oil to a frypan set on medium heat. In a large bowl, beat the egg, add the milk and oil and stir well. Add the basic dry mix and stir till combined. Test the heat of the pan by flicking a drop of water into it – if the drop bounces it’s ready. Pour a ladleful of the mix into the pan to form a small pikelet for baby or go larger for the adults. Cook until the edges are dry and small air bubbles pop on the surface. Turn over and cook on the other side.

Serve warm with applesauce and freeze the rest for snacks to take on outings.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Book being illustrated!

Right now Sustainable Baby the book is being illustrated. It's really fun to see all the charming drawings my illustrator, Tamsin Ainslie, is coming up with. I think the pictures are going to actually make the book. You can see some of her drawings at her blog,

Monday, January 19, 2009

Turn an old t-shirt into pants for baby continued....

I blogged the first steps of making these pants earlier, up to pinning and sewing the pants legs together:
Make a channel for the waist elastic by turning the top of the waist over and sewing it down. Thread pants elastic through with a safety pin.
Can you believe they're finished already?
These were a bit boring, so I sewed an old fabric coaster onto the leg :)

Turn an old t-shirt into pants for baby - 1

I didn't think this up myself - I saw it here, but if you have one pair of pants that fits baby really well you can duplicate the pattern so easily. Unlike T-shirts (still haven't figured out how to make these), pants are simple; just straight up and down lines, and only the crotch to refine really. I made totally unique, nowhere-else-to-be-found pants from an old sheet with a duck motif, and you can use old cotton men's shirts too, but if you use an old t-shirt as here, then you can take advantage of the bottom hems being already completed for you.

Get an old t-shirt and check the pants will fit into it.

Fold the pants legs one over the other so that the crotch is outlined, and lie it down on the t-shirt, hem to hem and outer leg of pant against outer seam of t-shirt.
Pin and cut it out, leaving about half a centimetre around the crotch and inner leg for a seam. Also leave about an extra centimetre above the waist for making a simple waistband for the elastic.

Switching the pants over, do an identical piece from the other side of the shirt.

Open each piece out and pin them both together along the curve of the crotch. Sew together (don't sew the legs yet).

Open out the pieces and you will have something that starts to look like a pair of pants. Sew up the legs now.
To be followed up...

Sustainable Christmas - gifts #2

One of the happiest smiles I got from a gift at Christmas was from something that took me a few minutes to make: Rose Geranium Sugar.

I picked about ten leaves of my potted Rose Geranium and buried them in 500g raw sugar in a jar. After about two weeks I took out the dried leaves and decanted the wonderful-smelling sugar into a pretty jar I found at an op shop.

The sugar turns out quite damp but nothing wrong with that.

I wrote on the label to sprinkle on porridge. It would be nice to bake cakes or things with it too.

In the photo I have some sugar along with the leaves of the rose geranium plant macerating in almond oil. I turned this into face moisturiser later; smells divine.

Next I'm going to try Peppermint Sugar. I've got a yummy smelling Chocolate Mint going haywire in a hanging basket.


My shipment of soapnuts arrived! Yay!

These two bags - 1 kg in all - are supposed to take care of my laundry for the next 24 months!
I've been looking everywhere locally for soap nuts as they are the easiest, cheapest and most hypoallergenic thing you can put in your wash. I had some samples of them which lasted for even more washes than the packet claimed, and was absolutely won over.
My local co op said they had actually considered these but decided they didn't work. I wonder what that meant? These won't make your whites fluorescent, but frankly even cricketers aren't expected to look whiter-than-white these days. When you take the clothes out of the wash they don't smell like detergent - rather, they smell like wet clothes! After you line dry they just smell like clothes - neutral.
Warning: if you use these for any length of time, you will start to feel faint from the chemical smell just walking past the laundry section at your supermarket!