Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.

While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Camembert, Rendering, Preserving Lemons & Dishcloths

Hi Geoff, Hi Debbie, welcome to both of you....
Feel free to look around, and I would love some feedback......

Wrapping the Camembert.

I checked out the Camembert, and yep, It was ready to wrap...I first wrapped it in a grease proof like paper, and then wrapped it in foil....Back into the cheese-cave with both, for just a few weeks...as hubby prefers it really young...He says "If you leave it too long,  it just tastes like dirt."  Well, I kind of agree with him, after tasting the last one while it was young....it was really really nice....I guess that's another plus for making your own cheese, you can stop the maturation, when the cheese is the taste you want. 

Finishing off the 
fat rendering 
from yesterday.

I also finished off the fat rendering, but I still have to pack it away in the freezer..
This morning, the fat had set in the larger pan....
I scooped out the clean fat into a smaller pan and was left with a layer of dirty fat and water....
This I strained and poured into a small pan. 
All the leftover waste goes into a bread bag, 
and into the freezer until rubbish night. 

 Once I had just clean fat, I rendered it some more, adding water again...
I let this reduce to get rid of most of the added water.

 Then poured the oil into the containers as shown.
I poured it out while each container was on the scales...
that way each lump of fat will be easier to calculate when weighing it for soap. 
Once frozen, I will remove the containers and store each blob of fat
 in a freezer bag. That way I get all my containers back too.

I found I only needed 1 jug of boiling water to clean up the yucky oily greasy pot.
If you need to clean a pot like this..
Pour 1 kettle of boiling water around the inside walls of the pot.
Place the lid on and leave to melt down the greasy mess. 
Then pour the now warm water over a sieve. 
This will catch any bits left behind from the original fat.
Once empty, I rubbed the whole pot with baking soda...and used a soapy dishcloth to wipe it down. 
rinse well, and dry with a tea-towel.  
Too easy!!!!

Preserving Lemons -
another ingredient
to add to your stockpile.
While browsing through some of my old recipes...
I found a recipe for Preserved Lemons.
 I haven't used these in cooking since I was in a unit in Wangaratta.
Wow, that was way to many years ago to mention...lol.
So I decided to preserve some lemons myself. 
When lemons are in abundance like they are now (in the shops anyway) 
it's a good idea to stock up and add them to your stockpile by preserving them. 
Especially if you have a lemon tree.
I picked these up for $2 a kilo, while just a few weeks ago, they were $8 per kilo.

Select a glass jar with a secure lid...
preferably not a steel lid, as the heavy salt may react with it. 

Wash your lemons well, I used warm soapy water. 
My soap that I make.
You can see the brush in the water, 
I rubbed the lemons on the brush to remove any blemishes or marks....

Rinse well, in a water bath with half a cup of vinegar. 
This will neutralise any soap residue left on the lemons. 

Soapy                               Rinsed                    Draining
Spices used were Bay, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Cloves & Peppercorns. 

I found it easier to decant your spices onto a plate, 
as your fingers are going to get covered in lemon juice and salt. 
This way you are not contaminating your spice jars. 

 Cut the ends off each lemon, and cut into quarters,
 but don't cut all the way through the other end. 
Fill each lemon with salt, 
I just used cooking salt, it's going to dissolve anyway. 

Pack the jar tightly, and add spices as you go. 
Fill smaller gaps with quarters. Add salt and spices as you go.

 Here is a photo of the jars of lemons, just before I filled them with lemon juice
You can see that the salt is already drawing the juice out of the lemons...

Me being the frugal one...I also made a smaller jar using all the cut ends...

When using preserved lemon in a recipe: 
Select a piece of lemon from the jar
Rinse well with fresh water
Remove the flesh from the rind
Discard the flesh, and use the rind
Cut into fine strips or refer to your recipe.

So why not preserve the ends too...that's the bit you use.

On to my fourth dishcloth

I am still using up all the smaller leftover cottons from Mum....
she crochet's around face-washers and tea-towels
and has had a few bits left over.
so far my cotton dishcloths have cost nothing. 
I am using the one on the left and the centre one.
I have decided to keep on knitting
I may even use them for Christmas gifts.

Mum says she can see my confidence has grown...
she see's me taking my eye off the needles while talking to her....
I didn't even know I was NOT watching all the time.

Hope you all had a great day...
Mine has been a productive and busy one again. 

I guess soap is next...seeing I have all this free oil...
I even have the local chip shop saving Cotton Seed Oil for me
I picked up 4 litres off him the other day to make soap.
Thanks Paul.

If you like what you see, or would like to ask a question, 
please don't hesitate. Drop me a comment, and I will get back to you.


  1. Your dishcloths are looking good for a beginner knitter and the more you make the more confident you will get. I have never used preserved lemon but I do like the look of them in Jars. I had never thought of getting fat from the butchers to render for soap it would be a lot cheaper. I do like your blog.

  2. i like the look of your cloths. I am thinking of trying one. I am just waiting for my mum to return from holidays so i can raid her spare wool collection (and remind me how to knit!)

  3. Good work! When you render fat, does it smell as horrible as I think it would? Ever since my 3rd pregnancy, my sense of smell has changed permanently, lol. Smelling meat cooking without any seasoning made me VERY sick. I shudder thinking about the smell of rendering. Do tell!

    Mommy5 from DTE

  4. hanks ladies.....
    Emily, you need to look for 100% Cotton, as it is far more absorbent than wool or acrylic threads......
    Mommy5....I think your referring to the bad rap of Sheep Fat...it will certainly stink you out of the house....Unlike Beef and Pork fat.....Beef fat has no smell that I can smell anyway...and Pork fat just smells like a mild bacon smell....
    Beef fat is the best for soap making...If your going to take the time to render..you could render Pork fat for frying in the kitchen.....it gives a much better flavour than any liquid oil.

  5. Love reading your blog Nelly, learned lots. Chuckled at the mention of Wangaratta, one of my favorite spots - I trained there over thirty years ago!

  6. I went to Wang Tech in '87&'88..Travelled there every day from Rutherglen..You trained?...nursing?

  7. Hi Narelle,
    I love the look of those preserved lemons. I made some quite a few years ago...but sadly never used them because I wasn't sure how...
    How do you use your lemons? Do you use them in place of lemon juice, or zest? or how?

  8. Hi Corrine, I have to confess that it was actually my flat mate Gina that cooked with the preserved lemons....Anything she cooked with them, really made the meal 'pop'....Preserve lemons are usually used in Moroccan dishes...lamb casseroles are great...Also use with chicken and fish dishes..where-ever you would use the rind of lemon...but you don't need fresh ones on hand...great if they are out of season..just remember to rinse them well. They are also good in pasta and couscous recipes....if you are doing a lemon chicken recipe to serve with rice...also add some finely chopped preserved rind to the rice while its cooking...Your rice will compliment the dish nicely...I often flavour my rice to compliment the meal that it is going with....
    Normally it is used as finely sliced julienne pieces or a very small dice.

  9. wow, you are a dynamo. love that you craft all these things. well done!


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