So, what have I been making?
We eat a lot of yogurt at our house and I like the tub set, full cream, proper greek-style variety. And it costs about $6 per 500g (about a pint I think) which is hurtful. So I was given an "Easiyo" Yoghurt Maker years ago and decided to dust it off and see how she rolled. First up, the sachets were good to try at beginner's level. You just buy the flavour you're after, add water and shake. The powder/water combo goes inside something like a plastic thermos which you fill with boiling water and 6-8 hours later you have yoghurt. Great stuff. The sachets cost about $4 or under and makes a litre, so already you're ahead of the $12 per litre option. I've been doing this for over a year now and it's working well for us.
Tragically Coles and Woolworths, in their bid for ever more profits, have switched to their own house brand of yoghurt sachets and they aren't right. Not a fan. Bring back the Easiyo! Not to be deterred I did a little research and found this easy way to make yoghurt in the Easiyo thingumy.
Basic Yoghurt Recipe:
2/3 cup full cream milk powder (1/3 cup works too, but 2/3 makes it nice and thick)
2 tablespoons live yoghurt (from your last batch or from some proper tub-set, fresh, natural yoghurt)
Fill to the top of 1 litre container with UHT full cream milk (saves heating and cooling fresh milk and thermometers and all that, plus we don't drink normal milk normally so I just keep UHT for yoghurt).
Before you've added all the milk, shake that thing, preferably in front of your toddler as they seem to find it endlessly amusing, at least mine does. Whack it in the thermos thingy and let it go for 6+hours (up to 24 is fine if you, ahem, forget about it and find it a day later behind the fruit bowl)... You can of course experiment with different flavours - I like adding honey and vanilla for a sweeter, dessert yoghurt.
Cheeky Tip - If you need sour cream and you only have normal cream you can add 1/4 cup of plain or greek yoghurt to 1 cup of cream and leave at room temp for 24 hours and it'll make kick-ass sour cream. Enjoy.
This one requires a fairly smashing blender - I have a Thermochef (it's the 'General Trader' copy of a Thermomix and was about $1500 cheaper - whoot!). You can really make nut butter from whatever nuts you have on hand, plus a splash of oil for consistency and even seeds or whatever. Just remember it may not last forever in the cupboard like store-bought but I'm not exactly sure how long - Mine never lasts long because I EAT it... mmm... peanut butter.
Peanut Butter Recipe:
250g salted, roasted peanuts
100g raw cashews
50g raw almonds
1/4 cup radadura sugar
1/2 cup organic tahini (I used hulled but you can use unhulled and it may just be a tad more bitter)
1/2 cup peanut oil
Whizz this like fury until it's the consistency you want - chunky or smoother. The tahini has a bit of oil in it as well so if you don't use tahini you'll need to add more oil. I feel a bit more righteous slathering this on my toast because of the tahini and raw nuts. But I'm not yet hardcore healthy enough to cut the salt and sugar but I will try to slowly phase this out so that I feel downright saintly. I figure at least if I do the salting and sugaring I know what's going in and there won't be all that preservative and emulsifiers. Also, we eat so much peanut butter that I think this will save us using so much peanut butter related plastic each year, but maybe I'm the only one who thinks about these things.
Hmm.. Bread. This is the one which isn't yet happening well enough for my liking. I picked up a bread-maker at a garage sale about 9 years ago and so I use that on a 'dough' setting with a Laucke packet mix from the supermarket. It's a 'German Grain' combo and looks healthier but I actually don't know if its lower GI or has whole seeds or anything. I make the dough in the machine, then pour it into a bread tin and bake because I don't like the shape my breadmaker does and the big hole that is created in the bottom of the loaf by the mixing attachment.
I have in the past used the '5 minute bread' approach as recommended by this lovely dame of 'Down to Earth' but to be honest it felt like a bit of a massive process and I made a hell of a mess all over my bench so not sure how sustainable this method would be to pump out all the bread we need as a family. Will try again soon though and try to streamline the process - watch this space.
Well - that's the stuff that is getting a bit of attention from me lately - what do you make from scratch? How do you make it a sustainable activity in the routines of daily family life? Do you have a straightforward homemade bread process? I'd love to hear what floats your boat in the homemade department.
Coming soon - homemade laundry liquid, homemade soap and my simple, simple beauty routine.
Footnote #1: About a cup of frozen corn kernels, steamed or cooked however you normally do that, about 2 tablespoons of sour cream and a pinch of salt. Winner!
Footnote #2: Tomato sauce contains twice the sugar of soft-drink and 1 tablespoon can max out your toddler's daily recommended intake of salt. Bleaugh. And homemade tomato sauce remind me of someone's grandma, and country cooking at pony club meetings when I was a kid. http://onehandedcooks.com.au/recipe/homemade-tomato-sauce-ketchup/
Footnote #3: The above kitchen in the picture is not mine. Mine has a microwave with fingerprints all over it and a duplo car track inexplicably on the bench. But I can dream, right?