Tuesday, 30 April 2013

No More Bottled Sauces, Clear-outs and house washing


Settling back into life full-time in Sydney has been easier than I expected.  Unpacking suitcases stuffed with clothes and trying to fit them into cupboards already full,  forced me to begin a clear out.  

I love a clear out and try to re-cycle anything I no longer need.  The de-cluttering process feels good and especially when one has no choice but to tackle the piles on the floor.    At the end of it all, the hangers face the same way, pants all together, shirts and dresses all together, jumpers in neat piles and shoes neatly together in pairs. Such a pity I can't keep it up as I am rather untidy...   

This led me to thinking about built-ins versus the revered 'walk-in-robe'.  We had a small version of the latter on the farm and I found dust to be a huge problem.  Also.. unless one is very very tidy and continuously adhering to colour-coding rules,  the whole thing can look very messy.

Very colour coded!

Ralph Lauren's walk-in robe!
I have decided to go for built-ins in the new house which still looks great and can hide lack of colour-coding or messy jumper stacks when necessary.

The clothes done,  I was soon on to other things.    I decided to check all the herbs and spices and their sell-by dates. The offenders ended up in the bin.   When last did you check the sell-by dates of your herbs and spices?  It was pretty scary when I discovered cinnamon and a few others   dated 2010...The sauce bottles in the fridge were next - some more scary discoveries - toxic horse-radish sauce, three year old mint jelly - all gone now and a sparkling empty fridge... I chucked the lot!!! 

Good idea

A good way to re-cycle!

I have always had an aversion to bottled sauces, mainly because most of them contain vinegar which I cannot tolerate.  Staples however,  like mint jelly and horse-radish were always on hand for others to use.     

Instead of mint sauce in a bottle what about making a homemade mint pesto?    It's far healthier than the bottled version and much more delicious.  It's also really quick if using a hand-held blender.

The same goes for home-made horseradish sauce.   

Friends and I  were talking yesterday about this very thing and decided that there are many more delicious fresh ways of enhancing what we eat instead of sauces in bottles, quick-mix sauces in packets, instant soups, curry mixes etc.  

Gremolata is the most delicious and easy way of enhancing everything from fish to beef.  Mr R-I chops up the most delicious gremolata for his Osso buco! It's great to make it up fresh every week and keep in a screw-top jar in the fridge! 

Zest of one large lemon
2 cloves of garlic (small)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper.

I have also shown him how to make the salad dressing and he does a pretty good job!  He is now a two-trick pony!

1/3 Lemon juice
2/3 Olive oil
1 clove garlic - crushed
1 heaped teaspoon Maile mustard
1 Tbsp Pure maple syrup
Salt and pepper
Whisk or shake up in a bottle.

Salsa's and caponata's are also fresh, tasty and healthy and there are hundreds of variations.  Fresh herbs are so much more vital and delicious.  

There is a definite place for bottled herbs and spices but using fresh whenever possible is so much healthier.  Has anyone bought bottled chopped garlic or ginger?... .it has an awful flavour and the odour of the garlic so much more offensive.  I don't however think I will be able to persuade everyone not to reach for the "T Sauce" when eating a pie!

On the new home front in Bowral, things have been moving slowly along.  We had a meeting last week while sitting alongside the newly poured slab.  Everything plumbing wise is now 'set in stone' and I found myself wondering whether all of the decisions regarding plumbing items and their positions are in fact correct.  Too bad if they're not!  

We spent the weekend with some of the family  in Mollymook and the weather was unseasonably warm.  

I did a big clear out there as well -  again chucking out old sauce bottles from the fridge and grocery cupboard.

  I also washed the house!  This is possibly the most fun I could have!   Coastal homes have the problem of the windows and screens getting coated with salt and moisture  and a wash-down with the hose nozzle twisted to emit a jet-force of water is the go!  Washing the whole house and decks takes me about 30 minutes and is often fraught with irritations like the hose knotting, getting caught behind something or the nozzle flying off and leaving me drenched. I usually ask for help but managed alone this time!  It is  very satisfying seeing the dirty water streaming off the windows and down the walls! 

Till next time and wishing you all a lovely Autumn/spring where ever you are! 


  1. I love having a clear out too. We've got the dressing room, with everything on display (as you know), and it works in making me stay disciplined.... I have to keep it looking neat, and hang everything up, otherwise it looks a horrible mess fairly quickly. On the flip side, we had built ins at our last place, and while it did keep the dust out, the stuff that we had stuffed at the back of the cupboards... well, it was like an episode of hoarders. We had people do the packing as I was pregnant with horrible morning sickness, and they packed three years worth of yellow pages that were shoved up the back of a wardrobe somewhere!
    As for the use by dates - 2010 is not that bad. I recently found a spice with 2003 on the back!! Agree with you about making all your own sauces etc - I never buy salad dressing, my own is much nicer. You need a thermomix! I make so much in there in seconds that I would never have bothered with before. xx

    1. Heidi, I think it's because I just got so sick of seeing my dishevelled shelves (as I said - I am untidy) that I decided on cupboard doors. My daughter Claire is a walk-in-aholic .... it is her dream to have her own one day - complete with chandelier and perhaps a shoe collection just a fifth of the size of Imelda Marcos! You are probably too young but I remember when Paul Newman's salad dressings first arrived on the shelves - they were a huge hit and the shelves were emptied! Australia has a wonderful food culture and most people cook meals from scratch. I remember 'talking' to you about Thermomix before and I am definitely looking into getting one.... in fact, I can't wait!!! xx

  2. Wonderful blog and pictures Jenny. You have already taught me so much about food and organization. I have benefited from it enormously. So glad others can read all about it here. I agree watching all that salty dirt come flying off the walls and windows when washing the house at Mollymook is VERY satisfying. Amazed you did it alone, although beware volunteer helpers, you'll get wet!! xx

    1. Thanks Liora .. Food really is a universal language! ... I'm buying a steam-mop for the wooden floors as well ... that should keep me happy!! xx

  3. Jenny - I am wondering why my comments are having a problem getting through...

  4. That one went through though... Ok I was testing but just to say I agree that with cupboards - I prefer shoving stuff and closing the doors on my stuff.

    I tend to infuse my oils that way the herbs and garlic is already in there and I don't have to chop up garlic each time and just add vinegar.

    I am doing a clear out now and finding all sorts of little stuff I had. I do wish I was more organized though. I have done so many bags to charity but the stuff keeps appearing out of nowhere! xx

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. OOps... I dont think I will get tickets at this late stage... going to check dates! Also going to try your oil infusion! xx

  6. I don't know how long it lasts as I go through olive oil like nobody's business but I find that the rosemary one lasts because the dried rosemary seems to act as a preservative.

    1. Ok.. thanks ... will be in your neck of the woods later this month...Love London! xx

    2. I hope you get great weather!! fingers crossed for you x Chelsea flower show?

  7. Thanks very much Kristiina!! xx

  8. Interesting and useful information that you have provided here on your page.So great to find this page.

    cheese board & salad bowl


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...