Exfoliating soap adventures


A while back, Maree, from Around the Mulberry Tree, asked whether I had ever made sand soap.  To be honest, I had never heard of it. Thank goodness for Google.  I soon came across Pearson’s Carbolic Soap:

Pearson’s celebrated Pumice Sand Soap

Pearson’s Soap is a unique product for scrubbing and reviving timber floors, decks, benches & tables. Cleans and shines Chinese woks, pots, pans, copper, brass, iron and tin.  Also cleans soiled hands and removes stains and mildew from bathroom tiles. Ants, fleas and other unhealthy pests will be discouraged in households where this unique invention is habitually employed.

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.  Every householder should use it.”  Use on a scrubbing brush or rub directly onto surfaces.  Pearson’s celebrated Pumice Sand Soap contains soluble glycerine to protect hands.

This clearly was what Maree was asking about.  My first thoughts for a recipe were:

  • beef tallow – all soap, until very recently, was (and most commercial soap still is) made with animal fat.  Tallow produces a hard bar of soap which, I am sure, old fashioned sand soap would have been;
  • pumice – that was a no-brainer – it is on the label;
  • clay – it wouldn’t have been pure pumice.  I read somewhere that the pumice was taken from a river bed.  I went with Bentonite clay as it is highly absorbent and draws oils and toxins which would be perfect for cleaning chopping boards, etc; and, as the soap supposedly kept fleas at bay,
  • tea tree oil and, maybe, a bit of eucalyptus oil.  Tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil have antiseptic and antibacterial properties and I am sure fleas wouldn’t like the fragrance.

Maree also mentioned the soap would be similar to Solvol soap which is used by mechanics to wash oil off their hands.  Off to Google I went and came up with a site which indicated that Solvol was 50% beef tallow and 50% coconut oil.  Coconut oil contributes to the hardness and cleansing ability of soap.  Soap made with this formula would be very hard, very cleansing but drying on the hands.  Sounds right for a kitchen soap🙂

Maree also thought the soap should have a lot of pumice in it.   So here is my recipe:

  • Beef tallow 50% – 600g
  • Coconut oil 50% – 600g
  • Water – 371g
  • NaOH – 186g
  • Pumice  – 250g
  • Bentonite Clay – 2 tsp
  • Tea Tree essential oil –  30g
  • Eucalypus essential oil – 10g

In the end, I didn’t make the soap.  One of my searches lead me to this post, a recipe for foot soap.  When I read it, I got really excited.  I had bought some ground pumice with the intention of making the kitchen soap but didn’t think it would be that popular. I thought a soap for feet, which I am sure would also be good for mechanics and gardeners, would have wider appeal than a kitchen soap.

Here is the recipe.

  • Olive Oil 40%  – 480g
  • Coconut Oil 35% – 420g
  • Palm Oil 20% – 240g
  • Shea Butter 5% –  60g
  • Water – 456g
  • NaOH – 175g
  • Pumice –  200g
  • Bentonite Clay – 2 tsp
  • Tea Tree essential oil – 30g
  • Eucalypus essential oil – 10g
  • Indigo powder dispersed in olive oil –  1 tsp
  • Ultra Marine blue dispersed in olive oil – a touch

This soap is the subject of the top photo.  These soaps are one of the most favourite I have ever made.  Nothing strange happened. I love the colour and I can just tell they will be great to use.  I even like the mix of tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils.  Clearly, my foot soap is perfect for mechanics and gardeners but I intend to market it as a foot soap.  As I said to Maus, not everyone is a mechanic but everyone has feet.  I am naming this soap “Happy Feet”.


When doing all my reading on sand soap, I got hits for all sorts of exfoliates.  One which kept coming up, and was decribed as a gentle exfoliate, was ground walnut shells.  As I had some walnuts in the shell, Maus and I tried to grate one on a rasp file but walnut shells are bloody hard.  We decided, in the circumstances, it was wiser to just buy the ground product.  Sometimes it just ain’t worth making it yourself.

After a bit of thinking, I came up with this design.  I am going with the name Potted Colour which most gardeners would appreciate.  This soap was not  as successful as Happy Feet.  The batter went very thick, very quickly.  I don’t know why this was the case.  The fragrances I used don’t usually accelerate trace so I wonder whether it was the walnut shells.  Or maybe I just mixed it too much.  I mixed the batter to a medium trace before I added the walnut shells because I didn’t want them to sink.  I also mixed it quite a bit after I added the walnut shell, concerned the shell might clump.  I really battled to get the batter into the moulds and, because of that, they are a bit blotchy.  Next time, I will mix the walnut shell with a bit of the oil and add it at light trace.    Here is the recipe.

  • Rice Bran Oil 40% – 480g
  • Palm kernel Oil 20%  – 240g
  • Coconut Oil 20% – 240g
  • Palm oil  10% – 120g
  • Shea Butter 10% – 120
  • Water  – 347g
  • NaOH – 173g
  • Arabian Spice fragrance oil – 50 mils
  • Sensuous Sandalwood fragrance oil – 26 mils
  • Ground walnut shell – 8 x 15 mil tablespoons

Stay tuned for more soaping adventures.

Aromatic Baked Chicken


The other day, we had one of those rare days in WA when it rains all day.  A couple of years ago, I wrote a post called ‘One Perfect Day’.  It was one of those days.  I just love rainy days.  You can’t go outside and work.  All you can do is stay inside and play.  Yippee!  Well … I guess you could do housework but that would be silly.

Because we had all day, I thought we would make something a bit different for dinner.  If we are busy outside, we usually have what we can whip up in the shortest time. Continue reading

Orange … or lemon muffins … or cake

IMG_5958copyMy mate, Steve, gave me this recipe.  It is called Easy Orange Cake and it’s not called that for nothing.  You won’t get an easier cake to make.

The recipe indicated the mixture could also be made into muffins.  And since there is only Maus and me, I decided to go with muffins so I could freeze some, if necessary, but they are disappearing quickly so I don’t think there will be any to freeze.

All you have to do for this recipe is put the ingredients into a food processor.  If you only have a small food processor, chop your orange in it and then put the orange and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and mix by hand.  If you don’t have a food processor, don’t worry, just chop the orange as finely as you can. Continue reading

Our house…


Ok, I know it is very self indulgent but … we had some aerial photos taken of our block.  Now, I can’t help myself, I have to show them to you.

There are advantages and disadvantages of having the shots taken in winter. The obvious advantage is: it is green, but the down side is the deciduous trees are bare.  In the top shot you can see, from left to right and back to front, the compost bins, two water tanks, the shed (with a small tank), the vegie patch, the house, the garage, and another water tank.  The green on the left side and front of the house are the two passionfruit vines. Continue reading

In My Kitchen – August 2016


Hello, everyone.  Do you love my cover photo?  This is how Maus and I open canned food – with an old fashioned can punch.

Those who have been reading this blog for a while would know I have a few things in my kitchen but, alas, on this night, there was no can opener.  Luckily, Maus found an old can punch in the back of the drawer, otherwise we would have been stuck.  I must put a can opener on the shopping list. Continue reading

In search of Chocolate Meringue Cake



Not so long ago, I read this recipe on Francesca’s blog Almost Italian and I knew, instantly, that I was going to try it.  There are only five ingredients: egg whites (how I love to find a use for my ever-expanding freezer collection), sugar, chocolate, walnuts and dates.  With those ingredients, how could it not taste Absolutely Fabulous?  Then, whilst reading the comments on the post, I was fascinated to note that Sandra from Please Pass the Recipe had also posted the recipe on her blog.  That got me thinking.  From all those years studying statistics, I knew it could not be by chance that they had both come up with the same recipe.  So where did it come from?  Such a question is usually quite easy to solve with the help of Google – you can find anything on the web or, as it turns out, just about anything. Continue reading

Chilli con carne


Another grainy photo, this time, however, graininess is not a theme of the post.  I can’t wait to get my hands on my camera.  I swear I will never forget it again.

Chilli con carne is something I used to make quite a bit but haven’t done for ages.  The recipe I use is from the Australian Women’s Weekly and, of course, I don’t have it with me.  Such are the woes of living between two houses.  There are Australian Women’s Weekly recipes on-line but it is such a long time since I made it, I didn’t know which, if any, of those I was reading was the actual recipe I used to make.  In the end, I went with the taste.com.au recipe – on the basis they are, usually, reliable.  And it was very enjoyable. Continue reading