Soaping makes me happy

That title makes me happy too …  because it is true!

Soap is really taking over our house  … and garage.  There is barely enough room in our two-car garage for one car anymore.  I only have one corner as a workshop but it is expanding outwards.

I started off airing soap on top of the fridge, then Maus made me a shelf in the laundry.  One shelf!!  What was she thinking?  Then she acquired this wonderful 5-shelf display stand… and then, not so long ago, we bought another stand from Ikea.  Alas, the Ikea stand is nearly full.  I think it is time for another stall. Continue reading

Lamb meatballs with warm yoghurt and swiss chard and solutions to some recent software problems

Hello, everyone!

This is a post which has been sitting in Drafts for ages.  I just hope I can remember how we made the dish.

I am sorry it has been so long since I have written a post.  One reason has been lethargy and the other is that I have had computer problems or, more to the point, software problems.  I will tell you about them in case you have the same, or similar, issues.  It will save you hours in forums. Continue reading

Target audience

I must tell you about the stall I had at the Easter weekend market.  I have already told you about the success of the passionfruit but I also sold a moderate amount of soap which WAS, of course, the main reason for the stall.

Have I mentioned I am obsessed with soap YouTube videos?  I am guessing I have.  Well, if you watch more than a few thousand then you will, invariably, come across 50 or 500 that tell you how to start a soap-making business.  One of the tips they give is “know your market”. Continue reading

Sally Wise’s Plum Sauce

 

This year, through some miracle of miracles, the birds left some plums for us.  Whether it was conscious or whether they just missed them, I don’t know.  Of course, as happens with every variety of fruit and vegetable in the garden, they all ripened at once.  There was not a huge amount but certainly more than we would eat.  I put them in the cool room (along with the 1,000 passionfruit) until I could decide what to do with them. We are not big jam eaters so jam was not an option.  We do, however, eat a bit of sauce.  Plum sauce it would be then. Continue reading

Freekeh salad with marinated chicken & pomegranate dressing

Here is another recipe from my current favourite book, Palestine on a Plate, by Joudie Kalla.  I noticed the recipe a while ago and parked it.  Then, the other day, when I was thinking, “What’s for dinner?”, it sprang forth.

It is very simple but it does take about 30 minutes to cook the freekeh so allow yourself sufficient time.

I am a real fan of freekeh but we don’t eat it often enough.  As a consequence, there was a packet in the pantry getting precariously close to its use-by date.  Coincidently, we also had abundant pomegranates, mint, parsley and chives so the recipe was a perfect choice.  There was not much on the shopping list.

The recipe as published (and as set out below) is supposed to feed four.  I guess it just depends on how much chicken you like.  We usually eat one breast between two of us.  I used one large breast and made about a third of the marinade, ie, 1 teaspoon of dried mint, 1 teaspoon of za’atar, etc.  I roughly halved the salad ingredients.  What constitutes “a large bunch of parsley”, “a bunch of chives” and “a bunch of rocket” is anyone’s guess.  As it turned out, the quantities I chose were perfect for us.  The top photo, which was half of what I made, was just right for one.  Work out how much chicken and how much salad you think you will need and adjust the recipe accordingly.

If you like to eat grains (we all should) and haven’t tried freekeh, give it a go.  It is very nice.  I find it  similar to brown rice.  For those who don’t know, freekeh is roasted green wheat grain.

Ingredients:

  • 300g freekeh
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthways

Marinade:

  • 1 tbs* dried mint
  • 1 tbs* za’atar
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 4 tbs* pomegranate molasses
  •  a drizzle of olive oil
  • salt & black pepper

Salad:

  • a large bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 5 spring onions, chopped
  • a bunch of fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
  • a bunch of rocket
  • 2 red chillies, chopped

Dressing:

  • 100ml apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbs* pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbs* caster sugar
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 70ml olive oil
  • 1 tbs* dried mint
  • 1 tbs* za’atar
  • 1 tsp salt

*These are 15 mil tablespoons.

Instructions:

  1. Boil the freekeh in a saucepan of salted water for about 30 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat, drain and then leave the freekeh to cool down slightly.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C with fan .
  3. Put the chicken in a bowl and add the dried mint, za’atar, chilli flakes, pomegranate molasses and a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and black pepper.  Mix to ensure it is all coated.
  4. Tip the chicken out onto a baking tray, pouring over any excess juices from the bowl as you do.  Bake for about 20–25 minutes until cooked through.  Slice the chicken into strips.
  5. Add the parsley, spring onions and chives, red chilli and pomegranate seeds to the freekeh and mix together.
  6. Mix the dressing ingredients together, adjust the seasoning to your liking and toss  over the salad.
  7. Sit the salad on a bed of rocket and then top with the sliced chicken and its juices.