Archive for Saving Money

Cost of Living in Britain Rising Fastest in all of Europe

The cost of living in Britain is rising  faster than anywhere in Europe, new figures reveal.

The big squeeze on family finances is being  exacerbated by wages failing to rise in line with prices.

Increases in energy, food and alcohol prices  are fuelling the high inflation rate in the UK, as political leaders clash over  the effect on household disposable income.

League table: New figures from Eurostat show how inflation in the UK is the highest in the EULeague table: New figures from Eurostat show how  inflation in the UK is the highest in the EU

Official figures from the European Union  today show that inflation in September was higher in the UK than in any of the  28 countries.

One average annual inflation across the EU  was 1.3 per cent last month.

But in the UK the figure was 2.7 per cent,  followed by Estonia (2.6 per cent) and the Netherlands (2.4 per  cent).

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2463143/Revealed-The-cost-living-rising-faster-UK-Europe-soaring-food-energy-bills-blamed.html#ixzz2huHekoxX

Advertisements

Comments (2) »

Food Price Rises In UK

Food Prices

Comments (4) »

Cherry Cordial: Packed with Vitamins and Anti-Oxidants

I posted up how to make raspberry and blackcurrant cordial; but am going to experiment this year with a new one-cherry cordial. I have a lot of cherries I put in the freezer, as I read somewhere that if frozen whole with stems intact, they will defrost just like fresh cherries to eat. They do actually, although you need to eat them pretty quickly as they do go mushy after a day. Anyway I have lots left and so this year I think I am going to use them up by converting them to syrup giving them another 2 year life span, as well as using more fresh ones when they come into season. I have just ordered my muslin to strain through, very reasonably priced on Amazon so once that arrives I shall give it a whirl, following the raspberry syrup method.

Looking around though I did find that cherries are packed with goodies to keep us healthy [which is why I froze so many last year], and I am now considering and consulting/negotiating with Granddad about possibly planting some of our own wild cherry trees. Here is the low down on how good they are for us. I always bear in mind these nasty flu viruses and like to have something handy to boost the immune system that is natural and nice from about September onwards here in the UK. Does it work? Well 3 years ago I was staying with my son and his girlfriend; when my son went down with the so-called swine flu. He and his girlfriend were wiped out with it, very very poorly; and I did not get the slightest hint of it. They were prescribed Tamiflu. I was with them before their symptoms and during the flu itself. Luck? Or my boosted Vit C and especially Vit D? I think its worth doing anyway!

  • Cherries are pigment rich fruits. These pigments, in fact, are polyphenolic flavonoid compounds known as anthocyanin glycosides. Anthocyanins are red, purple or blue pigments found in many fruits and vegetables, especially concentrated in their skin, known to have powerful anti-oxidant properties.
  • Scientific studies have shown that anthocyanins in the cherries are found to act like anti-inflammatory agents by blocking the actions of cyclooxygenase-1, and 2 enzymes. Thus, consumption of cherries has potential health effects against chronic painful episodes such as gout arthritis, fibromyalgia (painful muscle condition) and sports injuries.
  • Research studies also suggest that anti-oxidant compounds in tart cherries help the human body to fight against cancers, aging and neurological diseases, and pre-diabetes condition.
  • Cherry fruits are very rich in stable anti-oxidant melatonin. Melatonin can cross the blood-brain barrier easily and produces soothing effects on the brain neurons, calming down nervous system irritability, which helps relieve neurosis, insomnia and headache conditions.
  • Further, they are also mild source of zinc, moderate sources of iron, potassium, and manganese and good source of copper. Potassium is a heart-healthy mineral; an important component of cell and body fluids that regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
  • The fruits, especially tart cherries are exceptionally rich in health promoting flavonoid poly phenolic anti-oxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin and beta carotene. These compounds act as protective scavengers against harmful free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging, cancers and various disease processes.
  • Anti-inflammatory property of cherries has been found effective in reducing heart-disease risk factors by scavenging action against free radicals.
  • Acerola or West Indian cherry has exceptionally very high levels of vitamin-C (1677.6 mg per 100 g or 2796 % of RDA) and vitamin-A (767 IU per 100 g).

Cherries

Leave a comment »

Growing Food From Your Scraps

There is nothing like fresh veggies from your own personal garden!Obviously, we all know about the normal ways to grow plants – from seeds.  But, did you know that there are a ton of plants that you can grow from scraps?  Plants, that will in turn, produce more food. Let’s count them out – from 1 to 15…

1, 2, 3, & 4.  Spring Onions, Leeks, Scallions, & Fennel These are the ones I regrow the very most, I always have a mason jar of green onions regrowing above my kitchen sink. The technique is quite simple.  Once you are done with them (any of the above four), simply place the root end in a jar of water & it will begin to regrow within just a few days.  Just make sure to replace the water with fresh as need be.

ImageProxy (3)

5. Lemongrass You can regrow lemongrass the same way you regrow the green onions.  Simply place the root ends in a glass of water, refreshing the water as needed. You will want to wait to harvest your lemongrass until it is about 12 inches tall.

lemongrass_300

6.  Ginger Plant a small chunk off of your piece of ginger in potting soil with the newest buds facing up. Ginger enjoys non-direct sunlight in a warm moist environment. Before long, it will begin to regrow shoots and roots. Once the plant is established and you’re ready to harvest, pull up the whole plant, including the roots. Remove a piece of the ginger, and re-plant it to repeat the growing process.

ImageProxy (4)

7. Potatoes  Pick a potato that has a lot of good formed eyes, and cut it into 2-3 inch pieces, taking care to be sure that each piece has at least 1-2 eyes on it. Leave the cut pieces to sit at room temperature for a day or two, which allows the cut areas to dry. Potato plants thrive on a high-nutrient environment, so it is best to flip compost into your soil before you plant. Plant your potato pieces about 8 inches deep with the eye facing up.  Cover it with 4 inches of soil, leaving the other 4 inches empty. As your plant begins to grow and more roots appear, add more soil.

ImageProxy (5)

8. Sweet Potatoes You will need sweet potatoes with good formed eyes, just as you would want with a regular potato. You can bury the entire potato or use pieces under a thin layer of topsoil in a moist place with plenty of sun. When the shoots begin to reach a height of four inches you will need to replant the sweet potatoes, allowing them about 12 inches between each another. It takes about 4-6 months to grow sweet potatoes this way.

ImageProxy (6)

9, 10, 11, & 12.  Romaine Lettuce, Celery, Bok Choy, & Cabbage These all are regrown by placing the roots in a dish of water. Cut the leaves or stalks off to about an inch above the roots.  Place the root end in a dish of water.  Make sure that the roots are inside of the water, but do not submerge the rest of the plant.  Place in a sunny window & spray with water 1-2 times a week to keep the top of the plant moist.

ImageProxy (7)

13.  Onions Onions are one of the easiest vegetables to regrow from scraps. Just cut off the root end of your onion, leaving a 1’2  inch of onion on the roots. Place it in a sunny location in your garden and cover the top with soil. Make sure to keep the soil moist by watering when needed. As you use your home-grown regenerated onions, keep replanting the root ends you cut off, and you’ll never have to purchase onions at the store again.

ImageProxy (8)

14.  Garlic You can re-grow a plant from a single clove.  Simply plant it with the root-end down. Sit the plant in a sunny window.  Once established, cut back the shoots and the plant will put all it’s forces into producing a nice garlic bulb – full of flavor & capable of repelling sparkly vampires.  You can repeat this process with a clove from the new bulb you have just grown.

ImageProxy (9)

15. Pineapple To re-grow pineapples, you will need to remove the green leafy part at the top and take care that no fruit remains attached. Either hold the crown firmly by the leaves and twist the stalk out, or you can cut the top off the pineapple and remove the remaining fruit flesh with a knife. If you do not remove all the fruit parts, it will rot after planting and will likely kill your plant. Carefully slice small, horizontal sections from the bottom of the crown until you see root buds (the small circles on the flat base of the stalk). Remove the bottom few layers of leaves leaving about an inch worth of them at the bottom of the stalk.  Plant your pineapple crown in a warm and well drained environment. Water your plant regularly at first. Once the plant is established, you can cut down to about once a week. You will see growth in the first few months but it will take about 2-3 years before you are able to harvest.

ImageProxy (10)

Source:

http://www.mrshappyhomemaker.com

Leave a comment »

A Polish Secret : Raspberry Cordial

I once worked with a lovely Polish lady called Maya. She grew up and lived in Poland under what was then the Russian state control, and her story of growing up and living in that system was fascinating. Many things that we take for granted with our supermarket and shop cultures today were unavailable to them then, and one particular thing she told me about stuck with me.

She was a great advocate of raspberry syrup, which they made themselves as a home-made medicine for a fantastic range of ailments. It was probably THE thing to have at all times at home in the  family”medicine chest”. I know that it is still renowned by the Polish because even the local supermarkets like Tesco here stock it on their Polish foods shelves. But it is easy to make and quite fun too and has a shelf life of two years, so below I shall put the recipe. You will need bottles with proper stoppers to seal it, these can be bought in various sizes from mail order companies supplying home cookware. Here in the UK I use a company called Lakeland for pretty much all my requirements. Of course being glass, they are reusable. I know that raspberry leaves are also used in traditional medicines but since my knowledge of this is very limited, I do intend to cover that here. Any search of the internet will soon yield results if that interests you. The raspberry syrup can be diluted for a refreshing drink, as can the blackcurrant which I also will give details for. We all know how high the vitamin C content in blackcurrant is. Later in the year [Autumn], I will give detail as to how to make rosehip syrup, so high in Vitamin C that children during the war were given days of school where they were expected to harvest rosehips for the nation’s health. Now they still grow in the hedgerows and are a much unused and under-valued free commodity.  Certainly as a child we were given a spoonful of rosehip syrup daily as our vitamin C boost [along with cod liver oil and malt extract before going to school]. I have made rosehip syrup for the past few years as I believe it, combined with vitamin D to be a very effective barrier to these horrid flu’s that pass round the world. Who knows…but its served me well so far anyway!

Before you start always remember that you bottles must be sterilised before use, either a quick cycle in the dishwasher or a hot wash and dry them in a low oven will do it. [Same is true for jam jars, preserving jars…]

Raspberry Syrup.

Raspberry syrup

You will need:

1 kg raspberries

75 ml water

Preserving or granulated sugar.

Put the raspberries and water in your bowl and mash well. Set over a pan of boiling water for 1 hour, mashing occasionally.

Pour into a sterilized jelly bag and leave for a few hours until the dripping has ceased. Squeeze the bag and then filter the juice through a double layer of muslin.

Measure your juice and allow 400 grams of sugar for every 500 ml of juice. Now put juice and sugar into pan and boil stirring until all the sugar is dissolved. Skim off any froth and boil hard for 4-5 minutes. Do not overcook though as mixture will start to set!

Pour into hot sterilized bottle and cork, or place stopper in. Leave to cool and cover cork with wax if you wish.

This amount will give about 750 ml of syrup. It can be diluted to drink, or poured over ice cream, and deserts.

Blackcurrant Syrup.

Blackcurrant syrup

You will need:

1 kg ripe blackcurrants

Preserving or granulated sugar.

Puree the blackcurrants in a food processor or liquidiser. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and leave for 24 hours.

Pour the puree into sterilised jelly bag and leave for a few hours until dripping ceases. Squeeze the bag, then filter juice through double layer of muslin.

Measure juice and add 400 grams sugar for every 500 grams of juice. Stir well until sugar has dissolved.

Pour juice into sterilised bottles, filling them to within 5 cm of the top. Cork. Wrap in cloth and stand on metal rack at base of large lidded pan. Pour in enough water to cover cork by 2.5 cm. Cover, bring to the boil and allow to boil for 25 minutes if using a 500 ml bottle. Remove from pan with tongs, leave to cool completely. Wax if desired.

As the blackcurrant syrup requires heat processing, it may pay you to make up several batches of this at same time, so they can all be popped into hot bath at same time for processing.

Leave a comment »

For Like Minded Squirrells

At this time of the year I am getting into preserving, and this year intend to do more what we call  bottling in the UK, and the Americans call Canning. I have just done some bottled apricots. Bottling is an amazing method of preservation which does not rely on using electricity for storage as a freezer does. I think this is one of its strongest points, I certainly feel we all need to become more aware of the fragility of the systems such as electricity that we take for granted. Another bonus is the beauty of those bottles of different colours and contents stacked up on our shelves and the feeling that we can feed our families a variety of foods throughout the year and in emergencies. Since the glass jars used for preserving are reusable it is an environmentally friendly way of being a squirrel! For like-minded squirrels, this book which I have detailed below looks like a dream. I have just pre-ordered it, it is due to be released 1st July. I have given you the UK link, to find it on American Amazon, just copy and paste the title and put it in search on your own Amazon. Cant wait for mine to come through!
x
From the author of “The Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook” comes a great new collection of recipes, hints, and Plain wisdom for everyone who loves the idea of preserving fresh, wholesome foods. Whether instructing a beginning canner or helping a seasoned cook hone her skills, certified Master Food Preserver Georgia Varozza shows people how to get the very best out of their food. Here, readers will find: a short history of canning; lists of all the tools and supplies needed to get started; basic instructions for safe canning; recipes for canning fruit, vegetables, meat, soups, sauces, and more; and guidelines for adapting recipes to fit personal tastes. With its expert advice and warm tones, “The Amish Canning Cookbook” will become a beloved companion to those who love the tradition, frugality, and homestyle flavor of Amish cooking!
Amish Preserving Book

Leave a comment »

How To Make A Clay Oven

I found this a couple of days ago and love it so I thought I would share it. How to build a clay oven. I think it is a very sensible idea, to be able to cook if the electricity is off, but even great fun to be this independent anyway. The website is full of great ideas and I think you will enjoy looking round it…very interesting company.

It looks easier enough, pictures on right of page, instructions on main page and a book to buy as well, with lots more detail…

http://www.thethoughtfulbreadcompany.com/building_clay_oven.php

Clay Oven

Comments (1) »

%d bloggers like this: