Weekend wanderings

Hi All

Firstly, I am listening to Gotye “Somebody that I used to know”. Excellent song albeit very VERY Sting like. Here’s my post for Sunday, one of the best days of the week because we actually get the whole day to do whatever we like (apart from walking the dogs…)…

To those of you who know me well, I have an obsession about compiling all sorts of unusual recipes. It has been my passion since before computers were around and I used to use a battered old manual typewriter to type with one finger and took recipe books out of the library and typed. I filled reams and reams of large financial year diaries that my ex-husband was able to bring home when they were out of date with thousands of hand written and carefully cut recipes out of magazines, newspapers etc. I don’t quite know why I have this need to compile recipes. It’s not recipes for cakes that I like or anything like that, it’s a need to find all sorts of weird and wonderful food preparation methods for making food from base ingredients yourself. Making things ‘from scratch’ I guess you would call it. I often feel like I have won lotto when I manage to find a particularly good website and have spent a good part of my life online looking up these recipes. I know how to make tofu from scratch. Not only from soybeans, but from all sorts of other sources as well. I can make my own tortillas, bread, fermented foods, soy sauce, tempeh and many different basic ingredients. Only last night I found a recipe leaked to the wider community by a group of people trying to liberate we ‘consumers’ from the corporate giant’s greed by giving away recipes for things like cola. I downloaded a PDF (my favourite things) with the recipe for how to make the special flavouring mix, and the entire recipe for making cola. I love investigating ethnic foods and any manner of spices, herbs and how to use them. Call it the hierophant in me (remember ‘hierophant’ NOT ‘elephant’…) that has this incessant need to find things out and share them.

I am just about to re-order some milk kefir grains and some water kefir grains from a source in South Australia. I did this once before and all of my adult children reading this now are cringing as the last lot ended up being flushed down the toiled when I lost interest. I have a bad habit of losing interest in many things, mainly because they move from the ‘interesting and fun’ baskets, into the ‘what a load of hard work for something that I don’t even really want’ basket quite quickly or they could also be in the ‘I can’t do it amazingly well straight away and am too lazy to practice at it so I will just stop doing it” basket which is where my “Failed Crafts” cupboard was a testament to my many and varied attempts to “Make Things”. Again, my adult children are shaking their heads remembering the half-finished lead lighting, knitting, beer making etc… I have rekindled my desire for using kefir again. For those of you who don’t know what kefir is, it’s a culture that looks like tiny brains.

and heres what they look like when they are culturing milk…

It needs milk to grow in and it feeds on the milk, changing its flavour and composition and it’s a probiotic culture so its actually good for you. Back in the old days when I bought this culture I didn’t drink milk so you can only ask yourselves why I would buy this culture. It was like having silk worms, it lasted ‘a season’ and was then over. I also bought water kefir grains which feed on sugar and that make a mildly fizzy, sweet probiotic drink that is good for you and somewhat alcoholic (I’m in that!). I now use milk again and am interested in re-obtaining more kefir grains to cultivate all sorts of products. I have found out a lot about kefir since I last used it and have downloaded lots of recipes to make cheese, smoothies and home-made sour cream with it. It also tells you how to use the excess grains as kefir grows and you only need a small amount to culture your milk. I didn’t know anyone who wanted to make their own kefir at the time I had it last so ended up flushing it down the loo and feeling incredibly guilty about it as I hate killing anything. You can blend up the excess grains and use them in smoothies, cakes etc. as they are apparently very good for you.  Here’s where I get my kefir grains from in Australia and it’s a very detailed website with a massive amount of information…

Apart from making kefir and water kefir (which you can also use to make a very interesting version of ginger beer that I just so happen to have found a recipe for…), the original source of these grains also has a few new additions to be purchased.

Water kefir is similar to milk kefir but tends to be clear, smaller and it only lives in sweeter juice, coconut water etc. You can grow kefir in coconut milk but that information wasn’t available to me way back when I first grew it so down the toilet it went while I stood there with my hand over my heart giving it a military send off…

He now offers Kombucha, which is a large placenta like fungus that grows on the top of sugared black tea. Here’s a website that has lots of information about Kombucha and its reported benefits…

Here’s another source of info about this most disturbing looking beneficial fungus that promises so much…

and here is what it looks like…( I deliberately chose one of the less gross pictures to show you as some of the “mothers” or “Scobies” as they are known get enormous and very placenta like)

He also offers a culture called Viili which is a Swedish culture that yields “ropy milk” which is somewhat cohesive (like mucous) which thankfully blends up smooth or I wouldn’t even be talking about it! This culture also lives in milk like kefir. It yields a sweeter result where kefir is somewhat sour and tart. You can also make cheese, butter, sour cream etc. with viili and as such it is interesting to me. You might wonder why anyone would want to eat something as mucilaginous as this…well I am not sure, but these Europeans eat some weird stuff!…

and here is a Finnish Tie showing that viili is obviously a whole lot more popular in Finland than something this slimy would initially indicate. A website specifically aimed at selling ties that reflect positively on Finnland is probably about as specific as you can get! Here is the tie and the site that I found when looking for pictures of viili for you to be grossed out by (I know I AM ech!)…


I am not a penny pincher by any means, but I do like to make things for myself, for the simple reason that it reduces the amount of energy used to make that product. I know that there are some people out there who might think that by oversimplifying the world that we would return to the dark ages and put millions of people out of work. I would counteract that by saying that we should all “live simpler, so that others may simply live”. If we all stops consuming the masses of throw away articles and refused to buy anything that was covered in throw away packaging etc., we wouldn’t have to worry about what to do with our rubbish because we are producing it at an exponential rate…if we all made do with 1 car and it wasn’t a massive great 4 x 4 because we NEED to take the kids to school in it…we might not have to worry so much about greenhouse gasses being produced by massive factories churning out products that have use by dates built into them to protect the industry. I will stop there, but we all have the power to change the world by voting with our feet and our wallets. That’s most probably why I want to learn how to make everything that I can, myself. I have not only compiled diaries and cookbooks, I have C.D’s full of word documents and PDF’s that I have discovered with all sorts of precious information in them on how to do things for yourself. Most of them I haven’t used admittedly, but should I ever need to use them, I know where they are. I will probably start another blog one day soon all about these amazing recipes for everything from toothpaste, floor polish through to home-made fish sauce and dog biscuits. I found a book written back in the early 80’s by Bill Mollison called “The Permaculture Book of Ferment and Human Nutrition”. It was a book that I had discovered in a library search way back when you had to use microfiche to do so (yes…I am old…) and had ordered it in through my local library (I have kept entire town libraries open by my researching) along with a lot of other books. I didn’t think that it would contain much but this book is one of the most valuable resources that you can find if you want to make any sort of fermented food yourself. It’s amazing! It’s also out of print, you can’t find it for under $300 on any book website as it’s that popular and the local Tasmanian library has 5 copies of it. Do you know how tempting it is to take out this book and ‘lose it’ as I would only have to pay back about $40 to get a copy of this book. Only my honesty and being brought up right saves me from sinking to these depths. I know that there are many unscrupulous people who have done this because the original amount of copies amounted to 10 and some copies have been ‘lost’. I ended up typing the entire book out every night over a period of a fortnight. It almost made me blind, I couldn’t type for a couple of weeks my wrists were so very sore BUT I have my very own copy of this book with my own additions including colour photographs and I got to research all sorts of recipes in the process. My idea of heaven :o)

I am a self-admitted technophobe. Partly because I come from the generation that invented computers and was an adult before they became passé. My children are all very computer literate and grew up with them as part of their lives. I came from a generation (the very tail end of it) that played outside, rode our bikes to school, walked everywhere (because our parents were NOT taxi’s), and pre-politically correct times when if we mucked around we got a clip behind our ears, if we did something wrong we knew about it and paid for it and if we didn’t eat our greens we sat at the table till we bloody well did! As the old punk album title stated “Never mind the bollocks” kids, you do what you are told! I can’t personally stand politically correct people. I think that while they are out ‘saving’ everything, there are all sorts of unscrupulous people rising to power on their ignorant coat tails. I don’t care if people get angry at me, I believe in sharing, and if there is anyone out there that thinks that they have more of a right to anything than anyone else just because they are a different colour, sex, gender, religion, etc., YOU DON’T! Back to the technophobe. The part that is fear of computers and breaking them comes from computers being ‘special’ when I was a kid. Remember the goodies and Grahams massive great computer? Well Steve remembers going to a massive bank of computers and learning to punch out cards at his most progressive school in the U.K. We didn’t have any of that out here in the colonial sticks, and my son’s generation back in the 80’s was the first to be exposed to massive computer usage. After that everyone got on the technological bandwagon and both of my daughters can type faster than I can think, can use HTML and create web pages and flit around all over the place behind the scenes with DOS etc. I flitter around the peripherals like a butterfly, only alighting on those aspects of technology that particularly interest me. Fear and laziness are my main motivators.

I decided to see what “Google Reader” was all about today. I have Google as my home page as it’s always seen me right (a perfectly good reason for anything really…) and got a little reminder to check out Google Reader…so me, being the nosy person that I am, headed on over to have a little look…I am trying to do things for myself as Steve is computer literate and doesn’t mind giving things the old college try. He is 2 years younger than me and fits into a different demographic and ‘generation’ apparently. I got born on the second last year of the baby boomer generation. My mother is also a baby boomer so that shows you how long it’s taken for technology and consumerism to engulf us all. Steve was born at the beginning of Generation “X” of which my son and eldest daughter are also part of. My youngest daughter is part of Generation “Y”. And they haven’t given much scope for further generations have they, starting at the end of the alphabet like that! Are they trying to tell us something about technology or the world or something? Back to Google Reader. It didn’t need installation as it comes as part of Google being your home page so I guess I turned it on so to speak. After allowing it to load, I had a look at it. I had messed about with making I-Google my home page and put so many applications on it that it constantly seized up and turned itself off so I just went back to having Google as my home page. Loading Google Reader allowed me to use some of the applications that I had lost when I stopped using I-Google. I am not even sure if it was called “I-Google”, but it was where you could personalise your home page and that is all I cared about. The jury is still out on Google Reader by the way. I am going to have to sniff around it a bit and check it out to see if it can actually help me in personalising (and thus reducing sifting out the dross) my web searches. My niggling suspicion is that my “Top searches” are going to be those that paid Google to stick them there, but if they are actually related to what I am looking for, that is better than what general searches yield. Anyone else sick of Tag based sites just existing to get you to visit them? They put all the right ‘words’ on their pages so that unsuspecting visitors check them out and they get a hit and more advertising money. Bollocks to them I say…and bollocks to foreign spam (as entertaining as they are trying to get my bank details out of me with the promise of 400 trillion dollars…), bollocks to hackers and rip off merchants all over the world. We can only hope that Karma gives them a good kick up the proverbial someday soon and shows them what asses they are. I just noticed that I tend to rant a fair bit in my latest posts. I promise you that I won’t be making a habit of it…it’s my outrageous indignation rising up. I can’t help it, I come from a long LONG line of Union reps…

It’s a really lovely day outside today. Tomorrow promises to be a good day for baking bread and knocking out studies because rain is predicted, but today is perfect for sitting on the deck looking out at the sparkling water and having a beer. Life is good :o) Steve is in his music room giving one of his many guitars a good work out. Earl loves guitar and the louder the better. I can’t even go into Steve’s guitar room when he is playing in there but Earl will be lying at his feet sleeping! Bezial and I stay out, we are not stupid. I have compromised hearing thanks to my love of music. It started at an early John Butler concert and progressed on with more concerts until at the final Powderfinger concert my hearing just put up its hands and said “WHATEVER” (yes I know that is yelling, it had to yell, I just told you I am deaf!). I can’t blame Powederfinger, It was Jett. A posturing wanky little urban band of skinny larrikins who had a good album (copying every genre of music from the stones, Beatles through to Bowie and ACDC…) and then, like Oasis, their arrogance tripped them up and they became relegated to non-headlining gigs. They were so very loud that our ears hurt. My daughter used to love Powderfinger and when they called it a day she took it badly, refusing to buy tickets to go and see their farewell concert. I knew how much she had loved them so phoned up when our local radio station was giving away a chance to win tickets and won a spot in the competition. Those of us, who won a chance, had to go to Coles, sit around a table, and put our hands into a box. The boxes had various things inside them, some as insidious as dog food! If you pulled out your hand and it was covered in ‘powder’ (flour) you got tickets. I got flour! So Madeline DID go to the ball (cinderelli) and I must admit it was a really good concert and the breakfast the next morning of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon made her happier than the concert did.

I think that’s going to be about all for today. I have let you see how addicted to collecting ‘how to’ recipes and old crafts and ways of doing things. I have shown you what a technophobe/luddite I am, and have given you a rough idea of just how old I am…who cares, I am past giving a damn and have nothing but pity for people trying to ‘prolong their youth’ and whack themselves a toy boy. Get over yourselves!  One day you are going to have to be ‘old’ officially and you may as well get there gracefully and with a few shreds of dignity as suffocate under all of that skin that has been yanked behind your ears when your botoxed forehead gives up and said skin slithers down your face and drowns you in your vanity…WOW! Where did that come from? I guess it comes from someone who wishes that people would just be themselves and stop deluding themselves, poor teenage boys who go to night clubs and wake up with nana, and keeping an industry going that really shouldn’t have been allowed to get going in the first place (non-necessary cosmetic surgery and vanity cosmetics). We all get old, we all die…there I said it…it’s inevitable so we should do the very best that we can to enjoy every minute of the process to get there. There you go, another rant! One that I am proud of and will stick by. Welcome wrinkles.  I have earned each and every one of you and ever y time that I look at you, I will NOT give in to fear of old age, I will make sure to live what is left of my life to the fullest. Life is most certainly too short for bad wine! (But Steve will drink it anyway because it’s cheap….sigh….)


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mum
    Oct 23, 2011 @ 19:51:29

    My, that was a good rant love ! You never know when you may need how to things, as you well know, so keep them handy. Be careful with that placenta looking blob on kefir too, it might bite. Funny, I have been thinking about kefir myself, & making cheese with it sounds interesting too. It has poured all day here, so expect first the humidity, then thunder & tropical downpour! Saves watering too. Get a rain tank next to gather it !


  2. pfundtie
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 15:28:41


    This is you. Try to figure out why, I’ll give you a hint;

    “-typewriter to type with one finger and took recipe books out of the library and typed.”


  3. Kreebard
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 16:00:38

    What are you talking about? I can’t use DOS! Stop lying! And also, way to make me sound fat…


  4. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 08, 2013 @ 02:03:15

    Chris made some kombucha tea for awhile. He is 8 years younger than me. When do the baby boomers end? I will be 60 this year and he 52. I guess that is why he can outlast me on working, because he is younger. I used to be such a workaholic. I think that is why I consider myself so lazy these days.


    • narf77
      Apr 08, 2013 @ 04:41:16

      There is a BIG difference between being lazy and being truthful about your capabilities :). You are both classed as baby boomers and so am I. I am 50 this year BUT Steve escapes by a hairs width and is Generation “X” or something stupid like that. It’s all just demographics for advertising agencies anyway ;). Don’t forget that Chris is also male and built to outlast you physically. We women are designed to be able to bear a lot internally and emotionally (the reason we are able to cry so easily) and men are designed to be the physical load bearers. I don’t care WHAT people say, there is a physical difference folks and for whatever reason, it DOES exist. I could never hope to lift what Steve does. He has a set of shoulders that nature made for lifting and chopping and lugging and that’s it…that’s all! I am happy that I get to use my brain to help out and my stubborn refusal to give in to our advantage :).


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