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Life is half delicious yogurt, half crap, and your job is to keep the plastic spoon in the yogurt.

– Scott Adams (creator of the Dilbert comics)

I’m listening to Fleet Foxes’ new album Helplessness Blues as I write this, and very nice it is too. There’s just not enough mandolin in modern music, I reckon.

‘Twill be a bit of a photo blog today..

Fun with Soap Nuts

Not tested on Vegans

In my dalliance with hippiness yesterday I purchased some soap nuts, intrigued by the “all-natural,” “cleaning product,” and “not tested on animals, or vegans” claims (actually, the line reads “not tested on animals, vegan” meaning it’s a product that vegans would be ok with using, but I read it wrong the first time I saw the packaging and now have a mental picture of vegans being soaped up with soapnuts…umm..urghh)

I got a bit creative and recycled an old odd sock into a soap-nut-holder (almost tempted to sew little eyes on it).

I tried them out today on a flannelette sheet set that has been waiting to be laundered for a while. The instructions suggest using a few drops of essential oil to scent the laundry. Turns out the only essential oils I have in the house are tea tree and eucalyptus for their antiseptic and solvent properties respectively. So I went with tea tree because I think it smells nicer.

The result? Well, the water doesn’t lather up like it does with ordinary laundry liquid, but the sheets came out smelling like tea tree oil and appear to be clean. They weren’t overly soiled to begin with (or soiled at all, given both S and I are in full possession of bowel continence, no doubt you’re relieved to hear), just a bit musty. Now they smell faintly of tea tree oil and feel beautifully soft! I guess a better test will be with some dirty tea towels, to see how they perform on the grease front.

Meanwhile, on the Yoghurt Front:

Mmm, delicious yoghurt. I confess, I cheated a little by using an Easiyo Greek yoghurt packet (which really is just a conveniently pre-packaged mix of powdered milk and freeze dried culture), just to confirm that I and my flask are capable of producing solid yoghurt. As easy as anything, all that’s required is to shake up the powder with 500mls cool drinking water, then top up to 1L with more water and pop in the easiyo container which has been filled to the correct level with boiling water.

It “cooked” for about 9 hours yesterday, and went into the fridge at 11pm. This morning the results were thus:

There was a yellow-ish crust on the top which you can see in the top photo. I suspect it’s milk powder that didn’t get mixed in properly. The yoghurt tastes tangy, smooth and creamy. It reminds me a bit of the delicious Greek yoghurt I got addicted to in a trip through the Greek Islands in 2008. Perfect served over a bowl of fresh fruit salad.

Delicious!

Now, of course, I have yoghurt that is definitely live, so I plan to use it as starter for further batches.

In sourdough news: 

Day 2 of the sourdough starter. I added a further 50g water, 35g whole wheat flour and 15g rye flour. It smells wheaty, and seems to have a bit of warmth coming off it! I’m hoping this augers well for the end result and that it’s not in the process of developing self awareness.

The photo on the right is a reminder to me not to leave the stirring spoon on the kitchen bench – that flour and water mix dries hard.

I’m slightly intoxicated with the success of my yoghurt that I’m already thinking of a new possibility: HOMEBREW!

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