Food & Drinks, Simplify

Ketchup

As summer ends, there was a sudden inflow of ripe tomatoes. D and I simply cannot consume these fast enough. Not wanting to toss anything and having no more room in the freezer, I decided to make spicy ketchup according to a recipe I found online.

The end product tasted like ketchup, but has the consistency of soup. Maybe the tomatoes I used were too watery? Maybe I should have left the pot uncovered when cooking? Next time (I am pretty sure there will be a next time), I shall strain the tomatoes first and then add a teaspoon of corn flour to thicken the concoction.

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Food & Drinks, Simplify

Grape Juice – Batch II

I spent half a morning de-stemming, washing, and then boiling many kilograms of grapes. I let the liquid cool, filtered the grape juice into glass containers and placed these into the fridge when they have cooled down to room temperature. 

This is the second batch of grape juice I made this year. According to D, there will be at least four more times of this!

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Simplify

Recycling Textile

My very basic self-taught sewing skill allows me to use the sewing machine as a recycling tool. So far, I have been able to turn old pyjamas and other worn out clothing pieces into disposable vacuum bags, baby pillow cases and so forth.

My next project will be to convert some well-liked tee shirts, which can no longer be worn nor donated, into little cushions or pillows. I shall fill these up with shredded old socks.

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Jibber Jabber, Simplify

New Pyjamas

Since there will be no more unbearable warm nights, D and I dismantled, cleaned, and folded up the tent. It is now stored away in our attic ready for the next heat waves.

After that, I went on to clean the windows which I have purposely neglected for two whole months! While I was busy with my chores, D proceeded to replace the hand grips on my bike. The old grips have been melting away during the extremely warm summer days and staining my hands black every time I go for a bike ride.

In the afternoon, D and I rode our bikes to a nearby clothing store to check out the twice yearly inventory sales. When we biked back home, D was carrying our stuff in a huge shopping bag. In it were his three sets of pyjamas!

What a productive Thursday this has turned out to be.

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Jibber Jabber, Simplify

Grass Comeback

After two nights of heavy rain within a week’s period, the grass are making an unbelievable comeback. Our lawn is recovering slowly but surely. So are our neighbours’ lawns as well. We can see more green than beige now.

Later, D and I will bike to the Lokaal farmer’s market in this lovely weather. We will meet up with D’s mom, drink, chat and purchase a few fresh ingredients for tonight’s dinner. After having just been to a beer festival two days ago, I will be drinking a juice and shall take advantage of the free tap water at the bar.

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Food & Drinks, Simplify

Hot & Cold Tomatoes

The abundance of tomatoes this summer has become a fun challenge to me.

When the days are cloudy and cooler, I make tomato onion chutney. When it is hot and dry, it is time for sun-dried tomatoes. The jars of chutney may be stored in the fridge and will keep for a month. According to what I read on the internet, sun-dried tomatoes have a significant shelf life of years! I doubt mine will last the next months because I just cannot stop myself from eating them.

If I ever get tired of the tomato soups, the sun-drying and the chutneys, I will chop up fresh raw tomatoes and freeze them in my muffin form. This way, I will have portioned tomatoes pieces in the freezer. Cooking with home grown tomatoes during the winter months is a wonderful thing.

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Human Nature, Simplify

Redo

After a ridiculously warm and restless night, I woke up yesterday morning with a regret that bothered me for half a day. Bloody hell, I caved in and did not sleep in the tent because of a storm forecast which did not even occur! Argh!

To remove myself from the rotten feeling of self-pity, I asked D if he wanted to accompany me to the library (with the bike) in the afternoon. I need to get out of my comfort zone, be a bit brave and take calculated risks. I felt much better after the bike ride, renewing my library membership for another year, borrowed a book about vegetable gardening, and did some light grocery. Of course, the companionship was most helpful.

Later in the day, we joined the neighbours for drinks and a bit of socializing while their children played in the speelstraat. I walked back home to prepare dinner, ate dinner, rejoined the group and then left to call mom to have our usual Wednesday chats while D stayed on.

And not wanting to wallow in disappointment yet again, I slept in the tent last night. Read a bit, went to sleep, and woke up all rested at 7.30am. Yeah!

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Simplify

Sun-Dried Tomatoes

There is a prevalent drought that has been going on for months now. Coupled with this, daytime temperatures have sometimes hovered around and above the 30s.

Currently, most gardeners are lamenting their dying plants. But that is not the case with my in-laws. They are harvesting kilos of tomatoes everyday. As a result, D and I are at the receiving end of many ripe tomatoes. It is humanly impossible to consume so many fresh tomatoes. And damn, there is no room in the freezer because I have just stored four loaves of bread from our vacationing baker.

Being a die-hard problem solver, my solution and response to the persistent dry heat, the constant sunlight, and the ripening tomatoes is to experiment with home-made sun-dried tomatoes.

All my life, I have adapted to the conditions of different surroundings. So, bring on the heat waves. I will only end up with a pantry full of delicious sun-dried tomatoes.

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