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Monday, February 25, 2013

Mango Jam

We you know the story of the mango tree destruction in my back yard, if you have read the post on Mango chutney. But there is only so much mango chutney a girl can make in one week. Mango Jam was my next mission.


450 grams peeled and chopped ripe mango

450 grams sugar

Two tablespoon lemon juice.

Two tablespoons of water


Place the mango, water and lemon juice in your preserving pan.  Simmer gently until the fruit is soft.

Add the sugar and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Increase the heat and boil rapidly, until set point is achieved. The setting point of jam is 105 degree.

To test for set point place a small plate in the fridge to chill.  When you are ready to test for set point,  remove the jam from the heat, to avoid overcooking it, and place a teaspoon of the jam on the chilled plate and place the plate back in the fridge for a minute or two. Remove the plate and with your finger tip, push the jam. If the surface of the jam wrinkles, the jam is set.

This jam was a big hit and we used two jars in the first two days!!!


Mango chutney

With the recent storms hitting Queensland and NSW, we ate Green  Living Australia have been lucky to escape most of the destruction   Our location is far from any flood area and downed trees were our main concern. One such tree, a large iron bark, came down in my yard, taking out the back fence, clothes line, dog house and my best mango tree. It was a mess and there were mangoes everywhere, all which would go to wast if there was not something done fast.

We collected as many mangoes as we cold and got to work on making mango chutney. Here is my recipe.


One and a half kilos of green mangoes, peeled and diced.

1.2 kilos sugar

2 large onions

One cup brown vinegar

225 grams chopped raisins

One tablespoon salt.

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Place all ingredients into a large, heavy based pot and mix well.

Using high heat, bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for one to one and a half hours, and until mixture has thicken.

Ladle hot chutney into hot 500 ml jars leaving a head space of 1.5 cm.  Wipe the rims clean and then cap with your new lids. .

Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the boiling water bath and place on a tea towel on the kitchen counter and allow to cool.

Once cool, label your jars with the date and contents and they are ready to store in your pantry.

This is great with cheese, meats and is a favourite of mine for adding to curry dishes.  I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Making Milk Based Soaps

Using the recipe already provided in my blog, you can make goat's and other milk based soaps. Simply replace the water with goat's milk when making your lye solution and you will have lovely, creamy, moisturizing soap.

Follow the general directions for making your lye solution, being sure to follow all safety protocols.  

Milk used in soap making must be treated first, to prepare it for the soap making process.  You do this by ensuring that your milk is pasteurize. This is easy if you are purchasing your milk from the grocery store, as this milk will already be pasturized.

The second thing you need to do to the milk is to freeze it. I freeze my milk overnight and then take it out of the freezer in the morning and let it start to thaw out prior to my soap making. I want this milk to be cold and even still partially frozen, like a slushy, when I start to add the caustic soda.  

Measure out your cold, partially frozen goat's milk into the container you are going to use to make your lye solution. Place this container in a sink of cold water and add ice cubes to the water. You want this iced water to reach up to the level of the milk in your container. Be careful not to add too much water, as your container will start to float and may spill.

Slowly add a small amount of your measured caustic soda to the milk.  As it starts to dissolve, it will start to heat up. Stir the solution gently and then wait for it to coll down. As a rule of thumb, you do not want the solution be get above 38 degrees C.

Add some more of your caustic soda, and following the same procedure, wait until the solution cools back down. Continue to do this until you have added all of your caustic soda to your milk.

The solution will change colour to a golden yellow as you continue to mix in your caustic soda. This is natural and does not mean that there is anything wrong. This colour will be transferred to your soap.. Just be sure that it does not get heated above 38 degrees C, as this will make it much darker and will also produce an offensive smell.

Once you have your milk based lye solution made, all the remaining steps of the soap making are the same as in the recipes provided.

Just add the milk based lye solution to your oils and mix until you get a trace.  Then pour your soap mix into your moulds and allow to set.

I leave my soaps overnight and pop them out of the moulds in the morning and set them out on a drying rack to dry. 

Milk based soaps are luxurious and cream and are excellent for those with sensitive skin. Give it a try. It is easier than you think.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Soap making is a wonderfully creative craft that can be enjoyed by young and old alike. The only limit is your imagination, with the wide verity of oils, fragrances and other additives you can use to make your soaps one of a kind

Here are the basic soap making steps that you can follow to begin your own adventure.


Most of the equipment you will need for making cold pressed soaps at home are already in your kitchen.

You will need the following;

Kitchen scales to accurately measure your ingredients

Soap pot. This should be made of unchipped enamel or stainless steel. This should be large enough to hold your batch of soap and also allow for stirring and mixing without splashing.

Plastic jugs for mixing your caustic soda solution. As the solution heats up significantly when caustic soda is added to the water, the jugs should be microwave sale to handle this heat.

Long handled wooden or plastic spoon for stirring, or alternatively a hand held or stand alone mixer can be used.

Two kitchen thermometers that will allow you to measure in the range of 34 to 38 degrees.

Safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes whenever you are handling soap making ingredients.

Rubber gloves to protect your hands whenever soap making ingredients

A ladle to transfer you soap from your soap pot or mixing bowel to your soap mould(s)

A sharp knife for slicing bars of soap

Soap moulds or a large plastic container to use as a soap mould. An empty cardboard milk carton can make a good soap mould if you do not have something suitable

An old blanket or towels for wrapping your soap one in the mould(s)

Plastic needle point screen, sushi mats or something similar to place your soaps on to cure.  


Distilled water, which is available in the cleaning aisle of your local supermarket

Caustic soda (Sodium hydroxide), which is available in the cleaning aisle of your local supermarket

Fats or oils. Our kits come with vegetable oils for your soap making
1. Sustainable palm oil (in the kit);
2. Coconut oil (in the kit);
3. Olive oil (available at your local supermarket)
4. A verity of specialty oils, selected for their beneficial properties (in the kit)

Fragrance oils. Our kits come with two 15ml bottles of fragrance

Additional additives. Let your imagination run wild. Use crushed lavender flowers, honey, kelp, or bran. Additives add texture, can act as an exfoliant or have other healing properties. Remember, its your soap, experiment and have fun.

Soap colouring.

Additives can also act as soap colourants, but there are also natural colourants available. One example is Annatto, which is derived from a flower, that can give a lovely golden colour to your soap.


Caustic soda, when added to water, increases in temperature significantly. It is also a strong alkaline solution and will burn when it comes in contact with your skin. You must be very careful not to spill or splash any on you at any time during the soap making process. If you do get any on your skin, you must immediately rinse it off in cold running water.

Always put on your safety glasses or goggles and your rubber gloves before handling caustic soda. Always add the caustic soda to the water and not the water to the caustic soda. Even after you have mixed the caustic soda solution in with your oils and have a soap, this soap mixture can still burn you as the saponification process is not complete until the soap is cured and the soap mixture is still very alkaline and can still burn you.  

Basic soap making steps:

1. Gather all your equipment and ingredients
2. Weigh the water, caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) and the fats and/or oils you will be using
3. Mix your caustic soda solution
4. Melt your fats and/or oils
5. Equalise the temperature of the caustic soda solution and the fats and/or oils at 34 to 38 degrees
6. While stirring/mixing slowly pour your caustic soda solution into your fats and/or oils.
7. Once your mixture is ready, pour your warm soap into your mould(s)
8. Wrap you mould(s) in  insulating material such as a blanket or some towels
9. Allow to dry
10. Remove your soap from the mould(s) and allow to cure

Detailed soap making instructions:

Gather all your equipment and ingredients.

Before you start your soap making, gather all the equipment you will need and all your ingredients. There is nothing worse than being part way through a soap recipe and discovering you do not have something you need. As soap making is a time and temperature sensitive process, you will not be able to stop what you are doing and pop out to the store to pick up what you do not have.

Weigh the water, caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) and the fats and/or oils you will be using

Put on your rubber gloves and your safety goggles. Using accurate kitchen scales, carefully weight out all of your ingredients.  I measure my caustic soda first, then pace it into a small dry bowel. Then measure you distilled water and place it into you plastic jug. Measure each of your oils and place them all together into your soap pot or stainless steel bowel.

Mix your caustic soda solution

Add your caustic soda to your water. DO NOT ADD YOUR WATER TO YOUR CAUSTIC SODA. The chemical reaction can cause significant heat production, fizzing and splattering. Always add the caustic soda to the water for safety reasons. Use your wooden spoon to mix the caustic soda into the water. If possible, it is best to do this outside or in a well ventilated room. You d not want to breath in any of the fumes that can be created during this initial chemical reaction.  Your caustic soda solution will become quite hot and will need to cool down before it can be added to your oil. Once I have my caustic soda solution mixed up, I carefully place one of my thermometers into the jug so that I can monitor the temperature as it cools.    

Melt your fats and/or oils

Using your soap pot or you stainless steel bowel, heat your oils to melt them. If using a soap pot you can do this on your stove. If using a stainless steel bowel, you can do this by placing it into a sink of hot water. Place your second thermometer into the bowel of oils so that you can monitor the oil's temperature.

Equalise the temperature of the caustic soda solution and the fats and/or oils at 34 to 38 degrees

Once you have you caustic soda solution made up, and your oils melted, you will need to equalise their temperature until they are the same, somewhere in the range of 34 to 38 degree. To do this use hot and/or cold water in the sink and place the jug and/or bowel into the appropriate water. I have a double sink in my kitchen, so I usually cool the caustic soda solution in a cold water sink while I heat my oils in a hot water sink. When they reach the same temperature, you are ready to mix them together. This may take a little practice, but once you have made a few batches, it becomes quite easy, as you get used to how long caustic soda solution takes to cool down from its initial heat reaction and  how long it takes for the oils to heat up.

While stirring/mixing slowly pour your caustic soda solution into your fats and/or oils.

Once the oils and the caustic coda solution reach the same temperate you are ready to pour your caustic soda solution into your oil/fat mixture.

Wearing rubber gloves and your safety glasses slowly drizzle the caustic soda solution into your oils, stirring as quickly as possible by hand. If you are going to use a free standing or hand mixer it should be set at its lowest speed. I recommend using a free standing mixer which allows you to move away when mixing, to avoid getting any small splashes on you. If you are using a hand held mixer, be sure you have on long sleeves and rubber gloves and that the bowel is big enough so that you can work without getting splashed. If you are mixing by hand, continue to stir briskly keeping as much of the mixture in continuous motion as possible.  

Keep stirring in a swift, forceful manner until the soap mixture starts to thicken. As the mixture starts to thicken you need to test for “tracing'  To test for tracing, use your spoon and pick up a small amount of the soap mixture and drizzle it across the top of the remaining soap mixture. If it is not ready, the drizzle will immediately sink back into the soap mixture without leaving a trace. However, as it thickens, and you test the mixture again, a small amount of the soap mixture, drizzled onto the remaining soap mixture, will leave a faint pattern before sinking back into the mixture. This is called tracing. You do not want to wait until the trace is thick enough for the pattern to remain on the surface, as this will them be too thick to pour.

Once your soap has reached trace, you are ready to mix in your fragrance and any other additives, such as soap colouring. Mix these in and them immediately pour your soap.  

Once your mixture is ready, pour your warm soap into your mould(s)

You are now ready to pour your soap into your soap mould(s). If using silicone soap moulds, place them onto a tray, such as a baking tray. Carefully pour your soap into the mould(s). You can use a spatula to get every last bit of soap out. Do not over fill them. As you are going to have to wrap them to keep them warm, you will need to cover them with another tray. If you overfill your moulds, the top tray will come into contact with soap and ruin your nice smooth surface. If the surface is not smooth from when you poured your soap, give them a little shake and they will smooth out. The same applies if you are using some other container as a mould.    

Wrap you mould(s) in  insulating material such as a blanket or some towels

Once your moulds have been filled, and you have covered them with another tray or a piece of cardboard, wrap your soaps in an old blanket, or some old towels, to keep them warm. Place them in a warm location. I usually use my kitchen, as this is the warmest room in my house.

Allow to dry

Allow your soap to set, undisturbed,  for eighteen to twenty-four hours.

Remove your soap from the mould(s) and allow to cure

After eighteen hours, check your soap for firmness. It should be firm to the touch but not rock hard. If it is still too soft to remove from the mould(s)  without damaging the shape of the soap, leave it longer. Once it is firm to the touch, simply pop the soap out of the mould. Place your soaps on a  plastic needle point screen, sushi mats or something similar to air dry. You want something that will allow air to circulate around the soap. Turn your soap over once a week. Allow to cure for six weeks before using your soap. This allows for the saponification to be completed

So following the above directions, here s a simple soap recipe for you to follow. 
Evening Primrose oil soap

120 grams caustic soda

300 grams distilled water

200 grams Coconut oil

200 grams sustainable palm oil

400 grams olive oil

50 grams Evening Primrose oil

15ml fragrance of your choice

Get creative, have fun and let me know how you go.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Leicester; a traditional English cheese

Leicester: Makes. 900 grams

This is a wonderful, traditional English cheese that I thoroughly enjoyed making.


8 litres of milk
¼ teaspoon of Calcium Chloride diluted in ¼ cup un-chlorinated water. (This can be omitted if you are pasteurising your own milk)
2 drops of cheese colouring (optional)
1 dose Direct Inoculation Mesophilic Starter Culture
½ Rennet tablet or ½ teaspoon of liquid rennet dissolved in ¼ cup un-chlorinated water
2 Tablespoon Cheese salt


Large stainless steel pot;
A second, larger stainless steel pot ot put the first pot into to act as a double boiler;
Cheese thermometer;
Stainless steel knife fro cutting the curd;
Several 90cm square butter muslin for making cheeses;
Stainless Steal slotted spoon;
Large stainless steel of enamel colander;
cutting board
Cheese mould or basket and follower
Cheese press


Place your milk into a large stainless steel pot and then place this pot into your second larger pot with water in it to act as a double boiler. Add the Calcium Chloride solution and mix well. (The calcium chloride can be omitted if you are using farm fresh milk.

Heat your milk to 30 degrees C using indirect heat.

Add your culture, mixing in well, and let the milk rest undisturbed at 30 degrees C for 45 minutes.

Add your cheese colouring diluted in ¼ cup of non chlorinated water and mix in well.

Add your rennet solution to the milk stirring for one minute in a gentle up and down motion, being sure that the rennet is evenly distributed throughout the milk. Allow to set for 45 minutes, maintaining the temperature at 30 degrees C.

Check for a ‘clean brake’.  If the curd is not firm enough leave or another 5 minutes and check again.

Once the curd is firm enough and gives a clean brake, cut the curd into 6mm centimetre cubes. Let set for 5 minutes.

Gently stir occasionally for a further 10 minutes.

Using indirect heat, gradually increase the temperature to 35 degrees C. This should take about 30 minutes. Continue to stir the curds gently to prevent them from matting together.

Maintain the temperature 35 degrees and stir for a further 30 minutes.

Pour the curds into a colander lined with your cloth and allow them to drain for 20 minutes.

Tip the drained curds out of your colander onto a cutting board. Cut the curds into strips about 4cm thick and lay the slices on a clean draining board, cover with a clean tea towel to drain. Turn the slices over every 20 minutes for one hour.

Place the slices into a bowl and gently break the curds up with your fingers into pieces about the size of a 5 cent piece. Using your hands, stir them for a few minutes and them add your salt and again using your hands mix the salt in.

Line your cheese basket with fresh cloth and pack your curds into the basket. Fold the cloth neatly over the top to avoid any lumps of fabric. Place your follower on top.

Press at 6 kilograms for 30 minutes. Remove the cheese from the basket, carefully peal away the cloth, turn the cheese over, redress with cloth and return it to the basket. Press again at 13 kilos for 2 hours. Again remove the cheese, redress it, turn it over, return it to the cheese basket and press again at 22 kilos for 24 hours.

Remove you cheese form the basket and carefully remove the cloth. It is important not to tear the surface of the cheese.  Air-dry the cheese at room temperature on a wooden cheese board. This will take 3-5 days. Be sure to turn the cheese over every few hours so that moisture does not collect on the bottom of the cheese.            

Wax or vacuum pack the cheese and age at 10 degrees C for 12-16 weeks.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Old-Fashioned Peach Preserves

Peaches are in abundance right now, so this is a great time to make peach jam. Local farmers markets have great prices on stone fruit at this time of year, but this won't last for long, so get in fast and take advantage of the current favourable buying conditions.

The following recipe is simple to follow and the addition of the almond extract packs a big punch


1.6kg peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped

5 cups of sugar

¼ cup lemon juice

6-7 teaspoons of pure pectin (if using alternative method)

¾ teaspoon almond extract.


1. Combine the fruit, sugar and lemon juice in a heavy based, 6-8 litre jam making pot. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.

2. Boil slowly, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. The fruit will become translucent. Continue to boil until the cooking thermometer reaches 105 degree, C, which is the setting point of jam.

3. ALTERNATIVELY, you may cook the mixture until thickened and the fruit is translucent, but instead of continuing to cook until the jam reaches 105 degrees, add 6-7 teaspoons of Green Living Australia's Pure Pectin. Boil for five minutes more and then remove from heat.

4. Stir in the almond extract.

5. Skim off any foam that has formed on the top of your jam with a metal spoon. Ladle jam into sterilized jars, allowing a centimeter headspace. Cap with new lids.

6. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Adjust for altitude as necessary. Remove jars from boiling water using a jar lifter to ensure you do not burn yourself.

This jam is full of flavour and I love to add it to my yoghurt in the morning for breakfast.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Strawberry and Rose Jam

I was at the Rocklea Markets in Brisbane the other day and found some wonderful strawberries at the right price. When making my purchase I was chatting with the grower and told him I was making jam. He very kindly then gave me three kilos of strawberries that were no longer perfect, just a little over ripe, and no longer good for sale on his stall. I very gratefully accepted this gift, went home and made strawberry and rose jam



1.5 kilos of strawberries washed and hulled and then cut in half.

1.5 kilos of sugar

1/3 cup of lemon juice

4-5 teaspoons of Green Living Australia’s Pure Pectin

3 teaspoons of rose water or rose essence


1. Place the strawberries in the preserving pan and add the lemon juice

2. Simmer, stirring frequently until the strawberries are tender.

3. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring the mixture to the boil and boil rapidly for 5 minutes.

4. Add 4-5 teaspoons of Pure Pectin, return to the boil and boil rapidly for an additional 5 minuted. Remember that you will need more pectin if the fruit is ripper as the ripper the fruit, the lower the natural pectin in the fruit. As my fruit was a little over ripe, I used 5 teaspoons of Pure Pectin.

5. Add three teaspoons of rose essence and quickly stir through.

6. Remove from the heat.

7. Skim any foam that form off the top.

8. Ladle your jam into hot sterilized jars and cap with new lids.

9. Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

10. Remove the jars from the bath using a jar lifter and allow to cool naturally on your kitchen counter.

11. Label and store in your pantry.

This jam has a lovely aroma and you can really taste the rose coming thought.