Hoisin Beer-Butt Chicken.

Because I’d never cooked one before!

Ingredients:

  • whole chicken
  • 1/2 full can of beer (put the rest in a bread, or the cook)
  • 2tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1tbsp onion powder
  • 1tsp mustard
  • 1tsp paprika

Utensils:

  • mixing bowl and fork
  • baking tray
  • skewers for emergency propping

Recipe:

  1. Place the chicken over the beercan, the further in the can goes the more stable it will be.
  2. Prop the chicken with skewers anyway because a chicken on a beercan is stupidly unsteady.
  3. Mix the sauce ingredients together. Slather all over the chicken. We want it looking fake-tanned!
  4. Roast in a preheated oven at 160C for 2h.
  5. Roast at 230C for a few minutes to crisp up.
  6. Make gravy with the drippings and remaining beer in the can.

 

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“Egg Cake” AKA Baked Omelet.

Jon’s expert analyses of these was “they are egg cakes” and that they were good with beans or salad, but he preferred them hot to cold. They’re a little based off spanish tortilla, only more layers and a bit slower and lazier for the cooking process.

No pictures because I kind of forgot them.

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 150g potatoes
  • 100g broccoli
  • 100g bacon
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 crushed or minced garlic clove
  • 1tsp black pepper
  • 1tsp salt – this may be a bit low for people who aren’t on restricted sodium!
  • dash of worcestershire sauce

Utensils:

  • chopping board and knife
  • small pot for boiling
  • pop-base cake tin, either greased, lined or nonstick, ours is about 4″ deep and 20″ across

Recipe:

  1. Wash and chop the potatoes and broccoli with a pinch of salt. Boil until fork-tender, but not too solid. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160C.
  3. Whisk the eggs with the milk and seasonings.
  4. Finely dice the bacon, bell pepper and onion. Sprinkle across the base of the tin.
  5. Add a layer of now-cool potatoes and broccoli.
  6. Give the eggs a final stir and pour over the vegetables.
  7. Bake in the oven until a skewer comes out clean and it no longer jiggles.
  8. Cool completely before reheating or serving cold.

The first beauty of this is that you can mix and match the fillers. As a rule of thumb: nonsweet fruits and scallions go in raw, starches are to be used sparsely and precooked, brassicas are to be precooked, cured meats and beef go in raw, seasoned and finely chopped, white meats and uncured pork need precooking.

The second beauty is that your total time used is around 5 minutes of chopping things, 5 whisking and 5 layering. The rest is all largely unsupervised.

A quality, high-protein, portable food you can make quickly and adjusted to your needs. I think it’s pretty awesome, anyway.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Triple Chocolate Marble Cake.

Not low carb, not Paleo, not vegan. Just chocolate.

Ingredients:

Makes: too much cake.

  • 700g flour and raising agents
  • 3 eggs
  • 300ml milk
  • 100g brazils
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 4tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3tbsp white chocolate mix
  • 5tbsp sugar
  • 2tbsp cinnamon
  • toppings

Utensils:

  • chopping board and knife
  • 2 mixing bowls and 2 spoons
  • 2-4 small kitchen bowls
  • 1 large greased or nonstick cake tin

Recipe:

  1. Roughly chop the brazils and dark chocolate. Put aside, separately.
  2. Whisk the eggs in one bowl.
  3. In one mixing bowl, mix half the flour, the white chocolate mix, 2tbsp of sugar and half your raising agent.
  4. Add 150ml of milk and half the egg mix.
  5. Stir in the dark chocolate and set aside.
  6. In the second mixing bowl, add the remaining flour, the cocoa powder, 3tbsp of sugar, the cinnamon and the remaining raising agent.
  7. Add the remaining milk and egg.
  8. Stir in the brazils.
  9. Alternately spoon large scoops of each mix into the tin until they are layered nicely.
  10. Bake at 170C until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  11. Remove from the tin and cool before decorating.

This is a calorie bomb, stodgy and delicious. It was also too much cake. Halve the recipe for single people, couples and ordinary humans, or use the whole one for large families, parties or an ogre.

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For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

The Best Lamb Burgers.

Made these for Jon on Valentine’s day, complete with an array of heart-shaped veggies and colourful Sweet Hearts.

The Best Lamb Burger Recipe

Not the most complicated recipe by far, but delicious!

Ingredients:

(Makes four burgers.)

  • 500g lamb mince (20% fat)
  • 2/3 cup of plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3tsp garlic puree
  • 2tsp mint
  • 2tsp pepper
  • 2tsp soy sauce
  • 1tsp onion granules
  • 1tsp cayenne pepper
  • a dash of butter

Utensils:

  • mixing bowl
  • frying pan
  • (optional) shapers

Recipe:

  1. Mix all the ingredients except the butter together.
  2. Leave in the fridge to deeper flavour overnight.
  3. Shape the lamb burgers.
  4. Fry in butter on a medium heat.
  5. Serve with vegetables.

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Valentine’s Day Sweet-Hearts.

Well, my attempt at returning to blogging is still a bit weak, so I have written up a new schedule and designated myself a weekly blogging day. That means a few things will be in arrears, but at least I’ll get on with everything.

Sweet Hearts Jam Tarts Easy Recipe

As a little thank-you for returning to read the blog, here is a simple recipe from my pantry, perfect to make for your sweetheart, to give your kids or for them to give their classmates, to jazz up a work space, to make together with your partner or just to eat because you’re a daft romantic who doesn’t care whether or not there’s anyone free to share them with because Valentine’s day is adorable.

Ingredients:

  • 500g strong flour
  • 200g salted butter
  • 5tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • pinch cloves
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 200-300g of any kind of jam (I used homemade damson and homemade raspberry jam from foraged fruits, because I’m a hippie little weirdo with too much time, but, seriously, anything is fine, you could even use chocolate icing instead)

Utensils:

  • mixing bowl
  • rolling pin
  • heart-shaped cookie cutters or a bit of patience and ingenuity
  • teaspoon
  • greased or nonstick baking trays

Recipe:

  1. Mix the flour and spices together.
  2. Add the eggs.
  3. Add the butter. Mix very well.
  4. Add water as you fold until the dough is smooth, elastic and only a touch sticky.
  5. Leave to rest.
  6. Preheat the oven to 160C.
  7. Dust your worktop and rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough to 1-2cm thick.
  8. Cut some hearts and lay them on the trays.
  9. Use the teaspoon to make a little bowl in each bow of each heart. Just press down a bit for an indent.
  10. Add just enough jam to fill each bowl.
  11. Repeat until all the dough is used.
  12. Put in the oven for around 20min, or until the Sweet Hearts are browned, still a bit tender, but hold firm when you lift them.
  13. Cool.
  14. Eat.

TTFN and Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

10 Cleaning Tricks To Save Time And Money.

Keeping on top of household cleaning usually either takes a significant time investment or costs some money to outsource some of the work, either by paying for labour or by buying a fancy gadget. But there are a few tricks to making the most of what you already have and what you can buy cheaply to save a lot of time.

1: Vinegar and newspaper.

Uses: Cleaning windows and tiles, deodorizing fridges and vegetable boxes, killing mold and reducing the effects of mildew.

How: Spray vinegar water on dirty windows and tiles and wipe with newspaper. Wrap fruits and vegetables in slightly vinegary newspaper. Layer the fridge drawer or vegetable box with newspaper. Spray moldy and mildewed items and areas with vinegar.

Pros: Cheap, easy, you probably have some at home already.

Cons: Everything smells of vinegar, at least for a while.

2: Silica damp absorbers.

Uses: Preventing damp, mold and mildew, reducing the intensity of smells.

How: Place anywhere where condensation occurs.

Pros: Highly effective at controlling damp and related issues.

Cons: Can be pricey if your home is very damp and you use many.

3: Old t-shirts.

Uses: Dish rags, dusters, shoe and leather polishers.

How: Cut into hand-sized squares and write its use with permanent marker, to prevent mixups.

Pros: Cheap and easy.

Cons: You need old t-shirts to do this.

4: Shower time.

Uses: Washing delicates, large items and heavy items.

How: Pre-soak in the bath or shower, when you shower take a moment to scrub and rinse the items.

Pros: Saves some time and stops you getting your clothes wet.

Cons: Need to assign extra time to the shower and have somewhere to store the items until you can wash them.

5: Caustic soda crystals.

Uses: Unblocking drains, stain removal, limescale removal.

How: Apply carefully to the problem area, don’t get them on your skin, leave to soak and then rinse.

Pros: Quick and effective cleaning.

Cons: You have to buy caustic soda crystals, they can be hazardous to people and animals.

6: Thick bleach.

Uses: Stain removal, smell removal, whitening, mildew tackling.

How: Use neat for big issues, dilute for smaller ones. Apply and let dry. For fabrics, rinse.

Pros: Really cleans.

Cons: Slight yellowing of fabrics. Strong smell. Hazardous to people and animals.

7: Lemon juice.

Uses: Adding shine, clean fragrance and removing mineral residue.

How: Use newspaper or a cloth to apply lemon juice to a dull tile, a smelly item or something affected by limescale. Leave to dry on.

Pros: Cheap, you probably have it, great smell.

Cons: Possibly an allergen.

8: Walnuts.

Uses: Shining wood, reducing the appearance of scratches.

How: Rub the kernel of a walnut over dull or damaged wood.

Pros: The oils protect the wood, add shine and don’t cause harm.

Cons: Topups will be required. Potential allergen.

9: Like with like.

Uses: Removing grime, gum, grease or sticky residue.

How: Find a substance that is made of a similar thing to your stain. Use it to gently blend and lift the stain. White wine for red wine, peanut butter for gum or chocolate, olive oil for bacon grease. Then, gently dry the item.

Pros: Removes the substance most efficiently.

Cons: Will still leave some residue. Generally not suitable for fabrics.

10: Boiling water.

Uses: Cleaning floors, fabrics, furniture, dishes, pans, etc.

How: Pour boiling water directly onto the item or into a bucket from which you can use a sponge on a stick or a mop to clean the item.

Pros: Lifts grease, kills bacteria, evaporates quickly leaving little water, cleans stains and gunk.

Cons: Some items may be too sensitive for boiling water. You could get burned.

And those are ten tricks I use to make cleaning cheaper, easier and faster.

What are your favourite cleaning tricks?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

6 Jobs To Do From Home.

With how much I go on about traditional roles and their benefit to couples, women and men, some may think I don’t support the idea of women working. However I do think women should work. Firstly because avoiding hard graft isn’t a good indicator of character. Secondly because everyone needs hobbies. Thirdly because in this economy both partners need to make and save money together. Fourthly because it offers you some independence in case your partner loses his job, passes away or, yes it is a possibility, leaves. In short, work is good. But not all work is created equal. I also believe most women are better off and happier in traditional roles, away from the stress and drudgery of office-life, looking after their children and their homes. Someone needs to make sure the food is made, the house is clean and tidy, the laundry is done and the cupboards are stocked. And how do I propose reconciling the two angles? By working from home, of course.

These are six jobs that you can do from home whilst still maintaining a home. They will be rated on time investment, startup cost and space needed. All of them can pay very well if you make good choices, use your time wisely and advertise far and wide. So pick one and stick with it, give them all a go or try them all at once and discontinue the least rewarding.

1.- eBay.

Many people think of eBay as either for people who want to sell old rubbish, people who want to buy something or people who have warehouses full of goods. But the simple reality is that you can start an eBay shop with an empty drawer or cabinet, a few hundred to spare, a local post office and a computer.

Time invested:

Wholly depends on how much you sell and how far you are from the post-office. Expect to make two trips a week to post items if you’re successful. Packing takes five minutes per item at the very most, but put time aside at the end of every day to pack anything you sold.

Money invested:

Depends on what you’re going to sell. However I would suggest that, to make it worthwhile, you will want to be investing at least £300 for your “starter” items. That might mean 300 items you buy at £1 and sell at £3 + P&P or 3 items you buy at £100 and sell at £150 + P&P. Therefore, good research is important.

Space needed:

This will grow as you do, but a drawer, cupboard or even a box is fine for storing your items. Maybe a corner of the room or a chair could be repurposed as a packing centre where everything is kept in easy-reach. If your business grows, you will likely expand into a room.

You will need:

-Something to sell.

-Somewhere to store it.

-Packing materials in the right sizes.

-A computer with a seller eBay account.

Things to be aware of:

-Choose a market you know well and research every item before buying it. Investing too much in a loss can seriously hit you when starting up.

-It will take 10 good reviews before your account is trusted by most buyers. It starts slow and steady and builds up from there, so always provide the best service possible.

-Make sure you get proof of postage or tracking on every item you send, to prevent false claims from would-be thieves.

-Only sell as much as you can handle. If you’re struggling when you have 200 items up at a time, don’t add another 100.

Possible returns:

This is a standard two months of selling on eBay. I have five to ten items up at a time, each worth £10-60. Many will sell within a week of posting, most will sell by the end of the 60 days.

Six jobs you can do from home.

2.- Tutor.

Private tutoring isn’t the scary monster a lot of people think it is. You do need a nice room to tutor from and a tidy, sorted house to welcome people into. Or a car so you can travel to students. You also need to know the subject you’re teaching and know it inside and out. But besides that, it isn’t that hard. I managed as an overworked A-level student without connections, so I’m pretty confident when I say that just about anyone could do it.

Time invested:

One hour minimum per lesson, plus fifteen minutes preparation for the first hour and an additional ten minutes for every subsequent hour, plus fifteen to thirty minutes homework prep where relevant. So if you have one student who has two hours a week, that is 135 to 165 minutes of your time.

Money invested:

Most of the financial investment is startup. You will need to make sure you have a computer you can always access, which may involve buying a new computer, for instance. A couple of hundred pounds to remodel the room a little, get some extra furniture and stock up on “school supplies” would be needed. Then from there you only need to pay for the materials your students use and for renewing advertisements.

Space needed:

If you will tutor from your home, you will need a room that is quiet, inviting and well-equipped. This could be your living room if you don’t have kids and your partner is at work, but you will likely need a second room. If you tutor only as outcalls, then you just need space to store your materials. If you tutor only online, then you need a quiet room and little else.

You will need:

-A computer you can always access.

-Relevant books and resources.

-Accounts on various tutoring sites.

-Advertisements on free websites, paid websites and local newspapers.

-All relevant materials.

-A Disclosure of Barred Services if you plan on working with children.

Things to be aware of:

-Many parents will want to sit-in on the first few lessons.

-You can learn as you go along, but practising on friends and relatives first will help a lot.

-Your students will expect your home to be at a good temperature, pleasant-smelling, dustless and organized.

-You will need to adapt your language for every student and deal with people that you may find frustrating or annoying.

-Don’t take on a student you don’t think you can handle.

Possible returns:

Depends on the hours you work, but £6-25/hour is the usual range. Think £6 for something more people could offer, like knitting lessons, to £25 for something fewer people offer, like Mandarin Chinese lessons. You will have to charge around the same as others in your area and often you will charge less for classes at your home than you will for classes outside it.

3.- Housework.

We don’t tend to think of housework as something we can make money for at home. But many people are prepared to outsource some very simple tasks, so it could be worthwhile trying to do their work for some extra money! You could offer a laundry service, a meal prep service, shopping collection or even a firewood preparing service.

Time invested:

Completely dependent on your workload, but not a lot. The customers will drop off their laundry at your home, for example, or you can get ingredients and logs for your customers when you get your own. If you’re doing your own laundry, then put theirs through too. Do their ironing after yours. Collect their shopping when you’re in town. Cook all the meals in a couple of large pots, ready.

Money invested:

The cost of some extra detergent, electricity or ingredients.

Space needed:

No more than if you were doing the job on your own. Though if you’re looking at cooking you may need to upgrade your kitchen and get certified, depending on where you live!

You will need:

-Advertisements on free advertisement sites and in local newspapers.

-Any certification required by law in your area.

Things to be aware of:

-This will need to be something you already do to make it worth your time.

-Your reputation and reviews will be 100% based on customer satisfaction, there is no room to argue your case if you upset a customer.

-It could interfere with your life if you take on too much work.

Possible returns:

Not much, you’ll probably get £5-8 for every hour of work, but it’s extra money for minimal effort.

4.- Care.

Whether it’s pets, children, elderly or disabled relatives or just houseplants, almost everyone has something they need to care for in their lives. But people go on holidays, get ill and have overtime at work. So the care industries are an excellent place to make a little bit of money on the side.

Time invested:

Travel time and however many hours you’re accepting. You could only accept people within half an hour of your home, for example. Or only accept people who want care that is four times the travel time, for example someone who lives 45 minutes away but wants three hours of care.

Money invested:

Depends on the care. Often with pet-sitting and plant-sitting you will be left with the necessary food and care products. However with daycare you may need to assume you will be feeding the children. You will also need to adapt your house to make sure you can properly care for whoever you will care for. For example, you can’t take over elderly or disabled care for anyone if your spare room is up two flights of stairs.

Space needed:

A spare room for whoever you’re caring for. Be it a few dogs, some hens, some potted plants or a teenager, you will need a place for them to sleep, eat and get some privacy.

You will need:

-The time to travel to other people’s homes for care.

-The space to put-up however many people, pets or plants you will care for.

-Experience in a relevant field of care.

-A Disclosure of Barred Services for caring for children or other vulnerable people.

Things to be aware of:

-You may need certification for looking after certain pets or even endangered plants.

-Always investigate anything you’re not sure of and feel free to ask questions. If you’ve kept snakes for years, nobody will worry much if you’re not sure about a certain species.

-Your house will have to be safe, accommodating and roomy enough.

-What people care for may seem odd for you. Someone may love a potted plant more than you love your pets. Someone may want their terrapin to be pampered. If you must turn someone down, do so politely by explaining you’re not sure you could provide their loved one with the care he/she/it deserves.

Possible returns:

The minimum care salary for your area up to £25/h.

5.- Food.

Producing your own food may seem like a smart option, even if you’re space-restricted. But many people don’t realize how easily you can grow a little excess and sell it on. Everything from potatoes, to berries, to eggs, to jams, to cake can be produced in bulk and sold, provided you abide by local restrictions and regulations.

Time invested:

Even if you’re just growing and not processing anything, some time will need to be set aside. For example, if you have fifty rehoused hens that are largely still laying, it may not be enough to collect and box the surplus eggs. You will need to make sure the sizes are either separated (a box of smalls, a box of mediums and a box of larges, for example) or very well mixed (so no box is entirely smalls, for example). You will need to put your signs up. You will need to be hospitable to anyone who shows up asking about eggs and maybe show people the hens. In short, from the moment the sign goes out, you could be busy.

Money invested:

Not much. The cost of extra seeds or a bit of extra feed for some more hens isn’t that high. Just keep growing or producing whatever your land is good for.

Space needed:

Depends how large you want to go. On a medium garden you could probably make space for many vegetable and fruit plants. You could grow herbs and keep rabbits on a tiny patio. You could turn your whole garden over to laying hens. Look at what you have and see what you can do.

You will need:

-A sign to place somewhere fairly busy, with clear directions to your house.

-A sign for outside your house.

-Enough spare food to sell.

Things to be aware of:

-In some places you can only sell fresh produce, in others you need a license to sell certain items. Always check.

-Recommend use-by dates to your customers.

-Keep hygiene spot-on.

Possible returns:

Expect to sell a few baskets of items a day, so keep them priced moderately and it will be easy to get rid of surplus food and start making a profit on your own groceries!

6.- Writing.

This is one people don’t know how to get started on. The easiest way to just start writing immediately and make money is to use a freelance website like fiverr.com. That way you can learn what you’re good at and get ready for more challenging things, like writing ebooks, blogs or novels for publishers.

Time invested:

It takes around half an hour to set up the basics to look right, maybe fifteen minutes to set up each Gig. Advertising isn’t really needed for writing work.

Besides that, however much you want to work. You can expect many people to order many types of text, so consider making a Gig for each of them and then temporarily suspending some when you’re more overworked.

Money invested:

None at all. However bear in mind that all freelance websites will charge a fee and take it out of your earnings.

Space needed:

Somewhere quiet to sit and focus.

You will need:

-A working computer with a good writing program on it.

-A backup hard-drive in case anything happens to your computer.

-A quiet space to work from.

Things to be aware of:

-It’s better to cancel an order than to get overbooked.

-Encourage customers to contact you before ordering.

-Sometimes people will be annoying. If they start acting out, check their page for reviews from sellers. Chances are they’re a first time customer.

Potential earnings:

This is a month of fiverr earnings on the side of my main work, probably an hour a day at the most.

Six jobs you can do from home.And those are six jobs you can do from home with minimal investment in terms of time, money, energy and space. With all of them you largely work your own hours, can cancel and have a few weeks off when you need to or even increase the prices if demand is high. You could do a little of all of them or make one your full-time job.

Got any questions about getting started with any of these? Just ask and I’ll help you out!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!