Homemade by Eleanor Ozich is filled with eco-friendly recipes for daily household goods that can be made from scratch such as mayonnaise, crackers, yoghurt, bread, muesli bars, hummus, cheese, and more.
Our mothers and grandmothers were experts at making things at home out of necessity. But our generation found it more convenient to go to the supermarket. Today there is a growing awareness that homemade is better. You know exactly what has gone into a product, there are no nasty chemicals or preservatives and it is better for the planet. So this is a very timely book.
It will be great to share with my oldest granddaughter who is about to leave the nest and head off to University. She is very environmentally conscious and when she goes flatting she’ll have to manage to live on a small budget. Many of the recipes in Homemade are really economical and quick and easy to put together.
It’s been fun and relaxing to try some of the recipes this week.
- Simple Sauerkraut. This fermented food is good for a healthy gut. Eleanor has cleverly pared the recipe down to just 2 ingredients: 1 large head of cabbage and 1 tablespoon of sea salt. My sauerkraut is sitting in a large glass jar on the kitchen bench. It will be at least a couple of weeks before it is ready. We’re looking forward to sampling it then.
- Cinnamon baked pear chips. A healthy snack made from thinly sliced pears tossed in a little coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Very quick to assemble but by no means an instant recipe. In my oven it took a couple of hours before they crisped up. I’m hopeful my partner will be happy to swap these for his usual potato chips when watching the rugby on TV.
- Whole milk ricotta: This must surely be the easiest and fastest cheese you can make. The milk has to be brought almost to boiling point before sea salt, vinegar and water are added. As if by magic it soon curdles and separates. Then you just need to drain the curds in a muslin-lined sieve. I followed her suggestion and dotted it through a leafy green salad, such an easy lunch with some crusty bread alongside.
- Raspberry and yoghurt pancakes. Pancakes are one of our granddaughters’ favourite breakfasts. This pancake batter includes spelt flour, which is gentle on tummies. We used frozen berries and served them separately. Delicious!
- Delicately spiced hot cocoa mix. There was a slight chill in the air last night, a taste of winter to come, so I made this dry mix which will last in the pantry for up to a year. Our grandchildren love a hot cocoa before going to bed so we’ll be using it often. One ingredient, the pure vanilla powder, was hard to source. I eventually discovered it online but at $80.10 for 25g it’s very expensive! So instead I buried a scraped vanilla bean pod in the cocoa mix instead which will gradually infuse it with vanilla flavour.
Homemade also includes recipes for healthy household cleaners and beauty products. In the Beauty and Wellbeing section there is a brightening pink clay mask, a ylang-ylang and tea tree face serum, a geranium face steam, and a gardener’s peppermint hand scrub. Many are scented with aromatherapy oils. They would be an indulgent treat.
For the home the all-purpose spray and the lemon and lime dishwashing powder appeal. But my favourite is an inexpensive recipe for reusable beeswax food wraps. These are a pretty and eco-friendly way to cover and keep food fresh. It would be a fun activity to do with our grandchildren as the process is simple and only waxed paper, beeswax and small pieces of cotton material are needed.
Homemade by Eleanor Ozich is published by Penguin. RRP $40
Reviews by Lyn Potter
Parent and grandparent, Avid traveler, writer & passionate home cook