My Minimalism

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I often read or hear people asking quantitative questions with regard to minimalism.  These generally revolve around how many of something you need.  Examples include, “How many pairs of shoes do you have?” or “How many sets of clothes do I need for a 2 year old?”

Additionally, there are numerous blogs and articles out there which exhort you to get rid of appliances or say that one set of crockery per person is all you need.

Conversely, I maintain that minimalism should not be prescriptive and that each person has different circumstances and will make their own choices.

The thing that defines minimalism to me is that whatever you own is mindfully curated and limits are set.

In particular, I have been reminded recently of variations in kitchen requirements.  We grow some of our own food and naturally we end up with a glut of certain produce from time to time.  I do my best not to waste it.  Processing a large quantity of produce is generally when appliances come into their own.

I can happily squeeze 2 or 3 oranges using this vintage glass juicer.

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But when it comes to juicing the 160 grapefruit that we have picked in the last 2 weeks I have neither the time or energy to do them by hand.  My trusty food processor with the citrus juicer attachment comes into its own.

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This was one batch of about 60 grapefruit that I juiced last weekend.  In the space of 30 minutes I had several bottles of juice for GMan plus containers of juice to freeze for future use.

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Citrus are not the only produce that I deal with in bulk amounts.

Some time ago I bought a 20kg bag of onions.  Once again, I routinely dice one or two onions using a sharp knife but the food processor with the cutting blade is invaluable for processing larger quantities of onions.

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I chopped 3kg of onions and then used another appliance – my dehydrator – to dry them.

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24 hours later  – back to the food processor, but this time with the spice grinder attachment.

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The end result was dried onion flakes and onion powder which cost me $3 and a little time as compared to nearly $13 to buy the same quantity from the supermarket.  As an added bonus there is no packaging either.

I have used the deydrator to make garlic powder, tomato powder and vegetable stock powder using the same general method.

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Then there is the Kitchen Aid mixer which I regularly use to make spreadable butter, pizza bases, combine various flours for my gluten-free flour mix, the occasional cake and GMan uses it when making sourdough bread.  It also has a pasta attachment which I use occasionally.

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The high-speed blender is also used regularly to make smoothies, mango sorbet and peanut paste to name but a few.

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So, my minimalist kitchen is probably a joke in some people’s eyes but it works for me.

However, I do not have single-purpose appliances such as a waffle maker, ice-cream maker, hot dog maker and so on.

You see, minimalism really is what is right for the individual and their circumstances.

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Food

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Simple really does come in all sorts of guises and one of them is food.  Here is what we had for dinner on Friday night.  It was the end of the working week, we were both exhausted and not keen on creating a huge meal so I pulled this together with what was in the refrigerator and pantry.  It took about 5 minutes, presented well and was nutritious and filling.

Dinner

The tomatoes, figs and pumpkin were from the garden.  The pumpkin had been roasted to use on pizza and I had some left over.  Cheese, capsicum and cucumber from the refrigerator and finished off with walnuts and dried apricots.

Do you make any truly simple meals?

This is just a quick post as I have been away for a couple of days with my job so no time for blogging.  I am working on a new post about my wardrobe.  It may be ready tomorrow night so look out for it coming soon.

A Saucy Tale

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Yesterday I picked 2 kg of cherry tomatoes from the bushes that grow wild in various parts of our garden.

Tomatoes
Firstly, I removed the stalks and rinsed them and then added the 1.5 kg that were already prepared and frozen from a couple of weeks ago.  It was time to make some tomato sauce (ketchup).  The recipe is super simple and is written near the end of this post.

Frozen tomatoes
Home-grown cherry tomatoes have a very short shelf life so unless you are feeding an army, it makes sense to freeze the excess immediately or otherwise they go to waste rather quickly.

Frozen tomatoes on scales
You will need a large saucepan or stockpot depending on the quantity of tomatoes that you are processing.  Mine is a stainless steel one with a heavy base which helps to stop the food burning.  This is important because by their very nature, most jams, pickles and preserves have a high proportion of sugar.  Many of the old-style preserving pans are aluminium, however, I do not use aluminium for perceived health reasons.

Stainless steel stockpotApart from the tomatoes, you will need a few other ingredients.

Tomate sauce ingredientsHere is the recipe.

TOMATO SAUCE

Ingredients

3kg ripe tomatoes
15g whole cloves
15g whole allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
250ml vinegar
375g sugar
60g salt
500g onions

Sauce ingredients in stockpot

Method

Place the cloves and allspice in a muslin bag.  Roughly chop the onions and tomatoes.  Place all ingredients in the stockpot and simmer for approximately 2 hours, stirring regularly.  Remove spice bag and discard.  Strain or process mixture in a blender to required consistency.

Return mixture to a clean saucepan and bring to the boil for 5 minutes before pouring into warm, sterilised jars.  Seal jars and store appropriately.

Notes

When using cherry tomatoes for this recipe there is no need to chop them.

I used chilli powder instead of cayenne, powdered instead of whole allspice and I always use raw sugar. The powdered spices and raw sugar tend to make the finished product slightly darker.

I use a hand-held stick blender to process the mixture.  Whatever method you use, be very careful when handling the hot liquid as it can be unpredictable.

Tomato sauce - finished
The original recipe can be found here.  It is also in Sally Wise’s book, ‘A Year in A Bottle’.

This is a tasty tomato sauce which bears no resemblance to the commercial varieties.  Enjoy!