Monthly Archives: December 2015

Cost-free Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, we have ventured into the oily rag archives and dug out some favourite ideas and tips to take the cost out of our special day. The trick of course is to enjoy all of the good things about Christmas and the holiday season, but to do so in a […]

Jaysee, Waikouaiti.

The tip from Cole about broccoli regrowing also applies to cabbages. When you harvest a cabbage head cut across with a sharp knife in the top of the stem. You will find small cabbages grow from the cut.

LTB, Auckland.

To make chocolate ice blocks that turn out exactly like the expensive store-bought ones, at a significant saving. First make a chocolate custard. Place 500ml milk in a saucepan (I use fresh whole milk, but you can use reconstituted powder milk for extra savings) and bring it to the boil. Then add a tablespoon of […]


Fritters are a good way to use up left-overs. If making fritters with meat or fish, you will find a little goes a long way. Sweetcorn fritters are also a yummy snack. Keep a can of corn in the pantry for unexpected visitors.

Lorraine, Hamilton.

Note on homemade spreadable butter. Do not leave butter at room temperature for too long or it will separate. If this happens, stir the oil back into the butter before refrigerating again.

Feeding birds?

Billy from Otaki has this question. “I love feeding the birds and now that my friends (wax eyes & tui’s) have left home & gone bush I am left with blackbirds, thrushes, sparrows, finches etc who at the moment all have babies. That is fine except for the fact the starlings who have made home […]

Lorraine, Hamilton.

To make your own additive free soft butter mix together 50/50 room temperature butter and olive oil or other vegetable oil. For a firmer mix go 2/3rds butter to 1/3rd olive oil. Mix in food processor, a hand blender, or use kitchen utensil and elbow grease.

Lorraine, Hamilton.

I only buy soft butter in winter. Otherwise I buy blocks of butter and slice off what I need for a few days and store at room temperature. 500g of butter costs $2.50-$3.00 compared to 500g soft butter on special at $4.00.

Janice de Raad, Kawerau.

To water hanging baskets pierce a small hole at the base of a small drink bottle, fill up with water and hang over the plant. This gives slow release water drip by drip and as temperatures heat up watering is hastened by the expansion of air pushing water out faster.