From wedding dresses to tasty tofu

This week we have interesting tips from far and near, from wedding dresses to tofu, along with a question about socks!

Marie from Rotorua has this suggestion for Carolyn in Perth who would love to create a family cookbook. “I have done just this and it is very popular with the family. I have called it Kitchen Knowhow, and have personalised the front page for each grandchild. I simply compiled it in Word. I typed it in landscape format with two columns and then folded each page to make an A5 booklet. It takes some juggling to get each page relevant once you have a book. This is more easily done in Publisher if you are familiar with this programme. I included all the old fashioned household hints, the meanings of various terms such as “cream the butter and sugar”, and basic recipes with suggestions for alternatives. I put in real family specials, but most people these days Google for recipes and use a Tablet as a cookbook. Like the Sound of Music song, once you know the basic method, you can cook most anything. This would make a delightful Christmas or Birthday present. Get it started for next year!”

Karen from Northland has a sock problem. “Does anyone have any suggestions on a quick way of removing grass clippings and other vegetation from woolly working socks?” If you can help Karen please drop us a line (and if you can solve the riddle of where all the missing single socks go, then please share that with us too!).

Valerie from Taupo has sent in a tip for using duck eggs. “Make Scotch pancakes/pikelets. You will need 2 duck eggs, 4 tablespoons white sugar, 3 cups self raising flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, full cream milk – to mix. Beat the eggs and add the sugar. Combine baking soda and cream of tartar with the flour and sift into the egg mix, adding milk as you go until it’s a dropping consistency. Heat an electric flying pan and smear with butter. Drop in tablespoons of the mix and turn when covered with bubbles. Stow under a linen tea towel. Lovely the next day with bacon or served with fried eggs.” Many thanks for the recipe Valerie – we have tried it and can say they are delicious (oily rag ed).

Planning a summer wedding? Lori from Paraparaumu Beach writes, “Paid $100 for second hand dress from an opportunity shop in Waikanae and customised it. No need for a $2,000 dress.”

Mrs. Valuable Forthright Opinions from “somewhere near Canterbury” in the UK believes she must be the most frugal person in the country, and that’s saying something because frugality may well have been invented in the UK! Our frugal friend writes, “I get the most enormous thrill out of making/growing things and generally avoiding supermarkets etc with the consequence that we were able to buy our modest little house here in the pricey S.E. of England for cash on a very meagre income. Here are a few tips.

“Explore the wonderful world of the hot water bottle. Warming you is much cheaper and probably healthier than heating the space around you. Re-boil the water when it’s no longer warm enough to keep you toasty but still has some warmth in it – it boils much quicker this way. And wrap the hottie up in a blanket if you leave it for any length of time. It stays warmer longer this way.

“Add layers if you live in a cold climate. It you’re a gal, wear a petticoat and long-johns underneath. Fetching I know, but sexier than frostbite and large heating bills. Wear a number of layers of cotton, then a woolen layer over the top.

“Make your own tofu. Boil up the cheapest shop-bought soya milk you can find – 1 to 2 litres is a good amount. Coagulate it with some vinegar or lemon juice. Drain it through a tea towel and squish it down with something heavy. Use the yellow liquid that’s left over for making bread. This is the cheapest and freshest tofu I know.”

2014 has been a bumper year for frugality. We have received hundreds of tips from readers and the Oily Rag Club now has over 6,000 members on the weekly newsletter mailing list (fortunately we no longer have to lick stamps to send them out!). It’s amazing that although people have been practising frugality since the beginning of civilisation, oily raggers are still able to come up with new and interesting ways to turn penny pinching into serious savings.

Best wishes for a fun and frugal Xmas – see you in 2015!