Smelly carpets, happy pets, and tasty silver beet

Last week Silvana from Wellington asked if anyone had any suggestions for removing a musty smell from a home, which she thinks comes from the carpet.

Karen from Palmerston North writes, “I recommend baking soda, sprinkled onto the carpet, brushed in and left overnight if possible. Vacuum thoroughly the next day. I repeated the process twice following a leaking toilet (tank not bowl luckily!) and the awful smell has completely gone. Baking soda is cheap and even comes in a ‘sprinkle’ container.”

While on the subject of carpet cleaning, there is no doubt that the occasional steam clean does wonders for reviving worn carpet. Rather than call in the experts, you could, for half of the price, hire a steam cleaner and do it yourself. Ask around the neighbourhood to see if there’s anyone else who would like to have their carpets done as the cost of a full day’s hire is not much more than a half day. It’s well worth having the gear for a full day and doing a number of houses – you’ll not only save money, but make some friends as well!

Kathleen from Tauranga asked if any fellow frugal folk had a good dog biscuit recipe.

Irene from Kerikeri recommends a recipe by Annabelle White, although she says they are more like a treat than a dog biscuit, so they are not a total substitute for a good doggy diet.

Here’s the recipe. You will need: 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup rolled oats, 1 tablespoon dried parsley or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 large eggs, 1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or plain) and 1/2 cup water.

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Lightly grease a couple of baking trays, or line them with greaseproof paper. Mix the flour, rolled oats, parsley, milk powder, and salt. Process until the mixture resembles sawdust. Add the eggs and peanut butter – the mixture will be crumbly. Add the water to bring the dough together. Roll out the mix to about 5mm thick then cut into shapes. Bake for about 40 to 60 minutes. Serve to your pooch cold. Variations include adding leftover bacon pieces or grated carrot.

Another reader suggests peanut butter dog cookies. They say making biscuits is a good way to introduce your dog to those extra ingredients that are good for their health – like fish oil for a good coat or garlic granules to deter fleas.

The ingredients are: 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of rolled oats, 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1/2 tablespoon of fish oil, 2 tablespoons of garlic granules, and 1 1/2 cups of water. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Mix the flour and oats together. Pour in one cup of water and blend until smooth. Add in the peanut butter, honey, garlic granules, and fish oil. Mix well. Add the remaining water and mix until a dough-like consistency. Roll the dough until between 5 and 10mm thick, cut into shapes then bake for 40 minutes.

Lofty from the Kapiti Coast has this apple tip. “Those with apple may have codling moths around causing damage. If you shake the tree every day, those apples that will usually fall and rot on the ground can be harvested fresh and frozen until it is juicing time. Also, pick those fruit that have major moth damage showing and add those to the frozen stock. Thin the fruit that are in large bunches and add those that are picked to the freezer stock.”

Lofty also has a tip for silver beet. “Silver beet leaves are the only part that is usually consumed, but if the stalks are cooked separately and thickened with whatever flavour you like (cheese, Maggi onion/mushroom etc.) you can have another vegetable for the table. Cook the stalks in lightly salted water for about 10 mins. Drain some of this water over the leaves in a separate pot. Add a lump of butter, thickening, and the flavour of your choice. The leaves take only a few minutes to cook, and the small amount of hot water from the stalks helps save heating costs. Use the water from the leaves as a drink…delicious!”

Why don’t you send in you recipes for in-season fruit and veges to share with others. Our garden has been going gangbusters and we have not been able to keep up with the courgettes, so now we have lots of very large marrows to consume! Let us know your favourite marrow recipe – we would love to hear from you!