Cleaning up, sun-dried tomatoes, and figs

We have had a big response to a question raised by JimO from Torbay who asked for help cleaning shower glass.

CatherineB from Auckland says, “We have found that Chemco with a Silver Lady cloth works wonders on shower glass. It’s not that expensive and Chemco lasts for a long time.”

Kirsty from Southland has this tip. “Heat a cup of vinegar in the microwave until hot (not boiling) put in an empty spray bottle and add 1/2 – 1 cup of dish soap and shake gently to mix. Spray all over the shower glass, walls, wherever hard-to-remove soap scum and water marks are. Leave for as long as possible – preferably overnight, but an hour or so will do at a pinch. Scrub gently with a non-scratch scourer then rinse off.”

PB from Auckland writes, “To make a good general purpose cleaner, that would probably help with cleaning shower glass, take a spray bottle, put into it 50 ml dishwashing liquid, 100 ml lemon juice and fill with white vinegar. Shake well and spray on liberally. Let stand for a few minutes and clean off. Ingrained dirt may require scrubbing.”

There you go – a number of low-cost cleaners for shower glass.

Bernie from Christchurch has this novel idea for food dehydration. “There’s no need to invest in an expensive food dehydrator – you already have one – parked in your driveway! Yes, that’s right – you can use your car!

“To make the most delicious sun-dried tomatoes you’ve ever tasted, you need firm, ripe tomatoes, salt, dried basil, a metal oven tray with a lip, and a cake rack that fits inside the oven tray. Cut tomatoes in half from the stem to the bottom. If large, cut in half again. Remove any tough bits around the stem area.  Use a spoon to remove the seeds and give them to the chooks.  Insert the cake rack into the oven tray.  Place the prepared tomatoes on the cake rack cut side up and fairly close together as they will shrink as they dry.  Sprinkle with salt and basil.  Put the tray on the dashboard of your car (or on the rear window sill if it’s wide enough).  Roll up all the windows and park in a sunny spot.  Start first thing in the morning and bring the tray inside at sunset. It may take two days for them to dry properly.  When ready, they should be flexible like a raisin, leathery not brittle.  Cool to room temperature then package in 100g lots in plastic bags, excluding all air, and store in the freezer. When you are ready to use them, you will need to pack them in oil first – just take out one bag at a time and layer the tomato slices in a small sterilised jar with a bay leaf, 3 peppercorns, a whole peeled garlic clove and a red chilli.  Pour in sufficient extra virgin olive oil to cover the tomatoes.  Cover tightly with a lid. Store in refrigerator and wait at least 3 days before using. Use within 2 weeks.”

What a great idea! We can just imagine it – office workers competing for the rooftop spaces of inner city carparks, with trays of dehydrating tomatoes on the dashboard!

We can also imagine trays of figs in car-dehydrators. Our fig tree has gone nuts again this year – fruit everywhere! So we’ve been brushing up on fig recipes. This muffin recipe is one of our favourites.

Make a basic muffin mix using 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder, pinch of salt, 1 egg, 1 cup milk, and 2 tablespoons cooking oil. Sift all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the beaten egg mixed with the milk and oil. Stir quickly until dry ingredients are just moistened – the batter should be lumpy. Add 1 cup of fresh or dried chopped figs to the batter. Place large teaspoonfuls in greased muffin or patty pans and bake at 200 C for about 20 minutes or until golden. This makes about a dozen muffins.

If you have a favourite fig recipe, please send it in so we can share it with the oily rag community.