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Beverages and booze


  • Great Ginger Beer recipe. Makes 3 x 1.5 litre plastic screw cap bottles or similar can be stretched further if you like. You will need:

    • 2 cups sugar

    • 1 tblsp ground ginger

    • 1 tspn tartaric acid (flavour enhancer)

    • squeeze lemon juice

    • 1 tsp granulated yeast

Melt all except the yeast in 6 cups of boiling water. While waiting for this to cool, soak the caps in hot water (this helps the bottles seal better) When the mix is tepid put yeast in a cup with some of the mixture, allow to froth a little then add to mix. Add cold water to make up about 16 cups. Pour into bottles which need to be very clean. Top up to within 4cm from top. Gently shake to mix up. Store in a warm place. Ready to drink when the bottles are rock hard about 4 days. Refrigerate before drinking. Open slowly as the recipe can be pretty fizzie!! Altering the amount of sugar can avoid masses of fizz. ONLY use plastic screw cap that have be manufactured for fizzie drinks. Never glass either!! Great fun to make. - Heather R, Omokoroa. 


  • Coffee grounds are a good growing medium for mushrooms. - Greenfingers, Wellsford

  • Make your own delicious flat white coffee for 20 cents max. To make a large cup (300mm), put the following into a measuring jug. Generous teaspoon of instant coffee. Sugar/sweetener to taste.  Small pinch of salt. Half teaspoon cornflour.  Three teaspoons of powdered milk. Enough water to mix the above together, or use milk instead of dried milk. Mix together with a fork. Top up to 300mm.with boiling water. Give a real good thrashing with a stick blender or (not as good) use a hand mixer of some kind. Pour into cup and slurp away. - Peter Cox, North Shore City.

  • When making percolated coffee brew coffee twice by leaving the coffee beans in the filter and refilling water dispenser. Coffee is a little weaker but it goes twice as far. – D.G.

  • To keep roasted coffee beans and grounds fresh after opening the packet, store in an air tight container (glass or ceramic) and store in the freezer.


  • I don’t drink fizzy drinks, only water, 2 cups of tea and I glass of wine a day! – J.O. Christchurch.

  • Add a tablespoon of sugar when making up a sachet of powdered drink. You'll be able to add a lot of extra water and make the drink go further. - M.N.

Home brew

  • Home brew - My method on how I  get three dozen large bottles of beer instead of two and a half dozen out of a can of beer concentrate, after dissolving concentrate and dextrose in hot water and it is in the fermenter. I fill the fermenter with cold water to just above the hand grips that are recessed into the sides of the barrel (my fermenter is about 20 years old I presume they are still made the same) I don't measure any quantities. When beer is ready to bottle I add 150ml or for oldies like me 5oz of water to three dozen large bottles and a rounded tea spoon of sugar to each bottle. Not only do you get 6 extra bottles it lowers the alcoholic content and makes a much more pleasant drink. I have had brews tested from time to time and they usually come out about 4.2 percent using this method. Good brewing. - Ossie, Taihape.


  • If you have a lemon verbena bush growing, it makes a lovely summer drink. Just shove as many leaves/branches (I don't strip the leaves off) as you can into a jug and fill with water. Put it in the fridge and strain to drink. - P.L., Hamilton

  • With lemons being plentiful on my tree I came up with a refreshing summer drink.  For each litre of water you need the juice of 3 lemons and around 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Strain the juice to remove seeds. Heat juice and sugar in the microwave for a few seconds - to make the sugar dissolve faster - then pour into a bottle and top up with the cold water and refrigerate. - R'laine, Kawerau


  • When the price of milk escalated a few years ago I had 2 kids (now 3) which all loved milk - as a drink, hot chocolates, in cereals and in baking. So it was becoming VERY expensive to buy fresh milk as the rate we were consuming it.  In my own childhood I was born and bred in Sydney and was the 8th child out an 11 child family. So we used and drank powdered milk mostly. The fresh milk was delivered at night but by the morning it was normally all gone. My memories of powdered milk was quite bad - mostly do to with lumps - lots of them which made it most unpleasant to drink. So I decided I would try out powdered milk here in Auckland and see if it was something I could use to reduce our fresh milk costs. Well I was so surprised as the powder seemed to melt into the water and mixed up beautifully - with no lumps at all.  I even did a 'taste test' of a cup of fresh milk vs a cup of made up milk with my son who loves milk, and he chose the powdered milk cup as being the fresh milk. So since then I have used powdered milk in all my cooking bar one - my cup of teas.  I have found the taste is noticeably different in a cup of tea.  So now I buy a 1 litre that I keep for my cup of teas only and the rest I use made up milk. Apart from the massive cost savings I am making I find that having powdered milk in a container ready to go means I am never having to rush out and 'get milk' or ask my husband to pick up milk on the way home from work. Just before I retire for the night I quickly mix together a jug of milk and put it in the fridge for the next mornings breakfast round and it is delicious. - Margaret, Auckland

  • We have used milk powder since we stopped milking cows 25 years ago.  We used the skim milk powder but now we have recently changed to buying the whole milk powder as it is the same price.  We water it down to the consistency/colour of skim milk and voila, the saving is great....it goes twice as far for the same price! - Elizabeth, Whangarei.

  • I have been using milk powder now for everything for the past 15years and I found that you have to make the milk at least half an hour before you use it so it gets cold. How I introduced it to my family was that I started out with normal milk in a 2 litre container and just gradually introduced the milk powder to the normal milk and over a period of time it was just milk powder made into milk. If I can remember right I think it took about a month. We found that the best powder is low fat. It costs me around 30.00 per month for milk compared to 75.00 per month. That is a healthy saving. - Kate Morrison, Tauranga.

  • Milk powder. Mix it the night before and leave in the fridge. I use the green milk (skim) and it mixes very easily - so long as it is added to the nearly  full amount of   water. Do NOT use the make a paste method. - PJH, Waverley.

  • Thank you for this report. It is very interesting. I usually buy the 3 litre Budget milk at Pak n Save (our only supermarket). But lately have been buying the 2 litre because 3 litres is too hard to pour from. Two litres is only about 5c per litre more and I am willing to pay that for the easier to use size. - S.L.

  • For about 30 years, we've been mixing up our own milk from milk powder. I buy it at $7.19 (currently) per 1kg. This mixes up to around 10 litres of milk.  We have 2 x 2litre lidded jugs, and as we empty one, it is thoroughly washed and new milk made. We never run out and we save money too. We had a large family of 11 children, so swapped to milk powder, when we reached 12 old glass bottles a day, to save space in the fridge. We soon realised we were saving money. Although now, we are down to a small household of 3, the habit is so ingrained, we can't ever envisage changing back. - S.D. 

  • Milk powder is about half the price of fresh milk. Make it up at least half an hour ahead and the flavour is not "gritty". – G.B.

  • I found that living on my own, and not being a great milk user, fresh milk often tended to not be used by the end of the week; so now buy full cream milk powder or "long life" milk when on special. Both are cheaper than fresh milk and I can use the powder for smaller amounts, and open up a packet of UHT when I know I'm going to use more. I have a stock so of course only buy when they are on special. - Corajean, Howick. 

  • For the last twenty two years, my husband are I have used skim milk powder instead of buying milk. It works out at present 95c a litre. As we drink a lot of milk this is a big saving. - H.P., Bay of Islands.

  • Instead of buying milk in plastic bottles etc I buy milk powder and make it up in the amount needed at the time. This saves any waste. A half to one teaspoon of milk powder well mixed in is the right amount for a cup of tea or coffee and nobody knows it is not whole milk. -Thistle, Waikanae

  • I buy 1 litre full powder milk. You can't taste the difference. Works out to be $1.15 litre. I no longer waste my money buying plastic bottle milk and it lowers recycling all those bottles. - Rene, Brooklyn.

  • I was given this tip many years ago. I always buy 1kg packets of skim milk powder, any brand , whichever is the cheapest at the time, which makes up to 10 litres of milk and unless someone sees you make it they do not know the difference. The cost of 1 kg pkts can get as low as $9.99. The last time I purchased some was at Woolworths home brand at $10.95. The beauty of milk powder is that you can store it for a long time and do not have to run to the dairy every day . NB I am talking about SKIM milk powder. I would not drink milk made from whole milk powder. Try it and you may be pleasantly surprised. -Reader, Katikati

  • Oily Rag ed says: Talking about milk - I was chatting to a dairy farmer the other day and told him about the survey we are running on this site. We had a very good discussion about milk related matters. Did you know that it takes about 12 litres of milk to make a kg of milk solids? So if the farmer is receiving $5.10 a kg of butterfat (which is the current forecast for Fonterra) the farmer is getting about 43 cents a litre for milk. That means the farmers share of the price of a bottle of milk is 86 cents. The rest is divided amongst the dairy company to tanker the milk to the factory and process it, to the distributors who pick up the milk at the factory and deliver it to the retail stores, and the retailers. When I asked him who is making the most, he said, "well some retailers are selling 2 litres for between $2.50 and $2.80, and making money. Most retailers are selling milk at around $3.40. What does that tell you?” I think his point was that some retailers are creaming it... or milking it... or however you want to describe it. 


  • I use my tea bags twice, even the herbal ones. The sweet mix berry tea work only once but others did fine. - Lori, Paraparaumu

  • For a refreshing fruit iced tea you will need: 5 teabags (either black or green - I like the Twinings Green Tea with Cranberry), 1 litre (approx) boiling water, 2 litres cold water, 1 cordial sachet with the flavour of your choice (Apple Berry, Raspberry, Crisp Apple or Peach are nice ones for this) with white sugar added to make it up to about two-thirds of a cup. Place teabags in heatproof jug.  Add boiling water.  Allow to steep for at least 5 minutes then remove teabags. Add sugar and cordial mix and stir to dissolve. Pour into 3 litre juice bottle. Top up with cold water and refrigerate. - R'laine, Kawerau

  • Jan from Deniliqin in Australia has a question. "Hopeful of obtaining a recipe for Chai Tea as now that I'm a Pensioner I find Liptons box of 6 sachets expensive, thanks in advance, sunshine smiles to all from 'down under'. If you have a recipe for Jan please click here >>>

    SJ from Dunedin replies: "I love Chai tea. This link was sent to me . It has plenty of ideas." Click here for the link >>>

  • Tea bags cost twice as much as loose tea. – G.B.
  • He’s a way to save while having a cuppa tea. Loose tea is cheaper than tea bags, but even those spendthrifts who use tea bags can save by using it over and over and over again (although I must admit that by the fourth time the tea is getting a bit weak – but think of the savings!) In our house it is a sport (not quite one that would gain entry to the Olympics but we are working on it!) – although visitors sometimes lose their sense of humour when we ask, “cup of tea?” - anonymous

  • If making tea for more than one person use a tea pot. You won't need the equivalent of one tea-bag per person. - M.N.


  • Make your own wine for $1-$2 per bottle.  It's easy and it's fun! And it's delicious!- kqt, Auckland.

  • For a good website with wine making recipes see >>>

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