Making mint tea

Last week I tidied the gardens (front and back) and cut the grass (I hope it's the last time since we are moving soon). Everything is looking autumnal already, the apple trees are shedding apples (I am not making jam and chutney this year as we are on the move, so it's purees galore for my little girl and myself) and there are plenty of seed heads all over the flowerbeds. I have collected a few but I'm leaving most of them for the birds and for the garden so there is a good display next year.

As I own a good mint bush (last year I bought a pot of discounted mint at a supermarket, divided it in three plants and planted one in the ground and two in pots. The one planted in the ground did very well, the potted ones are tiny) I decided to make mint tea as it aids digestion and soothe a sore throat if you add honey.

It was my first time, so I researched the subject and came up with something that suited my needs. I collected the mint (discarding any flowers), tied the bunch with a piece of string, inserted it in an envelope and hanged it in a corner of the garage. If you don't have a garage, a wardrobe with doors or any other cupboard would work.

Why an envelope? Because it makes a dark, breathable environment for the drying mint and you don't get any shedding. When it's dry (it might take up to a week), I put the mint on a tray and detach the leaves from the stems, placing them in a jar. I keep the jar in a cupboard in the kitchen. When I want to make tea I soak some leaves in a jug full of hot water and strain the tea when it's ready. If I'm making just one mug I use a little nut that is designed for leaf teas so you can infuse a mug without any debris floating in your tea. If you don't know what I'm talking about, here is a little sketch.

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Credit crunch cooking: frittelle di riso (rice fritters)

My partner loves rice so he cooks masses of it to go with his yummy curries. I like rice less so there is always a leftover rice box lurking in the fridge. As I hate waste, I went back to my cash-strapped childhood when Mum made delicious rice fritters for my brother and me. Here is my take on this traditional Italian dish...

200g leftover boiled rice, cooled
130g plain flour (plus a little bit for your hands)
150g grated cheese: traditionally it is Parmesan only but I mixed it with some grated Cheddar
3 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
frying oil

Add all ingredients to the cold rice, except for the oil, stir well till you get a gloopy mass. With floured hands, shape your fritters, then fry them in the hot oil in a suitable pan. If you use a non-stick one, you will need little oil. When golden on both sides, place your fritters on a plate covered by two sheets of kitchen paper (to soak the oil) and wrap with a sheet of foil to keep your fritters warm.

Buon Appetito!

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My bosom buddy

As soon as I got pregnant my breasts ballooned - I gradually went from a 32C to a 40C. When my baby got on well with solids, my breasts started shrinking and I'm now a 36C. While on this boobyride, I bought different bras, then thought... hang on, there must be something I can rig up! Pictured above is my very own bosom buddy, a homemade extension for bras. It has been perfectly adequate as I have maintained the same cup size.

It's not a thing of beauty but it was made in a hurry with materials I already had (and as you can see from the state of the hooks/eyes, it has been well used). It's basically two elastic bands sown together with lots of hooks and eyes sown on. You can make it prettier by using a nicer elasticated band in a bold colour with perhaps contrasting hooks and eyes (ie a shocking pink band with black hooks/eyes or what about silver hooks and eyes on a cool blue band?).

If you get to make one, please send me piccies!