Do you ever feel like your life is being sucked down a big hole called the internet? Me too. I mean, I’m exceptionally grateful that you’re reading this, but I do wonder sometimes if we would all be less busy if we spent more time IRL* rather than online.
That said, I must thank the gods of the internet for saving my bacon on several occasions in the last few weeks. Here are my internet takeouts** this week, in the hope that sharing them here will save you precious time that you can spend lying on your sofa with a book.
1. How to store feta: We eat a lot of feta in this house, but I am forever either a) throwing some out after it’s turned furry in the fridge or b) eating too much of it to avoid it going mouldy and being thrown out. So discovering that you can store it in brine has changed my life.
All you need to do is make up some brine – use 3 tsp salt to 500ml water – and pour this over the feta in a suitably sized plastic container with a lid. The feta should be immersed in the liquid. Seal the lid on, put it in the fridge and hey presto, no more stinky, wasted cheese.
2. How to deep fry without a thermometer: On Thursday morning I bought a new candy thermometer. On Friday morning I managed to smash it. On Saturday morning I needed to make a batch of doughnuts and lacked the will or time to go and buy a new thermometer. Rather than guess, I turned to my handy Mr Google and the best tip I found was also the easiest. Plunge a wooden spoon handle into hot oil and if the oil bubbles up vigorously, it’s at the right temperature. Easy. Safe. Cheap. Brilliant.
3. How to divide an egg in half: Beat the egg until yolk and white are well combined, then measure out 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp – it will weigh about 26g for a large egg.
4. What to do with leftover croissants: We never have leftover ones anyway, but should this happen at some stage, this is what I’m going to do with them (if you don’t have time to click the link, know this: split croissants horizontally, fry in butter. Eat.)
5. What to do if you’ve got that cold that’s doing the rounds: Thankfully I haven’t had occasion to try this turmeric cure, but I am intrigued by it.
What have you learned this week?
* See, I’ve been spending so much time online I even know the geeky acronyms. IRL is short for ‘in real life’.
** I’ve also been spending a lot of time in meetings (a place where good sense and ideas go to die), where speech is peppered with words like ‘stakeholders’, ‘takeouts’ and other corporate hideousness. Ugh.
I am so glad you posted about the feta. I am forever throwing it out. Now Graham is vegan and Cooper doesn't like it, I can't get through it. I have been fantasing this week about them selling it in strips instead of a block, but this is fab. Thank you.
You're welcome! It really is a complete game-changer (if, err, you can talk about storing cheese as a game-changer). On a separate note, I was reading something totally unrelated the other day that mentioned kids not liking feta because of the texture rather than the flavour. Which I thought was interesting. Perhaps I need to get out more…
We've been away the last two weekends to homes without broadband…at first I thought I wouldn't survive but came back so refreshed and achieved much more than usual. Wouldn't want to be away from it for too long though.
Thanks for all these tips…I learned that turmeric is amazingly good for the brain too…aids memory. I learned that a couple of weeks ago…This week? I'll have to get back on that one…
The sofa is calling so I'll go and find that book now…
Hope you don't have too many more boring meetings this week…
Yes, it's funny how amazed we all are by how good it is to have no internet/phone, as long as we can have it back again when the novelty wears off. That's a good tip re turmeric, though I will have to consume a lot of it to remember that it's good for my memory!
That's an excellent tip on the feta front. Unquestionably preferable to throwing it at next door's cat when he decides to dig up my vegetables – although that's quite a good use of old feta too.
As for real life, I'm trying to spend a little less time in it at the moment. But you're right, we can get sucked in by the internet beast. As I was once persuaded to say at a corporate meeting (just before they threw me out of the corporate world forever) "we need a deep inhale of the coffee beans session if we're going to avoid the boiled frog syndrome going forward."
Boiled frog syndrome? We need to know more about that, Phil, if we're going to continue to think outside the box!
Half an egg? Really !!! And the old wooden spoon in the oil trick is a cracker x
You know how you might be halving a recipe with three eggs in it? Well, now you know what to do!
Those are great tips – thanks for sharing! This week I learned that:
1. You can save leftover anchovies: pop them in a small jar, cover them with oil & then store in the fridge.
2. I've taken to zesting my lemons *before* juicing them for my lemon honey drinks – I then freeze the zest for future use.
3. You can make apple porridge/oatmeal in a slow cooker and have it hot and ready-to-eat first thing in the morning: http://getcrocked.com/2011/09/06/crock-pot-apple-oatmeal
Freezing lemon zest is a BRILLIANT idea! I love the idea of waking up to hot apple porridge, but alas, no slow cooker.
I got sick of throwing feta away too so I usually buy it marinated in oil. Now I can do both! My go-to cold cure is still star anise stepped in hot/warm water and lemon juice sweetened with honey but I'm happy to look into tumeric!
If your kettle breaks you can boil water on the stove. Simply pour the water into a pan and place it on the heat until it bubbles. Yeah?
None of your cheek young man! I actually spent six months doing just that when our kettle broke (I was a baby journalist, my flatmate was a struggling artist – we were obviously short on cash and common sense) – then our toaster broke and we rigged up a clever system to grill bread over the elements. Sigh, those were the days…
I've been spending loads of time IRL preparing for a little monster to arrive…but now that we are pretty much set I am devouring blog after blog, catching up and daydreaming. I tend to spend a little bit extra and buy the feta already cut into pieces, it comes in a brine and an easy to open/reseal tub…saying that I haven't had any in a while….
Ah, that is such a nice time. Make sure you enjoy it!
Surely corporate meetings don't count as the sort of activities you are seeking IRL as an alternative to the internet world.
Love the feta tip – I have actually bought feta in brine that I am going through very slowly and this tip makes me feel more confident that mine should be lasting more than the usual on in a plastic wrapper – do you know if you need to change the brine at all?
This week I learnt that fairies live under our house if Sylvia is to be believed – now if only I could get them to work their magic in the kitchen occasionally my yeasted dough would bubble and I wouldn't burn the curry!
Love these tips but embarrassed that Feta never lasts that long in our house. Might try the turmeric trick to ward off the snuffles that just don't seem to want to go away.