In the kitchen

 1. Melting bees wax in an aluminium jug in a water bath, 2 & 3. My first bees wax candles, 4. Homemade pasta, 5. Homemade pasta and pasta sauce with sausages, 6. Cherry tomatoes in the garden, 7 - 11. Preserving 2.5kg of tomatoes by bottling pasta sauce 12. Failed soap experiments

I've been drawn to the kitchen this week. Making and cooking. The sink has been filled with pots and pans. The windowsill is now bare of tomatoes. Jars have been cooling on benches. First strawberry jam, then soap, pasta sauce and pasta, more pasta sauce and candles.

My first adventure in cold pressed soap making was unfortunately a failure. I had such high hopes! My mixture just wouldn't saponify (the chemical reaction that creates soap from oils and lye), no matter how long I stirred it. I used my normal kitchen scales to weigh the oils and lye (caustic soda), as I found our digital kitchen scales needed a new battery. So, I think the issue was with the precision of the weights, despite my best efforts. I was disappointed, but not deterred, and will be trying again.

Pasta sauce was a success! I made home made pasta and pasta sauce for the children. They fought over using the pasta machine and ate it almost without complaint. I thought it was delicious, even the next day for the easiest of lunches, so I bottled up another four jars of pasta sauce and added them to the pantry. I put the vintage jars I found at the op-shop to good use, only loosing one to a crack after boiling them. I picked up the tomatoes for about $1.40 at the produce store, so I will be going back to see if they have more. (One great thing about a Queensland Winter is that you can still grow tomatoes.)

I ordered a few supplies from Aussie Candle Supplies, along with bees wax from my friend, to make my first candles. It was simple and fun, but the wax didn't go nearly as far as I thought it would! It really is all about experimenting. Despite ordering thicker wicks, the wick was not thick enough for the larger jar. As a result, the candle doesn't melt to the edge, but rather melts only a centimeter or so from the wick, causing a hollow around the wick and below the surface of the candle. Lessons learnt.

What have you been up to in the kitchen lately?

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