Starting from scratch

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  • Me and the mister have decided that we want to start making more things from scratch. The mister is getting better at making bread (only a basic white bread at the moment, but he's considering trying more interesting breads as he gets better), we've just put our first batch of home brew beer on to ferment and I'm exploring making basic cheese.

    It's made me wonder, what sorts of things that people usually buy pre-made, do the folks on here make themselves?

  • I make cakes too, i love baking! jam always strikes me as something i'd like to try and make at somepoint too, but we don't use much of it at the moment, so i'm not sure if it'll be worthwhile at the moment.

  • I make cakes too, i love baking! jam always strikes me as something i'd like to try and make at somepoint too, but we don't use much of it at the moment, so i'm not sure if it'll be worthwhile at the moment.

    I know, I have that problem. Jam and chutney sit in my cupboard till I finally donate them to friends/neighbours. I usually use the jam in a victoria sandwich when I remember or treat myself to a home-made cream tea :piggy:. I need to make some jam though as what I thought was jam lurking in the back of my cupboard actually turned out to be beetroot chutney :S

    You could always have a go and give it as gifts at christmas? :)

  • I once gave home-made preserves, sweets and biscuits as Midwinter gifts because I was cash poor at the time but people now keep asking me to repeat it because they so enjoyed getting gifts that were enjoyable and practical instead of the usual tat. I make soap too, and that also goes down well.

  • As well as jams, chutneys, baking etc what about non-food items.
    A few years ago I bought an old(very) sewing machine, it cost me £25 and weighs half a ton being all metal with a wood base, no plastic in sight, and after a little practice on scraps of material I had a crack at making a few simple projects starting with draw-string bags. I made a little one for my tent pegs, a bigger one for the tent poles and a couple of others for bits and pieces. Got some pertex offcuts cheap online and made some overmits to wear over fleece gloves for extra warmth in winter. Also repairing and adjusting clothes It's paid for itself several times over and it does get quite addictive.
    Candles are fun to make too(not with the sewing machine!)

  • I have made some jams. We have a plum tree that we planted in our garden and i have made lots of jars of jam from this. Have been using the jam to make steamed puddings as we do not use much jam and we had loads of the stuff. Unfortunately the tree has currently got silverleaf desease and we have had to hack it back so no plums this year.

    Worst thing i ever made was horseraddish sause. Have a couple of plants on the allotment. The sauce was nice but the process of making it was painful. The roots have to be grated and they give of throat burning fumes. Imagine chopping hundreds of onions in an airtight room and you are somewhere near to the horseraddish. I developed a good meathod which involved opening the door and windows, put horseraddish in blender, press button, run away, come back in 5 min to turn of blender.

    Also make courgette chutney as i usually get a big crop of this from the allotment. I give away a few jars of produce at christmas.
    We usually make all our own cakes, including the birthday cakes for the kids which can be quite elaborate. Also do christmas cake, puddings and mince pies.

  • We make most everyday things ourselves but we buy wine from neighbours, dried food (Rice, chick peas, flour, couscous etc from our local cooperative.)

    We grow all our veg, fruit and have our own meat and eggs. We make our own hams, sausages, bacon, black pudding, prosciutto. We bake bread and pizzas and we save food for winter by sterilising, fermenting and drying whatever we have. Last year our food budget was about £450.

  • I'll have a go at making anything really.... my veggie garden does quite well as do the fruit trees, the chooks keep laying eggs, I preserve as much as possible, I've had a few partially successful attempts at home brewing, I do the DIY including making some furniture, I've made my bee hives.

  • I have a juice machine - so usually buy cheap bargain veg as they discount it at Tesco. 10p for a kilo of carrots or 20p for either cooked beetroot or raw. oranges and fruits I get as well. Just takes say half hour and I fill maybe 3 or 4 litre bottles.

    some diy things up cycle furniture.


    Hi - just looking around - somewhere to be - some folks to share with.
    In Scotland atm and hope to move on April 2014. Welcome ideas.

  • We do quite a lot of bread-making, white, wholemeal, mixed blends, etc. Actually I get to do most of it, because I enjoy it so much. Also other seasonal baking, mince pies, stollen cake, fruit cake, etc. Occasional puddings, quiches, that sort of thing. too.
    And we do enough jam every Autumn to see us through until the next Summer.
    Grind grain sometimes in a hand grinder, to make an interesting addition to baking.
    Used to do our own brewing, but it led to drinking more than was wise....

    I try to repair or remake and recycle anything that is broken that we want to keep, including armchairs, tables, most any furniture.
    Tried repairing boots and shoes too, but modern stuff is more difficult to repair, too many hollow heels and soles.
    Also do my best with electrical items, audio, and a bit of plumbing when necessary (The missus is best at this, she went to evening classes, I'm just the mate!), and of course PC repairs are a doddle to a retired techie. I like the idea of owning a sewing machine, as Turmoil mentions above; at the moment we just darn and sew by hand, including leather now and then.
    For anyone who has more time than money, you can get immense satisfaction out of doing things for yourselves.

  • I make my own bread (using a bread machine), wine from scratch, beer from kits, chutney from surplus tomatoes from my tunnel ..... I'll have a go at making or repairing anything. I work on the principle that if something's broken or worn out, it can't be made any worse by attempting a repair and failing. Most of the time though my repairs are successful.

  • another bread maker here (both in a machine and when I have time - by hand), when trying new breads, only change one ingredient amount at a time, or you will take ages to hit on just the right proportions, if it looks and feels too wet its probably just right as the flour will absorb some water, I now control how high my wholemeal rises with how much yeast I put in, for my recipe a level teaspoon gets me a loaf just kissing the lid of the breadmaker (with wholemeal the key ingredient is vitamin c powder, about 3mm on the end of a teaspoon, just that tiny amount makes all the difference).

  • I love making jams, bread, pizza and infused liqueurs such as damson gin, blackberry whiskey etc, but my real regular 'make' is ale. From pale to Porter I do all-grain brewing using crushed malt, hops, water and yeast. That's it. Nothing else. I love every drop;

    I even grew three varieties of hops this year and they made for an excellent hoppy amber ale.

  • Anything and everything, from foraged preserves, roadkill (including curing the hides) to willow baskets and painted furniture. I've sewn and knitted for years and sell items I make (or give them to friends for presents) which provides a bit of income for diesel. I drive a hightop transit, converted to a camper, and all the furniture in it is either home made or recycled as is the contents of my flat. I live in a steading in Scotland and we're about to get the veg garden sorted and buy chickens. Pigs are being discussed at the moment, but we are a bit short of space.
    There's loads of information on the net or workshops around, if you fancy it just go for it, it's great fun, very satisfying and cheap to create as much as possible for yourself x

  • Grendel, thanks for that tip about vitamin C - I've never heard of that. I wonder if a squirt of lemon juice would do the job ?

    Those hops look really healthy Bearwood and the beer's just the job !

    Did you know that you can eat the new shoots of hops, they taste just like asparagus. It also keeps them under control as they tend to take over the garden.

    One of my favourite home made things is "44". It tastes just like Cointreau.;)

    An organic orange
    Stick 44 coffee grains in the orange

    44 small spoons of brown sugar
    fill a litre jar to the top with any strong alcohol (We use eau de vie made from our fruit)

    Wait at least 44 days then taste it !

  • Beer, wine, mead, jams and preserves, pickles. I knit and sew so I make some of our stuff especially socks. I grow quite a bit of our vegetables. Between us we do various household repairs although I pay someone else to do the roof! I make soap, bake most of the bread and all of the sweet things we eat. I'm about to do a basketmaking course because that looks like fun.

  • Weve made chutneys, jams, wine (well more of a rough hooch actually), bread. I love making chapatis and flatbreads, the above idea with the oranges looks excellent. Will definitely try something spirits based this year.

    We grow as much stuff as we are able too, or rather my wife does and I do the donkey work.

  • Partner is a good cook and she makes pies, loads and freezes them. Jam, runny lemon jam to put on a roasting chicken. cakes,and other puds. I make beer, wine sometimes,collect berries and plums. Grew goosegogs last year and eat some and some jam. Tried to dry stinging nettles in the oven to smoke in a pipe...but what a stink from them.