Our go-to homemade cleaning products

Okay, so I’ve actually been feel pretty terrible for a few days now. Head cold or something that Master Minion B has too, so instead of writing up a long and convoluted blog entry with my usual charming wit, you’re stuck with short and sweet instead 😉  Now, we have an 8kg washing machine, so you may need to adjust the amounts you use to suit your own machines :)

Miss Minion E is highly allergic to so many store bought clothes detergents, fabric softeners and cleaners, and I am pleased to say that she doesn’t react at all to any of these recipes at all.

I buy citric acid in bulk from a spice mart near my folks house, but you can buy it from anywhere that sells bulk soap making supplies as well.

Homemade Clothes Detergent – this lasts us about 2 – 3 months, depending on how many heavy loads we have had:

140g lux flakes (or you could grate Sunlight soap instead)

1/3 cup bi-carb soda

1/3 cup citric acid

1/3 cup washing soda

20-30 drops of Eucalyptus oil

Put all dry ingredients & essential oil into a 5 litre container – I use an old container from when I was buying washing powder – and mix together well.   Carefully add 1 litre of boiling water – watch the volcano happen!!! – and once the foaming has settled down, carefully use a stick mixer to mix together until soap flakes have dissolved fully.  Put aside until the next day.  The next day add 2 litres of boiling water and mix carefully with a stick mixer again, and repeat the next day until you have a full 5 litre container.  Allow to sit for one more day.

I use the scoop from this old bought washing powder, which is a little over 1/8th of a cup.  One scoop for a normal load, 2 if it’s a heavy load or really dirty one.

I do still need to use stain remover, but I’m working on a recipe for that too!


Homemade Fabric Softener

500g bi-carb soda

2 cups white vinegar

4 cups hot water

10 – 15 drops essential oil (I like to use patchouli, lavender or a light citrus scent)

Put the bi-carb soda and essential oil into a 2 litre bottle – I use an old fabric softener bottle because I use the cap for measuring.  Carefully – and I mean a volcano of pretty smelling bi-carb will erupt if you’re not! – add the white vinegar.  Wait for the bubbling mass to settle down, and then slowly add the hot water – it will bubble up some more, especially if you use boiling water.

I use 2 caps in our washing machine, which is equivalent to 1/3 cup.  You do need to shake this really well before you use it, but don’t do it while the bottle is still hot – it will foam up again.


Citrus Vinegar

Orange and/or lemon peel

White vinegar

This is so easy to do!  When you’re eating an orange or a lemon, simple add the peel to a 1 litre glass jar.  Add enough white vinegar to cover the peel, and then keep adding to it as you eat more oranges!  Once the jar is full, leave for 3 – 4 weeks, then strain in to another jar.  It only has a hint of vinegar smell after this time and you can use it by itself (50/50 mix with water) or in the next recipe!


Minion Mum’s Multi-Purpose Cleaner

3 tablespoons washing soda

1 tablespoon citric acid

30 drops eucalyptus or lemon oil

¼ cup dishwashing liquid

300ml citrus vinegar (white vinegar will work if you haven’t had time to make up citrus vinegar)

500ml boiling water

1 litre of tap water

In a 2 litre jug, mix together the washing soda, citric acid and boiling water (carefully, the citric acid will bubble up) and mix until dissolved.  Add the dishwashing liquid and essential oil, mix well.  Slowly add the citrus vinegar and mix well once the bubbles have settled.   Top up with 1 litre of tap water and mix well.  I have 3 x 500ml spray bottles of this around the house with the spare in a jar in our laundry.  One in each of our bathrooms, and one in the kitchen.  This stuff is fantastic – it even took black shoe polish off our driveway!!!



Homemade Hot Chocolate Powder . . .


It’s that time of year when the house gets colder and the Minion Kids start begging for Hot Chocolate with marshmallows!  Drinking chocolate is NOT cheap when you have a household of 6, and making Hot Chocolate from scratch for 6 people isn’t very appealing for this Minion Mum!  Here’s a quick and easy recipe to satisfy the tastebuds, and the purse!


Hot Chocolate Powder . . . You’re welcome!


  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 tablespoon of cornflour


  1. Sift all the ingredients into a large bowl, and whisk until well combined. Transfer to a well sealed jar to store. This makes HEAPS!!!
  2. To make, simply add 2 heaped teaspoons to a mug, add a little hot water and mix into a paste. Add heated milk and marshmallows, and enjoy!
  3. It’s very sweet even without the marshmallows, so sugar is not needed!
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Master Minion A - rockin' the food processor

Lime Tart

And the ‘tartier’ the better, I always say!  This recipe is so easy, even a pre-teen can make it – and here are the photo’s to prove it too!

Master Minion A - rockin' the food processor

Lime Tart (the tartier the better, I always say!)


  • Pastry Ingredients:
  • 250 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • 125 g good-quality unsalted cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large free-range egg, beaten
  • A splash of milk
  • Lime Filling Ingredient:
  • 3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • Grated zest & juice of 2 limes
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup thickened cream


  1. Tart Base Method:
  2. Process sifted flour and icing sugar with butter in a food processor until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and milk and process until it forms as dough – don’t overwork it! Wrap in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 – 2 hours.
  3. Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C Fan Forced). On a lightly floured surface, gently roll pastry to 3mm thick and use to line a greased and floured pie or tart dish. Line your pastry base with baking paper and fill with pastry weights, rice or barley. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove pastry weights and paper and bake for a further 5 minutes. Set aside on a baking tray to cool slightly.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 150°C (130°C Fan Forced).
  5. Lime Filling Method:
  6. Lightly whisk together eggs, egg yolk, lime zest, lime juice and caster sugar in a bowl until sugar is dissolved. Stir through cream gently until mixed well.
  7. Pour filling into Tart base and bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until just set. The centre of the tart should still be a little wobbly.
  8. Let cool to room temperature. Serve dusted with icing sugar and with a spoon of whipped cream.
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Rolling out the pastry - and doing a better job than me!








* Originally posted on 20th January, 2015

Movies Mean Popcorn . . .

But not just any popcorn!  Oh no, not tonight.  Tonight is a Sweet and Salty Popcorn kind of night, I think.  Now, there’s nothing I like more than lounging all over my couch, watching a movie with my Minions, with a big bowl of buttery, salty popcorn.

BUT!  Tonight, this Minion Family is going to share a bowl of popcorn with Minion J’s friend (we’ll call her Minion B) because he invited her over for family movie night, and what better way to introduce a new friend to family movie night than with Sweet and Salty Popcorn?!  And maybe, just maybe, I may be able to fight the Minions off long enough to grab a handful myself!

I love how simple this is!

First, dissolve 3 – 4 teaspoons of caster sugar in a tablespoon of water.  Once it’s dissolved, take it off the heat and melt through 30g of unsalted butter.

We have a Popcorn Maker, so I just use the scoop that came with that to measure out the popcorn, and this is just the right amount for Minion Dad and I . . . when the Minion Kids are home, I make double, or even triple because this stuff disappears quickly!  If you don’t have an air popper, pop your corn as you would normally using about 1/3 cup of uncooked corn.

Once your popcorn is finished popping, throw it in a large saucepan over a low heat, pour over the butter syrup (it needs to cool a bit first or your popcorn will go to mush before the magic happens), stir quickly to cover all of your popcorn and salt to taste.  We use Pink Himalayan salt, which adds a beautiful flavour.  Keep stirring your popcorn over a low heat until the syrup has dried and your popcorn has a lovely crunch to it.

This is a very subtle flavour and it doesn’t overpower the taste buds, which makes it really, REALLY easy to munch on.


*  Originally posted on 21st November, 2014


Jaffa Pancakes with Spiced Orange Compote and Chantilly Cream

20151025_095405From the imagination of Minion Dad came THE BEST breakfast in bed for my birthday!

Before making the pancakes, it’s important to make the Orange Compote as this takes more time & requires undivided attention to avoid the syrup turning to toffee (Oh but, orange toffee would also be DABOMB…right???)

Part 1 – Spiced Orange Compote

4 – 5 small oranges, preferably seedless (I used Valencia as these have thin pith & are quite sweet)
2 cups water
5 tablespoons caster sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
2 – 4 whole cloves (depending on size)
1 star anise

Method – With a paring knife or zester, carefully peel the rind from all but 1 or 2 of the oranges & place to one side, being careful to avoid a much, if not all, of the white pith as possible as this can be quite bitter.  Remove the top & bottoms of the oranges & slice into 4-6mm thick slices, removing any seeds & excess pith.  Using a fine grater or zester,  finely grate the zest from the remaining oranges & set aside for final garnish.

In a wide based pan bring the water & caster sugar to a light boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the zest, lower the heat & simmer for a further 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove the zest & discard.  Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise; scrape the seeds into the sugar water and add the pod along with cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise, together with the orange slices & simmer until reduced to a light syrupy consistency.  Remember, it will be thicker when it cools so try not to let it reduce too much.  Reduction should take around 20-30 minutes.  Remove the cinnamon, star anise, vanilla pod & cloves.  Set aside to cool slightly while making the pancakes.

Part 2 – Chantilly Cream

200ml – thickened cream (we’ve always used long life with great success – refrigerate before whipping)

3 to 4 Tblsp Caster Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract

Method – in a glass bowl, combine cream, vanilla & sugar & whisk to medium peaks.  Being careful not to over whisk as this will cause the cream to separate & stiffen.

Part 3 – Chocolate Pancakes

1 1/2 cups Milk

1 Egg

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 cups SR Flour

1/4 tsp Bicarb Soda

1/3 cup Caster Sugar

2 Tbsp sifted Cocoa Powder

15-20gr melted butter

Method –   Beat milk, egg & vanilla together in a jug & put to one side.  Sift SR flour & bicarb soda together in a bowl & add caster sugar.  Make a well & while mixing gently with a whisk, add milk & egg mixture.  Combine until smooth then, sift cocoa powder evenly over the top of batter & gently whisk together until mixed well.

Cooking –  If possible, use a cast iron skillet as these will always distribute heat more evenly.  Heat pan or skillet over medium/low heat & brush lightly with melted butter.  Using a soup ladle & cooking one at a time, slowly pour one whole ladle of mixture into the center of the pan & cook until bubble appear evenly across the surface.  Flip & cook for equal amount of time.  Stack & cover lightly with foil to retain heat.  Wipe pan with paper towel between pancakes to avoid burning the butter & lightly brush fresh butter.
20151025_095429Put it all together on a plate and destroy . . . I mean enjoy! 

Dear FTM readers . . .

I’ve decided to shake things up a bit, although it may take a while to get things moving!

I wasn’t really getting into the whole blogging about food all the time – and let’s face it, there are an enormous amount of food blogs out there! – but now I think I’ve hit on the right recipe!

Keep an eye out everyone – FTM will soon be showing all things that feed a person, not just food.

Feeding The Minions – Mind, Body and Soul!

Take care and I’ll see you all again very soon!


Minion Mum


Cold & Flu season = Fire Cider!!!

Earlier this year I started searching for home remedies for cold and flu season, mainly because our eldest has a rare heart/lung condition and is on Warfarin and most over the counter treatments either interact with his medication or with his heart.  I stumbled across one, then two, then half a dozen websites all with a recipe for something called ‘Fire Cider’ on them.

My curiosity was peaked.  What was this Fire Cider?  Was it easy to make?  Did I have the necessary ingredients on hand?  The answer to the first is in the list of ingredients – mainly because it has a whole Habanero Chilli in it! The answer to the last two questions is YES!

As an adult, I take about a tablespoon 3 times a day, and for the kids I give 10mls in orange juice.  And be warned, as a straight shot, it takes your breath away and it BURNS baby!

My double batch of ingredients - just missing the bay leaves


I decided to add extra herbs and spices to the base recipe I found, each one for their great medicinal properties and I’ve tweaked the base recipe to suit our family as well.  This time around I made a double batch so we don’t run out again!



Cold & Flu season = Fire Cider!!!


  • ½ cup Horseradish, peeled & diced (don’t panic if you can’t find this, I haven’t been able to track down horseradish for under $50/kg!)
  • 1 whole bulb of Garlic, peeled & diced
  • 1 whole Onion, peeled & diced
  • ¼ cup Ginger, peeled & diced
  • ¼ cup Turmeric, peeled & diced (if you can’t find this fresh, you could substitute for 1 – 2 tablespoons of powdered Turmeric instead)
  • 1 whole Habanero Chilli, split in half
  • 1 medium Orange, quartered and thinly sliced
  • ½ Lemon, quartered and thinly sliced
  • ½ Lime, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh Thyme (you could chop it if you like, I just strip it off the stem though)
  • 1 tbsp black Peppercorns
  • Raw, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 10 Cloves
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • ¼ cup Raw Honey, or to taste


  1. Place all the ingredients into a clean 1 litre jar, making sure the Apple Cider Vinegar covers all the ingredients and there are no air bubbles. If you’re using a metal lid, place a piece of baking or waxed paper in between the lid and the jar to prevent corrosion from the vinegar. Shake well.
  2. Let the jar sit for 3 – 6 weeks (so far, I haven’t made it past the 3 week mark thanks to colds hitting the family) in a dark part of your cupboard (or store in a brown paper bag), and shake daily.
  3. Strain into a sterilised 1 litre jar and add raw honey to taste. Refrigerate and use within 1 year.
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Take 1 tablespoon a day at the first sign of a cold or flu, and repeat every 4 hours until symptoms subside. Just a warning though, having it this often usually causes an increase in time spent on the toilet! I take it 3 times a day, and give it to the kids only 1 – 2 a day. You can mix it with orange juice if you like, or with extra honey and hot water to make a tea.
I reckon this would be great in a marinade for chicken, so if anyone wants to try it out for me, I’d love to hear how it goes! We’re not exactly hot and spicy lovers in this family . . .


* Originally posted on 19th August, 2014


Hot Cross Buns

I nearly fainted while I was grocery shopping a few weeks ago when I saw Hot Cross Buns, 4 for $8!!!!  Whaaatttt????  $8 for only 4 Hot Cross Buns???  Honesty, I don’t care whose name is on them, if they’re not making it for me personally, they’re not finding their way into my shopping trolley!  Besides, according to my Minion Kids and Minion Hubby, mine taste much better than store bought!


Hot Cross Buns


  • 1kg bread flour (if you can’t find bread flour, make sure you get a bakers’ flour or strong flour)
  • 21g dried yeast
  • 450ml milk, warmed
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 3 tsps mixed spice
  • 2 – 4 tsp fine salt (to your own taste, I only ever use 2)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • Extra Ingredients:
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • Enough water to make a piping consistency paste
  • For glaze:
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Method: I always use a mixer for this. You could do it by hand, however as you all know, I’m a lazy baker and the mixer is always easier!!
  2. In a large bowl, place 350g of the bread flour, yeast and 450ml warm milk. Beat on medium speed for 3 – 4 minutes until sticky. Cover with cling wrap and a tea towel and allow to double in size, approximately 30 minutes.
  3. Add lemon rind, mixed spice, salt, eggs and honey and mix together with a dough hook.
  4. Add remaining 650g bread flour and butter. Mix with a dough hook at low speed until it comes together as almost dough.
  5. How you do this step depends on whether or not you’re a fruit or not person! We don’t do fruit or mixed peel in our Hot Cross Buns, so I skip adding the extras! Remove dough from bowl onto a lightly floured board. Spread out and add 1 cup currants and 1/2 cup mixed peel. Knead thoroughly until it’s a smooth dough. Put into a lightly greased bowl and allow to rise for approximately 45 minutes to an hour.
  6. Divide the dough into 24 buns and roll into balls – this will be easier if you dust your hands with flour first. Arrange close together on lined baking trays so they will end up touching when they are baking. Cover with cling wrap and a tea towel and set aside to rise for 30 minutes.
  7. Brush each bun with beaten egg. Add plain flour and melted butter to the remaining egg and mix well. Add enough water to this mix to make a piping consistency paste. Pipe the paste across the buns to make a cross – I find it easy just to pipe one long line across all of them in each direction.
  8. Bake at 180°C for approxiately 25 – 30 minutes.
  9. While buns are baking, make a glaze with caster sugar and water. Boil until sugar has dissolved and brush buns immediately after taking out of the oven, while they are still hot.
  10. Spread with butter, watch it melt and chow down!!! Hide the rest of the buns from the family, and you may just have enough left for the next day!
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It was very hard not to get stuck into these straight away!  I ended up scoffing half a bun before I could drag myself away long enough to take a photo!



* Originally posted on April 19, 2014


Spice and all things nice!

Watching Abby hand out Christmas biscuits on an old NCIS episode a few nights ago made my mouth water and immediately I craved some Cinnamon Biscuits.  As soon as the kids hopped on the bus the next morning, I gathered up my ingredients and went on a baking spree!  Well, not really a spree but we did get some pretty yummy Scones and amazing Cinnamon Biscuits out of it!


When you’re baking these delicious biscuits, keep a close eye on them after the 15 minute mark until they bake to your liking.  I baked mine for 20 minutes, ’cause that’s how I roll.

Absolutely delicious no matter how you have them!  These didn’t last long at all . . . in fact, I think I’ll head back into the kitchen and make a double batch!

Spice and all things nice!

Spice and all things nice!


  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 125g butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 teaspoons golden syrup


  1. Preheat your oven to 150°C (140°C fan forced) and line baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Sift flour, bicarb and cinnamon into a bowl. Add the sugar. Rub in the butter with your fingers until the mixture has a fine breadcrumb texture.
  3. Beat the egg and golden syrup together and add to dry ingredients. Mix well with a wooden spoon and then bring it together into a dough by hand.
  4. Roll into balls – I used about a tablespoon because Minion Dad likes big bikkies! – and flatten slightly, leaving about 5 cm between each biscuit. You don’t have to do this, they’ll spread just fine without it and will actually end up a little thicker in the middle.
  5. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, slightly longer for a crispier biscuit. Keep a close eye on them after the 15 minute mark until they bake to your liking.
  6. Cool biscuits on tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack, IF they last that long!
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