Food For Your Brood, Sam Gates

Food For Your Brood is subtitled Cooking for the people you love, and here Sam provides recipes where she aims to create exciting, everyday food. The recipe book itself has an introduction and is divided into themes, each one having its own introduction. Food For Your Brood starts with Best Breakfasts and out of the 8 recipes, my interest was sparked by the homemade baked beans (p24) which forms part of the recipe for sweet potato and leek cakes. I do not like the smell of commercially produced baked beans as they remind me of a visit to a canning factory. I made the baked beans, which I had to simmer for 15 minutes more than the recipe stated, but that probably has to do with the temperature of my stove setting.

"Home Made Baked Beans"

Home Made Baked Beans

This is followed by Superhero Soups, and from these 5 recipes I would try the white bean and onion soup with fresh thyme (p34). I made the perfect pea soup with Parma ham (p37), as the store bought pea and ham soups just don’t cut it for me. I choose my recipes to test based on their titles only and not on the recipe ingredients and wording. Sam uses spoon measures for her butter, and I would prefer grams. When testing the pea soup recipe there was no indication of how to cut the onion. I would call this pea soup with a Parma ham garnish. Dave and I found it very sweet and lacking in ham flavour.

"Pea And Ham Soup"

Pea And Ham Soup

The next lot of recipes are Light Lunches And Sublime Suppers (6 recipes) and Patties, Cakes, Fritters And Other Crunchy Flat Things (6 recipes). On my to try list from the 9 recipes in Better Outdoors: Picnics And Braais would be the lightweight’s chicken with coriander-flecked marinade (p79) and show-off’s Caesar salad (p90). These recipes are followed by 8 Smug Oven Bakes For Time-Poor Cooks and I would be tempted to try fiery pumpkin, sausage and hellfire vegetable tray bake (p115) if Dave ate pumpkin. In the 8 recipes for Sofa Food For Wintry Nights I love the sound of the all purpose pad Thai with super speedy peanut sauce (p122), but will have to give it a miss as peanuts in a sauce is not one of Dave’s favourites. However, I was sure he would love the squodgy spinach gnocchi with sage butter (p132) so I made these. I used less spinach than Sam only because our local store sells baby spinach in packs of 400g and I was not going to spend another R40 for 100g. These were delicious and worth making again.

"Spinach And Ricotta Gnocchi"

Spinach And Ricotta Gnocchi

The photograph in the section titled Let Them Go Food For Fledglings reminds me of Gordons Bay. In these 7 recipes I am reminded that I have been meaning to make pasta with herbs which Sam calls stripy pasta (p138) and that I have also wanted to make party pot stickers (p142). Broods On The Run (4 recipes) is a great chapter for me, as I do a lot of eating at my desk or in my car. Another recipe I have on my list is monster sausage roll (p156) as well as mini scotch eggs with harissa mayonnaise (p160). Sam ends with 11 recipes in the section titled Sweetness. The labyrinth biscuits (p172) caught my eye as well as the chocolate and hot mint slices (p181).

"Food For Your Brood"

Food For Your Brood

I totally agree with Sam’s sentiment that children should learn to cook from an early age. This encourages them to have a broader eating habit. Each recipe has its own description and the photographs in the book are lovely and homey. I especially loved the photograph of Auntie Gladys’s handwritten recipe for fork biscuits (p168), which must be priceless.

First published by Struik LIfestyle in 2015

ISBN number 978-1-43230-327-3

Paperback – 192 pages (including the index)

Disclosure: I was sent the book to review by Penguin Random House South Africa. I was not required to write a positive review. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

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Recipe For Pistachio Paste

I recently read an article titled 10 habits of the happily married (Fairlady February 2015) where couples were advised what it takes to make a marriage work and were given daily challenges. Some of these included speaking up; laughing together; being attentive; being kind; and appreciating. The daily challenge for the last one was to make a point of thanking your partner for something they did today (quoted). Every weekday morning Dave makes me coffee and brings me my mug in bed, and I thank him. Not because it is a challenge, but because I am genuinely grateful for the coffee. We always thank each other for doing what is considered part of our chores. Dave thanks me for dinner, even if he helps to make it. I think marriages work because people intrinsically include these habits, without having to be challenged to do so. And I think a marriage will not work if you genuinely don’t want to be kind and considerate towards your partner. I am always attentive in my relationships no matter who they are with. Something else that works really well for me is being attentive to recipes I am testing. In Giorgio Locatelli’s recipe book, Made In Sicily he gives a recipe for pistachio paste where he roasts the pistachios first. In my photograph you will see the roasted pistachio paste and the paste I made without roasting the pistachios. I much prefer the colour of the paste when the pistachios are not roasted, but I will leave that up to you.

Which one do you think you would prefer, and do you say thank you to your partner?

"Pistachio Paste"

Pistachio Paste

5.0 from 3 reviews
Pistachio Paste
 
This pistachio paste will form the base for gelato!
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 200g pistachios
Method
  1. Place the pistachios into a food processor
  2. Blitz on a high speed until a paste forms
Cooks Notes
Giorgio suggests roasting them at 180 ° Celsius for 8 minutes and then chopping them and leaving them to cool before placing them into the food processor

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

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Hello From The Gillespies, Monica McInerney

Hello From The Gillespies opening line: It was December the first.

"Hello From The Gillespies"

Hello From The Gillespies

And Angela Gillespie is doing what she has done for the past 33 years, she is writing her Christmas letter. But this year, everything is different. Her daughters are not growing up to be the adults she thinks they should be, her ‘late arrival’ son has not outgrown his childhood imaginary friend and her husband is not talking to her about what is going on. Instead, he is talking to another woman on Skype, and becoming wrapped up in his family tree, rather than being a part of their family. Life is no longer as she knows it and Angela writes the truth but only to vent, and not to send out. However, things don’t happen as she plans and the letter goes out to the hundreds of people on her mailing list and the result kept me turning the pages wanting to read more about this family.

I can highly recommend this book which took me no time at all to work my way through. The family are believable and the situations each one finds themselves in so totally relate-able. It will introduce you to life on an Australian sheep station situated in the middle of nowhere and how complicated life can be and how a community can rally together.

First published by the Penguin Group Austrlia in 2014

ISBN number 978-1-405-91415-4

Paperback – 516 pages

Disclosure: I was sent the book to review by Penguin Books South Africa. I was not required to write a positive review. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

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Simple Tips To Help Keep Your Home Spotless

Disclosure: I have received payment for this post on simple tips to keep your home spotless. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

Invest in the right tools

The old adage suggests that only a bad workman blames his tools, but the fact is, without the right equipment, cleaning is destined to be an arduous chore. This is why it pays off to invest in the some great gear to help you with your housework. Even simple things like long dusters and microfiber mops can help to speed up your sprucing sessions. Make sure you have all the relevant vacuum cleaner accessories for your property. You might benefit from additions like tangle-free turbine tools, soft bristled attachments and flexible crevice tools.

Keep clutter to a minimum

Make sure you keep clutter to a minimum too. This will make tasks like dusting and mopping much easier and quicker. Be strict with what you choose to store and what needs throwing out!

Pre-treat surfaces

When you’re tackling patches of food, dirt or grime on the surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom, make sure you pre-treat them with a suitable cleaning product. By doing this, you’ll ensure the detergent does most of the work for you. By the time you return to the area, a simple swipe with a sponge or cloth should remove the troublesome spot.

Clean as you go

Bear in mind that sometimes it’s savvy to clean as you go. For example, each time you’re done in the shower, simply give your tiles and door or curtain a few sprays with a daily shower cleaner. This is a great way to prevent dirt from building up, and it means your shower will look fantastic at all times.

Also, don’t be tempted to let dirty dishes build up in your sink and around your kitchen. By keeping on top of your washing up, you can ensure you don’t end up having to tackle a mountain of glassware, pans, cutlery and crockery.

By following simple cleaning suggestions like these, you should be able to ensure your home stays sparkling without any stress.

"Cottage Kitchen"

Cottage Kitchen

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Recipe For Gefilte Fish

I would love to have met my great grandparents as I’m sure I would have enjoyed listening to their stories about life in Romania. But, I will have to rely on my imagination to figure out how they lived. Having seen photographs of the Shtetl I can figure out that life was tough. Shtetl is the Yiddish word for a small town where Jewish people lived. My grandfather left Romania as a child, during the Pogroms long before the Shtetl’s were destroyed by the Nazi’s, killing all the people who lived there. Like all food in Jewish culture, gefilte fish has a tradition steeped in biblical times. I can imagine my great grandmother using cheap fish to create a meal for her family, bulking out the meat from fish heads with other ingredients. The gefilte fish would have been served on Shabbat, having been prepared in the morning. Jewish faith prohibits certain activities over the Sabbath, one of them being selecting or choosing, which will include the picking of bones out of fish. For me, gefilte fish is something served at every Seder, the Passover meal. In preparation for this year’s Pesach dinner, I have made baked gefilte fish, which are lighter and tastier than the traditional boiled ones my grandmother made. I hope you will give my version of these fish balls a try, no matter what your faith, as they are really delicious.

"Gefilte Fish"

Gefilte Fish

5.0 from 4 reviews
Gefilte Fish
 
I have taken the traditional fish ball and made it lighter and tastier by baking it.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 600g firm white fish, I used hake
  • 500mls milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 10mls paprika
  • 10mls dried parsley
  • 2 pinches ground allspice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 65g matza meal
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 60mls olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, cut into small battens (about 5mm square)
  • 10g flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Method
  1. Place the fish into a sauté pan
  2. Add the milk, bay leaves and peppercorns
  3. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer over a low temperature
  4. Poach until you can flake the fish with a fork
  5. Strain off the liquid and leave to cool
  6. Preheat the oven to 175° Celsius
  7. Flake the fish into a bowl and add the paprika, dried parsley, allspice, garlic and matza meal
  8. Beat the egg and add to the fish
  9. Season to taste and mix the ingredients until well combined
  10. Adjust the seasoning if necessary
  11. Pour the oil into an oven proof dish
  12. Scatter the onions over the bottom of the dish
  13. Form the fish into balls
  14. Place a carrot batten into the middle of each ball
  15. Place the balls onto the onions
  16. Drizzle them generously with olive oil
  17. Scatter the fresh parsley over the top of the balls and onions
  18. Bake for 30 minutes
  19. Leave to cool and place into a container that can go in the fridge
  20. Leave to set in the fridge for 4 hours
  21. Serve cold with the onions and chrain

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

"Traditional Jewish Fish Balls'

Traditional Jewish Fish Balls

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Contact Dermatitis

Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner! This information is based on my personal experience. Please in all instances seek medical advice before embarking on any radical changes to your diet and/or lifestyle.

A couple of years ago I had a small localized area of skin dryness between the middle and ring finger of my right hand. I attributed this to not having dried the skin under my rings properly when I washed my hands and basically ignored the dryness.  However, it did not improve and to this day I have a scar where the skin cut due to being so dry. The problem started getting worse and I experienced a form of skin irritation known as contact dermatitis. It started spreading from the original area, onto the back of my right hand. My concern grew when my left hand became affected with the same dry, itchy skin. This happened quite quickly, and my nephew who has eczema gave me some of his cortisone ointment to use. It made a big difference straight away, but the cause was not dealt with, and two days later I woke up looking as if I had stuck my arms into an oven. They were bright red, dry, and swollen.

I am all for using natural products to cure everything but the pain was so bad that I called my Doctor who came to the office and gave me a cortisone injection. He prescribed a very strong cortisone cream for me to use locally, and cortisone tablets to take. Together with the tablets I took anti histamines to prevent me scratching at the skin. As the skin was so dry he also recommended nutra plus cream to apply topically.

I made sure that as I had been given such a large dose of cortisone that I went to my acupuncturist to stimulate my adrenal glands back into making their own cortisone.

The first thing I had to do was take a look at my diet. That day I was put onto an elimination diet to see if the dermatitis was being caused by a food intolerance. I stopped eating dried fruit and wheat. I stopped drinking wine! And I stopped all my vitamins and supplements. As soon as the irritation died down I introduced wine back into my diet. I chose this first as it was our tenth wedding anniversary and I wanted to celebrate. After a week and no flare up, I started eating wheat again, and then dried fruit. I only re-introduced some of the vitamins and supplements I was taking. I am still taking a 9 strain probiotic daily, as well as Chromium to assist with controlling my blood glucose levels. I take Omega 3 daily but did not continue with my multi vitamin as I found no difference being on it, as off it. I also stopped taking tissue salts, but have subsequently gone back onto the number 7 tissue salt as it made a big difference.

The second thing I did was stop using all skin care products and fabric softener. I have not bothered using fabric softener again as it made no difference to my laundry at all. Initially I double rinsed all my clothing and as I was visiting my parents I got my Mom to do the same with the linen. Thankfully I did not have to worry about this when we travelled overseas as by then my skin had cleared up. I used 97% aloe gel on my skin and keep this for bad days. Every day I apply the extra moisturising cream to my hands and neck, the two areas which were affected the worst initially. I have to ensure that my skin is well moisturised, as the dryness is what causes the itchiness, and itching leads to more patches of dermatitis.

The third thing I did was avoid the sun! Being outside exacerbated the problem, and the dermatitis spread to my neck. Sadly at that time for me it meant very little time with my nieces in the pool. The chlorine made it worse! Until my skin cleared completely I used a factor 50 sunblock. Due to the high risk of melanoma in South Africa and the fact that 80% of our exposure to the sun is accidental, I have been using sunblock every day of my life for the past 25 years. The extra sunblock was put onto my hands just before I got into the car.

At the beginning of this journey there were a lot of bad days but I have now learnt how to cope with this skin irritation. What I have learnt is that as soon as there is a flare up, no matter how small, I must attack it with cortisone. I take a cortisone tablet straight away and apply cortisone cream topically. I now know to stay away from omega 6 and have added more linseeds to my diet, as well as turmeric.

For me, the most difficult issue was discovering what caused the problem. It was only after a long time that I realized it was stress induced. It can be affected by hand soaps and dish washing liquids, and even the sun, but that only happens when I am tired or stressed. Being pro homoeopathy I now take anti stress formula when we travel and in instances where I might feel anxious.

First and foremost, if you develop any skin irritation have it looked at straight away, and start an elimination diet to see what is causing it.

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Recipe For Whisky Oats

A few years ago if you had offered me oats for breakfast I would have said “no thank you”. But now, any winter morning is good for oats. Dave and I were watching a program on Glen Grant Distillery which is in Scotland, and the master distiller stated that whisky is a good drink after any meal, especially if that meal is breakfast. Shortly after that, we were on the Isle of Skye staying in a B&B. The owner offered us whisky oats for breakfast, and it was this bowl of oats that changed my mind from ‘no thank you’, to ‘yes please’. It took us, and by us, I mean Dave, quite some time to perfect the recipe for perfectly creamy, properly cooked whisky oats. The whisky is a vital part of this breakfast meal but if you have children you can leave the whisky out. We use a good quality single malt distilled here in the Western Cape. Whichever whisky you choose to use for your oats, make sure it is one you would drink!

"Whisky Oats"

Whisky Oats

5.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe For Whisky Oats
 
This hearty breakfast will warm you up on a cold morning.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 65g rolled oats
  • 250mls water
  • 15mls whisky
  • A generous pinch of salt
  • 20g butter
  • Fresh fruit and honey to serve - optional
Method
  1. Place the oats and water into a saucepan
  2. Leave to soak for one hour
  3. Add the whisky, salt and butter
  4. Over a high temperature heat and stir until the water has been completely absorbed
  5. Serve immediately with fruit and honey
Cooks Notes
If you don't have time to leave the oats to soak, it will just take longer to cook them. Add some milk to the oats if you want when serving.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

Blog-checking lines:  For the March Daring Cooks’ challenge, Ruth  from Makey Cakey invited us to start the day with something filling, warm and nutritious. We got to experiment with different techniques and flavourings to create our own perfect personal porridge.

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Recipe For Butter

There are many advantages to being a food blogger. In my first year of blogging, Dave and I did not eat the same meal twice. Since then I have discovered a whole lot of new flavours and recipes, and met the most amazing people, both in real life and over the internet. However, there are some disadvantages as well. Recipes will call for the smallest amount of ingredients and you end up with a pantry and fridge full of the strangest items. I still have oats left over from making haggis and Sunday nights are usually reserved for using up the odds and ends in a pasta sauce. The other day a recipe called for 90mls fresh cream. I went out and bought a 250ml tub of cream and used what the recipe called for. Before I could get to using the rest of the cream it had turned sour. Now, crème fraîche is a great ingredient, and soured cream is not too bad, but sour cream is just not that useful. Well, that was until I decided to make home made butter using my sour cream. The irony is that the best way to make the butter is to use equal amounts of sour cream and fresh cream. For testing purposes I have made butter using equal amounts of fresh and sour cream, using my left over sour cream and a full tub of fresh cream and fresh cream alone. All the results were great. And at least this way, I am turning my sour cream into something very useful!

"Butter"

Butter

5.0 from 1 reviews
Butter
 
Making your own butter is so rewarding, and you get to control the salt level.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh cream
  • Flaked salt to season
Method
  1. Weigh the sour cream and place it into a stand mixer bowl
  2. Add equal weight of fresh cream
  3. Using a baloon whisk, whisk the cream until butter forms into a clump
  4. Place muslin into a strainer, and strain the buttermilk from the butter
  5. Squeeze the butter in the muslin to get rid of all the buttermilk
  6. Run the butter under cold water
  7. Squeeze again to get rid of all the liquid
  8. Leave to cool before adding the salt
  9. Shape using baking or wax paper and store in the fridge
Cooks Notes
You can use an entire tub of fresh cream if you do not want to waste any, or less if you have that to hand.

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

"Making Butter'

Making Butter

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Tandy

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How To Install WordPress Onto Your Website

I have a friend who blogs using the Weebly platform who would like to move her blog to WordPress. Having installed WordPress on a few client’s websites I decided to write her a set of instructions to start the process of moving her website to WordPress.

While you are busy setting up your WordPress site you can continue blogging. You will not complete the final move until you are happy with how it looks etc.

Before you can move a website to WordPress.org there are a few things that have to be done.

  1. You have to have your own domain i.e. http://tandysinclair.com. A lot of blogs are hosted on a free platform and have an extension i.e. .blogspot or .wordpress. Before you can move your website you have to register your domain.  There is a nominal cost to do this and an annual fee involved in keeping your domain name.
  2. Once you have registered your domain you need to ‘self-host’ your website. In order to do this you need an internet service provider (ISP). In South Africa I am charged a monthly hosting fee, but I am not sure how that works elsewhere.

Your ISP needs to do a few things, and give you some information.

  1. Get your ISP to create a MySQL database. They will know what this is. Once they have created the database you need the following information:
    1. Host
    2. Username
    3. Password
    4. Database
  2. You need the details from them on how to connect to your site from the back end:
    1. Domain URL (Universal Resource Locator)
    2. Domain name (which should be the same as your websites URL)
    3. Password
  3. You will need the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) details
    1. Host
    2. Username
    3. Password
    4. Port

Once you have all of that, you need to download and install a FTP program. I use FileZilla and you can download that by clicking here.

Next you must download WordPress onto your computer. To do that, click here.

The latest version of WordPress will be listed. This is a .zip file. Once you have downloaded the file, extract the .zip file.

You are now ready to start the initial phase of the move

  1. Open your website via the domain log in (i.e. the backend of your site)
  2. Find the MySQL database and make a note of the following:
    1. Database name
    2. User name / login
    3. Password
  3. Go to where you have extracted WordPress and do the following:
    1. Find the wp-config-sample.php file and open it in Notepad (or any text editor)
    2. Scroll using your arrow keys until you find: The name of the database for WordPress. Then do the following, leaving the single quotes in place:
      1. Replace database_name_here with the name of your database
      2. Replace username_here with your username
      3. Replace password_here with your password
    3. Now click File Save As and save the file as: wp-config.php making sure that you select the file type as All Files if you’re editing in Notepad. This must go in the same directory as the wp-config-sample.php file
  1. Open up FileZilla (or the FTP client you prefer to use)
    1. Enter in your host name, username and password (I don’t enter the port number but you might have to)
    2. Connect to your site
    3. The window is split in two – the left is your computer and the right is your website/server
    4. Find public_html on your server and click once
    5. Find the extracted WordPress folder on your computer
    6. Click on the folder to open and select all the files
    7. Right-click and select Upload
  2. Once the upload is complete you will need to do the following:
    1. Open your browser and enter the following:
      1. http://yourdomain.com/wp-config.php replacing yourdomain with your website URL. The WordPress configuration page will open.
      2. Select your language option
      3. Give your site a title. Mine is Lavender and Lime
      4. Enter a user name (I use the same as my FTP)
      5. Enter a password (I use the same as my FTP)
      6. Enter your email address
      7. Unclick the Allow search engines to index this site. You will select this option once you are finished with your move
      8. Click Install WordPress
      9. Click Log In
      10. Enter your username and password
      11. Click remember me, and log in

Your installation steps are now complete. I will blog soon on how to move your website to WordPress. Please note, this worked for me. I cannot guarantee that it will work for you. If you need help send me an email. 

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Recipe For Chrain

I was having a discussion with someone the other day, whose argument was faulty. He stated that he could see no reason why a manufacturer should refuse to sell to the consumer. As a person who runs a wholesale company, as well as having my own retail business I totally understand why this happens. A manufacturer produces product in bulk, and sells it to a few wholesalers. These wholesalers then distribute the product in smaller lots to several retailers. The retailer sells smaller amounts of the product to numerous consumers. Using this method of sales, a company that manufactures something no else does, can set his price as high as he wants. But in most industries there are numerous manufactures making the same product. The wholesalers and retailers have to compete with one another, so usually their margins are quite low. But, a retailer who has a captive market can make his price as high as he wants. My friend stated he should just be able to go straight to the manufacturer. I tried to use the example of grocery shopping. When you go to the supermarket you buy, for example, 20 different products, in one place. But, if you bought them individually from the manufacturer you would have to make 20 stops, assuming that the manufacturer was actually in the same area in which you live. Which, more often than not is not the case. And, there is no guarantee that the product would be cheaper if you bought direct. His response was to tell me that the products he sells are cheaper than other retailers – herein lies the fault as he was now comparing himself as a retailer! I prefer to do one stop shopping, and so buy all my fresh produce at one store. For my chrain (horseradish condiment) I purchased everything I needed from one retailer. This makes the chrain cost effective. Had I been forced to buy each ingredient from the manufacturer directly, I would have had to find someone who makes vinegar (thankfully in our area), grows beetroot and horseradish (not farmed where we live) and drive around like crazy.

This has been made with horseradish which is seasonal, in time for Passover.

"Chrain"

Chrain

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chrain
 
An essential condiment for gefilte fish
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 250mls white wine vinegar
  • 250mls water
  • 1 beetroot, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 100g finely grated fresh horseradish (peeled)
Method
  1. Place the vinegar, water and beetroot into a small sauce pan
  2. Bring to the boil
  3. Add the horseradish
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes
  5. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool
  6. Place into a sterilized glass bottle
  7. Refrigerate and use as needed

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

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