The mail bags are full again, so let's take a dip and see what treats emerge.
TB of Blenheim has a tip for gardeners: instead of growing leeks, plant spring onions. They will grow just as big as leeks, have the same taste and are more useful over a longer period.
SG from Wellington has an idea for a teacher treat. "My daughter loves to give her teacher a gift each year; not costly, around $10. However, last year she decided she wanted to give a gift to three other teachers and also those who care for her after school.
"I realised this was going to be too costly, so I made a batch of Russian fudge, bought six glass containers from The Warehouse and some ribbon, and everyone got lovely ribbon-wrapped Russian fudge for a gift! I'm definitely going to do it again this year as it's a very cost-effective way to cater for all the teachers."
A mum of four hungry kids in Christchurch has a tasty way to use a tin of baked beans. "You will need: 1 capsicum, diced; 1 onion, diced; 2-3 tablespoons jalapenos; 1 tin baked beans; and eggs. Fry the capsicum and onion, add the jalapenos (mine are from a jar) and baked beans. Stir until hot, drop to a medium heat and crack the eggs on top of the mixture, poaching them to your liking.
My kids love this and have requested it several times lately."
LS of Christchurch has sparkling clean windows at no cost. "To wash windows, scrunch a piece of wet newspaper into a loose ball and wipe all over the window, then wipe over with a piece of dry newspaper scrunched into a ball until the area is dry and clear of marks."
Auckland's Heza explains how to make hummus. "All you need is 1 tin of chickpeas, 5 cloves of garlic, and the juice from 1 lemon. Whiz them together in a blender, place on a plate and add a tablespoon of oil - all ready to dip or spread."
A little while ago we asked the oily rag community to help an oily rag reader with their "problem": how to cook the fish they caught. Here are some of the replies.
Diana of Whakatane has two favourites. "To make Fish and Mash, place mashed potato in the bottom of a shallow Pyrex dish and place the fish fillets on top after first dipping them into melted butter. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 180C until the fish is cooked. Mix together 1/2 cup of mayo, 1/2 cup of grated cheese, 2 egg yolks and 1 teaspoon of dried mustard, then stir in 2 whisked egg whites. Pour over the cooked fish and bake in moderate oven until nicely browned.
"Spicy Fish takes 3 minutes to prepare and 12 minutes to cook. Ingredients to serve two: 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, cumin turmeric; 1 teaspoon of chilli powder (if you think this will be too hot, use 1/2 teaspoon); 2 tablespoons groundnut oil; 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced; 250g fish fillet cut into 50mm pieces; 200ml coconut milk; and coriander leaves, to garnish. Mix the spices with 1 tablespoon water and set aside. Heat oil in a pan and cook the garlic until lightly browned. Add the fish and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the spices and cook for another minute. Add the coconut milk, cover and simmer for 3 minutes."
Raglob of Dunedin has this recipe for a raw fish salad. "Just dice pieces of fish, mix with chopped red onion, red peppers, celeryand tomatoes, then pour a vinaigrette dressing over it. This salad is good left to marinate for a while, but can be scoffed as soon as it's mixed."
If you have some "secret" money-saving ideas you would like to share with readers, send them to us via the oily rag website or by dropping us a line at Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.
Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Submit your oily rag tips at www.oilyrag.co.nz