Friday, January 29, 2010

su-lynn's lime cheesecakes

this is a great recipe of su-lynn's. you can make them ahead, in fact, you have to, and the are make nice, neat servings.

su-lynn's lime cheesecakes

500 grams cream cheese
1 cup castor sugar
1 cup cream
rind and juice of 1 1/2 limes
butternut cookies

place the butternut cookies at the base of the serving 12 cups.
beat the sugar and lime rind together. this releases the lime oil.
add the cream cheese and beat to combine.
add the cream and beat until smooth.
add the lime juice and beat again.
spoon into the mixture over the butternut cookies.
refrigerate for several hours. this softens the cookies.

Friday, January 8, 2010

goat milk soap with honey

since i started making soap, i've been on a quest to find an easy, fail proof method way of making it. to date, my favourite way is to make room temperature cold process soap. it is cold process soap without all the temperature checking and can be done in stages. there are 2 types of room temperature cold process methods. i've tried both and like both; each has their own application. one method uses the heat of lye mixture to melt the solid oils and the other needs the solids to be melted on the stove. the one i find more reliable is the one where the solid oils are melted independantly of the lye, especially when i use something like palm kernel oil.

i've received recipe requests for this soap, and have decided to post it here for everyone.

before soaping, prepare your work surface and protect it with newspaper. wear suitable protective clothing, including goggles and rubber gloves. lye (sodium hydroxide is highly caustic and can cause damage to work surfaces, and serious burns to skin and other bodily parts).

100 grams purified water
2 tablespoons honey
132 grams sodium hydroxide (caustic soda)
280 grams goat milk
250 grams coconut oil
750 grams olive oil

get your moulds ready. you can use empty milk containers, plastic containers, lined cardboard boxes....just don't use anything aluminium or of an unknown metal. lye doesn't react well with any metal other than stainless steel.

place the water in a heatproof glass or stainless steel container. add the honey and dissolve completely. add the sodium hydroxide very slowly to the honey water and stir to dissolve. this mixture will be very hot. set aside to cool. add the goat milk (straight from the fridge is fine) to the cold lye mixture slowly.

melt the coconut oil gently in a stainless steel stockpot, remove from the heat, and add the olive oil.

when both mixtures are no longer warm, pour the lye into the oil and stir to combine. i have an old handheld mixer i use solely for soapmaking to do this. i stop the mixer every so often and use it to stir the mixture around while switched off. the mixture will thicken and once it does so, your soap is nearly ready to pour. i tend to like to pour at what they call light trace. trace is the stage where the oils and lye are combining and thickening and if you lift the beaters from the batter, it will leave a trail behind.

pour the soap into the prepared containers once you have reached trace and set aside to solidify. because this soap contains honey and goat milk, it is best to set it aside somewhere cool and not to wrap the soap to insulate. you may find the soap might generate some heat on its own and it's best not to let it overheat.

leave the soap a day or two and cut it with a sharp knife or wire, if necessary, once it has set. place your soap pieces on a rack or box lined with some paper towel and leave to cure for 4-6 weeks.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

all in the soap pot

having not made any soap for nearly 2 months, i got back into it a few days ago and made 2 batches. in the 2 months break, i didn't stop reading about soaping, and didn't stop getting things for soap making either.

a very nice person in victoria sent me some clay to try in the soap (supposed to give it better "slip", a creamy lather and act as a fragrance fixative) and another lovely person in queensland sent me some silk to use (to lend the soap a silky texture). in addition to the silk and clay, i had read that salt and sugar are supposed to have value in soaping as i added all 4 new things to my soap. i know i should do a batch of soap to test each variable, but i didn't know which one i wanted to try first, so threw it all in. i can't help myself.

i then fragranced them. both batches smell so nice, and if i didn't know better, i'd say they were the best fragrances i've used thus far. i swirled lilac ultramarine and a plain base for the red currant, and used green clay and a plain base for the vera wang signature frangrance. the green also had imbedding, and rather than a swirl, i just blobbed it all in. what is really nice is that both fragrances are not overpowering, but just strong enough. i'm hoping they don't morph into something unpleasant. at the moment, i really like the way they look and smell, but only time will tell whether they are good soaps. i hope they are.