Recession Firelighters and easy Brown Bread

Well, to be honest, they are just firelighters, and like so many other things in my life came about as a result of going to the shops to buy them and being totally disgusted at the prices....

Incidentally I am reading a fabulous book the Bro got me for Christmas, its called Home Made: Contemporary Russian Folk Artefacts by Vladimir Arkhipov and is full of amazing objects made by people who were either too poor or too disgusted to buy them - from the very practical to totally frivolous - things like a steam train made from beer cans and other bits of trash as a child's toy. Very beautiful.....

But I digress...
The point of this is that you can make really cheap firelighters out of stuff you have (in our case anyway) lying around the house.
Here they are...

I used cardboard tubes from loo rolls, cut in two and stuffed full of woodchip. (TDW has plentiful supplies from his woodchip fired ceramics) Then I melted down old bum-ends of candles and poured the wax over them - I would say only about 4 teaspoons wax on each one. This morning I lit the fire with just one, and it is burning away merrily as I type.
I would recommend slicing briquettes in two if you are using them though.

I totally love firelighters. Especially the ones in the little plastic packets where you burn the packet with it and they don't make your hands stink. I know its not good for the environment but I love not having to tend a fire. I like walking away and coming back to a warm room. Maybe its from having a bad back and not wanting to chop wood into little pieces and bend over a fire tending it for ages thus mangling my back. And maybe its just plain convenience. Hurray for modern technology!
But a much bigger hurray for homemade firelighters!

And the quest for the most perfect eggs goes on....
Yesterday's were probably the most beautiful yet this year, sitting on a bed of rocket from the greeenhouse - its amazing how the plants have started to grow again now that there is more light - things are waking up in the greenhouse at least. And lying on homemade brown bread.

Ahh, look at them. Sure they're only gorgeous!

Incidentally the bread recipe, given to me by a friend's mother, has to be the easiest bread ever and highly recommendable...

Brown Bread
1lb wholemeal flour
1/2lb white flour (or all wholemeal)
6oz oatbran
3/4 bicarbonate of soda sieved (this is 1 1/2 tbsps)
1oz sugar (optional)
1 tsp salt
1lt buttermilk

Mix all the dry ingredients really well. I sometimes add pumpkin seed and dried fruits too, nuts, whatever....
Then pour in the buttermilk and mix very gently until everything is wet.
Spoon it into 2 x 2lb loaf tins and cook in a preheated oven at 200 C for 40-45 minutes.

I love that this makes two loaves and they freeze well too.