Laundry balls and how sometimes things surprise me

For years now I’ve used a laundry ball / wash ball in my washing machine and so I was surprised to discover that these balls are considered a bit of a scam. Surprised and puzzled.

You see when I bought mine it was marketed as a way to use less soap powder. It also said something about not needing to use soap at all on lightly soiled loads, but it acknowledged you would need some soap the rest of the time. I always use the spoon it came with (15mls) to measure my soap and it’s awesome!

Apparently the wash balls have become some kind of hokum thing, with outlandish claims for how they work and what they do. They are also being marketed as a 100% soap replacement, which they aren’t! Well, some types do fractionally better in tests than just running your machine without soap.

I was really surprised to find this out. Also a bit sad, because I love my ball.

Like I say, I use mine with the reduced soap quantity – it’s between 1/2 and 1/3 of the scoop that my brand of soap powder recommends you use in a wash – and clothes come out nice and clean. And I know, from forgetting to put the wash ball in once or twice, that the smaller amount of soap doesn’t clean a load without the ball!

Makes me feel better with putting grey-water on the appropriate bits of the garden too, though I wish someone would do a test to see what the affect of a laundry ball and less soap is on the waste water. That would be good to know.

Oh, and I don’t use mine with wool or delicates, because I assume there is increased agitation involved and that’s not going to do those fabrics any favours.

So…um…well…

Okay, I know this is a weaving blog, but right now I’m distracted by… cooking.

Last week it was my first attempt at home-made yoghurt. This week it was my first attempt with a slow cooker. And more yoghurt. And avocado, chocolate truffles. And pear and sour cream slice.

Not all at once.

So, if you’re like most people you were stopped by the proximity of the words “avocado” and “chocolate” above. I don’t blame you. In truth there was a lot of skepticism among my tastebuds about this idea. But I like trying new things, so I did.

The avocado has to be well mashed so it mixes fully – probably no surprises there – but it works as a butter/cream replacement. My recipe was a bit heavy on the cocoa though so I didn’t like the texture, but the overall chocolate-y-ness was satisfying. You couldn’t taste the avo though I guess the overall effect was earthier than you’d get with a milk product (also from all that cocoa).

I would go another way with the chocolate content, but the concept worked!

Yoghurt… ahh yoghurt. I have made one batch according to instructions and then – predictably – had to experiment. That’s just the way I does things. Experiment 1- failure. Experiment 2 – awesome success. So, you know, a good learning process.

And then the slowcooker, which I picked up from a colleague who was moving interstate a few months back. I made possibly the least interesting thing you can make in a slowcooker – chicken and veg – but it came out really well. The only question with this device is whether I can reasonably consume the vast quantities its 6ltr capacity creates! My freezer won’t know what’s hit it.

In a slowcooker side note: the recipe I’m most excited to try is actually the baked potatoes. Why? I can’t really tell you. I just like the concept of baking potatoes in a slowcooker. It fits 20 or something insane so that also tickles my fancy. Let’s see if I’m right about a long standing hunch I’ve had; that I can’t ever get sick of potatoes.

Homemade yoghurt…

I like yoghurt. Flavoured. Plain. With currants. With honey. With nuts. But for some reason, I never eat much in any week. It was that last part that meant, when a friend got a yoghurt maker and began waxing lyrical about it, I was excited for her but with no plans to bandwagon hop.

Then… I saw one on special. Love a good special. And I’d just hit a saving goal. And the yoghurt mix that goes in the magic maker was half price… so, you know.

Today I made my first batch of yoghurt. Blueberry. Sooooo… very… creamy… Scrumptious! Now I just have to eat an entire kilo of it. They say it lasts for two weeks so that’s about small 5 commercial tubs in two weeks… we’ll see.

I do, of course, like the idea that I’m not going to have to recycle any plastic tubs when I’ve eaten it. In fact, I like that a lot.

I also liked how simple it was to make (essentially; add water and shake, then stand jar in insulated container full of hot water for 8 hrs).

And being live culture you can use part of the current batch to make the next one, which frees you from buying too many of the powder sachets! Awesome.

One of my colleagues has yoghurt every day… maybe I can trade half my batch with her?… mind you, given how much yoghurt she eats, I should probably just recommend the yoghurt maker!

The two jars that form a yoghurt maker
This is what I got