Tip top: Around the house
Instead of using an air freshener from a can, go herbal. Put a few leaves of eucalyptus in a ceramic bowl and fill with white vinegar; a sharp and fresh aroma will permeate the room.
Do it with nature: Put a handful of red roses or red rose petals in a microwave-proof bowl and microwave on high. The heady scent of roses will fill the kitchen and spread to the rest of the house as well.
Instead of going out to purchase red roses to freshen your microwave, try lemon/orange/kino rinds. Put in a bowl and microwave for a minute or two.
Keep a few lumps of charcoal in your garbage bin under the liner. Discard monthly. Charcoal is very good at absorbing all sorts of smells and will keep your trash can relatively odour-free.
The refrigerator often absorbs the odour of food. To get rid of all the mixed odours, keep half a piece of lemon or a small container of lemon juice in a corner and watch those odours vanish. A small bowl filled with baking soda or crushed charcoal also serves the purpose.
If you’ve used fish or prawn stock in your food, your kitchen is likely to reek for hours. To get rid of the smell, first clear away all the scales and shells and throw them out. Next, pound a few coffee beans and leave on counter top. The strong aroma of coffee will soon disguise the fishy odour. You can get rid of the smell from your hands as well simply by washing hands with a few granules of coffee.
While cutting bhindi (ladyfinger) smear a little oil on the knife. This reduces the stickiness, making the vegetable easier to slice.
Use white vinegar to clean mirrors, glass panes and table tops. Spray the vinegar onto the surface then rub briskly with crumpled newspaper; cloth will leave streaks. Then clean with some plain water and you’re done.
Instead of using commercial insect repellent boil some neem leaves in water. Cool and strain and store in fridge. Rub generously on skin when going out in the evening or sitting in the garden. Mosquitoes will stay away.
Wash plenty of mint leaves when in season and dry in the sun. When completely dry, crush and store in an airtight container. Use when out of season.
Add a pinch of sugar to green leafy vegetables and cook on high heat. They will retain their green colour.
Set curd in an earthenware pot. The earthenware absorbs excess water and you will get fragrant and firm curd.