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Oily rag: Cheap treats

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Oily rag: Cheap treats

By Frank and Muriel Newman

One of the great things about living off the smell of an oily rag is that you are allowed to indulge yourself - providing it doesn’t cost a lot! Here are some ideas and suggestions from readers.

Pineapple treat. Add something interesting to your toast. Butter a piece of toast, place a pineapple ring on top, fill the centre of the ring with grated cheese them grill until molten.

Lots of readers have written in with ways to use left over banana. Slice a banana and spread over a piece of toast. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top of the banana and grill.

To make a banana smoothie (any soft fruit can be used) take two very ripe bananas, 200g of natural yoghurt (homemade of course), and ½ cup (a few scoops) vanilla ice cream. Puree or beat all ingredients together and pour into glasses.

To make a banana split, slice a banana lengthwise. Place two halves on a plate. Place two scoops of your favourite ice cream in the middle of the banana slices and add a dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and pour over your favourite topping. Dribbleicious!

And for those with a sweet tooth, what about hokey pokey? You will need 5 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp golden syrup, and 1 tsp baking soda. Gently heat the sugar and syrup, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then turn up the heat. As soon as the mixture boils, remove it from the heat, and add the baking soda. The mixture will froth up at this stage and turn a nice creamy golden colour. Stir quickly to make sure it is all combined and then pour into a greased tray. When it is cold, break into pieces and store in an airtight container - yum!

Microwave potato chips are really simple to make and extremely healthy! All you need are potatoes and two sheets of baking paper. Slice the spuds so they are paper thin and arrange in a single layer on a microwave tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with salt and any other seasoning you might like. Cover with the second sheet of baking paper and microwave on high for about 7 minutes being careful that they don’t burn. When ready they are crunchy and absolutely delicious!

Popcorn is a great TV treat. If you want to get a bit fancy try caramel corn. All you need is 125g popping corn, a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil, 125g butter, two tablespoons honey, and 3/4 cup sugar. Heat oil in a large saucepan until hot. Add corn, place lid on pan and shake constantly until popping ceases (or use a popcorn maker!). Place popped corn in a large bowl. Combine honey, sugar and butter in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved, then boil for 5 minutes. Pour the syrup mix over corn, mixing it until the popcorn is well coated. Spread over greased tray then pig in when cool!

Roasted peanuts are a yummy snack can be made very quickly and economically. If possible, buy your peanuts from the bulk section of your food retailer. Pour peanuts into a large microwave or ovenproof dish, just covering the bottom. Toss in oil so peanuts are lightly coated. Microwave on high for 10 minutes or bake in an oven, turning occasionally. Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt and cool.

If you have a favourite cheap treat, share it with others by dropping us a note via our website ( or write to 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. Readers can submit their oily rag tips on-line at The book is available from bookstores and online at

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