Friday, January 31, 2014

Watch out for Garlic Breath at our house

Albie and I processed our garlic today.  I have been drying the garlic on the veranda, and today seemed like a good day to clean it all up, being the last day of the holidays, and one which I declared "computer free".  He and I cut all the roots off, and rubbed off the dirty outsides.  Wow, what a lot of garlic we have got to be stored away, I hope it keeps well!
You can see, I started plaiting, but actually just bunching them up was much easier, so I ran with that!

Lisa's Chocolate Sludge Cake

Today being the last day our kids have off school, we have decided to make a few things for the freezer for school lunches.  I'm not sure if this will make it as far as the freezer, because it is so damned delicious.   It's an easy, one mix (no creaming) recipe, the only thing you might not always have in your cupboard is Sour Cream.  But it's kind of a staple in our household.

Lisa's Chocolate Sludge Cake
3cups Plain Flour
3 cups White Sugar
3t Baking Powder
3t Baking Soda
3 Eggs
1.5 cups sour cream (I just use one 250ml pack)
1.5c cold coffee
.75 cup cocoa powder
2t vanilla essence
1t salt
Mix it all together well.  Put into a large cake tin, lined with baking paper.  40 mins @ 180C (350F)

It's very nice with Raspberry Sauce (if you missed out buying raspberry canes off us this year, wait till next year, we will have more available then), or with Chocolate/Vanilla icecream.

Thanks for the great recipe Lisa!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A new Merino Jacket - done!

As part of my "make it now for winter" theme that I have going on at the moment, I have just run myself up a new jacket.  Made from Merino, heavyweight, I am so pleased with it.  The material is not boiled wool, but it looks like it, and in fact is a bit stiffer than boiled wool, so it has kept shape well while I have sewn it.  
The front
The back
I used a current jacket I have in boiled Merino from Lucy Laws.  I cut the pieces, but made the back and front longer by about 3inches.  I do love the current jacket, but wanted this one to be different.  Then I used very modern sewing techniques to whizz this up over 2 days.  The edges are only overlocked, and the overlocker has been very busy with facings etc.  I made an asymetrical front.

I am particularly pleased with the zip closure, even tho the zip is brown (no black open ended zips available in my local shop), it seems to add some interest.  And I love the fact that the collar stands up, the facing helps it to do that.

The fabric came from here

Monday, January 27, 2014

A new facelift for the garden

We spent a bit of Saturday vamping up the garden soil in a couple of our beds, and moving a few plants.  If you have read my blog before you will know we are river flats, with a large amount of stone.  There is nothing wrong with the nutrition of it, things seem to grow well enough, but working with it is desperately difficult.  When I weed, I have to take a bucket with me and pick out stones at the same time!  So we decided to add some lovely store bought topsoil to a couple of our beds.  It has made a huge difference.

The tractor comes in handy!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Freezing Butter Beans

It's a funny thing, seasonal eating  I remember writing the exact same post last year, how to freeze beans.  And here we are, another year on, and the beans are ready again
Cut the tops and bottoms off the beans, blanch them in boiling water for about 1 minute, then cool and bag up.  Freeze for up to 6 months.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cupcake morning

Here is a link to instagram photo of kids decorating cupcakes this morning

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

News from a wet garden

It's raining!  yay, our water gauge measured 4mls so far today.  This might not sound a lot, but it is so needed and a relief from dry weather.   We have such stony, free draining soil that water is not retained in the topsoil at all, and it is a constant battle to keep the garden looking good.

When it rains, water from our roof is collected into an underground tank, and when that is full it's pumped up to a "bank" of water tank for use later.

In other news,
Aubergines in the glasshouse are going great guns

We still have a glut of capsicums

Basil needs a third harvest

Corn has had a bashing by the wind

A second planting of peas might make it to fruition

Whole vege patch is looking very productive

Hamish has put weedmatting and stones round the last of the beds, finishing of the paths

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A new lunch bag for Albie

Inspired by pix of lunch bags made by my friend Linda in Cromwell,  I finally made a replacement for Albie's tattered bag.  He chose the fabric.

My latest quilt project, took 4 days! A Jelly Roll Race

I have never made a quilt so quickly!  On Wednesday I went with a friend to choose the material.  It as her choice, as it is a present for her daughter.  On Thursday I cut strips 3" wide and sewed them together, mitred.  Then on Friday I joined them into one big long strip and started using the "Jelly Roll Race" method to put them together.  By Saturday it was done and and I backed, quilted (including lovehearts), and bound.
What a quick way to put a quilt together, and I am really pleased with the results.  You can see the method I used here..

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

We did "grow" the meat, "Beef Wellington"

I love, love, love Beef Wellington.  This here tidy piece of Fillet Steak, covered in a layer of garlic mushrooms, and a whole packet of Cracked Pepper Pate, and then wrapped in flaky pastry, topped with egg and pink Himalayan Salt, was grown on our property.

Cow lived on our grass, now lives in our freezer. Except for this exquisite bit! and tasted gooooooood

Monday, January 13, 2014

An "Emmeline Apron" all sewn and beautiful

I spent this afternoon sewing an apron from Sew Liberated.  This one is the "Emmeline".  I am so pleased with it, tho the bias binding was a pain and quite a lengthy operation.  Also the pattern had two ties for the neck which tied behind the neck, and I have opted to make a loop instead, anything for an easy life.

It is reversible and I have used two fabrics which have been in my stash for ages, originally bought from Anthea Lawrence during one of her fabric sales.

It's time to start planning for next year! Sweet Pea seeds and Raspberry Canes for sale also

Believe it or not, now is a good time to think about what you want from your garden next year.  You will have a very good idea of what grows and what doesn't from how your garden is turning out this season.   Re-evaluate veges that worked, and veges that just bolted to seed.  Look at plants that may need moving to a more shady/sunny spot for next year.  Perhaps you might want some new things in your garden.  Do you need to plan for new garden beds?

Harvest is a busy time, but your mind should already be doing the planning....!

While you are doing that, perhaps you might want to check out the seeds and plants I have available at present.

On the "For Sale" pages you will find both Raspberry Canes (ready for planting now) and Sweet Pea seeds.  Just email me to order.
Sweet peas are easy to grow, plant them in Autumn.  When the plants are 20cm or so high pinch out the growing tip to encourage side shoots and a sturdier plant.  They will overwinter then zoom away in the spring providing early fragrant blooms that are great for cutting and bringing inside 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A hat and a scarf from a Jumper

This is the hat I whipped up this evening, along with a scarf for Hamish.  I am getting ready for winter, even tho it is summer!  I figure by the time I know what everyone needs/wants it will be winter already.  Seems to sneak up on me, that...

So I have been getting my skates on.

Hamish aspires to the Gen 3 Punk look, check out this link  but I am not sure I can recreate these.  Instead I whizzed him up a figure 8 scarf - photo to come tomorrow, from a pure wool huge jumper picked up in our "rubbish shop" for $4 a few days ago.  Any colour so long as it is black!  says Hamish.  Some of those very expensive items of clothing in that shop are amazing, and check out the headgear and neckwear on some of those jumpers and jackets - crazy!

After I had cut out his scarf I was left with two sleeves, one of which is now a hat! Thanks Overlocker

Monday, January 6, 2014

A new Merino Jumper for Montana-Rose

Poor Miss Montana-Rose has been very short of jumpers, and it has been on my mental list for the holidays to make her some replacements for the ones she has outgrown.  Following my sister Karen's very successful re-sewing of merino jumpers, I attempted my own version.  Copied from her favourite Macpac jumper off I went.  This was the first time I have used my coverstitcher.  It took at bit of getting to know it, and you will see there is a bit of zigzag "decoration" around the front of the button facing!

Still, for a first attempt I am pretty happy.  I even put tape along the back of the neck to stop it stretching.  She chose the colour-way...It is made from a light pink lambswool ladies jumper, and a darker pink merino cardigan.

Blackcurrant Syrup/Cordial

This promises to be so good in the summer, and put with soda water from the Sodastream should be fabulous!  I was offered blackcurrants at $5 per kg, and so bought 5kgs of them.  Following the recipe below I have made 1litre or so of lovely smelling and tasting cordial.  I might just have to process the rest the same way.

Blackcurrant Cordial Recipe
500g Blackcurrants
275g sugar
250mls water
1/2t Citric Acid
Boil currants, sugar and water 5 mins.  Mash well with potato masher.  Add citric acid and simmer 2 more mins.  Then strain and bottle.

I have kept the pulp to make fruit cheese and will let you know how that goes.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Wool Duvet Inner - from our own sheep!

If you know anything about me by now, it is that I love to utilise the produce from our 20acres, in whatever way I can.  This latest endeavour was replicated from a "Homesteaders Guide" US website. Once your sheep are sheared, you wash the wool, and then card it into batts using a drum carder.  This is then laid into a muslin cover and tacked together.  I had a bit of trouble with the muslin (as you will see from the pix),  When I pinned the wool batts in, the muslin caught in the pins, and also it was so "stretchy" that it was difficult to both tack and machine sew.  Next time I would use proper sheets and put the wool between those.

However, I am so proud, as now I have a Wool Duvet Inner, soft, warm and from our own merino sheep.  You can't get much more wonderful than that.

The wool is lovely to work with, and smells divine!

Second basil harvest

Being made into another batch of pesto

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Perfect Yorkshire Puddings

I am so pleased with these!

Take 3 glasses of equal size.  In one break in 3 eggs, in the 2nd add enough flour to reach the same height as the egg does in the first glass, in the third do the same with milk.

Mix the eggs and flour well with a fork, then beat in the milk.  Let sit in the fridge about 1/2hr.

Heat the oven to 220C, pour a small amount of oil into each case of a metal muffin tray.  Place in the oven till the oil is very hot, then pour in yorkshire pud mixture to about 3/4 full.

Bake about 1/2hr till golden and crisp and well risen