Thursday, May 30, 2013

Baking in the Country - Month 2 - May 2013

Last month my friend Karin and I made a date to catch up and do some baking out of "The Homemade Pantry" book which I wrote about here.  We decided to catch up once a month and go through recipes, have coffee, (many) and lunch and spend the day together which is really enjoyable.  Today was our second baking day and we made "Maple Popcorn" which was sooooo good, a slice with oats, nuts, sultanas, chocolate etc. which was a no bake slice and I made minestrone soup for lunch (I took my Thermomix with me) which cooks the soup for you without stirring.  The soup was good because it rained all day so it's nice to be warmed up with hot soup.  We had a lovely day together and the kids were pretty thrilled after I picked them up from school and had the Maple Popcorn for afternoon tea.  We had left over Minestrone Soup for dinner tonight which was quick and easy for me and early bedtime for my two kids as they are exhausted and to think we have got to get through another 3 weeks before school's going to be a long 3 weeks as James is exhausted more so than Sienna.  Here's some pictures of the Maple Popcorn and Karin was very creative with her red cardboard and we made little cones to put the popcorn in for the kids.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Everything old is new again

Years ago I used to cross stitch night after night and I loved it and it would be nothing to sit in front of the TV from 8.00 pm to 1.00 am with my embroidery floss, pattern and stitch away.  I was also into quilting and have made a couple of quilts, wall hangings etc.  Time moves on and 2 kids later, different interests and aging eyes I stopped doing cross stitch and quilting didn't really go with my change in home decorating from "country" to "modern".  I'm at the computer a lot with photo editing, photo book projects, blogging, reading blogs, research etc. and decided that I wanted to do some sewing again after being totally inspired by Elise's quilt making efforts.  This girl amazes me that she picks up a craft, sees a few tutorials and runs with it whereas I like to go to a class, learn how to do something and then do it.  I like the class because of the interactive like minded people and it's an enjoyable social outing as well.

All that aside Elise's quilts have inspired me to make a triangle quilt for no particular reason other than a TV blanket.  I actually want to make this crochet blanket that Christine at Suburban Jubilee made (I told you everything old is new again) however that could be a 3 year project and sewing a quilt would be an immediate 2 month project so I thought I would start with that.  I headed off to the local quilt shop which has been there for over 20 years and bought some fabrics to start a little quilt.  I went with "grey and blues" in mind but they didn't really have anything that I wanted in those tones and it was nearly school pick up time so I just bought some pinks and blues to start with.

I also recently found my step by step instructions on how to cut the quilting fabric again so after about 2 minutes all of this came back to me again.  One thing that I loved was using this step by step called "half square triangles" to get two triangles sewn together from a square rather than sewing each triangle piece by piece.  I am used to running the thread in between starting sewing once piece and bringing the next piece to start sewing rather than starting, cutting, each individual triangle or square so that was okay but making 2 triangles from the one square sewn together saves heaps of time and was great as I just ran 6 squares one after the next then turned them around and sewed the other side and then cut them on the mat.

Here's to the everything old is new again and who would have thought that I would be making a quilt in 2013?  Stranger things have happened I guess like owning chickens, making my own jam and growing vegetables.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Apple Pastries for Dessert

The other night when I made Quiche for dinner I made the pastry from scratch and it made two disc's of pastry so one was used for the Quiche and a couple of nights later I turned the other pastry into little Apple Pastries with home made vanilla ice cream.  I just used "pie apples" which is apples in a tin and mixed some Cinnamon and a little bit of brown sugar and popped them into the Pastries or as Alana refers them as "Pop Toasties" and cooked them in the oven.  I also sprinkled a little bit of raw sugar on the top to make them look a bit fancy but rustic.  

James gave me a 10 out of 10 and I gave myself a 10 out of 10 however Sienna is not overly a sweet tooth kind of girl when it comes to desserts so she didn't eat it and just had ice cream instead.  I'm so thrilled that I made this pastry the other night and it was nothing to whip these hot apple pastries up in 10 minutes and then into the oven for about 15 mins.  This pastry is delicious and I will need to make another batch.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Garden Update

Our veggies are growing in leaps and bounds and here's a snapshot of what's happening in our suburban backyard.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Home made Quiche and Pastry

Whenever I have made anything with pastry I have always just purchased puff pastry and used that as making pastry for some reason always intimidated me, a bit like pasta.  After our Baking Day a couple of weeks ago when my friend and I made pastry I thought I would give this recipe a go myself so Sienna and I got to work to make the pastry out of Alana's book "The Homemade Pantry".  Once the pastry was done we rolled it out and mixed up our ingredients for our Quiche and into the oven it went.  Another meal that my kids are impressed with homemade Quiche and homemade pastry.

It's like anything new you do for the first time it's always takes longer than normal while you get to know what you are doing and the next time you know what to expect and are a little bit quicker.  Next time I make this I would blind bake the pastry shell first even though the recipe said you didn't need to to that however I would have preferred the bottom to be a bit more cooked.  We had the leftovers for dinner last night and it was even better than the first night we cooked it.  Yum is all I can say and that motion was seconded by James and Sienna.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Flipflop Recyclying Company in Kenya - Ocean Sole

The kids are home sick from school today so ABC3 is on and they are rugged up on the couch.  It's cold here in Brisbane today 10 degrees to 20 degrees however it's rainy and no sun so it's actually 16 degrees at the moment.  Anyway there was a show on ABC3 that showed a segment on The Flipflop Recycling Company in Kenya which was amazing.  Apparently lots and lots of thongs (from tourists losing them end up floating in the water ways down to the shores of Kenya in fact it says 400,000 kgs of rubber waste a year and they create masterpieces for sale all around the world.  There are 100 individuals at their workshops in Nairobi, in the city slums and in remote coastal areas providing much needed employment.

The story was a wonderful story of solving a problem in positive way.  The thongs keep showing up on the beaches and instead of people having to collect them to throw away a company was started to collect them and use the thongs to make animals, baskets etc.  The thongs are scrubbed and washed by hand and then glued together and then cut and molded to make things.  I was really taken with this story and it's a wonderful positive way to solve a problem that isn't going to go away as people are always losing thongs in water or leaving them behind on the beaches and they wash up elsewhere.  At the same time it gives people who would otherwise not have employment a job and satisfaction of providing for their family and creating things.

The Flipflop Recycling Company is currently rebranding itself to Ocean Sole.  There's an article here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Rhonda's Homemade Biscuits

Last week I was going to make Rhonda's home made biscuits and I bought the ingredients and half way home from the shops realized I forgot to buy the condensed milk so I didn't end up making them.  Fast forward a week and today I decided to give them a go.  The recipe was posted on Rhonda's blog last week so I set the Ipad up with Rhonda's post and got to work.

I made the whole mixture and then put half of the mixture in the freezer for next time as per Rhonda's instructions.  I made jam drop and chocolate chip biscuits using chocolate mini's for the chocolate chips. I have to say the biscuits are lovely and the wholemeal flour gives the biscuits a nice texture.  My son loves all home made biscuits but my daughter doesn't eat the standard home made recipe but she loved these which is good because it's what's going in their afternoon tea container for school.

I usually freeze my biscuits in a Tupperware container using "freezer in-between" after each layer of biscuits so the biscuits don't stick together.  This recipe will definitely be used again and the kids agreed that it was a good one and to quote my 9 year old son James "I love home baking".  They both know that home made things are better because they don't have chemicals in them and they taste great.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Home Made Foccacia

Last night we had dinner at my sister's place and I made two Focaccia's to take along as this is a huge hit with my family.  Normally I take one along and it is gone within about 3 mins so this time I took two along and they were equally well received.  On Friday night I was Pinterest and there was a link to Heather Bullard's website and a free download to wrap a french bread in so I decided I could dress up my Focaccia's presentation by printing it out and putting some twine on it.  I had fun making this a little bit fancy and if you are after the download you can get it here.