Friday, 28 September 2012

the busy kind of quiet

i am in the middle of a messy break-up, it is not the mister, he stays.

you get this nice picture of crochet perle cotton not the reality tumbling to the floor

my finishing pile on the other hand, we are over, kaput, done, finished.  now it has not been all bad, for the last couple of years it has all worked itself out.  but i have found that as i do more, putting things aside even nicely bundled with patterns, notes and notions very soon turns into a mountain. 
mountains are big, you notice them, when they get to big they fall.  

it fell.

now i have never felt the pull to do any crazy big mountain climbing (hikes and huts with pot belly stoves yes, k2 no) but now i am beginning to understand the joy of sitting on the summit, except my summit is a slowly appearing desk top.  yes break ups are draining and do take some time to sort out.

no longer will i put things aside for want of changing my thread colour (now with a needle threader on my new machine this is a little habit of old)
no longer will i will i build a punishing ironing pile (the iron and i are not friends, never have been, never will be)
no longer will i keep obsolete muslins
no longer will i bundle scraps and trimming, big or small all together
no longer will i buy supplies i am not entirely smitten with (less than perfect supplies leads to project ambivalence and my supply of especially ugly 'muslin' fabric is fairly sufficient now)

and the big one

no longer will i start new before old is ready for the store or in use (ohh my i am feeling the weight of saying that out load, i might just have to make myself a motivational poster) (this i will clarify does not mean i will not buy supplies, that is another relationship all together)

now be brave go and climb your finishing mountain....

Friday, 21 September 2012

when one should be doing other things......

hanging washing
preparing for a short trip
and even the ironing

having a late and peaceful lunch won out......

n.b.    i lie there was tuneless singing from both littles, claims of spiders, requests for showers, the delamination of a board book, the removal of all bedding, a yodeling spar and bare bottoms.
but seeing as this was a huge improvement on the morning i tried to keep taking deep breaths and endeavoured to be entertained by the inventiveness of a 1 and 2 year old

bacon and cashew pasta

just plucked parsley
eye bacon
salted cashews
celery (or the more sweetly named 'salad rainbows' in our home)
spanish onion
whole egg mayonnaise with dill and pickles
cracked pepper
pasta (spaghetti is my preference but you go with what you have)

i don't think any more instruction is needed, decide what you have and like, put it together and enjoy it.

and for drinkies, gin and tonic lets be real, it is creaming soda with homemade vanilla syrup (another time we will do a syrup walk through)

in short i not only deserved, but needed this lunch, may it give me the strength to see out the day without crumbling.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

have some crafternoon tea

miss yoyo meets master magnet

for these little ones to pep up the mundane or gleeful things that end up on your fridge

you will need:
  • scissors
  • thread 
  • fine sewing needle
  • cotton fabric scraps
  • yoyo maker or template
  • magnets 

notes before you get to excited

for the yoyo magnets i used
clover 30 mm yoyo maker with 20 mm diameter magnets
clover 45 mm yoyo maker with 30 mm x 20 mm rectangular magnets
clover does have a larger size again and if you were planning to go jumbo i would suggest not only a larger magnet but also inserting a disk of card or plastic to help support the yoyo.

i picked up my magnets from a dollar kind of store and they came free with soot, dust and muck, give your magnets a little washing with some dish liquid before you start 

yoyo do really take very little fabric so considering most fabric stores cut minimum 20 cm lenghts you could consider choosing a charm pack or other quilting fabric set to get a mix of fabric if you are not hording your scraps in a draw like myself.  also there are a few crafters out there who sell there designer scraps by the bag or weight which is another avenue to build a stash for mini projects

and on fabric keep in mind large prints and patterns get lost on a yoyo.  i find that stripes are particularly suited to these addictive little circles

after that it is all pretty easy

fabric plus yoyo maker, needle, thread and go (the clover instructions are very clear if you have one) 
the main point is to place your magnet in the center of your fabric after your running stitch is completed.  then enclose it in the fabric and tie it off.  i chose to put a few extra stitches across the pleats to add a little durability when it is being pinched on and off.

i have a little selection of the clover brand yoyo makers, they are reasonably inexpensive, a cinch to use and easy to get a hold of, if i had any young girls to buy for i would be thinking a little swag of fabric and a few of these would make a lovely little present.....i digress

hopefully you now have something sweet to keep or to gift, most likely you have enjoyed these wee things more than you thought and have so many you are forced to give them away

sadly it would seem i am not the first to put these two things together but i do hope you enjoyed my take on it

a little fridge humour, sorry i could not resist........late in the day, the littles are sleeping and the sun is fading

Saturday, 15 September 2012

what to do when the floor is clean.....

the floor is clean, the dishes are done and the 6 loads of washing can wait for more

make yourself a little feast of herby cheesy bread and chocolate brownie.  if you feel inclined follow along

after talking to a friend the other day, i have to admit it seems i am a little bit of a lazy bread maker, i do so love the results but lack something that allows me to wait through a system of rising and shaping, it seems i am wham bamb bread maam.

i use this base recipe for olive oil dough from bourke street bakery cook book for almost all my bread making needs.  if you are new to the bread game i highly recommend this book as a great starting point

600 g strong flour (i use my budget friendly flour and have never had a problem)
15 g sea salt (and just the usual table variety here)
20 ml olive oil
20 ml milk
400 ml warm water
8 g of dried active yeast (they use fresh yeast in their bakeries but this is not a practical option for most, you need 13 g of fresh yeast if you have the pleasure )

and now as the shame begins to wash over me i admit i am pretty relaxed on the measuring front which you should never be in the art of baking, but it seems i have inherited my maternal great grandmothers touch for the culinary arts and have only suffered a few disasters in all my time in the kitchen. (touching wood)

for my 'oohhh lovely smells bread'

i add (and using measurements for your benefit, i pinch, sprinkle and spoon with abandon)
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried rosemary sprigs
1 tsp garlic flakes
1 tsp onion flakes.

today i am being a little more bad than usual and using all white flour but do use 1/2 wholemeal most of the time.

i am also in the position of having mr thermomix to do the hard work (i am getting lazier by the minute) for the masses put all ingredients in a large mixer bowl and knead with a dough hook, slowly increasing speed until you have a nice independent smooth ball of dough, somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes.

place dough in and oiled bowl and cover, leave to rise (yes i do this once) until doubled in size (over an hour usually does it).  i have been known to give things a nudge along by resting the bowl atop the coffee machine or letting it sit in the waft of the heat pump.

now comes the lovely touching time, i would rather make bread than playdough for the littles, with any luck you have something nice to eat at the end.

for our four i usually split the dough in two and do two different thing, here we are going half cheesy love scrolls and half dinner rolls, creamy potato soup is on the agenda for dinner.

 for the scroll stretch and roll out your dough, brush with olive oil and top with about one and a half cups of grated cheese (what ever takes your fancy flavour wise).  roll up from the long side and cut into rolls about 3 cm wide.  spray and flour you tin and sprinkle with fine polenta and rest the lovelies in, if feeling peaceful prove for another 30 minutes before introducing to a toasty 180 c oven for 25 or so minutes.
 section and shape your rolls and spray with oil and sprinkle with sesame, this is the focaccia of miss little, she enjoys the finger poking part and i agree

 and after

  and the littles helping hands
 and this chocolate brownie recipe has been my faithful fall back for 3 or so years since receiving it on a blotted piece of paper from the baker where i was working (way back in those days,) it is easy, forgiving and will double without trouble

4 eggs
400 g of sugar
beat these together until pale and thick
100 g cocoa
125 g flour
250 g melted butter, cooled

bake for around the 25 minute mark  or until just set at 180 c

for this one (i am eating it after all) i added one and a half cups of frozen raspberries.
change to your taste with chocolate chunks, nuts or other fruits.


Monday, 10 September 2012

a morish monday

i am beginning at the end today with cake, no fancy names cake, no fancy ingredients cake.  i am hoping that all good days start with cake for breakfast, this one should be stupendous (read as i ate a jolly big slice.)  must do some visiting otherwise it will be cake for breakfast all week.

whole orange cake

200 gm of soften butter 
200 gm of caster sugar
add and mix
3 eggs (all at once, i did and it was perfectly fine, but do them one by one if you are inclined)
pureed pulp of 1 and half whole oranges
fold in
300 g self raising flour
150 g frozen cranberries (raspberries would be equally excellent)

pour batter into a lined 22 cm tin and bake at 160 degrees c for an hour or so or until a skewer come out clean

when cake is still warm in the tin poke lots of holes with said skewer and pour over a simple sugar syrup, i made mine like so...
1/2 a pureed orange (you could use juice but i like the texture and look the whole fruit gives)
1/2 c caster sugar
1/4 c of water
heat until bubbling quietly and let thicken until you get a normal syrup like thickness, easy.

let your cake cool for a little then carefully transfer to a wire rack, i say carefully and mean it this is a moist (breaky, denty) cake.

now as soon as i get over the disappointment of man being to tired to enjoy everything that went before cake i will load up those recipes for you to

it was 
harrisaish rubbed lamb with jammy onions
spiced chickpeas and spinach
roasted sweet potato and potatoes
shredded lettuce with coconut dressing
carrot salad

1 lone chickpea was eaten by man, am i to be the only one who loves chickpeas in the house?
and thank you for waiting so nicely for this next post, i have been feeling like the littles will still have running noses when they are 21.


Sunday, 2 September 2012

a little late night lovley

just the first of many I am sure, new pastle cottons should arrive this week from the u.k.