Monday, February 22, 2010

Mad Hat day at Kindy

Eli had a mad hat day and kindy. He wanted to put balloons all over his hat but when we went looking we only had two balloons. This hat was his second idea. The trusty "Big Ben Hat" (courtesy of my workplace last year) got all the little soft toys pinned to it. I thought it was a fantastic and original idea.

Gorgeous flowers from the garden

The picture says it all.

Re- create, a Quilt from flannette pj's

Finally I have finished the quilt for the camper. This was made with men's pj's obtained from second hand shops, though I did buy the green material for $7 a metre from Fabric Vision. The back of the quilt was a flannette white and blue check single sheet that I purchased from the Op shops for $3. So including batting etc it has cost me approx $30. This was a long time in the making. I sewed most of the quilt top at my quilting weekend 18 months ago. Then I bordered it once home and have finally backed and "stitch in the ditch" quilted it. I was going to hand quilt a lovely pattern on it, but I am fed up with seeing this and am not going to do anymore. It is going into the camper.

Kids cooking - gingerbread men

For Jakobs 7th birthday we made small and large gingerbread men. I found icing tubes in the supermarket. Four different colours for about $4. The boys spent hours decorating individual baby, men and women biscuits. What a cheap great activity.

Re- creating, the stool

Well I have finally recovered the last stool that I bought over 8 months ago. It was red, cracked and slightly rusty. Now I am thrilled with it and it sits proudly in the dining area. The chair cost $2 from the dump shop. The tacks, new plastic feet and wax cloth probably total $20.

What do we do when Aaron runs the Buller Marathon?

Well the boys decided that they were going to sleep in the tent they made in the lounge. Not a lot of sleeping went on. Taling stopped at 9pm and TV watching in bed started at 6.30am!!! Oh my goodness I was tired.

Later in the day they made costumes. Jakob is Count Dooku and Eli was General Grevious.
My lovely Aaron got 438th equal out of 3000 runners in 1hr 58 mins.
I managed to get in a whole pile of sewing and finished or mended miles of things. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Still on holiday food

Yes - back to that very wet and windy, snow (I kid you not) and hail, thunderstorms and yucky weather holiday.

After experiencing all the above over 7 days we retreated to Dunedin to my sister Ruths house. Within an hour of being there I had checked out her entire edible garden. I found lots and lots and lots of potatoes. But also a plethora of strawberries, redcurrants and whitecurrants. Knowing that she loves a baked cheesecake and was due to arrive back that day, I made this......
While the  boys did this.....they loved climbing into a tree.
What I learnt - Aaron will pick currants because they are his favourite fruit. When on holiday making a cheesecake of the top of your head can be ok but not perfect. Baked cheesecake is better the day after when it has had a bit of time to sit and set. Currants look fantastic on top and tasted great in the middle but the contrast was too much with them totally raw and the cheesecake smooth.
To make the cake:
use your favourite baked cheesecake recipe. Lightly poach the fruit in a sugar syrup. When assembling put a layer of filling into the base, add a layer of fruit, then top with remaining cheesecake mix. Cook. once cool put fruit on top and glaze (Ruth had redcurrant jelly in her pantry from previous years. It was a fantastic glaze and kept the one taste throughout).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Foraging on holiday

What is it with holidays and food? My sister Ruth thought that I was quite bizarre as I made 18 jars of preserved apricots whilst I stayed in Cromwell over the New Year (2010) and if that was not enough I also made Elderflower cordial.

The apricots just had to be done. We went down the gorge to where the old apricot trees from the orchards were and spent a day swimming and picking slightly unripe apricots. The trees were looking pretty mangy this year. It is now about 18 years since the dam was flooded and it is starting to show that they have not been pruned or cared for. But some of the trees closer to the water had been resprouting from the base and produced masses of tiny little apricots that could just pop in your mouth. YUM. Unbenown to us this was to be the only true day of summer that we had.

The next two nights were cold, so what better to do than to preserve apricots. Which I did. I left some at my sisters place and took some with me on the rest of the holiday (yes our apricots are well travelled). The little ones were not worth  preserving or jamming so I put butter and brown sugar in a frypan and caramelised the apricots then , added cream and simmered to a thick sauce and we had them on ice cream for the next two days. (I even sneaked some for breakfast).

Thinking it would be warmer in the shelter of Arrowtown, as we were standing in the old mining town of Bendigo, being blown around. We headed there. Then decided to get back to Cromwell via the Crown Range. Well at the top of the zig zag by the lookout there were elderberries in flower. As Aaron took photos and the boys mucked around I picked elderflowers.
When I got back I trolled the internet for recipes, asked my sister Anna and made something up that was a comglomeration. It worked OK but not perfect and the bottle I opened today was just a little fizzy. But in reading this months NZ Gardener a lot of letters refer to elderflower cordial recipe in the December magazine. So I will go back to that and next year I will try again.
The funniest of all this is Ruth, who thought I was peculiar preserving on holiday, also spent two days preserving nectarines etc with Anna and drove home with cartons of fruit to preserve. I think if the days had been hot and spent at the beach and swimming then this industrious activity may not have occured!!!!

A gorgeous break in Rarotonga

Woo hoo, A holiday with no kids for 11 days. Bliss, relaxing and warm! BTW it was an early 20th wedding anniversary present to ourselves....