Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sorbet - Annabel Langbein style

 Berry Sorbet and real fruit ice cream
Well I decided to try making Annabel Langbein's sorbet that was on her current TV programme "The Free Range Cook, Simple Pleasures". It is so much easier to make than normal sorbet where you have to make a sugar syrup. But it left it a lot grittier and the berries have little pip bits that gave it a sort of crunch. It is nice, it is super easy and also is egg, gluten, fat and dairy free. But the boys did not like it. So I also made some real fruit icecream for them. Putting them both together in the same dish worked well as the smooth icecream meant the crunchy sorbet was not overpowering.

Annabel Langbein Berry Sorbet
I did 1/2 recipe and that was a lot.
500g frozen berries into the food processor, add 1 cup castor (or superfine) sugar and 1 tablespoon of alcohol (I used creme de cassis from Barkers). Process till smooth (this took a wee while) Put in the freezer for at least two hours before serving.

My real fruit icecream
Put frozen berries into foodprocesser, add icing sugar to taste - blend. Then put in some vanilla icecream and  whizz until it is all well mixed. Yummy on the spot and refreezes well.

Frozen berries into food processor
Add icing sugar


Whizz till smooth with icecream in it

Or just eat it as it is.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Crisis Averted

My gorgeous husband has spent hours resolving the loss of this blog. He got it back!!! I had resigned myself to a new life without blogger. Think of all the housework I could do, think of all the gardening!! But no I am saved from a life of drudgery and can now be a internet freak again.

Isn't he gorgeous!!

To celebrate we had a yummy dessert (well that was my excuse, it was actually a failed lot of mini pavlova). I put layers of Chantilly cream, strawberries from the garden and disastrous pavlova into gorgeous glasses. A sort of Eton Mess.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

An awesome baby shower

I have just come home from a fantastic baby shower for my cousin Alison. It was held at The Make Cafe in Riccarton, Christchurch. Wow did they pull out all the stops. Decorated beautifully with so many things I just cannot mention them all. Then as an activity we all made a bib. They supplied bibs and material and a cutter and we cut out various pattern, used vliesofix to iron them on and if you felt like it there was thread etc to stitch something.
Gorgeous china and three pots of different tea, coffee, slices........ What a great way to celebrate.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I scooter-ed 10km!!

We were in Dunedin for the weekend staying with my sister. The Dunedin City Council have slowly been making a bike, walk, run path around the harbour from the city out towards Port Chalmers. This path is at the bottom of the hill where my sister lives.

Eli and I on scooters at St Leonards.
The boys exploring
Aaron was going to run it, the boys had scooters to scoot along and so Warren (my brother in law) found an old scooter in their garage for me to use.

To start with Aaron's first comment was "you are not wearing that scooting are you?" Sorry what is the problem, I had a merino jersey over the top of a cotton shirt and 3/4 length jeans with sneakers. "It's gingham" - what? Then I asked what did he think I should wear, a skirt? "Shorts". What! in public! is he nuts?!

So off we go. Oh my goodness. Each way turned out to be 4km not 5km (whew). I had to keep changing legs as my gluteous maximus were getting very sore!! Aaron then started pushing me up the hills (what a gorgeous macho man). Then the scooter dropped something through its main section and that acted as a very sudden brake! Used some tape from another bit of the scooter to hold that up.

Our lovely 90 year old 
Whew rest time. The boys looked at the water - climbed up banks into hidey holes. It was great. I went to stand and my legs quivered!!!!! They felt like you do when you get off a trampoline that you have been on too long.

It was gorgeous, it was certainly fun, but my scooter slowly started the braking thing again. The boys saw me getting pushes so Eli said he would give me his better MGP to use if Dad would push him on my old crappy thing. They had great fun whizzing past me.

At the end we came across a man and woman who talked about scootering. The man had thought of buying one, so I got him to try mine. It then turned out that they were out for a walk on the same path and she was 90!!! (She was so gorgeous but said "I am not going to try that, I am 90 you know). I had to get a photo of him on the scooter (he was VERY wobbly)

Aaron and I resting while the boys explored

The hero pushing Jakob on the old scooter

In the end I only did 4km as Aaron ran back to get the car because my scooter just was falling apart. Great intentions, great fun.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Super Easy Rhubarb Dessert

This dessert is sooo simple and easy. Tasty tasty and healthy. Egg, Dairy, Gluten, Fat free (fantastic for you Kerryn).

Take 500g rhubarb stalks and wash and cut them to the length of the container you are going to bake them in.
Lay them in rows (putting the little bits in the bottom so they can't be seen
Grate on the zest of two oranges
Squeeze the juice from the oranges onto the rhubarb
Add 5 teaspoons of honey (I have used the honey from the hives of our friend Dirk)
Put into the oven at 180oC for 20-30 minutes until the stalks seem soft to touch. Turn oven off and allow to cool. Serve as is - Gorgeous
If you want you can make some nut brittle and sprinkle on top. Or this is gorgeous for breakfast with some homemade muesli sprinked on and a bit of Greek Yogurt (so long as you can eat dairy!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Recreating a Regency Jacket

A wee peek at what we all looked like dressed up at Oamaru

Before - Front

Before Back

After - Front

After - back

On the weekend we had planned to try a second attempt at going to the Victorian Festival in Oamaru.
This time was highly sucessful - but more about that on another post.

The forecast was for 12oC and it was only that!! I was very worried that my dress was made as Regency Ball dress for Aaron's 25th birthday and that I would be cold. Which would definitely have happened.

So talking about this on Saturday Aaron suggested that I go to Save Mart in Dunedin (as we were staying in Dunedin with my sister Ruth) and have a look for something there. I needed to make a Regency style short jacket to go with my dress.

Well right away I spotted a Stax size 12 tweed jacket that I knew I could turn into something for only $6.99.

It is a long time since I used a needle and thread rather than sewing machine but out came thread and a needle. I altered the sleeve bottom to be tighter. I cut the back right up to my dress hem and made the front a bit pointed ( a little bit like Lydia's jacket in Pride and Prejudice when she is going to be "a particular companion" in Brighton). I then stitched up all the button holes and took off all the extra buttons. I folded the lining and the jacket edges in towards each other and slip stitched all around the bottom. Then I resewed on the back tab but in it's new position. A perfect jacket to finish my outfit.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Completed in the Nick of time

Why I only manage to finish things at the last possible moment I do not know. But back here I had the silk all washed, then I cut it out. Last weekend I sewed the vests and prepped the bow ties but somehow it took till today to do the finishing. Putting on the buttons and then finishing the ties.

But the result looks great. They both have fully reverseable waistcoats in Thai silk. One side is plain - Jakob has a gorgeous blue and Eli the deep crimson you see, the other side is patterned. Jakob has the stripe and Eli has a multi check. They both ordered lots of bow ties. So I sewed them three each for a choice.

You will see more photos next week once we have been to our Victorian Weekend.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Spicy Fruit Bagels

The finished bagel
The boys and I watched "Rachel Allen Bake" on the weekend and she did bagels. When the boys were little I used to make spicy fruit bagels quite a lot as they liked them toasted with homemade jam on them for breakfast.

Why is it that we forget some of the great things we used to do? So all inspired today I thought I would do bagels for afternoon tea. I think I over rose them a bit - they really puffed up when boiling. I forgot how easy they are when you have a breadmaker. The boys are scoffing through them as I write this.

The dough
My recipe has no dairy, no saturated fat at all (great for you Kerryn - hot with some homemade jam on them) no egg (I specifically do not egg wash them so that they can be no egg.) Though if you do egg wash them they do go glossy and lovely on top.

Boiling the bagels.

Monday, November 12, 2012

It must be summer

This is the earliest we have had strawberries every. Enough for dessert. We are having these gorgeous red strawberries with homemade Feijoa and Ginger ice-cream ( just added homemade jam to the recipe here).

The strawberries are in the new garden bed that I dug and built this winter and I have gone back to being traditional for planting. I used black weed mat and it certainly not only represses weeds but the soil under is so warm.

Yum Yum in our tum.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Blackcurrant Jam and Dairy Free Banana Cake

The finished product
A great book
I have half a cow coming off the farm in the next few weeks so need to empty the freezer. Last year my blackcurrants were so prolific that I still had three containers of them in the freezer when I looked today. As we used the last blackcurrant jam on Friday, I figured that was what I would do with them.

For those of you with lot of blackcurrants what we normally do is free flow freeze (try saying that fast!) them and I use them instead of blueberries when making the blueberry muffin recipe. They are tarter and stronger in taste and we all love it.

Anyway this Jam recipe is a conglomeration of years of trying and a lovely Victorian Jam and Preserve book that my gorgeous friend Marie Pearce gave me as a wedding present (Hi Marie - still haven't finished making your birthday present, am working on those screens).

Rather than type the recipe out I have taken a photo of it. You should be able to read it ok. I use a higher portion of fruit to sugar than most recipes. I also don't stew the blackcurrants as long as most recipes as I do not want my fruit to be mush - I like fruit in jam to still be semi whole. More like a conserve.

Anyway this recipe is good and is not boiled so long that it goes hard in the jar the way it can sometimes. (My other hint is that I never buy specific jam jars. I just use jars that seal from chutneys, jams and sauces from the shop. They clean up and reseal very well)

The recipe

Dairy Free Banana Cake
I made this dairy free today as I did not have any butter out soft and I wanted to use the time the jam was cooking to make something. (and I had four bananas that needed rescueing)
into a bowl put: 1 and 1/8th Cups neutral oil, 3 eggs, 1 1/8th Cup sugar, 4-5 soft bananas mashed and whisk together. Into the liquid put 3 Cups flour, 1.5 teaspoons baking powder. Then put 1.5 teaspoons baking soda into 3 tablespoons warm water and dissolve, put with all other ingredients. Stir all well and pour into prepared tin. I used a ring tin as this is a large cake and the ring cuts the cooking time down. 180oC for about 40 minutes.

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The Dude and I

Aaron is away at the Cold Play concert in Auckland. Jakob is staying over at his friends for the night. So it is just me and the Dude.

There has just been the two of us since 5pm last night. The Dude has been very happy as he has gotten to XBox all by himself without his older brother interfering. I had a bath and read my book as I was exhausted. We had been up since 6am doing a garage sale to get rid of all the stuff that Aaron told me I had to. (that was after a night where I was up twice to the Dude as he was having bad dreams) When I got up in the morning yesterday I could not find the Dude - he was in his older brothers' bed sleeping with him. Apparently he had another set of bad dreams that I had not heard and had climbed into bed with Jakob.

tidying his room
Then at 2pm we went to my nephews 5th birthday party. Out at Castle Park - so lots of kids running around, flying fox, petting animals etc in the sun. So last night I actually went to sleep when the Dude did as I had a lot to catch up. (8.30pm - very early for me). This morning we woke at 6.15am and I did not feel like sleeping in. So the Dude and I hopped into bed together with books and magazines and a coffee for me and a hot chocolate for him and we read for an hour.

We decided not to go to church but have a quiet morning with just the two of us.

Since then I have managed to clean out the chooks, put out two loads of washing, fold the washing that was there and make blackcurrant Jam and a banana cake.(it is now only 10.15am). (not too sure how this fits into a quiet morning but hey!!)

Posing on the sofa
I am calling Eli the Dude as I sent him to get dressed and tidy his room, 20 minutes later I went in to see how it was all going and he was all dressed up like a Dude. Took some photos but told him that he needed to give me a cute smile, so he posed on the sofa!!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lawnmower graveyard

It has been one of those days. The Lawnmower is dead (well actually it is not but it sure is smokin'!!).
Aaron went for a run at 8.15pm just as I was tucking the kids into bed. I have been procrastinating all day about mowing the lawn (if I am real, it has probably been a week) so I gave myself a pep talk and told myself not to be so lazy.

Out comes the lawnmower and I am doubting the wisdom of this as it is getting dark. I mow the strip across the road and as I am coming back into the section I notice that the mower is smoking. A short check confirms that black oil is pouring out of the top of the head, down the side and onto the deck bit.

Now any normal person who works in Health and Safety would eliminate the hazard by stopping the task until either a new mower is purchased, or you hire someone else with their mower. But no - I think - "How fast can I get this lawn mowed? Can I do it before it explodes?:" Following that very bad Health and Safety thought I go for the minimise option in the hazard hierarchy. I go and get our fire extinguisher from the laundry door, check that it OK for oil and petrol and electrical. Yippee it is, so I put it within two metres of where I am mowing and I mow FAST!!!!!

By now it is dark, I have no idea what our lawn is going to look like tomorrow morning. It was looking pretty stripey but the lawnmower and I were running. I did get the lawn done ( well I couldn't see the strips I missed so it must be done). I did wonder at various points just how sensible I was being - not. Half of the reason that I could not see was the mower was smoking so heavily. Aaron came back from his run and took a photo of me mowing the lawn with my fire extinguisher handy.

So anyone working in H&S - just ignore this blogpost or use it as an example of what not to do.

This lawnmower has done us well. It has been treated harshly but survived. We bought it nine years ago and it was well and truly second hand then. It has been so easy to use. Always starts, is light, perfect for me. Over the years it has had to be fixed several times. My trusty and wonderful Father-in-law has done that for me. Last time the throttle cord went and it came back from him with the throttle working backwards (where the prime used to be it was now off and visa versa) so that took a bit of getting used to. So in-spite of all the Kiwi number eight wire it has been faithful. We knew it was going bad as last time I mowed the lawn the entire head came off when I pulled the starter cord. Aaron used his handyman skills and put in more screws and got it looking solid again (much to my and his surprise - bless him his handyman skills are very much hit and miss).

But even I have to accept that it is destined for the Lawnmower graveyard, never to mow another lawn.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

I could not resist

You would think that I did not already have enough to do. I have a garage sale to organise for next weekend (yes I have decided that Aaron telling me to clear out does mean a big garage sale - my sister Anna is joining me with heaps of stuff), at least three waistcoats and goodness knows how many bow ties to make from the silk here.

I was ironing the silk tonight and got sidetracked. I could not remember which colours Jakob had chosen so I could not cut the patterns out. So I just kept ironing. This pile will become another 100% recycled quilt. This time a flannelette one. It will be half square triangles like the quilt I made for Alex, but in girly colours. This one is destined for the caravan for Aaron and I.

I had the pieces cut out, now they are ironed and ready to go. (I will need to cut more white, but hey why do that when I can do the fun sewing thing). Instead of marking my diagonal lines, when I have big squares, I just iron them and the iron mark works as the stitching guide. I find this a lot quicker than marking them in pencil or pen.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

My day

Peonies in the garden
Today we were going to have a family trip to Orana Park. But we woke to wet weather. So coffee and croissants were delivered to me in bed for breakfast (Yum and thank you Aaron). Then I set about doing another of the tasks that I had been procrastinating about - Cleaning the caravan out. Somehow stuff accumulates. So every cupboard and space has been gone through.

We now have a tidy caravan and we no longer have 17 towels!! (slightly excessive). I have pulled down the last lot of curtains to fix as I fixed all the front ones last year. Apart from that the food needs to be stocked up a bit and we are set to rock and roll.

The reason for this is that at Xmas time all of my family are getting together for my sisters wedding and then we are all camping for Xmas and New Year. So we have a few extra chairs in, a few more bits of cutlery, plates etc. Looking forward to it.

Wisteria and Poppies
I am really pleased with the garden at the moment. Thank goodness we did not get the snow that was down south. My peas, beans and carrots have all struck really well and things are progressing in leaps and bounds.

The white wisteria that we planted this winter is flowering like mad, by chance there is a gorgeous red poppy surrounding one of the new plants and they look amazing together.

The organised top cupboards

Looking clean.
We are currently playing a game of family trivial pursuit and the boys are winning!!

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

What's on my washing line and sewing table

Piles and piles of gorgeous Thai silk. I bought this silk when I was 20 and went overseas. On a Singapore stopover I could not resist all the silk and at amazingly cheap prices (well at that time compared to NZ they were).

These materials have been in storage since then (yes I kid you not - 24 years!!!!). As you know from my previous blog posts we are going to try to get to the Victorian Festival in Oamaru in a couple of weeks. I have an Edwardian dress I made for Aaron's 25th birthday party. But the boys and Aaron need something. I was going to make them vests and bow ties for my sisters upcoming wedding anyway. So I am now doing it a bit earlier.

I had kept these in storage, as from memory I thought I only bought a metre of each and that is not really enough to do anything particular with. BUT wouldn't you know it - I actually bought decent amounts. Some are 1.5 metres and some are 2 metres. Oh my but I might need to do a skirt for me for some occasion.

The pattern
So over the next two weeks it will be busy busy busy sewing silk. The boys chose their silks this morning before school. They want reversible waistcoats and two different bow ties each. I washed the silk this morning and maybe will get to cut out something tonight.

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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....