Friday, March 30, 2012


My church has just started a monthly craft group, and this month our optional project was crochet.  Although my only qualification is that I can crochet, I was the demonstrator today. 

I gathered a few examples of crochet [my work and my grandmother's] to show the ladies he variety and scale of what you can do with crochet.  Everything from Barbie and doll clothes to tablecloths to blankets to teatowels to clothing.  In preparing for today I dug out my current crochet projects so I could continue to work on one - in keeping with my usual craft attention deficit I found at least 5 projects that were ongoing.  I don't even seem to be able to focus on one single project within the same craft genre!!! 
This is what I achieved today. Almost finished a new handtowel for my kitchen.  One project almost complete, 4 more UFO's to go, and a 'wanna do' list that just keeps growing and growing and growing...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

lemon myrtle custard

This is SOOOOOOO yummy, and more so because I grew the lemon myrtle myself.  It really is exciting to be starting to use things from my garden in my cooking.

100g sugar
40g cornflour
2 eggs
500ml milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
6-8 lemon myrtle leaves fresh from the tree

I made this in my thermomix [7 1/2 min speed 4], but you can also make it on the stove, stirring constantly over a medium heat until it thickens.  The most important thing to remember is to bruise the lemon myrtle leaves and add them towards the end of cooking time to maximise the flavour.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Miss 7's birthday cakes

The first birthday of the year was this week.  Miss 7 had three birthday celebrations, one with friends at school

One with us on her actual birthday

And she shared a dvd and some craft with three friends last night
I have to say I am OVER cake decorating.  It was a mammoth two days.  I have two weeks to recover before the next birthday...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

gluten free Yorkshire puddings

These Yorkshire puddings are just delicious.  In fact they were so yummy we ate all 12 of them in one meal, and wished we had more.  I now understand why Yorkshire pudding is served with a roast.

  • 115 g gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 142 ml milk
  • 142 ml water (half milk and half water)
  • 1 pinch salt (optional)
  • 1 medium egg

  • Preheat oven to 220C.  Pour 5mm of oil into each hole of a 12 hole muffin pan and put it in the oven to heat up.  Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer/food processor/stick blender/hand whisk until a smooth batter is formed.  When the oil is smoking pour a little batter in each muffin hole and bake for 20mins.  Serve immediately with your roast dinner.

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    bridesmaid dress update

    It always amazes me how fabric like this:
    can turn into a lovely dress.

    I have all three dresses coming along nicely now.  To be honest I had hoped to have them finished by now, but life is busy sometimes, and my sewing machine always ends up at the end of my 'to do' list each week.  I hope to have a photo of them hanging on hangers awaiting final fitting very soon.

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    Why you should always pre-wash your fabric

    This is the inside of a hat I made for Miss 8 recently.  Her school swimming carnival was the other week and her team is red, so she wore it inside-out [team spirit].  The floral fabric was pre-washed, as I do with all my fabric when I first purchase it.  The red spot fabric I didn't pre-wash, as I used it to make the strawberry bags I made as Christmas gifts late last year.

    Of course the day of the swimming carnival it rained.  And this photo is evidence of why you should ALWAYS pre-wash all the fabric that enters your sewing room:

     Unfortunately the photo doesn't do the pink mottled flowers justice.  I know it's annoying to pre-wash fabric before you use it, but believe me, it is worth it.

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Rosella Jam

    Separate the red outer calyx from the inner green seed pods.  Do not discard the green seed pods, they are full of pectin which will make your jam set.  Pop them into a saucepan, cover with water, and boil for 10-15 mins to release the pectin.  Strain the pods from the liquid, reserving the liquid.

    Weigh your red calyces - put into a saucepan with an equal weight of sugar [I had 650g of fruit, so I added about 650g of sugar].  Add the pectin liquid and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.  After about 20-30mins test your jam on a cold saucer.  Keep checking until it wrinkles.  The jam darkened and became a little thicker when it reached setting point.

    Bottle in sterilised jars.  Enjoy!!

    Friday, March 9, 2012

    Beautiful, quick and easy nut slice

    This is another of my 'go-to' slices, for when I need a quick, yummy morning tea or supper.  It is delicious.  Some of you may remember a slice called "no-bowl slice".  This is a variation on that old favourite.

    ·        125g butter, melted
    ·        125g crushed biscuits
    ·        1 cup coconut
    ·        ½ - 1 packet choc chips (dark)
    ·        1 can condensed milk
    ·        1 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped [or a mixture of macadamias and pecans]

    Preheat oven to 180oC. Line a slice pan with baking paper.

    Combine biscuits, coconut and melted butter. Press mixture into the prepared pan. Spread the chocolate bits over evenly; top with nuts; pour condensed milk over the whole lot.

    Cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool. Set in the fridge before slicing.

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    rosella harvest

    This is my largest mixing bowl.  It measures 40cm across.  So yes, that is a LOT of rosellas that the girls and I harvested this afternoon.

    I am going to make rosella jam.  I had a trial run last week and it turned out I made rosella dessert syrup instead of jam.  I have never been very successful in any of my jam-making attempts.  I do have enough fruit here that I will be able to have a fair bit of practice!!

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

    hats, hats, hats

    If you've ever lived in Australia, especially in Queensland, you will have heard of the ad campaign to "Slip, Slop, Slap".  It's been around since the 80's, a way of reminding us to prevent getting sunburnt [and therefore skin cancer] by SLIPPING on a shirt, SLOPPING on sunscreen, and SLAPPING on a hat.
    Every Sunday after church my girls play in the church yard: tag, cricket, hula hoops, and anything else they feel like.  But we always seem to forget to bring hats, and the baseball-style caps I've been keeping in my car just don't protect your face, ears and neck well-enough.
    So last week I decided to fix this problem by sewing hats especially for church.  They are fully reversible, so two hats in one, and the brim can be flipped up on the ends for a curled style brim if preferred. 
     I have had this hat pattern in my stash for years.  Literally years.  I don't know why I didn't make it up sooner.  It is just lovely, easy to sew and quick.  I made these five hats over two evenings, production-line style.
    Of course, the first time we took our hats with us, it rained!