Monday, February 27, 2012

Baking bikkies

I have been baking biscuits tonight to take to work tomorrow for a birthday party.

As always when such occasions arise I pull out my trusty 1977 Australian Women's Weekly Biscuit and Slice cookbook.

I must admit for years I have actually been cooking the same one or two recipes but lately I have been lashing out. Apart from my old favourites: vanilla biscuits which are perfect for choc chip cookies or jam drops and to die for florentines, I have recently tried two slices:  raspberry/coconut and passionfruit.

Tonight I made orange coconut biscuits, rolled in sugar before baking. Oh yum! I wish I could convey to you the smell as they came out of the oven. They cook in 10-15 minutes so they were quick too.

I have parcelled up a box for my work and a few for my husband's work too.  Hope you have a great week!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chickens finding themselves at home

Its been a cool, wet summer. So much so that nature seems to be saying, give up on summer and lets get on with autumn instead.
We had sunshine over the weekend so the chookies got to spend lots of time outside. They love scratching around in the garden.
They dash around so fast that its really hard to take photos of them. I have a growing collection of blurred photos.  So here's the best of them so you can meet my girls at last.

 This is Scarlett. She's the most shy. We have red soil here so like the pale cows and Border Collies who live around here her white bits are starting to look a little rusty.
 Kate in front with Scully behind.
 This photo of Scully is shockingly blurred but I think it works. The hens do a little scratch dance. Step forward, scratch scratch, step back, peck peck, step forward.... I will try to make a film of them.
Here's a better one, she's honing in on a worm.
The girls are delightful. They make lovely soft noises. They're funny but soothing to watch.
And they give us eggs for brekkie. Good girls!

And now another storm is breaking. The thunder is upsetting the dogs and I can hear rain pounding on the roof. Luckily its not too long to bed, I do love listening to good heavy rain. Sleep tight

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Making bunting

I spent a day making bunting with a good friend this week. After an excursion to the fabric store we came home with ecru gingham and palest mauve linen with hydrangeas.

We stitched the flags uncut in a long line.

 After cutting out and turning we laid the flags out - we chose to leave a small gap in between and alternated the fabric.
 Sewing on the bias binding.
 The finished flags. So pretty.
This was our first try at bunting. It is easy if a little fiddly. Sad to see so many makers selling their work for so little though - this takes a lot of materials and a fair bit of time. Great result and so worthwhile. I want to see creative work valued. At least these flags will be well loved.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Home made tomato pasta sauce

Tonight I'm making and bottling tomato sauce, using my Fowlers-Vacola preserving kit.

It has been a success I think. This is the first time I have used this recipe. 2 kilos of tomatoes and 1 kilo of apples made 4 jars of sauce. It is quite time consuming and very messy but I'm glad I did it.

I will make another, double, batch over the next few weeks.

First I chopped up the tomatoes, put them in a large saucepan with chopped onions, herbs and garlic.
 The recipe calls for a Fowlers-Vacola product called saucesetta. I tried the co-op where I buy my jars, lids and seals. No luck. I tried online cooking supply shops. No luck. I discovered some forums where people weree discussing what was in it - was it a thickening agent or spices? Not a lot of help

So I emailed Fowlers-Vacola. I got a very prompt and helpful reply. So here it is, the defintive answer.

"We deleted Saucesetta from our range approx 6 years ago, you may like to use a blend of cinnamon, garlic, cloves, allspice, salt, ground mustard seeds and nutmeg in equal qtys."

Then I added apple, sugar, salt and vinegar, brought it all to the boil, then down to simmer.
 I pureed the sauce but left it chunky. Here are the bottles with their rings, lids and clips in place.
 The bottles stay in the preserving kit for an hour, so I'll be up for a bit longer tonight.
In truth I have had the ingredients for almost a week but have been too busy to make the sauce. I came home from work tonight and almost talked myself out of making it. You know how it goes, I was tired, hungry.  I knew it would take a while. I am really glad I persevered though. I have a wonderful sense of accomplishment for a Monday night!

Speaking of accomplishments I am about to reach blog post number 100! So I think its about time I made some updates, announced my blog plans for 2012 AND hosted a give away.

So please stay tuned.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Rainy days

We have only had one or two sunny days this summer. When there has been a brief break in the weather we had spectacular skies.


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