Saturday, June 22, 2013

Using silicone cupcake molds for soap making

 Commercial soap molds are often made of silicone and cupcake molds can be used as excellent substitutes. As with plastic molds there are a number of considerations to be taken when choosing.

  Firstly size - I've rejected many molds as they would make a cake of soap that is simply too large to hold comfortably in your hand. Secondly narrow protruding shapes would simply snap off as you handled the soap so I suggest you avoid those too.  I found these rose and insect molds which make a lovely piece of soap. These will make lovely gifts.

Today I made a double batch of my favourite olive oil goats milk soap. The goats milk and caustic soda go a strong orange for a while but the soap turns out a creamy colour in the end.  It feels creamy when you use it too.
The only challenge with these silicone soap molds is moving them before the soap hardens. They are so flexible the soap can slosh around so place them on a hard tray to shift them. In a few days time when the soap is hard they will come out of the molds very easily.

Road trip from Robertson - Crookwell and Taralga

OMG this weekend we bought our first brand new car. We collected it last night and went on a road trip today to the small country NSW towns of Crookwell, Laggan, Roslyn and Taralga. Taralga as my favourite. I have a mission this year to visit places I have never been before and there are many within a 2 hour radius.
I love old signage!!
Our new car!
Down town Crookwell, Busy little town until noon Saturday then deathly quiet. We went to the pub bistro for which the only vegetarian option was an olive, onion and capsicum melt- yuck! - me asking for my own avo, tomato and cheese version caused a fuss.  It was freezing there yet no locals seem to have heard of a coat - so Australian! We drove through several localities: Laggan, Roslyn and finally to Taralga which is gorgeous. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Planting flowers for spring: Ranunculas

Today on a cool, wet, early Winter day here in Robertson I planted almost 100 ranuncula bulbs for Spring.

I created the curved garden inside our fence line a few years ago after being inspired by a visit to Monet's garden in Giverny. The dominant colour scheme is blue and yellow but I have thrown in a few random mixes like these ranunculas that flower after the daffodils are mostly spent.

Lately it has become overgrown with clumps of grass. Yet I have been surprised season after season how easily I can restore it: a couple of hours weeding and mulching and it looks lovely again. Today I weeded, covered gaps between the perennial lavender, sea spray, Marguerite and African daisies with horse manure and freshly made mulch from the hedge pruning we did a month ago. And planted these divine bulbs to fill in the gaps.  Howard mowed too so it won't need any attention now for months but will give us a lovely display to herald the Spring.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New chair from old

We have collected and renovated a number of 1950s outdoor chairs. They are all a little different in shape and size. So, to marry them together, we've painted them in basic black and used the same timber to replace the old rotten slats.

We now have four around my favourite mosaic table on our back verandah. I'm on the lookout for more though. Can you have too many outdoor chairs?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Marinated tofu recipe - you have to try this!

Ok, I know, you think tofu is yuck. Apart from being good vegetarian food, adding protein and variety to the diet, this particular recipe tastes great. I'm talking restaurant quality, you'll want more, food.

1 packet firm tofu
tamari (low-sodium soy sauce)
sesame oil
cajun spice mix

Use a sharp knife to cut the block of tofu into thin (1cm) slices. Cut each slice into triangles which look fancy when served. Place in a baking dish large enough for the slices to sit in one layer.

Mix the marinade using equal parts of tamari and sesame oil, the amount will depend on how much tofu you are preparing. Add the spices and mix well.  Pour over tofu, being sure to cover it all.

Let marinate overnight, or for a few hours in the fridge, turning at least once to ensure tofu is covered evenly.

Take slices out of the marinade and place on a baking sheet covered with non-stick baking paper. Bake in a hot oven for about 10-15 minutes.

Serve with a salad of baby spinach, roast vegetables, artichoke hearts and feta.

Well, did you like it?


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