10 Random Things

I really miss this space. Unfortunately, I am consumed with working, studying, mummying at the moment and hoping to be more present next month. In the meantime, I was inspired by a fellow blogger and thought I’d offer up 10 random things…..

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1. A few weeks ago, I had a very good day at the thrift store. 

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2. After a rough day at work, I came home to these beauties. 

 

 

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3. A new mug in time for Valentines Day.
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4. Sage Debbie Bliss Andes yarn being worked into a cowl to gift.
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5. Airport waiting activity.
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6. A delicious lunch from my homegrown eggplant.
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7. A bunny for a new baby.
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8. A very happy mail day.
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9. Planning for the future.
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10. Things starting with ‘I’.

I will be back soon (pretty sure I said that last time – oh well, best laid plans) take care xo

Farming Dreams

I have long had wishes and dreams of farming…….not the 1000 acres or 1000 head of cattle kind of farming en masse; just making the most of our little 1/4 acre to supplement our family table and experience food at it’s freshest.

I have always relished in the thought of meals of omelettes made from nothing more than eggs from two happy hens and a handful of herbs.

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I spend a reportable amount of time scouring the pages of my reference books; my faves are Farm Anatomy and The Contented Chook. I while away the time pouring over crop rotation, nesting boxes and agonising over whether I would most love a pair of buff orpingtons or a couple of fat australorp pottering about the backyard.

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I also spend more time than is probably appropriate watching episodes of Fork to Fork and studying the beautiful willow-fenced gardens and lessons in companion planting.

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While my hen dreams are at this moment unmet, I have big plans for our backyard vege patch and an excited about our little potted garden yield.

The vege patch has recently been covered with a fancy pergola and shade cloth to protect the seedlings from the harsh Australian summer sunshine. We are just about to prepare the soil for winter crop planting next month.

The appeal of ‘growing your own’ is two fold for me. On the one hand, it is so satisfying to tuck into something you have watched grow and nurtured for such a long period of time. I also find the opportunity to feed my family food straight from the garden, knowing exactly what has gone into it, something very special. We hope to grow enough to eat, enough to pickle or preserve and enough to share.

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My dream also involves some native bees……but I will settle for a full garden and a couple of chookies in the meantime.

We manage get a little of our fruit and vege from pots outside the backdoor; a lemon, lime, blueberries, three variety of lettuce, eggplant and an abundance of herbs.

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I will post more about the progress of the vege patch as we crack on with the preparation and planting.

Do you have a ‘green thumb’? For me it doesn’t come naturally, but I strive to be committed and patient with my garden.

Are you growing anything at the moment, which is giving you great joy? Or, do you have big plans for your ‘patch’? I’d love to hear about it. xo

Foxy Purse

As promised, I wanted to share something that has come off my hook lately.

I absolutely love Simply Crochet Magazine. It is always so beautifully presented with quirky and fun patterns to try. I haven’t quite summoned up the courage to try amigurumi!

As soon as I saw the cover I knew I had to try my hand at the Mr Fox purse from Issue 10.
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* How cute is that hooded beary cowl! *

It was an interesting pattern because instead of advising on how many rows were needed, it only provides the size in centimetres, the finished parts need to be. So…..it took me a little while of constant measuring to get the right number. You will see my little notes on the pattern to help for next time.

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For the purse pockets pieces, I crocheted up to 12 rows.

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It is a complicated pattern to write out, so I thought that a picture of the lovely pattern by Cara Medus straight from the mag would be best.
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Such a fun project, which you could easily make up over a few cups of tea and an afternoon.

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Back to putting a few more rows on a rainbow poncho and covering books with princesses and hello kitty for a new school year.

Have you been making something special lately? Something useful? Something fun?

I’d love to hear about it xo

I must be hungry

A while ago, I wrote briefly on how much I love Pinterest for oh so many reasons. Lately, I have noticed that there has been a theme to my foodie pinning habits – all things lemony, custardy, pudding-y……….

Here are a few of the recipes I am keen to try soon

Cinnamon Crunch Pudding with Creme Anglais
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Custard Creams
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Lemon Curd

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Lemon and Orange Bread Pudding
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What about you? Have you tried any new recipes lately which turned out to be amazing?

Our little family is on holidays at the moment, I am planning to show you some of the little bits and pieces I have had on my hook lately when we get home xo

The most wonderful time of the year

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December 1st marks a special day in our house……….tree time. I take great pleasure in the ritual of putting up the tree. It’s the same each year, Nigella’s Christmas kitchen on TV, or carols playing, red wine in hand and slowly unpacking all my favourites. This year I acquired a number of vintage decorations and they are just so lovely, and fragile, and I am terrified for their safety due to the two year old in the house. Nonetheless, they are up and bringing me immense enjoyment. I find myself sitting and thinking about who bought them originally,  what were they like, what the tree looked like that they adorned when they were new……..such a sucker for nostalgia.

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More pictures to come. I’m interested to know, do you have any special tree trimming traditions?

Canning for dummies (or I would prefer newbie)

Yesterday, I learnt something absolutely, 100% new. Carrying on with my handmade, homespun christmas presents, I thought I would do some preserving. Now, this isn’t the first time my mind turned to wanting to learn the ways of canning, jam making, preserving and such, but this time I had some strong motivators. 1. A delicious looking recipe for caramelised onion and rosemary chutney (they had me at caramelised – yum!) and nearly two kilos of week-old and a little over-ripe strawberries from our local strawberry farm. I could stomach the thought of wasting something that someone had invested so much time and energy to grow.

Without much of a plan I headed to the supermarket and bought a dozen beautiful glass jars that looked like windows in old and grand houses.

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It it was only after I had the jars and ingredients that I thought just perhaps, I should research how to do the preserving and water canning method………after YouTube tutorials, web browsing and asking my mum, I realised that I did not have any of the paraphernalia that seasoned canners use to make life easier (I didn’t have a really deep pot, metal ladle, jam funnell, or little magnetic sticky thing to pick up lids) but I decided between my pasta pot, metal serving spoon and pre-wine steady hand to aim jam/chutney into jar, I would wing it.

The process was interesting……but by enlisting the husband we made it and made twelve jars of properly preserved and super-delicious presents for people we like a lot.

Gosh, I really feel like I accomplished something and think I will probably, most likely doing it again soon (think spiced cherry jam – ’tis the season after all)

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Here are the recipes I used –

Caramelised onion and rosemary chutney (I varied the recipe in the current Australian Better Homes and Garden magazine)

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

1.5 kg onions – sliced into thin half moons

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup balsamic vinegar (or 1/4 cup balsamic and 3/4 cup white wine vinegar)

2 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup sultanas

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 stalks fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped

1 cinnamon stick

6 cloves

3 tsp sea salt

Black pepper for seasoning

How To

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add onion and cook for approximately 20 minutes until soft and golden.

2. Add sugar, vinegar, water, sultanas, cranberries, rosemary, cinnamon, cloves and seasoning. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

3. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour and fifteen minutes. Ladle into sterilised jars and seal. Boil for 10-15 minutes using water canning methods.

4. Store in a cool place for up to 6 months. Once opened, keep chilled and use within 1 month. Makes six 8oz jars worth.

Strawberry (farm) Jam

Ingredients –

1 kg ripe strawberries, crushed

1 kg jam sugar

10gr knob of butter

How To –

1. Place strawberries and sugar in deep saucepan.

2. Heat over a low heat until sugar has dissolved. Do not let it boil yet.

3. Add knob of butter and increase heat to a rolling boil (a boil that you can’t stir down).

4. Boil for 4 minutes only. Remove from heat, skim off foam and test for set (put a spoon full on a cold plate, push finger gently into it and check that the surface wrinkles – put it back on the heat if it’s not there yet).

5. Ladle into sterilised jars and boil for 10 – 15 minutes using water canning methods.

6. Store for up to 6 months in a cool place. Once opened, keep chilled and use within 1 month. Makes six 8oz jars worth.

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If you are old hat at preserving, this newbie would love to hear your tips, fail-safe methods and recipes. xo