Friday, May 28, 2010

Avocado

Image from here

It's avocado time here, are you lucky enough to have your own tree? I can't imagine ever being tired of eating these, but perhaps a glut from a laden tree would change my mind. Hmm, on second thoughts, probably not!

As you probably know, avocados don't like exposure to air and brown quickly. Through experimentation I've found an excellent way to store a cut avocado. Plastic wrap (glad wrap) works ok when storing in the fridge, but the best thing to do is this:

 Cut your avocado in two halves. Use the stoneless piece first, leaving the stone in the other half. Keep the skin of the half that you have dug the flesh out of to use and simply sit it back on top of the half with the stone like a lid, pop it in the fridge and it will keep beautifully!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Taking a break....

I'm imposing a computer ban on myself except for email and study purposes. I'm finding that I spend more and more time doing nothing in particular on the internet and end up feeling sapped.
I won't be away too long - see you soon!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Home made pasta

Home made pasta is superb and surprisingly easy to make. It is time consuming but worth it!

Serves 4 - 5

500 grams fine pasta flour (also known as "tipo 00")
5 large eggs (free range are best)

Place flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle, crack your eggs into the hole.


Start to whisk eggs into flour using a fork until it comes together as a firm dough. If your mix is too dry you can add another egg, but don't let the dough become too sticky or wet.


Knead the dough until smooth and firm. Place a damp tea towel over the dough.


Cut a small piece off the dough and re-cover the rest.


Following your pasta machine instructions, roll the small piece of dough through on the largest setting (1). 



Fold flattened dough over as shown and roll through the number 1 setting again. Repeat a few times.  I dust lightly with flour so that it rolls through smoothly. Change the setting to 2 and roll through once. Keep changing the setting until you are on the flattest setting and your dough is long, thin and flat.


If your dough is really long, cut in half to make it more manageable. Dust both sides lightly with flour.


Now carefully feed your flattened dough through either the spaghetti or fettucini setting (I'm doing fettucini here). Lay the strips on your hand as they roll out rather than letting them sit on the bench.


Hang your pasta up to dry. I'm yet to discover the best way to do this, but I use a clothing rack which gives me plenty of hanging space.

When dry (usually a couple of hours, depending on the weather) collect all your pasta into a bowl or bag. Drop into a large pot of boiling, salted and oiled water and stir. Don't leave the pot as it only takes a few minutes to cook. Keep testing until al dente, then drain.


Here's the best part! I served my pasta with a home grown tomato and basil sauce, sprinkled with parmesan, sliced avocado and sprinkled over fresh parsley.

Delicious and healthy!

Monday, May 17, 2010

For the love of stitching


My introduction to the vast and wonderful world of craft many moons ago was in the form of an old biscuit tin. It was a gift from my mother in law and contained a variety of embroidery threads she had used as a young woman and nurse (before she married and had 10 children!)


Since then I've tried many, many (too many!) crafts, but when all is said and done I find myself content with a needle and thread. Maybe it's being able to produce something beautiful over time. Maybe it's the combination of artistic and needle skills. Probably it's the opportunity for a little bit of therapeutic quiet in a noisy world.

My particular interest is to produce a beautiful thread painting that I'm proud of. I came across some excellent lessons by Mary Corbet at Needle 'N Thread which I'm starting to work through.

Have a great day, I'm off to do some stitching!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Off to the USA..


Not me unfortunately - my dolls are much better travelled than I am. This doll is being sent with her own hand dyed silk and flannel blanket.


Her dress is a lovely soft cotton velour and she has Hilco striped leggings. Her hair is a mohair blend. This colour hair is very popular, it seems lots of little girls have similar hair.

I'm so pleased to see sun streaming in the windows, I had asked Linda in South Africa to send some sunshine over here - it must have worked.

Today is trying to reorganise my sewing table - oh boy, it's so out of hand!! Hope you have a great weekend, see you next week.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Beautiful crocheted beanies


These lovely beanies arrived in the mail today, just in time for the cold weather. They were crocheted by Kylie who is also a talented knitter. She even sent one for the boy which was very generous of her! I believe she will be offering some for sale in the not too distant future so keep your eyes peeled as these are gorgeously made.


Do you know how hard it is to keep a 10 month old still enough to take a photo?


Kylie and I traded home made crafts - the beanies for one of my dolls. A happy trade!
Thank you Kylie!

Make your own pavlova, it's so much better!


I thought this pav was blogworthy just for how good it looks. Admittedly it didn't require much effort on my part because I bought the shell pre-made. Which brings me to my title - bought pavlova has nothing on a home made version. It's just that I'm scared of making my own after having a flop previously.

After tasting the shop bought shell my husband quipped that he was making pavs when he was 10 years old. Guess who's making the next one now?

It does look good though - doesn't it?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The garden in May


It's so good to see the garden really flourishing due to the increase in rainfall - it was pretty sad there for a while. We have broad beans sprouting everywhere as well as silverbeet, beetroot, spring onions, pumpkins, parsley and other seeds yet to show their first leaves. I'm very keen to have a successful potato crop this year and would love to get my hands on some heirloom varieties.


This daytura (also known as angel's trumpet) is truly glorious at the moment and has grown so fast. It's almost to the top of the fence and going strong. They usually get severely knocked by frost so for now we will just enjoy their beautiful lush growth and heady perfumed flowers.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My boy


Happy 10th birthday to my dear friend, helper and son. Don't grow up too fast and please - keep on being you!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Bonnie Babes Foundation


I have joined the Bonnie Babes Foundation as a volunteer. I will be sewing burial gowns for families who have lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or prematurity.

This is a practice gown I made today, I'll be making many more in a few different styles from my own patterns. Making dolls clothes has been a good preparation for this.


It brought tears to my eyes when I realised how tiny the gowns will be. I am so blessed to have safely delivered 4 healthy children. I have lost 2 babies to miscarriage at 10 weeks, but the burden seems very light compared to this reality. I hope my gowns will bring some sort of comfort to the grieving parents who receive them.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Photos from our sojourn


No prizes for guessing the region we travelled to...
We stopped here to enjoy the famous Timboon Icecream (yes, it was beautiful!) and to enjoy the scenery - what a gorgeous little hamlet is Timboon.



A brief stop at the stunning Port Campbell to watch the waves crash on the foreshore.



It was worth the drive out to Apostle Whey Cheese for a cheese tasting and a couple of purchases. You drive through marvelous dairy country and rolling hills to get there.



There were patches of drifting smoke rising from the emerald green grass fields everywhere on this cool but sunny autumn day. We stayed at Moonshine Cottage in CurdieVale with the Curdie River running along the back of the property.


As promised - a picture of our new kitten, as yet unnamed but very, very well loved!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Buying seconhand as well as this and that...

Do you remember my previous post about buying secondhand?

The latest purchase is a lawn mower, which was a necessary after the other mower (which was also secondhand and very old!) gave up the ghost. The cost of this one was $130 - a new one would have been about $350. It runs beautifully.

Secondhand price $130

New price $350

Saving $ 220


Total savings tally for 2010 - $320
So far, all savings have gone towards the mortgage as extra repayments.

In other news my sewjo seems to have evapourated this week, it must be the tiredness. I think right now I am more tired than ever before, I really need a good nights sleep but the little one won't have it. I keep telling myself it will soon improve, I know it will...

We are going away over the weekend for one night, I've been looking forward to that! I'll give details upon our return, there may also be some pics of a new feline addition to our family.

God bless and have a great weekend!

Home made sausage rolls


It must be the turn of the weather towards cooler days that has me thinking of hot and delicious food. It is so much cheaper to make your own sausage rolls. I cheat a little by using some pre - prepared products but I'm a long way from perfecting home made pastry so... Here is what I do:

250g sausage mince
4 sheets puff pastry
3 thick slices of bread
1 onion
salt and pepper
other seasonings of your choice
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup water
poppy or sesame seeds (optional)

This is a really versatile recipe, you can add in some grated zucchini or carrot, garlic, cheese etc.

Make an egg wash by whisking the egg and milk together in a cup. Soak the bread in the water for about 5 minutes, when soggy squeeze out excess water. Mix this with the mince, onion, salt & pepper and seasoning. Spoon a line of your mixture on the edge of your pastry and roll over so that pastry joins - you can paint the pastry with the egg wash to make it stick together better. Cut off the rest of the sheet of pastry and use it for the next roll - you should get 2 long rolls to one sheet of pastry.
Cut your roll in half, place on a tray and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle seeds on if using.

Pop into a 200 degree (C) oven until golden brown.

Mmmmmm!!