Kefir, berry and yoghurt smoothie

My children are addicted to these smoothies and it's all my fault!

I must admit that I'm delighted they love them so much and it's a great way to disguise the taste of kefir, which none of them like.

I don't have an exact recipe, it's mostly dictated by what I have at the time. 
But here is an overview of ingredients for a full batch for 5-6 people:

2 bananas
1/2 cup yoghurt (I usually use my natural homemade but any yoghurt is fine)
As much kefir as I have available, usually 1/2 - 1 cup
1 tablespoon honey
handful of berries or other fruit that I have
Fill up the rest with milk

Process the fruit, honey and yoghurt first. Then tip everything else in and process till smooth.

You can add all sorts of other ingredients. For a breakfast smoothie, add 1 - 2 vita brits. LSA mix. Crushed ice. A little fruit juice. With yoghurt. Without yoghurt. With kefir. Without kefir. Get the picture? So easy and adaptable.

As my children grow older I'm finding it more challenging to satisfy their appetites and smoothies are a great way to either boost a lighter meal or as an inbetween meal snack.

Would you like to know more about milk kefir? Google will give you a lot of results to sift through, but I'm happy to share my knowledge and experience thus far if anyone is interested - just let me know :)

Log cabin cot quilt

I can show you this now it has been gifted to my newest nephew whom I had the privilege of meeting today.

I started out using a log cabin pattern from Lincraft, but as I often find it difficult to follow instructions I ended up going my own way, as usual.

Many thanks to Hilary for helping me to pick out a design and colours, and to Robyn for suggesting some applique which really helped to fill in the white space.

He is beautiful! Babies are such a precious blessing, I do so love them :)

Wholemeal, rye and linseed bread

I'm back into baking (at least on the cooler days anyway!) and that means more experiments for me. I still dream of having my own grain mill and grinding my own grain. I'm having another go at a sourdough starter too, hopefully with more success this time around.

Imagine baking with your own sourdough starter + freshly ground flour, now wouldn't that feel authentic!

So, here is what I came up with yesterday - Wholemeal, rye and linseed loaf.

200g wholemeal flour
100g rye flour (I used organic)
700g good quality unbleached plain flour
1 teaspoon dry yeast
2 tablespoons linseeds (whole)
2.5 tablespoons sunflower oil
2.5 teaspoons salt
 around 700 ml warm water - you may need less or more.

Mix flours, seeds and yeast in a mixmaster bowl. Attach dough mixers and arrange bowl ready for the machine to mix it.  Start the machine mixing on low. Start to slowly pour in the water, taking several breaks to observe the wetness of the dough. Don't add in all the water yet. Add the oil, allow to mix in, then add the salt.
* I do the water by feel. What you want with this dough, given that it has rye and wholemeal components which have the potential to be dry, is a nice moist dough. Keep adding the water until you're happy the dough is moist enough.  It should look sticky. I make this dough much wetter than my usual white loaf.
Keep it mixing for about 10 minutes.

Turn out onto an oiled surface and knead the dough - stretching it out and pulling it in. This part is not absolutely necessary but I always do it to get a feel for the dough. It shouldn't feel too stiff and definitely shouldn't feel dry. It should be sticky and firm but stretchy to handle.

Place in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling wrap. Now, this is important: this dough requires a long rising time as we only used a little yeast. The long rising time also allows the flavours to develop beautifully. I won't give you a perfect time frame, it depends on the weather, but at least a few hours rising time to double in size.

When doubled in size turn out onto the oiled surface again and press and shape into loaves. You can make just freeform loaves on a tray or place them in loaf tins as I did. Cover with the same oiled wrap and set aside to rise again, until the dough is high in the tin or doubled again on the tray. Lets say about an hour :) While the second rise is happening, preheat the oven to 240 degrees (C).

Slash the loaves with a sharp knife.

Place in the very hot oven for 12 minutes.
After 12 minutes, turn the oven down to 190 deg. (C) and continue to cook for another 20 minutes.

Turn out onto baking racks and cool.

This year....

This time last year I had stars in my eyes and cotton wool in my head - at least that is how it seems in retrospect.
My resolutions were guided by the ways of the world - what I was going to achieve, what I would do for myself and how I was going to do all this.

Thankfully, during the year God started to tug on my sleeve. He cleared the rubbish away so I could see more clearly. He reminded me, in so many ways, that my life is not actually about me.

I've been meditating upon The Wedding at Cana and in particular Mary's words:

..."His Mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you"
John 2

So this is my focus for the year - to listen carefully and obey.

Wishing you all a very blessed year.

Which loom to buy, part 2, The Table Loom

The table loom is often purchased by either rigid heddle weavers on brand new weavers who want to experience working with multi shafts but ...