Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy 2011 for me

In 2011 I am going to make no resolutions, plans or promises. I will have no expectations of myself. I cannot fail.

I will make no excuses for things undone but I will apologize.
I will set easy goals for myself so I don't aim high.
I am going to resign from every committee I am on.
I will just do things I want too. I haven't done this before so it will be an adventure.

Last year I made some resolutions.
Things I am going to do in 2010

- Fibre Forum in Ballarat where I am going to do a Shibori class. I have everything I need for this except for 3 meters of light weight silk I can get that there from Marion of Beautiful Silk.

Did It

- Tasmania Holiday. All booked and just have to pay the deposits. We are definitely doing this.

Did It

Things I should/must Do
- Spend less on supplies and use more of what I already have.
Ummm well I had good intentions and started off well but you know how they say'When the going gets tough the tough go shopping' that's me. things got tough and I went shopping. I love my books and well I don't need to say anymore.

Things I want to do
- Finish the doll I sculpted with Susie McMahon, all she needs is the rest of her clothing and shoes.
Didn't do it
- I want to finish more than I start. This year I tried to finish one WIP for each new thing I started. That went pretty well most of the year. To Keep track of this I am going to put a column on my blog with things finished and WIP's finished.
I am taking the column off my blog as it is quite depressing to realise how little I finished.

I am off to Fibre Forum again. It is one of the highlights of my year. I dyed a lot silk and cotton, designed a jacket and didn't do anything with it. I am going to do a silk screening class in 2011 so I am going to take all the silk with me and do some more with it.
I haven't done anymore with the Doll I made with Susie, but I will.
I think I did finish more than I started but I am not absolutely sure. I did work a lot with quite a bit of time away from home, study and go on holidays. I did a lot for others and I ended my year feeling like very few people noticed and even fewer appreciated my efforts. I got a bit depressed about it all and did myself no favours.
I realised I did not have to stay in a situation that was not good for me and got the hell out of there. I am happier now and my only goal for next year is to maintain that.
So yay for 2010 I learnt a lot and yay for 2011 it will be even better.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Spirit

I have nearly finished the Christmas Shopping just a couple of more Santa gifts to buy, wrap the presents, do some cooking, decorate the tree and tidy the house. Our gift giving for Christmas is smaller than the birthday gifts we give.
For us a Christmas gift is an acknowledgement of our Christian beliefs and therefore is a special thing. The joy of a gift is knowing someone thinks enough of you to find or make something that you open and just know they have put a lot of thought into.

Mind you we do go crazy over the grandchildren mainly because there is no joy compared to seeing the pleasure on a childs face when they receive a gift they love and no fun as great as a little one with a great big box and a pile of Christmas paper balls to throw around.
Sharing with family and friends is a great joy for me. For me there is no greater thrill than having someone say unprompted "This is great I love it".
Sharing with others should be what Christmas is about and yet every holiday is becoming more and more about what is given. Commercialism, shops and the media pressure us to prove our love by buying big.
Personally, I find the best things are knowing my family are around me, we are blessed to live in a country at Peace, we have an abundance of food and what could be better Peace, Joy, Love, and Faith.
I was reading a newsletter from Punch with Judy a really great on line craft shop. Judy gave an excerpt from "All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum. If the whole world lived by these simple guidelines we would all have Peace, Joy and love. The faith part is a personal thing and each to their own. Robert has the important bits though.

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.

These are the things I learned
Share everything
Play Fair
Don't hit people
Put things back where you found them
Clean up your own mess
Don't take things that are not yours
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody
Wash your hands before you eat
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some
Take a nap every afternoon
When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together
Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we
Remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK!

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm.

I really love all these rules, I think that "Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you" should be the beginning of every meeting of every group be they government, social or anything else.
If they started off with a big warm cookie and a glass of milk the World would be a happier place.
I will be making cookies or biscuits later today. My family have some very firm favorites. Cat Biscuits are at the top of the list. Gingerbread is a close second and the Taste website has lots of Christmas Gingerbread recipes. Lebkuchen is a real favorite of mine and I'll be making those as well.
I'll make lots and send them home with the kids and take some to work.
That's the other kindergarten rule, Share Everything.
I would like more time, time to share with those I love and time to make all the things I want to give to them. I really need to manage my time better. Something to think about for New Year.
Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Glass look eyes

Marinas dolls blogspot has a great tutorial for making dolls eyes. Glass dolls eyes are expensive and in Adelaide really hard to find. I haven't made a doll for a while. I won a free workshop on Cloth Doll Artistry for Connie McBrides pattern GiGi and she will be my next doll. Probably after Christmas now. Where did 2010 go. 2011 is going to be a great year.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Getting Stuff Done

I have finished Matthews Stole. The Ordination went really well.
So now onto the next thing. I have been thinking what will I do next? I am finishing off a couple of small Christmas gifts for some special friends and to tell the truth procrastinating by cruising the web and looking at other peoples stuff.
My biggest problem is that I want to do everything and I never really seem to commit to one craft or activity. I am not going to change this is me. I spent quite a bit of time between Midnight and 8 am thinking about this. I was at work, which last night entailed walking around in the rain quite a bit. It is raining here is South Australia, we claim the title of driest state in the driest continent. You would not think that this week. We had our whole months rain in the last 24 hours. This was accompanied by hail, lightning, thunder you get the picture.
My biggest problem is that I put things off because I think I will get to that on my next day off or when I have time.... I will then sit down and read a book for half an hour. That time wasted well not really wasted but I could have done something else. I want everything to look amazing and compare myself to others and then don't do anything.

Mary Gordon of Creative Voyage says
Joking aside one of the biggest blocks to being creative is to set a perfectionist bar which means that the drawing never goes beyond the first mark because it isn't 'right' or the article beyond the first sentence because it doesn't read 'right'. It order to do something 'good' you have to do a lot that is really 'terrible' These are just words and judgements. Remember in order to do something great you have to practice. We don't see the novels that don't work, or the films which never get released, or the pots which get mooshed back into clay and rethrown. We only see the end product. Much of being creative resembles the RTO. And its an essential part of being creative. If you refuse it as a creative person your art will never move forward and grow.

Mary also wrote this on Micheal Nobbs blog Sustainable Creativity
part of this is too make a grid of what you have done in the last week and focus on what you really want to do. I spent a lot of time vegging out on the net, sleeping and working. Not so much on creating something.

Mary suggested that a secret journal is one of the things that can help get the creative juices flowing,

So 20 minutes a day, I can do that. So a small journal and a felt tip pen is a first step. I can do this.
I will make a committment here now to spend 20 minutes a day on doing something creative even if it is a flop. Maybe that stitch book I have been thinking about for so long will come about, maybe not. At least I will draw something.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Matthew's Stole

Our darling eldest son is being ordained tomorrow as an Uniting Church Minister. He needed a red stole for the service and I wanted to make it for him. Matthew wanted something simple. The stole looks like hessian but is actually lovely soft cotton. In April I dyed the scarves that I bought from Beautiful silk, I also dyed a variety pack of silks from the same source.

I stitched a celtic cross that Matthew designed onto a piece of raw silk in butterfly gold thread.

I then sandwiched the embroidery with another piece of red cottton stitched around it and clipped the back and turned it through and then hand stitched it onto the stole.
I was finished hours before he arrived to pick it up. I also had to hem up his alb. This took nearly as long as making the stole. He was really happy it was just what he wanted. I am going to make him a whole set of stoles. One down five to go.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Kayla coo

Kayla coo is the blog site of Michala Gyetvai. Her work has been featured on the cover of the British Stitch Magazine
These beautifully stitched little landscapes

are a particular favorite of mine and I have added her to my huge list of blogs that I follow.
Her work inspired me to do this postcard a couple of years ago for an Embroiderers Guild of SA Christmas Challenge. This is my interpretation of the view from my sunroom window.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Stuff - Clip Art

I have a long obsession with stuff. I love the term Ephemera which really is just another word for stuff. I am easily distracted and the Graphic Fairy is one such place. I saw this link to Pugly Pixel on there and sure enough more stuff.
so if you are looking for some clip art why not go take a look.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Re-new, Re-use, Re-Cycle

Great scott have a look at this Tissue box challenge.
Lots of great ideas but this was my favorite. Is it silver? No.

Top Tip for Gold work

I have finished the gold work on the cross I am doing to put on Matthews Stole. He is being ordained in a few weeks as an Uniting Church Minister. The stole had to be red and I dyed two scarves and a selection on pieces of silk at Fibre Forum back in April. Matthew designed the cross and I have embroidered it in double whipped running stitch. I still have to add it to the stole and then shape the scarves somehow. I'll show you when it is done.
I have a long love hate relationship with metallic threads. They split and shred and get hard to work with. No longer, now it is just a love relationship.
I did an Elizabethan Embroidery workshop with Maree Talbot recently and she recommended Dorothy Clark's book 'Exploring Elizabethan Embroidery'. this is an excellent book I sat down and read the book right through when I got it. It is peppered with hints and advice and there on page 11 under Handy Hints Dorothy said and I quote"When using DMC gold or silver thread I dab the cut end, where the threads have a tendency to seperate, on to my UHU glue stick."
Well how brilliant, how simple. Dorothy goes on to say that it won't hurt your embroidery because you are going to wash it and it will wash out.
I have a small acid free glue pen I bought from a scrapbooking shop and it was just the thing. I dabbed the glue on as soon as I cut it and then dabbed the cut end on the reel of butterfly gold thread I was using and good heavens, It works. No shredding no seperating like magic. I didn't waste a bit of thread. I am in love. Thanks Dorothy I'd send her an email but I couldn't find her address.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Peta Eats

I have decided to have two blogs. You might be thinking what is she thinking. Well I am thinking that I have two obsessions - Textiles and Food and my textiles blog is getting so overloaded with food and it is time to seperate them. So I hope you will join me there if you like my food stuff and I will be putting more textile stuff here on my textile one.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Blue Cheese and Mustard Souffle

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided many of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.
I am late with the challenge as always. My excuse this time is we were on holidays.
Audax Artifex had heaps of advice too and I read it with great interest after I read Dave and Lindas advice. Of course I ignored most of it and well the result while not the prettiest however it rose like magic and tasted great.
My recipe is a bit of a mixup of both.

Blue Cheese and Seeded Mustard.

3 oz / 90 g blue cheese
3 tablespoons Milk
2 Tspns seeded Mustard
1 1/2 tsp corn or tapioca flour
Salt and pepper to taste
2 egg yolks
2 Egg whites
pinch cream of tartar
1 oz Butter

Prepare 2 1-cup soufflé dishes by buttering them, put them in the refrigerator while you do the rest.

Chop up or grate the cheese.

Heat the milk gently in a medium saucepan. Stir in the starch and stir to dissolve thoroughly. Add the cheese and mustard and stir until the cheese melts. Remove from heat. Keep beating with a spoon until it cools a bit then add the egg yolks,mix thoroughly and salt and pepper to taste.

Beat the egg whites and a pinch of cream of tartar until they are stiff peaks.
Scoop up a small amount of the egg whites with the beaters and mix it into the cheese mix with the beaters. With a metal spoon, fold the remaining egg whites through the cheese mix.

Remove your prepared soufflé cups from the refrigerator and gently spoon the soufflé mix into them. smooth the tops with a spatula and clean thoroughly around the rim – if you don’t do this last step the soufflés will rise at a rakish angle.

Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

So what did I do that would cause one to be a little volcano? I thought the mixture was too thick and added a bit more water. It would have been perfect without this. Also as I hadn't spilt any of the mixture on the edge of the pot I didn't worry about wiping them. Another mistake. Oh well I'll know better next time. Infact I knew better this time but didn't worry about it. Still they were really good with ratatouille and a big glass of red wine. Yum.

Re-new, Re-use, Re-Cycle

We are home from holidays. Holidays ae lovely but home is best. We really missed our homemade yogurt and bread while away so last night I made yogurt and it was ready this morning for breakfast and I made bread after breakfast and it is just out of the oven and the whole house smells like fresh bread. There are two loaves, one is wholegrain and the other is the same dough with honey, almonds and cinnamon. The taste test proved it is delicious.

We spent the last ten days driving through Victoria. Australia is a great place we drove from the beautiful Great Ocean Rd beaches to the hills around Beechworth to the flat of Yarrawonga and Mulawala and along the Murray River and then home through the middle via Bendigo and Horsham. The sky was so beautiful yesterday and the clouds were amazing. I love clouds.

Have you ever noticed how many storage places there are now. We have become a race of hoarders. We are more affluent than ever yet for many our level of health and life expectancy is lower and the food many eat is of poorer nutritional value. Stress and depression is an epidemic that is killing thousands and the sale of prescription drugs has never been higher. It makes you sit back and wonder what the hell is going on.
Before we went on holidays I sorted through my wardrobe and I now have three garbage bags of clothes that I don't wear any more. They were bound for the op shop. But after thinking on it and walking through the local K-Mart looking for shorts for Greg I might keep them a bit longer and re-fashion some of them. I have the time and the skills to do it so why not. I was inspired by this blog called GrosGrain.
I bought all these clothes because I liked them so refashioning it is. As soon as I get a spare minute of course.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Creating something

I am on holidays in Mulwalah, it's on the Murray River and a very nice spot. My parents have a time share and got the place for a week and invited Greg and I to join them for a week. We didn't get here until Sunday because we came the long way. We drove through Victoria to Queenscliffe took the ferry to Sorrento and spent a couple of days in Mornington. I did a teddy bear class there and then we drove up here on Sunday. The week is over tomorrow and we are heading for home. I have been stitching Matthews Stole for his ordination as a Uniting Church Minister on December 5th and it is nearly finished. So I have been creating something, I also created the journal cover. I seem to be lacking in inspiration lately and the doing of these things is a good kick start. Anyway here are some thoughts from Permutations in Fibre please go and read the whole post it is very interesting my favorite bit was
" - Create! There is no substitute for actually doing the work and making something (many somethings).
- Make small studies. Working on many small samples at once can help if you get stuck on one piece. Just go on to the next one. These small pieces will teach you so much that can be applied to larger works."
this is from Ruths "Thirteen Rules to becoming a better Artist".
I have so many ideas and so few done I think it is time to shrink things. Smaller will be better

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Family favorite - Cat Biscuits

My husband and kids have a favorite biscuit, Cookies for my American friends. It is a recipe I got from my Mother-in-law a lot of years ago. Greg's family always called them Cat biscuits I am not really sure why and neither are they. In Greg's Mothers cook book they were called Foaming Biscuits.
It is a great recipe, easy to make and keeps really well in an airtight container. It doesn't have any eggs and can be made with any type of flour including almond or coconut. It can be made with margarine or butter (not oil) and changed really easily by adding chocolate chips, chopped nuts or dried fruit or flavorings such as spices or lemon or orange peel. Anything that takes your fancy.
This is the basic recipe it makes a lot. they are nice with some icing drizzled over.

Foaming Biscuits or Cat Biscuits.

4 cups plain flour
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup milk or water
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda (In USA it is called baking soda not baking powder)
1 tablespoon hot water.

1. Put the butter and flour into the food processor or rub the butter into the flour if you don't have a food processor.
2. Put the flour and butter mixture into a bowl. You can't leave it in the food processor trust me.
3. Place the milk and sugar into a pot and heat over a low heat until the sugar melts.
4. Dissolve the bi-carb soda in the hot water and add to the pot of sugar and milk.
5. Quickly pour it into the dry ingredients and mix it until it is smooth. It will look runny but will thicken up and it cools.
6. Either put it into the fridge in the bowl or once it has cooled roll it into logs wrapped in gladwrap. Chill in fridge or freezer until firm. It can be left in the freezer and used over the next month but this is not really required as they keep really well cooked and in an airtight container.
7. Once chilled and firm either roll 1 teaspoon size balls and squash with a fork or roll out and cut into shapes. Or cut the chilled logs into slices.
8. Place on trays that have been greased and floured or on trays lined with baking paper. Bake at 180 degrees C until golden. about 10 - 15 minutes.

For flavoured biscuits
- For chocolate add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons cocoa at step 2 and top with a chocolate button just before cooking. If you want to add chocolate chips do it after the mixture has cooled or the chocolate melts and the biscuit are chewy

- Lemon and Currants - Use lemon juice instead of milk or water in step 3 and add grated lemon rind and 1 cup of currants at step 2. After cooked and cooled ice with lemon icing.

- Orange and almond - Use orange juice instead of water or milk in step 3 and add grated orange rind and 1 cup of chopped almonds at step 2.

- Coconut and Jam - At step 1 use only 3 and 1/2 cups of flour and add 1 cup dessicated coconut. At step 7 roll the chilled mixture into golf ball size balls and squash down a bit. Make a hole with the handle of a wooden spoon and put 1/2 teapsoon of your favorite jam or nutella in the hole and cook.

These are only a few of my favorite flavour combinations the sky is the limit.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Craft and quilt Fair

Well two posts in one day. Over the weekend was the Adelaide spending Spree. I mean the Adelaide Quilt and Craft Fair.
My favorite shop wasn't there and I haven't used the stuff I bought last year. I did manage to buy a few things.
I bought a flower stitcher and a curve master foot from Punch with Judy.

I also got some really unusual silk cocoons and the two balls of fibre, these are cotton and came with the pattern from Dairing
I could have spent a lot more but GOT A GRIP.
I bought three pieces of prefelt and did a journal cover class with Wendy Bailye

I did a fabric manipulating workshop with Sharyn Hall
and bought an embellishment pack in beautiful blues. A henna tattoo stencil and a monoprinting kit. and the green brooch in the photo if you can see it. I bought some folding scissors from the scissorman and five packets of hot fix crystals. They were 300 in a packet for $5 and you got 5 for $20 what could I do. I might need them, they were really cheap and my best reason was I wanted them.

You wouldn't believe how much money I didn't spend. I resisted the quilting machine with the biggest throat you ever saw and it's own quilt roller set up. I also didn't buy a fabric cutting thingey and I resisted thousands of balls of wool and millions of meters of fabric.


The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.
I had good intentions of getting this done in time but life keeps getting in the way. We are supposed to use the recipe provided but time and my pantry got in the way.
We went out for lunch and pigged out on beautiful seafood and then were still full at dinner time.
Now I knew that we needed at least something or we'd be awake at midnight with grumbling tummies so I thought AHAH doughnuts I have to make them so I looked up the recipes and didn't have the time or most of the ingredients so I used a tried and true recipe.

Doughnuts can be quite simple to make and really don’t require a lot of special equipment. However there are a large number of varieties and many cultures have some version of a tasty fried dough such as beignets, crullers, fritters, Sufganiot, and krapfen, just to name a few.
Doughnuts generally fall into two categories: yeast and cake. Yeast doughnuts take a little longer as naturally one has to allow for rising time, but they create a lovely, fluffy and airy doughnut. Cake doughnuts are also popular and the batter allows for many different variations.
Some people may be a little timid of deep frying. Don’t. The most important thing is to be sure that you have everything at hand and are ready to go. Preparation is key when making doughnuts. It is important the oil be the correct temperature so that your doughnut is nice and crispy on the outside. If the oil is not hot enough, your end product will be too greasy. If too hot, they’ll cook too quickly on the outside and you may have an uncooked doughy centre.

Nancy Silverton's Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts
Cake doughnuts are different from yeast-raised doughnuts in that they get their lift from baking soda and baking powder. Here, Nancy has used a bit of yeast for just a little extra rise. But don't worry, these still have the soft, moist interior you associate with the best cake doughnuts.
serves 15 doughnuts and holes
• 1/4 crème fraîche or sour cream
• 3 1/4 cups unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon (0.3 ounce) packed fresh yeast or 1 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast
• 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
• 1 extra-large egg
• 2 extra-large egg yolks
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• For decorating
• 1/2 cup nonmelting icing sugar or powdered sugar
In a small stainless-steel bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, heat the crème fraîche until just warm.
2.Heat the oil to 375°F.
3.Over a large mixing bowl, sift to combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg; make a large well in the center. Place the yeast in the well; pour the crème fraîche over it. Allow it to soften, about 1 minute.
4.Pour the buttermilk, whole egg, egg yolks, and vanilla extract into the well; whisk together the liquid ingredients. Using one hand, gradually draw in the dry ingredients. The mixture should be fairly smooth before you draw in more flour. Mix until it is completely incorporated and forms a very sticky dough. Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour.
5.Sift an even layer of flour onto a work surface. Scrape dough out of bowl onto the surface; sift another layer of flour over dough. Working quickly, pat dough into an even 1/2-inch thickness. Dip cutter in flour and, cutting as closely together as possible, cut out the doughnuts and holes. Place holes and doughnuts on a floured surface. Working quickly, gather scraps of dough together, pat into 1/2-inch thickness, and cut out remaining doughnuts and holes.
6.Fry doughnuts and holes immediately according to these instructions.
7. Sift a layer of nonmelting icing sugar or powdered sugar over doughnuts and holes.

My version of Cake doughnuts.
2 cups self raising flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. oil - sunflower
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk (don't add it all at once you might not need it all)
1 egg, beaten

Heat oil. Heat about 1 – 2 inches oil in a large skillet over medium heat, or heat 2-3 inches of oil in a large Dutch oven. The oil needs to register 170˚C before you begin frying. Use a candy thermometer or an electric thermometer that can be attached to the pan to measure temperature while frying. Oil must stay hot to keep donuts from getting too greasy.
Heat oil in Dutch oven. Use a wire rack over a sheet pan for draining the oil off the donuts.
Make dough. While oil heats, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Add butter or margarine and beat until combined. Then add milk and egg until combined.
Shape and fry. Roll the dough out on a floured surface. You want the dough to be about ½-in. to 1-in. thick. Using a glass or scone cutter, cut out circles. Then, using a shot glass or similar small glass, cut out holes in the center of each circle. I went to the kitchen shop and bought a donut cutter.
Fry donuts about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Be careful to not overcrowd the skillet. The holes will fry up in about 2 minutes. Drain on wire metal rack on a sheet pan lined with paper towels.

This is a lovely recipe but don't make it too sloppy. You have to cut them one at a time and put them straight into the oil or they soften up and end up mishappen.
We ate them anyway. We drizzled them with real maple syrup and cream.

Monday, November 1, 2010


How can it be November already??? I thought we were still in well an earlier part of the year. It has been a busy year and now the granddaughters are counting down to Santa. No 1 GDaughter has had her ears peirced recently and wants diamond earrings... Yes she takes after her mother and No 2 granddaughter wants a purple My Little Pony to go with the blue one and the pink one. The purple one has wings which makes all the difference. We are off on holiday again soon and then back to a change of workplace for me and No 1 Son is being ordained as a Uniting Church Minister. So still lots to do. I have planned and started on a stole for him to wear. Actually I planned and started it in April as I didn't want to leave it until the last minute but I haven't gotten very far. Oh well I will finish it don't worry.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Laughter and Other Stuff

It is a proven fact that laughter is very good for you. I haven't been laughing a lot lately. I finished the Blue thing and delivered it today it was not a lughing matter. I had the grand plan in my mind and spent hours stitching it and it looked awful so I spent more hours pulling stuff off. so I worked like a maniac to get it done and then made Greg stay up past his bed time and help me get it in the frame. It looked great so I delivered it to the Guild this morning and forgot to photograph the finished piece. Darn.
Work sucks No 2 granddaughter explained to me that"Nobody has fun at work" that made me laugh but this blog made me laugh a lot. If you want a laugh go to Hyperbole and a Half
Remember Laughter is the best medicine.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blue on Blue on Blue

I had great plans for the blue thing and it changed. I just couldn't get it right and spent a bucket of money on stuff I am not going to use for this project now. I will use them though just on something else.
So I have done more stitching, blinged it up and placed the feather for the quill. I hope it looks like a bottle of ink. I was going to put some poetry on there but i didn't like it so I took it off and just put Blue in different size script Greg suggested I add the 'ons'. I like it. Still a long way to go though.

This little stitched landscape is about A5 size. It is a class I did with Glenys Leske at the embroiderers guild. I love it. So much fun and finished in the two days of the workshop. I loved the layering technique and Glenys was a fantastic teacher.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bits of Blue

I am still working on the blue thing. I do admit I am having fun. I really enjoyed the Alice Gove workshop a few years ago and this is sort of nearly not quite similar. Except of course it is done in shades of blue. You will notice a little purple and green but look at the colour wheel and you'll see they are shades of blue too. There is more to go on this piece but I have given up on the shopping moratorium again and ordered some little bits and pieces from Essential Textile Art. I went to Adelaide today to the Embrioderers Guild and as I had to go to Troys to drop off somethings for him I went to Carolyn's Embroidery Shop. It was right on the way and of course I also caved in and bought more threads. Yes of course I needed them.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What's that photo?

What is that photo? Well it is a photo of our beautiful newest grandchild. Matt and Kristen are expecting a baby in April. We are so excited. They said they don't want to find out boy or girl but I am hoping they change their minds. We don't care either way but it makes it easier to buy and make gifts for the newest little Stuart.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Textile-Something Blue and an easy to make top

I'm stitching now on the blue thing well actually a section of the blue thing. One of the elements I will be adding. I have lots of mixes of threads with shades of blue so I am going to pick and choose from amongst those.
I have also cruised the net abit and found this easy to make top on No matter where I go I always meet myself
I really like the look of it so I am going to make one too.I have heaps of fabric so I just need to get on with it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I am supposed to be resting. I had my hair cut the other day. the lady next to me was getting some smelly horrible looking stuff gooed onto her hair. In the end I had to tell the hairdresser to stop and flee the place before I threw up. Luckily she was close enough to finished it didn't matter. I felt marginally better once I got out into the fresh air.
But by 7.30 i was having chest pains, couldn't breathe and Greg rang an ambulance. I had an irregular heat beat and they carted me off to hospital after giving me some magic spray. Where I had a whole lot of tests more spray and finally sent home after two days with the news I did not have a heart problem and it may have been a reaction to the chemical stuff in the hair dressers. so I am just stitching on the blue thing adn cruising the web. Oh and I made a batch of biscuits for No 2 son. No eggs no dairy and gluten reduced flour. but the are yummy.
Here's a quote I found somewhere or other.

'Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself." Quoting the poet, Khalil Gibran,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Daring Cooks -- Food Preservation

The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.
I have to say Thanks for a challenge that really is close to my heart. I day dream about living the country life - Self sufficient but still just a day dream. It is early spring here in Australia and we are just seeing the first of the new season apples. There's some citrus around but not a lot of other local fruit. I did do some of the tomatoes, the only ones available are hot house and still really expensive. Husband and I ate all the batch I made before we could put preserve them.

I made the apple butter. It didn’t need any sugar I used local granny smiths and royal galas and it was lovely. I haven’t made apple butter before.

In Australia we call fruit butters fruit paste e.g Quince paste, we also have pastes/butter made from lots of fruits including wine grapes. Our government in its wisdom some years ago paid farmers to pull up fruit trees and plant red wine grapes so now a lot of them have huge amounts of red wine grapes they can’t give away and fruit from trees is dearer.
I have made quince butter/paste but not for a while. I used to sell jams, chutneys and pickles at our local fruit and veggie shop which closed when a big supermarket opened up near us, I still make them for my family. the recipe below lists artificial sweetners as an option. I didn't put any sugar/sweetner in at all but if I was going to I would use either sugar or xylitol. If you want to use xylitol add it after the cooking process is finished but very quickly after turning off the heat then stir it in until it dissolves.
Apple Butter
Preparing Apples: 10 Minutes (if you leave the skin on)
20 Minutes if you peel and core apples
Cooking: 20-30 Minutes to soften apples for mashing + 2 hours to make Apple Butter.
Boiling Water Canner: 40 Minutes
Recipes: Reduced Sugar Apple Butter Recipe
My preference is to use sweet apples (Golden Delicious) so the need for sugar is reduced. However, tart apples (Granny Smith) can be used. It’s a matter of personal preference.

Recipe: Reduced Sugar Apple Butter
Ingredient U.S. Metric Count Special Instructions
Apples 4lbs* 1.8 kg 12 Apples Cut into eights, peeled, stem and blossome end removed
Apple Cider 1 Cup 240 ml
Optional: Water or Juice
Sucralose/Splenda 1/2 Cup 120 ml
Optional: Honey, Agave or Sugar - to taste
Cinnamon, Ground 1 Tbl 15 ml

Allspice, Ground 1/2 tsp 3 ml

Cloves, Ground 1/4 tsp 2 ml

Golden Delicious and Gala
Gala and Golden Delicious Apples

1. Wash apples well and remove stems. Cut apples into quarters or eighths and remove cores.

Note: I ended up peeling the apple at this step.
Cornig Apple

2. Combine unpeeled apples and cider in 8-quart (about 7 ½ litre) saucepan. Cook slowly and stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook until apples are very soft (falling apart).
Peeled and Cored

3. Position a food mill or strainer securely over a large bowl. Press cooked apples with cider through the food mill or strainer to make a pulp. Be sure to collect all the pulp that comes through the food mill or strainer; for example, scrape any pulp clinging under the food mill into the bowl.

Note: Since the apples were peeled, I just mashed in the pot.

4. Combine pulp with Sucralose and spices in an 8-quart (about 7 ½ litre) saucepan. Simmer over low heat, stirring frequently.

Note: A stick blender was used to mix the spices and creates a smoother apple butter. Also, when cooking down the apples, you want to leave the lid ajar or use a splatter screen. This will allow for evaporation. Another trick is to support the lid by laying two wooden spoons across the top of the pot.
Stick Blend
Splatter Screen
5. To test for doneness, spoon a small quantity onto a clean plate; when the butter mounds on the plate without liquid separating around the edge of the butter, it is ready for processing. Another way to test for doneness is to remove a spoonful of the cooked butter on a spoon and hold it away from steam for 2 minutes. It is done if the butter remains mounded on the spoon.

In the photo is Apricot, orange and passionfruit butter, quince, plum and berry jam, quince apple and lemon jam, blood orange marmalade, tomato chutney (It was going to be sauce but I couldn’t be bothered with all the sieving etc so it stayed chutney) there are also bottled apricots and plums from our garden. I know it is not the recommended way to bottle fruit but what I do is cook the halved apricots, peaches or plums in water without any sugar added (although you can add it if you can’t live without) while it is cooking I heat washed jars in my oven at about 200° – 230° F for ten minutes or so. When the fruit is just cooked I put it into the hot jars (You have to be quick) making sure the liquid is level with the top of the jar and there are no large air bubbles. Then I quickly put on the lids and tighten them to firm. As they cool the fruit finishes cooking and the lids vacuum seal. Any that don’t we refrigerate or freeze and eat first. The lids pop in and you can see that they are sealed in the same way as when other types of canning are used. I have some plums that are three years old and they are still alright. I do put stickers on the bottles with the date so we eat the oldest first but a couple of jars ended up behind newer ones and I found them when I was fossicking around cleaning up a bottle of homemade wine we were given that blew its top in the heat last summer.
I have two favourite jam recipes. One is from
I couldn’t show you a photo. It is late winter here and we ate all that I made last year. I am really looking forward to November when the stone fruit starts. When I made this last year I peeled the citrus rind off with a veggie peeler and then shredded it into about ½ inch long by 1/16 inch strips and then chopped the rest in the food processor. I didn’t have peach liqueur so I used Grand Marnier.
Nectarine, Peach and Orange Blossom Jam
Serves 20
Cooking Time Prep time 20 mins, cook 50 mins (plus standing)

5 each firm, slightly under-ripe peaches and nectarines (about 1.5kg), scored
1 kg white sugar
2 oranges and 1 lemon, rind and flesh finely chopped in a food processor
1 tbsp orange blossom water, or to taste
50 ml peach or orange liqueur (optional)

1 Blanch peaches until skins split (30-40 seconds), refresh. Peel.
2 Combine sugar, oranges and lemon in a non-reactive bowl. Break peaches and nectarines into chunks over the bowl to catch juices, add to orange mixture. Stir, cover, refrigerate overnight.
3 Transfer peach mixture to a wide saucepan, bring to the boil over medium-high heat and stir frequently until mixtures forms a gel on the back of a wooden spoon and fruit breaks down (40-50 minutes). While jam is cooking, place a few saucers in the freezer.
4 To test setting point, remove jam from heat and spoon some onto a cold saucer. Return to freezer for 30 seconds, then push with your finger. If it wrinkles, it’s ready. If not, cook another few minutes, test again. Add orange blossom water or liqueur if using and stir.
5 Ladle hot jam into warm sterilised jars and wipe clean with a hot, damp cloth. Remove any air bubbles by running a hot metal skewer down sides of jars. Place a round of waxed paper on top of jam, seal, and cool completely. Jam will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 months.

Note White and yellow peaches work equally well here I used yellow. You’ll need to begin this recipe one day ahead. This recipe makes about 1 litre.

The other is my own recipe done through a process of trial and error, it has never failed for me but I do make sure I use fruit that is not over-ripe, very fresh and citrus that is un-waxed.
Peta’s No Fail Marmalade
1 part citrus of choice (a mixture is nice) to 1 ½ Parts sugar e.g 1 pound or kilogram of fruit to 1 ½ pounds or 1.5 kilograms of sugar.
Put the cold sugar (No need to heat it) in a non-reactive container/pot/bowl. Slice dice or whatever the fruit – My preferred method is to peel off the rind with as little pith as possible with a vegetable peeler and then slice it finely so you get shreds of peel and then chop the rest in my food processor. Pour the fruit over the sugar with enough water so it is slushy and all the sugar is wet when you stir it. Cover and put into the refrigerator overnight. Stir it occasionally you want the sugar to dissolve.
Next day put into a heavy bottomed pan (You don’t want it to deep, it needs room to bubble up) bring to a rolling boil and then reduce to gently boil, stir regularly. Cook for one hour or until it is thick and looks cooked. When you drop a spoonful onto a cold saucer or plate you should have no excess watery looking liquid around the outside and when you run your finger or something through it the jam should stay separated.
Bottle in hot sterilized jars, I wash my jars and then heat them in a 230°F oven for ten to fifteen minutes. As they cool the tops should vacuum seal.
My best sellers were
1. Lemon and Ginger – I would add about ¼ cup of glace ginger and a tablespoon of crushed fresh ginger to 5 pounds of really fresh not too ripe lemons.
2. Brandied Mandarin or Orange – Bit fiddly as this is best if you remove the pith from the sections of mandarin not the peel. Brandy to taste. The flavour of the brandy does develop so go easy. I would add the brandy after the jam was cooked just before bottling.

Thanks for the challenge John, I am going to make more when the spring/summer vegies and fruit are in larger supply.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chocolate who's got the Chocolate

Chocolate.... Yes I know the diet, healthy eating blah blah blah... sometimes you just have to jump off the diet wagon and run screaming for the chocolate. My friend Jenny is deserting us for the sunny climate of Port Lincoln... seafood, close to the ocean, change of pace and a change of style you know the song. Anyway, Saturday night is a going away for her and we are all taking a little something to eat so I said to Jenny 'what would you like'and she of course said 'oh anything chocolate'. As I have a bit of a reputation for wowing them with food I thought of a few things. I am thinking chocolate mousse. I am going to go looking for disposable plastic glasses and put it in that. Or I might make mud cake....I might make both.
David Lebovitz shared a great chocolate mousse recipe on his blog, the following are his words on the subject not mine.

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Knopf) by Julia Child.

I tried to reduce the amount of butter in the recipe and found it wasn’t nearly as good. Since I’m not one to argue with Julia, I stuck close to the recipe tweaking it just slightly.

6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee
4 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup (170g), plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons (30ml) dark rum
1 tablespoon (15ml) water
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat.

2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.

3. In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer.)

3. Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, as shown in the photo above. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.

4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla.

5. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don’t overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.

6. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.

Serving: I like to serve the chocolate mousse as it is, maybe with just a small dollop of whipped cream; it neither needs, nor wants, much adornment.

Storage: The mousse au chocolat can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Food - Friands

As we are currently seeking a healthier diet we aren’t eating as many sweet things as we have in the past. I am a big fan of nuts and when we go out I will often have a friand. My favourite bakery on Glen Osmond Road – Jenny’s, does lovely friands.
I have been thinking for a while I should make some of those and this morning I dropped into the kitchen ware shop to see if they have received the crepe pan I ordered and also looking at cookie cutters because you can never have enough cookie cutters.

As I wandered the shop (HillBilly’s at Mt Barker), a bit like a junky looking for a fix there, on the shelf was a friand pan. Right next to that was a packet of paper linings for them. Well what could I do I had to have them. Then home again for a sleep (I am on midnight to eights this week). After my sleep I had to find a recipe for friands (In French Financiers) so I did what any modern girl would do and turned on the computer and cruised the net. I found a great recipe on for Lemon Curd Friands with Blueberries

These are made with just the egg whites and I hate to waste anything so I wanted to use the whole egg.

Joy of said Financiers (pronounced fee-nahng-syehr) are lovely French tea cakes that also go by the name Friands, which aptly means "dainty" or "tasty". Take a bite and you will be rewarded with the delicious flavor of caramelized butter and toasted almonds. Dorie Greenspan in her book Paris Sweets tells us that Financiers were first made in the late 19th century by a pastry chef whose shop was close to the Paris Stock Exchange. The location of his shop must have been influenced him as originally Financiers were baked in rectangular molds that were said to resemble bars of gold. Today you will find them baked in many shapes, including boat shaped tart molds, or even in small muffin tins.

There were a lot of other recipes from simple to complex and I really like easy so I came up with a mixture and did a taste test and here we are.

150grams butter or (weighed 150 g oil sunflower, macadamia, walnut)
50 grams gluten-free or ordinary plain flour
5 grams baking powder
5 tablespoons stevia or xylitol or 3/4 cup sugar (white or brown) or 1/4 cup maple syrup, honey or golden syrup
185g almond meal or any nut meal
3 eggs
Flavour options - see the notes I have given a range of options below remember though the possibilities are unlimited.

I made almond meal, blueberies,vanilla and cinnamon.

- You’ll need a 12 hole Friand or ½ cup muffin tray, lightly greased or lined with papers.

- Mix appropriate nut meal, sweetener or sugar, flour and flavouring (see notes at the end)

- In a bowl, beat the eggs until very frothy. I find the more you whisk, the lighter the end result. You can mix it until it looks like yellow meringue if you want too.

- Add to the flour mixture and fold in to combine. Stir in melted butter and flavour options

- Spoon the mix into the trays.

- Bake until golden. This can take anywhere from 15 minutes in a fan forced oven to 40 in a not so great oven. Touch the top gently when you think they are cooked and if you get a sticky bit then they aren't quite done just stick them back in the oven for another minute or two.
- Cool in the trays 10 minutes then take them out of the tins and place on cooling rack.
If you use honey or golden syrup instead of sugar melt it with the butter.
An ice cream scoop is handy to make each one even.
I like the consistency to be like a cake batter. I scoop up a big spoonful and hold it sideways over the bowl and if it holds for a second and then falls back into the bowl with some of it still on the spoon that is good. If the mixture looks is too wet to do this add a bit more nut meal or flour. Too dry add a tablespoon of water at a time and mix it through.

Flavour Variations
Oh the variety you can find on the net.

One of the traditional ways to make Friands/Financiers is with Buerre Noisette or brown butter Put 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted let it come to a boil, swirling the pan occasionally. As it boils you will notice that a foam will appear on the butter's surface. Continue to cook the butter until it looks clear and the milk solids have dropped to the bottom of the pan and have turned deep brown. Remove from heat and immediately pour through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. I don’t worry about straining out the little brown bits I think they add to the flavour. Make sure you don’t burn them black they should just be dark brown. Let cool to room temperature.

Chocolate - 1 heaped tablespoon of good cocoa reduce the flour by an equal amount.
½ Grated chocolate or substitute half the butter for melted chocolate. If you add melted chocolate add it with the butter. Hazelnut meal substituted for the almond is really great. You can drop a smidge of nutella (chocolate/hazelnut spread) and a whole hazelnut on top for real decadence.

Peanut butter – Substitute ½ cup crunchy peanut butter for ½ cup butter. Sprinkle peanuts on the top. You might need to cover with some foil if the peanuts look like they are going to burn.

Citrus - Grated Zest of 1 citrus – lemon, lime or orange. Lemon and currants is a particularly good flavour combination. I like to soak the currants in a little hot water for a while but it isn’t a necessity.

Spice options - ½ - 1 teaspoon depending on the spice. You will probably need only ½ teaspoon of Ground cloves.

Fruit – 100 grams berries or fruit of choice. Fruit should be chopped to about the size of a blueberry. You can use any fruit,cooked or uncooked, glace dried or fresh. Pear and ginger is a winner. If you use dried fruit they can be soaked in hot water, a liquer or fruit juice.

Jam - add ¼ - ½ teaspoon on top of each friand prior to cooking. Marmalade, lemon curd or any type of jam is fine. In the cafes it is always a smooth jam but there’s no reason not to use one with chunks of fruit. After filling the tins just spoon a little jam onto the top.

I hope you enjoy the friands as much as I do. Let me know if you make them I’d love to see your results.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chocolate and Zuchinni

I know it is a bit late but if you would like a lovely desktop background of the foodie persuasion the go to the web site Chocolate and Zuchinni
Clotilde has a great blog about cooking in Paris. I have her book too love it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Textile - Something Blue

Something Blue is how I am referring to the new project. I painted another coat of Prussian blue onto the board just a cheapie from the junk shop. After I had slapped on the paint I took some off with scrunched up gladwrap

It looked like water and I thought hmmmm a sea scene would work. But then I thought about coral and seaweed and I would really want lots of colour for that so that ideas on the back burner for now.

I ironed the canvas and hessian and layered them on top of the canvas.

I went to Spotlight the other day for some calico and spotted a lovely blue feather that I had to buy because even though I have a bit of a moratorium on buying more stuff I didn't have a lovely feather like this one so I ...... yeah I'll stop with the blather I saw, I wanted it, I bought it.

No excuses,stuff the moratorium on buying things.

The calico didn't have a price and I tried to tell the girl I thought it was the $6 one and she insisted it was the $2 one and my self control stopped me buying the whole roll I just bought 2 meters instead of the 1/2 meter I went in for so yay for self control.

So I put the fish idea on hold and got out the feather and thought ' A quill'.
So then I thought pen and ink... I needed a bottle...I cruised through a few image sites and then thought 'A real bottle would be good'.

I didn't have a blue bottle of any size but just as I was about to pour out some food colouring because the bottle was right I remembered some essential oil in the cupboard in the bathroom. I looked at the bottle some months ago and opened it and it wasn't smelling too good so I put it back in the medicine cupboard. As we do... So I put the food colouring back in the pantry and here it is all washed and the label peeled off well scrapped off with some silent swearing and my thumbnail, you'd have thought that the washing would have taken the blue paint tinge off my nail and from under it which is what happens when you paint fabric etc without gloves.

It is just sitting on the canvas for now nothing stitched I am still planning and auditioning stuff.
More to come soon.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Textiles - A new project and the cupboard

Ah I found my inspiration. I knew it was here somewhere..... tidying up the studio obviously meant I had put it somewhere safe. So enough of this light hearted frivolity...
for some time I have wanted a display cupboard on the wall at the end of our entry way and it is finished. Greg did most of it while I was away in Mt Gambier so it is not exactly as I wanted it but it is close enough and I shouldn't be so damn fussy. He has done a beautiful job as you can see. The cupboard is 3.5 x 2.1 high

I had some of this canvas stuff that I bought when our local wool and embroidery shop closed up after a chain store opened.

I need to do a blue piece for my part of an exhibition for the SA Embroiderers Guild and I need to get my finger out and start it and whats more finish it bfore the end of October.
So I dug into the studio and pulled out some hessian, the canvas and some blue paint and tah dah ...

I have a plan that is based in Zentangling so now I just have to see if it works...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tangle Patterns-Rosewood

This is a tangle pattern from Life Imitates Doodles on Flickr this is a great place to look for patterns


Zentangle is the term for doodling gone mad.
If you want some more info then go to Quilting Arts and you can download a free article. There are lots of sites
Beez in the Belfry

Life Imitates doodle

Perhaps this is my inspiration.... In fact I am sure.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Last Day of Winter

Here is the last day of winter. It rained, the wind blew straight off the South Pole and the Sun didn't make an appearance at all. Lucky us. Our water catchments are nearly at 80% the fullest they've been for years. Tomorrow Spring will sprung, the grass will riz and the little birds are busy making more little birds. Perhaps a new season is a time for a new burst of enthusiasm.... I'll let you know

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Daring Bakers August Challenge

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alasa or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

Each month there is a challenge with recipes and you are supposed to make that.
Recipe Source: The brown butter pound cake recipe is adapted from the October 2009 edition of Gourmet ( The vanilla ice cream is from ice cream genius David Lebovitz (, adapted from The Perfect Scoop. The chocolate glaze for the petit fours is a larger adapted version of this ganache from Godiva Chocolate ( and the meringue for the Baked Alaska is a larger version of this meringue from Gourmet, May 1995 (
I made the cake and the glaze to the recipes provided.
OK I didn't make vanilla ice cream I made caramel the vanilla recipe would have been easier but since when do I let that affect what I am doing. I can't call it Salted Caramel Icecream because I didn't put the salt in Greg is not a salt lover and I did make the ice cream for him. Currently the ice cream is churning the cake is cooling...Cake you ask yes, brown butter pound cake recipe courtesy of The Daring Bakers website.
So I websurfed my way through three caramel icecream recipes and came up with this mixture. My cream was only 23% not the 34% recommended in the recipes so I substituted a cup of cream for the milk. Erin's recipe didn't have butter but Cindy and Davids did so I put in 100 grams of butter.

Peta's Caramel Ice Cream
1 cup sugar
100 grams butter - chopped into small bits.
3 cups cream - seperated into 1 cup and 2 cups
3 eggs
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Firstly read the recipe through now this is not a read a bit do a bit recipe.

Put the sugar into a thick bottomed pan and place over low heat. Don't plan to go anywhere. You have to be right there not looking at the recipe (Like I did).
You need a fork to stir the sugar with as it toffees it doesn't matter if you get crystals this is for the sauce so don't panic. Stand there and watch it melt and give it a bit of a stir.
Let it colour until you can see a slight haze, it should be dark like it is about to burn. Take it off the heat and quickly stir in the butter and 1 cup of cream. Stir like mad and put it back on the low heat until it melts together nicely. Pour into a metal bowl and sit it in a sink of cold water (NO ice you are only cooling it.
Next I put the eggs and 1/4 cup caster sugar in the bowl of my mixer and beat them together. I also put the two cups of cream in the pot I made the caramel in and heated that until it was about to boil then tipped it slowly into the eggs with the mixer running as slow as I culd get it too.
Then I tipped the egg mixture back into the pot and stirred it like mad over low heat until it go to 150 degrees F on my sugar thermometer. Then I strained it back into the mixer bowl and back on low speed.
Next add the vanilla and then I slowly added the caramel mixture and let it whisk for a couple of minutes.

I strained all that into a metal bowl and sat it in the sink of cold water until it cooled and then I put it in the freezer until it was really cold. I did stir it a few times and Greg did a couple of taste tests to make sure it was alright...I think he likes it.
Then into the ice-cream churn, this was my first use of my new toy and I think next time I will let the mixture get colder and I am storing the bowl part in the freezer as I don't think it was cold enough the instructions said to put it in the freezer for 24 hours and it was barely that. But it had started to freeze when I took it out and put it in a container in the freezer to firm up.

I made cake and ice cream sandwiches and drizzled the chocolate sauce over them. The photos were terrible I must find my tripod.
These recipes were easy to use and tasted great I am really looking forward to tomorrow when the next challenge comes out.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Food - Ice Cream Maker part 2

Well I did go shopping this morning and on my way to the Farmers Market I stopped at Harvey Norman and browsed through the small appliances section. I nearly bought a rice cooker in a moment of shopping obsession but managed to get a grip on myself in time. I don't need a rice cooker for heavens sake. What I did want was an ice cream churn. The first one I looked at was a thing of beauty.... Own freezing motor, lots of bits and a good brand...and it cost over $330 dollars. Cripes I thought well I thought something else but it is a rude word so I won't bruise your ears with it. Right beside the gold plated one....OK I couldn't really see any gold but it should have been... anyway right beside the expensive one was a much cheaper one. It didn't have a freezer unit you put the bowl section in the freezer and then add the cold liquid to it and put the motor part ontop and mix away.

For under $60.00 it was a much better buy I will only be able to make a Litre at a time so hopefully I won't blow the diet. I am going to make a sugar free sorbet as well for those times when I just have to have something yummy.
I have been directed to another Salted Caramel Ice Cream at Figs Cheese and Lavender (thanks Cindy) and I am going to make it first thing tomorrow. I was going to do it today and put in the refrigerator overnight but I didn't get around to it. I'll show it to you after it is done.

Food - Pierogi and the Daring Kitchen

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

A couple of months ago I joined "The Daring Kitchen" and then went on the diet and drove into the Sunrise to Mount Gambier for months on end and deferred starting until things calmed down a bit.
Greg and I have dubbed Saturday "Anything goes" as far as food is concerned so this seemed the ideal time to throw myself into a Kitchen Challenge. The August Cooks Challenge is Pierogi
what better I thought for my low carb diet than dumplings stuffed with potato and other stuff.
So I thought I would halve the recipe and so I mixed
1 and 1/4 cups of wholemeal flour with half a beaten egg and 1/2 cup of water and a pinch of salt

Then I had to let that sit for at least 20 minutes it was more like half an hour. While it was sitting I cut enough potato for what was supposed to be 3/4 cup of potato and cooked that. I bought a bunch of fresh dill this morning at the Farmers Market in Mount Barker and so I chopped up a couple of tablespoons of that, a small onion finely diced, some fresh cream and butter and mixed that into the cooked potato and mashed it all together.
Then I let it get completely cold (Very important)

After the dough had sat I rolled it out to about 3 mm thick. This is a soft dough and still quite sticky so I needed too have plenty of flour on the mat while rolling it out. I cut it into 10 cm circles, I wet the edges and put a teaspoon of the potato in the center and folded it over and pressed the edges with a fork.

Then I put on a pot of water on let it boil and put the dumplings in. After they floated I let them boil for a few minutes and then pulled them out and drained them. Then I put some lemon infused olive oil and butter in a pan and fried them until they were crispy and golden brown

I drained them on some paper towel while the salmon and the beans I added for a token gesture towards healthy eating.

Topped with some natural yogurt mixed with a bit more dill and lemon juice. Greg gave it a big thumbs up. He doesn't like potato so that was good. Half the recipe gave me 15 large dumplings. We ate most of them and I froze 5 so we can see how they freeze. Everybody else who has made them says they freeze beautifully.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Food - Ice Cream Maker

I have decided to start giving a warning in the title of each of my blog posts. Food, textiles etc. I looove food as much as textiles so bear with me. I have been lurking around at Daring Bakers and Cooks and as the diet is relaxed now and Greg is getting a bit skinny I am going to make him something special so I am off tomorrow to buy an ice cream churn. I am going to make the Salted Caramel IceCream without the salt most likely as Greg isn't a salt lover. I am thinking a small one is the most useful for us. Also if I make Greg's favorite then he will eat most of it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tah Daa

Tah Daa - Two things of great interest. I have finished the jacket it took a lot longer than I thought but that is mostly because of my Aquarian nature. I haven't decided yet if I need to put some sort of closure on it or not so the jacket is hanging on the dressmakers dummy in the studio while I decide. I haven't quite finished running in the ends but that will come. I have started another in purples and blacks and I am going to run the ends in as I go.
Also It is raining...We live in the driest state in the driest country in the world so real winter rain is a usually a thing of memory. We used to get winter rain but haven't had much to speak of for some years. So this winter has been a real winter. It has rianed for the last week so our tanks are full and the ground is wet. It is cold and miserable outside and unfortunately I have to go to work which means getting out of the recliner and going to work. Darn... But I love the rain so yay for rainy weather, I was moaning not long ago about the lack of rain and now we have lots so thanks God.
This is the view from the window in our family room.

Real Food

Real food is a hot topic these days. Surely all the additives and preservatives can't be good for us. I am not giving up ice cream or any of those things I love but I am going to make my own. I made coconut icecream (no dairy or added sugar) and the grandkids loved it and so did I. I think I really need an icecream maker. My next venture into the land of icecream is caramel Greg loves caramel icecream and if I make his favorite he will eat most of it. Here's a great sounding recipe for Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Things We Do or Diet dessert

The things I have been doing lately are a bit humdrum but they had to be done. Firstly Greg and I pulled all the stuff out of my studio that was on the floor and I have put most of it away/back/somewhere else.

My work table is what Greg feels is a handy place to dump stuff and then he wants to know why I don't use it more.

But I shall tidy that too.
So I have put away/shifted/rearranged until it is starting to look a lot better. I shall show you when I am done.
Other things I have done. I have nearly finished my scumbled jacket just need to crochet some ties for the front. I win there, since I have taught my friends how to scumble they are working on their own and I felt I needed to prove I am not a total slacker and finish mine. It looks nothing like what I had in mind when I embarked on the journey but I like it. I shall show a photo when it is done.
In between work and sticking to the diet I am a busy bee.
The diet is still a success. I stuck to the three weeks of maintenence and I have lost a little bit more which is a big yay for me as I was worried that when I started to eat more I would put it back on.
Tonight Greg had chickpea and vegetable curry with rice and I had the curry with chicken and no rice.

I also made a sort of lemon delicious. I have cut down on dairy and had some coconut cream in the refrigerator which really needed to be used so I made it to be diet friendly and I really wanted something sweet other than fruit so I made this.

Diet Lemon Delicious
3 eggs seperated
2 tablespoons stevia
1 cup reduced fat coconut cream
1/2 cup wholemeal self raising flour
1/3 cup lemon juice and grated rind of 1 lemon

Beat egg yolks with 1 tablespoon sugar until ight and creamy. Beat in coconut cream, flour, lemon juice and rind.
Beat egg whites until stiff and beat in other tablespoon of stevia.
Fold into lemon mixture. Pour into greased 2 liter oven proof bowl and stand in shallow pan of hot water and place into 180 degree Celsius oven and bake for 50 - 60 minutes or until firm and golden. Serve with fat free yogurt or just some fresh passionfruit.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Diet

I have had several people ask for more details in regard to "The Diet" I am on. It is a bit of a story, anyway. some months ago I went to my Hormone doctor and she had lost a heap of weight. so as I had become in my own opinion FAT I said "WTFudge diet are you on and why am I not on it?". Turns out she was trialling a diet that is very popular in America and Europe. It is called "The HCG Diet" if you google it there is a lot of information on the WWW.
So what happens is you inject yourself with human growth hormone for 43 days. the first three days you pig out majorly and then go on 550 to 800 calories a day. No sugar, no starchy foods and no fat. Definitely no alcohol, chocolate etc. My doctor then gave me a list of web sites to go and get the info from and told me to have a good think about it and come back with questions. Now it is no use thinking I will cheat a little bit as you just can't. But if you stick to it then a woman can loose up to 15 kilo's in the 6 weeks. Once you loose the 15 kilos you stop the injections and if you need to loose more then you wait 6 weeks and then have another round of injections. I have finished the injections and I lost 14 kilos. After the injection phase you go onto phase 3 which is resetting your body clock so you must eat a certain number of calories a day which you work out using a BMI. You can also use that to work out what you should be eating to maintain your current weight and then reduce that amount by a couple of hundred calories a day to loose weight. I worked out that I should be eating 1550 calories a day and there is no way I was eating that much before. But my doctor told me that my old habit of eating less that I needed but a lot of those calories were starchy food and that is one of the reasons I was getting fatter. In fact when we were in Tasmania I warned Greg that i would be eating whatever I damn well wanted as I had decided to go on the diet when we got home and I lost 3 kilos and I was eating more.
After 3 weeks of phase 3 you go onto phase 4 which is for the rest of your life and you slowly reintroduce all foods but with the starchy foods grains potatoes etc you add in one a week and if you start to put weight on then you know that that is a food you should avoid.
Anyway. the injections are with an insulin needle and don't hurt and the hormone and diet stimulate your body to burn its own fat so you son't get ungry if you gorge properly on the three starting days. I don't know how many doctors know about this but it worked really well for me. Hope this is the info you wanted.


It is SALA Festival time here in South Australia, SALA stands for South Australian Living Artists. Lots of groups and artists have exhibitions on and The Embroiderers Guild of South Australia is one of them this year. Now for some shameless self back patting. If you go to the link (just click on Embroiderers Guild of South Australia) and scroll down the page to SALA and look at the card the guild printed for promotion and you shall see the photo on it is the same as the banner above. That photo is of my work. I tried to copy it and reprint it here but couldn't. I am going to go on Saturday and see the exhibition and shall bring a card home and scan it into my computer and I'l post it then.

Healthy Ceaser Salad

Low fat Ceaser Salad
Wash a baby Cos lettuce and pull it apart.
Cook 150 grams of chicken tenderloins in a cafe grill between bake paper.
Cook 50 grams of fat free bacon.
Skip the fried croutons unless you really want them try crumbling some fat free melba toasts instead.
Mix it all together with half the dressing below.
Favorite salad dressing - 1/4 cup fat free yogurt, juice of 1/2 a big lemon or a whole small one, tablespoon of pesto or the basil in a tube, two anchovies with the oil blotted off (or not), salt and pepper to taste. Mash it all together and if too thick just add a little water to thin it. If you must you can add a couple of drops of Stevia