Saturday, May 28, 2011

Harvests and Hearts

I made a wee surprise for my big girl last night - a row of hearts to wake up to under her name above her bed. That sure put a smile on her face.

We've had a busy day with Netball and then we decided to harvest this years Macadamia harvest. Well we got one tree half done, with a huge amount of nuts harvested with another tree still to do (we have two big trees). Wonder where we will store them all to dry?
I knew it would be a good harvest with the amount of blooms on there at the start of summer!
Nothing like a bit of child labour to help around the farm ;)

We've had a bit of fun op shopping (charity shopping) to find a couple of outfits for a 70's party in a few weeks - loving what I found for me! I think I'll crochet a headband to go with it.

I've taken the dress up to be a bit of a mini, and worn with knee high boots it'll be fabulous. The jacket is more Turquoise than it looks here, just gorgeous to wear for non dress-up too.

The Chief is making Cider with the last of our apples, lots of frothy mixture fermenting away in the laundry now. We'll bottle it next week and put it away for a few months. I'm not much of a cider drinker but I love it in cooking!
Loving the Orange Pokers (Torch Lillies) in front of the Barn

Have a happy weekend everyone xx K

Saturday, May 21, 2011

(Almost) Winter warmers

It's the first slightly chillier weekend here, so I was really pleased to have finished my Cowl (based on crochet-lacy-scarf by Lion Brand Yarn) to wear while watching my eldest play Netball this morning. I wanted a looser Cowl style but a more vintage look to it so this scarf pattern was a pretty good fit and I just continued until it was the right length then joined at the back. Very happy with it, its so snuggly and soft in Harmony 100% Merino wool.

I've also crocheted a flower for this dress (Tikki Rainbow Dress) that I made last year. I knitted it for my youngest daughter but being the tomboy that she is she won't wear it - argh!!! So I thought a wee flower will jazz it up and then maybe I'll think about selling it (if I can bear to let it go as I LOVE it).... 

Anyway off to make some soup now. That's one real good part of colder weather.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Super harvest

I found these fabulous vintage crochet books in a secondhand shop and I had to get them. I have a 70's party to go to in a few weeks and there are a few goodies in there that will be perfect accessories. I love the slouch beanie on the front cover and the cushion would be perfect for the caravan!

I've been doing a few more hats too, I just can't get enough of this pattern (McKinleys Springtime Hat again as per previous posts)

My book group (really an excuse for a group of school Mums to get together for a glass - or two - of wine each month and look semi intelligent about books) is doing New Zealand Authors this month and I have to say it's been one of the best topics/styles/Authors we have done. I was already a fan of a few NZ authors (Nicky Pellegrino, Deborah Challinor etc) but I currently have 3 that I'm reading(see the photo above) and I'm loving each and every one of them in different ways

Now I have a new favourite vegetable - Jerusalem Artichokes. I planted three plants (replanted tubers from last years meagre harvest) and I harvested this years crop today (with the help of a amazed 3 1/2 year old). I can't believe the amount and the size of them. I'll cook up half of them and replant the other half - I think I will have to invest in a stall at the farmers market next May to sell some of them off as I will never get through as many as that will produce.

I made a beautful Spiced Jerusalem Artichoke Soup tonight from Choosy Beggars  - divine!!!  (my photo didn't turn out so you will have to check out the one from there as it did look pretty similar).

But the task of peeling the knobbly little suckers though - urgh!!!!

We have a bit of a glut of apples too, so we are having lots of apple sponges, apple cakes and I'm making plenty of applesauce to store away for winter.

Spiced Apple Cake
Well hope you all have a lovely start to the new week xxx K

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

It's Mothers Day here, I hope all you wonderful Mum's out there are having a lovely day. I'm up with the girls as The Chief worked last night, but they are being so delightful that it's fine with me (I'm not a breakfast in bed kind of person anyway). Plus I'm off away with some friends this morning for a girlie afternoon of shopping in Auckland and a show tonight. I find that the best way to celebrate Mothers Day - with some time out.

Have a lovely day all xxx

Monday, May 2, 2011

Good things

I thought I'd share a few of my vintage china pieces, just because I like them. I was dusting around them today and thought what a great chance to get them down and appreciate them for a few minutes. 

I've never discovered Quinces until a trip down the Island to my parents. They have a laden tree, and I had some yummy Quince Jelly and Quince paste that Mum made so I squirreled a few away and got preserving once we got home again. I chose to make mine in the slow cooker, mainly as with two smaller children around I can't spend all day stirring a pot on the stove and also because I can't stand the sugar splatter mess. This was was just so easy... Cook the quinces skin and all for about two hours, cool slightly then peel the skin off and cut out the cores (pretty mushy so it's more like extract the cores). Then measure the amount of fruit pulp and add an equal amount of sugar. Cook away in the slow cooker again until a deep change in colour (about 3-4 hours later). I then spooned into muffin tins and left to set. Serve with cheese and crackers. Amazing!!! I've frozen most of the portions. So so divine.

I've also been busy hooking a few more hats for my girls and one for a gift. Using the McKinleys Springtime Hat as I have used before, with a few tweaks to make it suit my style.

Caramello Brownie

Easy to make, and awfully good, lovers of the chocolate caramel combo will go weak at the knees. Serve cold as a sweet treat or warmed with ice cream as an after dinner delight.

150 g butter
3 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
150 g dark chocolate
¼ cup cocoa
¾ cup flour
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the caramel
55 g butter
3/4 cup condensed milk
1 tbsp golden syrup

Preheat oven to 180°
Line a sponge roll tin with non stick baking paper.
In a medium saucepan melt 150 g butter. Stir in the sugar then remove from the heat and add the chocolate and vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time then sift in the flour and cocoa mixing well after each addition.
In a small saucepan melt the 55 g butter with the condensed milk and syrup. When melted and combined remove from the heat and pour into a jug.
Pour some of the chocolate mixture into a greased sponge roll tin then alternately pour in some of the caramel mixture, so the two are randomly spread about the tin. Use a meat skewer to swirl the caramel into the chocolate mix.
Bake at 180° for around 30 minutes. A knife inserted into the cake should come out clean but the texture should still be slightly fudgey. Allow to cool before cutting.

My girls have little colds at the moment, and my throat started to scratch a bit today so I made a hot herbal tea of Basil, Sage and Lemon Balm. All those Anti bacterial/Antiseptic properties in those herbs should knock any germs out, plus it tasted yum too.

 Have a lovely evening xxxx