Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas Countdown

Presents to crochet: 6 (two being made up of 5 separate things, two others being made up of 2 separate things)
In Progress: 1
Still to Start: 5
Finished: 0

State of Mind: slightly in denial.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lest We Forget

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Introductions Must Be Made

Hey Y'all!

I just wanted to drop a line and let you know of a new project I have started up to fill in my free time.

The idea came to me when I was trying to think of stuff I know about. I realised that even though I have lived in Tasmania my whole life I really don't know it very well. So I have started up a blog that has the purpose of exploring Tassie, and finding out all sorts of interesting things! There are photos, and there will be history and literature too. Of course, I am open to people's suggestions... what would you like to know about Tasmania?

Please check it out!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Post For Meika

Dear Meika,

I thought you might appreciate some of these.

Kathy xx


WHAT’S the difference between a mother-in-law and a vulture?
The vulture waits until you’re dead before it eats your heart out.

TWO cannibals were sitting down eating lunch.
One says to the other: “You know, I just can’t stand my mother-in-law.”
The other replies: “Just put her to the side and eat the mash.”

LAST week my wife and I went to buy a car and the salesman asked if I wanted an airbag. I said: “No thanks. I already have a mother-in-law.”

I HAVEN’T spoken to my mother-in-law for 18 months ? I don’t like to interrupt her.

AN anagram of mother-in-law is "woman Hitler".

A MAN finds a lamp, rubs it, and a genie appears. The genie tells the man he may have two wishes ? but whatever he gets, his mother-in-law will get double. The man thinks for a while and says: “First I’d like a million Pounds. Then beat me half to death.”

WHAT’S the punishment for bigamy? Two mothers-in-law.

The mother-in-law stopped unexpectedly by the recently married couple's house. She rang the doorbell and stepped into the house. She saw her daughter-in-law standing naked by the door.

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"I'm waiting for my husband to come home from work.," the daughter-in-law answered.

"But you're NAKED!" the mother-in-law exclaimed.

"This is my Love Dress." the daughter-in-law explained.

"Love Dress? But you're naked!"

"My husband loves me to wear this dress! It makes him happy and it makes me happy. I would appreciate it if you would leave because he will be home from work any minute." The mother-in-law was tired of all this romantic talk and left.

On the way home she thought about the Love Dress. When she got home she got undressed, showered, put on her best perfume and waited by the front door.

Finally her husband got home. He walked in and saw her standing naked by the door.

"What are you doing?" He exclaimed.

"This is My Love Dress." She replied.

"Needs ironing." he said.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Post for Sharon

Dear Sharon,

This post is especially for you, mostly to say "hi". So, hi, how are you? I'm glad you liked the kiwi fruit jam. It's Julian's favourite. The other day I saw a snow tiger... no, a white leopard - wait, that's still not right! Oh, I remember now, a white rabbit! It was gorgeous! I wanted to pick it up and cuddle it and love it forever.*

I have enclosed some photos of yarn related things I been doing lately. I thought you might like to see them.
A cardigan for me...

And one for Annabella too!

Some hand-dyed wool.

Some more hand dyed wool!

Detail of a crocheted blanket, a birthday present for my bro-in-law's wedding.

Slippers, being worn as I type!

Thank you for being so encouraging. Keep smiling. Keep making cheesecakes too!

Much love,

*Okay, I didn't really see a white rabbit... but I would have fallen in love with one if it did happen to hop across my path. I didn't see a snow leopard either.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pajama Time!

It is pajama making time!

Sew, Mama, Sew is hosting a pajama party sew-along (brought to my attention by my SIL).

Seeing as it is heading into summer down here in Tasmania (hopefully anyway...) I'm planning on making a summer nightie from some lovely pillowcases I got for a couple of dollars at a Salvation Army thrift store. Julian would also like some pajama pants, so I might try my hand at that too... and there is a silk nightie in Simple and Chick Sewing which I would love to make - out of silk of course!

It should be fun! Productive too... which will be good!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chocolate and Pear Muffins: Recipe Card

Remember me telling you that I was featured on Key Ingredient (just a couple of posts ago...)? Well, here is a recipe card for it. Clicking on "Print" will take you to an easy-to-print version of the recipe. Or so I have been told ;-P

Chocolate and Pear Muffins

Muffins flavoured with pear puree, and with a dark chocolate ...

See Chocolate and Pear Muffins on Key Ingredient.

(Please note, I have also added this to my original blog about these muffins.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Grapefruit Marmalade

(I have made marmalade before, but that was orange and lemon stuff. This lot is grapefruit.)

I have never bought a grapefruit before. I have never tasted it by itself either--part of a mocktail doen't really count, in my opinion. The other day, though, I bought four (YES, FOUR) grapefruits in preperation for a marmalade making frenzy... I ate one at 4:30am the other morning because I couldn't sleep... that left three... that was okay, as I only needed two... for this Grapefruit Marmalade recipe.

The great thing about this recipe is that it is done over two days, which means you can do the first bit in the evening, and the second bit the next morning, rather that have your whole day taken up.

Here is my take on the recipe: I cut up my fruit differently, and I also used an extra cup of sugar. I also don't worry about the waterbath. Scroll down to see how I sterilize jars.


2 large, thick-skinned grapefruits.
1 large, thick-skinned lemon.
2 cups of water.
5 cups of white sugar.

1. Peel the fruit. Remove the fleshy white stuff from the peel, so only the peel and pith remain. Slice into thin strips (as thin as you can easity cut), any length you like. Mine varied from 3/4 inch to 1.5 inches.

2. Cut the flesh of the fruit into chunks (or do what I did due to the bitterness of the grapefruit membranes: tear the fruit apart with your fingers, getting all the flesh away from the membranes). Into a large saucepan put the flesh, the sliced rind and the 2 cups of water. Simmer for 10minutes over medium heat.

3. Take of the heat, cover, and leave overnight.

4. The next day, add the 5 cups of sugar to the fruit mix, and put it over moderate heat. Bring to the boil, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved. Using a candy thermometer* continue to boil the mixture until it reaches between 218F and 220F (104C to 105C). Take off the heat, skim off the scum (say "skim off the scum" outloud ten times) and ladle into sterilized jars. Put the lids on.

5. Turn the jars upside down for at least 10 minutes, before turning the right way up again. Use a damp cloth to clean the jars. Lable the jars, remembering to put on the date. If it MUST be used within a few weeks (i.e. if a jar did not seal properly) make a note of that on the ladel too.

You will notice that the original recipe says to process it in a water bath, and advises that you eat the marmalade within 3 weeks if you do not do this. I reckon the marmalade should be fine to keep for months so long as it is in sterilized jars.


1. Heat oven to 120C (250F).
2. Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water.
3. Rinse the jars under hot water. Do not dry them.
4. Put a clean teatowel in an oven tray (one with sides, as might be used for a slice): make sure that the teatowel goes up the sides too.
5. Put the rinsed jars on the teatowel, and put the tray with the teatowel and jars in the oven. Leave it in there for at least 10 minutes, getting it out just before the jam/marmalade is ready.

I have used this method for all my jams and marmalades, and have not had any problems.

Here is my cat licking his nose... so cute!!!

*Candy thermometres aren't very expensive to buy. Mine is quite a nice one and it was only about $15 (AU).

Friday, June 5, 2009

I was featured on Key Ingredient!

Do you remember these chocolate and pear muffins?

Sophie, the chief blogger from Key Ingredient, came across them a while back (last October, I think) and now they have been featured on the Key Ingredient blog. Have a look and see what Sophie has to say about them!

Better yet, make some and have a taste :-)

Pears are in season now, after all... and chocolate is available all year!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What I Made for My Mummy

I have never made a mother's day present for my mum before. But now she is off travelling around Australia with my dad and my 14-year-old-brother-who-is-over-6-foot-tall (that's how I think of him. I'm not tall, I'm 5'6" or something normal). Because I miss her, I made her a present: fabric bookmarks! I was inspired by this post which is also where the "instructions" also were. I have instructions in thingy marks because they are more of a guide to the process.

Here's a pic for you to check out:
Happy mother's day!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chocolate and Apricot Hot Cross Buns

These hot cross buns are very good, even after spending nearly an hour on this post due to blogger being uncooperative! I found the recipe here but changed it quite a bit. I added chocolate! And apricots! And lemon! And I took out some of their ingredients, such as candied orange peel, orange juice and sultanas. The chocolate bits melt through the dough as you are kneading, making it a lovely dark colour.Instead of making flour paste crosses, I used lemon icing and did the crosses as the final step. This tastes divine (which is appropriate for Easter) and uses the rest of the lemon that provided the rind. Nice and thrifty! (Btw, thrifty has a lovely meaning: careful and diligent. Much nicer than 'frugal'.) Here is the recipe, changed to how I did it (if you want the original recipe, click the link above).

Chocolate and Apricot Hot Cross Buns
Serves 16

5 cups plain flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tspn dried yeast
1 tspn allspice
1/2 tspn cinnamon
250g chocolate chips (I used an equal amount of milk and dark choc)
100g dried apricots, finely chopped
1 lemon, rind only (save the juice for the icing)
300ml milk
100g butter, chopped
1 egg

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tspn allspice
1/4 cup water

Icing for Crosses
1 Tbspn lemon juice
1/4 cup icing sugar

1. Combine flour, sugar, yeast, spices, chocolate, apricot and lemon rind in a large bow.
2. Gently warm milk and butter over a low heat until butter melts and mixture is tepid. Add the egg to the mixture and whick until smooth.
3. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, add milk mixture and stir together.
4. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth.
5. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
6. Knock back dough and divide into 16 equal pieces. Knead each piece into a ball, place on a lightly greased tray, cover, and leave until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
7. Heat oven to 220C. Bake buns for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 200C and bake a further 10 minutes or until golden. (They are ready when they sound hollow when tapped).

Combine ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Brush glaze over hot buns.

Combine ingredients and mix with a knife until smooth. The icing should be of a runny consistency. Put icing in a piping bag (or a plastic sandwich bag with the corner cut off - cut off the corner after the icing is in the bag) and make crosses on the buns.

Transfer the buns to a wire rack to cook. Or just start eating them... Your choice!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Strawberry Jam - Drought Friendly!!!

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Strawberry Jam with lots of lumps! My husband is in heaven!
I have made jam quite a few times, but I have never made it without adding water. Well, I am a convert to this method - so easy and so tasty! But what about the water? When you add the sugar to the strawberries and leave it to sit a little while the sugar draws out the water contained in the strawberries - it's an awsome little process called osmosis (this is one of the only things I remember from year 12 biology). You can find the recipe and many others that centre on strawberries here.
A shot of all the water that has been drawn out of the berries.

Just make sure that you use a 1:1 ratio of strawberries and sugar and add some lemon juice or fruit pectin (e.g. Jamsetta) and you are ready to go. The recipe below uses a kilo of sugar and a kilo of strawberries, but when I made it the other day I used 55og strawberries and 500g sugar. You can add less sugar, but sugar is needed for its preserving qualities. Using a 1:1 ratio will mean that this jam will store for at least a year (though I doubt it will last that long!).


1kg Strawberries, chopped into small pieces.
1kg Sugar
Juice of 2 lemons or a packet of fruit pectin

Put the strawberry pieces into a bowl together with sugar and fruit pectin/lemon juice.

Leave the bowl (covered with a towel) in a cool place til the next day (if you are strapped for time, 1 or 2 hours should be sufficient). Stir once in a while.

Boil mixture then simmer for 5 - 10 minutes. Stir frequently. When finished take off the foamy top layer of the mixture.

To test the jam to see if it will set, put a teaspoon of the hot mixture onto a cold plate, if it gels, the jam is ready.

Pour the hot strawberry jam in hot sterilized jars.* Make sure to fill it up to the top. Clean the jars with a damp towel. Close tightly. After 10 minutes turn around and place jars on the lid. Let cool down, turn around again and store.

This would probably make about 4 medium jars of jam. Sterilize 6 to be on the safe side!

*To sterilize jars: wash in hot soapy water; rinse, put in oven heated to 110C - 120C for at least 10min; after 10min turn the oven off but leave the jars in there to keep them hot until you are ready to fill them up.

Sorry about the reflection... but you get the idea: JAM!!!

Interested in making your own laundry detergent? Check out this post from my other blog, Purify.