Monday, 30 July 2012

Loving.... Grateful..... My baby turns 1

So much to love and be grateful for.
One year ago our life changed and became so much richer with the arrival of our beautiful little boy, Cohen. It has been a year of pure joy and love, frustration, delight, sleeplessness nights, tears and cuddles. It has been an amazing journey and i am so grateful for every moment.

Those beautiful blue eyes and cheeky grin really brighten my day. I often wonder what i used to do with my time, everything seems so much more precious and meaningful these days. Right i'm off to sort through the party pictures from yesterday. I'll see you all tomorrow with a few favourite pics.
Take care everyone. xx

Friday, 27 July 2012

2 days to go!

This week in the lead up to the little man's first birthday everything seems to be floating by. Things to buy, stock the cupboards, baking and sewing have all been keeping me busy. Tonight more family arrives and it will be time to relax back with family and enjoy the upcoming party on Sunday.

There will be lots to show you after the big day has passed, so i'll see you all in a few days when things have slowed down.

Have a great weekend everyone, so excited! party!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Beer bread 2.0

I had a great blog post all planned about beer bread to post last night. The dough looked so delicious and bubbly but it came out of the oven like a rock. lol gotta love that. I figured it wouldn't be a very inspirational post so today i made beer bread 2.0. Although i'm not sure what went wrong with the first loaf i did get some advice from the resident beer expert. And when i say expert i don't say that lightly if there is anything this man doesn't know about beer and it's flavour and character notes it's not worth knowing. He takes his beer very seriously!

So today with some advice about beer types i made another loaf, this time with a sparkling ale which apparently will add more malty flavours and give the bread more depth. Gotta love that man, we're a great team.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C 
Into a bowl goes 
450g wholemeal flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 t honey
350ml beer ( a stronger beer like an ale is best) 
Mix together to a soft dough

Grease a bread pan or loaf tin. I'm lucky enough to have this terracotta bread basin my mum bought me a few years ago. It's made by the local potters where she lives.

In goes the dough.

The whole lot then goes unto the oven, hmm yours might be slightly cleaner than mine. Good thing Dad is coming for a visit. Have i ever mentioned how my Dad, along with being a Jack of all trades, is the ultimate oven cleaner?

Cook for 40mins and allow to cool slightly in the pan.

Turn out onto a cooling rack to cool fully. I love that perfect roundness the bread basin gives.

Kinda looks like a giant muffin.

This malty loaf is perfect with cheese and pickles and went well with some leftover onion soup i found in the freezer. Perfect for cold, sick days at home.

Take care people.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Loving... Grateful....

My Monday night ritual to reset and start the week in a good place.

~ The crafty preparations leading up to the big 1st birthday this weekend.

Grateful ......
~ for the time and space to make my little man's first birthday special.
~ for the childlike glee i feel working with these bright, happy colours
~ for delicious cakes
~ for my sewing circle
~ for hot soups on cold days
~ for quiet moments in these wet months
~ for loud moments as the little man finds his voice

Peace and calm.
Take care people

Friday, 20 July 2012

My friend broccoli

I never cease to be amazed at what can entertain a small child. Today it was broccoli that kept my little one entertained for half an hour. First he had a long chat with the broccoli, talking about the woes of the world i'm sure. Then the broccoli got a little de-leafing haircut and finally he had a bit of a chew before deciding other things were more interesting. It really was the cutest thing though.

On other fronts it's always nice when someone posts a recipe on their blog of the very thing you have been thinking of baking. So tonight for craft group i whipped up this banana cake from cityhippyfarmgirl as a practice run for the birthday next week. Some banana cakes in the past have tended to be a bit dry but not this one, it was perfect - moist and flavoursome. 

Thanks Cityhippyfarmgirl!! Most appreciated. xxx

Thursday, 19 July 2012


House tidied, washing on, baby sleeping, dinner done, dishes washed and batches of cookies in the oven. Definitely time for a hot cocoa and maybe one of those cookies. You know, just to make sure they're not bad or anything.....

Chocolate drop cookies

200g butter
8 T sugar
4 T golden syrup (or condensed milk)
3 C flour
4 t baking powder
chocolate drops ( as many or as few as you like.)

Cream together butter and sugar. Mix in the golden syrup (or condensed milk). Add in the dry ingredients and the chocolate drops and mix to a firm dough.

Roll into balls and put on a baking tray. Flatten with a fork.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 mins until just lightly golden.

Makes about 24 cookies

The great thing about this recipe is because it is so basic you can mix and match a bit with chocolate, dried fruit and nuts to suit what you have in the cupboard.

Enjoy. xxx

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Fuzzy bunny cheese

Cheese making is a rather odd process when you think about it. You create this milk based product, press it into a round cheese shape and then stick it in your wardrobe (and in the case of camembert) wait excitedly for it to grow mould. I can't think of a single other time where this would happen. Certainly as a student mould didn't cause this degree of excitement and there was a lot of it in those days.......

Anyway, As you can see the camembert is progressing well and the white mould has been growing over the surface. There was a small hiccup when the cheese on the right grew a small ammount of blue mould and we thought it was ruined, but no apparently this is common and you just scrape it off and wait for the white mould to grow over the scraped areas.

Told you it was weird! So hopefully in a few more days we will have fluffy bunny fuzz camembert's all ready for wrapping and ageing. In the meantime i thought i might whip up some quark for some instant gratification.

Take care people

Sunday, 15 July 2012


Sometimes i seem to finish the weekend more tired than i started. This weekend was filled with 
and a little bit of quilt shopping.
I feel like i need another weekend to recover from it all. I did manage to fit in a nice relaxing hot bath this afternoon and finished my day with this....

Crispy topped, tender pork belly with roasted vege salad topped with feta cooked by the better half. It was delicious, that man can really cook!


Friday, 13 July 2012

Sunshine and crafting

It was a lovely day here today with even the sun trying to make an appearance for a good part of the day. My little man and i had a good morning cruising round the house completing our usual cleaning routine with some breaks for books and playing along the way. We recently cleaned out our conservatory and now have the perfect sheltered sunny spot to read books and play during these cold winter days.
Once the work was done it was off to share lunch with a friend and her little girl and let the kids play the day away.
Isn't it great when a day comes together and you get a chance to really catch up with a friend you haven't seen in a while and just take a breath and relax. It was very much needed. So after my good day and a VERY rare late afternoon nap i was ready to do a bit of crafting tonight.
For those who have been reading for awhile you will know i've been working on a block of the month quilt project - Chestnut and Vines. The last month's package was sitting waiting for me when i got back from holiday so i spent tonight cutting up the fabric ready for finishing.

It's always exciting being this close to finishing off a big project. During the cutting i realised i seem to be slightly short of one fabric which bought the nights work to an early end. I can't say i'm sad to have to take a trip to the quilting shop though! While i'm there i can pick out some backing fabric. Check out the samples they sent me to choose from, aren't they lovely? I'm leaning towards the chocolate vine pattern, so luscious!
Not long now till i can reveal the finished quilt top, watch this space!
Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Peach muffins with butterscotch sauce

I've been baking up a storm here this week again with ginger kisses, pinwheel biscuits and today a fresh batch of my favourite peach muffins with butterscotch sauce for my antenatal group catch up. Due to a missing camera battery charger and a dead battery i'm a bit short on photo's for this recipe.
Luckily i was able to save a muffin and charge the battery to show you the finished product.

Peach muffins with butterscotch

3 C flour
1 t baking soda
1/2t salt
1 C sugar
1/2C sultana

1 tin peaches -chopped
125g butter - melted
2 large eggs 
1/2 peach juice (save from tin)
1/2 t vanilla essence
1/4 -1/2 C milk

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
In a separate bowl mix the peaches, butter, eggs, juice, vanilla and milk. 
Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add a little more milk if needed - it will be a slightly thicker muffin mix than usual.
Spoon into a muffin try and bake at 220 degrees C for 10-15mins.
This recipe makes 18- 20 muffins.

Butterscotch sauce

In a pot combine 
25g butter and
1/4 C brown sugar
Until melted and mixed.
Remove from heat and mix in
1/4 C sour cream 

Now spoon onto the top of the still warm muffins.

Yes they taste as good as they look and were popular with the mums and babies alike.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Loving... Grateful...

My Monday night ritual to reset and start the week in a good place.

~ online grocery shopping and fresh veges from the local green grocer.

~ for not having to leave my warm house on this freezing night to do the grocery shopping.
~ for a tidy, reorganised conservatory which allows extra space and a bit of sunlight for me and the little man during winter.
~ for holidays
~ and excited to be celebrating my little man's first year soon.
~ for family and unexpected visits.

I hope where ever you are tonight is warm and toasty, brrrrr it's cold here.


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Cheese in progress

Among the many other things we decided to do on holiday we thought it was time to try our hand at cheesemaking. My partner and i have been talking about trying it for ages but had never got around to it. As we hiked the hills of marlborough in the first week of the holidays and planned for the second half the idea of cheesemaking came back to us.
So on our return home we decided to pick up a cheesemaking kit and give it a go. The decision of what type to make lead to the decision to buy a kit that could be added to, to make a variety of fresh and aged cheeses.
First up we made some camembert.

Heating the milk and adding the cultures

Let the milk sit in a warm spot to make the curd.

Just after cutting and stirring the curd.

Scoop the curd into the moulds and leave to settle.

After an hour the camembert is ready for flipping to help the whey drain evenly.
So now we just have to wait for the cheese to mature, flipping it every few days while it matures and in a few weeks we will hopefully have some beautiful camembert to eat.
I also made some ricotta from the leftover whey and we also have some feta on the go too. Hopefully in a few days we will be having some feta salads with our dinner. Yum.


Saturday, 7 July 2012


I am ridiculously pleased with myself about my first crochet project. I've only ever made practice squares, which occasionally mysteriously became triangles. So for my first project i could have made a scarf, a peggy square blanket or a hat but why would i make those when i could make this.

Ah the adorableness. And ever so practical, or at least it will be once i make it into a brooch. I came across this amazing website skip to my lou, a craft lovers haven it had an article featuring the 10 most beautiful crochet flower patterns and i just couldn't resist. The instructions were super easy and this was my second attempt, the first wasn't too bad either but the shape wasn't quite right. It was also my first time reading a crochet pattern and thanks to my friend Laura giving me impromptu instructions as i went and crochet kittens easy stitch library instructions filling in the gaps, it actually turned into a flower, miracle!! So quick and so much fun, i'll be making a lot more of these and some of the other patterns soon.

I seem to be in the middle of a craft boom at the moment, i have so much on the go - i'm knitted a vest, finishing a quilt top, unpicking and altering another quilt top ready for quilting, making some bunting for the little boy's 1st birthday, and finishing up a few presents. So there will hopefully be a lot of new finished things to see here soon.
Heres a snippet of a gift in progress that has kept me busy tonight.

And i couldn't resist sharing a photo of my little helper.

Have a great weekend everyone, may your days be filled with loved ones and crafts!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Holiday in pictures - part 2

Images from the winery tour in the coromandel.
Spy valley
A beautiful stopover in Havelock and a walk above pelorus sounds.
Lamb feeding was a highlight for the little man, as was a visit to the chickens.
A very frosty morning in Havelock makes for beautiful pictures.


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Holiday in pictures -part one

From Nelson to Blenheim.
~ Packing, my little helper
~ A trip to the world of wearable arts museum ( unfortunately you can't take photos inside but google it, it's worth a look)
~ Mists on the hills above Nelson
~ On route
~ The beautiful B and B we stayed at
~ The beginning of our winery tour - Wither hills