Monday, July 30, 2012

Homemade Cordial....

We were gifted 2 big 20kg bags full of citrus fruit from the neighbours about a week ago so we've been cooking, juicing and eating some of the most delicious Mandarins and Lemons I've ever tasted - thank you Hanson Family!!!!

One of my favourite things to make with fresh citrus juice is Cordial... 
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We've made lemon cordial, mandarin cordial and even a lemon mandarin cordial combo (my fav!!!)...
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To make my version of 'Cordial' I start with a sugar syrup. To make a basic sugar syrup I bring 1 cup of water to the boil then add 1 cup of sugar - stir until all of the sugar is dissolved (about 2 mins).
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While my water is boiling for the sugar syrup I start juicing up approx 15 pieces of citrus fruit...
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I then add the hot sugar syrup to my juice, gradually tasting as I go until I'm happy with the sweetness (sometimes I use all of the syrup and sometimes I don't - depends on the fruit)...
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15 pieces of fruit mixed with desired amount of sugar syrup will usually fill up a 600ml sauce bottle... I mix the cordial up at a rate of 1 part cordial to 4 parts water... I find this Cordial lasts really well for approx 2 weeks in the fridge (it doesn't last any longer then that in my house - we drink it all)...

Because I love this Cordial in the heat of Summer the best I've juiced and frozen enough citrus fruit to make about 5 litres of Cordial - all I'll have to do is make my sugar syrup when our thirst for Citrus Cordial hits in Summer...

Do you make home-made Cordial??? What's your fav recipe?? 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Comforting....

We love our wood fire here and during the cooler months of the year it seems to smoulder 'round the clock... There's nothing quite as comforting as the warmth that fire and hot coals creates....

We have A LOT of timber on our farm but seen as though a trip over to the river to visit my Dad had been planned we decided to make it a family outing and filled up a truck full of wood to share. We spent the afternoon in good company splitting our mega load and topped it all of with a delicious BBQ dinner...

We were all as surprised as each other when this little critter was found inside a hollow log after splitting it....
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My girls thought it was fantastic and watched the little bat dart up and down its split log for a good hour before we decided to finally let it go back into to wild...
bat 3
Are you a wood cutter??? What kinds of critters (if any) have you found living inside your timber??

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Super Squishy

Following a great free pattern that I found on Ravelry the other day I knitted up a super squishy double wrapped cowl in just 1 evening....
Aquarello
The yarn I used was the new Malabrigo Aquarella - a delicious super bulky hand painted Merino Wool...
The pattern called for only 1 skein but I kept going until I'd knitted through 2. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Slashed Prices!!!

I'm so excited to finally get the chance to add some of my latest Malabrigo shipment to my Website this week and to celebrate I've slashed the prices on some old stock....

New Malabrigo Worsted
worsted 
Skein Silk Cashmere 65% OFF
silk 1 
Debbie Bliss Pure Silk 65% OFF
silk 2 
Skein Sock 60% OFF
sock
Pop on over to my SALE BIN to check out even more great savings before they all sell out...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Jumper for Millie...

I finished the jumper I started for Millie back here just over a week ago and its been worn everyday since....
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So far I'm loving this new (to me) Australian yarn and after several washes in the machine it seems to be holding up to the rough and ready lifestyle my knitting projects seemed destined for... I'm only experiencing a little bit of 'fluffing' on the surface of the jumper but have been assured that this will settle down in time....
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How do you treat your hand knits??? Do you always hand wash or are you open to chucking things in the washing machine??

Also, have you ever used Biggan Yarn - has it 'fluffed' for you??

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Winter

It's that time of year again - the wattle is out and its little balls of golden goodnes are being enjoyed by even the littlest members of my family this year.....
wattle
Old jars are being transformed into vases and adorning every room in the house which is bringing with it a hint that before too long Winter will be on its way out...

So today with a chill in the air and mud on our boots we cherished our morning Winter outing... There was fruit ready for picking, weeds that needed pulling, leaves to be raked, garden beds to be prep-ed and wood to be chopped....
lemonade
What are you doing in the fresh Winter's air today???

Friday, July 6, 2012

Enriching....

I spent the day in my Shop today - it was cold out and the air was fresh but in the confides of my little knitting shop I felt perfectly cosy...
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I was able to put the finishing touches on this pretty beret for a customer and start on a couple of other Orders which I've had in the pipe-line for the past couple of weeks....
I'm always filled with such inspiration after spending a full day in my Shop... The people that I'm blessed to encounter, engage my creative side which is truly invigorating.
By the end of a long day I do long for the comforts of my humble home - as I'm sure any Mother who works would. I miss the company of my girls and their Dad(Brad) but for 2 days a week it's my job to provide for my family away from the farm and venture into town...
Deep down I know that what I do is appreciated  and I really am so very lucky to be able to do something that enriches my soul the way that my little Shop does...

What enriches your soul??? 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Growing, Planning and Creating...

The steady rhythm of a midwinter's day for our family consists of juggling the time we spend inside and out. The air is cool and it can sometimes take some time to get just the right amount of 'wooly' layers on to face the Winter chill after starting our days in the warmth of a wood-fired home.....

We've been busily restocking our veggie plot this week with new lettuce, rocket, cabbage, more peas, and some broccoli in thus far... Have you been sprucing things up in your veggie garden??? 

I'm dreaming of starting a stone fruit orchard and would love some olive trees too. I currently only grow citrus fruit and 1 lonely apple tree. Do you have any stone fruit or olive trees in??? When is the best time to plant these trees? Should I buy bare-rooted or is potted better? Are there some trees that prefer to be with each other and some that prefer to live alone - like companion planting in the veggie plot??? I would really love some feedback... *^_^*

With the chill in the air it's only inevitable that at least 1 of us will be sporting a runny nose...
These days we opt for handmade hankies and make a conscious decision not to use disposable tissues in our home...
hankies
So with last years supply looking a little ragged I was blessed with an hour in my sewing room yesterday afternoon while the girls played happily at my feet...
I managed to make a total of 18 hankies and all it cost was a spool of thread (which I had in my stocks anyway).

I used 2 old flannel baby wraps that have been in my linen cupboard since Connie (now 6) was born. I cut each up into 9 square-ish shapes and seen as though my over locker is currently out of working order I simply zig-zaged round the edges to limit the fraying. These hankies are super soft and a dream to wipe your nose with.

Do you make your own hankies too or do you prefer to use tissues???

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Nourishing and Preparing....

This week I'm spending time Nourishing my soul with some knitting in the form of a seamless yoke jumper for my littlest girl, Millie..
I'm longing to complete one of these jumpers for each of my girls this Winter but with the days clicking away sooner than I anticipated maybe these Winter jumpers will be turning into Spring cover-ups instead....
seamless yoke 1
Both my girls have picked out their own colours for their jumpers and the yarn is a gorgeous Australian 8ply Merino X (in my Shop soon)...
The pattern is the ever popular jumper 'recipe' by the very talented Elizabeth Zimmerman. I love the book that this pattern is from, 'Knitting Without Tears', it has so many knitting purls of wisdom and I find myself referring to it often. This jumper is knit from the bottom up in one piece and there are NO SEAMS.

We are preparing for the huge spike in Energy prices here on the farm and trying hard to be more mindful of our usage... As of the 1st of July Energy prices across the board in Australia went up quite significantly - will this affect you????
We are usually pretty savvy power saving kind of people anyway but an increase is an increase and we sure aren't looking forward to this one! So we are changing a few things in our home and around the farm, hoping that we're not too affected by the increase.
Are you doing anything to help reduce your Energy Consumption and lower your every increasing Power Bill?

This week I've also been preparing a new family budget.
When it comes to feeding my family I try hard to produce as much of what we eat as I can, be it in the form of fresh eggs, vegetables, meat, cheese, baked goods, preserves etc...
Sometimes I don't always succeed, but I'm mindful of this and source as local a product as I can as a substitute.
Our weekly budget for feeding our family of 4 is $80. This is spent on re-stocking the pantry and fridge with staples such as flour, salt, sugar, vinegar, cream, milk (some milk I get from the farm but not all, yet), butter, hard cheese (I'm yet to master this) and any seasonal produce that I just can't grow.... 
 
Any money that is not spent from the $80 (which is usually between $20-$30) goes into an envelope and is placed in our safe to be saved up for when we need big ticket items - chook feed, bulk bread flour from the Mill, garden mulch, new seeds etc... 
I try and bake twice a week to feed my families sweet teeth. This week I've made caramel slice (DH's favourite), custard tart, orange slice cake (pictured below), and jam biscuits are to come... 
orange slice
I am mindful of what I am feeding my family everyday... There are times when processed, pre-packed items make their way onto the shelves of our pantry, but not often... I am still a long way from where I one day hope to be in the whole scheme of 'self-sufficientcy' but each and every small step which we make as a family towards this goal is a step in the right direction and I'm confident of that. 

What have you been Preparing for this Week???

Sunday, July 1, 2012

On My Table....

My cumquat tree is ladden with fruit and has been for a good 3 months.... A favourite way of preserving this bitter little mini mandarine looking fruit is to turn them into sweet little citrus balls of golden deliciousness....
cumquat 1
Preserved Cumquats are super easy to make and take no time at all... They taste delicious served on a plater with some good Blue Cheese, spooned over ice-cream or custard and the syrup is delicious poured over a freshly baked buter cake....
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Here's how I preserve my Cumquarts..... Simmer 1kg of cumquats in a pot of water for 15mins, drain. Make up a sugar syrup while the fruit drains like so; mix 1 cup of water with 600g of sugar and bring to the boil. Add the drained fruit to the sugar syrup and simmer for 20mins. Using tongs, stack the cumquats in sterelized jars until full, then top up jars with the syrup. These need to be stored in a dark cupboard or they will discolour. Preserved fruit will last for 6-12 months. I get 4x250ml size jars from 1kg of fruit.
The mood struck today to make a Spinach Pie.... We love these in our house, especially when they're made with home-made Ricotta....
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So while a fresh batch of Ricotta hung from the kitchen tap, draining, I went out to the garden and picked a big bunch of coloured chard (similar to silverbeet)....
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 After only 10mins hanging my Ricotta was ready,
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fresh and creamy and tasting better than anything you'll every buy in the Shop's!!!!
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So armed with freshly picked coloured chard, home-made cheese and a few other ingredients I made a Spinach Pie for lunch (which we finished off for tea)....
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Here's my recipe....
Spinach Pie
Big bunch of Coloured Chard/Spinach/Silverbeet, chopped.
1 onion diced
3 eggs
200g Ricotta
1/2 cups of Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper
Freshly Ground Nutmeg
And that's it!!!!
Heat the spinach in a pan until it is a 1/3 of its harvested size, put aside.
Saute onions, put aside.
Mix all other ingredients together in a large bowl, add the Spinach and onion, mix well.
Spoon mixute into a loaf style dish and bake at 190'C for 45mins.
If you feel like a little bit of a crunch use 10 sheets of buttered filo as a base for your pie.
This is great served cold with salad or even sliced thinly and used as a meat substitute on a salad sandwich for lunch is delicious!!! 

What have you been making today???

I'm Doing It Again....

Yes that's right, some more yarns been slashed and added to my SALE BIN!!!
sale 1 
This time I'm clearing out the remainder of my Malabrigo Lace to make way for some other new yarns soon to hit the shelves.....
sale 2 
Pop on over here for 50% OFF....
sale 3