Saturday, August 06, 2011

so how's the knitting going?????

Oh my!

Well that would be THE QUESTION really.

The Louise Harding cardi has been knitted... and partly sewn up... still a work in progress...

The Bear Jacket is having it's hood knitted and then just needs sewing up...

The Digger Jumper is still very much a work in progress...

But I am still in a holding pattern... I really really really need to finish some of these 12 UFOs. I keep buying yarn, and I have so many other projects planned, but I really can't embrace the joy of the new without completing something first.

The sad truth is that I have started two new knitted toys. Oh how guilty I feel... I don't have a clean conscience. What are they I hear you ask... why a wombat and a rocket... a very orange and lime green rocket...

The rocket pattern is from here. The wombat came as a Panda kit, which Mr S and I bought on a road trip to Beechworth earlier this year. We stopped in at the Wangaratta Woollen Mills Factory Shop on the way and bought some black mohair to make this (eventually) and the wombat.

I know what it looks like... but this really is a rocket under construction...

Helleborus orientalis

Winter in the garden is one of my favorite times. I think because so many plants are asleep, it can appear as if times are lean. I think that that focuses attention on any flowers, berries, coloured leaves or interesting shapes that are on display. Whether it is the architectural framework of a deciduous tree or the flowers from winter bulbs.

I have been enjoying Galanthus sp, Iris reticulata, species Hyacinth and various Narcissus hybrids.

But one of my favorites is the hellebore. I grow many different species, but the Helleborus orientalis hybrids are the most eye catching. I have been picking a few of the flowers and bringing them inside to float in bowls.
While many good varieties are now available, mine mostly came as plants from Ian Collier, Peter Leigh, Otto Fauser or from seed from Jim and Jenny Archibald and Blackthorn.

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Friday, August 05, 2011

Let them eat cake!

As a child I loved baking cakes, and as an adult I still enjoy it. There is something so nourishing to the soul about the process of creating a cake.

Over the last little while, I have gone cake mad... encouraged in part by Mr S, who it turns out loves to cook too.

I bought a startburst bundt tin from Target (of all places) for an extremely modest price. Certainly, if I compare the cost to some of the Nordic Ware tins, the price differential is staggering. While I love my daisy tin, I think the startburst is great too... even if it turns out not to have quite the longevity.

I used it to cook a Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake. The recipe comes from one of several new books I have. This one is called 'Mmmm... Chocolate'. Sadly there is no author credit, but this cake, using only 70g of butter and one egg (but real chocolate and cream) is moist and delicious!

I have always wanted to make a pineapple upside down cake. When I bought Nigella Lawson's 'Nigella Express' cookbook I had the right incentive. I have a rule that if I buy a cookbook or magazine, then I should be prepared to make at least one thing from it. I don't religiously stick to that rule (that's how you know it's a rule, right? cause it gets broken!!), but I'm glad I did. This cake is so so easy, not to mention delicious.

And finally, from the 'Bourke Street Bakery' by Paul Allam and David Mcguinness, a really scrummy chocolate cake, with a chocolate mouse filling. the cake itself has potato flour, sour cream, buttermilk as well as all the usual stuff. The book suggests piling raspberries and icing sugar on the top, but I iced it with chocolate ganache. Unbelievably good.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Continuing on my obsession with chocolate chip cookies.... I made several batches for Mr S' school carnival... which truth be told was a little while ago now. I am just catching up on my blogging... and this is when the pictures below were taken... but I made them again a few weekends ago and froze batches, which I am now baking as required for school lunches. I cooked one batch last Monday morning as I scooted around ironing clothes, making breakfast and generally doing the early morning panic thing. So so so so so good.

The recipe is so simple.

Mix 125g of softened butter and 1 1/4cups of brown sugar together. Stir in 1 egg and some vanilla essence. Sift in 1 1/2 cups of plain flour, 1/2 tspn of baking powder and mix to combine. Lastly mix in a bag of chocolate chips (the more the better... well pretty much...). Roll into balls and cook in a moderate oven for 10 - 15 mins.... Voila

PS - How do you like my mixing bowl... I have always always always wanted a set of these Mason Cash traditional English mixing bowls... and I finally splurged. There is a very sweet little shop in Mornington that sells them, along with many other delights.... cornish ware, Villoroy & Boch... mmmmmmm...