Tuesday, 26 February 2013

apple preserving.

the little apple tree's branches are laden. the small, tart fruit perfect for cooking.
i made an apple jelly.
i didn't use a recipe as such.

filled the stock pot full of halved fruit (skin, seeds and all)
added water to the top.
boiled until fruit are soft
strain fruit and liquid through a colander with a layer of muslin cloth.
measure strained liquid, add sugar nearly cup for cup. and the juice of 2-3 lemons
stir until sugar dissolves over a high heat. boil until volume nearly halves and it turns this lovely shade of red (skim off any scum that forms on top)
add half a packet (25g) of Jam setta. mixing in well (after the first batch failed to set at all the addition of pectin worked a treat)
test regularly for setting by placing a small spoonful on a saucer that has been in the freezer
it is done when it wrinkles on top.
pour into hot sterilised jars and seal.

perfect spread on a slice of apricot and sultana bread (an addition to Hugh's soda bread recipe).

one thing i've learnt with jam making is the big difference in the volume of the finished product. a whole pot of fruit results in just a couple of jars of preserve. i can see the reason why such large stockpots are needed to make the preserving time worthwhile.

so i can now tick jam making off the simple living/food preserving/homemade list, at least for a couple of months.

one thing i am struggling with though is homemade yoghurt. we've attempted it 3 times now (using Hugh's recipe) in the Thermos and no luck with it setting. it just comes out like yoghurt tasting milk. (which hasn't been wasted as it's perfect for bread making).
any yoghurt making tips for me?

Sunday, 24 February 2013

stills: home and garden

1. the latest op-shop find. this little fan ($3)
2. library reading
3. the top drawer
4. growing up as a dairy farm cat, she is very much liking the inside house-cat lifestyle
5. front verandah
6. the neglected rose bush doesn't seem to mind the lack of attention
7 & 8. seedlings for autumn planting: basil and peas. beetroot, spring onions, nasturtiums and marigolds

Sunday, 17 February 2013


1. poppy Johnson designs. my current favourites
2. new plantings. thyme
3. this little fellow was found scuttling across the lounge room floor
4. ready to plant. mushroom plant and lemon grass
5. seeds into the new vegie garden beds
6. thrifted LGBs
7. hanging up bunting wherever i can

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

tea towel it

after not finding any tea towels for weeks, this changed and on Saturday i scored these lovely few (& a tablecloth that snuck in too). 50c-$1 each.
all just part of op-shopping i guess. nothing to add to the collection for weeks, sometimes even months then when you have almost given up, you'll find those treasured pieces on every shelf, in every op-shop.

planning a little op-shopping adventure for tomorrow to new and undiscovered shops.
there's coconut banana cake and another soda bread loaf for a picnic lunch too.
my other half sure knows the way to this op-shoppers heart.

Monday, 11 February 2013

soda bread

i awoke this morning to the aroma of baking.
freshly baked bread was on the menu.
a rustic loaf of Hugh's soda bread handmade by the fiance.
to become a daily ritual. a delicious one at that.
enjoyed warm with butter and a dollop of jam.

sift 500g flour (any type you please), 2 teaspoons bi-carb soda and a teaspoon of salt into a large mixing bowl. (add a handful of seeds for a seeded loaf). add 400ml of natural yoghurt (or buttermilk). bring together with your hands. turn sticky dough onto a floured surface and gently shape into a ball. transfer onto a lined and flour dusted baking tray. score the surface, add a sprinkle of oats and bake at 200 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Sunday, 10 February 2013


atop the dresser
$5 artwork at a garage sale yesterday
gifted Carlton ware
apparently this is the best spot to catch an afternoon breeze
blueberry topped cheesecake
that turned into a breakfast treat
another thrifted linen being repurposed. this time a sheet into kitchen curtains
a weekly collection of stills captured. showcased at the beetle shack

Thursday, 7 February 2013

before & after. 1 of 2

a quick browse through Vinnies and I found these two little foot stools.
marked $3 each I scored the two for the even more bargain price of $5.
the attractive old mustard vinyl was removed quick smart.
the op-shopped tea towel didn't require any cutting so it was much easier to repurpose it. (as many of you vintage linen collectors know, cutting into the stash can be a struggle)
woollen blanket off cuts were used as padding and the tea towel was attached with the staple gun.
now to decide if those legs should be painted. and what colour?
plus i've got the other one to makeover too.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

op-shop rummage

a lovely little church op-shop that opens one day a week saw us come home with a suitcase full of treasures all for a total of $5. and after rummaging through all the little rooms filled with boxes and cluttered shelves.. a lovely little morning tea with homemade slice and cake.

new Johnson designs
milk glass
and another vintage case