Monday, 12 January 2015

Too Much River Cottage..?!

Well I'm not sure if there is any such thing... but when you find yourself baking bread and ordering elderberry plants on the internet, one really has to ask the question! We already grow all our herbs and now tomatoes, next year we will try more food in our very small space. We also compost everything from coffee grinds to vegetable peelings and have cut our meat consumption in half.

The bread is going ok, my best bakes had the paper stuck to it, I think because it was the cheap stuff? and the loaf I thought was really going to work I forgot to slice the top so it didn't rise properly, but it was nice none the less, kinda like sour dough... So I've bought the River cottage bread book and swapped baking paper for semolina and bought a silicon loaf baking thing. My next loaf is rising now, so fingers crossed. 



and I'm really excited about the Elderberry!! Apparently I'll need to keep it in a pot to stop it getting out of control, but that just means theres a good chance it'll grow like a weed and I'll be making Elderflower cordial and maybe even champagne next year!!




And of course I couldn't resist buying another couple of plants, after all, it was the same postage for up to 3 plants...


Now, where am I going to put the chickens...?!



Saturday, 3 January 2015

Healthier lollies after some practice

So I've had a few goes at the gummy lollies now - afterall, I have a whole container of gelatin!

Here are my finding:


Maple syrup has the most sweetness and flavour for the quantity, and it's paleo for those who prefer.

Coconut sugar is also great but turns lighter coloured gummies caramel coloured.

Frozen berries make great lollies

If I put in vanilla I only put a couple of drops, we don't need it.

The gelatin must go into cold liquid...

Lime lollies are like sour gummies and awesome!!

It's all about the presentation, if they look good, they will be more likely to be eaten. Try some natural food colouring from the health food store. 

Put them in a container you cannot see into if you don't want them eaten all at once!!

Green Lime and yellow lychee lollies

My recipe is very basic now, using ratios of:


  • 1/3 cup fruit/juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of gelatin
  • about 1 tablespoon of sweet stuff
Mix it all together while cold, let sit for 5 minutes, it should go thick. Simmer for 5 minutes then let cool a bit again before pouring into jelly moulds.
They take about 15 minutes in the freezer. Store in the fridge, covered.

Enjoy!

Lime, Lychee and Raspberry Sugar Free Lollies





Saturday, 15 November 2014

Turning the Naked Chef into the Lactose and Gluten Free Paleo Chef

I've always loved the challenge of cooking for various diets and food allergies without anyone needing a "Special" meal. So for our upcoming family reunion I have challenged myself to make a dish that everyone can eat, to the best of my knowledge...

I don't think taste and satisfaction should be sacrificed for dietary requirements, so I'm starting with Jamie Oliver recipes. As he uses whole foods and fresh quality ingredients, he's usually almost Paleo anyway. It just requires some tweaking.

So we start with a favourite that we've been making as per Jamies recipe and taking to paleo events for a while now, the Granny Smith Pork & Rice Salad. It's already lactose and gluten free so we just need to replace the rice and honey (dressing) to make it Paleo!! Easy! So we now have the Granny Smith Pork & Quinoa Salad - dressed with a Maple syrup dressing. Pictures to follow.

  • chopped sea salt and ground peppa
  • 750g free-range pork belly
  • olive oil
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 granny smith apples - cored and chopped
  • 1 handful of shelled walnuts (roughly 50g)
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup (or honey, rice malt, palm sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 orange
  • 300g quinoa (or basmati/wild rice)
  • 2-3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • a large bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley - finely 
  • Jamie Olivers Granny Smith's Pork & Rice Salad
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 200c. 
Fill a large saucepan with salted water and an ovenproof frying pan put both on a high heat. Slice the pork into 1.5cm chunks. Put a splash of olive oil into the frying pan followed by the pork, bay and rosemary. Season well. Fry and stir frequently for 25 minutes or until the pork is golden and crispy. At this point remove the bay and rosemary and pour away the fat (keep for baking potatoes or something).
Quarter the apples, then remove and discard the cores. Cut the apples into rough chunks about the same size as the pork and add to the frying pan with a splash of olive oil, the walnuts, maple syrup (honey), thyme leaves and the juice squeezed from the orange. Stir well and place the pan in the oven for 20 minutes or until the mixture turns dark.
Meanwhile cook the quinoa in the boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. Drain and allow to steam dry. Add the oven ingredients to the quinoa and add a couple of tablespoons of cider vineger to the oven pan and de-glaze the pan. Add this to the quinoa and meat mixture. Add the parsley and spring onions and toss together well. Have a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.



Jamie Olivers Chestnut Pumpkin Soup


Ok so this next one I haven't tried yet but it looks straight forward enough.

So the only ingredients not usable in this one is the bread and perhaps the rice/pearl barley. The bread could be either left our or replaced with paleo bread, and the rice could be replaced quite successfully I think with cauliflower rice. If you need a little more starch add arrowroot powder or root vegetables such as parsnips.
I also am thinking of taking along some boiled eggs, chia puddings (we love these right now mixed with fresh blueberries), and some fruit. 

So that's my plan, sorry for the lack of actual results, but I was keen to share! 



Saturday, 18 October 2014

Healthier Lollies



Lexi is having a birthday soon, well in a few months and I've been wanting to make some lollies without processed sugar for the kiddies. 

I did the usual research, which these days means Pinterest and little else... and come up with a plan! I had thought to use Vegan gelatin but after some reading decided real gelatin might not be that bad for us. 

I decided on making some strawberry and cream Gummies that I found here, but with about half the gelatin and using Palm sugar and Rice bran syrup instead of honey and maple syrup. Next time I think I'll water them down a bit and perhaps use less vanilla, Hubby suggest mashing the strawberries instead of blending to give a chunkier texture - I'll think about it... The blender does actually do the mixing for you so you would need to mix the gelatin in water before adding it to the fruit.


Considering how much natural sweetener these have in them they are still not as sweet as store bought lollies and so it makes me wonder how much processed sugar is really in those sweets and why would let our kids down them by the bowl full?!


Verdict? The toddler liked them but asked for a banana instead of more. *Shrug* who can compete with the awesomeness of bananas?! The adults really liked them and are planning the next batch already!


Monday, 29 September 2014

Summer cover up part two

I was just going to add the pictures of my second cover-up at the end of the previous post but felt it deserved its own post...


 I bought this scarf new, it was in the same shop I buy my crochet cotton and I could choose the cotton with the scarf in hand, so win win really. The butterflies really were just too gorgeous to leave behind anyway!

I've gone with the mulitcolour cotton, 
which I love but does not
 always look great in stand alone crocheting. 
I am really happy with it here as it blended 
in with the pattern and gave a softer look.

I made a couple of crochet butterflies, which I had been meaning to do for Lexi so it was good practise.



 I've hand sewn it as the material is just a but 
too thin for my poor sewing skills.
The bottom picture in the montage on the right is the side seam, I've crocheted a row of questionable looking butterflies.
I did try to have Lexi take the photos but all the photos are of my legs or the roof, the camera 
was just a bit too heavy for her.


Well I was going to make a couple more but I'm thinking I've fixed my desire to make a cover up for the time being and I should really finish some of my other projects...



I want to share one of my inspirations for the cover-ups so if anyone wants to buy one for themselves they can buy one from Fairtale. This is my friend Fiona's shop and she also frequents to Bondi Markets if you want to try them on. 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Summer is coming!!

I've wanted to do a beach cover-up for a while, so here goes..!

I bought the scarf at an Op shop as I always see them and feel they need to be loved again and given a second lease on life! Next time I would find one that was a bit heavier, or courser, but it was very pretty and it did work, it was just a bit harder to work with then necessary. I would recommend spending a bit more on this important piece of your cover up whether it be some fair trade, eco friendly material or a quality vintage scarf, you will be glad you did.


I thought some crochet edging would go really well with it and so I made some... just between you and me, it might'v e been the main reason for this project.


Its a very basic shell pattern as I wanted to be able to whip it up without worrying about learning a new pattern and making mistakes.

It's also the thickest cotton you can buy as I've never used the super thin cotton.

Pretty happy with the result, I think it could've been lighter and more delicate to match the material but really it still worked. Don't stress the small stuff.

So the next day I went about putting it together, I cut a T in the centre of the scarf, and with the help of my 2 year old, hemmed the edges. I then sewed some edging around the shoulders and front with a chain tie on each side... um like this.. I used a small zigzag stitch. It seemed right.


It's pretty basic but that's what I was after.

I then put it on to measure the where the sides go where said 2 year announced "Mummy very Pretty!"

Sew then up and ta-da


And for my second attempt...

Butterflies! 












Sunday, 31 August 2014

Berets, berets and more berets!!

I decided to make a beret for someone as a present - see ealier post "crochet-christmas-gifts-for-everyone" - and so to practise, I made my 2 year old one. It turned out so well I've made three of her cousins berets too! 





Using 8ply yarn and a 4.5mm hook, I made on starting with a magic circle - do a Pinterest search on "Magic circle" if you have no idea what I'm talking about, this is how I figured it out and it is great for hats - I did 10 trebles (or double crochets if your are American) into the magic circle and then joined. 


I then did a pattern of 1 treble, 1 chain, changing colours as desired.



Peak of hat

Row 1: 10 trebles, join with a slip stitch
Row 2: 2 chains as first treble, 1 chain, 1 treble all into first stitch, 1 chain, 1 treble into 2nd stitch, (1 treble, 1 chain, 1 treble, 1 chain into next stitch, 1 treble, 1 chain into next stitch) repeat to end, join.
Row 3: 2 chains as first treble, 1 chain, 1 treble all into first gap, 1 chain, 1 treble into next 2 gaps, (1 treble, 1 gap, 1 treble, 1 chain into next gap, 1 treble, 1 chain into next 2 gaps) repeat to end, join.
- Continue to increase the circle until it is twice the size of the wearers hand (I traced my little ones hand so I could do this while she slept)



Depth of hat

Then do 1 treble, 1 chain into every gap until end, join.
- continue until this section is the length of the wearers hand.


Band of hat

Row 1: Double crochet (single crochet) into every gap, join,
- continue to double crochet into every stitch until you have the desired width band.

and ta-da! you are done!!



Then all you need to do is accessories and go show it off!




All the above are made with acrylic for the kids, it washes so well and doesn't itch them.

For instructions on how to make the dress (kind of) go to knitcrochet47.blogspot.com.au

The below is made from pure wool, it's a bit stiffer and will take a lot more care when washing. I much prefer single colours for adults too.



I'm taking orders for berets, please contact me if you would like one!

Happy crocheting!!