Monday, June 29, 2009

Recipe Monday - Wheat and Dairy Free Fruit Sponge

Apple or Fruit Sponge
I was really impressed with how well this one worked. Please note that it was not gluten free but is wheat and dairy free. From "The New Zealand Food Allergy Cookbook"

400g Stewed or Canned Fruit. (I used a can of Peach slices)

Sponge topping:

75g dairy free margarine

100g Castor sugar

2 eggs

100g flour mixture (my scales are not that accurate so I used 1/3 cup each, rye, rice and potato)

2tsp baking powder (gluten free)

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C

Grease a 22 cm pudding or pie dish, I used a 22cm casserole dish. Put prepared or canned fruit into dish and leave in oven to warm while you mix the sponge.

Cream the margarine and sugar until white and fluffy.

Add egg and beat well.

Sift in mixed flours and baking powder.

Pour over hot fruit and bake for 35- 40 mins.I think mine might have taken a bit longer I just waited for the skewer test.

Husband is dairy free so he had this with no additions and loved it. The girls and I had cream, delicious. A lovely warming pudding for winter.
Go and visit Jemma for the yummiest looking sticky date pudding and other recipes

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Eye Spy - A sign

Again a week late but the sign was slow in showing itself, or was I just slow in seeing it................. I thought about the literal ones but I didn't see any as funny as Christina. And in the end it was one of those life lesson signs. On Monday my week started with this....
when the second born tipped the admittedly carefully balanced dozen eggs onto the bench. There were a number that were just cracked but needed to be used straight away. Baking was no where near my list of things I wanted to achieve that day but I decided to take two lessons from this sign. Lesson #1 That sometimes you can't control what life throw at you and amongst small disasters there is the possibility to create opportunity. So these became wheat and dairy free picklets for when they got home from school and work, left over potato and corn fritters for tea and wheat and dairy free fruit sponge for desert. The fruit sponge was very successful, I will feature it in Recipe Monday.

Unfortunately I also created these.
But while I was doing all this creating I thought about Lesson #2, remembering to make do with what I have. I like many crafters suffer the illness of stash hoarding. I love to use preloved fabrics, but I also like to collect more. I really need to remember to use my collection that I have first before I think about going out to buy more. On the other hand is there really anything wrong with buying a bit more inspiration every now and then.......... Maybe I will bang my head on that sign a few more times before I learn that lesson.
For more signs pop over to Cindy
Edit: I have tried to make the formatting sit better but it won't... I am so looking forward to one day understanding how to drive this blogger thing better.

The Train Trip

I can't believe it has been nearly a week since I headed off on my wee Train trip adventure and I haven't had a chance to tell you about it.

For various reasons the only one to join me on the trip was Michelle she had actually travelled in on the Hurstbridge train so we just jumped back on the train and pulled out our crafting supplies. Michelle was making some of her stretchy necklaces, and I was stitching some brooches. It's a good thing there weren't many others in the carriage 'cause we were taking up bit of room with our crafty gear and our giggling.

As we pulled into Eltham station we noticed a market nestled amongst the trees. We quickly gathered up our stuff and jumped off to have a look around. There were some really cute hand dyed pants and t-shirts for children. I didn't take a photo as I totally planned on going back on our way back out. Unfortunately and fortunately the market was bigger than we first thought so she was packed up by the time we got back to her end, so I will surely have to go back. I did manage to get some very delicious Autumn Chutney from "Alot of Good Stuff". We have already made a serious dent in the contents of the jar so I will have to return for some more of that too. Michelle brought some lovely Proteas from a farm up at Kinglake. We were told the guy had lost a third of his farm and his shed to the fires but still had some proteas to share. Michelle's Dad used to have protea he was very proud of at their house in Kinglake, so she brought them for him.

As all the stalls were closing up we headed back to the station to continue our journey. At Hurstbridge it was a short walk down to Heart and Soul Cafe. The atmosphere was great, quiet and friendly and they had a great fun mural on one of the walls. No photo as I wasn't sure the people having their lunch in front of it would appreciate me taking one. There are tables inside and out but we choose one next to the heater. The wedges we shared were the best I have had in ages. Fresh, really hot (temp) and spiced up tasty, there was plenty of sour cream and sweet chili sauce. At the chefs recommendation, we split a chickpea burger which was delicious toasty and not a bit dry which I find they often are. Filled with food and a good coffee we headed back into town again. I loved the day away from the routine and will defiantly plan another one when the weather is warmer and folks are over their winter ills. I love to craft on the go and with a new view and company was gathering inspiration all day. I hope you can come on my next one or are inspired to do some of your own 'crafting on the go'.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Busy weekend - train trip and markets

My bag is packed ready to a crafty train trip tomorrow. I will be lovely to get away from the usual routine especially since I have a list a mile long of things that are to be done today. It will be great to sit and chat and craft away on the train. If you want to come along check out the details here and I will see you at 11:20 at Flinders.
I think I might have time to drop into Mathilda's Market in Malvern before I head in . I also hope to get over to Northcote later today for the markets there. Geeze weekends can be a bit busy can't they?

Friday, June 19, 2009


I have exams for the next few school days. I am up late studying and finishing assignments, up early studying, dreaming about English essays and waking up with Math problems on my mind. I feel nervous and a bit stressed. I am not doing my chores and am eating a lot of chocolate. I am looking forward to the exams being over and the holidays to begin.

Oh yeah and I should tell you it is not me actually sitting the exams, it is the first borns first round of exams. I am wondering how I will survive these ones let alone the next two and half years and then ?? tertiary. She has headed off to school for the first two today. ?Five? to go. I am sure we will be fine.

Disclaimer: large portions of this post are exaggerated, we are working hard but actually doing just fine. All my best to those sitting the big ones at the moment.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Eye Spy - Inventing

Remember when you were young and biking to horse riding, or swimming, or whatever your after school activity was. It had been a long day at school full of learning and important lunchtime activities and it was hot and there was a head wind and you just wanted to be there. Of course then I wanted to time/ space travel and to just be there, I wanted to be able to with mind powers be able to get kind parent and grandparents with cars to stop and pick me up and drive me there (obviously before mobile phones), I also wanted to be older, to have left school, to have left home to be able to live by my rules... ahh how I was so misinformed. Today if I could invent a way to play with time it would be much more about slowing things down, to give me more hours to play with, to create in, to enjoy my growing children, to have more time with friends, to have more time to be still.
But playing with time is not the invention I am thinking about this week. I think I will have to return to the Amanda's invention that started this eye spy this week. I would like to invent something where we Mums can take and carry the pain for our children. I am glad that my children have mostly had a good run however there have been time aplenty when I wish I could do it for them, to have the blood tests, to mend the broken arm, to help them to breathe freely. My kids are getting big now and I still wish this.

A friend's teenage daughter has been very sick this week and I know that she wishes she could be sick for her, to suffer for her, and save her from the fear and the pain. Even dealing with disappointment and broken hearts I wish that I could carry that for them. But I can't, I can only be there and hold them and wait for it to pass. And I know this wish for our children never stops. I remember my Mum crying for me when I was is labour with the first born, knowing that only I could do it, knowing she would have stepped in for me in a heart beat and knowing that already I would do anything for this child as yet unborn.

A little serious this week but it has been a serious week. Light and happiness will return after this short break.

Recipe Monday - Chicken Quinoa

As requested by Shelley at Little Sparrow. A great simple and warming gluten free recipe. Adapted from 'Table' magazine

Quinoa (pronounced kinwa) is the seeds from an ancient south american plant. It's texture and uses can be likened to somewhere between rice and couscous. It is high in protein, iron and magnesium and is gluten free. I buy mine at the health food shop or the health food or gluten free section at the supermarket.

I took this away with us last summer for a camping trip. I made and froze the first part of the dish. It was then a simple one pot job to put it altogether and finish it over the camp fire.

Chicken Quinoa

Olive Oil
400 g Chicken
1 Onion
1 Red Capsicum, cut into strips
½ teaspoon each Ground Allspice & Cinnamon
2 cups Homemade Chicken Stock or Salt Reduced Commercial Stock
1 cup Quinoa rinsed
½ cup Slivered Almonds Toasted
½ cup Torn Mint

In a frying pan and cook Chicken in olive oil until brown, cooking in two batches may be best.
Remove chicken from pan, reduce heat, cook onion and capsicum stirring until soft. Add allspice, cinnamon and return chicken and toss to coat. At this point cooking can stop to cool and refrigerate or freeze for later.
Transfer chicken mix to heavy based pot. Stir in stock and quinoa and season to taste. Bring to the boil. Cover and turn off heat leaving until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender.
Alternatively use an oven safe dish and once stock has boiled transfer to 200° oven for approx 25 mins
Fluff up with a fork and top with almonds and mint to serve.

Yes this can be served without the mint, but I really do suggest the almonds or some other nut for the crunch texture.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Watcha Wearing Wednesday- a bit of light on a rainy day

I was playing shops at Little Sparrow yesterday so dressed up nice and took these pics as I dashed down the road. The skirt I got at an op shop at the end of last year, one of those, I should be driving past but for some reason I am stopping moments. The skirt had called me in, I was powerless honest. :) The colourful scarf to brighten a grey day, I stole from the first born's room. "Nice scarf Mum" she said to me when she called in on her way home from school -well she steals my stuff all the time, First up- best dressed.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Eye Spy - something in bloom/scars

This weeks eye spy compliments of bugs and pop is a two for the price of one deal. Something in Bloom and Scars. It is winter here at the moment so the only blooming going on is all the creating in my wee space and lovely winter cooking smells coming from the kitchen.
Scars though I have a few. No photos today partly because I don't know who has the camera and partly cause I am not convinced that seeing them would enrich anyones lives. But a wee list -
The ones I notice the most especially as I swim regularly for exercise are those love marks my children left behind many years ago. Transforming my trim and tidy wee body into the womens body it is today. I have a love hate relationship with my stretch marks, they don't fit the picture I have in my mind for how my body looks and yet I also know that they mark an important transition in my life.
I have a great scar on one of my fingers from a day I was helping a friend in the garden and sliced my finger with a serrated saw. I probably should have done something about it at the time but I had to pick up the kids and cook tea and.... consequently I have a scar.
Going back in time I have a burn mark on my elbow from a burn as a child, but I have no recollection of it. I am sure it was traumatic for my mother.
One scar I do remember receiving I collected while playing a very exciting game of dodge the cushion. Aged about 7 or 8 I guess, visiting friends there were probably at least seven kids needing entertaining. A game started where we had to run from the kitchen to the other side of the lounge to one of the bedrooms without being hit by a cushion thrown by one of the adults. I am guessing the weather kept us inside. It was great fun, full of anticipation, fear and triumph. We had all made it across the room with squeals and laughter. In the second round during my dash to safety, one of the flying cushions collected me with force and I fell right onto the corner of the chest freezer that was just outside the kitchen. I don't remember any pain or the blood but I do remember the bright light as I sat in the Doctors chair as he stitched up a wound on my forehead. No butterfly stitching in those days, we are talking needle and thread. It was a great wound for showing off to my friends, and I am pretty sure that the grown ups felt so guilty about what had happened that I got what I wanted for the rest of the day.
As a parent it has been strange to be on the other side as both my girls have broken their arms and had various bumps and bruises. Their memories are much more oriented around their favourite top that had to be cut off, what colour their cast was or that they got to choose what to have for tea that night (some mother guilt in action). I remember the sadness I felt the first time the first born fell and cut her lip in such a way I knew it would scar, that perfect precious skin marked, now I look at that scar and remember that moment in time, not the accident but that wee kids enthusiatic energy, running and giggling until she fell and then in my arms crying. I remember a time when a cuddle from Mum could just about cure everything. I look at their scars and my scars and notice the passage of time and reflect that as we grow we will collect a few scars like bookmarks in the story of our life. Oh how profound, I'll stop now before I wax on anymore all lyrical like... Thanks for coming with me on this wee indulgent journey.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Watcha Wearing Wednesday- A bright idea

I know it is not Wednesday any more and this isn't even me on Wednesday but it is what I was wearing. I was trawling through some photos and remembered this combination at the back of my wardrobe. Needing some help getting dressed this week I thought a bit of bright colour might be just the thing as I headed out to teach a needle felting workshop. I think I may have too many clothes. Time for a sort out I think, before I hit the op shops with Margaret at A Little Bit of Kaos.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Recipe Monday - Gluten Free Bread

Amity ville boronia is hosting a new theme Recipe Monday check out her blog to find a variety of lovely food ideas.
This is one for those of us who want or need to stay away from wheat. It makes a small but delicious loaf, even my wheaty friends like it.

Multigrain Wheat Free Bread

In ¾ cup hot water dissolve 2T sugar and ¾ tsp salt. When liquid is luke warm sprinkle 1 tsp yeast over the top and set aside somewhere warm to activate.
In the meantime measure
1 cup rice flour
¼ cup potato flour
2T soy flour
½ cup + 2T tapioca flour
¼ cup milk powder
1 ½ tsp Xanthan Gum

By now the yeast should have activated forming froth on the surface of the liquid. Add to this
1 egg lightly whisked with 1 ½ T oil and ½ tsp cider vinegar

Make a well in the centre of the mixed flours, add liquids and mix till smooth.

To this mixture add
1T LSA mixture
1T linseeds
1T sesame seeds
1T sunflower seeds
1T debittered soy grits.

Leave out any you do not have.

Pour mixture into lined loaf tin. (if you have a really good non stick pan you may not need to use baking paper, I have an old well seasoned tin which while the loaf turns out nicely I use baking paper to speed up the clean up.

Put loaf somewhere warm to allow bread to rise. It takes a while, depending on temperature, about 1 ½ hours

Bake at 190° for about 40 minutes

Turn out onto rack to cool. Like most gluten-free breads, this is best served toasted.

A game of tag - Eight things

Busy Lizzie tagged me for a game of Eight Things last week. I had such a busy week I confess to forgetting all about it. Luckily she didn't give me a deadline and I am finally able to get my head around it today (between finding the floor and the kitchen bench, not to mention the bottom of the laundry basket!) Like Lizzie it has been a while since I played tag, when the kids were little and they ran and I made scary noises to make them run again, whilst I stayed still, so I don't think even that counts.

So here are my lists of 8:
8 things I am looking forward to:
*My first joint exhibition, soon, in Christchurch, in July with two dear friends - hence the currently busy schedule.
*Seeing family and friends on this trip 'home' especially....
*My nieces 2nd birthday which I will be there for. (I hope)
eight things really?
*the week after the exhibition when I am over the stress and before I start the next project.
*Learning to crochet, again after the exhibition
*Going swimming tomorrow, I haven't been enough lately
*Watching the second born perform tomorrow night, a singing recital at school
*A date with Husband at the end of the week
*A crafty train trip

8 Things I did yesterday
*Slept in! I love mornings with no alarm clocks
*Pretended to clean up whilst actually checking up on my favourite blogs and catching up on emails
*listened to great music in a backyard concert featuring Once Twice Sofia (I love Naomi's lyrics) and Cadmium Waking (a great a Capella trio) and a band made up of Alex, Kaz, Cam and Pete. Click on their links and have a listen. It was a great set and the sun even came out to warm us up, for a while anyway.
*Did a little crafting at the same gig while sipping a glass of wine, I was maximising the fun.
*Chatted to my Mum on the phone, actually on speaker phone which meant I was able to clean up a bit at the same time.
*Feed the family dinner
*Tested the first born's baking, just so I could tell her what a great job she did of course.
*Stayed up too late blogging.

8 Things I wish I could do

*Draw well, I can tell what I have drawn but I would love others to be able to as well. I know I could learn just need to practice more (that's what the books tell me anyway)
*Crochet, will learn that one.
*Always be a calm parent, and reasonable and moderate and sensible and wise. Don't think I will ever learn that one.
*Time travel so I can go back and try again when I am not the afore mentioned parent. While I am time traveling I will also give myself more time to fit in more crafting
*Play an instrument, instantly without all that painful learning carry on.
*Be more efficient with my time given that I can't yet time travel.
*Have a better memory, I am shocking! I really can feel things I need to remember fall out off my brain.
*Arrange world peace

8 Shows I watch

alright confessions I am being brutally honest here cause I am supposed to say I don't watch TV but...

*Rove -cause he is my boyfriend don't ya know, that's what the girls reckon
*Oprah - yes the TV is sometimes on in the middle of the day, I swear I am crafting at the same time, I do have to proviso that it has to be positive, I don't do negative themes.
*House - well I used to, it has finished now. Used to be date night on the couch with Husband
*Any house make-over show, at the moment that is Homemade.
*Good News Week
*Antiques Road show, not often its a busy time of day but when I'm not cooking or...
*MASH rerun after rerun unfortunately it is on the same time as #6
*Whatever is best at the time, if I have the remote, which I often don't.

Right so there you go a whole lot of things you may not have previously known about me and lets be honest survived just fine without knowing it.

So now apparently I need to tag eight people so

Here are the playground rules if you care for them

1. Mention the name of the person who tagged you.

2. Do the lists of 8.

3. Tag 8 bloggers of your choice.

4. Let them know that they have been tagged!

So if you are on the list you are IT!