Month: May 2014

Seasonal delights

It is so easy to forget just how good a simple fresh orange is to eat. Sliced into quarters it’s the prefect snack food. Sweet, juicy, textural. Healthy enough that I’m happy for my toddler to eat more than her fair share and delicious enough for her to want to do so.

The best oranges are of course grown locally and in season. Fresh produce simply tastes better and eating seasonly ensures you appreciate the various fruit and veg when it’s their turn to come out to play. It’s so easy to lose touch with the seasons when you have food imported from all over the world and ‘climate control’ air conditioning disguising the real temperature and humidity. Eating seasonally reconnects us to our local environment and one looks forward to winter citrus and summer strawberries. I had gotten into the habit of using oranges in cakes, puddings, and preserves so I was delighted when Willa and I sat down to enjoy this one with so little preparation.

So often the simple things really are the best.

Orange

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Baking biscuits

Baking with kids is a great way to get them interested in where food comes from, introduce measurements such as weight, volume, and temperature, and keep those little hands busy on rainy days. As the attention span of a toddler isn’t particularly long these River Cottage Ten-minute Chocolate Chip Cookies are perfect for making, baking, and devouring before they lose patience and concentration. The recipe can be found online here or in the River Cottage Everyday and Family cookbooks.

Ten-minute Choc Chip Cookies

Baking

What do you think of my new recipe book stand? We have wanted one for a while now after using the one at my parents’ place but haven’t been able to agree on a design or find one appropriate for our budget. The other day I had to pick up a parcel from the Post Office and when we arrived the queue was out the door! I normally avoid the peak periods by going either side of lunch time during the week but this was a Saturday morning and I wasn’t early enough to beat the crowds. Apparently I was meant to run late that morning because whilst I was standing in that queue my eyes browsed the shelves of envelopes and knick-knacks and what do you think I spied? Why a lovely recipe book stand on the very bottom shelf of course! I picked it up to check the price and I saw the sweetest thing, a big red ‘reduced’ price tag. That’s right, the previously $39.95 recipe book stand was now $6.99. Success!

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There are few pleasures as delicious as licking the bowl and spoon after baking. It’s also a great way to get little ones out of the kitchen for a couple of minutes while you restore some semblance of order! I’ve heard some people wont let their kids lick the bowl for fear of getting sick from raw egg but as long as your eggs are fresh there really isn’t anything to worry about. There are plenty of things we eat that contain raw egg- homemade mayonnaise for example. Let them enjoy this childhood treat, it will surely feature in their memories.

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When this batch came out of the oven the biscuits had spread so much I couldn’t fit them in my biscuit jar and had to resort to using my Great Great Aunt’s beautiful casserole dish. Of course they didn’t last long so airtight storage wasn’t a big concern. These were so good I might just have to bake another batch right now! Do you have a favourite recipe for rainy day baking or keeping the kids entertained?

Gosh darn!

You often hear reference being made to darning, especially socks, but it’s a skill or technique seldom used these days. It’s certainly not one I’ve mastered but I’m quite happy to put it to practise to mend a favourite comfy skirt I wear about the house.

First things first- get a cup and place it beneath the hole in your piece of clothing. Stretch the fabric a little to keep it taunt (as you can see I hold it between my knees).

Step 1

Next using a needle and thread that matches the fabric (stripes make that a little difficult) sew vertically across the hole.

Step 2

Then it’s time to go horizontal! Weave the needle through the vertical stitches (under over etc) making sure to alternate each row.

Step 3

That’s it- you’re done! As you can see below I’m no expert but the hole is mended and I can wear my favourite house skirt again. Have you attempted to darn a piece of clothing? Or is there a mending skill you’re determined to master?

All done!

A lovely long weekend

For the Easter long weekend my little family and I decided to head up the Coast to stay at my childhood home. My parents had headed west to visit my Nan so it was just us hanging out at home with a change of scenery.

We started Good Friday by riding down to the Fish Markets bright and early to beat the hordes. The day was just beautiful and after we had snared our fish we treated ourselves to hot drinks and pastries on the waters edge.

Blackwattle Bay

Almond croissant

The drive in holiday traffic was horrendous so I shall gloss over that bit and focus on the lovely time at Mum and Dad’s. The evenings were crisp so we lit a fire every night (our first of the season) and it brought back so many memories seeing our daughter sitting in the front of the fire just like I used when I was a kid (though I didn’t have a sweet etch-a-sketch picked up at Vinnies for $3!). So much better than sitting in front of the telly!

fireside

There was lots of  exploring to do. We wandered around the garden collecting lemons and herbs, spotting this little skink hiding in the herb garden amongst the rosemary and pumpkins.

skink

One day we headed over to the back paddock in search of the chestnut tree (turns out it came down in a storm a few years ago so we picked macadamias instead) and visited the creek and billabong. Perfect exploring outfit, don’t you think?

exploring

creek

It was so nice to do nothing and just enjoy each others company in different surroundings. A change really is as good as a holiday, and lets face it, this is what we could afford. By the time we headed back to Sydney we were well rested, well fed, and determined to take more of these little breaks in the future. A long weekend is long enough to give you a real break but short enough to be affordable. How often do you get away from it all? Any tips for a break on a budget?