Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Fabric!

I love getting new fabric that I've ordered online! I love opening the box, checking out each fabric and then later folding it all up and putting it up on my stash shelf. Here's what I got this order!



I love to read sewing blogs, I get lots of inspiration from looking at what others are creating, this morning I came across something really beautiful, so beautiful I wanted to share it with you all.

Amy from During Quiet Time created this little beauty! Go on over to her blog and check out what's behind the door! Have a look around while you're there, she makes some gorgeous things :)

Created by Amy of During Quiet Time

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Celebrate the Boy!

Thanks to Nic for the heads up on Celebrate the Boy month on Made... can't wait to see what they come up with, I'm sure I'll collect a few more projects to add to the to-do list! Click the image below for all the details :)

I'm going to use this post as a reminder of all the things I want to make...


Monday, February 14, 2011

A New Pillow!

There has been a lot of cooking lately and not a lot of sewing... my other half has been away and by the time night rolls around I am shattered and sewing takes up way too much brain power! Cooking is something I can do with my oldest, he loves to help me out in the kitchen.

I enjoyed making the pillow for Bella and I wanted to make another one, it was intended for Alex but I really like it... maybe it's for me instead!

After it was sewn up I was undecided on how to finish it and it really didn't look done, I thought I'd give some hand quilting a go, it's the first time I've done it and it's definitely crooked and uneven stitches but that adds to the beauty of it... right?

So here it is! I've also entered it into the Blogger's Pillow Party. There are some amazing creations there!

Blogger's Pillow Party


Saturday, February 12, 2011

My Tuna Mornay

This is a great dish for the whole family, my kids love it, I love it and if I swap out the tuna for chicken then my husband loves it too! It's an easy dish to make once you know the rules! I don't measure anything for this dish so it might make it a bit hard to explain but it's so forgiving that you'll be fine!

My Tuna Mornay

Cook some macaroni pasta in rapidly boiled salted water till al dente while you make the sauce.

To make the roux you melt about two tablespoons of butter or margarine over medium/high heat and when it starts to bubble sprinkle in about a tablespoon or two of plain flour and start whisking! You need to keep stirring well. You want to add in just enough flour to take the shine off the butter, add a little at a time and when it's matte then you've added enough. Keep stirring for a few minutes to cook out the butter.

Now you can add your milk, again I don't measure, just add about a quarter of a cup at a time till you get the consistency you want. Take it off the heat and add some grated tasty cheese (as little or as much as you like) and season with salt and pepper. I like to add a little mild paprika too.

Now to make it more Tuna Mornay and less Mac and Cheese I add some tinned tuna and corn, add your cooked pasta and pour into a greased oven proof dish. Top with some dry breadcrumbs (I like panko) and a little more grated cheese. Bake until it's golden brown and bubbly! Serve and enjoy :-)

I hope you give it a go if it's not something you already do, making a cheese sauce like this from scratch is a great still to learn and you can change it up in any number of ways! What about some diced bacon, capsicum, peas, cooked chicken... whatever you fancy!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Freshly Baked Bread!

I've been wanting to make bread at home for ages and have tried a few recipes but they never turned out, then I found this recipe, tweaked it a little and it's fabulous! It looks like there are a lot of steps but I've gone into a lot of detail :-) This is gorgeous fresh, it's great from the freezer and it's fantastic toasted!!!


235ml warm water
2 tsp white sugar
2 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp fine salt
30ml vegetable oil
400gm plain flour


Step One...
Dissolve the sugar in the water, stir in the yeast
Put in a warm place until the mix is foamy

Step Two...
Add the the salt and oil
Mix in the flour well, a cup at a time, till the dough starts to come away from the bowl
Turn out and knead, adding a little flour at a time, till it's no longer sticky
Keep kneading for about 10 minutes till completely smooth
Wash and dry the bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil into the bowl
Knead the dough again for another minute or two and turn into the bowl to coat with oil
Cover the dough with cling film, add a tea towel and leave in a warm spot till doubled in size

Step Three...
Preheat oven to 175°c
Punch the dough to knock out the air and knead for a few more minutes
Shape into a loaf and place in a well oiled loaf pan (9"x5")
Rise in a warm spot till 1" above pan
Brush the top with milk and bake at 175°c for around 20 to 25 minutes
It's done when it's browned on top and if you tap the base it'll sound hollow
Brush with melted butter while it's still hot for a lovely soft crust


If the water/sugar/yeast doesn't foam up then the yeast may be no good or if it's very cold it may require longer.

If you add too much flour then it will be a bit tougher

You can also form them into balls placed just apart and bake as rolls, top with a little grated cheese and diced bacon for something special! I make my rolls with around 60g of raw dough and they back in my oven for 12 minutes.

You'll need to keep an eye on it the first time, all ovens are different so it might take longer, or less time.


My favourite sewing tool!

I have a favourite sewing tool, it's a Sewing Gague, I bought it at Spotlight a few years ago and haven't been able to find spares anywhere, it's pretty small so I tend to lose it fairly often!

I found one last month at an online sewing site and it's on it's way to me (with lots of yummy fabricy goodness) from the states. And then last week I was out and about and checked out a new (to me) fabric shop and they had then too!!! Even better one of the packets had two inside, bonus! So now I have three and another on the way!

So as Lee pointed out I didn't actually say what I use it for... I use it mainly for hemming, it's super easy to get the measurements right with this little tool, I also use it for checking stitch widths on the machine. Basically anything you would use a tape measure for but this way you don't have to count out those little black lines!


Sweet Potato and Green Bean Salad

It's been very warm lately and so salads are a fantastic option for easy lunches and dinners. I had some sweet potato and green beans and decided to make up a roast vegetable salad.

It's not the most attractive thing you'll eat but it's delicious! You can use any vegetables that you like (what about capsicum, red onion, pumpkin, tomato or zucchini?). I also think some nuts, especially toasted pine nuts would be great and instead of the chicken what about some cooked diced bacon?

Sweet Potato and Green Bean Salad

2 medium sweet potato, peeled and sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tsp olive oil
250g green beans, topped, tailed and cut into 5cm lengths
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
200g roast chicken
Salt and pepper to taste

I tossed the sweet potato and carrots in olive oil and seasoned and then they were baked on a flat baking sheet for about 30 minutes in a hot oven (mine was at 220c). Bring a pot of water to the boil, add the beans and once back to the boil cook for 2-3 minutes, rinse under cold water or put into ice water to stop the cooking process. You want to beans still nice and crunchy! Mix the roast vegetables with the beans and dress. Add the chicken and serve!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mini Donut Muffins

I seem to be doing more baking than sewing at the moment and I think that's because the kids help me in the kitchen and I can only do sewing when they're asleep!

Liss from Frills in the Hills is responsible for this recipe and it's a good one! Check out her site, lots of great recipes there!

Mini Donut Muffins
Makes 30 mini muffins or 12 regular size

1 3/4 cup plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 caster sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk

15g butter, melted
2 tbsp caster sugar + 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

Preheat oven to 180c
Mix plain flour, baking power, mixed spice and cinnamon powder in a bowl
Mix oil, sugar, egg and milk in another bowl
Add wet mix to dry mix and just combine*
Spray oil your muffin trays (either mini or regular sized)
3/4 fill your muffin cups
Bake for 12 minutes for mini muffins (or till a skewer comes out clean**) and 25 minutes for regular.
Remove from oven, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar

Suitable to freeze!

*It's really important to make sure not to over mix your muffin batter, if you over mix your muffins won't be light and fluffy!
** When cooking things that rise don't open the oven door for the first half of the cooking time or you might find your treats not rising properly!


Broccoli Nuggets

Got kids? Do they love broccoli? This is a great recipe to get your kids to eat and enjoy broccoli!!! I've put a recipe before with amounts but to be honest I just wing it! It's a really adaptable recipe, add other veggies like grated zucchini, grated carrot, chopped roast chicken, whatever you like!

Broccoli Nuggets

Broccoli, cut into florets and cooked till tender (I boil)
1 egg
1/2 cup tasty cheese, grated
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp barbecue sauce, optional

Once your broccoli is cooked and has cooled a little then go nuts chopping it as fine as you can. Add an egg and mix it through, you can add more or less cheese depending on what you prefer, also try a little Parmesan for something different! Add enough breadcrumbs so it's not 'wet' any more but still holds together. Form balls of mix together and flatten into nugget shapes. Bake in a 200c oven on a sheet covered with baking paper. Bake for 20 minutes, turning half way.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Home Made Apple Pies

These are very simple apple pies made using my Home Made Shortcrust Pastry.

Apple Pie Mix (makes filling for four mini pies)

1 Pink Lady apple, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced thinly
Lemon juice, one lemon wedge is enough
Cinnamon, to taste
Caster sugar, to taste
Brown sugar

Roll out shortcrust pastry portion gently on floured surface, adding more flour if needed to stop sticking. Roll out to roughly 12cm round. Add 1/4 of pie filling in centre, add a very small sprinkle of brown sugar and a dob of butter if you like, fold up the edges and gently pinch to make it hold. You can brush with a little beaten egg, melted butter or some milk to make it more golden!

Put onto a lightly greased tray and refrigerate while oven heats to 200c. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or till lightly golden brown! Just keep close and keep checking them to see how they are going, depending on your oven it might take a little more or less cooking time.

Serve hot or cold with cream, ice cream or just all on their own delicious appley goodness!

You can also freeze them once assembled, place in the freezer on a baking tray covered with cling film, after a couple of hours you can either cling wrap them individually or place into a zip lock bag. You can bake from frozen but just need bake for a bit longer. Easy!

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

I love to cook and my little man also loves to help me in the kitchen, he wants to help with everything and is an excellent helper (and fetcher!). This morning I decided that I bought too many apples this week and we've got more than enough for eating and some cooking! So what about a home made mini apple pie?

This is my tried and true sweet shortcrust recipe, it's so easy to make!

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

250g plain flour
125g butter, cubed and very cold
75g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1tbsp water, very cold

Put the flour, butter and sugar into a food processor and mix till the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and water and mix. The mixture is ready when it comes together on one side of the processor, you may need to add more water a dribble at a time to make this happen.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead till just smooth. This is enough to make one pie case or 10 tarts. I like to divide mine into 50g batches (I love, love, love my digital kitchen scales!) and they can be wrapped individually in cling wrap and frozen for later use! If using now then wrap and chill for 30 minutes before use.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Golden Syrup Dumplings

I came across this recipe today and was determined to give it a go, every time I've heard of it I've thought that it sounds like it's worth trying but never got around to it so tonight was the night!

I did a Google search and this is the recipe I used, it's a combination of a few different recipes...

1 cup SR flour
30g margarine
1/2 cup milk (or just enough to make a stiff batter)

2 tablespoons of Golden Syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups water

Put all of the ingredients for the sauce into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Rub the margarine into the flour till it resembles fine breadcrumbs and holds together when squeezed
Drop balls of the mixture into the boiling sauce and cover
I cooked mine for about 10 minutes (turned over at 5 minutes)
Serve topped with cream or ice cream!

Pretty yummy, they went down pretty well with the smalls which is nice, an easy dessert to whip up quickly and I like that it can be done in small batches!
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