Saturday, October 25, 2008

Primula Seed

A little while ago I collected a bunch of seeds from the primulas. I made sure that primulas will grow in this garden forever by sprinkling the seeds all around the place (they should germinate next spring of their own accord). But we don't expect to be still here to see the lot, so I collected some of the seed to store and sow somewhere else.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I came across a hand written Peanut Butter Fudge recipe in one of mum's cook books. It didn't look very 'fudgey', but it required the exact amount (40g) of cooking chocolate that had been sitting in the cupboard for several months, and I figured if mum had bothered to write it down, it must be good.

As you can see, it's definitely not fudge. But it was very tasty. It's basically coconut rough - a chocolately coconut mix.

So I found another fudge recipe and tried again.

This is chocolate rum fudge. I used the Bundaberg Rum Royal Liqueur, which is dark rum with chocolate and coffee. The fudge was delicious, though it didn't set entirely. Chilled it was perfectly firm, but went gooey if left out of the fridge.

I'll try again at some point, but for now I'm all fudged out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bed Socks

A while ago my mum was looking through Paton's 'Big Book of Small Projects 2' that I have, and she pointed out several things that she would like. She now has a pair of bed socks, just in time for the start of spring.

These are the first socks I've made, but I do know that the construction of these was very odd. The pattern was graded as intermediate, but I found the only challenge to be filling in the gaps in the instructions. For such a basic pattern book, which has 'how to' knit and crochet sections, the instructions left a lot of be assumed/guessed at.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Date Self-Saucing Pudding

Around here pudding is a cake that is so dense and moist that you have to eat it with a spoon. And the best type of pudding is self-saucing pudding.

Date Self-Saucing Pudding

1 cup self-raising flour
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon lemon rind
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup apple juice
60g melted butter
3/4 cup hot apple juice
3 tablespoons golden syrup
2 teaspoons butter

1: Sift together flour and salt, stir in sugar, dates, walnuts, and lemon rind. Mix to soft dough with the egg, 1/4 cup apple juice and butter. Spoon into greased oven proof dish.
2: Put the hot apple juice, syrup and butter into a small saucepan and stir over low heat until butter has melted. Pour over pudding and bake in a moderate oven for about 40 minutes.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Cake

This is a chocolate cake with peanut butter cheese cake centre and peanut butter cream cheese icing. It was amazing. To balance out all the peanut butter and cream cheese, I used apple sauce instead of butter in the cake, which had a beautifully light but moist texture. The cheese cake was supposed to be an even layer, but I forgot that this cake batter is very runny, so I had to spoon the cheese cake batter onto it and though it looked nice and even when I did it, obviously the spoonfuls moved about and did their own thing during cooking. The cheese cake is also peanut butter flavoured. I used chunky style, and the pieces of peanut gave a really nice contrast to the smooth cheese cake and fluffy chocolate cake. The peanut butter cream cheese icing? I saw this Smitten Kitchen post and didn't need any convincing that it would be as good as it was.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Pattern Booklets

I discovered the magazine section at one of the local op shops, and it was quite a score for knitting and crochet patterns. Nothing was more recent than the mid '90s, and there were some booklets that were from the '40s/'50s. The majority of the booklets were from the '80s, so they were mostly good for a laugh and I didn't buy a lot.

The booklet above is pretty indicative of what I found, with the hideous '80s patterns and/or styling. I bought this one, and two others, because they had just one pattern that I really liked.

This crochet booklet was a surprise. After having a good laugh at the nipple peeking through there (look closely), I actually looked at the patterns and found that I like seven of the nine included. One dress in particular has gone straight to the top of my must-make queue. I haven't bought the yarn yet, but I'm hoping to have it ready for a wedding in October I'm attending.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Pear & Blueberry Coconut Loaf

Go and make this Pear & Raspberry Coconut Bread.
It is awesome. Pears are in season, so I went looking for recipes and had to try this one. I had some blueberries in the freezer, so I used them instead of the raspberries and they were great. I'm definitely going to try it again with the raspberries though. It's a really great recipe for a people who want a cake that's not to sweet, because most of the sweetness comes from the fruit. The cake is really dense and moist, and it just fine on it's own, but is really good with butter too.

Please excuse the ordinary photos- I just wanted to get more cake in my mouth as fast as possible!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pot Plant Covers

I love to have lots of indoor plants, but nice indoor plant pots are really expensive. So I bought some 50c garden twine and crocheted a quick cover for the normal plastic pot that the plants come in. It looks like I'll get two and a half covers out of 50c worth of twine, compared to around $15 for an average sized pot.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pumpkin Cupcakes

I had an excess of cooked pumpkin to use up, so I decided to make spiced pumpkin cupcakes. Most of the recipes I found online were 'box of yellow cake mix + can of pumpkin' (which, for the record, I don't consider a recipe!), so I improvised and used a banana cake recipe, swapping the mashed banana for mashed cooked pumpkin. It worked perfectly! I'll definitely make these again. The vanilla and cinnamon cream cheese icing is absolutely heaven as well.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Birthday Cake Dramas

It was my mum's birthday a little while ago, so of course I made her a cake. I chose a coffee and apple cake that she had been asking for, and which is a tried and trusted recipe. But for some reason, I have no idea why, it all went terribly wrong. I've made mistakes while baking before, but I've never had something entirely un-salvageable. Until that day.

Worst of all, I timed the cake so that it would be done right before mum got home from work, so she could have some for afternoon tea while it was still warm. Luckily I put the extra batter into cupcakes, and when I saw them sink the second I pulled them out of the oven, I frantically started making another cake. I opted for a quick mix orange and date cake which I had to cook in a glass bowl because we don't have many cake pans.

It was still in the oven when mum got home, and when I eventually did pull it out it still wasn't quite done in the centre, so it sank the moment mum stuck the knife into it. Thankfully my mother isn't fussy, and she was very happy with the cake, which thankfully was delicious despite the slightly gooey centre.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I found a ladybird on the footpath the other day, and I put it on my lemon balm plant because there's been a few aphids on it. The ladybird wasn't in the best shape when I first found it, but four days later and it's still on the lemon balm and seems very happy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Stupid dye lots!

I promptly started a Seascape Stole in Cleckheaton Studio Mohair 8 Ply after returning from the trip. I've stalled 3/4 of the way in though. I bought three balls of yarn, all different dye lots but perfectly matching. Then I decided that I needed another ball, and because of the different dye lots of the first three balls I didn't think twice about buying it from a different store. Yep, it doesn't match. I discovered that four days ago, and I'm still waiting for a chance to get back to the original store and get another ball. Frustrating!

In the meantime I whipped up a pair of hand warmers for wearing at the computer.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkins are in abundance in Australia at the moment and despite having pumpkin with dinner almost every night, I still can't get enough of it. So I made pumpkin pie. I've never made pumpkin pie before, and I've also never eaten it before. I used this recipe here, and I'm not sure if what I ate is classic Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, but it was really good. The shell was cookie crumbs style, using oats, coconut, spelt flour, and butter because I can't eat wheat. It was perfect.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Last week we welcomed two new members to the family. Helmut the budgerigar died recently, leaving his boyfriend Herbie all alone. We went to the pet shop to get him a new friend, and came back not only with a new budgie, but also a cockatiel. After four pets' names coincidentally starting with 'H', it's become a tradition, thus our new friends are called Himmel and Hello. Himmel means sky in German and the new budgie is blue, plus there's the novelty value of calling him Him. We think the cockatiel is female but wont be sure until she matures, so we needed a gender-neutral name. After repeatedly saying hello to her for three days, we decided that may as well be her name.




Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Berry Cheesecake Brownie

My brother came round to have a look at my photos from the trip, so I had to bake something. The bro loves cheesecake, but I couldn't go past this Berry Cheesecake Brownie recipe that I found a while ago. It turned out really nicely. Next time I will put a little bit of flour into the cheesecake mix though, to give it a proper cheesecake texture. The colour from the berries is so beautiful, it could easily have be dressed up and made really visually impressive, but I just chucked it in a bowl with vanilla ice cream and chocolate rum sauce and everyone here was happy.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I'm currently in Exmouth, WA. The trip has been amazing so far. On Saturday, WWKIP Day, I spent most of my time swimming with Whale Sharks. I did manage to get in a couple of rows of knitting though.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Choc- Cup Cakes

At the start of the week I was impatiently awaiting a package of peanut butter cups. The disappointment of finding the post office box still empty on Tuesday lead me to make a half batch of choc-peanut butter cup cakes. Of course the peanut butter cups arrived the following day, and I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch of cups, followed by a cupcake, followed by more cups. (Followed by a jog!)

Mum requested more chocolate cupcakes to take to her boyfriend this weekend, and I opted to use up some leftover coconut milk to make choc-coconut cupcakes. I made the batch using normal wheat flour and thus couldn't eat them, but I did take out a scoop of the batter pre-flour and mix in some spelt flour to make a single wheat free cupcake for me. To compensate for having only one cupcake, I claimed all the extra icing. :)

Both batches were made using mashed prunes instead of butter or oil, and I was really surprised by how well they turned out. The original chocolate cake recipe calls for the butter and sugar to be creamed, as well as for the eggs to be separated and whites whipped to soft peaks. I just chucked the prunes, sugar, and eggs together and mixed them thoroughly, and the cupcakes turned out really moist but still light and fluffy. Little bits of prune are visible in the cakes, but don't alter the flavour at all.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lemon-Blueberry Cake

The above is a picture of the Lemon-Blueberry cupcakes that I made to take camping on ANZAC Day long weekend. My mum loves lemon flavoured desserts so I'd been saving up recipes to make for her, but I decided to use the Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf recipe that was posted on Smitten Kitchen not long ago.

The cake was wrong in so many ways: the juice from the frozen blueberries spread through the batter and turned it grey; the berries all sank to the bottom; I overfilled the cases; they were over cooked and stuck to the cases; and the cake itself had the weirdest texture, being light but not crumbly, slightly rubbery, and incredibly moist (despite the fact that I marginally reduced all liquid amounts).

But mum LOVED them, and wants me to make them again already. I think they would be perfect served as pudding with icecream.

Here's a few random photos from camping:

Monday, April 21, 2008

Coconut Cake

Mum used to make this cake for us all the time when we were kids. We have dozens of coconut cake recipes in all the different cooking books, but the recipe for this one is handwritten into a book that is older than I am, and mum doesn't remember where she got it from. It's an incredibly moist cake, but I still decided to up the richness this time by using coconut milk where it calls for normal milk. It was great.

I never mean to make the icing quite so pink, but I always end up spilling a bit too much into the mix. And just quietly, I really like it like that.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lacey Scarves

I finished and blocked my Lace Ribbon Scarf on the weekend, and it's now sitting in a post pack waiting to be sent off to a friend in the States. I wanted to make something for my friend's husband as well, but I have no immediate access to yarn at the moment, and I want the scarf to get there so she can use it a bit before the weather warms up. (I know exactly what to make for the Mr, so he'll get his own package as soon as I can manage it)

I originally intended the scarf to be for me, but then realised it was perfect for my friend so I designated it hers, and bought some more Regia Silk to make another scarf for me. Given that there are thousands of options for making a lace scarf, I couldn't bring myself to make the same one again, so I chose this standard fern pattern because I'm lazy and the pattern is easy to memorize, but also because I think it's really pretty. The yarn is 'natur' because the colour range for Regia Silk is fairly ordinary, and I want to give dying a go. I'm thinking dark turquoise or purple.

I'm almost finished the second of three balls for the scarf, so I need to hurry up and procure some more yarn before I finish and have nothing else to knit.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


I love Australia.

(Learn about Tim Tams here)