Friday, January 30, 2009

A picture... worth a thousand words!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

calico scraps

I miss embroidering! It was so nice to just sit there of a night and space out watching tv with something to keep my hands busy. So I started/finished this -I love calico scraps! Very good to embroider upon. Question is... Now what do I do with it?!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Aussie Recipes 4, 5 and 6

Meat Pie
  • Plain flour, to dust
  • 375g block frozen puff pastry, thawed (Pampas brand)
  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 2 (25 x 25cm) sheets ready-rolled frozen shortcrust pastry, thawed (Pampas brand)
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 700g lean beef blade steak, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 2 tbs plain flour
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
  • 1 brown onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1 large celery stick, thickly sliced
  • 310ml (1 1/4 cups) good-quality beef stock
  • 2 tbs finely chopped fresh curly parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  1. To make beef filling, place beef in a medium bowl, add flour and toss to coat. Heat 2 tbs of oil in a medium heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, using a wooden spoon to stir often, for 6 minutes or until light brown. Transfer to a medium heatproof bowl. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining oil to pan. Add onion, carrots and celery, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Return beef to pan with stock, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until beef is tender. Increase heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for a further 10-15 minutes or until sauce is a thick gravy. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer beef filling to a medium heatproof bowl and set aside for 10 minutes. Cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to partially cool.
  2. Meanwhile, line a tray with non-stick baking paper. Lightly flour a clean surface and use a rolling pin to roll out puff pastry, rotating occasionally, to a 30cm square 3-4mm thick. Invert a shallow 25cm (top measurement) pie plate on pastry and use a sharp knife to cut pastry 2mm from edge of plate. (Do not drag - the pastry layers may stick together and the edge won't puff into separate crisp layers in the oven.) Lift pastry onto lined tray, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge until required.
  3. Preheat oven to 200°C. Brush a pie plate with melted butter to grease. Place shortcrust pastry sheets on a clean surface and cut 1 sheet in half. Brush 1 edge of whole sheet with water and lay a half sheet along this edge, overlapping by 1cm. Press to join and smooth out join. Repeat process on an adjacent edge of whole sheet, overlapping ends of half-sheets as well. Gently lift pastry onto greased plate and ease into plate to line. Smooth pastry and press around top rim of plate. Hold plate and rotate while using a small sharp knife at a 45° angle to cut away excess pastry.
  4. Use a fork to prick pastry base evenly about 25 times. Place in fridge for 15 minutes to rest (to help reduce shrinkage during cooking). Blind-bake the pie base before adding filling to ensure it is well cooked and crisp. To do this, place a 30cm square of non-stick baking paper or foil over the pastry and top evenly with about 1 cup of dried beans or rice to stop the pastry from bubbling. Place pie plate on a baking tray and cook in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Carefully remove paper or foil and beans or rice (see note) and bake for a further 8-10 minutes or until golden. Transfer the pie plate to a wire rack and, if necessary, use a clean tea towel to carefully pat down any pastry that has puffed during cooking. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool. Increase oven temperature to 220°C.
  5. Spread cooled filling evenly into base. Remove puff pastry from fridge. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush pie edge with a little cold water. Place puff pastry on top of pie and gently press edges together to seal. (Do not press the outer edge, or it will not puff well during cooking.)
  6. Use a small sharp knife to cut a 4cm cross in pastry centre to allow steam to escape during cooking. Lightly brush top with whisked egg.Place pie on baking tray and bake in oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 190°C and cook for a further 20-25 minutes or until well puffed, golden and heated through. If necessary, shield areas of pastry top and edges browning faster than others with pieces of foil. Serve immediately.
  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 75g (1/2 cup) self-raising flour
  • 75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
  • 70g (1/2 cup) cornflour
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 215g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tbs boiling water
  • 170g (2 cups) desiccated coconut
  • 300g (2 cups) icing sugar mixture
  • 35g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) milk
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) boiling water
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Brush a 19 x 29cm (base measurement) lamington pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the base and sides with non-stick baking paper, allowing it to overhang slightly.
  2. Sift the combined flours together into a large bowl. Repeat twice.
  3. Use an electric beater to whisk the eggs in a large clean, dry bowl until thick and pale. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tbs at a time, whisking well after each addition until mixture is thick and sugar dissolves.
  4. Sift the combined flours over the egg mixture. Pour the boiling water down the side of the bowl. Use a large metal spoon to gently fold until just combined. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Turn cake onto a wire rack, cover with a clean tea towel and set aside overnight to cool.
  5. Trim the edges of the cake and cut into 15 squares. Spread the coconut over a plate.
  6. To make the chocolate icing, sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a medium bowl. Add the milk and water and stir until smooth.
  7. Use 2 forks to dip 1 cake square into the warm icing to evenly coat. Allow any excess icing to drip off. Use your fingers to roll the cake in the coconut to evenly coat, then place on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining cake squares, icing and coconut. Set aside for 1 hour or until icing sets.
Rosemary and Garlic Roast Lamb
  • 1.8kg leg or shoulder of lamb
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 16 (about 2cm each) sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Olive oil, to brush
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 (about 180g each) sebago (brushed) potatoes, peeled, washed, dried, quartered
  • 2 1/2 tbs olive oil
  • 1kg butternut pumpkin, unpeeled, cut into 4-5cm pieces, deseeded
  • 1 tbs plain flour
  • 375ml (1 1/2 cups) beef stock
  • 500g green beans, steamed, to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Use a small sharp knife to make 16 1cm-deep slits in the lamb. Use your fingers to press a slice of garlic and a sprig of rosemary into each slit. Place the lamb in a large ovenproof and flameproof roasting pan, and brush all over with oil. Season well with pepper. Roast the lamb in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 180°C. Meanwhile, place the potatoes, 1 1/2 tbs oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss well to combine. Place the pumpkin, remaining oil, salt and pepper in a separate bowl and toss to combine.
  3. Remove the lamb from the oven and arrange the potatoes around the edges of the pan. Roast for 40 minutes and then arrange the pumpkin around the lamb, and roast for a further 50 minutes (this will give you a well-done cooked leg of lamb). Carefully transfer the lamb to a carving plate or shallow tray, cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest. Increase oven temperature to 230°C. Transfer the vegetables to a large roasting pan lined with non-stick baking paper. Return the vegetables to the oven to continue roasting while making the gravy.
  4. Place the roasting pan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, using a flat-bottomed wooden spoon to scrape the base of the pan to dislodge any bits that have cooked onto it. Gradually stir in the stock until well combined. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to
  5. medium-high and boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes or until the sauce thickens and reduces by about half.
  6. Serve the lamb with the roast vegetables, gravy and steamed green beans.

Aussie Recipes 1, 2 and 3

To celebrate this most fabulous of holidays, here are a few of our favourite Australian recipes -

  • 450g (3 cups) self-raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 80g butter, chilled, cubed
  • 185ml (3/4 cup) water

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2. Add the water to the flour mixture and use a round-bladed knife in a cutting motion to mix until the mixture just comes together, adding 1-2 tbs extra water if the mixture is a little dry. Use your hands to bring the mixture together.

3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Shape into an 18cm disc and place on tray. Use a sharp knife that has been dipped in flour to mark 8 wedges on top. Dust the damper with a little extra flour and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the damper is cooked through and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

* Note: Damper was traditionally made in a cast-iron pot with a lid, called a "camp oven". The entire pot was either covered in hot wood coals or the camp oven was placed in a hole in the ground
and surrounded with hot wood coals. It was usually served with tea made in a billy over the camp fire. Damper was originally made with plain flour, salt and water. Adding butter and self-raising flour came later on and gives a much tastier result.

  • 6 (59g) eggs separated
  • 1 1/4 cups (270g) caster sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 2 tbs icing sugar mixture, sifted
  • Finely shredded rind and juice of 2 limes
  • 2 Lady finger bananas, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 3 golden kiwifruit, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 2 starfruit, thinly sliced
  • Pulp of 2-3 passionfruit


  1. Preheat oven to 120°C. Line an oven tray with foil. Brush with melted butter and dust with cornflour, shaking off excess. Mark a 24cm-diameter circle on foil.
  2. Use an electric mixer to whisk egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition, until meringue is thick and glossy and sugar dissolved. Rub a little meringue between fingers. If still "gritty" with sugar, continue to whisk until sugar dissolves. Add cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and whisk until just combined. Spoon meringue onto the foil, using the marked circle as a guide. Smooth sides and top of pavlova. Use a small spatula to forms little peaks around edge of pavlova. Bake in oven for 11/2 hours or until pavlova is dry to the touch. Turn off oven. Leave pavlova in oven with the door ajar to cool completely. When completely cold, transfer to serving plate or store in an airtight container until required.
  3. Use an electric mixer to whisk the cream and icing sugar in a medium bowl until firm peaks form. Spoon cream onto the top of pavlova. Pour lime juice into a ceramic or glass bowl. Add banana slices and toss to coat with juice. Drain. Decorate pavlova with banana, kiwifruit, starfruit, passionfruit and lime rind.
Pumpkin Scones
  • 1 Tblsp butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mashed pumpkin (cold)
  • 2 cups Self raising flour


  1. Beat together butter, sugar and salt with electric mixer.
  2. Add egg, then pumpkin and stir in the flour.
  3. Turn on to floured board and cut.
  4. Place in tray on top shelf of very hot oven 225-250c for 15-20 minutes.

A Very

Happy Australia Day!!!

We live in the best, most beautiful, friendliest and driest country in the world, literally! Time to celebrate that fact the only way we Australians know how! Head to the nearest billabong/beach, throw some lamb on the barby and have a true blue fair dinkum holiday!We are one
But we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We share a dream
And sing with one voice
I am
You are
We are Australian!

Friday, January 23, 2009


Check out what I've been able to make!!!She is just sooo tiny, I can't believe I managed to stuff her!She can't sit up on her own, so I propped her up against some mangoes (mmmm mangoes! *drool*) Next one I make I'll rectify that, but I'm still very happy with her!!I can't remember where I got the pattern from, but she's a blyth doll pet... So maybe you'll be able to find it via google...?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

lizard mascot

I finally sat down and made something! A little felt lizard mascot -I didn't follow the full directions in the book (borrowed from the library and scanned patterns) so he isn't exactly how he should be, and I'm not exactly 100% happy with him (more like 98.9%) but for my first he's pretty sweet!

Monday, January 19, 2009

finished embroidery

So yesterday I promised that as soon as I'd finished the embroidery I've been working on, I'd show you. Well I only just finished (at least I think it's finished. every time I look at it I see another spot I could put something!) so here's the photo!My next piece will not be as... crowded. This was just for practice. And fun! I found it very relaxing to just sit and doodle with the threads as I watched telly. No idea what I'm gonna do with it though...any thoughts???

I googled free embroidery patterns and here's some links that I liked -

If you like any particular part of my embroidery above and want a pattern/picture of it, just let me know and I'll draw it, scan it and post it for you for free!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

crafting update

I'm almost finished my "doodle stitching" piece of calico. Once it's complete, I promise I'll take a picture and show you right away! I'm also in the process of making a little felt lizard mascot. But for now, all I have to share is this - The most adorable arctic fox cub ever!!! Cute huh?

Friday, January 16, 2009

New Camera Case

Look what I received in the mail today! Won from a giveaway at Sarah's blog, I tore into it out of excitement and forgot to take a picture of the unopened package! The tag she made for me is just darling, and the camera fits its new case perfectly!The only problem is that I can't take a picture of the camera in its case!! The extras she threw in (I recognize them from here and actually commented on them!) are fantastic too! Thank you Sarah, so very much!

Matchbox Guinea Pigs

These little guys are the last ones in the matchbox pet series (for now).Polymer clay Guinea Pigs!They come with lettuce, carrot, pellets and water.It took me ages to get their little paws and feet correctly proportioned!I made this mottle-coloured one for a swap partner I was hoping to get, but was assigned differently, so ended up keeping her.Hope you like them!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Matchbox Hedgehog n Turtle

I really want to show you something special, but I haven't been able to finish off any of my fabric and felt projects lately, as they're all a bit too big to finish in a hurry.
I'm also back studying again and that always puts a dimmer on things. Everything I've studied during the day tends to stay there in my head and leaves no room for creative thinking, you know?
But I want to share something, so here are some more matchbox pets...

Polymer clay hedgehog and turtle!This little hedgehog and his log were supposed to be for a swap, but it fell through. So...So that he wouldn't be lonely I created a small pond with its very own turtle tenant.Notice the little orange bug on the log?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Matchbox Bunnies

In keeping with the theme of matchbox pets...Little polymer clay bunny rabbits!They have carrots, lettuce, water and pellets.I'm still looking around to see what I can find to make a hutch. Any ideas?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

pretty and pink

Recently I managed to make these little pink flowers.I had to mix my red and pink clays so that I could get the right colours, but only a little at a time...They're on lobster claws, so that you can attach them to (almost) anything!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Matchbox Mice

I've been playing around with polymer clay lately, and here's what I've made - mice!
They have their own little bed, a corn cob and their normal pellets and water bowl.I would have rather had black eyes but didn't have any (black) on hand. I'm still very happy with how they turned out though.They and all their accessories fit into a small matchbox, which I have yet to make!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Last week (it doesn't feel that long ago!) I finished up a little elephant who's been sitting around begging to be stitched and stuffed. So without further ado, may I introduce Elly the Elephant!
I downloaded the pattern from the craftster website.During the construction I made a few creative changes, but all in all I think she turned out quite well. She's now made good friends with my two felt kitties, and is quite at home on my bedside table.
On the same day I finished her, Elizabeth from Creative Breathing posted her "E is for Elephant" post!What do you think? Oh, and thankyou so much to everyone who's left a comment on my blog so far! I've just loved reading them!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pansy Pincushion

One of my friends, Helen, just adores pansies. She grows them every winter and all but cries when they die from the heat come spring. So naturally, for Christmas, I got her a ceramic pansy wall hanging.But it didn't seem quite enough, so I made a pansy pincushion to go with it -
I didn't keep the pattern, and I really wish I had!!Here they are all wrapped. I made the tag myself, and absolutely adore how it turned out. So easy too!!

Monday, January 5, 2009


Look what I got in the post today!!!
This gorgeous heart is from Elizabeth at Creative Breathing. I won it from one of her fantastically tricky riddle give-aways. I love her riddles!The stitching is so intricate and perfect, and the little card she sent with it is beautiful too!
Thank you so much Elizabeth, it will always be treasured! Oh, and this post is in blue just for you!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

felt kitties

Hi guys, hope your new year is going to plan. Or at least has been good fun so far!I've been meaning to show these for at least a week now and since nothing has really been happening around here (being so HOT no one wants to do anything) it seemed like the perfect time.

I made these felt kitties from a pattern found here -

I've only made a brown and white one so far, but plan to create one in every kitty colour there is! What do you think?