Thursday 31 October 2013

Raspberry Sago - How to make expensive, out of season fruit go further

A little while ago while I was catching up with an old friend and her beautiful one year old, she mentioned how much her daughter loves tamarillos, and how hideously expensive they were at that time. She wanted some suggestions for making these lovely fruit go a little further. It was well late in the season, so by the time I formulated a plan I actually couldn't find any at the fruit store. So in their absence I used frozen raspberries to cook up this beaut little recipe. 

The sago makes the fruit go miles further and retains all the characteristics of the fruit with minimal added sugar, and it's gluten and dairy and egg free. Years ago I used to make rhubarb sago; at this time of year it is plentiful and is a great breakfast addition on your cereal. Sago requires quite a lot of slow cooking, but is not labour intensive and can be left to its own devises in the oven. Once cold it will happily keep in a covered dish in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

Raspberry (or any other fruit) Sago 

4 generous tablespoons sago
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups frozen raspberries (if your using another fruit, just chop it into small pieces and add to the mixture raw)

Preheat the oven to 150deg. C.

In a medium sized oven dish with a lid combine the sago, sugar and water.

Now stir in the fruit, trying not to break it up too much at this stage.

Put the lid on and bake for 2 hours. Stir it once in the first hour.

Take from the oven, stir and allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

We had ours for pudding with some mini pancakes.
Little Miss 4 took the left overs to Preschool for lunch; she loved it and declared it to be 'like jelly but not cold'.

Happy cooking! xx Prudence

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Little Cotton Sun Hat Tutorial

With all this nice sunny weather, the necessity for knitted woollen hats is all but over for the season. Time to break out the cute cotton sun hats. I wanted to make a hat using a combination of different patterns, all in complimentary tones and colours. A nice big brim keeps the sun off little faces and out of little eyes. This one is fully lined and reversible if you fancy a change of pattern or need to hide a recently acquired splattering of ice cream! All made in 100% cotton so it's super washable and practical.

I adapted the pattern from an old Simplicity one. 
I used laniare fusing to increase the thickness of the fabric and ensure the brim doesn't flop down. 

I cut out two copies of the brim and crown pieces and fused the main outer layer.

First assemble the crown of the hat: it is made up of 6 panels. Start by sewing two together.
Once the first two are stitched, press the seam and pin the third piece on. Sew from the top, starting the stitching line 1cm down from the edge so the original panel on the left is not stitched.

Once you have the two halves completed press the seams open.
Pin and sew the two halves together. Taking care to sew exactly through the centre point where the three panels meet.

The crown should look like this, with all the panels neatly meeting at the top. 

Iron the seams out and assemble the identical lining layer of panels.
Now sew the centre back brim seam of both brim pieces - inside layer and outside layer.

Iron the seams flat and with the right side together, pin the two brims together and sew around the outside edge. Under-stitch the seam by sewing the seam allowance to the lining side of the brim - as shown. Trim the seam allowance to 5mm and press the brim flat.
Pin the brim to the crown, matching the outside fabrics. Sew around the crown.
Now place the assembled hat liner over the right side of the assembled brim and crown. It should fit together so that the brim is enclosed by the two crown pieces. Pin and sew around following the previous stitching line.
Once the hat is all stitched together, use a quick unpick to undo a hole in the lining fabric in order to turn the hat in the right way.
Once it is turned out, use a needle and thread to sew a slip stitch and close the hole in the lining. 
Little Miss was quite taken by this hat. It's a little too small with her, so I'm going to make a bigger pattern that's longer in the crown. Not too bad for a first prototype. I'm sure there is another little head out there that would like a new summer hat.

Monday 28 October 2013

Spicy Oatmeal & Brown Sugar Biscuits - made egg-free for Willow

What a great weekend. What's not to like about an extra day at home with the family. Last week was one of my busiest of the year, with the hosting of our Faculties great Fashion Show. I actually made these last weekend while we were at Mum and Dad's, but haven't had time to blog it before now.

It's a busy time of year at the farm; lambing is drawing to a close and they are just about to start tailing. A good time to top up the cake tins. I adapted a recipe from the newspaper, taking out the eggs and nuts so it's suitable for one of Little Miss 4's swimming buddies who has food allergies.

Spicy Oatmeal & Brown Sugar Biscuits

180g butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180 deg. C. and line a couple of baking sheets.

Melt the butter, add the brown sugar and stir.
Add the baking soda to the warmed milk, and blend it into the butter and sugar mix. Add the vanilla.

Sift the flour and spices together into a large bowl.

Place the rolled oats into a large food processor and blend until finely ground. 

Add them to the flour with the chopped dried apricots and chocolate chips. 

Mix well and make a well in the centre. 

Add the butter mix and stir to combine. 

Put tablespoon lots onto the lined tray and flatten a little. 

Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Makes about 36 large biscuits.

I think you'll like them Willow. The exact quantity of chocolate is up to you!

Hope you've all had a lovely relaxing weekend. I've had a couple of great 'crafternoon' sessions, so keep an eye out for some new and crafty posts this week.

Sunday 27 October 2013

Crafty Christmas Market Joy

With lots of super craft markets coming up in the lead up to Christmas, I thought it was time to have a round up of crafty offerings. 
The photos above were taken by Jen of Utterly in Love at the last Encraftment Market.

Coming up soon is the Craft Love Festival. This is being held to celebrate the launch of the first print - as in paper - issue of Hazed Magazine. Hazed is a celebration of all things made by New Zealand independent designers and crafts people. The craft love Festival is being held on Friday the 29th of November from 5pm to 9pm at Mairehau High School. 

Encraftment have a Bambino Market scheduled for Saturday the 7th of December at Rangi Ruru in Merivale lane, and an exciting Christmas Market planned for Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th of December in the Cathedral Square. Its going to be a great event - sure to bring craft goodness and community spirit back to the central city.

Anyone who follows my blog will know that I am an enthusiastic advocate for all things crafty and all sorts of craft disciplines. My Nana was the queen of creating things back before a trip to the shops could buy you anything and sweatshop labour hadn't been invented. Natural fibres are my passion and I love making crafty projects accessible for everyone. 

 Here is a new design I am working on developing: cute as a button 100% craft cotton sun hats for babies and children. Little Miss 4 just loved this one. It is fully lined and can be worn on the reverse for a change of pattern and colour - or to hide a stain if required!
Christmas Bunting was a great seller last year. Everyone loved the cotton print, gold thread and super washable quality. 

Bring on the old fashioned toys for Christmas. 100% NZ wool crocheted balls with polyester filling. Super washable and great for little hands.
I just love putting together colour combinations for these cute little clutches and pencil cases.

100% New Zealand wool knitted sprout hats. Always in style and loved by small ears country wide.

Little rat toys: ready to sneak around your house and guaranteed not to nibble the wiring! 100% hand crafted quilting cotton outer with a washable poly fill centre.

Super cute crochet baby blankets in girls and boys colours. These are 100% NZ wool hand crafted future family heirlooms.

Carrying on the blanket theme: hand woven 100% New Zealand wool with cotton boarders.

These knitted tea cosy with the crochet flowers are so cute. Perfect for any tea party. 

More bunting. Unisex colours to compliment any interior.
Come on Christchurch, time to get crafty for Christmas!

Monday 21 October 2013

Parsley and Hazelnut Pesto

Mum has such a huge amount of parsley in her garden at the moment, that I couldn't resist making a batch of pesto for the family. The weather was so lovely at the farm. We love staying up there spending time with the family. Mum is a super gardener, though she would tell you that herself. Every year she plants a huge vege garden.

Mum's massive parsley and chive patch. She grew the hazelnuts as well. If you don't have any hazelnuts, you can substitute walnuts.

Parsley and Hazelnut Pesto

a huge bunch of parsley and a few chives for good measure
3/4 cup shelled hazelnuts
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup oil - I used canola
1 teaspoon salt

Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan until they begin to brown. Keep them moving or they will burn.

Once toasted, turn them out onto a clean tea towel and rub between the towel to remove the skins.

Place the hazelnuts into the food processor and blend until they have broken down into small pieces.

Depending on the size of your food processor, place half the washed parsley into the processor and blend until it starts to form a paste. Add the garlic and salt and half the oil, and blend again.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Process the other half of the parsley with the remaining oil. Fold the two batches together and check for seasoning. Add more salt if required.

We ate our pesto tossed through some pasta for a beautiful summer dish.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Our stay home holiday

We have had a lovely school holidays. Like all holidays they're here and now they are over all too soon. These holidays are always our stay at home time. We were very blessed to catch up with plenty of our buddies. Another of Little Miss 4's highlights is having her pet lamb come to stay in town. She has had a pet lamb each year since she was 2 and has become quite the champion 'lamb's mummy'. 

 This year's lamb's name is Bella. She is a little Suffolk cross lamb from the farm. Being a pet means she will live out her life on the farm as a breading ewe - no Christmas roast jokes around here please! LM4 is accumulating quite a flock. Unfortunately Bella has been quite the garden nibbler!

 I tidied up the strawberry patch. They are flowering already so looking forward to a bumper crop.

 Bella's bottle, and the man of the houses nice neat lawn!

We painted our house! It was a bit of a massive effort, but we worked together, slaved away, and now it looks great. LM4 wasn't feeling her usual well self, so we didn't have to contend with too much of her help!

We had our spring garden tidy up. Chased out most of the weeds and planted some flowering annuals and the vege patch.

Little Miss 4's tomato crop: she gets so excited about growing seeds. We have been collecting up take out coffee cups for planting. LM4 wants to give her buddies a tomato plant to grow at their houses.
Hope your holidays all went well. What did you do for your holidays?