Wednesday 27 May 2015

Freezing Feijoas

Thanks to our lovely 'Feijoa Fairy' - that's our Little Misses name for the lovely lady who delivers us a huge box full every year - our house has been experiencing a glut. Now I love feijoa's and so does she, but a box of this magnitude calls for some evasive action. 

Having never had the need to long-term store these babies before, I didn't want to just toss them in the freezer. So I gave them the VIP treatment and poached them in sugar syrup first. 

Poached Feijoas

3 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar

as many feijoas as you can be bothered peeling

Dissolve the sugar in the water and bring the syrup to the boil. 

Top and tail the ends from the feijoas, then slice the skin off. 
Slice into rounds, then plunge straight into the poaching liquid.

Don't delay, as the feijoa flesh will go brown if left exposed to the air.  

Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then remove from the liquid using a slotted spoon. Place into a plastic freezer container with a lid. Allow to cool. Then slide into the freezer to safely store until later. The fruit can be used for crumbles, muffins, puddings or desserts.

Happy cooking my friends!

Saturday 23 May 2015

Play date sweet shop cake

Things in our house have been a whirl of activity with weekend activities, play dates, lots of crafting, extra works commitments and what currently feels like generalised mayhem. 

Here's what our little blossom made with her beautiful buddy. They were so stoked with their efforts! It was actually very easy to make from a simple sponge base, assorted lollies and quite a lot of raspberry buttercream. 

Sweet Shop Cake, made with a simple sponge

For the cake:
3 eggs
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat the oven to 190deg. C and line a 20 x 30cm sponge roll tin with baking paper. 

Beat the eggs and caster sugar together until it is pale and thick. It should fall into defined ribbons when the whisk fitting is lifted from the beater bowl. 

Sift the flour, cornflour and baking powder, then gently fold it into the egg mixture. 

Pour the sponge into the lined tin and smooth over the top. 

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the sponge springs back when pressed. Turn out onto a cooling rack and remove the baking paper. Leave to cool before attempting the decoration.

For the buttercream:
200g butter - softened
1 cup icing sugar
3 tablespoons boiling water
the juice of a lemon
4 tablespoons freeze dried raspberry powder

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. With the beater running, add the boiling water one tablespoon at a time. Beat well in between each addition. Lastly add the lemon juice followed by the raspberry powder. Test the flavour and add more raspberry if you like a more intensive flavour. 

To decorate:
an assortment of sweet varieties, about 1/4 cup of each 
2 waffle icecream cones
1 or 2 small cupcake cases

Cut the cake width-ways into thirds. Then cut one of the thirds in two again. The larger parts form the shop table, while one small section is the back of the counter and the other goes in front of the bench. It really doesn't matter how it is arranged!

Use some of the buttercream to sandwich the sponge pieces together. Now smooth a layer of butter cream over the outside of the cakes. Using a bread knife cut the tops off the waffle cones. The girls then decided how they would arrange the sweet shop counter and pressed the cones into the cake. They then arranged the lollies into the cones and cupcake case, and stuck the lollipops into place. They finished by writing price tags for their shop. 

You may have noticed that things on the screen front have been pretty quiet; behind the scenes I've been concentrating on getting some serious crafting done. With plenty of potential blog posts bubbling in the back ground watch this space for upcoming food and craft ideas.  

Monday 11 May 2015

Tutorial - Sewing in an exposed metal zip

I'm loving the continued trend for exposed zips, almost as much as the use of plaid and checks in this season's latest offerings. Here is a tutorial for an exposed zip I used in this woollen winter skirt. 

Start by assembling the skirt in the usual way: darts stitched in place, centre back seam stitched up leaving a gap for the zip, gap left for the kick pleat and overlocking done. 

Press the centre back seam open and the seams in the zip opening back by 1.5cm.
Turn the skirt to the right side. 

Place the right side of the zip against the right side of the skirt at the base of the zip opening. 

Sew across the bottom of the zip, leaving enough room for the zip to be folded back against the zip opening to hide the raw ends.

Fold the zip over against the right side of the skirt. 

Position the folded edge of the skirt against the sides of the zip as shown. Don't let the zip get too close to the skirt edge of it will snag on the woollen fabric.  
 Pin the zip in place. 

Change the sewing machine foot to a zipper attachment. 
Starting from the bottom of the zip, sew up each side as shown. 

Sewing from the bottom of each side ensures the fabric stays straight and is not distorted by the pressure of the foot sewing in up one side and down the other. 

And the zip is done. 

From here I sewed the pleats and pockets into the front (patch pockets are just the thing this season), sewed the side seams and kick pleat, then attached the waist band, button hole etc. 

A quick hand stitch of the hem and all is done. 

Happy sewing! 

Sunday 3 May 2015

Dressed like a Princess at iD Fashion Show

We've all had a busy few weeks. The return to the school term always takes a little adjustment, and I've been head down working on a few craft projects. The principle of which is the dress our little blossom wore to iD Dunedin Fashion show last weekend. We had a great time with plenty of attractions to see on a long weekend in Dunedin. This is the first time we've taken our daughter to the show, and happy to say she had a great time and was super well behaved too. (We didn't want to spoil anyone else's night out with our restless child!) It was great to see my sister's collection come down the catwalk. 

Our little blossom fell in love with this pattern one day I was trying to keep her amused by looking at children's patterns while I perused the fabrics. Too much watching Sofia The First I think.

She chose the fabric from The Fabric Store in Christchurch. Love that place. I made view B, but left the chiffon over-layer off the main skirt of the dress. The lining has a layer of gathered net sewn in to give it extra princess 'poofyness'. There were meters of fabric and rather a lot of gathering. I finished the edge of the over-skirt using a bound edge on the over locker - it made it super easy. 

She wore her vintage fur as the Dunedin Railway station can be quite a chilly venue. Amazingly she stayed awake for almost the entire show, had a small nap, then perked up enough to do a lap of the catwalk after the show. A group of ladies cheered her on so she was stoked about it! She was determined to see Auntie Charmaine walk the catwalk with the other designers at the end of the show.