Friday, July 31, 2015

A New Knitting Pattern: Triple Ribbed Pixie Bonnet





I'm so excited to be finally sharing this pattern with you. The Triple Ribbed Pixie Bonnet is an original design of mine and one that I am so proud of. 
I created this pattern out of a need for a quick bonnet that was still stylish and cosy. 
The result is a deliciously cuddly bonnet that is suitable for both girls and boys, and can be created in a weekend. Knitted with two strands of DK yarn makes it both quick and fun to make, chunky and soft, covers baby's cheeks and features and adorable point at the back. 


If you'd like to have a better look at this adorable bonnet or maybe even purchase it you can find it on Ravelry or in my Etsy store. The pattern covers sizes from newborn up to 4 years old.




pssttt....if you aren't a knitter, you can buy the bonnet itself! Take a peek here




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Friday, July 24, 2015

The First Signs of Spring


This winter has been one of the coldest I can remember. It was a little delayed in arriving but then came out of nowhere with a chilly blast that had us keeping the fire in the stove going all day and night. The morning chores were a bulky affair with layer after layer of clothing being required, including scarves, gloves, beanies and hoods. We came close to frost, and whilst those of you who have experienced snow are probably laughing, for this coastal raised girl it was way too cold.

But now winter seems to have deserted us. Packed up overnight.
The last day or two has been mild, sunny and even a tad warm whilst working in the sun in the middle of the day.
We haven't lit the fire for a few evenings and yesterday at my potting table I put in capsicums, zucchini and tomato seeds. By the time the seedlings are big enough to be planted out I believe the ground will be warmer, and I'll have a head start on the Spring garden.


These snap dragons are providing beautiful winter colour in the vegetable garden at the moment. They've long been on my wishlist and I am so happy with them, I think they'll have to make an appearance every year.



You'll remember our egg drought? Well it ended a few weeks ago when our Sussex hens and the Plymouth Rock crosses started laying. It's so enjoyable checking the nest boxes once more and having cartons of eggs in the fridge whenever we want them. I plan on setting some in Spring so hopefully we will have more Sussex pullets by next Autumn.


The Autumn chicks are growing, with this little chap being selected as a replacement Rooster when he grows up. Keeping young roosters in with the hens seems to boost their morale and productivity.

This place will be bursting with babies in a few months time with the cows due to calve next month, and the sheep following a month or two after that. I'm hoping for Spring rains so that the new babies will have green grass to enjoy, and I'm also hoping the babies will be safe from predators like they were last year. 

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Is the weather being crazy at your place or are the seasons as they should and changing slowly?
What are you up to on the weekend?
You might like to bake this lemon slice (like I hope to), check out this creative new blog Dolly Henry (in the age of Instagram I feel it's important to support new blogs) or get out into the garden and enjoy the sunshine.
Whatever you chose, enjoy! x




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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Recipe: Cream Cheese or Quark Doughnuts


Earlier in the month we celebrated a family birthday. The thing I don't usually enjoy about parties is that the women usually spend the majority of the time in the kitchen, so you either miss the party or are too worn out from the before prep to enjoy yourself.
However, this time we kept the menu simple but divine and it turned out to be a really lovely, enjoyable day perfectly finished off with a movie by the fire in the evening and another plate of goodies.

My contribution to the table was a huge stack of cream cheese doughnuts. They are fast to make as they aren't yeasted so you can whip them up at a moments notice if required - perfect for weekend treats. These deep-fried balls of decadence are the best doughnut I have ever tasted. They are crispy on the outside and so light and fluffy on the inside.
You seriously have to try them.

I use homemade cream cheese in mine, which has more of a texture of an extra creamy quark. Making your own cream cheese is so dead easy it's definitely worth it. You only need full fat milk, extra cream and the specified cheese starter. The time needed (overnight) is completely hands-off and the results are unbelievable. I use the recipe from this excellent book.
If you aren't using traditional type cream cheese, use a full fat quark. Solid cream cheese such as Philadelphia won't work for this recipe.

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This makes a large batch, perfect if you're feeding a bunch of friends or just want to indulge. They go great with a hot milky coffee the next day cold from the fridge so don't worry if you have leftovers.

Cream Cheese Doughnuts
Ingredients:
2 eggs
40gm rapadura or sugar
20gm butter, melted
500gms traditional style cream cheese or full fat quark
266gms spelt flour or unbleached white flour
67gms cornflour (cornstarch)
1tsp bi-carb soda
2tsp cream o' tartar

Oil, for deep frying
Rapadura and cinnamon, for dusting

Method:
1. Whisk eggs and rapadura together until frothy. Add cheese and melted butter in turns and mix together well.
2. Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add to cheese mixture and use a spatula or wooden spoon to combine. 
3. Heat oil in a wok or deep pot for a few minutes. To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a cube of bread into it. The bread should be golden and crispy in about 30 seconds. 
4. Drop small amounts of mixture into the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Keep in mind that these will puff whilst cooking so don't make them too large or they won't cook through. Doughnuts are cooked when deep golden on both sides, about 5-7 minutes. 
5. Transfer balls to a wire rack to drain, then coat in rapadura and cinnamon mixture.
Repeat with remaining mixture and serve warm. 
Enjoy! x



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