Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Mustard Cowl ......

My sister in law is very gifted in the knitting department. She completes the most amazing projects, they always look perfect and flawless. Its the kind of knitting I aspire to do, one day, when I'm not interrupted every two seconds.
The last few times she has visited, she has been working on a cowl. A mustard cowl, two of my currant fav things put together. Last weekends visit, she presented the finished cowl and it was love. I 'borrowed' the cowl all weekend, the wool was gorgeous and soft, it really was deliciousness around my neck!  I was pleasantly surprised when it was 'accidently' left behind!!! Hopefully it has a long Vaca in Nelson!!
 Thanks Renee xxx

Monday, 13 August 2012

Sourdough goodness .....

As promised a long while back lets talk sourdough! Ive been making sourdough bread on and off for a couple of years now, I love it. So dense, aromatic and chewy, better for you too apparently! Amazing with blue cheese and quince jelly.... anyhow I digress.

When I first started making the bread, I was very lucky to be given some super ancient rye starter from a German friend. This starter had been handed down within her family for years. It made lovely bread, but unfortunately somehow, (I blame it on the plastic container it was accidentally put in to) it went mouldy, I know, couldn't believe it. Id had it for over a year, and now found myself with no starter.
Now for those of you who are not familiar with sourdough baking, the starter is the star ingredient. Its the yeast, it is what makes the bread rise and taste delicious! Each time you bake a loaf you use the original starter, make it into the sponge (more on this later) , then put some of the sponge aside to be the starter for the next loaf. Its a never ending cycle, unless it goes mouldy!

Being starterless, I had toyed with the idea of making my own but had always put it into the too hard basket, until I came across this blog post. It didn't look too hard,  the instructions were clear, and how cool is it to have starter specific to your own home!

So if you are interested in making your own starter, here's how I did it. One ceramic bowl, 100gms of rye flour and just enough luke warm water so it mixes to pancake batter consistency. Glad wrap the top of the bowl and put somewhere warm, by the fire in this house. Voila it really is that simple.

Starter day 1

 Basically the next few days you just feed the starter more flour and water, and around day 3 or 4 you will have to start discarding some starter or you will end up with bucket loads (lovely detailed instructions in link above). By the end of the week you should have a lovely bubbly, sour, yeasty smelling batter. Now you are ready to bake!

Starter day 7, ready to bake!

There are a huge amount of recipes out there for sourdough bread. I often use a traditianal french one that comes out really dense and chewy. It is a bit of a long process but very worth it. The other ive enjoyed recently is from the recipe off the link above. I have adapted it slightly to suit, as you do. I like this one as it cooks beautifully in a loaf tin, and is much less fiddly to make.
There you go, sourdough bread really isn't that scary. You do need to be patient as it takes a lot longer to rise then normal bread, but the wait is worth it and if you plan it right most of it can be done over night!

The best thing of baking in a loaf tin is toast!!

Basic Sourdough bread:

Make sponge:
Tip your starter into a bowl, add 100g ms of rye flour and enough water to bring to right consistency. Leave somewhere warm for a few hours until nice and bubbly.

Take half a cup of the starter out (this is for next time), then add to bowl: 100gms of rye flour, 100gms of wholemeal flour, 300gms of high grade white flour, 2 tbsps of olive oil, 1tsp of brown sugar, 2 tspns of salt. Add enough lukewarm water to form dough, tip on to a floured surface and knead for 10mins or so. (I usually do this step in the evening and let the dough rise over night next to the fire)
Pop dough in to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise to double in size.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees, shape and place dough on to pizza stone, oven tray or whatever you choose to bake your bread on, spritz oven with water and bake for 30-35 mins. Bread should sound hollow when taped.
If I'm baking bread in a loaf tin, I do the rising in the tin as well.
I also as mentioned above rise the dough through the night, then bake the bread in the morning,

Happy baking , Sarah xxx

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Rain ......

Its been raining here, a lot .........
I constantly feel grateful that Archie is such a laid back independent kid. We don't do much round here after kindy, this suits him perfectly. He LOVES hanging out at home with all his favourite things. At the moment Thomas is flavour of the day, in fact he's been a winner for months. As long as he has toys I honestly don't hear a peep from him. Its bizarre, I mean he is a three year old boy after all, his brothers were never like this!
We like to call him 'the dream' ........

So this afternoon this is what Archie did ......

Yes the trains have a CRASH everyday!

And this is what I did ......

Newborn 'milo'

My very first successful cable!
It was a lovely couple of hours. I do feel blessed that my third child is so low maintenance, so delicious and so enjoyable! Now the peace is about to be broken, and I must go and catch up on all the things I was meant to be doing xxxx

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Fun ......

After three days of trying to re-thread my overlocker, yep you read that right three days, I finally got the damn tension right (please never break again needle). I was all ready to tackle a pile of orders, but decided to have a little creative play instead.
My mum volunteers in an op-shop, so she keeps me in good supply of woollen jerseys to re -purpose. This lovely grey one has been sitting round for a while waiting for me to do something with it. With no real plan in mind I started cutting!

So the above turned in to a Cardi for Charlie or maybe Archie, not sure yet!

Im pretty happy with it..... not 100% sure about the pockets. They have already been unpicked once, they started out blue. Charlie loves it, but I'm thinking it might be a wee bit small, we shall see......
I loved this wee project, it was so nice to just start doing something and see it evolve. Felt good to re-use something as well!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Gardening .......

Almost able to coffee out!
The sun was shining bright today, so we decided to brave the cold and do a spot of gardening. I wanted to get a bit of a head start, and put things in before spring. These had to be frost hardy of course, so Kale, broccoli, mesclun, beetroot and silver beet it was.  We do not have a huge garden, so plant a lot in pots, and in a big concrete planter at the front of the house. Ive also due to lack of space, started planting along the lawn edge, which I guess traditionally would normally be flowers!! Hopefully it works!

We are not pro gardeners around here, but each year we learn a little more and get a little better. We even planted tomatoes from seed last year!! I love looking out the window and seeing the little seedlings do their thing, and always feel a bit of pride when dishing up something for dinner from our garden.

Garlic that self sowed, bonus!
The kids enjoy helping out, and often will have their own little pot where they can grow what ever they like. Charlie planted an avocado stone one year to see what would happen, and now we have a 50cm tree to deal with!
There are still a few things I would like to master, such as composting and companion planting. We do a bit of the latter, but at this stage all out scraps go to our chickens. I'm looking at making a bokashi type system, hopefully this summer!

Archie's favourite garden duty!

I'm certainly not a passionate Gardner, but have slowly learnt to enjoy pottering around outside. I love going out in the middle of summer and picking juicy tomatoes and colanders full of courgettes. This for me makes a bit of weeding every so often very much worth it!

Kale growing amongst the foliage
Hope you are having a lovely saturday, Sarah xx

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Joe ......

I have been really enjoying knitting this winter. I have finally found some patience and have found myself liking the fact that it takes longer to finish something, then it does when you whip it up on the sewing machine!! I love the fact that I can leave my knitting on the side of the couch, and pick it up and do a few rows whenever I have few minits spare time.
I am still very much an amateur, but slowly learning new things enabling me to undertake slightly more exciting projects!
At the moment I'm knitting a hat for Andy ( apparently I never make him anything so I really had to get on to it!). This is take two of the hat, the first one ended up fitting Charlie, important lesson learnt.... Use the right size yarn!! The pattern I'm using is called Joe, from designer Jane Richmond. Ive also made her mitten cuffs, which have come out super cute. I like her patterns as they are really easy to follow and simple, great for beginners. The hat is knit on double pointed needles which was a first for me, now I have gotten past the awkwardness I'm really enjoying it.
I'm about a third of the way done, hopefully it works out fingers crossed!

Joe attempt number 1!

Joe attempt number 2 ....
Do you like knitting?? Id love some suggestions of cool knitting patterns to try ..... Sarah xx

Monday, 16 July 2012

Hiatus ......

So it seems I've had a bit of a blog Hiatus. Not because I've had nothing to share, but the simple fact that I have been soo busy! This does mean though, that I now have a build up of cool stuff to show you yay!
In the mean time here is a photo essay, of some things that have been happening round here. (Had a wee play on picmonkey FUN!)

 1/ knitting gloves, 2/ waiting for the train, 3/ beautiful church outside our house, 4/ Archie and I on our road trip, 5/ Beach fun, 6/ Marlborough winery, 7/ Picton foreshore, 8/ New pretty quilt, 9,10/ New haircuts.

If you made it past the photo bomb well done! It has been a busy but fun few weeks.
Hope you are all keeping warm, Sarah xx

Monday, 4 June 2012

Mini Break ....

Queens birthday is mine and Andy's Anniversary. This year we have been together for 9 years! On Saturday morning Andy woke me with a surprise, he had planned a mini break away to one of our favourite beaches. How he managed to keep it a secret i'll never know, but he did fabulously. We packed up the kids, dropped them at Nana's where we picked up the camper and off we went.
It was a bliss full, relaxing time away. I won't brag too much, but will share a few pics of our good time!!

Hope you all had a lovely long weekend xxx

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Girly fun ...

As I mentioned before my sister is down for a wee holiday, as I've also mentioned I like to spend as little money as possible on things. I love bargains, and getting things for cheap!! Anyhow I'm a bit of a shocker for maintaining my hair/ beauty regime. I always seem to have something better to spend money on, and before I know it, I have brown hair and bushy eyebrows!!
Last night we decided to have a pamper night. Jessie said she would foil my hair, and we would do our eyebrows and nails.  So off to the supermarket for some foil and some dye ...
Not sure why I actually let my 23 year old sister near my hair with scissors and bleach, but she actually did a pretty good job, and it was fun, and it was cheap! Right up my alley basically. The hair took ages to do, so we didn't get round to doing our eyes and nails, might have to do round two tonight. Wish I had a before pic, it was actually brown. The colour's not too bad considering she's an amateur!! Hopefully my hairdresser doesn't think she has ruined it next time I go and see her... in a year lol!

Such fun hanging out with my sister, we talk and laugh nonstop. Now she does my hair too, and buys me coffee,  and looks after my baby so I can go for a run!! Yay for sisters xxx

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Bitter sweet .....

My brother has been in hospital for last couple of weeks. He is pretty unwell, for a young guy it's not all that cool. We are waiting on tests and numerous other things to get a more conclusive diagnosis.
My sister has come down from up north to see him and hang out. It's nice to have her home. C loved her visit, and the kids are lapping up all the attention!