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Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I finally finished my February Lady Sweater and I love it. I am so looking forward to wearing it when the cooler weather arrives. I found perfect buttons too:

Today I made a Pyramid Project Bag, in a gorgeous teal colour Japanese style fabric. It has a white lining and I made it fairly large so it can hold good sized projects:

Here is my cake of the week, a Blueberry & Apple Muffin Cake. I made up the recipe myself as I was getting weary of following recipes that either didn't work out or were way too sweet. It's a really good cake, made in the food processor but I am sure it would be fine made by another method. It's not very sweet and the fruit makes it nice and moist, it's the kind of thing I like to eat for breakfast when I am rushing off to work at the crack of dawn and cannot bear the thought of toast (I am not a big breakfast eater). I love to use the most sour apples I can find and the blueberries are ones we picked a few weeks ago, we have 5 kg of them in the freezer so keep checking back for more blueberry recipes.

Blueberry & Apple Muffin Loaf

125g Chilled Butter, diced
225g Self Raising Flour
150g Caster Sugar
2 large eggs beaten
1/4 cup of buttermilk (you may need a little more depending on the flour)
1 large eating apple (or 2 small), peeled, cored and very thinly sliced
125g blueberries, fresh or frozen

1. Preheat the oven to 190/170 fan/gas 5. Grease and line a 900g loaf tin (I use a long narrow loaf tin).
2. Sieve the flour into the bowl of a food processor with a pinch of salt. 
3. Add the cubed butter and process until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. 
4. Add the sugar and eggs and whizz again, then add the buttermilk and whizz until you have a nice soft cake batter.
5. Spoon half of the mixture into the tin and spread it out, scatter with 2/3 of the blueberries and apple slices. 
6. Put the rest of the cake mixture on the top and spread gently with a spoon, scatter over the remaining fruits
7. Bake for 45 mins to 1 hour depending on your oven, mine takes exactly 50 mins. The cake is cooked when a skewer inserted into the centre comes put clean.
8. Cool in the tin for 30 mins, then turn out onto a rack. It will keep for a few days in an airtight container (if it lasts that long!) The cake also freezes really well if you wrap it in thick foil.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I have made good progress on my February Lady Sweater, I have just inches to do, I must remember to buy buttons for it when I am in town tomorrow.

I have been working on a colourway for the New Zealand Sampler Box which I am taking part in next contribution is still under wraps at the moment but I will post more about this very soon.

It was quite a stressful week for me really, my dog Molly was hit by a car on Monday but she is on the mend thank goodness. It was her 9th birthday the day it happened poor thing, she was chasing rabbits, we are overrun with them at the moment. So I have been fairly housebound since as I didn't want to leave her home alone, good thing that I had a weeks holiday from work. So I did a bit of baking, a bit of dyeing and quite a lot of housework.
Apricot Frangipane Tarts:

Blueberry and Apple Loaf:

Recent hand painted fibre updates in my Etsy store:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I made Lemon Curd today, it is a family favorite. I bought Sunkist Lemons from California yesterday for this reason. I am a great believer in eating local produce yet when it come to lemons I prefer to buy the imported ones, I find the ones grown here lack in juice, they are very dry and often very thick skinned. I remember once having to buy 2 kg of them to get 300 ml of juice! I make lots of different jams and chutneys but this is my most requested. It amazes me how so few ingredients (below+sugar) can make something so wonderful. The recipe I use makes 4 regular sized jars of Curd. I had to make fresh home baked bread to go with it now didn't I?

So the bread maker is on and everyone keeps nipping into the kitchen and checking the countdown display on the machine to see how much longer they have to wait for fresh bread....

My bread machine has been stored away for over 2 years. When I lived in England I used it at least 3 times a week, I had 2 favorite recipes that I continuously used: a basic white loaf and an oatmeal loaf. We emigrated here and waited forever for our shipping container to arrive and I remember the day after getting the bread machine out of the box and putting it on. The loaf was a complete disaster, closely resembling an house brick. I tried again over the following weeks, many times, tried all the different brands of bread flour and the results were awful every time. Then someone told me that the flour in New Zealand does not have a high gluten content and that is why it would not rise the bread. So I went to the Mediterranean food shop and bought some 00 Italian flour. I have used this flour to bake bread by hand and it came out perfect. That is what is in the machine today and I am feeling hopeful of the outcome.

On my travels this morning I made an impulse purchase... yet more wool. I did have a specific project in mind though (so that justifies my purchase!) I bought 12 balls of Cleckheaton Country Silk 8 ply in a gorgeous shade of green which matched my limes perfectly:

The yarn was on sale (I think it was half the normal price) which made it a great bargain purchase plus I had a gift voucher for that store. I have just cast on for the February Lady Sweater (please excuse the shabby garden seat cushions in pic above, they really need a wash!) The only thing I am not sure about are the nobbly bits in the yarn, I am hoping they will grow on me. I usually opt for smooth yarns. It is really nice and soft and I am going to try my best to get this finished before I start my KAL shawl on the 20th March, so that gives me 10 days.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Tomorrow there will be Lemon Curd, maybe Lime too...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Busy Busy Busy............

Busy Busy Busy.......

I have been making new stock for my Etsy shop
I spent most of the day sewing boxy project bags, then trying to photograph them, but I could not get pics of them all as it was getting too windy and the clouds were starting to roll in off the mountains so it was a losing battle really, I will try for more shots tomorrow. I really like these fabrics, most of them are Amy Butler prints, I love the bold zingy colours, they are so much nicer than any project bags I have seen in the shops here. I use them for all sorts of things and they do hold quite a bit. I still have some skeins of sock wool to photograph too but I never got the chance today with the weather - 2 semi solids, a crimson red and a very deep purple. I will show them off tomorrow.

I haven't done any knitting for 2 days now and my socks need finishing. I spent yesterday afternoon dyeing sock yarns. Would love to get the socks finished as I have signed up for a knit along starting on 20th March with the Color Swap Group on Ravelry and the theme is shawls. I think I'll knit another Aestlight but bigger than my blue one. I'm going to use the cherry alpaca yarn I received in the Amazing Lace Swap last week.

The problem is that the Stonington shawl keeps popping into my head and I have some ideal yarn (Utuna) to knit it with which I received in a swap last year. The stonington is a big project and I would never finish it this side of Christmas considering everything else I want to knit between now and then.

Tomorrow.......... I shall be concentrating on catching up with all my household chores, my hobby room and dye area need a good sort out/clean out but I had better not go in those places until I have finished all other tasks or I will get side tracked and nothing will get done lol!  I should really cook a nice meal for dinner.... I am still wanting to make Bienen Stich cakes, maybe tomorrow :-)