Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Sweets

Peppermint Patties

Servings 48
1 can Condensed Milk
3/4 tsp Peppermint Oil or [1 Tbl Extract]
6 cups Icing Sugar Sifted 
Dark Chocolate Melts

Cover 2 large cooking trays with baking paper & dust with icing sugar, set aside.
In a large bowl mix the milk & peppermint with a wooden spoon [do not use metal]
Mix in 1 cup at a time of icing sugar, by the time you get to 4 cups you will no longer be able to use the spoon, so put on some food grade gloves & mix the rest by hand. you may need more sugar just keep adding it till you get a stuff consistency & is no longer sticky. 
Now roll into 1/2 walnut size balls & place on your trays. Roll a few, then flatten with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped in icing sugar.
Do not do too many before flattening as they start to dry out & will crack too much. Now cover with a fly net & leave to dry for about 6 hours then turn them over & leave over night. Using a pastry brush, brush off the icing sugar & set them aside. They will keep like this in a container for a few days. Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Cover your trays with foil. Dip each patty in chocolate & pick up using a fork & tap off excess chocolate. I use a skewer to slide the patty onto the foil tray to harden.
These are a very strong peppermint flavour when you use the oil. 
I also made a second lot using Orange Extract, they taste like Jaffas.
Once hardened package as you like & store in the cupboard. They will last a good few weeks if you can resist eating them all.

Dried over night & ready to coat

Dipped in dark chocolate

Wrapped in small pieces of foil

All ready to give

If anyone makes these id love to hear about it :o)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wine Barrel Lights

we are having an 18th Birthday Party here on saturday for son #2, i have been busy cooking all week & took a break yesterday to make some lights. i have seen similar ones made from ladders, wagon wheels & even bicycle rims. i have used 3 steel bands from an old 1/2 wine barrel that rotted away.

here is a quick tutorial of how i made them

steel bands & also not pictured 2 lengths of rusty chain

wire, pliers, fencing clips

make a loop & twist then wrap around your chosen object, take the wire across to the other side, wrap & make another loop, wrap again & cut the wire.
now do the same again so you now have a cross. those loops will be attached to the chain to hang your lights.

now turn the whole thing upside down so the loops are facing the ground. do two more the same as the first two so it looks like the spokes of a wheel. i used a fencing clip to bring all the wires to the centre [above picture]

you can add extra loops in the gap of each spoke so you can add more lights.

i used fencing clips to attach the chain to the top loops.

large coffee jars, jam & honey jars. there is a tutorial for wiring those here i used around about the same method. tea lights in the bottom & a long handled lighter.
i made two, the other one will have to wait till i get a few more jars if i want to have three hanging chandelier lights.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Potato Casserole & Honey Mustard Sausages

Because im home, i have heaps of time on my hands so i have been trying out new recipes that i have found on Pinterest. This is the potato casserole i made last night with a couple of changes from the original recipe.

original recipe comes from  MakeLifeDelicious Below is my version

Potato Casserole

1 1/2 kg Potatoes
2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
300ml Sour Cream
1 1/2 cups grated Cheese
Salt & Pepper
sprinkling of Bread Crumbs
few knobs of Butter

place a clean tea towel inside a large mixing bowl or bucket

peal your potatoes

grate your potatoes into your tea towel, then bring up the corners of your tea towel, twist & then squeeze your potato ball to remove excess water. empty your bowl with the potato juice & wipe out.

place into your bowl : Potato, Soup, Cream, Cheese, Salt & Pepper, mix together.
grease your baking tin ~ casserole dish i have found butter works better than oil.

tip in your mix, add a few knobs of better & sprinkle with bread crumbs.
180 degrees on the middle shelf for about 1 hour or until brown & bubbly.
this makes a fair bit but its even better reheated the next day.
you can add extra chopped mushrooms
i dont always have sour cream so i just use a carton of long life cream from my pantry

Honey Mustard Sausages

this recipe calls for those little cocktail sausages but i just use regular thin sausages the other ones are too expensive. this recipe has no quantities

Wholegrain Mustard

cook your sausages either in a fry pan or i usually cook them in a baking tray in the oven. remove the sausages & drain, cut each sausage into three pieces.
in a small pot add about 2 1/2 Tbl Honey & 2 Tbl Mustard [the amount will depend on how many sausages you use] heat until runny.
there are two ways to do this, you can either put the sausages back into the pan [after you have drained the fat & wiped out the pan] & then pour over the honey mix & place it back into the oven for five minutes or you can put the sausages into a serving bowl & honey mix into a dipping bowl {second option is good for party finger food]

both recipes are very yummy, especially the next day :o)

i still have some stuff over on my Flickr account for sale if you want to have a look :o)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Raspberry Bramble

we have a Raspberry Bramble down the side of our house, its shady & wet most of the time. this is our third summer here & its the first time i have gotten any raspberries, as usually the birds have stripped the bramble clean.

these pictured above will be ripe in two days.

Miss Sally Girl loves fruit she can just snack on any time she likes, here she is picking raspberries. when i go out to pick them she has to stay inside or i would get very few in my bucket :o)

the bramble is not huge, probably 2 1/2 metres wide & 3 metres long about that any way. the area was bigger but i cut them back last autumn. they are super easy to grow & need pretty much no maintenance if you dont want them to take over keep them cut back & remove all the ones that pop up around them or you can also keep them in pots.

they are not very spiky like the blackberries so are much easier to pick. the fruit hangs low under the leaf canopy away from the main spiky branches.

the bucket is a 1kg honey bucket & it is 3/4 full this is from a two day pick. pick one day then skip a day then pick the next. I have a short list of what I will do with them & ill post recipes when  I've decided.

to clean & store any berries i make up a mix of 1 part Apple Cider Vinegar to 10 parts water, swirl around & then drain [you can rinse but i dont bother].  the reason i wash my berries like this is because most berries go mouldy pretty quick & this gives them a lot longer mould free life.
store in the fridge or lay out on paper towel to dry then place on a try with none of them touching & freeze, when frozen store in tupperware or zip lock bags. If you have a dehydrater remove any stems before drying, for a quicker dry cut in half long ways.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Sales

Well its that time of year again, where did our year go it seems just like yesterday we were celebrating the new year & now Christmas is upon us again. As mentioned i have a few things for sale if you want to have a peek you can head on over to Nicole's Flickr there are a few goodies for sale, more will be added this week.
We have had so much going on over the past couple of months i haven't even thought about Christmas let alone buy any gifts. I feels like we are
going to be on the last minute gift buying roller-coaster, NOT looking forward to that i can tell ya. Hopefully all of you are much better prepared than i am this year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grocery Bag Tutorial

Christine's Bag
this is part of a gift for son #1's girlfriend, a bag to carry her books to uni. 
i saw a bag like this a while a go on a blog,[ i cant remember where]. so i thought id give a tutorial a go. it seemed easy, till you have to do it that is. please be kind :o).

if you want to make a lined bag like mine you will need to cut the body piece & the two side gussets for the inside lining in a contrast fabric. cut all pieces pictured above for the outside of the bag. all measurements are in inches, bigger numbers on my tape measure = good for tired eyes. all seams are double stitched.

my bag has lined paper sewn on it, if you do not wish to do this then skip this step.
5" from top edge of the body of  the bag draw a line across. you can use a water washable pen, I just use a pencil. sew a blue line over the pencil then a second line close to the first.  then using the foot as a guide for spacing continue sewing down the bag front. i went down about 12"
Red Line [see picture #4] sew a red line 3" from the side down the bag to the last line.

Picture #2
for the making of the bag i will be showing the inside lining.
fold the Body of the bag in half top to bottom,[long ways] now pin the Gusset from the top of the bag to the end of the gusset on both sides. making sure right sides are facing each other.
sew down both sides leaving the bottom open.

Picture #3
Sew along the short end, this has now formed the bottom of the bag
repeat for the second gusset on the other side of the bag.
now do steps from pictures #2 & #3 for the outside of the bag.

Red line stitch. this is the bag once it is stitched with gussets in. 

Picture #5
turn bag right side out. if you want to stitch something on the front now is the time.
i wrote on it with a lead pencil & then stitched it with black embroidery thread, also added a felt heart as one of the i' dots. 

Picture #6
now place the lining inside the bag making sure it is still inside out.
pin & stitch around the top.

Picture #7
Picture #8
to make the handles fold in half length ways & iron. sew down the long open edge.

Picture #9
now turn handle pieces right side out. this can sometimes be a bit difficult, this is the method i use.
2 nappy pins & a piece of scrap cloth. pins in either end of cloth.

Picture #10
pin one end to the opening of your handle.

Picture #11
now thread the other end half way through the tube & then start to work the pined end in after it.

Picture #12
now just pull all the way through, do the other one & then iron them both.

Picture #13
turn the bag inside out, fold down the top about 3/4" & iron.

Picture #14
fold over again about 1 1/2" iron & pin.

Picture #15
insert handles under fold, 4" from side seam.

Picture #16
fold the handle forward & pin. do the same for the other 3 ends. after you have pined one handle & one end of the second handle line them up & measure to make sure they are the same length then pin. now try the bag on to make sure the handles are the right length.

Picture #17
sew along the top edge first.

Picture #18
now sew along the bottom edge.

Picture #19
for the handles i always like to reinforce with a box cross.

now its already to go off to school.
you can make these bags any size you like, they are super easy & quick to make up.
if you have any questions please let me know.