Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Interesting times

Some challenging times are afoot at the moment, with serious illness in my family. I am literally taking each day at a time, and working hard to stay calm and positive.

I have all sorts of things to tempt me in the evenings - I am really enjoying reading Persuasion, I am cross-stitching a very sweet little folk design, long-stitching a pretty alpine scene and I have finally found my cure-all knitting book The Knitting Problem-Solver (by Tish Lilie) because I want to have a proper stab at moss stitch.
Having watched a great documentary on the Amish last week, my sweet husband has been suggesting we switch off the telly in the evenings. It would be the perfect chance to get some of these things done. But I find by nightfall I am tired and have only the energy to watch tv and silly tv at that (Snog, Marry, Avoid anyone?) It gives me a welcome opportunity to put my brain in neutral and be distracted by the passing parade for awhile.

Ah, well. I think it's important to follow what you feel you should do, what feels right for you. Sometimes even in the smallest of ways, we need to nurture ourselves just a little and take some time out.

Lately I have also rediscovered my love of Blur, who I haven't given much thought (or an ear) to since I got into the whole Britpop thing in the mid-90s. I adore this song ("The Universal"), and its sentiment. It seems about right, right now.

Blogger doesn't seem to want to embed it, so here's a link -

Wishing you happy days, friends.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bomboons, anyone?

Image from wikipedia

Being mildly obsessed with all things Georgian/Regency at present (I should never read Jane Austen), while also planning for once to stick by my plan of a homemade Christmas, I have discovered The Complete Confectioner, written by Hannah Glass and Maria Wilson in about 1800. I believe that Mrs Glass was something of a celebrity chef in her day. Yesterday I tried Orange Bomboons. Essentially, they are sugar and orange zest melted together in a heavy saucepan, left to cool and then cut into whatever shape you like. I am not thrilled with the result but my tasting team here (the DH, Mum and Dad) have pronounced them to be very good. Perhaps they are just being nice to me! Anyway, if you care to take a look -

The wonderful Supersizers team (Giles Coren and Sue Perkins) also went Regency...(and by the way if you are not strong of stomach, do not watch the segment with the cheese)...

Friday, November 15, 2013

Rock Me

I love these rocks that I picked up on the beaches at Byron Bay. They have a soft greenish tinge to them. I'd like to make them into some jewellery but I'm not quite sure how. What do you think?

You might've noticed that I've made a few little changes to the blog. What do you think? In particular, what do you think of the new font?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

In the tropics

As I mentioned yesterday, we spent a lovely week recently in Byron Bay, which is in northern New South Wales, about 1600 kilometres from Melbourne. Near to the Queensland border, it is a world away from Melbourne, and at times it's hard to believe that we're really in the same country.

The weather is entirely tropical, with humid conditions, bright sunshine and blue skies every day.  We found an excellent vegetarian cafe which kept us sated (Manna Haven if you're ever in the area -, walked on the wide beaches and collected pebbles and shells and went for some really nice drives in the surrounding forests, which are really so very different from Victoria. In short, we did not too much at all and it was great.

Hot weather is not really my thing and - of course - I did get sunburnt (do I ever learn?) but it was also amazing to be reminded of just how big Australia is and how different one area can be from another.

My one complaint would be that the op-shops up there are not a patch on ours (I know, I know - I was thrifting while surrounded by a tropical paradise)!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Good Baked Goods

Time flies, as they say. Sorry not to have been blogside for a little while. We took a mini-break to Byron Bay (more on that shortly) and then there were some illness and work dramas thrown into the mix.

With Melbourne's return to cool weather, I have been baking happy these last few days. I started out with Applesauce Snackin' Cake from which worked out a treat and yesterday I went for Good Plain Buns from the venerable Mrs Beeton ( Very nice with jam and a cup of tea!

TO MAKE GOOD PLAIN BUNS. 1730. INGREDIENTS.—1 lb. of flour, 6 oz. of good butter, 1/4 lb. of sugar, 1 egg, nearly 1/4 pint of milk, 2 small teaspoonfuls of baking-powder, a few drops of essence of lemon. Mode.—Warm the butter, without oiling it; beat it with a wooden spoon; stir the flour in gradually with the sugar, and mix these ingredients well together. Make the milk lukewarm, beat up with it the yolk of the egg and the essence of lemon, and stir these to the flour, &c. Add the baking-powder, beat the dough well for about 10 minutes, divide it into 24 pieces, put them into buttered tins or cups, and bake in a brisk oven from 20 to 30 minutes. Time.—20 to 30 minutes. Average cost, 1s. Sufficient to make 12 buns. Seasonable at any time.

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