Thursday, 31 January 2013

February: New Notice Boards

I've come up with this enthusiastic idea of listing a new board on madeit and Etsy every week. Not sure if I can do it, but here are my offerings for February:

Available through this Blog right now, and on madeit and Etsy over the coming weeks.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Weekly Recipe: Blue Train Cake

For Miss 2's birthday, Darren decided to make her a three-dimensional blue train cake (not Thomas, or Edward, just a generic blue train cake) with fondant icing, something that he has never done before. Don't start small!

He used the cake recipe from Debbie Brown Cakes. He sifted 400 g self-raising flour into a bowl.

Then he beat together 340 g softened butter and 340 g caster sugar. He added 6 eggs, one at a time with a spoonful of the flour. Then he added 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and 3 tablespoons of buttermilk.

Finally he folded in the rest of the flour and the whole lot went into a "tin".

And was baked at 150 degrees until done.

Five cakes later, he had enough to sculpt his vision, held together with Nutino.

Next he coated the cake in Nutino and sprayed it with berry jam.

And rolled out 2-odd kg of blue fondant and a bit of black fondant (store bought).

And covered the cake in it, using some sugar glue to help him out.


A pretty fantastic first attempt at a cake, if you ask me! And did Miss 2 love it? Yes she did!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Toddler Art: Rainbow of Hearts

As a crafty mum looking for new ideas to keep the "twins" entertained, my favourite Blog is 'No Time For Flash Cards'. The other morning I got up and read this post about a rainbow wall and thought, "Let's do that!". So we did.

I stuck some contact paper, sticky side out, on the bathroom wall and drew a rainbow on it.

And I cut lots of hearts out of coloured paper.

Then I asked the girls to stick the hearts on the right coloured line. They thought it was fantastic!

I was suprised at how good Miss 2 and Miss 2.5 were at getting the colours all matched up.

Eventually we ran out of hearts and I was yelled at until I had cut up a lot more. And then they just went crazy sticking them everywhere.

What fun!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Toddle Upgrade

Today my little girl is two years old. Happy birthday!

Now she is Miss 2, and Miss 2 becomes Miss 2.5 :-)

Friday, 18 January 2013

Weekly Recipe: Pea and Ham Soup

I got the Christmas ham bone, after my brother had finished cutting off the meat, for a pea and ham soup. I thought that I'd try a new recipe... this one not as thick and heavy as my usual recipe. You can use bacon bones or a smoked ham hock instead.

Put two cups of dried split peas (I used green and yellow) and a diced onion in a large pot.

Add two peeled, diced carrots and the ham bone.

And three cloves of garlic, a bay leaf and some thyme.

Cover it all in water and simmer for a couple of hours.

Cool a little, then fish out the bones and put the whole soup through the food processor. Make sure all the bones are out, otherwise the blender gets unhappy... Then reheat and eat with bread.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Papercut Love

I do adore papercutting. I've dabbled in it, but here are some people on madeit and Etsy who do it well. Really well.


Papercut Initials Entwined in Heart Wedding Gift by Rochelle Toomey.

The Little Wild Maiden by Sonia Tomasiello.

"Tea for Two" Woodcut by This Papercut Life.

London Skyline Papercut by nickolya.

The Sun Room

The sun room. Before...


Friday, 11 January 2013

Weekly Recipe: Jamaican Feast

I have decided to ditch the weekly kitchen round-up, in favour of sharing a recipe in detail. Hope that this is okay with Loan... This week, you get three Jamaican recipes - bonus!

So, the story goes that ackee is a fruit related to the lychee and logan and is used in the Jamaican national dish, ackee and saltfish. It's very hard to get in Australia, apparently because sometimes the poisonous unripe fruit get canned by accident and kill people, or something *shrugs*, so any time anyone goes to the US, Jamaica or the UK my family nags them to bring back a few cans. My completely-unrelated-to-me-aunt had two tins and my parents were in town, so there was a group consensus that we needed a Jamaican feast.

Jerk Chicken
Darren, with his Jamaican genes obtained by osmosis, is very good at cooking Jamaican food. He was in charge of jerk chicken. He collected his dry ingredients (it works better with dried ingredients): 5 teaspoons onion powder, 2 teaspoons salt, 5 teaspoons thyme, 1 teaspoon chilli flakes, 2 teaspoons black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon mace, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 10 teaspoons pimento and 1 teaspoon garlic powder.

The he ground them all up coarsely to form a powdered seasoning.

He poured lime over a couple of kilograms of chicken wingettes (you can use pork or fish also).

And then rubbed the jerk seasoning over the meat and marinated it in the fridge overnight.

The next day he cooked the chicken on the barbecue

Yum num num.

Jerk Chicken

Ackee and Saltfish
My aunt was doing the ackee and saltfish. My mum had soaked the salt fish (salted cod, bacalhau) overnight in water, changing the water two or three times to get rid of the salt. Then it was boiled in water.

My aunt cut up a couple of spring onions, a spring of thyme, an onion, a few cloves of garlic and a couple of tomatoes. Notice that she doesn't believe in chopping boards.

Then she removed bones from the saltfish.

She cooked the vegetables in a little oil until the onion was softened.

Then she added the fish and let it simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, she drained the ackee.

Then she gently folded it into the vegetable/fish mix (be gentle and don't overcook it, otherwise you'll end up with sludge).

The ackee flavour is a little like scrambled eggs. Oh! So good!

Ackee and Saltfish

Johnnie Cakes
Ackee and saltfish are served with johnnie cakes (fried dumplings). My aunt told me that the dumplings should be festival (cornmeal dumplings), but she's not good at making them. For the johnnie cakes, she mixed a couple of cups of plain flour with a heaped teaspoon of baking powder (using self-raising flour soaks up the oil too much), a small handful of sugar and a sprinkle of salt together.

Then she added water and mixed until combined, but not sticky. She continued mixing, but not kneading (otherwise the dumplings will be hard) until the dough was beginning to be elastic, then let it stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

She shaped the dumplings and shallow fried them on both sides in vegetable oil on a low heat until golden brown (if you cook them too hot, you'll get burned outsides and raw middles).

Johnnie cakes are a great contrast with the ackee and saltfish. Miss 1.5 loves them.

Johnnie Cakes

My mum made a Vietnamese-style salad to go with it all. I wasn't there when she did it but there appeared to be wombok, peanuts, sesame seeds, snow peas, celery, pomelo and Chang's salad dressing.

Vietnamese-Style Salad

And then we ate. And danced... !