When I suggested the other day that we all look through those long forgotten UFO projects my mind had been fixed on the fabric and thread kind, but as I was cleaning up my sewing room yesterday it was yarn which caught my eye, most especially a crochet rug I began last autumn but did not get far along with.
So here we are in another Australian autumn and I'm rather toying with the idea of returning to this project and seeing it through to completion before winter's end. Staying home for many months should work in my favour with regards to that plan, but I'm also considering a basket of leftover yarn from last year's Sweet Pea blanket (Attic 24 pattern) which I made for Rafaella...
I did in fact begin a new blanket with them but my cast on row was too tight (I did not think to use a larger hook for that part) and the more rows I crocheted the more obvious that curved cast on row became so I just packed it away rather disappointed and too busy to start over.
But it's been a long time between hooked stitches so I'm going to unravel it this weekend, perhaps whilst watching one of my favourite Jane Austen's, "Persuasion", and then start over.
Two blankets to play with, but which one first?
I'm rather partial to colour you know, and the sweet pea palette is more 'me' than the sandy seashore tones of the other UFO.
Have you found something to work on or finish from your UFO bundle?
In the kitchen I've made a return to breadmaking, something I did a lot of before we moved here. Through 2015-2018 most our our bread was home made and though there's been the odd spurt of home-baked loaves since then, it's the exception rather than the rule...but life is fast changing for many of us and trips to the grocery store will be few and far between now, so the rhythm of making three loaves a week is back...and it makes me happy. Mr E is rather chuffed too.
The first loaf this past week was a light rye, lovely and moist and wonderfully delicious.
I also baked an Apricot Shortcake that day, equally as yummy.
My husband and I grew up in an era when bread was always on the table alongside the evening meal and though I can go without it these days, he truly loves to have a thick slice or two beside his dinner plate.
The Apricot Shortcake was an experiment, the base and top made using the same recipe as my Strawberry Shortcake (with a teaspoon of vanilla extract added) but I switched the centre layer ingredients to apricot jam and a large tin of drained apricot halves.
Wow...we love apricots in our family and this is sure to be made over and over, so I thought you might like the recipe...
APRICOT SHORTCAKE RECIPE
125g butter (we use vegan butter)
110g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat all of these together until light and fluffy.
Fold through -
110g plain white flour
110g white self-raising flour
Spread HALF of the dough across the base of a greased and lined round springform cake pan.
Warm 3/4 cup of apricot jam and spread it over the dough.
Spread the drained apricot halves over the jam (I used an 800g can - that would be a 28oz can for the US).
Spread the remaining half of the dough across the apricots - I dropped spoonfuls all over and then gently pressed down with floured hands once all the dough was in place.
Sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar across the top of the dough.
Bake in a 180C (375F) oven for around 50 minutes.
A couple of weeks ago Blossom had gifted me a bowl of her homemade vegan chocolate mousse, which turned out to be more of a very rich fudge - truly scrumptious, but it needed something 'tart' to balance the sweetness.
I made a crumb base in my food processor from walnuts, almonds, macadamias and dates which I pressed into four ramekins.
Then I spread the fudgy mousse over the base....
...before topping with my homemade lemon curd. This lemon curd is very tart and ovo-vegan (we use our own hen's eggs), which gave this dessert the kick it needed to impress my husband.
I had to try it before I offered some to my husband, right?
So good. Just so good.
LEMON CURD RECIPE
3 large free-range eggs
1 tablespoon (20ml) of lemon zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons of coconut oil (80ml)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cacao butter (around 9 discs) - this is optional but totally worth it
Gather all the ingredients before you begin as once this begins coming together its quick.
Whisk together eggs, lemon zest and honey in a saucepan, then place on the stove over a medium heat. Immediately begin whisking in the lemon juice, coconut oil, vanilla and cacao butter.
Continue to whisk until everything melts and the mixture begins to thicken.
Remove from heat and pour into a container to cool, and store in refrigerator.
In the fridge this will last for around 10 days.
Our hens are back in their coop now that the worst of the wet season is over, although as I write this there is steady rain falling outside.
They have really missed this area while contained up back in the pool enclosure for more than two months, and having them back in their home has eased a bit of the stress here (they kept escaping from the pool enclosure) as well as brought a small sense of normality to daily rhythms.
Our girls lay 12-14 eggs every week, which is more than we use, so my elderly next door neighbour excitedly accepts 2 or 4 at a time.
The yard is a mess, I have to tell you. After the extreme heat of our tropical summer and early autumn combined with the wet season, there's been nothing but weed control and bugs...yet despite that I allowed a few of our basil plants to go to seed and they have produced scores of new plants just in time for the best growing season of our North Queensland year.
We use a lot of basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme, and though some of the herbs have struggled to get by our basil and oregano have flourished.
Now I'm waiting to see if the oregano will go to seed as well. It survived the sweltering weather due to sitting in shade under the large Ixora bush all summer.
As I said the other day, it's been really difficult not having Blossom, Cully May and Rafaella visit each week, or for me to visit them. How my heart leapt yesterday when Mr E and I received drawings from the girls! They made me cry and then smile with delight because now we have them on the front of the refrigerator. I cannot wait to hug them close again when all this has passed.
NEWS - the surprise!
Blossom has just allowed me to give you a peek at her almost ready to launch online baby wear shop.
My girl has been honing her dressmaking skills for the past 3.5 years, and being homeschooled she knows well how to research, learn, practice, test and then repeat the whole process until she is fully satisfied.
Of course, she may not admit this, but she's actually never fully satisfied and for the next 'however' long years of dressmaking there is ahead of her she'll continue learning and honing her craft because that's just how God made her to be.
The sweet little outfits are gorgeous, and so very well made...there's even a bit of vintage Tilda I see!
The label for her baby and toddler wear was inspired by her two girls, Cully May and Rafaella Lucy...
As soon as the online shop is open I will let you know.
May God bless the work of her hands.
It sounds as though the rain has settled now so I'd best be away to play in the garden with my man.
He has a wheelbarrow full of mature compost ready for me to plant seeds and there's nothing better than soft wet soil to pull weeds, plants seeds and seedlings, and to enjoy the earth beneath your feet.
I'll leave you with this beautiful photo I took yesterday. Butterflies are everywhere in the garden at the moment but they do love colour and mostly I find them on flowering bushes or here enjoying a vibrant potted plant waiting to be planted out.
Bless each and every one of you,