Sunday, January 30, 2011

A bit of a giggle

Just a quick thank you for the lovely words of encouragement left on the blog over the past few days. I'm convinced now that I will do the pattern making course. Stay tuned for sewing updates.

I wanted to share with you an episode from one of my all time favourite cooking shows, enjoy :)


You've gotta love Richard E Grant :)

Cheers Lisa

Friday, January 28, 2011

On my mind......

For the past few month and weeks I've been thinking a lot about reacquainting myself with drafting and pattern making. I've done a bit in the past, I even did a night course on drafting. Now I'm seriously thinking of doing a distance education course on the Garment Pattern Making and Design. I really struggle with finding sewing patterns that fit me, so making my own seems to be the best idea.

My aim for the past two years has been to either buy secondhand or make all my own clothes. Alas I've not done much in the sewing department, on the flip side I've not purchased much either.

Hmmm lots to think about.

Thanks to Rhonda for this great idea. Check out what other have On their mind

Have a great weekend

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cordial and Ketchup recipes

The basic recipe I use for cordial is from Rhonda's blog . I adapt the recipe to whatever fruit is in season or on special.

Orange and passion fruit cordial

1 litre of fresh orange juice
Grated zest of 1 or 2 of the oranges
Pulp of 3 or 4 passion fruit
1 kg sugar
1 litre water
1 1/2 tablespoons citric acid
3 teaspoons tartaric acid
Sterilise your bottles
Place the water and sugar in a large pot and bring to the boil, simmer for a few minutes to ensure the sugar is dissolved.
Add the orange juice, zest and passion fruit pulp, mix well, bring back to a simmer then add the citric acid and tartaric acid, mix well. Remove from the heat.
Allow to cool, then bottle. If your family is not fond of passion fruit seeds strain the mixture before bottling.
Makes approximately 2.5 litres of cordial. I dilute at 1 part cordial to 4 parts water.
Sometimes I'll add the pulp of a mango or fresh pineapple juice for a tropical treat.

Homemade Tomato Ketchup
- the recipe comes from Cook It Simply
3 kg ripe tomatoes
2 tbls salt
600ml white vinegar
250g white sugar ( I used raw)
1/2 tsp of each ground cloves, cinnamon, allspice and cayenne pepper ( I used paprika)
Quarter tomatoes, place in a preserving pan with salt and vinegar and simmer until they are soft and broken up.
Rub mixture through a fine sieve or use a mouli to puree the mixture. Return it to the pan and add the sugar.
Simmer until the ketchup starts to thicken, add the spices to taste, a little at a time, stirring thoroughly.
Meanwhile sterilise enough bottles to hold the ketchup, keep warm.
When the ketchup is thick enough, ( this took ages, maybe an hour and a half to 2 hours) fill the hot bottles, leaving a head space, I left about 12mm/ 1/2''. Seal the bottles immediately or (see next step for processing).
Allow the ketchup to cool slightly, fill up the bottles leaving a head space and process at 88c for 30 minutes. I'm guessing they used a water bath to process the sauce. I've stored my ketchup in the fridge and it should be good for 6 months.
Label when cold.
Note the ketchup will be thicker when cold, so don't reduce the mixture too much.
I'm surprised at how good it tastes. Next time I'll add the full amount of the seasoning and cook it longer, as it still is a bit thin.

Cheers Lisa

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Today part 2

OK so maybe I was a tad over ambitious about how much I could achieve today. If I'd stuck to my original plan everything would have been done. Things started to fall apart when I decided to make Tomato Ketchup as well as passata. I still have 2kg of tomatoes to be used and the pickled beetroot, well there's always tomorrow. As for the movie, that will have to wait till the weekend.

Left to right - passata, tomato ketchup and orange & passion fruit cordial

citrus lemonade and light wholemeal & chia loaf

I'll post the recipes soon, it's very late, I'm pooped and I have to work tomorrow.

A very big thank you to Sonya, it worked.....yay!!!

Cheers and goodnight


I need to do a bit of this

Then tackle this lot, pickle the beetroot, make citrus lemonade, orange and passion fruit cordial and finally bottle the tomatoes (first time for me). At last I get to use the Mouli I found at the op shop for $1.00.......what a bargin!

As a reward for all my hard work we're off to the movies this afternoon to enjoy the air con. Tony wants to see Burlesque, I'd like to see the Kings Speech, maybe we'll see the new Coen Brothers film True Grit.
Happy Australia Day
Cheers Lisa
Arrgh.....I've given up trying to get the stupid line spacing to work!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tana update

A few weeks ago I posted about my little munchkin Tana and her eye problem, well the news is not good. On Thursday she had an appointment with the ophthalmologist (yes they have eye doctors for for animals, dentists as well), she confirmed that Tana has Primary Lens Luxation. Unfortunately this is a bilateral genetic condition so her other eye will become affected at some stage. If left untreated she will develop glaucoma which would lead to blindness.

She is now on two types of eye drops twice a day, one to restrict her pupil so the lens won't luxate again, the second to reduce the pressure in her other eye, as it is elevated. Tana is being such a good girl when it comes to putting in the drops, of course a few treats never go astray.

We go back in a month for a recheck. The specialist told me that she has another Tenterfield Terrier with the same condition, that has being managed for the last three years with eye drops. The only vision loss for some dogs on this course of treatment is at dusk and at night.

Apparently lens luxation is a common condition in Tenterfields, Jack Russels, Mini Foxies, Miniature Bull Terriers and Australian Cattle Dogs, with onset starting around four to five years of age. Thankfully they can now DNA test for the condition. I obviously didn't do enough research on all potential health problems when selecting the breed. Having said that I wouldn't swap her for the world.

Poor little Tans she's only four years old. Also I forgot her birthday earlier in the month...I think a new squeaky toy is in order.

Friday, January 21, 2011

New soaps

I've been busy the last few weeks trying some new soap combinations. Nearly all of my last batch of goats milk soap was given as gifts at Christmas. Replenishing that was my first priority, as I now have friends wanting to buy my soap.

Two different types of goats milk soap

Next was my first batch of dog soap. I can't wait to try it on the dogs, although I'm sure they won't share my enthusiasm. It contains Neem oil and some flea repelling essential oils. Whilst Neem oil isn't the best smelling thing around, it's great for the skin and the fleas don't like it either.

Dog Soap

Lastly I made some more laundry soap. I make this to use as the base of my homemade washing powder. It contains eucalyptus oil for stain removal and lemongrass essential oil for a nice smell. I tend to change the essential oil I use in each batch for a bit of variety.

Laundry Soap

Here is my handy soap cutting guide in action on one of the wooden soap moulds I made. I tried being a cheapskate and used a paint guide as a soap cutter (black handled thingy in the photo). It cuts the soap well, however the surface is flaking off, so a stainless steel cutter will be next on my list.

I'd love to be able to make soaps with lovely swirls on top. The only thing stopping me is the layer of soda ash that always forms on the top of my soaps. Now I just cover the top with some cling film or similar. So no swirls for me :(
If any soap makers out there have any hints on preventing this, please share your tips.

I'm looking into registering as a soap maker, something you have to do here in Australia if you want to sell your soaps as a cottage industry. I have some plans swimming around in my head for a home based business to supplement my income. More about that another time.

Have a lovely weekend
Cheers Lisa

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sorry neighbours

I was awoken around 4 o'clock this morning by the lilting sound of a roster crowing......welcoming the dawn. Ahh how nice......then a reality bolt hit me, a roster crowing, oh no, it could only be 'Renee' the rescue chicken we collected on Sunday afternoon. Yikes, we're not allowed to have rosters in suburbia.

I must admit it was getting late in the afternoon when we collected her. Tony and I were more concerned about getting her home and settled than looking at tell tail signs that she was in fact a he!

Rene at the front, in need of a good bath

Poor Renee or should I say Rene was found wandering around a yard in the flood ravaged suburb of Rosalie on Saturday. Apparently there was another chicken and two cats found dead in the same yard. From what I understand the house where Rene was found belonged to a friend of a friends grandfather. He had his six hens or 'the chicks' as he liked to call them, there in a coup. Really we will never know where she/he came from. The main issue was finding her a home and we were happy to oblige.

On closer inspection this morning it was obvious that we had a rooster on our hands. I think the dead giveaway was the crowing that went on for most of the morning. Just letting the neighbourhood know that he had arrived. I think Rene must have come from a school hatching program as he was very friendly and happy to let you pick him up and stroke him.

Then came the problem of what to do with Rene. I knew that a few rooster re-homing or rescue services existed. However with the flood everything was up in the air. After a few phone calls and a trip to the local pound we were finally able to take him out to our local RSPCA shelter. They have wonderful people who take on unwanted poultry, a kind of poultry retirement village. Well that's what they tell us and I'm hoping it's true. I would be very upset to learn that Rene ended up as Chicken Soup!

Why the name Renee you ask? Our friends who initially took the chook in decided to name her after the person who found her :)

This is just one story of the tragedy that the floods have caused. Lets not forget all the animals that have suffered terribly in this catastrophic event. Please visit the RSPCA Qld 2011 Flood Appeal and consider making a donation.

Cheers Lisa

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A new day

Thank you for all your well wishes yesterday. Fortunately we have not had any problems. Some low lying areas in our suburb and surroundings areas were evacuated yesterday, due to the rising river and creek levels. This is what I awoke to this morning.....crazy hey.

I took the dogs for a walk yesterday afternoon to check out the local creek, this is about a 10 minute walk from my house. I usually walk the dogs through this park.

Thankfully we are safe and not in any immediate threat. My heart goes out to all who have been affected and those who are in areas that will be inundated.
Stay safe everyone

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Is there an end in sight?

Having lived in Queensland my entire life, Brisbane girl born and bred, I've never seen such constant widespread rain around our Sunshine State. They are now comparing this to the 1974 floods that stuck Brisbane. I was only nine years old at the time and don't really remember much, except that a relatives house was inundated at St Lucia. My parents did take use down to the Wynnum foreshore to have look at the aftermath of the king tide. There were boats floating in the streets near Wynnum creek, amazing stuff.
The view around my house yesterday

This is getting a bit close for comfort - Water at the back door

Water starting to creep in at the front door - thankfully it stopped raining and the water drained away

Water pooling at the side of the house

The dogs are starting to go a little stir crazy with all the rain. To break the boredom we all donned our raincoats and went for a long walk, much to Tana's disgust. She loves a walk just hates wearing a coat.

My thoughts go out to all those affected by the flooding. Stay safe and lets pray that the rain stops soon.

Has anyone got any hints or tips regarding the spacing problems I'm having. All paragraphs are just merging into one no matter how many lines spaces I put between them. It seems to occur after photos are

Cheers Lisa

Friday, January 7, 2011

This is on my mind

Homemade ginger beer

After two failed attempts making wild fermented ginger beer, I decided to use a small amount of activated dried yeast in the plant. Yeah.....I finally got to bottle it. Lets see how it looks after a few days.
Pop over to Rhonda's blog and see what others have on their mind

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My poor Tana

"Ouch"......what a way to start the New Year

My poor little Tana somehow managed to injure her eye on Thursday evening. After work on Friday, we paid a little visit to see my lovely friend Wanita (she's a vet) to have her looked at. After lots of treats and cuddles the verdict is that she has swelling and inflammation in and around the eye, no abrasions (we can rule out the cats then). Her conjunctiva is very red and aggravated, possibly from her rubbing at it and her eye is weeping a bit.
She is on antibiotics, eye ointment, 3 x a day!! and Metacam for 5 days. Then she has to go back on Wednesday for a recheck. Unfortunately it isn't the first time this has happened, she had a similar injury in November, same eye. Alas I've had to resort to putting an elizabethan collar on her as she keeps rubbing her poor old eye.

Hows that for being creative. I made the collar for her when she was spayed. I just cut up an old x-ray, made loops out of gaffa tape, slide a collar through and Bob's your uncle!

Here she is being comforted by Olivia, watch those claws Livvy!

I'm at a loss as to how she keeps injuring herself. I did wonder if it happens when she plays with Chester, she gives as good as she gets but he is about 30kg heavier than her. You do hear the odd squeal from her occasionally. Actually when Chesty has had enough he just whacks her with his paw. Maybe that's the problem. Another thing could be her digging about in the backyard, the state its in at the moment, I'm not surprised she runs into things, especially at night.
What a sad and sorry little thing she is at the moment. She isn't her usual self, which tells me she is in some discomfort. Although when it's meal time, all her troubles miraculously disappear!
Poor Tans. I'm hoping that there is no permanent injury, which is not uncommon in little bug eyed dogs.
Keep your fingers crossed for a full recovery.