Friday, September 30, 2011

Sticky cinnamon scrolls

(From the archives: April 2010)

Everytime I make these scrolls (and they are quite a favourite in our house), I remember hearing someone say: "They are called sticky buns, because they stick to your buns!"

Now, I have that image in my head when I even think about making them...but it doesn't stop me. I'll do extra laps around the garden for the slightest taste of these sticky, gooey, meltingly comforting buns all wrapped up in the goodness of cinnamon and warm, oozing glaze.

the dough:
600g plain flour
100g sugar
pinch of salt
4 tsp instant dry yeast (14g)
100g butter
400ml milk
2 eggs

the filling:
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

1 beaten egg

the glaze:
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Grease and line a 28cm x 38cm (11"x15") baking tin with baking paper.

Combine the dry dough ingredients in a large bowl. In a small pan, melt the butter over low heat, then add the milk. Crack eggs into a seperate bowl and whisk with a fork, then slowly add the milk/butter mixture, whisking to combine.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well until mixture comes together in a ball. Tip out onto lightly floured surface and knead well for 10-15 minutes, until dough is smooth and silky and springs back when pressed. Place in an oil lined bowl and roll dough to coat in oil. Cover with a damp tea-towel and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour (the coolest setting on the oven may be used, with care).

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down to remove excess gas. Tip out onto floured bench and roll out into a large rectangle about 1.5-2cm thick. Combine filling ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Spread the filling mixture onto the dough rectangle, reaching all the way to the edges. Starting at a wide edge, roll the dough up carefully into a large sausage shape. Cut into 3cm thick slices and place cut side up in the prepared dish. Continue cutting until you reach the end of the 'sausage'.

Preheat the oven to hot 200c. Cover the baking dish with the damp cloth and place somewhere warm to rise for about 25 minutes....until nicely puffy. Glaze the scrolls with the beaten egg and place in the hot oven. Give the pan a light misting of water with a spray bottle. Bake for 25 minutes or so, until well risen and golden brown.

Remove from oven and place the dish on a wire rack while the icing is prepared. Boil the kettle and place 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar into a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and a little boiling water, stirring well to melt the butter. Slowly add a little more boiling water, stirring, until a smooth dropping consistancy is reached. Add the vanilla. Dollop spoonfuls of this sticky goodness onto the hot buns and dive in...not forgetting to lick the icing bowl before it hits the sink.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A good trade...

(From the archives: May 2010)

I made a good trade today. We have such an enormous amount of bark that has fallen from the gum trees on our property, we usually pile it all up and burn it over winter but today it had another use. It also happens to make great mulch for the person who (has access to and), is prepared to take the time to feed it through a large mulching machine. I bundled a trailor load of the bark together and took it down to my keen mulcher.

In return, from their property, I came home with a trailor load of nice, crumbly, dry horse manure. Perfect for the garden and adding to the chook dome!

Which helps me to grow healthy vegetable for my family,

like this...



and these!

There is always someone out there who needs what you don't want, and might possibly just have something that you need! It's just a matter of finding them. Besides being useful, it can be fun to scratch each others backs at times.


It seems to be nearly a week since my last post. It seems I can't be in two places at once. It seems, as much as I push the idea away, an intermission is in order.

My focus is on my family at the moment as we pull together and watch over my dad, who as you may know, is not a well man. Cancer is a nasty life-robbing illness.

While I love to bring you tales of antics by the 'tweens, the odd recipe here and there and homemade body care ideas, writing about such things right now just doesn't feel right. Family comes first.

If you are a new reader, I'm so sorry you had to pass by at such a sad time when I would've liked to be bringing  you posts of joyful spring happenings and garden delights (which there are a several, I look forward to sharing them!).

I hope to post when I can, when time and energy allows and it feels....right.

In the meantime, I will be digging into the archives and searching for my favourite posts or those that have a special meaning to me which I do hope you will enjoy reading (or reading again!), until I can get back to my regular broadcasting.

Don't forget to scroll down onto my sidebar and take a look at all the wonderful posts happening from my favourite bloggy places while I'm 'here but gone'. I hope to be visiting you soon, seeing all the interesting things you've been up to and will try to stop by when I can.

Love and hugs to you,

PS - Thankyou to those who have sent good vibes and thoughts our way recently, they mean so very much to me.

PPS - To Carole, who emailed last week asking the name of my mum's German cookbook (and for anyone else that is interested), it's called: Julie Lutz's Kochbook. I'll try and post a pic of the cover soon..

Friday, September 23, 2011

Primary School Show Day 2011

As the term came to an end, it was once again time for our childrens' school annual 'show day'. For a peek at last years' show day and a rundown of the event take a look here.

This year competition was heightened with the introduction of an official 'CWA' judge! (Country Womens' Association). It would seem the pressure was on for our eager young participants and I have to say I think they rose to the challenge!

The following are some attractions that caught my eye today..

Floral entries. Don't you just love the old boot as a vessel?

I wasn't surprised to see these little sheep had come first place in their cake decorating category (grade 3/4). They are just too sweet! If you had a look at last years' post, they were made by the same little 'alien cupcake' maker..just another year older!

Impressive echidna decorated cupcake
The usual array of pets and farmyard animals were present, including some goats, a handsome looking shaggy pony, a snake,  the cutest lamb you ever did see and a sprinkling of poultry including a muscovy duck in a cage, secured on a wagon that was routinely pulled around and around the 'arena' (football oval) by it's enthusiastic young owner! The duck was unperturbed by the whole event, nesting placidly on a pile of straw within it's cagey confines!!


'Chook in a Box!' courtesy of my chooky friend who brought the mama hen with chickies last year. Chook is a frizzle.

Love this! A clever piggy bank made of recycled materials.

'Goat' 3D art made by the 11yo. Well done!

Junior classes' artwork

..and well done to the 7yo who brought in a second!

Another wonderful farm inspired show day which the kids should be really proud of!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Hello! I hope you've had a good Thursday?

I thought I'd share a little of mine...

A few weeks ago during a productive op shop crawl, I came across a package of crocheted pentagons in all sorts of colours. This crocheted shape was quite unlike anything I'd seen before and I quickly found myself adding them to my purchases..

They sat in the bookcase for weeks as their fate was pondered over. What to do with them?

This week I decided to keep on working them around the edges as the previous ownder had started to.. adding some bright borders and black edging to hopefully make a small lap blanky. What do you think?

Will it work? I'm putting all my faith in those little black borders in the hope that they will bring all the clashing colours together into a splash of rainbowey goodness.

I've been wondering what the previous owner had in mind for them..were they going to be joined together like I'm doing..or perhaps backed to make pot holders or heat mats? I wish they could speak to me!

Bunting has also been happening. Did you know that it grows SO fast when you have a mini 'production line' going on?
It does! So, so fast.

Honey joys have been happening too.

Nothing fancy here, just a quick simple treat for the youngest to take to her netball break-up party this afternoon.

Which went down a treat. Tell me, what child doesn't like a honey joy?

I was also really pleased to get a chance today to start plying the first bobbins of my Bluefaced Leicester purchase. I tell you, this is plying together fast!

Very, very fast!

I'm estimating it to be about a 10/12ply chunky wool although I'm still yet to do a wpi (wraps per inch) test. There is still plenty of fibre to go, though, which I'm really happy about as I'm very much enjoying the feel of spinning  'top'.

Happy Thursday out there!

Honey Joys - a childhood favourite
90g butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbs good, local honey
4 cups cornflakes

Preheat oven to 150c. Line a baking tray with 24 small patty pan cases or 16 large and place the cornflakes into a medium mixing bowl. In a small saucepan melt the butter, sugar and honey together over low-med heat until frothy. Add to the cornflakes and mix to combine. Spoon into patty pan cases and bake in                                                                         preheated oven for 10 mins. Allow to cool.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today at Oma's..

Today at Oma's, the silverbeet grows...

It won't be long until her potatoes are in flower..

..and perhaps she can harvest a few for some warming soups..

It's cold while we wait. It's also very windy and a little rainy. We're unsettled..

Inside her delicious soup simmers on the stove...

..more soul food and childhood dinnertable memories..
(chicken soup with butter dumplings)

The cookbook was a gift from Oma's mother-in-law back when she was a newly married. MIL had marked an 'x' next to all of those dishes that her only son found pleasing, hence the 'x' on this page.

(I'm wondering what I would think of such a gift..or  you?)

Inside, the fire is warming. The ambulance drives away. He is home from hospital.

Tucked up in bed and warm, where he should be. Welcome back, Dad. xx

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday @ home:

A touch of mind bending origami. I am very appreciative for the great selection of library books the 9yo has been borrowing from school lately..

Although, I don't exactly agree with the title: Easy Origami. My little brain was ticking over..a LOT!
(It also pays to check instructions on the previous page..ahem)

A stint of insect craft.. the hands of the 7yo. Birthday celebrations will soon be in the air. For the cutest little homemade ladybird invitation, click here. And they were actually very easy to do..

Soul food bound up with childhood dinner table memories in the form of...


My goodness it's satisfying to bash one's frustrations away with a meat mallet on a chopping board!

It brings the hausfrau to the table in a particularly calm state of mind, where the meal can be enjoyed to it's fullest potential..

Amazingly, Rhonda posted recently about making rouladen. See her post for full instructions.

Potato pancakes were not to be absent either, once all of my bottled up tension was released on the meat  ahh, 'tenderising'.

They come up just as crispy in the waffle maker as I had suspected. Painfully slow to cook though, so only a few batches were made, the majority being done in the quarter of the time frying pan..

Delicious served alongside snow peas fresh from the garden, lightly steamed..

Soul food indeed. My soul food.

To be enjoyed in the presence of fresh garden pickings thanks to the 7yo (I love the detail she goes to when selecting her pickings. No specimen is too small, or too weedy. There IS oxalis lurking in there somewhere!).

*Try to make some time in your week for a little soul food. 
And crafting. As frivolous as it may appear, it really is good for the soul, no matter what it's end purpose.*

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pricking out seedlings

Do you know what 'pricking out' is?

If I wasn't a gardener, I really don't know what I would think of this term meant if someone mentioned it to me!

To prick out is to gently remove seedlings that have been sown together closely in order to give them more room to grow. If germinated seeds are left to crowd each other, none of them will grow to their full potential and they will strangle each other as they compete for light, nutrients and soil.

I've been outside in the greenhouse this morning, pricking out and I thought I'd share how I go about it. (I'm sure there are loads of different ways and each person would develop their own preferred method - I'd love to hear yours if you have a spare moment!).

So, to start off with, I have some heirloom tomato seeds that were sown a couple of weeks ago in the greenhouse. They were a little slow to germinate as we had an unexpected cold snap...

They were sown in a repurposed plastic tray in commercial seed raising mix.

As these tomatoes are going to be grown in our garden (that is, not destined for the daughter's plant stall or the school fete), I am pricking them out into newspaper pots, which can be then planted straight into the ground when the time comes..

Newspaper pots are quick and easy to make. My original method can be found here, although with these particular pots, I recall using an empty corn chip tube to creat a wider pot than my usual favourite tumbler!

The pots are filled with the growing medium. I prefer to use a commercial potting mix as I have had trouble in the past with seedlings 'damping off' (dying of fungal attack)  in homemade potting mix.

After the pots are filled, place them on a seedling tray to keep them all together and give them a water. I find seedlings really like going into damp soil.

Using a small twig or skewer, make small holes in each pot, approximately 1-2cm wide by about 2-3cm deep. This measurement may change, depending on what type of seeds you are planting, how large their roots are and whether or not you are aiming to develop roots on their buried stems...

Ever so gently, 'prick' the small seedling out of the tray, carefully using the stick to loosen the roots so it can be removed with minimal damage. Some people like to prick out when seedlings develop their first 'true' leaves (or second set of leaves) - as you can see, my seedlings don't have their first true leaves yet. I have been pricking out this way for several years and find it the most successful way for my method.

To remove the seedling at this stage, gently hold it by a leaf between your thumb and forefinger. It may seem to make more sense to clasp it by the stem but trust me, your little plant is much more tougher in the leaves and holding it this way is less likely to cause damage. Stems can be delicate little life centres!

Easing the seedling out by gently loosening the roots with a small twig
 Once the seedling is free, position it over one of the newspaper pots, placing it gently into the hole ensuring that the roots are well and truly in there!

Some seedlings can  have their stems buried to encourage extra root growth. Tomatoes fall into this category.  Fill in the hole around the seedling using the stick to move the potting mix into place.

The tomato seedling, transferred to newspaper pot with the majority of stem buried to encourage extra root growth.
Give them a light misting of water.

Lastly, remember to label. Very important! That is,  if you want to remember what's what. If not, throw caution to the wind and look forward to those garden surprises that summer brings. Today I'm using cut up milk cartons. Pop sticks also make great garden labels that have the added benefit of being compostable.

As I was pricking out further seedlings, I came across this little guy below. The pic shows just how amazing seeds are - the seed is cracked open and the stem with leaves is shooting up towards the light, while the long tap root has emerged from underneath to seek out moisture and very soon, nutrients.

Isn't nature truly amazing??
Place the newspaper pots or punnets into a bright, warm, sheltered spot and water regularly (every few days).

Once their second set of leaves form (first true leaves), I'll change their watering to a diluted worm juice solution and increase the frequency.

I placed my pots into the recently cleaned out cold frame in our courtyard which receives the morning sun.

How do you like to start your seeds off?