Saturday, September 6, 2014

I'll let you in on a Secret - Perfect Cupcakes


Do you ever have trouble with cupcakes sticking to their cases, or to your tin?  Are you sick of creaming butter and sugar, and endless standing over the mixture?  

Try these:  Anna's Magic Cupcakes

You do need to have fresh cream (the whipping kind, not single, or thickened)

You will need - 2 eggs, about 1/2c cream, 3/4c sugar, 1t vanilla and 1c Self Raising Flour (or 1/4c cocoa and 3/4c SR flour if you want chocolate ones)

Firstly, heat your oven to 170C

Then, break the eggs into a cup, and top up to the top with cream.  Put these in your mixer and whisk for 1 minute.  Add vanilla and sugar and beat for 3 mins still soft and fluffy.  During this time put your cupcake cases in tins.  Fold in the flour, till it is all combined.  

This is a soft, fluffy mixture!

3/4 fill your cupcake cases and cook for 15-20mins till lightly browned on top and cooked through.

These are so quick and easy to make, and today I doubled the mixture because tomorrow is the Rock N Wheels meet.  Its a large classic wheels show in our Domain and is the biggest fundraiser for the Brownies/Guides/Pippins in our area.

Think of me tomorrow, as I am manning several stalls all day, including bacon butties and sausage sizzle.  Montana-Rose is in the cake stand.  If you are in Amberley, come on down!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Now we are ALL happy

One of those moments...a serendipitous moment....

I visited wonderful Helen from Roses at Cust last week to pick up a few roses we had ordered.  One of these, St Patrick, I have been waiting on with baited breath for two years.  

On getting out of the car my attention was snaffled by some rose standards which were at the front of the shop.  "Fresia" which is a wonderful yellow rose, with a fragrance to die for, and a beautiful clarity of yellow colour.  Here they were, lined up looking for new owners.
Here they are lined up outside my house, waiting for their new home

Helen told me the story of how they were a cancelled order, and she was so upset because the order had been for 14 Fresia Standards, and her supplier only delivered 9.  So, at vast expense, she had visited Oderings and purchased 5 more to make it up to 14.  Now they were cancelled, and the stock was just sitting there.

It was just the motivation I needed to finalise my "New Garden".  Plans below, a Fresia Rose Bordered walk in through our herb beds, into a hot-air-balloon shaped new defined area.  

A round garden, with a camomile lawn in the middle, a fountain in the middle of that.  Surrounded by a white stone chip and paver walk.  Laburnum hedging around the exterior rim, 3 x pergolas to shelter the lemon trees from frost and wind, and rose standards both leading into the garden, and on interior beds.  Also planned are lavenders (grow well here).

I am happy! I have the most beautiful Fresia Standards.  Helen is happy, her failed order is off her hands!

It's love all round

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Flowers in the Frost

These were a reminder not to  forget to put my gear away, I'm not putting my hands in these any time soon

It is Spring... we have lambs, the garden weeds are growing, the lawn has to be mowed, and everything is thinking about flowering.

In the frost, some have even made a start, the almond trees are flowering.  I am so impressed.  However, the poor daffodils droop their heads every morning, but raise them in the sunshine of the afternoon.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

All of a sudden - vege planting- Also: There is a Plan

It was a real good-ole-gardening day today.  I cleared out the strawberries, and decided that the stones could go, the plastic is going to stay down in the wind.

Also the teeny tiny onions got a good weeding, they went from looking like a grass patch, to rows of lovely little onions.

Everything had a good water, though I couldnt use our fancy new watering system, as the frost has split open some of the mechanisms and my lovely hubby is going to have to fix them before I can get all the jets up and running again.


The Garlic Patch
I also weeded and watered the garlic, it was amazing to think that a watering regime has started when the weather only just got warmish.


Sweet One Hundreds, pricked out and ready to grow

The glasshouse didn't miss out on a bit of love either, it got weeded, and as I went I identified the little baby tomato plants, and pricked them out and potted them into these two containers.  Hopefully it will be warm enough for them to grow.  In went some lettuces, although with current frosts I am not sure if they will be a go-er


Harvesting now: Spring Onions, random cabbages, Kale, and Leeks.  That's about it, however, the promise of goodies to come is in the air, and within weeks things should get going.

To do this month: It's going to be a big month in the vege patch, there will be lots of planting, lots of weeding, tying up of broadbeans/blackberries, etc.  More things than I can name will be happening.  

I am particularly looking forward to my harvest of asparagus, the first few spears of which appeared in the garden this morning!

BREAKING NEWS! A plan for a "New Garden".  For some time now I have been pondering what to do with some of the large grass area that surrounds our house.  When we first built our house, somehow we ended up with a large 2 acre "home section"/  All our efforts have gone into the large rose and flowering border that we set up around the fenced perimeter.  Then there is the BBQ area.  But the rest has remained grass.  In my mind I thought I wanted a parterre, or paved area with formal planting.  However, we are hampered by spring wind, and although grape covered trellises sound lovely, I can't see them lasting.  But, finally I have a plan!  more on that in my next blog post.

In other news, Lucky Lambkins got an infection and is on 3 legs only, he's lifting one up and hobbling!  he has "Joint-ill" and is on antibiotics - which I have to inject him with once a day! enjoy the pix below of him at 1 day old below.
This is my September post for the Garden Share Collective, you can view all the other bloggers and read about their struggles and achievements in the garden here: http://www.strayedtable.com/

Monday, August 25, 2014

Knitting a Poppy

The Army Museum put out a call to make 18,166 poppies to mark each of the servicemen and women who died in the Great War 1914-1918.  They will form part of a display in the memorial area the museum and crafters all over NZ have been asked to make a poppy or two, either knitted, crocheted or crafted.

I think it will look amazing, and be a very poignant display, and I am looking forward to seeing photos of the final memorial.

Here is my first poppy, knitted.  I didn't use the pattern given on the Army website, but I used one from here http://blog.themakingspot.com/sites/blog.themakingspot.com/files/attachments/search_press_poppy.pdf


More information here: http://www.armymuseum.co.nz/whats-on/#poppy 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Strawberry Bed clearing - and spring lambs

Today I spent an hour clearing up the strawberry bed ready for spring.  This involves removing all runners that have suckered up around the plant, getting rid of dead leaves, and general tidying up.
I have lots of stones lying around the edges of the beds because they are holding down the edges of the black plastic.  

Looking at the photo it looks quite messy, but actually, before hand it was just a tangle of dead leaves.  Job well done.

Strawberry plants are really hardy.  They will send out suckers each year, and those make air roots which attach to anything.  Sometimes they just stick onto and grow on the black plastic.  You can cut each of these off their sucker, and plant them out for next year.  My brother told me that when he worked in a nursery they used to punch the plants straight into plastic, no pre-hole, just punch it through and create the hole as you went.  Which seems harsh, but he said the plants didnt appear to mind at all.    I have kept plants just lying around, and then planted them a week later, and they have been fine.  Also, you can post them!  just wrap in some wet newspaper, pop into a plastic bag and send to a friend! 

We are hoping for lots of strawberries like last year, they are such a treat in the summer.

This is "Lucky" who was rejected by his mum.  He was so strong and healthy, I didnt want to leave him to die, so now we have a pet lamb! very cute, just look at those ears!

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Finalist - our Bathroom


We are finalists in NZ House and Garden "Interior of the Year" and the photographer came today.  These are some photos I took before she arrived.  Clean and tidy.

Of course, she took out the potplants, took out the loo roll, changed towels and then took photos for 2 hours.  Apparently there is an award ceremony in Auckland! I think I might just have to go to that.

Wish me luck!