Friday, February 5, 2016

Apple Juice and Lemon Muffins

I wouldn't be told....that my apple trees needed a second thinning or they would snap.  It'll be OK, I thought.  But no, today, with the help of a small Norwester apples and branches came tumbling off.

As this is my first apple crop I really couldn't bear throwing slightly under ripe apples to pigs.  So I have made apple juice and as I write this the jars are processing in a water bath.
Put the jars into the water, making sure they are submerged, then bring water back to the boil.  Start timing once boiling begins.  These jars are just coming to a simmer

Here's what I did.  Core and chop apples.  Cover with lots of water, and 1 t citric acid.  Boil till apples have pulped, about 20 minutes.  Strain through cheesecloth.  Return juice to 190F.  While juice is reheating, clean AGEE jars, put lids in boiling water to soften the rubber, and wash the screw tops.  Bring a large saucepan to the boil with enough water to cover jars by an inch when they  are standing in it.

Taste Juice, add sugar if necessary.  I added 1 cup.  Fill jars with juice up to 1 inch from the top.  Put on lids and bands.  Submerse in water bath.  When boiling again start timing.  30 mins.  Take jars out carefully and stand on a cloth or wooden board (if put on bench they might crack with the temperature difference).  Leave 24hrs to cool.  Check seals, label and store.

When you want apple juice put jar in fridge overnight.  Open in morning.  Mmm.  I do feel that this is more a "Apple Drink" than actual juice, but there you go.

The final product is pasteurised I guess, is not brown (a big bonus from freshly squeezed apple juice) and looks great.

I also rustled up a batch of lemon crusted lemon muffins.

2c Plain Flour
1c sugar
1t salt
Grated zest of 2 lemons

Put the above in a bowl.

Add: 1 c fresh lemon juice, strained
2 eggs
100g melted butter

Stir only till just combined.

Put into patty tins and bake 30 mins till just browned.

When cool enough to handle dip in 3 ingredients separately in this order:  melted butter, then lemon juice then sugar.  Leave to cool completely.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Designer Clothes - made at home

Montana-Rose had a shirt which I originally bought for her at Pumpkin Patch when she was 5 years old.  She would not wear it for several years, and it's only in the past year that she has worn and worn it.  In fact not only did she wear it out, but it got way too small.

On an expedition to Quilters Quarters in Rangiora we chose a fabric to make a new, bigger version out of.

It's certainly not cheaper to make your own clothes, the fabric,buttons and elastic came to $44.20, but you get a one off piece, made to fit you.  It certainly is something that no-one else will have, and I hope she gets lots of use out of it.

Amongst the many advantages of making your own clothes is the fact that you can make a quality garment, the buttons will be properly sewn on and not fall off, you can select a long lasting fabric.

 First I cut up the original, it was pink, taking note of how the elastic was fitted into the bodice and sleeves, and the gathering around the neckline.

I used the pieces to lay out the new fabric, blue, and cut them bigger, especially at the armholes where Miss Rose had been finding her old top very tight.
After a couple of try-ons it was done!

The back.

It's come out so like the original,but better and bigger in size.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Having spotted this recipe online today i thought id give it a go. A bit like a clafoutis on a cooked base.  Looks delicious, ill let you know how the taste test goes. Blueberries, boysenberrirs and raspberries all picked about 5 mins before assembling

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bounty after the rain

Miracles of all miracles, it has rained...and rained...and rained (till the ceiling hung with vines and the walls became the world all around)....

Garlic: I was late putting in the garlic this year, usually we plant on the shortest day and harvest on the longest day, or as close to them as possible.  This year I was about 3 weeks late, but the harvest is still good.  I only planted about a third of the amount, for we had so much garlic I gave bunches and bunches away.  This year, there is only enough for us, about 60 heads.

 Onions:  I tried to plant a whole bed full this year, but ran out of seed only a few rows in.  The seed packets just don't have as many seeds in as I am sure they used to (in the good, ole days).  I never got around to putting in any more.  But the quality of these, though their number is not great, is fabulous.  Great round, well formed onions, some about the size of a coffee mug!
Raspberries: This is the 3rd pick, and there is probably only one left.  This would be the smallest weight for a pick so far, the best being 2.5kg

 Camomile: my hankering after a Camomile lawn is well known in our family.  Finallly, I almost have one.  Pix of that to come later.  For the moment I have harvest and dried some flowers.  Unfortunately, I tried Camomile tea - BLERK - where have I gone wrong? a great camomile smell, but a bitter aftertaste!  not even the addition of honey made that any better.  Still, nice for rinsing hair, and for putting in the bath.

Mushrooms: Unexpectedly, we have mushrooms in our paddocks.  The rain has brought them out early, usually I would start looking about the middle of March!

We have filled our rain tanks with water, and our paddocks have greened up, what a  great summer!