Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mum's Quilt

I have been trying to come up with homemade birthday ideas for some important people in my life.  My Mum has been asking for a quilt for a couple of years and I finally got around to making her one.  Admittedly, she actually has the first one I made but only because she salvaged it when she learned I was going to put it in the dogs' bed.  It was my first sewing attempt and it shows:)

It really came down to the line on this quilt; I got it finished before Mum's actual birthday but having to post it across the country means it was a little late.  I think it should have arrived today so I am probably safe to post pictures here.

I learn so much each time I make a quilt.  On this one I learnt that a walking foot is really essential - I have bought one now!  For those of you that are as ignorant as I, without a walking foot the bottom layer of fabric will feed through your sewing machine faster than the batting and quilt top.  This causes the fabric to bunch up.

Now all I need to do is work out how to bind a quilt properly.  I might be following the instructions in an old Better Home and Gardens article, but something is definitely not right as all my binding ends up on the back of my quilts.  Any hints would be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Silverbeet or Swiss Chard 4 Ways.

Our silverbeet plants are profuse producers.  In recent weeks we have been making an effort to actually use what they produce, as so often before the leaves have wilted on the plants!

1.  Replace the bechemal sauce in your favourite lasagne recipe with a mix of ricotta cheese and cooked, processed silverbeet.  I wash my silverbeet, roughly chop it and then sensor cook it in the microwave.  Once it has cooled a bit I process it to a fine dice in the food processor.

2.  Use it in a canneloni filling.  Just mix ricotta, some grated parmesan and some processed silverbeet and stuff into your tubes.  Cover with a tomato passata (we used homemade) or favourite pasta sauce, put a little cheese on top and bake for 1 hour in a 180 degree oven.

3.  Make Rhonda's Silverbeet and Ricotta pie!  Recipe here.  We used a shortcrust pastry rather than the filo because we had a legacy box of pastry mix from a former house sitter.  If you want to go this method, just blindbake the crust for 1/2 hour than follow Rhonda's instructions.

4.  Make Jamie Oliver's Spinach and Lemon Linguine.  Just replace the baby spinach leaves with silverbeet.

Recipe is from Jamie Magazine Yearbook 2009/10

400g linguine
6tbsp olive oil
50g fresh breadcrumbs (we used Panko)
Grated zest and juice of one lemon
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 large red chilli (optional), chopped
600g baby spinach leaves, washed
grated parmesan to serve

Boil a pan of salted water, add the linquine and cook according to packet instructions.  Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and fry the breadcrumbs for a couple of minutes until golden.  Transfer to kitchen paper to drain, then mix with the lemon zest and set aside. 

Heat the remaining oil in the pan, add the garlic and chilli and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes until the garlic egins to turn golden.  Add the spinach and cook until it had wilted, seasoning with salt and black pepper to taste.

When the pasta is al dente, drain, reserving a little of the cooking water, and add to the pan with the spinach.  Stir in the lemon juice, adding a little of the reserved cooking water to loosen as necessary.  Lastly, sprinkle over the breadcrumb and lemon zest mixture, then serve, with parmesan, if desired.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Home At Last

"November 12th - Home yesterday and am struck, as so often before, by immense accumulation of domestic disasters that always awaits one after any absence" - Provincial Lady by EM Delafield

The provincial lady certainly knew what she was talking about. I am finally home after a much longer absence than originally envisaged. We had 6 weeks in the UK taking Ginger to meet her grandparents and great-grandparents. Then upon return we learnt that DH would have an extended absence, so I hot footed it to the West Coast with Ginger to spend 5 weeks with my parents and grandmother. It was nice to be spoiled!

But, what domestic disasters awaited us when we got home! Mice had moved in and attacked our store cupboard - fortunately it only cost us one bag of flour. But, the droppings were everywhere and they had even nested in our foot stool - so that needs recovering now. And our dog sitter had allowed the dogs on the bed. With the red clay we have here for soil that meant red dog footprints all over the flannellette sheets, the cotton blanket, quilt cover and pillow cases. Fortunately many hours of scrubbing by yours truly and the wonderful Spring sunshine of last week has restored them to their former whiteness.

So, the last week has been spent gradually restoring order to our nest. I still have a pile of filing to tackle and deep spring cleaning to do; but undoubtedly that will happen in due course. I intend to make the most of our lovely spring weather - while it lasts - to get lots of washing done (so many cloth nappies gone through each day!) and let Ginger have plenty of tummy time in the speckled shade. She seems to be able to do more time on her tummy if she only has a nappy and singlet on. She certainly needs her tummy time - the determined little critter will not roll over by herself. At 5 months she has only rolled tummy to back once!