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Lemon Meringue Pie

Who knew you could brown the top of your lemon meringue pie with your embossing heat gun tool … #when your grill won’t brown the sides of your meringue

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Flowering Tulip Quilt

I have an older friend that recently handed me over an unfinished quilt. Her daughter had made a good start but it went into storage for fifteen years waiting for someone to complete it. My friend gave me the freedom of taking what was there and finishing it however I wanted, so I had the fun of opening the box and making my own plan of how to go forward, ignoring the instructions and doing what I liked. We were both happy with the result and I had something to do in between projects, a win, win scenario 🙂

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Our very generous friends in Auckland have shared their mekalesha with us over the years, but I really wanted to see if I could find decent substitutes for the Ethiopian spices that go into this finishing mixed spice so I could be self sufficient. Mekalesha gives that extra special zing to many wat dishes. We can get many spices now that were never available before, now that we have Indian grocery stores all over New Zealand . There are heaps of recipes online, thank you to all those that have shared, here is my kiwi version from what I could find in Aotearoa.

Mekalesha

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Kororima seeds (I used black cardamon pods and dug out the sticky, smoky, camphorous smelling black seeds)
  • 4 sticks cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Timiz ( Different variety but close are the Indian long black pepper or Lindi)
  • 1/2 cup whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup whole cumin seeds
  • 3 tsp ground nutmeg (use whole if you want to bother grating it)

Method: In a hot pan, dry roast the black cardamon seeds for two minutes, stirring all the time. Add everything else except the ground nutmeg. Stir over a medium heat for six minutes. Don’t burn! Add the nutmeg then tip into a cool dish and leave until cold. Now spend ages grinding it in your coffee grinder, sieving and regrinding until it will pass through a tea strainer. Enlist help to grind while you sieve. Your house will smell amazing and you’ll be sneezing in no time 🙂

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This is a modified version of a pattern the Bead and Opal Wool Queen used to have on their website.

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All in One 4 Ply Garter Stitch Baby Cardigan

Description: Knitted from the bottom up, vee neck, 50g of 4 ply wool, 3.75mm (UK no. 9) needles, new born baby.

  • Cast on 97 stitches and garter stitch for 64 rows, on the 49th and 63rd row make a buttonhole like this: (knit to the last 4 stitches, YO, k2tog, k2 to end of row)
  • On the 65th row, decrease 4 stitches evenly across the row to now have 93 stitches.
  • To work the right front and sleeve: Knit 25 stitches, cast on 18 more stitches so you have 43 stitches. Leave the other 68 stitches on a needle to use later (I wrap a rubber band on the end so the stitches won’t slip off)
  • On the 43 stitches, garter stitch 5 rows.
  • Decrease for the v-neck by Garter stitching for another 36 rows, decreasing each 4th row by knitting to the last 7 stitches on the v neck side and knitting two together then knitting to end (35 stitches remain).
  • Cast off.
  • Left front and sleeves: Slip the next 43 stitches from the spare needle onto another spare needle, secure with a rubber band and set aside for the back. Cast on 18 stitches then knit the remaining 25 stitches from the spare needle. Work the left sleeve and front including the v neck decreasing to correspond with the right front. Cast off.
  • Back and sleeves: Slip the remaining 43 stitches to another needle again to get the correct side facing you. Now pick up and knit 18 stitches from the cast on edge of the right sleeve, across the 43 back stitches and pick up and knit 18 stitches from the cast on edge of the left sleeve, 79 stitches.
  • Knit 36 rows on these 79 stitches. Cast off 32 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows. Knit 6 more rows on these 17 stitches and cast off.
  • To finish, sew the seams along the top of the sleeves, easing in the 6 short rows at the top of the back. Sew on two buttons.

Pirate Beanie

This free beanie pattern was based on Gina Doherty’s Skull Hat pattern, with a few changes to the border. I cast on 98 stitches using 3.25mm needles for the inner layer and 3.75mm needles for the outer layer of the hat, hoping this would be the right size for an eight month old. My tension wasn’t great on the fair isle, I pulled it too tight and as a consequence think it’s more a 3 month old size. Live and learn!I shaped the top using Jennifer Lee’s “Sandy” crown shaping.

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So many new things to learn when trying your hand at 2 ply wool lace knitting. Rather than buying special needles I found some very pointy, double ended needles and blocked one end with a rubber band. Then it was how to read a graph rather than each row of the pattern being written out. I did a fairly simple horseshoe lace, apparently in the ‘Shetland style’, so the return row was garter stitch meaning the pattern was the same on both sides. Enjoyed it but couldn’t read and knit at the same time because everything was a bit small and fiddly. Had a go at blocking the finished scarf so it was washed and dried stretched out so the pattern showed up more. Good to have a try, the wool feels very soft but quite tickly.

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Number 4 Ocean Cake

I  went a bit crazy at the online lolly shop looking for fish themed lollies, who knew you could buy black currant flavoured penguins? Putting the cake together I had a few bad moments when I thought I’d cut the cake wrong and had a backwards 4. I actually flipped it twice before I clicked that I was getting confused for nothing – see in the bottom two photos what happens when you rotate a number 4.

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