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Being in the middle of packing up and moving house, there isn’t much going on in the way of crafting at the moment. Having said that, it was fun to have a go at turning George’s toy dinosaur, (from Peppa Pig), into a cake topper. To make the rice bubble and marshmallow shape I halved the recipe from here, http://kiwicakesnz.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/marshmallow-rice-krispies-for-cakes.html , and it worked really well. The trick is definitely to keep squeezing and compacting the mix together when shaping. The cooled shape was then thinly crumb coated with buttercream and covered in green fondant and decorated. It was a bit monstrous for a cake topper but once you’re committed to a certain size there’s no going back!

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I forgot to post Ari’s 2nd birthday cake last month so here it is now, the shark cake! I think it got shared around since there was plenty of cake involved. Thanks for the idea, Elysia, from “gamerswithjobs”.

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It felt like the final pick in the garden this afternoon. The last of the beans, courgettes and blackberries. Then the pumpkins came in and the kumaras dug. There were some beauties amongst them but they seemed really hairy this year! Yonks ago I remember Dad experimenting with wrapping the perfect kumaras in newspaper to keep them for longer. Not many of mine escaped some sort of fork prong abuse so I was only able to try the method with the few survivors. Looking forward to seeing how it works.

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It’s been a while since I purchased a lino cut print from¬†last year’s craft show. At last I’ve finished embroidering the bush scene and added appliqued birds on the border.

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Bullion stitches for the fern leaves

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French knot leaves

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Kokako

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Californian Quail

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Korere or Kingfisher

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Tui

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Fantail

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Waxeye

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Ruru or Morepork

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Pied Stilt

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Saddleback

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Kea

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Black Robin

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Hihi or Stitch Bird

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What if you could skip all the hard parts and just use the blender to chop your citrus fruit for marmalade? I tried it with oranges and although the taste is great, there is a creamy look rather than the clear jelly you get with boiling, straining and thin slicing the peel. Here’s the recipe I used.

Blender Orange Marmalade

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 kg oranges
  • 1.5 litres water
  • 1 kg sugar

Method:

  1. Cut your oranges into quarters and remove any pips you can see and the hard stem ends.
  2. Put them in a big pot with the water and gently boil for an hour until the skins and fruit are soft.
  3. Blitz it all with your blender stick until minced as finely as you want it.
  4. Add the sugar and stir over heat until dissolved. Bring to the boil again for another 45 mins (stir occassionally so it doesn’t burn). Then remove from heat and stir for 5 mins.
  5. Sterilize your jars and lids, fill your jars with hot marmalade and screw lids down.
  6. Leave for two weeks to thicken and set. It doesn’t set like jelly marmalade but is the consistency of a thick jam. The flavour is slightly bitter but in orange marmalade that’s not a bad thing.

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Just when I should have dug the garlic this year the rain came down and the mature cloves sat in wet, sticky mud. Two weeks later than they should have been dug, there came a fine few days to dig it. There was so much mud still sticking to them that I went against the rules and blasted all the mud off with the hose. To help it dry quickly I pegged each garlic onto the clothes line and let them wind dry for a few days until the rain came again. For a month they sat in the garage, spread out on chicken wire laid over the top of my clothes drier frames. After a month of hot, hot days they were all dry and today I plaited them ready for storage following this guy’s youtube clip. His was simple to follow so long as you got the first three garlics positioned right.¬† https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqqgLJx_1rQ

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A few had rot spots that I rubbed off

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Getting a trim and a quick tidy

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If you start right it will be fine!

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From the back

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63 garlics plaited up

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Last year I preserved my tomatoes by baking them but this year it is way too hot to have the oven on. I wanted a method I didn’t have to stay in attendance with and that wouldn’t heat up the house! The solution was to rough chop the tomatoes, green chillies and garlic then put them in a slow cooker in the garage for two hours. Another hour without the lid got rid of the excess tomato liquid. I don’t have a mouli so it was into a colander then mash the tomato pulp through the holes with a bowl. It was very fast and worked rather well, some of the seeds got through but it kept back nearly all the skins. From here it will be into snaplock bags and into the freezer.

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