Black baby hoodie

One of my all time favourite patterns is this free baby hoodie from favecrafts. It’s knitted in 8ply (DK) and only uses 4 x 50g balls. I’ve knitted it heaps of times but this is the first time in black 🙂 https://www.favecrafts.com/Knit-Baby-Clothes/Baby-Hoodie-Knitting-Pattern

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Another favourite is Sublime’s,  ‘Henry Tank,’ pattern from the third book (612).black hoodie and vest 005

Prem Baby Set

I have a friend who has just had a 1.6 kg baby. This is a cute pattern that I’m hoping will fit. Found at this site it’s knitted in four ply. It looks so tiny!  http://www.bbc.co.uk/stoke/my_pages/babywear/hkp/017.shtml

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Medlar Jelly

A friend gave me some medlars to have a go at making jelly from this very old fashioned fruit. Picked when still hard and green, you leave them in a cool place until they have bletted. That means they ripen until they are soft, brown and a bit squishy. When you bite into a green medlar they are incredibly astringent and inedible, once bletted they lose that astringency but still don’t taste great, a cross between earthy leaf mold and rotten pear. On line there are heaps of recipes, I followed the basic jelly recipe of:

  • In a large pot put fruit, a roughly chopped lemon and apple (for extra pectin) and barely cover with water.
  • Bring slowly to the boil then simmer until the fruit is very mushy and water has lots of flavour (mine took about half an hour.)
  • Strain fruit through a cloth bag, don’t squeeze (but I always do) and save the juice.
  • Measure juice into a pot by the cup full. Bring to the boil then add the same number cups of sugar.
  • Boil until it’s ready to set, then pour into sterilised jars.

The resulting medlar jelly is a dark pink, a bit tart and has an amazing flavour. It set really well so I think medlars must have lots of pectin by themselves. It’s a bit like a strong quince jelly but more tasty.

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‘Fragrant’ Medlar Jelly

I wasn’t sure if it would work but decided to go ahead and lay down polythene and plant the kumara plants through holes this year. We’ve had a good frost and the leaves have been burned so it was time to see what the crop looked like under the polythene. The first plant had little skinny kumeras that didn’t bode well but the second one looked much better 🙂

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Oops, a bit blurred!

Spicy Pickled Crab Apples

A friend told me about these crab apples she’d had in the States that were good with ham and other meats. After making some up, I agree that they are not only tasty but look pretty with their stalks still on and their shape retained. Here is a tasty version made with what I had in the cupboard.

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  • 1.5 kg crab apples: pare out the bottom blossom area, push a skewer through the length of the core so the flavour can penetrate, then prick the skin so when it splits it doesn’t peel off.
  • 4.5 cups white sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 4.5 cups white vinegar
  • In a twist of cotton fabric tie in 1 teaspoon each of: cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom (optional).

Bring everything but the crab apples to the boil then add enough crab apples to fill two jars at a time. Simmer until crab apples are soft, about 7 mins. Have your clean jars sterilising (I put 2 cm of water in my 2 jars and microwave them for 5 mins) and have lids boiling in a pot.

When the crab apples are ready, I bottle using the overflow method. Use whatever method you feel most comfortable with. Overflow can be hit and miss if you plan on keeping them for years but I like this method for it’s simplicity and preserves don’t hang around our place long enough to spoil! They already taste good but I’m sure they will improve with a bit of time. Enjoy!

Lion Cake

I love having grandkids to make cakes for 🙂 Ari has just turned one and had this lion cake to help celebrate. I forgot about the ears until I’d used up all the tan fondant but fortunately gingernuts are the same colour as the icing and saved the day. Found lots of lovely sites online to get ideas from, thanks for all who post your ideas!

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The kiddies helped with the whiskers and did a great job!

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After five years waiting, a crop of three apples is a bit of a let down. The poetic description is what made me buy the heritage tree in the first place, “Apples as big as a boy’s head.” Who could resist such a tag? Ever the optimist, I’m already thinking that next year the tree will be more mature and maybe the  apples will be bigger… and more than three would be nice.

Mmm, I’ve just cooked them up and they were a bit tart but broke up into a fluffy white pulp and had a great flavour!

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