Archive for April, 2010

Rompers Found!

They turned up! After much anxiety and hair-twirling, I admitted to Bree that maybe I had put the wrong address on the envelope. Yep, I had. So where was mysterious No.5? The Deli! And did they have a parcel for Lucy Pip? They did! And did the rompers fit the wee chook?

Well, you can see for yourself, eh?



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Ode to Beluga

My new favourite lentil is the Beluga lentil. According to Wikipedia, Beluga is also known as the black lentil. They are small and perfectly formed, swell up nicely, and colour the dish they are cooked in a nice brown-ish colour. They come in 500g bags at Moore Wilson’s, and aren’t too expensive.

But did I mention they are meaty? You could happily make a beluga lentil pie with plenty of thyme to flavour it, and undiscerning meat eaters probably wouldn’t blink. The dish I ended up making seemed so complete that I didn’t know what to serve it with. It ended up being rice, but if I’d had the time I would happily have whipped up some pastry for a pie. A savoury pie.

Beluga Lentil Dish for filling pies or tummies.

2 onions

three cloves garlic

ground tumeric, cumin, paprika

chilli flakes to taste


three 400g tins of tomatoes and their juices

300g beluga lentils

hot water

salt and pepper to taste

Chop onions and cook slowly on a low heat with the lid on, stirring often. When cooked, add finely chopped garlic, spices and herbs and cook, stirring all the time, until the garlic is cooked. Add tomatoes and lentils, and top up with hot water so that the mixture is very runny. Cover and cook on a low heat until the lentils have swelled and the stew is thick. You may want to add hot water if you wish the dish to bubble away for longer – the longer it cooks the better the flavour.

Serve as is or with sour cream, pita bread, rice, quinoa or baked in a pie crust. Take for lunch the next day. Serves many.

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I was documenting Clementine’s cake on my favourite Christmas present, my Fuji Instax 210. It’s like a Polaroid but not, and the colours are similar to what I used to get on my SX-70 before the film disappeared entirely (except for those lucky enough to have credit cards and, you know, money. Oh that.)

Adventures with my new, favourite, giant beast of a camera have involved adventures with the flash. I hate flash. And it would seem that if you want to take a photo with this puppy indoors, the flash will inevitably go off and ruin your perfect composition. Or what you thought was a perfect composition but was slightly askew due to the discrepancies between viewfinder and lens.

I wanted to get the tablecloth in the shot, because the tablecloth is perhaps the second most important aspect of our Holloway Road food blog. I fiddled with the flash button to see if that would turn it off, but alas, the flash pinged anyway. So I went outdoors, into the late afternoon Holloway Road no-light.

Perfect. Lesson learnt. Never shoot indoors.

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The Sunday Pickler

(This was a post written to accompany one that Nicole wrote on our old blog about my making a whole lot of preserves one Sunday… I’ve since added the photos but didn’t have any of my catsup)

The Catsup

I made a Jamie Oliver recipe two years ago from my flatmates’ cookbook (it was the one about Jamie living the good life on a bit of land) and though I haven’t seen the recipe since, I’ve had no trouble replicating the proceedings but making the rest up. Nicole’s recipe bible calls ketchup ‘Catsup’ and as I think this is a far more awesome name, henceforth it shall be known thus.

I had about 3kg of tomatoes, five onions, a garlic bulb, coriander and cumin seeds, peppercorns, some chilli flakes (helpfully labelled HOT SHIT), fresh parsley and fennel, dried oregano and basil, black and yellow mustard seeds. I put everything but the tomatoes and garlic into a large pan with some oil, put the lid on and cooked on a low heat until the onions were soft. I then added the garlic.

In the food processor I blitzed all the tomatoes and added them to the onions as they were emptied from the processor. I also added a can of tomatoes for their colour. I put the lid back on, and just simmered it for ages until everything was more or less amalgamated and mushy. At some stage during this, I grated in some ginger and added salt and more basil because I decided that these things neede to be done. Then I got out my wee whizzy-wotsit – the sticker blender – and pulverized the sauce. I then had an hour or so of fun pushing it through the sieve. Turns out I had made quite a lot of sauce! I returned it to the cleaned pan, it was about half-full, which would equal about 5 litres.

I returned it to the heat, with two cups of vinegar and 3/4 cup of brown sugar, and simmered it for what seemed like ages until it had reduced to a ketchup-like consistency. Part of what took so long was that I had to take the bottles out of the oven for some cupcakes to go in, then my Anzac Slice went in, then we cooked dinner, and then finally the baby went to bed and I was able to properly concentrate on what I was doing. It made one 1 litre bottle and four smaller ones, plus a half-full 1 litre for the fridge. Hopefully the tops have sealed well enough that these babies do not need to be kept in the fridge… they were old V8 and Chantals juice bottles, with poppy-tops.

Os delicious. Meanwhile, I made these other things:

Crabapple jelly.

Oh, more delicious. Made from what was on the tree in the backyard – probably a kilo or so. Boiled, strained in a jelly bag and the juice boiled with sugar. I ended up with a litre of juice, so used 500g of sugar. Hang on, the correct ratio would be 900g sugar to a litre of liquid. I wrote this a while ago, and as the jelly worked, I’m assuming I used more than 500g. Anyway, it boiled to a wonderful ruby-red colour, and I got six wee jars of it. Time to make some scones.

Anzac Slice or Autumn Fingers.

Louis’s mum and sisters were going tramping somewhere for the school holidays. This seemed like the ultimate opportunity to make them feel awesome with some tramping appropriate baking. I had wanted to make them ‘Scott’s Farewell Slice’ but didn’t have the ingredients, but by then the idea had well and truly stuck, so I had to do something… the recipe is from A Second Helping: More from Ladies, A Plate, and for once I will transcribe the recipe. It’s so quick and easy and delicious and I want you to make it, now. And then I want you to go out and buy the book for yourself, childrens…

1/2 cup flour*

1/2 cup coconut*

1 cup rolled oats*

60g walnuts

pinch salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

115g butter

2 tsp golden syrup

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

*breakfast cup

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C, line a shallow 30x21cm tin with baking paper, and cross your fingers. Then uncross them, combine the flour, coconut, rolled oats, walnuts and salt in a bowl. Add the sugars and mix well. Put the butter, golden syrup and sifted baking soda in a saucepan and melt gently together over a medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to froth. Pour into the dry ingredients and add the vanilla essence.

Stir until everything is combined and press the mixture evenly into the prepared tin and bake for 15-20 minutes. Rotate the tin after ten minutes, and pull out when golden brown (I kept it a bit pale and regretted it). Cut into bars while hot, by pushing the knife down rather than dragging it across the tin (another thing I learnt). Cool in the tin and store airtight. Makes 24.

Now, if they remember to take them out of the car boot and put them in their packs, those trampers will be very happy indeed.

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Lucy’s Rompers

So, this post has been on the burner for a while, waiting for April 24th when it is the marvelous Lucy’s first birthday and she has opened her present. Of course, Lucy doesn’t read blogs yet, but her mum, Bree, does, and while the present is for Lucy, the surprise is for Bree.

I went to primary school with Bree, and her younger sister Sophie was usually in my class. When I was pregnant and had moved to Paekakariki, through the wonders of Facebook Bree contacted me and said, ‘You are pregnant? And living in Paekak? I too am pregnant and living in Paekak!’ And thus our little home birth water babies came into this world, three months apart. And so, to Lucy’s present.

I’d been wanting to try out this pattern for a while, and this turquoise corduroy seemed appropriate. I ummed and ahhed for too long over what to line it with, wanting to cut up a blue sheet we use on our bed. It was in use, however, so I settled once again on this green polka dot fabric, knowing I’ll probably never make anything for myself with it. It was a pretty easy thing to make, I just took extra care since it was for someone else, and lined it to cover the tracks of my (tears) overlocker-less-ness.

I’m hoping Bree is actually able to get it onto Lucy without too much trouble – the arm holes and neck hole seem ridiculously small by comparison with its actual size – though what that is I do not know. The child in the illustration is standing – does that make them one or two? And with the toasty snugness of corduroy, I just hope it fits Lucy at the right time of year, rather than in December.

And now you may admire my stitches, bitches. My methods of lining the garment were probably rather unorthodox, but so be it. I finished it, it’s neat and tidy, my fingertips survived, that’s what counts, right?

BUT this may all have ended in tragedy – I posted the parcel on Monday, handing the package directly to the postman as he cleared the postbox, and it has not yet turned up at its destination. Sigh. Happy Birthday Lucy!

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Happy Birthday, Clementine!

So, today is Clementine’s 16th birthday and what better way to celebrate it than with a cake. This is my standard, tried and true recipe from the Evan’s Bay Intermediate Fundraiser cookbook of 1996. Filled with guava jam (homemade) and topped with meringues. Yep, quite a high achiever in the world of cakesome.

125g butter

1 cup natural yoghurt

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups self-raising flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

Heat oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 23cm cake tin. Melt butter and beat with eggs and yoghurt. In another bowl, sift together flour, soda and cocoa, and combine with sugar. Add wet ingredients, stir until just combined and pour into tin. Bake approximately 45-50 mins until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn onto a cake rack. Ice when cool.

The meringues are ┬áprobably the best I’ve made, and I ruthlessly beat those egg whites until they were breaking up all over the place, technically not where you want them to be. Still, when I beat in the sugar they went glossy and delicious and their insides are hollow and dry – success!

2 egg whites

115g sugar

Heat oven to 130C. Cover two baking trays with baking paper. Beat egg whites until stiff. Add the sugar a little at a time, beating as you go, until mixture is smooth and glossy and forms stiff peaks. Put teaspoons full of mixture onto baking trays and shape into little swirls. Bake for approximately two hours, then turn off the oven and leave, preferably overnight, to dry out completely. If your oven doesn’t need to be opened to turn it on, leave a note for your flatmates so they know there’s food in there before they go to use it!

So, Clementine, many happy returns. Swort Sixtorn!

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Stayed tuned, folks, because I have finally finished something I can show you! (I have also finished a birthday present for someone, but those pictures shall have to wait a while… nothing like a surprise blown.)

A t-shirt with a bow!

This is a piece of remnant, double-sided fabric from Global Fabrics found on a recent baby-free adventure. It’s something like cotton-rayon-viscose… I shouldn’t have thrown out the tag… and hangs in a delightful way. Sadly though, double-sided also means frays galore! I did my best with the zigzag stitch but I fear this fabric will require constant attention for a while…

The lost, lamented bodice pattern (though I do have a lead as to where it may have got to) was used to make the top that I traced around. There were no darts (though I may put them in later at the back) some funny things going on with the sleeve, and a crash course as I went learning how to make a bow. All up, pretty stoked with where this ended up.

One afternoon’s work equals brown and black gingham bliss. Except that this will only come out occassionally when the awkwardness of breastfeeding in it is outweighed by the classiness of the outfit and event. Possibly a good thing. Not everything can be destroyed by stray food and smeared rusks…

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