Archive for October, 2011

This Hallows’ Eve

I have mixed feelings about Halloween. Last year we lived with an American girl who seemed to take offence at New Zealand’s general lack of interest in Halloween – an excuse for a dress-up party on the Saturday closest to the 31st, and a sprinkling of trick or treaters. As my workmate so beautifully put it the other day, ‘Welcome to Another Culture’. We have our own shit to celebrate, after all. And an autumn festival in spring just doesn’t make much sense (see also: Easter).

But the good thing about having Halloween when the nights are getting shorter is that those who can be bothered trick or treating are blessed with warm sunshine in which to display their ghoulish creations. And last time we lived in Paekakariki lots of kids were out and about in costumes they had obviously put a lot of thought and effort into. So I wanted to reward those good efforts with a sweet treat or twenty-four.

Sorry for another lomo filter: my original picture just needed a bit of sprucing to better represent the colour of the icing. It is most like the cupcake centre front, but we get the added bonus of a delicious-looking spectrum of reds and oranges. Of course I can’t eat any, but this is my usual cake recipe halved and divided between mini cupcake cases. The icing is just the juice of half an orange, a bit of zest and a few drops of food colouring. It’s been six weeks guys. I’m ok now. I can bake without crying.

I may also dress Rata up as a pumpkin if she’s interested. Entirely by coincidence, we are having lasagne for tea with the last pumpkin from our garden inside. The greens in our garden are ridiculously plentiful at present, and even if we lived on lasagne for the next month I don’t think we’d make a dent. Meanwhile, we had a cauliflower this weekend.


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Pink fluffy wool

I have resolved to take up knitting to keep my hands busy. I have borrowed some glorious 80s knitting books from my mum, and am busily scanning all the pages I want to use (and the pages I want to give to my step-nana, who likes it when I give her patterns to knit things for Rata… like little dresses with tucks and cute jumpsuits). But first I thought I should knit a scarf, just to see if I was still capable of keeping the tension right and casting on. The only problem now is that I cast on too many stitches for a scarf for Rata, and I only have one ball of wall – so I thinking about starting again…

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Future Treats!

Lemon Bars! I now have five jars of lemon curd squirreled away in the fridge. Their lids popped, which I take to mean they are sealed and will last at least two months. I am looking forward to eating them at Christmas time with pavlova and passionfruit pulp. Oh hang on, passionfruit isn’t in season at Christmas. OK, with pavlova and raspberries. Hmmm. Again I was surprised by how easy lemon curd is to make – no straining, no testing for the ‘set’, just a bit of whisky-whisky and you’re done. This time I managed to make lemon curd while engaged in silly conversational catch-ups with my old flatmate Julie who was staying for the weekend. She had hardly noticed I’d started before I was handing her a rubber scraper and saucepan to lick clean.

Julie also liked the lemon bars. Aside from the time consuming business of ‘chill, bake, cool, bake, cool, slice’, which may have tested her patience and appetite, this recipe was pretty straight-forward and apparently delicious. I made it in two sponge tins and have a whole cake waiting for me in the freezer. The rest was devoted to my whirlwind weekend of birthday parties and marauding toddlers.

In other news, this business of giving up sugar has been so far successful and I have even managed to eat blueberries in my porridge without the symptoms coming back, which I take to mean that I am getting better. Self-punishment has not been for nothing!

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Self-punishment continues!

Any normal person at the helm of a crafting blog would stop baking and start making other things. Like dresses and cute pants for two year olds. Any normal person. Instead I go to my friend’s bucolic paradise and come home laden with lemons and eggs.

So really I have done what any SANE person would do in normal circumstances and made lemon curd. In extraordinary sugar-free circumstances all that is required is to not lick one’s fingers, and go entirely on what your nose tells you (yum!) and what the toddler says about the quality of the spoon-licking (‘I some more?’). And gaze patiently at the jars in the fridge waiting for the magical date of December 17th when they can be opened. The Lemon Bars will be easier to hide in the freezer.

December 17th is also Louis’ birthday. Mark it in your diary now as a day you should not be out of town on, when normal service will resume on the Lotte Baking Front.

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Although in theory this blog is supposed to document my own creations, here is an outfit I did not construct myself. I would like to point out however that from the waist down I am wearing entirely New Zealand made. Yes, even me undies. I did try to make a top to go with this skirt in the weekend but it didn’t work and I filed it on the ‘can’t be bothered’ pile.

In other news: town is filled with Australians who are mean to shopkeepers, the All Blacks managed to stay in the World Cup, which meant that we don’t have to contemplate taking down the bunting to mark the National Day of Sulking, and I have put a pair of green lace-ups on layby.

Oh, and we have found a house to rent next year, where I am allowed to plant my tomatoes BEFORE we move in. As in, now!

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I’m not eating sugar but I’m certainly making it hard on myself. While baking for others in such circumstances there are two key principles:

Don’t lick your fingers.

Don’t lick the spoon.

Gaffa tape comes in very handy in these trying times. This is a cake for Cat and Ron. They might not be too impressed by my fattening them up. But they’re coming to visit tomorrow (and look after Rata while I scurry off to pack veges with the co-op) and people tend to get a bit antsy at my house when there’s no baking.

Yes, friends. I had noticed.

*Interesting side note: When WordPress is finishing uploading your photo it says it is “crunching”. It makes me want to make ginger crunch and then feed it photos to munch on. Or some of this. Hehe.

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Broadly Speaking

I have to get rid of the picture of the Nanaimo Bars from the top of the page. I’m not eating sugar at present, and every time I have thought about putting some project up I am confronted with the memory of their deliciousness. It is unbearable.

(But not eating sugar has, on the whole, been perfectly fine.)

Broad beans! Now there’s something I don’t like to eat. Yuck. But you know, if you build them a wall, they will grow to meet it. Possibly this means that there will be a lot of beans. For now, there are a lot of flowers. And a lot of bees. Good thing the other members of the household like broad beans.

Fun times in the sun. Sick of me playing with the lomo filter on my phone yet? I think I might be.

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