Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lemonade scones

Since we don't usually have store-bought lemonade on hand, I have not made this unusual scone recipe before. However I had it in mind that I would try it out soon and today was the day. Apart from just being a tasty treat for afternoon tea, scones are extremely quick and easy to make. When G is outside working in all weathers on various projects around the lifestyle farm, scones and a cuppa are just the ticket.

Anyway, the recipe I used was - 2 cups of flour, 2 tsp baking powder, about 150mls cream, and 150-200mls lemonade. Mix all together gently (add sufficient lemonade to make the dough just the right scone consistency - should form a soft dough but not sticky or wet or sloppy!). Cut out scones with floured cutter, brush with milk or egg, and bake on cold ungreased tray for about 12 mins at 190 deg C.

Also, I did not realise until today that scones should be placed on the tray so that they are touching each other in order to help each other to worked! and the scones tasted lovely especially with the homemade strawberry jam.

Fiddling around today

with the look of the blog. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to keep this template but I like the way you can change the look of the blog easily by choosing the views on the menu to the left.

Back soon with a post on scones!

Movie list, I've moved them into this post for now

Some films I've watched lately..
  Before the Rains - sad, but beautiful

The Secret World of Arrietty - lovely animation from the Studio Ghibli team

A Cat in Paris - really cute story, great animation

Urban Cowboy - an old one I'd not seen, starring John Travolta
Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll - biography of Ian Dury, excellent performance by Andy Serkis

Grow Your Own - a nice film about refugees who are given allotments in the UK

Burn After Reading - Very good

Cafe (awful..)

Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows - Fast paced and brilliant

The Trip - very funny

Transformers - Dark of the Moon - Great animated action

Tin Tin - excellent animation

Twilight - Breaking Dawn Part 1 - kinda creepy but I've watched the others

Idiocracy - funny but kinda scary

Red Riding Hood - a dark folksy version

Rosso come il cielo - Red Like the Sky - true story of a boy who goes blind

The Station Agent - 3 people find friendship,great movie

Abduction - fast paced action

Is Anybody There? - Michael Cain in a rest home? Great film.

Nowhere Boy - the story of John Lennon growing up

Monday, June 25, 2012

Miniature garden again and new piggies

The wee garden D and I constructed together the other day has had a few alterations. We found some small iridescent blue coloured glass pebbles and thought they would look pretty in the garden. Some of the bigger stones we took out, leaving just the 'crystals' (not sure what the rocks are, they were found locally on the shores of the Kaipara Harbour). D picked more flowers. I can see this could be habit-forming, and can see making one in a larger container might be on the cards!

Today saw the arrival of our new pigs. This year we decided to get 3 little piglets, since we do love our bacon and ham, and I would also like to have some pure pork sausages this time round. So many commercially made sausages contain lots of undesirable additives. When we lived in the UK for a while we used to buy delicious pork sausages directly from a pig farmer at the growers market in Buckfast in Devon. Pork and apple, pork and sage, pork and juniper berry were some flavours I remember.
Anyway, I digress....back to the pigs!  2 are Tamworth and the bigger one is a Duroc. We have not kept a Duroc before so will be interesting to see what sort of temperament it has. They are all tame at present and have been well cared for by a local pig farmer.
The piglets are cute, friendly, move very fast and were extremely noisy when lifted out of their transport crates! But they seemed very happy to have a lovely big enclosure to explore and lots to munch on!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A miniature garden for little people

D has been at home sick with a cold for the last couple of days, so I thought I would suggest to him we make a little garden. We recently watched the beautiful Studio Ghibli film The Secret World of Arrietty, which is based on the The Borrowers books by Mary Norton (if you remember those from your childhood).

So having this theme in mind, we were inspired to make a little garden together. We filled a shallow pot with some potting mix, collected moss, stones, crystals, shells, leaves, flowers and a wee succulent for a 'tree'. We made the chair from 2 little scallop shells, while the shell in the middle is a little pond. The whole pot is sitting inside another shallow pot which has water and sparkly rocks in it.

D thinks that Arrietty would really love to rest in this little garden, but that she was hiding from us until we'd finished! :-)

Arrietty with sugar cube

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Monarch butterflies are still hatching!

It's Winter here in NZ. As we live in the 'Winterless North', it's not very cold here during Winter, despite the recent frosts.

Anyway, I was still surprised to see that we still have Monarch butterflies hatching out in the garden in the middle of June! Here is one that has only just hatched, sitting on D's hand:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A frosty start to the day

Brrrr! It was cold overnight, and as expected from the clear skies last night we woke to this a heavy frost this morning:

But the day is now beautiful - still and sunny, just a little light cloud about, and I should definitely be outside gardening instead of glued to the computer blogging and eating chocolate cake with my cup of coffee!

I've recently discovered a great chocolate cake recipe that uses pureed beetroot. This is good, since I have beetroot from the garden to use up. You do need to cook the beetroot first which takes a little time. I did several in one batch and kept them covered in the fridge, they seem to last OK for a few days.

The cake recipe is one I found online here. There were a few cake recipes to chose from but some of the others had ingredients I was missing in the pantry so I made the 'Beetroot Cake' one. It's good with a little whipped cream for a dessert.

I previously tried making some beetroot and chocolate chip muffins but because the recipe used raw grated beetroot, the flavour was too 'earthy' for us, and especially the wee fellow who would not eat them at all. So that was no good, I shan't be making them again. This cake on the other hand is wonderfully moist and chocolatey (although it uses just cocoa and no 'real' chocolate) and the beetroot gives it a nice dark colour.

Do try it!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A bit of a tidy up

 A while back I took some photos around the property (see this post). Along the driveway fence by the entrance, I had a whole lot of jade plants and other succulents in pots, which we lined up there as we had so many of them and were not sure where to place them. But I wasn't really happy with them there, both because of the look of all those pots and also because that spot is shaded during most of the day and I'm pretty sure succulents like full sun.


Anyway after a bit of thinking and planning, I decided to move all the pots away and put some largish rocks and gravel down. Looks a little sparse maybe I might add some more rocks, we do have some more and while they are heavy, I can get them on a hand truck/trolley and put them in place with a little effort!

A little further down the drive I planted some native iris plants, 'Libertia peregrinans'. They have striking orange striped foliage and little white flowers. We had them in our Auckland garden and they looked great en mass. I will also be planting some Ajuga ground cover by those rocks, which has purple/green leaves and likes the shade. The green plant half-way down is a native geranium, a really good ground cover and has tiny little pink/white flowers. It self-seeds everywhere and is growing really well in lots of spots where we have gravel down.

Next I have to carry on further down the drive and move that wood pile away. But at least it looks a  little tidier, and the gravel will be a big improvement on the weed patch that tended to grow there before!