Sunday, February 19, 2017

Apple & Cinnamon Tea Cake

Our apple trees have been loaded with fruit this summer. The apples may have been smaller than in previous years, probably due to the weather, but they are juicy, crisp and oh so yummy. I've used a lot for cooking and I've pureed and frozen a good supply for the winter months, to add to porridge and cakes etc. Yesterday, I picked another basket of apples and used some of them for an old family favorite, an Apple & Cinnamon Tea Cake:
Nothing beats a lovely tea cake and this one is divine. Those classic apple and cinnamon flavours are truly soul warming and those cooking smells fill the kitchen with home baked goodness. My grandmother always made a lovely tea cake. She served her's warm, drizzled with melted butter and sprinkled with a generous amount of sugar and cinnamon. I think that's why I loved this cake so much as a child; the waiting time from the oven to the plate was short ;)
I love to play around with old family recipes and put my own stamp on them so for this tea cake, I add the cinnamon to the batter and arrange some sliced apples to top. After cooking, its brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with some demerara sugar, and then its ready to serve. I'm sure grandma would love my variation of her tea cake, as she was a huge fan of these traditional flavours and she was always looking for ways to cook the apples from her garden.
The cake itself, is moist and light and the cinnamon gives it that beautiful, inviting colour.  The apple is sweet and juicy and you could serve it with some whipped cream or ice cream but its also perfect just as it is. The demerara sugar, does add some more sweetness but it also gives a little crunchy texture to the cake. Be as generous as you want with the sugar, I will not judge :)
It's perfect for morning or afternoon tea with a steaming hot cup of tea and coffee but its also great to pop in the picnic basket, on those warm days, to end your meal of sandwiches or salad rolls.
If you would like to try my Apple & Cinnamon Tea Cake you can download the recipe HERE or right click on the image below and save it to your computer for later.
It is a gorgeous cake and my family really enjoyed it this weekend. I probably don't cook it as often as I should but I guess it then becomes a treat we look forward too. Although it uses on a few apples, it is another recipe to add to your list as you bake your way through the seasonal fruit and everyone will love you for it :).
Happy baking :)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Daisy Wheel Crocheted Cushion

I mentioned on Monday, that I'd started a smaller crocheted project using the leftover wool from my Charlotte's Dream squares. I finished it late last night, so I can share it with you, and the links to the free patterns/tutorials, which helped me along the way (links are at the end of the post).
It all started with some gorgeous Daisy Wheel squares using a free pattern from the very talented Mandy of Crochet Redagape. I had crocheted one of these squares earlier in the year, just to try the pattern but I didn't have the time to commit to another project. I decided that one day, I would crochet more and make my first ever cushion. As soon as I saw Mandy's gorgeous cushion, I knew had to stop everything and start one right away.
The nine squares were quick and easy to crochet and once my pile was finished it was time to join them into the cushion front. My squares were a little on the small side (about 4 1/2" finished), so to make my cushion a nice size, I decided I needed to either add another border to the squares or research some of the CJAYG (crochet join as you go) joining methods.
Thank goodness for Pinterest! I found quite a few lovely CJAYG methods and in the end I settled on this lovely flat braid join. This was a new method of joining to me and at first it was fiddly and I felt like I needed an extra pair of hands but the tutorial was amazing and walked me through every step which meant it went together quickly and perfectly.
I love the lacy feel is gives to the cushion front; very soft and feminine and so much nicer than joining squares using the slipstitch method, which is the only way I know. Next up was the cushion back and I made a large solid granny square for this and then crocheted the outer edges of the cushion together.
So here's my finished Daisy Wheel Crocheted Cushion. Its so pretty and I'm thrilled with the end result. This may have been my first cushion but it definitely wont be my last. I can see a few more of these being made in the future and I'm sure mum would love one for Mother's Day :)
Just a note regarding the cushion insert: I did make a homespun cover for the insert because you can see it through the cushion front and I thought this would give the cushion a neater finish.
So, here are the links to the free patterns/tutorials I used for my Daisy Wheel cushion
Daisy Wheel Granny Square Pattern- by Mandy of Crochet Redagpe
Continuous Flat Braid Join Tutorial- by The Patchwork Heart
Solid Granny Square (Cushion Back)- by Cherry Heart Crochet Corner
Each of these patterns/tutorials were detailed, easy to follow and well written so they made crocheting this cushion so easy for me :)
And here's the links to the wool and hook I used:
8ply cotton from Bendigo Woollen Mills and I used a 3.75mm Boye crochet hook.
I do love my new cushion. Its soft, sweet and looks right at home with my crocheted blankets and quilts. I'm looking forward to starting another one, very soon :)
Happy crocheting :)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Charlotte's Dream- Part Two

Late last year I introduced you to my new long term crochet project, the gorgeous Charlotte's Dream blanket. Since then I have been making steady progress and as my completed square pile grows, I'm exciting to see how this project will look when its finished:
I have just finished my twelfth square and because I'm making my blanket larger than the pattern, I still have four more squares to crochet.  My blanket is going to be huge but I want something two people can snuggle under and they can never be too big, right?
I do tend to get bored with repetitive projects but this one has kept me interested since I started the first square. I think its because they contain a lot of work and by the time one is finished you have forgotten the start of the pattern and the next square feels like a new project :)
I'm in no rush to finish this blanket; its a soothing project to pick up at the end of the day and fun to work on. I do have a little left over wool from each of the main colours and I have started a new project which I'll share with you when its finished (a little later in the week hopefully).
The original post for my Charlotte's Dream blanket can be found HERE and it includes the links to the free pattern from Look At What I Made. Plus I have a follow up post on wool type and quantities, hook size etc, that I'm using for my blanket HERE to help anyone that needs it.
Back to the hook :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Moist Chocolate Cake Squares

A few years ago, a friend gave me a recipe which instantly skyrocketed to our all time favorite dessert ever,. I only have to mention I'm making it and everyone's home for dinner, its that good. I've shared it with friends and cooked it many times, with rave reviews. I think it would be the perfect way to end a Valentine's Day dinner, so I'm sharing the recipe here with you too. You are going to love these Moist Chocolate Cake Squares:
How do I even begin to describe this cake? Its moister than a brownie but not gooey, its yummier but not as heavy as a chocolate mud cake and, its rich, decadent, sweet and wickedly delicious......its basically heavenly :) If you need any reason to break the diet, this cake is surely the one to do it for.
Its super moist texture makes it perfect for a dessert but I could seriously eat this at any time of the day. Amid those amazing chocolate flavours is a nice hit of coffee, which of course I love.  You could cut them into finger slices for afternoon tea, but for dessert I prefer the servings to be generous so I cut them into squares.
Add a sprinkling of icing sugar, some fresh berries and a quenelle of whipped cream or ice cream and your Moist Chocolate Squares are ready to serve and enjoy :)
This is a wonderful recipe for Valentines Day and its very quick and easy to make. You can bake the cake ahead of time, even the day before, and enjoy more quality time with your loved ones.
If you would like to give these super moist Moist Chocolate Cake Squares a try, you can download the recipe HERE or right click on the image below and save to your computer for later.
These Moist Chocolate Cake Squares are a little naughty but for that special day when we celebrate love and romance there's nothing better than a beautiful, rich chocolate dessert and I think this one is just perfect :)
Happy baking :)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Revisiting My Tea Bag Wallet (Free Pattern)

Mum and I were discussing our favorite herbal teas the other day and I realised I had not made her a Tea Bag Wallet for her handbag. I've made a few of these for gifts and friends but was remiss in making one for mum (bad daughter me). So I decided to rectify my oversight and make her two; one for her and one she can gift to a friend :)
The Tea Bag Wallet pattern is one of my free patterns here on the blog. You can find the original post HERE which has the pattern/diagrams/instructions and some step by step photos to help you along the way. Its a fun project to sew and a great way to use up some pretty fabrics.
I am a huge coffee addict and in an effort to reduce the amount I drink during the day, I substitute herbal teas. Having a good selection of teas in my handbag, stops me for ordering coffee when I'm out and I have no excuse when I'm visiting people because my tea bags are right there with me. (on a good day, it has helped me cut down the coffee intake)
Mum loves Bonnie and Camille fabrics as much as I do, so my fabric choice was a simple one. I think you would agree that everything looks gorgeous in B&C fabrics but how adorable are those teeny tiny star tooth stars? They are just gorgeous!
The stars are the trickiest part of this project, because they are so tiny (2" finished) but just take your time and they will go together quite well.
This is a fun project to sew and I love making things that are useful. The wallet comfortably holds eight tea bags, more depending on the size of the tea bags of course and its perfect to throw in your handbag, your craft bag or in the glove box. You will always have your favorites on hand and if your like me, you have no excuse to simply order coffee when your herbal teas are with you all the time.
Mum's going to be thrilled she now has her own Tea Bag Wallet, so I'm off to give these to her. I hope she has the kettle on :)
Happy sewing :)

Friday, February 3, 2017

Kiss Biscuits

I'm pretty sure everyone has their own recipe for Kiss Biscuits, but I was planning my surprise Valentine's Day snack for hubby and the kids lunchboxes and I thought I would share mine with you. Because our kids are all grown up now, its no longer "cute" to open lunchboxes at school/Uni/work and find a heart shaped, decorated cookie with "Love Mum" piped in big letters (who knew?), so now I have to be more incognito :)
Here's what I have planned for them this Valentine's Day:
I absolutely love Kiss Biscuits and this recipe is super quick and easy.  These buttery biscuits just melt in your mouth and its hard to stop at just one. This recipe is my favorite because its hands on in the mixing bowl and the more you play with the dough, the better the dough becomes. There's no need to refrigerate the dough, its a quick mix, roll, cut, cook, cool, ice and eat recipe. They are the best kind of recipes right?
I'm sandwiching my biscuits together with a generous amount of homemade raspberry jam and I'm keeping the decorations simple. This recipe is my Foundation Biscuit Recipe and its super easy to colour or flavour for other occasions and its always my starting point when making biscuit dough. You can cut the dough into any shape you like so I used a fluted circle cutter (remember I'm trying to be incognito, no big heart shapes here)
Decoration can be as simple or as complicated as you like. I made a batch of basic icing and then popped a little heart decoration in the centre (hardly noticeable right?? I won't embarrass anyone) and then dipped them in sprinkles.
The recipe yields around 16 sandwiched biscuits and they store well in an air tight container for a few days and they are perfect to pop in the lunchbox.
I know my family will love these and if you haven't tried them before, I hope you and your family do as well. You can download my recipe for Kiss Biscuits HERE or right click on the picture below and save to your computer for later.
I'm looking forward to adding these biscuits to their lunchboxes but I'm sure my son will have that red heart picked off the top before any of his school mates notice his biscuit made with love from mum ;)
Happy baking :)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Beloved Mini Quilt ♥

" So fall asleep, loved by me....for I know love, I am loved by thee." Robert Browning

Love is definitely in the air and Valentine's Day is fast approaching. Being the romantic that I am, February is one of my favorite months. On the 11th, Les and I celebrate 28 years of marriage and then on the 14th we share our 33rd Valentine's Day together. We keep our celebrations simple but we never miss an opportunity to acknowledge the wonderful years we have lived and loved together :)
I have another pretty new mini quilt pattern for you and this one is just in time for Valentine's Day. Welcome to my pattern family, Beloved:
This is a paper pieced mini quilt pattern featuring scrappy geometric hearts, set with some simple alternate blocks. The heart has long been used to symbolise love and affection and at this time of the year, they are popping up everywhere on cards, chocolates, teddy bears and other cute Valentine's Day merchandise.
Beloved finishes at around 15" square and it looks lovely hanging on the wall but I think I might use my mini quilt as a table topper during February, complete with a big bowl of chocolates right in the centre :) The paper pieced blocks are constructed in eight small sections and go together quite easily and they are a great way to use up some of those scraps in your fabric cupboards
I chose a lovely mix of pink and red fabrics from my stash with the majority of them coming from my Bonnie and Camille container. I do love these fabrics as all of their lines play so nicely together and I think they work perfectly in this mini quilt.
Quilting my mini was lots of fun. I decided on a loopy stipple design and every now and then I added a sweet little heart:
The PDF pattern comes complete with full step by step instructions and diagrams for ease of construction and full sized FPP templates. Also included is a colouring sheet to help you plan your colour/fabric combinations prior to constructing your quilt and optional instructions for a hanging sleeve or hanging corners.
If you would like to make your own Beloved mini quilt for Valentine's Day, PDF patterns are now available for $5.95 (AU) in my Big Cartel shop, HERE.
Or if you prefer an instant download, they are also available in my Etsy shop HERE.
I hope Beloved brings a little extra love to your February and to your Valentine's Day celebrations. No matter how you choose to spend your day, may it be filled with lots of love, heaps of affection and generous amounts of chocolate :)
Happy sewing :)
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