Thursday, April 23, 2015

Lemon Curd, And My Little Matthew Evans Crush

I've got more lemons than I know what to do with, but I'm giving it a red hot go.

If you've been playing along at home, you'll know this isn't my first go with the Lemon Curd. The last time I made it though, I fell in love with it and so it makes sense that the millions of lemons I am always in possession of get made into this beautiful balm.

While the fabulous packaging (if you ask me) is all my work, I can't take credit for the recipe. It's my boyfriends recipe.
Mr Frog knows, don't worry. At least I think he does. Although he forgets anything he doesn't take seriously.
Anyhoo, the recipe comes from the gorgeous, and heavy, tome "The Real Food Companion", written by (my boyfriend) Matthew Evans.

I realised I had the hots for him somewhere near the middle of the original Gourmet Farmer t.v series. I'm not sure what it was... the way he narrates, cooks or talks to his pigs. When I saw his book during my Angus & Robertson days, I had to have it. Aside from the crush, the book really is beautiful. It's all about how our food is raised, grown, killed and harvested and the best practices for all of these methods. It's not preachy, it just tells you how it is and how it could be if we all made better choices. Beautifully styled and shot, it's one of those books you can read from cover to cover, and if you're familiar with the series, you can hear Matthew reading to you.

Is it getting creepy yet?

Sadly, unbeknownst to me, during the filming of that first series, Matthew had already hooked up with his extraordinary wife, Sadie. This is a woman who stuck with a bloke who had not only just bought himself a little farm he had no idea how to run, but was being filmed while doing so. Since then there has been another couple seasons of G.F, a series on the labelling of Fish for consumption, and then he filmed him and his mates traveling around Tasmania on a boat. All the while Sadie has been running not only the property where they live, but also the other farm they own a few k's away. (I'm not actually sure how far, I'm not a stalker!)

Did I mention they have a little boy?

So, as much as I enjoy your shows and adore your books Matthew, you'd better hang on to that Sadie. She's a keeper.

So, back to those lemons. I use Matthews recipe. It's super simple, and I always feel better when he says "Don't worry if there are lumps - that just proves it's homemade".


Finely grated zest of six lemons and their juice
8 eggs, lightly beaten
200g unsalted butter, cubed, softened
400g (1 2/3 cups) castor sugar

Sit a large bowl (Matthew says stainless steel, I use glass) over a saucepan of boiling water. Add all the ingredients, stirring occassionally with a wooden spoon until melted. Cook for a further 10minutes or so, stirring and scarping the bottom as you go, until the mixture thickens slightly. Remember ot to worry about the lumps, Matthew says it's ok! (And so do I!) The curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Transfer to sterilised, airtight jars and once cool, store in the fridge. It'll keep for up to two weeks.

Excellent on crumpets, pancakes, your favourite bread, turned into little tartlets, or even dolloped into your yoghurt.

Bon appetit!


P.S Matthew, please don't sue me for sharing your recipe... it's an act of crush!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Baby Shower Bonanza, The Last post: Games and De-brief.

The actual Baby Shower was a couple of weeks ago now.

I flew to Canberra, all by myself, kid and husband free, and spent  a few day with my sister. These were our last moments together, just us girls, for what will probably be quite some time.

We visited my parents in their little country town on the day of a football game, watched a chick flick while eating home delivered noodles,I spent a lazy morning washing my hair, we Baby Showered, we shared pizza with friends, I cooked a meal for my sister and her husband and then I was home again. It went all too fast, but was relaxing and lovely.

The Shower went beautifully.
The Thank you gifts looked beautiful on the table, the venue was lovely, the food and champagne delicious and the time just flew.

That was a problem. It turns out, I over scheduled.

Originally, I had just two games planned; a Guess the Tea game where guests passed unlabelled tea bags around and tried to guess the flavours, and a Royal Baby Quiz; a quiz written by my mum that was REALLY hard. These two games took a bit of time and would've been plenty to do... remember it's customary to open gifts during the shower too!

However, we also had the "Guess the Belly Circumference", The "Boy/Girl Guessing Jar" and the book of advice. At this particular shower, I didn't need the belly measuring or the advice book at all... 

C'est la Vie!

Lots of chatting...

Lots of lovely food... (If you're in Canberra, check out The Burbury - gorgeous view)

and it all looked pretty. I'm including the Champagne in that statement!
Oh, and there were prizes too...

Tea Cup with infuser and tea sample

Tea Cup and saucer with infuser and tea sample

The "just-in-case" extras, infusers and boxes of tea
And that concludes the Baby Shower Bonanza.

Needless to say, I had a ball designing and making all the elements.

But, I had an even better time celebrating with my sister.

Congratulations Sadie. Can't wait to meet the little monster.



Friday, April 10, 2015

Baby Shower Bonanza, Part 6: Something Sentimental

So, I wrote a book for my sister.

No, I'm not suggesting you start writing a novel for the guest of honour at your shower. And it's a not a novel, anyhow.

It's random advice that may or may not be actually helpful.

See, good advice.
I filled this book (almost!) with random thoughts on pregnancy, birth and motherhood-so-far. It's meant to be me when I'm not there, give my sister a giggle when she needs it, and maybe even be a little bit helpful. Sadie called this "Your version of Kaz Cookes book". ( "Up the Duff", totally brilliant, hilarious and actually helpful.) Mine's not as good, but at least it's pretty.

Now, you don't have to fill the book. It's a nice idea to pass this around at the shower and have the guests put in their two cents. Or, just write their best wishes. In another life, say at a Kitchen Tea, this could be filled with recipes.

The choice is yours.


Baby Shower Bonanza, Part 7: Lace Crown

I have fallen madly in love with Lace Crowns.

Pinterest. Again. Dammit!

At my baby shower, Sadie had me wear Fairy Wings. Obviously. (Or maybe not? Long story short: Sadie used to say I was like Tinkerbell and bought me car seat and steering wheel covers to advertise that fact. I was using them when Mr Frog and I first met, so he called me Fee Clochette (Tinkerbell in French, but with an accent over one of the E's). I started a business, by then I was married, and so: Madame Clochette).

Sadie likes to pretend she's royal. On the phone one day, she told me her tiara was giving her a headache. I thought it was some sort of metaphor. I was wrong. She was actually wearing one of her tiaras at work. Note the plural.


She just HAD to have a special Mum -to-be Crown.

First, I measured a bit of cardboard around my head, guessing hers would be about the same, and taped it together. I covered the whole thing in tape so glue and paint won't stick to it. Then, cut some lace to fit.
Lace with pointy bits looks more... I don't know, crown like?
Using a glue gun, glue your lace ends together...

Using my fancy tripod...
...making sure the ends overlap like this.
Mind my manicure...

Make a half/half mix of PVA glue (Modpodge for the Yanks) and water. Thoroughly soak the lace.

Gently squeeze out the excess and slip over your cardboard ring. Let dry. If you use too much PVA, your lace will look like plastic, not lace, which is really not the point.

That succulent is keeping my crown from blowing away!

Next, paint your crown. It's easier if you take it off the cardboard and get paint all over yourself... the coverage of the lace is better. I then added a coat of glitter paint. And then one more, because you always need more glitter.

Once it's dry, you're done. Prance around the house with it on, admiring yourself in any and all mirrors. (You could also hot glue on some sequins or jewels).

Then, at the actual Shower, just barely remember to get a photo of the guest of honour wearing her crown.

Sadie, mid conversation

Every girl needs a crown.

Don't they?

Next up in the Baby Shower Bonanza, I tell you about the games we played, what I'll do next time and finally wrap this thing up!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Baby Shower Bonanza, Part 5, Girl Or Boy Guessing Jar

This was just a little something extra. A "just because". I also have a problem with jars.

Take one jar.
Pick a fat one.
Next, decorate with a paper doily, a piece of leftover invitation paper and a ribbon.

Keeping it simple.
Then, on pieces of "scrap" paper left over from the printing of said invitations, stamp "Boy" and "Girl". Repeat.

It's a 50/50 shot...

Here's the deal: Guests choose which sex the baby will be, and the name the parents will choose, write their own name on the paper and pop it in the jar. After the Bub is born, the brand new mum and dad open the jar and see what crazy ideas people had. Oh, and if someone actually guesses right... I'll send them a prize.

(This will not work if the mum and dad to-be blab about the names on their list. Although, people aren't always listening to crazy-about-to-be-parents.)


What's your guess?

Next, I wrote a book.



Thursday, April 2, 2015

Baby Shower Bonanza, Part 4, Packaging

 Remember those beautiful tea bags and sugar cubes?

 They need to be presented in something.

Something equally beautiful. These will sit at the place of each of your guests. This gives them a hint of the kind of soiree in store.

This time, I decided to go with clear boxes, that I could decorate and tie with a ribbon. Let's keep it simple people.

Cut some co-ordinating paper to size, dot with strong, double sided tape, and wrap. If you use the skinny, cheap stuff you had left over, the paper will pop right off the plastic. Live and learn people. The first one I did had the paper join in the middle, but from then on I had the join at the very edge at the back. You can now barely see it.

Adding the seal from the invitations ties evey thing in nicely.
Note the Madame Clochette mug in the background!
 And then just keep going and going.
Place the sugar cubes in a little bag of their own.

I'm pulling this odd, smug face because in the other photos I look cranky and double chinned.

This one is perfect.

Repeat. And Repeat.

Pop a packet of sugar in the box, and add teabags. It ended up looking nicer if I held all the tags together and then placed them in the box, just so.

Now tie it all up with a matching ribbon. To get the perfect bow, with even ends, make one side longer than the other. How you tie it will depend on which side needs to be longer.

Demonstrating the craziness...

I'm mainly including this pic because I like the over exposure and my nails.
 I got a little excited using my mini tripod again, so I apologise for all the ribbon tying pics. I know you know how to tie a bow!


Repeat, and repeat...
Soldiers ready for combat?

After all that faffing, a gratuitous shot of the bloody bow...
This pic wasn't taken until after this little one had been to Canberra and back, so it's looking a little frayed. Still pretty!
 And Voila! Thank you gifts, party favours, or bonbon-whatsits.

Next up, a guessing game in a JAR!
Can you imagine my delight?