discovering a simpiler life

discovering a simpiler life

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Granny Stripe Blanket - Ta Dah!

I've been so excited to share this Ta-dah moment as if feels like it has taken me ages to finish.  I started it in early April and finished it a week ago, so 2 months, but that wasn't hooking everyday.  I made this blanket for some dear friends' birthday(they are a couple ;)  I giggled for a minute thinking you might thing 2 friends had to share custody!!) , whose deadline I did miss but only just :)  
This pattern is from Attic 24 blog.  Lucy also has an online shop at Wool Warehouse which is where I ordered all the yarn for this pattern in a bundle already made up.  
It has the right number of balls to go with the pattern - how genius is that relationship!!  I've ordered another bundle as I've had a few requests for the blanket and it will actually be enough for 3 blankets.  The yarn, although 100% acrylic, is a dream to crochet with and is a really great price.
The balls do come with sleeves but I was too hasty before I remembered to take photos ;)
Now this my hooking friends is genius.  I was scratching my head and worried about how I would ever remember what shade colour the yarn was....enter 
Mr. GW, such a thinker that this is his idea to stick a little piece of yarn on the corresponding why didn't I think of that? Too worried to think clearly I think!!!
It's been almost a year to the day that I first tried my hand at crochet and I've been hooked ever since.  This is my 5th blanket I'm very proud to say.  This craft that has become my addictive hobby has seriously saved my sanity.  It gives me something tangeble to see at the end of most days when the couch is as far as I will be going.  Here are some photos....lots of photos :)
It's made with a foundation chain of 239.

I did change the border ever so slightly (moi? mess with a recipe or pattern!!) I did the last pink row in hdc (half double crochet US terms) instead of a sc (single crochet).   Boarders are my favourite part as I love seeing it all come together.  It is rolling up ever so slightly though, any tips from anyone would be appreciated!!

So there she onto the next one, my fingers are itching to get started.

Ciao, Jan x

Friday, 5 June 2015

In my kitchen ~ June 2015

It's June....and that means winter here and my goodness it has been cold.  It's mid afternoon as I type this and it's 6c (42f), the heating is on and if Coco the cat gets any closer I think she might get singed.  It's also time for In my kitchen where I hook up with 
Celia from Fig Jam and Lime cordial along with hundreds of other food obsessed bloggers from around the world.  If you love to see what's in other peoples kitchens, pop over to Celia's blog and get stalking!
Lots of lovely things have been happening in my kitchen this month.  
So grab a cuppa or a wine and settle in cause here we go.....

I made these grissini sticks that have been eaten up with slices of salami and into my daughters lunchbox.  
Our Granny Smith apple tree is almost at the end of its production so I whipped up some crumbles for the freezer - perfect fodder for this bitter winter that's hit.
Seeing as we have been doing lots of preserving, especially our tomato passata, I ordered these nifty jar tongs off ebay and they are awesome.
We are at the end of what was a bumper chilli crop this year.  Mr.GW makes chilli sauce and pickled chillis with these.  I think he has enough jars for 2 years instead of one!
I was given this jar of raw honey from a friend awhile ago.  I finally used it this month in banana muffins.
My baby Kromilla has been getting a workout - lots of baby meringues and meringue nests and a few breads....
This delicious bacon and cheese ring braid was dished up with soup and not a crumb was left.

A friend had me care for her beloved 15 year old sourdough starters while she was overseas-big responsibility!! But I love the job.  I used the recipe I played with awhile ago, before I killed my starter.  I've got another on the go now and will try my hardest to nurture her for longer this time.
I adapted this recipe for bap rolls - I don't use a bread machine so did the proofing next to the heater - once until the dough had doubled in size (approx. 1 1/2 hours) and then knocked the air out, rolled into 8 rolls and then proofed again for an hour.  They were scoffed straight from the oven with this yummy soup.
This is my tomato passata served as soup with a poached egg, crispy bacon and cheese - perfect Sunday night dinner.
I played with ricotta gnocchi and marvelled at the ease of the recipe compared with the potato kind.  I like to have it with a simple sauce and a big leafy salad freshly picked from the garden.
And lastly, we've been pickling our olives and I can hardly wait to crack them open.
So that's me....thanks for stopping by and if you leave a comment I will pop over and see what's been happening in your kitchen.  

Ciao, Jan x

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

a gluttonous wife's city treat

A week or so ago I made the 3 hour train trip to the big smoke - Melbourne.  I love our quiet country city life but I do get excited by the thought of a few days in the city trying different restaurants or cafes - it fuels my soul.  Add to that the chance of catching up with some of my girlfriends with no children = mummy nirvana :)  
             I took my current granny stripe blanket with me which helped pass the time and keep me warm on the old rattler.  I must remember to avoid the    train coffee machine at all costs, but at 5.20am it's hard not to be tempted by it!
I started day one with lunch at my favourite go to - The Grill at Grossi Florentino.  I just can't go past it I'm afraid.  The service is always so warm and effortless and the special menu's hard to beat for $$$ value.  We had the 3 courses with a glass of wine and coffee for $50.  I had spaghetti vongole for entree, this delicious slow cooked ox cheek which was sublime and cheese for dessert.  
I admire anyone who blogs and reviews restaurants as I find it a bit 'wanky' taking photos of every thing and it does take away the moment for me personally so I apologise for not snapping every thing.  
After a great nights sleep, I made my way to find Patricia's Coffee Brewers.  When I'm planning a trip to the city, I google lots of 'bests' - like best coffee, best breakfast, best Italian and love doing the research.  I walked up and down little William St searching for Patricia's only to have to stop to ask for directions.  Just my luck, the blind man I came across knew a thing or two.  If you look for the MoVida aqua sign and head down there it's down the alley and to the right.

Patricia's is hipster smooth but without a beard in sight.  It is rated one of the best coffees going.  I beg to differ and was a tad disappointed with my brew but would go again to give it the benefit of the doubt. 

Not to let an opportunity go by, a quick stop off to buy an almond croissant at Laurent bakery helped raise me from the doldrums.  It was heavenly.
A casual lunch at Ba'Get was really, really good - with the traditional Vietnamese rolls of bahn mi hitting the spot.  We shared one and had a chicken rice paper roll chaser - the hoisin dipping sauce added so much to this, I wish I was eating this right now.

One of my friends flight from Sydney was delayed 5 hours (aka cancelled - naughty Jetstar) so I had some time on my hands after lunch.  I was wandering around little Lonsdale st and came across Sbriga Espresso Bar where I really, really did mean to just have a coffee but when I finished my latte, I still had time to kill and I turned my eye to this little menu just near the bar and realised they served proscecco - my favourite....the personable waiter inquired if I was finished and I ever so coyly answered that I could possibly fit in a proscecco to which he assured me he had the answer for me in an aperol spritz and it didn't disappoint.  Luckily I had to go otherwise another would have been on the cards - they are dangerously good.

Dinner that night was at MoVida but I didn't take any photos as it just wasn't the right mood for it.  I had some amazing bites that I'll share just in the printed word as they deserve to be included.
Jerusalem artichoke croquette  
Quince paste cigar with whipped goats milk cheese - amazing.
Brioche, duck liver pate and PX foam Toasted sandwhich - dangerously good
Spicy Steak tartare of raw, grass fed Wagyu beef  - almost dish of the weekend
Slowly braised beef cheek in Pedro Ximenez on cauliflower puree - my dish of the weekend and it was a shame I had to share it :)

The last decadent stop was a lunch the next day at Bistro Vue.  I had a funny conversation booking the reservation as my last name just happens to be Bennett - the same as the owner.  Again, the same banter on arrival, which helps to break the ice....maybe I could be Shannon's long lost cousin.

The two of us shared entrees of steak tartare with home cut crisps which was so different from the one at MoVida but just as good, 
and house cured Salmon with avocado and a herb sauce.
My main was a Confit duck leg with rainbow carrots and pommes sautees.  The duck leg was stuffed with a couple of garlic cloves and was delicious.  I didn't want it all to be over...but it was time to go home but I was ready and recharged.

I had weetbix with banana and sugar for dinner when I got home.

Tell me, do you get the chance to fuel your soul? What is it that you like to do?  I'm already planning my next visit.

Ciao, Jan x
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