I’m a Weaver!

I’m not sure why I haven’t posted about it here before… but.  I’m now a weaver.

And I love it!

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Ada and Bebe

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My Work table

For Ada


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Behold! Pickles.

North Indian Lime Pickles

When I happened across a bag of limes at a local grocer for only a few bucks I knew exactly what I was going to do with them as I had just been reading some enticing fermented citrus pickle recipes over at Hungry Tigress.

These pickles are not vinegar based but are fermented on a sunny window sill for up to 8weeks.  I’m not an expert on fermentation but we have been enjoying home fermented sauerkraut for a while now so I was game to try these pickles out of curiosity more than anything else.

For the past two months, I would turn my jar every day nurturing and inspecting the contents with great anticipation.  We went away last week and I was dismayed when I realised I had forgotten to put my pickle in the fridge before we left. I expected to come back to a mould infested mess.  Instead, I found that fermentation had done its preserving magic and there was no spoilage – phew!

After 2 weeks on the sill I did a taste test and the pickle was bitter and firey, after 5 weeks on the sill the the cayenne had mellowed and the bitterness was reduced, so I knew we were headed in the right direction.

Today I can report that this pickle is magnificent!  Limey, spicy, salty and not bitter.  Tigress mentions that in India they would probably use more sugar and less spice and next time I might increase the sugar – just a bit.

I’ve transferred the pickle to three smaller jars and they now reside in the fridge – awaiting use on curries and whatever else I fancy.

Pickled Onions

We love Blue Banner Pickled Onions and always seem to have a jar kicking around in the back of our fridge. A couple of months ago I made up a very large jar of my own picked onions and again after waiting two whole months to try them (this pickling business requires patience!) I was excited to find that they taste and look pretty much like our Blue Banners.

Sally Wise has a recipe for Pickled Onions up on her blog and I assume it’s largely the same as the one in her book, A Year in a Bottle.

For this recipe and also for my sauerkraut I reuse the big 2 litre jars which dill pickles come in, I have quite a collection of them now since we do love gherkins in this household!

And Finally

Fermented Onions

Finely slice onions, cover in brine, put in two tablespoons of whey (liquid that forms at the top of plain yoghurt) and leave out in the kitchen for 3 days to ferment.

Result:  This brew is pungent! The flavour is maybe a little more tart but a little less raw tasting than a raw onion.  Unfortunately I could taste onion on my breath for the rest of the day after eating this concoction.  Apparently they will keep indefinitely in the fridge and we’ll probably use them for cooking over the next few weeks.   But I don’t think I’ll make fermented onions again.

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Return of the Knitting

My fingers have been itchy for knitting lately and I have some finished items to show for it!

First up, I finally completed Ada’s little Kimono Jacket – the one I started a few days before she was born.

I’m relieved that it fits her and I think she will even get a few months wear out of it.  I had intended on making long sleeves, but… I couldn’t finding the remaining grey yarn.  As these things often go, short sleeves are much more practical for my ‘on the brink of crawling babe’.  She doesn’t need long loose sleeves flapping about the place.

You know about Ravelry right? So you don’t need me to tell you how awesome it is for the yarn inclined.   Anyway, I had a freshly purchased skein of Cascade 220 begging to be knit and Ravelry provided the goods.  The Wurm.

Jasper is going through a stage.  He loves to pull crazy faces in photos, it’s sort of funny and sort of annoying at the same time. (did you know that he turned 3 the other week?  How can this be? lol).

This beanie is big and slouchy and CUTE.  I worked out the pattern from the pictures as it is simply knit in the round and grafted at the top.  The ribs are created by alternating several rows of stocking stitch and reverse stocking stitch. The grafting was the most difficult part but a tutorial on YouTube sorted me out.

How’s this for a quick little vest: I cast on for it Thursday evening and finished it Sunday morning.  I’m stunned! How can it be possible for me to knit a garment in such a short time?

The pattern is called Milo from Georgie Hallam.  I’m so happy with it and I will be making another one very, very soon.

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Chickpea Chatter

I had some dramas this week on the chickpea front. I decided to cook some from scratch rather than using tinned chickpeas. The recipe I was using said to soak the dried chickpeas in water overnight then boil for about an hour the next morning. Easy. Right? but no, they weren’t cooked. They were hard and horrid and not lovely at all.

After a bit of chickpea chatter on Facebook and a bit of reading on the nets I decided to keep on boiling them until I was happy. They took 2.5hrs.

I made a baby hummus for Ada: pureed chickpeas, moistened with homemade chicken stock (that I had on hand because I was making soup) and a little squeeze of lemon. She liked it on toast and mixed with sweet potato mush:-)

One corner of the internet pointed me in the direction of Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat – which I own. (How to Eat is a chatty, wide ranging cookbook with none of that sexy, fingerlickin’ feasting you get with her tv shows).

Apparently there are a few tricks:
1) soak the chickpeas for longer – like 24hrs or more
2) make a paste of 1tsp bicarbonate soda, 1tsp flour and 1tsp salt and add this to the soaking water
3) you may have to cook for a long time – say 4hours
4) she says not to lift the lid for the first hour because it might cause the chickpeas to harden.

So, I threw my lot in with Nigella and soaked 3 cups of chickpeas of 22hours then cooked. I checked after and hour and they were DONE! I have to note that these were different chickpeas (the little brown variety called Desi) and my earlier batch was the big white ones. So unfortunately I’m not sure if Nigella’s tips were the key or if it was the variety.

3 cups of dried chickpeas heh? Yes that expands to 7.5cups cooked. I portioned them up into ziploc bags and chucked them in the freezer. Except for some that I’ll roast tomorrow. Roasted chickpeas with garlic salt and cumin = yummy snack.

And while I’m sharing, this recipe has been on high rotation in our house recently:

Roasted Vege and Chickpeas
Adapted from this recipe out of River Cottage Veg Everyday (my new, absolute favourite cookbook!)

750g Assorted Roast veges (leftovers usually)
Oil (we use olive oil)
A tin of Chickpeas – which I estimate to be about 1.5 cups of the home cooked peas, maybe a little less?
1/2 a lemon
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, sliced
Fresh coriander roughly chopped

~Heat the oven to 200degC
~Put the oil into a non stick roasting pan and put into the oven for 10minutes until oil is really hot (I’m not sure we need to do this since the veges are pre roasted… but we do)
~Meanwhile, cut the roast veges into bite sized pieces,
~Carefully toss the veges and chickpeas in hot pan
~Pop into the oven for 10mins
~Take the vege/chickpeas out of the oven
~Stir through the garlic and juice of the lemon
~Sprinkle the coriander over the top

Serves 4

Looking at this now, I wonder if the whole lot could just be assembled in pot rather than turning on the oven…

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Hi Friends!

I’ve been blogging since early 2005 and in that time my interests have shifted – as is natural 🙂 So. I’m declaring here that this blog now concerns home economics, parenting, gardening, cooking and the good old arts and crafts. Pretty much anything that I’m into at the moment!

While I’m at it, I want to send out love to my sister Meg and to my friend Sarah who I think are my main readers these days… I hope you enjoy the change and I also hope some new readers and commenters join you soon! hehehe

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Some Green

The garden has been growing brilliantly since my sister came to visit and to give me a hand in getting the vege patch going.


This is a view showing the bed that runs along the fence looking up towards the two elevated, triangular shaped beds in the top corner of the yard. In the foreground you can see the broccoli. As per the instructions on the punnet tag I’ve cut out the central floret in the hope of inducing lots of side florets.

Also in that area I’ve got bok choi. I’ve never been able to grow Asian greens without them immediately shooting to flower. I ripped most of them out in disgust, but the two plants that Ieft have gone from strength to strength so maybe it doesn’t matter if they flower. I have yet to harvest any of it but I might use some this week.

I replaced the bok choi with some spinach seedlings which have been scratched out by damned blackbirds Grrrr!

When we arrived there was a stand of sweet corn in this bed which was nice :-). Jasper was introduced to the delights of gnawing away on a freshly picked cob – yum!


Kale. A vege I don’t have a lot of experience with – I don’t recall it being grown when I was a child so maybe it’s new to Tasmanian gardeners? At the moment it is still tender enough for use in salads so that’s what I’ve been doing with it. Thanks to my sister Meg for the seedlings!

We inherited a large, healthy patch of silverbeet with this garden too so we are going to be well supplied with greens with the kale and lettuce that I’ve out in.


This photo doesn’t do my savoy cabbages any justice – they are HUGE! I have some big sauerkrauting plans for these beauties… And maybe kimchi… Hill St grocer used to sell daikon radish and they might do again. Or maybe I’ll try to grow some!

I also have a big patch of red cabbage so we’ll be right for cabbage too this winter. I’ve just got to stay vigilant with the cabbage munching grubs I squished a legion today.

One area of the garden doesn’t seem to grow as well as others – I’d love to know why. I’m quite worried about the large patch of cauliflower and broccoli I’ve got in there. Sigh. I think I forgot to SeaSol them when I planted them out so maybe they have suffered from transplant shock? They just haven’t gone anywhere. The spring onions I put in the same area are also going badly compared with the ones I planted out at the same time in another part of the garden.


We inherited lots of great stuff with this house – so far the greatest bonus is the strawberry patch. We scoffed handfuls of gorgeous berries every day for weeks after we moved in. They have slowed down to a couple of berries a day now, but I look forward to next year’s bounty! The strawberries take up a lot of space but I think they are worth it. Sharing this bed is a mature apricot tree, a jostaberry bush, a small peach tree and a good sized nectarine tree.

We have also inherited a couple of immature apple trees and small, unhealthy cherry tree that may be removed in favour of a green gage plum next year. Either way, I’m reading up on how to prune fruit trees 😀

I expect that things will slow down in the garden from now on as the weather has turned cold in the last few weeks. I have two areas that I need to prepare for garlic – last years patch supplied us for only two months and I’m hoping to plant enough for 6 months this year – I bought some great bulbs from the farmers market the other week, but we ate them. Whoops!

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Why buy dish cloths and sponges? I recently had a ‘Doh’ moment when I ran out of chux wipes and improvised by cutting up an old tea towel to make 4 dishrags.


I overlocked around the edges to keep things from fraying in the wash. Now i use 2-3 a day and they just get put through the wash when they get soiled or otherwise manky.

On another note, but related given we are talking of reuse, reuse, reuse; We are going ‘old school’ with cloth nappies for Ada. I’m taking the economy route of terry squares, snappis and some modern style pilchers.


Contrary to some amazing claims, cloth nappies will not save me thousands of dollars. I calculate that I’m saving between $9-$11.50 per week and that is based on my preferred, premium brand of disposables. (Ada is in disposables at night)

This works out to be a saving of $500 worth of disposables per year. My set up cost was close to $180* and I choose to not think too hard about laundering costs! All that work for a saving of just over $300/year 🙁

So why am I bothering with cloth? Initially it was because I started to think about all my children’s festering disposables glugging away in the Hobart City Council’s landfill. I never thought about it until I had two kids in nappies – the amount of crap (literally) that I was throwing away became alarming to me.

Then I got excited about the squillions of dollars I could save hahaha.

Then I thought I’d just dip my toe in the water and see how I went with it. I’ve discovered that Ada’s bum is fresher and less rashy in cloth. I’ve discovered that a line full of white terry squares makes me happy and that I enjoy the rhythm of folding a pile of nappies. And I am saving $300 a year 🙂

However, I dislike disposing of poo in the toilet. Ada’s are pretty solid right now so they are fairly easy to deal with. If I was using cloth with Jasper I wonder if I’d have the stomach for it as his poo is soft and big and goes everywhere – not to mention the smell… I feel sick even thinking of it.

Overall, I do like the idea of using and reusing the same bit of cloth and I’m happy to reduce the amount of crap I’m chucking into our local landfill. And finally, in these austere times of one wage, two children and a fresh, large mortgage, $300 is a nice saving really 🙂

*set up costs
12 terry flats = $0 already had some
12 terry flats = $45 (you can get cheaper ones but watch for quality we returned some cheap ones to Target because they had holes(!) and were thin)
2m of bamboo and hemp fleece for some DIY nappies and boosters =$45
Pilchers = $60 (I have 4 at an average of $15 each)
Snappies= $5 (broken) $7.5(replacement from expensive baby shop)
Nappy bin = $20 (Chris bought it so I’m not sure of the cost, it’s a flip top kitchen bin from bunnings)

Total $182.5 or thereabouts

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Peasant dresses for Ada

Simple to make/comfy to wear.


I bought this soft double gauze from Linnet in Japan.

I have made three since I set up my new sewing room last week and I’ll be making many, many more.

Though my growing boy needs a whole new set of pants first and its a pretty high priority! This time ’round his pants will have pockets – essential for any (almost) 3 year old it seems.

I am so happy to have a whole room of my own again. It is away from the children’s rooms so I am able to sew in the evenings too – what bliss!

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