Saturday, 16 June 2012

RECIPE: Banana & Walnut Pudding (Gluten Free)

This recipe can also be used for Banana Bread/Cake, it's exactly the same recipe, just cook it for longer. This is a very versatile recipe as banana could also be substituted for apple or carrot!

You Will Need:
* 125g Butter (room temp)
* 3/4 cup brown sugar (you can also use raw sugar)
* 2 eggs
* 1 1/2 cups mashed banana
* 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
* 1 tsp bi-carb soda
* 1 handful of walnuts, chopped
* 3/4 cup sour cream/ yoghurt/ silken tofu
* 1tbs milk

Serve with yoghurt or custard and a sprinkle of icing sugar.

Step 1.
Mix butter and sugar in a bowl until well combined. Add 1 egg at a time and beat until well combined.

Step 2.
Stir in banana, then add remaining ingredients starting with flour and bi-carb. Mix until smooth.

Step 3.
Pour into a bread tin and bake at 180'c for 50-55 minutes.
Serve warm!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Beautiful Accessories Now Available In My Shop!

Matching 'Mum & Me' Felt Headbands!

Made from upcycled, 100% wool felt.
$9.99 from My Etsy Shop!

Rainbow Bracelet & Necklace Set!
Handmade from 100% Australian Merino wool.
$8.99 from My Etsy Shop!

Monday, 4 June 2012

RECIPE: Gluten Free Oil Cookies

I've had this recipe for so long, I don't even remember where I got it from. My mum & I used to make them when I was a teenager and they became a staple in our home.
This oil cookie recipe is a just a base.. you can add whatever you want to it to change the style of cookie.. Ive added desiccated coconut before and they taste delicious! Ive also done the typical chocolate by adding cocoa, choc chip or even cinnamon and you can make lovely jam fancies too by poking a dip in the middle of the cookie before cooking, then once cool filling the dip with jam. Mum used to make fruit ones by adding sultanas and mixed peel too...

For the cookies in the photo I added 1 cup of m&m's.

You Will Need:
* 1 cup of raw sugar
* 3/4 cup oil (rice bran oil or olive oil is best)
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 tsp vanilla essence
* 2 eggs
* 1 cup self raising flour
* 1 1/2 cups plain flour

For gluten free you may need a little more flour, depending on the types you use. Ive used a mixture of rice flour, potato and besan flour and they work well.

Step 1.
Preheat oven to 190'c/ 375'f
Line tray with baking paper.

Step 2.
Mix sugar and oil in a bowl for 30 sec. Add vanilla.

Step 3.
Add 1 egg, mix well, add other egg. It should start to thicken each time.

Step 4.
Sift flour into bowl (or don't.. doesn't matter that much, but sifting will make them fluffier)
Add salt, mix until all flour is combined.

If it's still very sticky, add more flour- you want to be able to lightly roll them in your hands without your hands getting covered in goo.

Step 5.
Lightly roll spoonfuls of mixture between your hands to form a loose ball then flatten to about 1-1.5cm high.
Try not to handle the mixture or roll too much or you'll end up with tough cookies.

Step 6.
Bake for 10 minutes for soft cookies, or longer for harder biscuits.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

3 Tier Cake, Trinity Sunday & Our Farewell Lunch

Today is Trinity Sunday, hence my green attire for church this morning, it's also my dear friend Carol's last day at our parish. Carol has been our associate minister for three years, after moving from Sydney and she's been my friend for almost a year.
Carol & her husband Gary are moving to their very own parish- St George's Anglican Church- a gorgeous parish in the heart of Monbulk!

St George's Anglican Church

After service this morning, everyone brought a plate to share and we enjoyed a lovely farewell lunch together. I brought a cake which I had been working on for the last 3 days, a three tier chocolate and red velvet cake.

I've never made a tiered cake before and I had to research how to put it together with dowel and thick cardboard so it wouldn't sink in the middle. Ive also never made edible flowers but after many tries I finally worked out a good technique using homemade marshmallow fondant (recipe to follow soon).. The whole cake was complete with vanilla butter frosting and a handmade bunting cake topper that said 'farewell'.

The whole cake used 7 packet cake mixes (yes I cheated!) and 3kg of icing!! It cost approx $65 in ingredients, and took me 22-24 hours to make, 10-12 of those hours was making the roses.

I'm hoping to make a 4 tier cake soon for my beautiful friend Sandy's 30th birthday later this month, it's all great practice for my own wedding cake, which I'm making later this year!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Belle Of The Ball!

My beautiful sister Gen celebrated her debutante yesterday. She looked like an absolute princess! And her partner Josh looked so handsome in his coat and tails... Mum modified the dress and I did the hair and makeup. I took the opportunity to practice my photography and took a few photos...

Gen and George share a special moment...

Group Shot!
Diamante detail

Look at that smile!

Josh's dad chauffeured them both to the reception

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

RECIPE: Gluten Free Baked Zucchini Dippers

These zucchini dippers are delicious! Next time I would make 2 batches, because my fiance and I consumed them all within 5 minutes! They're the perfect appetizer on a winter's night, I'm always looking for something different to the usual soup entrees I make and these are ideal!.. Quick and so simple to make, and really cheap too for those on a tight budget!

You Will Need:

* 1 large zucchini
* 1 egg
* 1tbs milk (I used soy milk)
* 3/4 cup bread crumbs (for gf I used rice crumbs)
* 50g grated parmesan cheese (the stronger the flavour the better)
* Pinch of salt & pepper
* Light spray of oil

* Pasta sauce watered down with a few extra herbs such as basil, parsley, thyme & oregano.
*Id love to try it with a creamy 3 cheese sauce! Yum!


Step 1.
Preheat oven to 200'c & line a tray with baking paper.
Slice zucchini in half both ways, then again, longways so each quarter makes 4 sticks (16 altogether).

Step 2.
In 1 bowl whisk the egg and milk together.
In another bowl mix the bread crumbs, parmesan, salt & pepper.

Step 3.
Coat each zucchini stick in the breadcrumb mixture, then the egg (letting it drip) then the breadcrumb mixture again & place on the tray.
Repeat until all zucchini sticks are coated.

Step 4.
Bake for 15-20 minutes (until soft and very light brown) then turn the oven up to 220'c for another 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with the dipping sauce!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Beautiful Hand Made Greeting Cards

I just finished making these gorgeous greeting cards which are now available to purchase from My Etsy Shop
Each card is definitely one of a kind and has been very lovingly made using scrapbooking papers and supplies <3

'You & Me'
Perfect for Mother's Day, a loved one's Birthday, Valentine's Day or just to say 'I Love You'.

'Let's Fly Away'
This would make a beautiful Birthday card for any age!

'A Perfect Day'
The ideal card to say "I Love You".
Birthday, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Anniversary..

'Vintage Car'
A great Father's Day or Birthday card!

A gorgeous little card for a Birthday or any special occasion.

'A Dream Come True'
Perfect for a Birthday, Anniversary, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, New Baby or Christening...

Sunday, 20 May 2012

RECIPE: Kat's Minty Greek Salad

I love how fresh this salad is! All the different textures and flavour sensations... the crunchy cucumber, the soft avocado, salty olives, sweet tomato, sour lemon and the fresh mint... It seems like a lot of ingredients, but they all come together perfectly to create this bright and flavoursome salad. Delicious on its own (especially in the middle of a hot summer!) or as a side dish at any time of year.

You Will Need:
* 1 green cucumber cut into cubes (I used the typical burpless cucumber, but any can be used. However if you choose the smaller ones, you may need 2.)
* 1 tomato, cubed
* 1/2 red onion, cubed
* 1 avocado, cubed
* Marinated mixed, pitted olives, sliced
* 120g low fat fetta, cubed (any hard variety)
* Handful of mint, chopped finely
* Juice of 1 lemon
* Salt & pepper to season
* 1 large chili (de-seeded), sliced thinly
* 2tbs oil (Olive oil would taste better, but I used Rice Bran oil.)

Step 1.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, except the oil & lemon juice which should be added last.

Step 2.
With a large spoon gently fold the ingredients until combined, but be careful not to over do it or the avocado will disintegrate completely.
Season with salt & pepper.

Refrigerate for 20 minutes, then serve!

Serves 6.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

DIY - Padded Ironing Board Cover

Ive had my ironing board cover for many years and Ive been wanting to make a new one because it's ripped, stained and even burnt in a few spots. The cover was given to me by my dad when I moved out of home and he has since passed away which is the main reason I haven't replaced it already. The cover was too big for my ironing board in the first place as it covered the iron stand at the end so today I'm finally going to have a cover that fits so I can use it properly!

You Will Need:
*Cotton fabric (big enough to cover your ironing board with 8cm extra around the edge)
*Wadding/padding (big enough to cover the ironing board)
*String or thin elastic- at least 2m
*Cotton thread in corresponding colour
*Sewing machine
*Sewing needle
*Tiny safety pin


Step 1.
Firstly, you need to strip your ironing board down to the metal frame, if there's any padding underneath the cover, don't throw it away!! I found a piece of thick padding under my cover which I'm going to recycle instead of buying new wadding.

Step 2.
Lay the piece of wadding over the metal frame of your ironing board and cut around it to make a piece of padding the same size as your frame. I used the metal edge of the board as a guide for my scissors.

Step 3.
Lay your fabric and the cut wadding on a flat surface, such as a table. The cotton fabric should lay with it's pattern facing down and the more patterned the fabric, the better. Marks and stains will show more easily on plain fabric. Cut around the wadding, leaving a seam allowance of approximately 6-8cm.

Step 4.
Hem the edge of the cotton fabric using a zig-zag stitch or similar. If you have an overlocker, this would work even better.

Step 5.
Laying the fabric on a flat surface, fold the edge up all the way around, approximately 1.5cm in and pin in place.

Step 6.
Using straight stitch, sew into place leaving plenty of room along the outer edge as this will form the tube for the string or elastic. When you have nearly finished, leave an inch or so gap for it to be inserted.

Step 7.
Lay the wadding in the middle of the fabric, again then using a threaded needle and corresponding coloured thread, hand stitch both layers to each other in 3 spots (space them out), just to hold the wadding in place. I used an X shape, as if attaching a button. If you wanted to, you could machine sew around the entire wadding attaching it completely to the cotton fabric, however I don't believe it's necessary as the fabric holds the wadding to the frame anyway, even the 3 attached spots are just a precaution.

Step 8.
Attach the safety pin to the end of the string or elastic. I used string as I was able to salvage it from my old cover, but elastic would be better. Insert the safety pin into the hole and slowly work it all the way around the edge until you make your way back to where you started.

Step 9.
You're almost finished!! All you need to do now is attach it to your ironing board. Line the wadding up with the frame first, then pull the cotton fabric down the sides and tighten the string slowly underneath to finish it off, tying tightly with a bow.
If using elastic, you should gather it, cut and sew the elastic together, first, before putting it on the ironing board.
Once the cover is on, try it out to iron out the creases and your all done!

*I made a small heart shape out of my old cover and attached it to the corner using double sided iron on sticky, as a small reminder of my dad. A keepsake...

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

DIY - Button Heart

             If you're like me, you've probably got a massive stash of buttons sitting in your cupboard, unused and collecting dust... True?... Well here's the perfect opportunity to use them!!

This gorgeous button heart is so simple to make and requires only a few items and your patience. It looks great in any colour theme too! Ive seen them done in reds for valentines day gifts, or white for communions.. The possibilities are really endless!

You Will Need:
*Buttons (any colour, size, shape- in fact the more jumbled the mix the better!)
*Corresponding coloured thread
*A piece of cotton fabric cut slightly bigger than the size of your frame
*Pencil (hb is best- the lighter the better)

*A piece of cardboard cut to the size of your frame
*A frame. (I removed the glass from mine because I used alot of bumpy 3D buttons and I like the textural effect of leaving the glass out. However if you only use flat buttons you could choose to keep the glass. It's up to you!)


Selecting your buttons
I prefered to select lots of different sizes, shapes, colours and textures of buttons for my 'Button Heart' but there are no rules and every heart you make will turn out differently. You can create quite an impact even using the exact same button for the whole project, Ive seen this done and it looks very effective. You will need differing amounts of buttons depending on the size of your frame and thus your heart.

Step 2.
Designing your heart
Using your 'soft' pencil, lightly draw a heart in the middle of your piece of fabric. (If you cant do it by sight, you may want to use a ruler to work out the middle.) The size and shape of your heart is entirely up to you. I chose to have a large, straight heart taking up the majority of my frame, however Ive seen others make a similar artwork to this with a small heart in the middle of a large frame or with an uneven shaped heart.

Step 3.
Borders of buttons
Thread your needle and begin sewing the buttons onto your fabric to form the edge of the heart. Because the buttons are for decorative purposes only, you don't need to attach them too firmly, I mostly went through each hole twice and that was enough to secure them. If your making a heart like mine, be sure you space out small and large buttons, different colours and textures so you dont have too much of a build up of the one style of button.
I also tried to be careful to make the edge of the heart appear smooth by lining up the button edge with the heart- you want the outside of the heart to be even, not the inside, that will be filled in later. Try not to pull the thread too tightly as this will 'pucker' the fabric.
Also if you have an embroidery frame, it would come in handy for this and the next few steps, however I didn't use one.

Step 3.
Filling in the heart
Working with the largest buttons first, position them within the heart and sew them in place. This is to make sure your heart wont look lopsided. Then starting at the bottom of your heart begin filling in the spaces, making sure you're mixing the colours, shapes and textures like before. Make sure you keep looking ahead to plan what buttons to leave for certain spaces. Space out your favourite buttons and fill in with smaller plain ones.

Step 4.
Finishing Up
Once you've completed your heart, iron the fabric around the edges to create a flawless finish.
Then, take your piece of cardboard and lay your heart on top. The cardboard acts as a backing card for the heart so it remains flat inside the frame.
Down 1 side, sew the fabric onto the cardboard using straight stitch and pulling the fabric slightly up and down as you sew to stretch it along the card. Then switch to the opposite side and do the same, this time pulling the fabric taut horizontally as well. Don't worry if it 'puckers' your heart.
Now sew the card and fabric together along the top and bottom as well, pulling tightly each way so your heart looks smooth and taut. Then trim any excess fabric off the edge.

Your heart is ready to frame!