Friday, February 27, 2009

Olive Oil, Honey and Nutmeg Biscuits

To a bee, honey is work
To us, it is leisure, luxury, pleasure.
If only the eating thereof
would fill us with the spirit of hard work.
~Corri Alius

I have finally perfected our new healthy biscuit recipe - Olive Oil, Honey and Nutmeg Biscuits.  These biscuits have very minimal sugar in them and no butter at all.  They are also made with wholemeal spelt flour but you could substitute your flour of choice.  They are reminiscent of the Arnott's Honey Jumble biscuits I consumed ravenously as a child - a little chewy and oh so delicious.  I was very lucky to eat the last half of one with my cup of tea this morning after little Eee begged for that last longed for biscuit remaining in the jar.  Yes, we shared it.

¼ cup castor sugar
¼ cup olive oil
small ¼ cup honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¾ cups wholemeal spelt flour
¼ teaspoon bicarb soda
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1-2 teaspoons nutmeg to taste 
(I like my nutmeg and put in 2 teaspoons to compliment the strong flavour of our honey)
½ cup raisins or sultanas

Preheat your oven to 180℃/375℉.  Line two oven trays with baking paper or your silicon biscuit baking mat.  Put sugar, oil, honey, egg and vanilla into a bowl of your electric mixmaster and beat for 2 minutes.

Sift the flour, soda, cream of tartar and nutmeg and add to the thickened wet mix.  Mix together until well combined.  Stir through the raisins.

Dollop in spoonfuls onto your tray to bake.  Decorate the top with tiny slivers of Fair Trade dark chocolate scraped with a knife to sit delicately on top of each biscuit.  We have tried decorating with raisins also but found that the time in the oven baked them a little too hard - they are yummiest when inside.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden.  Rest on a tray for 5 minutes until cool.  You can then transfer them to a wire rack and see how long they last sitting around in your kitchen :).

Enjoy these little morsels of yumminess which are all good for you.  Really they are!  They are the perfect snack for a little toddler whose delicate mouth delights in the softness of a chewy bikky.

If you haven't yet entered a comment for my little giveaway.  Now is your last chance as we will draw the winner over the weekend.  So look out for an announcement on Monday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Gorgeous Giveaway in Europe

A lady, with whom I was riding in the forest, said to me, that the woods always seemed to her to wait, as if the genii who inhabit them suspended their deeds until the wayfarer has passed onward: a thought which poetry has celebrated in the dance of the fairies, which breaks off on the approach of human feet.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "History"

Quickly, quickly, very quickly pop on over to Fröken Skicklig to participate in an absolutely gorgeous giveaway.

Take a journey through a romantic European forest full of fairies, toadstools and bluebirds or whatever your heart conjures up. Be sure to take your daughters with you and enjoy a most enchanting ride.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Hot Summer Garden

The garlic chives are budding...

The capsicum are starting to fruit again after they were setback by our recent heatwaves.  I can only hope that the heat due at the end of this week (up to 40degC again for a few days) will not sizzle the new flowers and potential budding fruit.

I do not know how this petunia thrives.  It was bought by my Mum when little Eee was born nearly 18 months ago and just keeps coming back.  Such a beautiful bright pink, the photo just doesn't do it justice.

and just look at all these rosebuds....Wow!  Adelaide is definitely the city for roses.  They just can't seem to go wrong.  If you are living here and you don't have one, I strongly recommend you plant one.  This is a rare case of masses of beauty from very little care.

How we have this is really beyond me as our water restrictions are very limited.  I can water with the watering can or bucket, and try to each couple of days, but I have other duties with two littleuns which I must prioritise.  I can water with the hose on Sunday and Wednesday at times when I am usually asleep or preparing meals and bathing the girls. So that doesn't happen regularly either.  Some reports say we have had 1mm of rain this year, yet apart from a few drips I remember on this day, I cannot recall a time when this might have been, perhaps it was down south.  The rainfall for February was supposed to be 20% above average.  The average is 10mm I believe, so we have about 5 days for 12mm of rain to fall.  Possible, I guess, but with a forecasted heatwave I cannot see that happening.

So I wait for Autumn without holding my breath.  Autumn is a lovely time - so cool, so refreshing, so colourful.  I find myself being very creative in Autumn usually so I look forward to this season.

My little giveaway is still open so if you haven't commented yet, please do so on the post below.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tweet and Toot announce my 100th post and a little giveaway to celebrate

One photo out of focus is a mistake, ten photo out of focus are an experimentation, one hundred photo out of focus are a style.  ~Author Unknown

Tweet and Toot, inspired by Jikke and Lila, are here to announce that Cee has finally written 100 posts.  It has taken a while but I think I have finally got some blogging mojo this year.  I'm not sure whether I'm at the 'experimentation' or 'style' stage with my photos but at least now I'm in the running for 'style' with posting :)

Little Tweet has found a home on Ess' school bag and she proudly carries him to school each day.  She did not appreciate me removing him in the morning so I could take a photo for this post during daylight hours. 

Little Toot has not yet found a home. So to celebrate 100 posts and to express my gratitude to family, friends and new blogging mates, as well as to give my desire to increase my generosity a boost, we are having a little giveaway.  We hope that soon Little Toot will find a home at your place.  Or maybe you have an appreciative little family member who'd enjoy him.

The two of them will hate to be parted but that's OK.  Toot's new owner will be most caring I am certain.  I have met some lovely lovely people in the blogosphere.

As an addition, I will also giveaway a recipe of mine.  Yes I know you can see them here and copy and paste and print or whatever but I want you to have something real and tangible of me and my place.  In this case, my handwriting.   So I will contact you and we'll negotiate a recipe you'd like to have which I'll handwrite for you and post off with Little Toot.  My handwriting is quite stylish I think and a little more sophisticated than my five year old daughter's.

I value handwriting very highly and am sorry that we don't use it as much these days.  There are so many things we can do with our handwriting to add a special touch.   I remember a tea party held by a friend of mine (who'll read this) who had written the names of all that she had baked and displayed the tags beautifully on the table with her wares.  I remember feeling lost when the handwritten labels on my father's client's files were all replaced with typed ones (unbeknown to him). I would find files by the sight of the handwriting rather than reading the label.  That soon changed.   These days you can also have your own handwriting made into a font to use on the computer.  That's a bit construed I think but at least it reinforces the value of handwriting.  Maybe one day there will be a font named Pea Cee.  I just need to get a scanner to complete that task on my list.

And my recipe book!  I have a few, but my fondest one I started when I was just 10 years old.  Wrapped in Mr Men contact ;), it contains recipes I've written over the years.  It also has recipes that were written by my Mum, my Dad, my Aunty and my best friend from school.  My sister-in-law recently wrote in one for her Tagine.  I remember each one by the individual's handwriting.  Seeing the handwriting reminds me of that person, the times we shared together, enjoying a delicious meal together.  Do you  have a similar recipe book?  Or is your recipe collection like my newer books - display folders showing printouts from the computer and pullouts from magazines?  Each has its own merit, yet there is something extra special about a handwritten collection built up over the years, do you agree?

So to be eligible for this little giveaway, I urge you to leave a comment (about anything at all). I know I have a lot of readers there who are not commenting so now is your chance.  I'd love to meet you and get to know you and I really am very lovely... at least I don't bite - usually!

In a short while, when enough of you have commented, I will randomly choose someone to win and advise you who that is, in another post soon.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Baked Peaches with a Crumble Topping

If two or three persons should come with a high spiritual aim and with great powers, the world would fall into their hands like a ripe peach.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tis the season for peaches.  We were very fortunate this week to receive some peaches from Grandad's neighbour.  Who can turn down fresh fruit from someone's tree in their own backyard and their wonderful generosity to give it to us?  We are privileged.

There were some bumps and bruises on them however and the flavour was perhaps just a little tame, so I have created a very healthy delicious dessert.

Baked Peaches with a Crumble Topping

Halve and de-seed your peaches and place them in an ovenproof dish.

Make a crumble by combining the following ingredients:  
1 tablespoon of shredded coconut per peach half
1 tablespoon honey (maybe more if you are doing a load of peaches)
1 teaspoon rosewater
some crumbled cereal (I use low gluten Kornies (à la cornflakes))

Place the crumble mix on each peach half.
Bake in a preheated 200degC oven for 10-15 minutes until golden.

These are absolutely lovely with a dessert wine such as Bleasdale late picked Verdelho if you feel like indulging just a wee bit.

Simplicity is bliss...enjoy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

First Steps

pitter, patter...

These tiny feet have taken their first steps.

It was a few days ago on Friday 13 February.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to take photos of little feet that are now on the move, very rapidly, albeit not always walking yet, but always toddling somehow somewhere? Finally I have managed to get a few photos which are not too blurry to recognise.  I  have the utmost admiration for people, like Kirsty of Appleseed Photography, who specialise in photography of children.   Her photos of newborns are stunning and she also captures the very special gentle innocence of young children.  Our walls are graced with her simply stunning photographic art showing the superb way she captured the essence of our family last June.

Little Eee, you strode out at about 5pm.  Fortunately Daddy was home and both Mum and Dad watched you take your first half a dozen steps, before Ess raced in to hug and applaud you as well.  You were so cute and so proud of yourself to be independently walking.

Not a lot of that has happened since, as you still like to scoot around on your bottom.  The scoot has become more of a bounce these days as you pick up speed.  So cute! 

These little feet will pick up speed as your confidence grows and I know that in no time at all they will be wearing through shoes as you walk and talk and grow just so quickly.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ess' Own Bikkies

Tea, anyone?

I am very proud of my little girl. She has taken inspiration from her friend and created her own bikky recipe which she absolutely loves.  I am particularly proud as she decided to write down the ingredients for her recipe while I prepared our evening meal.  Here is her list of ingredients:

Isn't she doing superbly!  Remember she just started school last month.  With only a few questions about spelling (at which point I encouraged her to find the words in another location such as on the ingredient she had chosen to add), she has written a list.  It is just so wonderful when children are motivated to learn.  Activities such as being creative in the kitchen are wonderful places to involve writing and reading to increase your little one's interest in literacy.

We baked her bikkies in the morning and by the afternoon they had been devoured.  That is testament to her success.

We creamed about 70g butter and added about 20-40ml olive oil.  2 teaspoons of golden syrup were beaten through.  Initially Ess had forgotten about flour.  At some stage along the process she declared she wanted to add some flour to her nutmeg so we sifted 1 cup of wholemeal spelt flour with ½ teaspoon of bicarb soda and ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar.  This we folded through the creamed mixture.  The mix was then very soft so I dolloped them onto a biscuit tray and hoped they wouldn't spread too far.

They turned into a lovely "short" bikky, beautifully crisp and crunchy.  While I wasn't too fond of the mix of the flavours of golden syrup and nutmeg, Ess thought they were delicious.  They didn't last long in the house however, so others obviously thought so too.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Beauty In Our Bedroom

She watched and taught the girls that sang at their embroidery frames while the great silk flowers grew from their needles.  ~Louise Jordan Miln, The Feast of Lanterns

Mel asked the question, "What's in your bedroom?" and I was immediately reminded of this lovely work I have hanging above our bed.  It is silk ribbon embroidery.  I made this beautiful posy of flowers many years ago when I was still young, single and family free. 

I don't mind how messy the other areas of my house are, but I always love to have my bedroom a place of beauty, peace and serenity.  A place where we can rest our heads at the end of the day without having to worry about needing to tidy it so we can simply rest.  So each morning I tidy this room and leave it tidy.  It generally stays that way as I have trained the girls to jump only on their own beds...well it is usually that way.  It's easier now Ess is at school and little Eee is only just learning to walk.  I'll have some more toddler jumping on the bed years to come - what fun! :)

This embroidery hangs quietly, contributing to the solitude we enjoy together in our bedroom.  To me it is symbolic of the beauty I carry from the days of my youth into my marriage, it reminds me of the beauty I see every day around me and in all who enter and leave our bedroom day by day.

Have a look in Mel's bedroom and if you're inspired, please leave a link here so I can peak in yours.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Valentine Beach Outing

Who, being loved, is poor?  ~Oscar Wilde

Our Saturday was quite busy so we enjoyed Valentine's Day with our lovely little family on Sunday afternoon at Semaphore Beach.

Spade in hand, sand in our toes... who can resist...dig, dig, dig...

We cannot visit the beach and not dig a hole, especially when Daddy is there.

The hole just got deeper and deeper and deeper...

We reached water at the bottom of it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Zucchini and Sultana Muffins

Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.  ~Jim Davis

Crunchy, golden brown top and a soft, fluffy and moist centre.  These healthy little Zucchini and Sultana Muffins are delicious and have gone down beautifully in our house.  I can't get a word out of my Generous Gentleman as he munches and "mmm, mmm, mmms" his way through them.  Little Eee absolutely loves them and I am really grateful I have these to fall back on when she decides that tea is not to her liking.  There is nothing in them that you should feel guilty about eating - no butter, sugar or refined white flour.  There is a lot of zucchini in them (2 cups) making them a very nutritious snack for everyone.  Don't be fooled, you can't even taste the zucchini.  The vegetable just serves to provide moisture.  It is the spices which add a delicious fragrance and flavour.

Upon seeing Julie's recipe for Carrot and Sultana Muffins, I set about varying it as I knew that zucchinis would work well in this situation. I have baked both Zucchini Bread and an absolutely, delectable Zucchini Cake before which is oft-requested (I must do that again soon).

So here is a recipe I have created as part of my goal, being a member of Our Creative Community, to collect and create a list of healthy recipes.

Zucchini and Sultana Muffins
1 egg
½ cup olive oil
½ cup honey
½ teaspoon  vanilla extract
1 cup sultanas
2 cups zucchini, grated (about 2 zucchini)
1½ cups wholemeal spelt flour
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ground ginger

1. Combine wet ingredients and beat for 1 minute.
2. Stir in sultanas and zucchini, then fold thru the flour etc.  This will form quite a wet mixture. 
3. Pour into a 12 hole muffin tin.  Bake in a moderate oven 180degC for 20-25 minutes.
4. Cool briefly in a pan then turn onto a rack to cool.

You may like to try using wholemeal wheat flour instead of spelt for your family.  Just be aware that you may need to increase the moisture somewhat - try adding another egg, or increasing the quantity of oil slightly.  You could also try using only 1 cup of wholewheat flour.

If it suits your family ½ cup chopped nuts would be a nice addition.

Another thing I want to draw your attention to is the fact that this recipe contains honey rather than sugar.  Some of you may find this quite sweet enough while others of you who are used to a lot of sugar in your diet may find the recipe a little lacking.  It takes some time to get used to not having much sugar in your diet but is well worth the effort.  I suggest you read here about Replacing Refined White Sugar.

All the best with your baking this week and I hope you enjoy your healthy snacks.  These are just so simple and quick to whip up.  Little Eee and I made them yesterday together in about ½ an hour.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Creative Children in the Kitchen

When baking, follow directions.  When cooking, go by your own taste.  ~Laiko Bahrs

I like to think of myself as a creative, experimental cook: inspired by recipes but not bound by them.  I am pretty slap-dash and rustic when baking meals and like to quickly whip together something sweet to treat my family every now and then.  I am always on the lookout for new things to try, both sweet and savoury.   Whether I am baking or cooking I really do go by my own nouse (somewhat disproving the above quote).  Having food sensitivities in my family has certainly encouraged this as I am constantly substituting ingredients in a recipe.  As my family requires to be fed (very regularly!!) and I am not willing to buy takeaway, eat pre-prepared, packaged or processed food etc., cooking is certainly one of my greatest creative outlets at the moment.

It is my intention to raise a creative family.  We make things together, bake, make music, draw together, build lego and find solutions to various fixit problems around the house and garden.

My Vintage Mixmaster, handed down to me from Mum.

I am delighted when my five year old Ess hears the mixmaster going and says, "What are you cooking Mum?" as she runs into the kitchen and climbs up onto the bench to join me.  She has told me on more than one occasion that she wants to be a chef.  So we break eggs and measure ingredients in our measuring cup, scales and spoons together.  We mix together (although she prefers that I do more of that) and lick the beaters together (I prefer that she does most of that).  How often however, have I asked her just what she wants to bake, from scratch, asked her what the ingredients might be.  Hmmm!  Not often enough and now I am inspired to do so more.

Ess's best friend came to school with a biscuit for her teacher.  It was made from her own recipe and she wanted to share.  She had sat down with her Nanna and wrote down ingredients together:
oil or butter 
(the latter was added after a little prompting from her Mam)

She and her Mam then set to creaming together 2oz sugar and 4oz butter.  Her Mam decided to add 4oz toffuti (soy cream cheese).  Handfuls of chocolate, sultanas and apricots were added (about 2oz each).  Then 4 oz flour was mixed in.  They were set to bake in a 180degC oven for 15 minutes.  All reports are that they are delicious.   You should have seen the teacher's face as she tucked in after her day's work.  She appreciated the chocolate - who wouldn't!

Photo courtesy Ess' best friend and her Mam

As I am part of Our Creative Community who have committed to creating and being accountable, and am committed to raising my family to be creative people, I will add this style of baking to my list of things to do with my girls alongside reading together, playing with playdough and singing songs with our own made-up words.  Ess is enjoying writing also so I think I'll ask her to write her own list of ingredients and we'll see what we can come up with.

In the meantime, on with my own personal goal of collecting and creating healthy recipes which are low in gluten, sugar and dairy.  You can see the beginnings of a list in my side bar.  This week I am working on some biscuits and some muffins.  We'll see which is perfected first!

If you have any kitchen creations that were ideas of your own children's, I'd love to hear about them.  Please share them here.  And let us know what you think of the bikkies.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

2009 Victorian Bushfire Appeal

Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?  ~Proverbs 6:27

The terrible devastation of the bushfire tragedy where over 1000 homes have been lost seems to deepen day by day.  It is the biggest natural disaster in our history.   I am heartened to see how our Australian community is banding together to raise much needed funds to support those who have been displaced.

Many people are auctioning items they have made by hand to raise funds.  Items are being listed on eBay such as this sweet Matryoshka doll by One Red Robin.  Melly and Me is running a private auction at their site with some very cute items up for auction.  There are more listings for handmade auctions on Handmade Help.

There are other ways to give and I am sure you'll find them in your local community.  My daughter will enjoy wearing her casual, no doubt 'pink', clothes to school on Friday as the school community commits to raising funds.

There are buskers in the streets raising money with their talents so I hear on ABC Classic FM.

You can also donate securely through The Salvation Army and the Australian Red Cross.

Do be sure that when you give it is through a secure, reputable source as sadly, just as there is likely an arsonist or two involved in this situation, there are now scammers just after our money.  This is the world be live in.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Adventures in Weather

You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back.  ~William D. Tammeus

This morning I woke to the unfamiliar sound of...drip...drip, drip...drip, drip, drop....pitter patter... pitter, patter.  It was rain!  Well a tiny, slight shower of rain.  No doubt it was some of the forecasted 20% increase in rainfall we are due in February, increasing our average of 10mm per month up to 12mm.  Just look at that sky of ours.  Exciting hey!!  Well it is actually, because along with it came a cool change which meant we could spend the day outdoors rather than in an airconditioned room.

We took a drive to Verdale Olive Estate to stock up on supplies and ventured towards St Kilda Beach where we explored something which surprisingly took me back to days when my Generous Gentleman and I visited the Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland.

It was fortress-like and on a beach and so much fun, climbing in through and around...

All right St Kilda Adventure Playground isn't quite Dunluce Castle but the amount of fun we had at both places was definitely comparable.

And how often do you see a tram runnning by a salt lake, almost in the middle of nowhere.

We haven't visited St Kilda as a family before.  I don't think we anticipated it would be as good as it is.  My Generous Gentleman remembers going there when he was about 10 years old so it has been around for quite some time.  It is quite a hot, dusty, windy location on the Adelaide Plains around mangrovey beaches which makes for a possibly somewhat less than enticing location.  But we will be back, now we have two growing girls in need of adventure in playgrounds.  It was very interesting to note that the one area of the playground which was plastic and resembled most school and park playgrounds was empty.  Only those made of metal and wood, those which had steep and bumpy slides and tunnels, those where the flying foxes flew were frequented.

We returned revitalised from our day out only to hear news of the Bushfires in Victoria.  My heart goes out to all of you who are in and around Melbourne and coping with the ravaging fires which have killed 108 people so far.  Click here to see just how much of the state is threatened by fire.  On top of that there are serious floods in Ingham, North Queensland.  

Know our prayers are with you all.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Gems of Nature in a child's eyes

Nature will bear the closest inspection.  She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.  ~Henry David Thoreau

Photo of our Native Fuschia Correa Dusky Bells  from Flickr

While walking to school my mere school starter lamented "Oh Mummy the "Christmas Bells" don't grow until winter.  I am going to have to wait until Winter till they ripen up and I can pick one for "Bee"!" (I particularly love the use of the term 'ripen' here don't you :)).  Yes my daughter is five going on 105.  How wonderful though that by walking all these days she has learnt to search for beauty in her surroundings, to desire to share that with her best friend, to remember which season these lovely native flowers bloom.  She was expecting to find beauty!  How often do we have such expectations?  How often is our expectation limited by our surroundings?  I will take the cue from my daughter and always expect to find beauty - whether on the tail (hopefully) of a scorching heatwave, outdoors in Autumn (soon) or in the shopping markets listening to a busker play their violin.  (After all it could be Joshua Bell or James Cuddeford!)

The flowers do look so like a fuschia don't they but let me tell you they don't require the same delicate care and specific conditions.  They are very drought tolerant.  We see both Correa Dusky Bells and Correa Reflexa on our journey to school.

Speaking of appreciating nature, do you remember that wonderful movie of 1996 that was the official selection at the Cannes Film Festival.  It was revolutionary at the time for it's technology and cinematography...

 Microcosmos Special Edition

Our girls have thoroughly enjoyed watching this and when my Generous Gentleman and I sat down to watch it last evening we could not shake a curious little 5 year old, resisting being in bed yet again, saying "but it's so interesting"!  We replayed it at breakfast time where it was enjoyed by all - with a running commentary from Ess.  Here is a lovely review with some wonderful pictures from the movie, Microcosmos.

A little while ago we found that ABC was showing Miniscule.  The gorgeous little vignettes delight and enthrall all of us.  Each Saturday we race through the bathing routine to be able to catch our 5 minutes of Miniscule.  There is one on tonight - Nap Time at 6.24pm.  They are quite comical and not actual representations of nature.  Tune in if you can.  Otherwise I have found some on YouTube.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Spelt Bread

"The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight."
The Art of Eating, M. F. K. Fisher, (1908-1992)

You will always find Spelt bread in our house.  Spelt flour is one of the grains I buy for our family's consumption.   We do just about everything we once did with wheat flour with spelt flour.  It is highly nutritious and wonderful for baking.  We find it easy to digest and, as we aim for a diet low in gluten, spelt suits us well in our bid for a healthier diet.  Sadly supply is not keeping up with demand and I am not always able to purchase it from my suppliers - Goodies and Grains or the market's Mega Health shop.   I have recently found this very well-priced supplier in Bellingen NSW so if you live near there give it a go.   My sister says she can purchase spelt for a reasonable price also in Brisbane.   Much of our Spelt Flour is supplied from Canada but I am glad to read that we are working to optimise the quality and yield of spelt under production in south east Australia.  Wholemeal Spelt seems to be more available currently, however my Generous Gentleman says white (or a combination of White and Wholemeal) bakes a better loaf of bread.  The loaf you see here is 100% wholemeal.  

My husband bakes bread for our family about every 4 to 5 days.  He has worked for a couple of years on this recipe to perfect it.  It's now very much enjoyed predominantly by himself and our two girls.  

Now, to make the bread.

First of all you'll need to activate the yeast.  Stir 3 teaspoons of dried yeast in 1 cup of warm water and let it sit while you prepare the dry ingredients.

Prepare the flour by sifting 4 cups of wholemeal or white spelt flour with 1 teaspoon of Xanthum Gum.  (Some say you can substitute Guar Gum but we haven't tried this.)  It is there to bind the bread.

Prepare the wet ingredients by placing the following into the bread pan from your Bread Maker in this order:
1 to 1 ½ cups water (depending on which type of flour you are using.  Wholemeal needs more water than white).
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sea salt

Add the flour to the breadpan.  Add the yeast combination to the pan, then set it to work.

Bake it on a Rapid or Quick Bread setting.  Being low in gluten, spelt does not need as much time to knead and rise.

You may need to change a few things here to suit your own breadmaker, they are all a bit different.  We use a Breville Bread Master Big Loaf Model No. BB380.

Our loaf is quite a dense one which is lovely for toast.  Who can resist, however, the softness of bread and crispy crust once it is directly removed from the breadmaker.  Certainly not my two little girls.

If you don't have a bread maker I have just stumbled across this recipe for a simple spelt loaf from a favourite local supplier of organic grains Four Leaf Milling in Tarlee, Clare Valley, South Australia.  I will be picking up some of their spelt next time we pass by and also searching to see what their supply of Spelt Flour is like here in Adelaide.  They have a "Where to Buy" feature on their home page which will assist you in buying their wonderful products in your state.  They also make spelt flakes, spelt bran as well as spelt flour.  Also some yummy millet flakes and fabulous baby rice, millet and porridge etc.  OK now I am raving, but really the taste is just so fresh I can't go past it.  I grew up with a family farm nearby, I know the flavour of grains nibbled directly from the plant (albeit wheat and barley predominantly), these products take me down memory lane.

All the best with your spelt bread baking.  Please pop back here briefly to comment and let me know.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Valentine Garland

For you see, each day I love you more
Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.
~Rosemonde Gerard

We have made a valentine garland found here via vlijtig.

I love this garland because at first glance it seems such a plain and simple garland made of hearts.  Yes, anyone could do that and probably will.

Yet this one is special because it has some sweet little cutouts, which allow light in, through and around.

Look at the interplay of light achieved when you hang it in just the right place, let it swirl in the breeze as you walk by, or even give it a gentle twirl.  Oh so pretty!

This one is for my little Valentine born just over 5 years ago - my precious Ess.  How she loves it hanging in her doorway.

Our New Treasure

Lilypie Maternity tickers


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