Bench Mat #2

And here is the second scrap-gobbler.

This one is long and skinny to fit the space in front of the coffee machine and kettle. It’s using up the last of the colourful binding fabric, the last of the grey and black print backing, and most of the larger light grey and white scraps. It also fits the space where I do most of my vegetable chopping and slicing, and has the added benefit of stopping the cutting mats and chopping board from walking around the bench top while I work.

I felt a bit bored by the idea of doing more wavy line walking foot quilting on this one. Now that I’ve done these freehand badly-done FMQ serpentines, I feel much less bored about walking foot quilting!  It reminded me exactly why I don’t enjoy FMQ…  Still, it’s not too disgusting and I’m certainly not going to pick it all out. If I ever mention FMQ again, remind me, would you?

Today is the Husband’s birthday. I whipped up a batch of carrot cake cupcakes, his favourite. They had an orange-flavoured drizzle glaze on top; I felt they needed something extra as it was a birthday, although they do taste very yummy without (well, I had to give them a taste-test, didn’t I?). We took Mouse for a lunchtime outing into town yesterday, and he got a rasher of bacon, delivered by hand in small pieces, while we demolished some very delicious chilli crab, scrambled egg, lime and sriracha hollandaise and toasted sourdough. He offered to help with the chilli crab too, but we pointed out that he has failed to enjoy stuff with chilli in it in the past… Tonight we’re eating out again at the Husband’s favourite restaurant.

The broken foot is still encased in the Boot. The fracture clinic told me it’d be six weeks before it was fully mended. Just under two down, four to go. I shall have to wait and see how long I can bear the Boot before I go completely bonkers. I have a strong suspicion that as soon as it stops hurting when I walk, this thing will come off, never to be seen again. After all, the reason crutches are off the menu is that they want me to load bear somewhat so that the bone grows in strongly. Of course I have to wear a sock and a sweaty plastic Boot in the hottest weather of the year so far (38°C/100°F yesterday). Of course it’s a different height from all my other footwear so I’m lurching around like a zombie and giving my back hell. But then again, it could have been so much worse… Blessings counted.

Onwards. I have a new quilt for another niece to think about 🙂

Baking up a storm

The GF Bakery is getting more orders. Someone (or several someones!) out there likes my cooking.

On delivery this week, we have:

  • Gingerbread and date loaf
  • Chocolate fudge brownies
  • Carrot cake with lemon frosting
  • Lemon cheesecake
  • Ham & egg cups
  • Caramelised onion & cheese tarts
Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 5.56.11 PM

Do admire the broad expanse of my work area, snugged in between the microwave and the coffee machine… Bring on the new kitchen and my 3 metre dining table right there for putting things down on.

If anyone wants recipes, you have only to ask, I’m delighted to share.

I tend to quickly put together the things I can make easily and quickly, and then concentrate on the things that need more attention. I also make the things that need the same oven temperature at the same time. I must say, it will be very nice to have a large oven soon, because then I won’t need to waste time swapping thing around and turning them so they cook evenly. It will also be lovely to have a large table to put cooling racks and storage boxes on, so I don’t have to wait until the first couple of things are cool and I can put them in their box before I have space to move onto the next job!

I don’t think this is ever going to turn into a major money-maker, but I enjoy baking, it keeps me busy and out of trouble, and I like being able to provide GF goodies for other people like myself, who have difficulty finding something nice for lunch or to eat with their morning coffee.

I must go and think of a few more ideas to suggest – they’ve already ordered pretty much everything I’ve suggested so far!


Creeping closer

…on two fronts.

The back of Happiness, nearly completed

The back of Happiness, nearly completed

I’m creeping closer to completing Happiness. Here’s progress so far on the back. You may recognise some of the fabrics as ones I used for backing on the Triple Trouble quilts. I had a fair bit of two and a small bit of one of the fabrics left, so I’ve just worked around what I had and added in things that seemed to go. I still need to add another 7″ border around what you see here to bring it up to size and give me enough spare to quilt with. I’m playing with the idea of using the turquoise fabric I have left over from the back of Tree of Life. But I’m not sure… I think the colour may be too strong. I shall have to go and rummage a bit further in the cupboard. The photo’s a bit dull; I should have used the flash. In reality, the colours are brighter and more cheerful, not so greyish.

And here’s what’s creeping closer on the cyclone front.

T.C. Gillian, heading our way. She's tending more and more southerly, so we may be in for it.

T.C. Gillian, heading our way.
She’s tending more and more southerly, so we may be in for it.

We are now within the destructive wind zone, so we’ll definitely have to batten down the hatches after the Dowager has gone home this evening. She’s coming round for dinner, and I have to go and make a carrot cake for dessert in a minute… If/when the cyclone arrives, she’s going to be called Gillian.

That long pod in the centre is the flower bud of my Brugmansia. If it survives, it'll turn into a gorgeously-scented apricot trumpet

That long pod in the centre is the flower bud of my Brugmansia. If it survives, it’ll turn into a gorgeously-scented apricot trumpet

The first flower on the passionfruit that has survived the grasshoppers.

The first flower on the passionfruit that
has survived the grasshoppers.

Out in the garden, I’ve taken photos of a couple of things which may well not survive the night. I just wanted to prove that my passionfruit is really flowering, and that my Brugmansia is actually in bud – normally I wouldn’t expect either of them to flower till next spring.

Right, time to go and fill the water storage, take in all the loose stuff and then get cracking with the cake.

Carrot Cake and Paperwork

My living room looks like a cyclone hit it.

An unusually organised cyclone, granted, but there’s a distinct whirl effect in play.  And the reason for this is Husband, Filing.  This rare activity involves taking out all the boxes, baskets and trays containing bills, unopened  letters, receipts, brochures and vitally important lost things, and spreading the contents out on the floor at his feet.  This is called Sorting.  My fear is that the process will stall at this stage, rather than progress to Scanning or Putting Away.  There has been quite a lot of Chucking Out, which is impressive, but the overall impression is of a light snowfall….  I tried to help, but in vain.  So I retreated to the kitchen and made a soothing carrot cake.

Here’s the recipe.

It’s gluten free, but you can just as easily use regular flour.  If you’re using plain (all purpose) flour, you’ll need to add another couple of teaspoons of baking powder.  All measures are metric cups, not imperial.

3/4 cup sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups grated carrot (it’s about 2 large ones, or 3 small ones)
1 tsp GF baking powder
3/4 cup soft dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sultanas
1 cup GF self-raising flour (see note above)
1 tsp cinnamon.

Beat oil, sugar and vanilla together until well mixed.  An electric mixer makes life a little easier but isn’t necessary. Add eggs, and continue to beat until fully blended and the mixture is light and creamy. Stir in grated carrot and sultanas.  Mix well. Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon together, and then add to the mixture.  Stir well to ensure there are no lumps of flour left. Personally, I’m too lazy to sift the dry ingredients, and I just mix it extra thoroughly afterwards to make sure the baking powder is spread through the mix. Pour the mixture into a greased 21cm  (8″) cake tin with the base lined with baking parchment. Bake at 180C/350F for 45 minutes, or until you think it’s brown enough.  Test it’s cooked by inserting a knife into the middle. If it comes out clean, the cake’s done.  If not, cover the top with foil and cook a bit longer.

This is nice frosted with mascarpone or cream cheese blended with either some sieved passionfruit pulp, or with a tablespoon of lemon curd/butter.  It doesn’t keep well – mainly because of visitors to the cake tin.  I actually used this recipe for my wedding cake, as  the Husband doesn’t like traditional fruitcake, and the GF issue made commercial cakes a bit difficult.