With the public holiday on Monday this week has simply flown by, which means it’s time for another Polka Dot Bride project.
American readers, don’t laugh but I had never even eaten pumpkin pie before (it’s not a ‘thing’ here) but nevertheless I wanted to try my hand at making it.
I had to adapt a recipe a fair bit (for example, using fresh pumpkin because you can’t buy pumpkin puree here) but it worked out well. It looks a little too browned on top but it was the perfect consistency.
It got the thumbs up from the family, especially from those who don’t have a big sweet tooth.
Find the recipe over on Polka Dot Bride today!
We had both of our families over on the weekend for Mother’s Day. Champagne, pie and good conversation – if only every Sunday afternoon could be so divine!
I’ve shared my recipe today over on Polka Dot Bride.
Looking for a St Patrick’s Day treat without the scary green food colouring? I’ve got you covered.
Mosey over to Polka Dot Bride for the recipe (you won’t regret it).
This strawberry sauce recipe is really easy, I challenge you to screw it up. It’s super tasty on pancakes or ice-cream. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, no?
Find my recipe and the free printable labels over on Polka Dot Bride today.
I’m off galivanting around the world for a few weeks so I have lined up some some talented ladies to hold the fort while I’m gone. Hope you enjoy!
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Over my way, kids are more likely to be having a game of backyard cricket after Christmas lunch than building a snowman. So while I can’t speak from experience, I can say that this budget-friendly gift idea by Grace at Sense and Simplicity looks like a whole lot of fun. In fact, it’s rather getting me excited about seeing snow in Europe next week!
Anyone else struggle with thinking of what to give preteens and teenagers for Christmas? I have a slew of nieces and nephews ranging in age from 9 to 15 years and I wanted to give them each a Christmas gift. I needed to think of something that would interest a variety of ages, was gender neutral… and didn’t cost a fortune.
I decided to make them each a snowman lab in a box. I thought it might appeal to their sweet tooth/teeth and their funny bones.
Let’s see all the snowman parts:
I boxed all the snowman parts up, tied the box with some wool (my favourite thing to tie around packages), and added a tag.
Doesn’t that seem like something teens and pre-teens would like? What are you giving to children that age on your Christmas list?
P.S. Thanks Alicia for posting my snowman parts on your very stylish and creative blog (and allowing me to say ‘poop’). It was a complete honour to be included in your guest post line-up.
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About the guest poster:
What better way to kick off spring than a gorgeous baby shower high tea?
Now, brew yourself a cup of rose and lavender tea in your best china and join me looking at the photos.
Have I put you in a sugar coma with these photos yet? Mary and her family spoilt us with quite the spread of yummy morsels.
It was such a fun day. I can’t wait to meet bub who is due to make her entrance any day now!
Last Sunday was Father’s Day here in Australia.
The Man and I reckon our dads are pretty tops. They are always so generous with their time and hospitality, so it was definitely time to do something for them.
My dad, in particular, loves Spain and its food (in fact he even RSVPd to our invitation in Spanish!) so a tapas banquet seemed appropiate. With both sets of parents, The Man’s brother and his partner joining us, there were eight of us all up (my brother and sister-in-law live overseas).
Apart from my killer paella (if I do say so myself) I haven’t really cooked any Spanish food before. But I’m always up for a good challenge in the kitchen.
Quite a spread, you say? Well that’s not even including the hot food and dessert! There may or may not have also been copious amounts of wine.
Here’s the full menu:
Tapenades (eggplant and capsicum)
Herbed goat’s milk cheese
Olive sourdough loaf
Potato and chorizo tortilla*
Lamb meatballs with romesco sauce*
Croquettes with bechamel sauce*
Chorizo and mushrooms*
The dishes that I made are the ones marked with an asterisk. My brother-in-law and his partner made the delish crema catalana – with a blowtorch no less! The croquettes and meatballs seemed to be crowd favourites.
This type of menu is a lot of work because instead of having one dish for each of three courses, you have to prepare a dozen smaller dishes. You also have to keep jumping up and into the kitchen to cook and serve the hot food.
I don’t want to put you off, though, it’s definitely do-able. You can keep it manageable by buying items that don’t need any preparation (like the cheese, jamon, bread, olives etc), starting with all the cold food laid out and limiting the amount of hot food. I also prepared as much as possible ahead of time, going so far as cooking the meatballs and sauces so I just had to heat them up.
I don’t normally buy new servingware for a particular occasion but it was time to freshen up my collection with a few new versatile pieces that were not more white platters. I picked up the stoneware for as little as $1 each from Ikea after realising it perfectly matched another you-wouldn’t-guess-how-cheap-it-was recent purchase: the itty bitty black bottle you can see also on the table. The rustic timber chopping boards (a set of 3 from Target) were another steal – $14 down from $35 thank-you-very-much.
Oh, and the branches with the berry-looking things? Totally picked them up off the side of the road the day before.
Because I’ve been so busy with the business, we haven’t entertained much this year. Actually, I haven’t even cooked much decent food at all this year! I’ve really missed cooking, especially for family and friends, so I enjoyed this a lot. Most importantly, the Dads and everyone seemed to have a great day.
Local readers, how did you spoil your dad? And US friends, tell us how did you celebrate your Labor Day?
I think you’ll all agree when I say that paperwork is one of the biggest clutter culprits in most homes. ‘Going paperless’ is a semi-regular series on eliminating paper from your home in order to save time, reduce clutter and benefit the environment.
Step 2: Digitising
Going paperless with my recipe collection was actually not something I was ever planning to do. My chunky lever-arch file with the dog-eared category ‘tabs’ (aka Post-Its) had seen better days and was very full, but I was planning to do up really cute laminated cards and use my old card catalogue drawers to organise them.
The nostalgic in me feels that when I’m old my kids aren’t going to wistfully flip through a digital folder of recipes in the way that you might with mum’s tattered, splattered and scribbled family favourites.
In the end, though, practicality won (sorry, grandkids). As you can see from the photo above, even when I’ve gone to the trouble of formatting recipes in a nice template and printing them out, I continue to scribble notes and tweaks I’ve made.
Much like my shoe collection, I also don’t want my recipes to be limited by space. I have a number of stiletto-equivalent recipes – sure, I’m not going to make that fancy cake very often, but I still want to keep it for future special occasions. I don’t want to have to go through my collection and cull just because my folder or drawer is full.
So, digital it is!
I did a bit of research on all the free apps for iPad and there was always a feature or two missing, for example, you couldn’t add your own recipes (what?!), or you couldn’t add recipes straight from the internet (or only from selected sites), or it didn’t have photos, or it was all in imperial measurements… or it had a completely heinous design that would make me want to poke my eyes out every time I started cooking.
So I bit the bullet and bought my first paid app (why is it that we don’t hesitate to drop five bucks on a grande latte but balk at the idea of paying the same for a valuable tool that will help us every day?).
It’s called Paprika. The best feature is the ability to download recipes from ANY site. The majority of my recipes come from Taste.com.au so I could kick-start my collection in a cinch. The rest (from cookbooks and my own creations) I’m slowly copying over. It will take some time to transfer everything but it’s an easy job sitting in front of the telly.
It does have a shopping list and feature but I find it a little pointless (I mean, I don’t need to buy oil, salt, pepper, spices, rice etc for every meal I cook). I also can’t work out how to view by multiple categories, for example, if I’m looking for a vegetarian main course I have to view either everything under ‘Vegetarian’ or everything under ‘Mains’.
Apart from that, it’s working great!
Tell me, how do you organise your recipes?
Oh, and I haven’t been paid to write this – or any other – post. I just really like the product!
I’m a reasonably proficient cook, but I have no idea how to use a knife all professional-like. I also didn’t care that much until I discovered the cutest ever way to learn more about it.
This gorgeous knife skills diagram (and part 2) is by Californian artist and sign painter Heather Diane. She has a huge collection of recipes and cooking tips, all in her signature illustration style, over at her blog Illustrated Bites.