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It’s the little things… March 4, 2011

Posted by Sarah in Auckland, beautiful, blue, dining in, holiday, New Zealand, Op Shopping, recycle, reuse, Second Hand, Store, thrifty, vintage.
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Like a tiny coffee in a tiny vintage cup.

I picked up two of these pretty blue tea cups on my recent trip to NZ from a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it church op-shop.  I’ve seen this style of tea cup around in plenty of op-shops, but never in this lovely colour.  They have an imprint on the base of the cup that says Made in New Zealand.  I paid the princely sum of 20c for both!

Listen to this beautiful song today and think about all the little things.  You’ll be better for it I think.

My perfect summer 2010/2011 January 24, 2011

Posted by Sarah in beach, beautiful, chocolate, christmas, dining in, friends, holiday, picnic, Sydney.
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Christmas truffles laid out prettily in their coloured cases

 

Christmas Day feasting with our Sydney family

 

Beare Park in Elizabeth Bay for a Picnic in the sunshine

 

New Years Eve with our sparklers

New Years Eve fireworks

Stunning view of the Estuary from our Holiday spot in Red Rock

Salmon Blinis for an afternoon snack

Checking out the walkway through the wetlands

The flooded local Bowling Club

We gorged on freshly caught local prawns - so delicious!

Played in the odd sea foam that was on the beach

The view of Red Rock from the beach

Frocktober (day 23) October 23, 2010

Posted by Sarah in clothes, cotton, dining in, dress, fabric, food, friends, friendship, frock, Frocktober, Fundraising, me, recycle, Second Hand, thrifty.
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Today I hosted an afternoon tea and frock swap to raise some funds for Frocktober.  I’ve just looked in the collection tin and there’s $170 in there!  Fantastic!

We all had a lovely time eating cakes, drinking bubbles, and swapping our pre-loved threads.  It poured down right in the middle of our afternoon tea so we all had to move inside quick smart.  This photo was taken right in the middle of the hardest downpour of the day.  The things we do!

Dress:  This one is the perfect picnic dress, a breezy cotton Gorman sundress with silk ties.  Love it.

 

 

If you’d like to sponsor me for my Frocktober challenge please head here to donate.  My registration number is 664999.

Frocktober (day 16) October 17, 2010

Posted by Sarah in clothes, dining in, dress, food, friends, frock, Frocktober, Fundraising, silk.
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Today I cooked a 3 course meal for 15 people in a silk dress!  We were planning on having the dinner party outside but the wind was so strong that we ended up staying inside.  I look like I’m bending at an odd angle in this photo, because it was so cold!

Dress:  Silk, from Misery Boutique in Auckland.  I wore this on day 26 of my challenge last year.  It fits so beautifully, and feels great on.

If you’d like to sponsor me for my Frocktober challenge please head here to donate.  My registration number is 664999.

Handmade napkins October 4, 2010

Posted by Sarah in beautiful, blue, cotton, dining in, dining out, Engagement, estate sale, fabric, friends, friendship, fruit, gift, green, home made, picnic, recycle, sewing, vintage, vintage fabric.
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Our lovely friends Fiona and Tarek recently got engaged, and had an party yesterday afternoon to celebrate.

We took along a little engagement present of some of my handmade napkins.

The fabric I used came from an estate sale that I went to recently.  I’m guessing it’s probably from the late 60’s?  It’s an amazing cotton print, the purple watermelon is so cool.  I used an old sheet to back these napkins – that way they’re double-sided and they’ll last for ages.

Fabric napkins are perfect for picnics, dinner parties, and everyday use.  We use fabric napkins all the time at home- we just love them.

Congratulation Fiona and Tarek!  We’re so very happy for you both!

Ginger Gems July 9, 2010

Posted by Sarah in baking, butter, cosy, dining in, food, Gem Irons, Ginger Gems, home made, recipe, Thrifting.
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Wont you come in from the cold?  Can I tempt you with a just-baked Ginger Gem?

Actually, we baked these last night.  They were lovely with tea after dinner, and even better for breakfast this morning.

This old Gem Iron belonged to my Grandmother.  I packed it with other essential belongings and it moved countries with me.  I am so very fond of it.

I haven’t seen a new Gem Iron for sale in a store ever.  I wonder if they’ve stopped making them?  I wonder if The Delta Metal Co Ltd, of Christchurch, New Zealand are still in business?

The circular Gem Iron is a recent acquisition.  I found it at the Surry Hills Markets last Saturday.  $5 and it came home with me.

Pre-loved.  Worn from countless morning tea’s over the years.  Sturdy and dependable.  I like imagining the old lady who owned this before me.  I wonder if she used the same recipe that I do?

Two recipe for Ginger Gems

Taken from the Edmonds Cookery Book, 1980.  Written in the matter-of-fact way that Edmonds recipes are synonymous with.  At least in my mind.

Ginger Gems

1 cup of Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Milk
25g (1oz) Butter
25g (1oz) Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Golden Syrup
Sift dry ingredients.  Beat egg and add with milk.  Melt butter, sugar and golden syrup together and mix in last of all.  Put in twelve hot greased gem irons and bake 12 minutes at 215 C.

Taken from At Home At Play, by Pennie Oliver

Ginger Gems

60g Butter
150g Caster Sugar
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Golden Syrup
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
175ml Milk
250g Plain Flour
2 teaspoons Ground Ginger (we doubled this)
extra Butter for gem irons and for serving.

Preaheat the oven to 230C.  Place the gem irons in the oven to heat.  Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl  Beat in the egg.  Stir in the golden syrup.  Mis the baking soda into the milk.  Add the dry ingredients and milk and baking soda to the bowl.  Mix to combine the ingredients.  Remove the gem irons from the oven.  Drop about 1/4 teaspoon butter into the bottom of each of the hollows.  Spoon the mixture into each hollow to two-thirds full.  Bake for 10 minutes, until the gems are cooked and golden.  Serve plain or with butter.
Makes 20 – 22

Hot Cross Bun day April 3, 2010

Posted by Sarah in apron, baking, bread, butter, dining in, Easter, food, friends, fruit, holiday, home made.
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My Hot Cross Bun making efforts yesterday…

I got up early, popped on a festive frock and my Nana’s apron, and made 4 batches of buns.

My own homemade candied peel was studded throughout

I soaked the currants, sultanas and candied peel overnight in a couple of good slugs of Brandy

I even made the butter that accompanied them

They were devoured with gusto by everyone that came by, a most successful day indeed!

8 of the buns are on a flight to Adelaide with my friend Emma, I hope our friends in South Australia like them  :)

More photos on my Flickr page:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahmcmanus/sets/72157623756983546/

Sourdough baguettes February 13, 2010

Posted by Sarah in baking, bread, cosy, dining in, food, home made.
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I’ve just pulled these beauties out of our oven, my first ever batch of Sourdough Baguettes!

Clotilde from the wonderful blog Chocolate and Zucchini wrote a wonderful post about her Homemade Sourdough Baguettes a few days ago.  I made a sponge for bread last night, and made my dough this morning.  I decided to shape and rise the dough as baguettes at the last moment, rather than make my regular rustic weekend loaf.

I used a combination of wholemeal and white flours, about 2/3 white to 1/3 wholemeal.  The baguettes have a beautiful, tight crumb and an excellent crust.

I would suggest that we eat these outside with a picnic lunch, but judging by the crazy storms we’ve had in Sydney the past few days I don’t think that will happen.

J has just pulled the most magnificent field mushroom, thyme and blue cheese pizza from the oven, so I don’t think we’ll be going hungry anytime soon.

Baguettes for breakfast anyone?

My weekend February 8, 2010

Posted by Sarah in baking, clothes, cosy, Craft, custom order, dining in, embroidery, fabric, felt, food, friends, fruit, gift, green, home made, jam, preserving, sewing, toy.
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It rained for days this past weekend.  It was the perfect weather for staying indoors and creating.

This is what my weekend looked like:

I made Jam.

And a sweet little bear for a sweet friend.

We have a bear who sits on our couch to keep us warm and humble.

A friend loved him so much that I was asked to make another for someone’s birthday.

We had said friend’s over to adopt their new Bear.  I made buttermilk scones.

We had the scones with my homemade jam – plum and cinnamon, and boysenberry.

I made this little peas in a pod toy for another friend.

And I stitched this jar cover while we watched a video last night.

I also made some extremely cute and very short sleep shorts.  Which I slept in last night, all smuggly proud of myself for having made them without a pattern.  Or measuring myself!

How was your weekend?  I hope yours was as gloriously peaceful as mine.

Green soup recipe November 7, 2009

Posted by Sarah in dining in, food, green, health, home made, organic, recipe, soup, vegetables, yoghurt.
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I wanted soup.  Something bursting with greens.  Something healthy, light and tasty.  I had a head of broccoli and some home made chicken stock in the refrigerator, and after trawling my google reader feeds I came across Heidi’s recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Soup.  I used her recipe as inspiration and ended up with this magical green goodness.

I served it with a big dollop of organic yoghurt sprinkled with smoked paprika.  I imagine it would be great with Heidi’s recommended croutons, but we had cheese on toast instead, which was perfect in it’s simplicity.  The next day i reheated some for myself over the stove top, and poached an egg in it as it was warming through.  It was totally delicious, and added some welcome protein.  Enjoy!

10g unsalted butter

1 onion, finely chopped

2 sticks celery, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

300g podded broadbeans, blanched and peeled

1 head broccoli, cut into small pieces

1 bunch spinach, roughly chopped

1.25 litres chicken stock or water

1 bunch chives, finely chopped

40g grated cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a large pot over a medium heat.

Add the onion and celery and saute for a few minutes until soft, add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.

Add the broadbeans, broccoli and chicken stock.

Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is just cooked.

Turn off the heat and add the spinach.  Stir until wilted and combined with the rest of the soup.

Blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

Add the chives, cheddar cheese and smoked paprika and stir until the cheese is melted.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4

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