A wet weekend and a fudge recipe

Well we had a complete soaking at the weekend. The rain came down all night and all day, and the same again the next day. Cyclone Marcia left us unscathed compared to northern parts of Queensland, we were lucky. We had a bit of localised flooding, with two of the three routes out from our place closed.

heavy rain on the driveway and paddock

I kept the kids home from school friday, it just wasn’t worth risking it. I was glad to have an excuse to stay home in my slippers, safe and dry in my little haven. After supervising a few school homework projects in the morning, it was time to get creative.

hama beads

Out came the Hama beads. These keep the kids entertained for hours. So much fun, I can get a few things done while they’re busy, all I have to do is have the iron ready for when they have finished their creations.

hama bead star template

The girls made letters to make name signs for their rooms. Peace signs were popular too. And skulls! I made a little coaster for my desk.

hama beads name sign

IMG_4995 hama beads peace sign and skull

Friday is the day I usually do my grocery shop. I deemed it too perilous to venture out to the shops in the floods. We fancied a sweet treat but I was low on eggs, flour and cocoa. I decided to try and make some fudge. I had condensed milk, sugar, golden syrup, butter and a pack of white chocolate melts hiding at the back of the pantry. I had never made fudge before and didn’t realise how easy it was!

vanilla fudge

I can’t remember where I found the recipe, but from memory it was:
1 can of condensed milk
1 cup brown sugar
120g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
3/4 cup white chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

mking fudge

Add all ingredients except chocolate to a pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring continually. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring. Add chocolate and mix until smooth. Pour into greased and lined slice tin and leave to set in the fridge.

setting fudge

I added some natural coloured 100s and 1000s on top to decorate.

vanilla fudge with 100s and 1000s

Cut the set fudge into tiny cubes. Not surprisingly this is very sweet, so you don’t want big chunks. This would make a nice gift or school fete treat. Its super cheap to make and goes far. We gave some to the neighbours and still had more than enough for the five of us.

homemade fudge cut up in squares

On sunday the rain had finally cleared and we decided to head out. Hubby was keen to do a spot of fishing, and suggested hiring a boat on the river. I packed drinks, lunch and crochet and hubby packed the fishing rods and bait.

maroochy river

We set off under a threatening sky, but apart from a few sprinkles of rain here and there it stayed dry for us. Sadly we didn’t catch anything, not even a nibble, but it was fun to get out on the water and feel the fresh air again after two days of confinement.

IMG_4986 IMG_4984 IMG_4979

tree swing

Back on land the kids spotted a swing hanging from the trees at the river’s edge. They burnt off a bit of energy there before heading home. All in all, a pretty good wet weekend.
Have fun and stay safe and dry this week in your part of the world.
T x

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Five on Friday

Joining in with Amy from Love Made My Home, my five on friday is five things I made this week. In my last post I was whinging away about how I wasn’t getting anything done, but now I have written this I feel much better. I did actually achieve something! Ok, it wasn’t housework, although that did feature in my daily schedule as always, but these little bits of homemade goodness are way more fun.

Crochet

crochet pot cover

I braved the treble crochet stitch and managed to create this handy little tin can cover using some random yarn from the stash. The pattern used was one of Lucy’s at Attic 24 and is nice and easy for a beginner like me. I used a cocoa powder tin which works well for this project as its nice and straight, so the crochet cover fits perfectly all the way down, no need for shaping. I removed the lid so I could keep my crochet hooks and scissors handy.

crochet mini basket next to bead bracelets

I also made this little mini basket. I was inspired by those dipped paint effect lampshades and baskets that are cropping up in home magazines with those beachy themed rooms. I love that look and thought I could create this myself with crochet. Its a bit too small to be useful really, but I thought it could hold a few jewellery items or hair clips.

crochet babushka half finished

This one is a bit of a cheat, didn’t quite manage to get this one done, it is an almost finished babushka doll that I started a couple of weeks back. Its dark as anything today with the torrential rain we are having here, not great photo taking weather. I hope to show the finished version very soon, just got to get re-motivated. Its the sewing part I don’t like so much. I have to be in the mood.

Baking

chocolate almond cakes

Continuing the Valentines day theme (I haven’t caught up to pancake day yet) I made some chocolate almond cakes decorated with hearts using icing sugar dusted over a cardboard heart template. This simple decoration really makes them look just that little bit special. The recipe is gluten free and taken from Belinda Jeffery’s ‘Mix and Bake’ book which I absolutely love. The other slice is a raspberry and white chocolate slice, an absolute fave in this house. Its a recipe I have tweaked and played around with to make gluten free. Not always successful, but it worked out this time.

pizza dough rising

Making our own pizza dough is always fun and the kids have become quite good at it. Pizza made with fresh homemade dough is so delicious. We use this easy pizza dough recipe and it comes out good every time.

homemade pizza

Thats my five for this week. Thanks to Amy for organising this blog link up. If you would like to join in next time please click the image below which will take you to Amy’s blog.
Have a lovely weekend 🙂 T x

Time out

tewantin marina

Sunday lunch at Tewantin

Hungry Pelicans

Hungry Pelicans getting a free feed

stingray

A stringray drifts past the jetty

gluten free chocolate lava pudding

Homemade gluten free chocolate lava pudding for Valentines day dessert

crochet

Some chill out crochet time

I don’t know about you, but does this year seem to be going quick? The weeks are whizzing by, the weekends are a blur, and we are hurtling towards the end of February already. Where does the time go? I am enjoying my new stay-at-home-mum status, but I feel I am disorganised. I thought having all three kids at school would give me plenty of time to pootle around, get chores done and get a whole heap of craft projects done but no. The lack of a strict work routine has left me feeling like I’m chasing my tail not knowing where to start. Moving into a new house has given me lots of things to fix, paint and clean (oh the cleaning!). Tradesmen are in and out doing various jobs. Its full on!

So, Valentines weekend was a time to sit back and treat ourselves to a day out and a special family lunch. I even managed some crochet time. After all, the cleaning can wait, I’m not working to a deadline, and it will all get done eventually.

Here’s to a chilled out week xx

Cheat’s ice cream

I’m not a huge ice cream fan, I’m more of a chocoholic, however my kids and hubby are BIG fans of this frozen dessert from the Gods. Since hubby was diagnosed with coeliac disease a couple of years ago, we found it hard to get good quality ice cream in the shops that was gluten free.

homemade vanilla bean ice cream

Homemade vanilla bean ice cream

Many supermarket ice cream brands use wheat based thickeners and bizarre gum-type substances instead of egg yolk to thicken the ice cream. I guess it must be cheaper for the manufacturers. The one or two brands that were gluten free did not taste good, or added suspect ingredients that we really didn’t fancy digesting. Being a traditional girl, and always up for a challenge, I started making my own ice cream.

stand mixer and ingredients

So, how about the easiest recipe ever for homemade gluten free ice cream! I have made this several times and its always a winner. All you need is a 600ml tub of thickened (double) cream and half a can of sweetened condensed milk, and a little vanilla extract. Whip the cream to soft peaks and stir in the condensed milk and a teaspoon of vanilla extract until thoroughly combined. Spoon into a container and place in the freezer. Thats it! So easy. In a few hours your ice cream is ready to eat.

homemade ice cream in a waffle cone

Another recipe I use is more work but makes the best rich and creamy ice cream. This vanilla bean ice cream recipe is to die for and you can find it here. The recipe calls for 8 egg yolks, but I get away with 6 and it works out fine. You also need an ice cream churner for this one, and ideally you have to start it the night before so the custard can cool overnight in the fridge and be ready for churning the following morning. It is worth doing though. I have had rave reviews from guests with this one.

If you have a go with any of these recipes please let me know what you think of them, or any tweaks or additions you make. Always love to hear from you.

T x

A few things going on

The kids have started their new school, the house is quiet, except for hubby working in his study, and the whirr of the washing machine, so I am slowly going through my to-do list. I am struggling with the heat and humidity here at the moment so progress is slow. I only have to pick up the vacuum cleaner and take it downstairs and I’m already breaking into a sweat. The plus side to this is my washing dries in about 30 minutes. Gotta love that! I have called an electrician so we can have a few ceiling fans installed which should help with the heat situation indoors at least. Despite the crazy temps, I did manage to get out and weed the veggie patch.

overgrown veggie patch

this was the veggie patch before weeding

veg patch round the water tank

veggie patch after weeding

You can see the water tank now! It goes about two thirds of the way around it, following the slope. I have planted a few things but the only plants that have been successful so far are tomatoes, cucumber and sweetcorn. I think it is too hot and humid for anything else to take at the moment. At least it gives me time to plan my Autumn garden. I really want to grow herbs too as its so expensive to buy fresh herbs, even from the farm shop. Apparently herbs grow well here year round so fingers crossed we can get a good crop happening in a couple of months.

We had a lot of rain during January but it seemed to come all at once, resulting in a bit of localised flooding in our basement. We had to dash off and buy a pump to get the water out but a more permanent solution needs to be found. The joys of house buying! The heavy rain did make for some interesting exploring around the property though.

walking in a stream

the overflow from our dam

trees under water

flooding in the woods

giant mushrooms

strange mushrooms that look like ghosts

These mushrooms look like the ghosts off pac-man – remember pac-man anyone?

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I finally finished the snake I started last november, just in time for christmas. I made it for my little one and she loves it. It has taken up residence in the lounge room mostly, but is tucked up with her in bed each night. She now wants a baby one to go with it. She might have to wait until the cooler weather I think. I made the tail too short as I read the pattern wrong. I was so annoyed when I realised, which was way too late.You can see how much she loves him as he has gone all bobbly now.

crochet snake

crochet snake finished

I have made some progress with the crochet russian doll, its almost done although I need to sew on some decoration and the face and hair, then add the scarf section to the body.

crochet russian doll

I hope you have a good monday 🙂
T x