Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Festive Finel

The Finel teapot is growing on me.  It followed me home one day when I was really searching for a retro coffee percolator (pehtoori).  I initially thought I would swap this little soul it in a heart beat, if a blue one ever came along.  Now it is just so jolly cheerful on the kitchen windowsill, sitting and keeping the cornishware company, that it may have won its reprieve.  You can see it edging its way into the frame along side the soap dispensers too.

linking in over here at Blackbird has Spoken

Monday, December 17, 2012

Secret Family Recipes

Our family has recipes that are held close to hearts and saved for just special occasions.  Christmas is one of those times. They are treated with such reverence, that it can be surprising to find out that secret family recipes can sometimes turn out to be not so secret, after all.

There are the beautifully chewy, almost butter-scotch meringues. Malt vinegar and a fickle oven appear to be the key in this one.  There is the dip that Gran used to make only on Christmas day. This was then rationed out on snax crakers for the following days.  It turns out that with help of onion soup, reduced cream and the recipe in fine print on the bottom of the can, you too can make dip like my Gran.

Then there is the pickled pineapple.  Mum found it one year in her "Triple Tested Cookbook"*.  It became her specialty.  She cooks it every year to serve with ham.  The vegetarian relatives can attest that it goes just as well with cheese.  It is one of those magical, "there's still time" recipes.  While the recipe recommends it sit for a week, it still tastes pretty good if made the night before.  Just the smell is enough to tell me it is almost Christmas and the secretly saved pineapple juice appeals to my sweet tooth.

The recipe is held in high regard, but I have heard rumours that one aunt passed a copy to a catering friend.  Further to that, the latest Dish magazine recipe boasts a glazed ham recipe tailored for serving with pickled pineapple.  If you feel the need to add something new to your table, here is the recipe for the original pickled pineapple.

1 can pineapple chunks
3/4 cup malt vinegar
1 1/4 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
6-8 cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Drain syrup from pineapple. Place vinegar, sugar salt and spices in saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add pineapple and boil a further 1 minute.  Cool and bottle.  Store in fridge for 1 week before serving with ham or chicken.

*  Well done to Lower Hutt Plunket Society for this 1959 Gem.  May all Plunket groups create such a legendary cook book.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Collecting Collectors Cabinets

I can't believe I hesitated when I saw this collector's cabinet.  The front panel slides up to allow you to place your favorite taxidermied stoat or other such treasures.  Today, I'm going for Christmas trees.  The panel even slides shut when it isn't being used to hang crochet garlands. I would contemplate collecting these cabinets, just for the irony of collecting collector's cabinets.

I'm linking my thrifty find over at Black Bird Has Spoken.

Pop-Up Christmas Shop

We love pop-up shops in our house.  Often there will be a book store, complete with scanners in the middle of the lounge.  Often, they will sell ice-creams and other treats from the car window.  While they are only pretend, I'm not sure whether to embark on the "stranger danger" or "drugs are bad, ok?" speech.  The Christmas shop above is the result of leaving a box of unhung decorations in the lounge.  How could you resist such exuberant shop assistants?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Paper Angels

We have been making paper angels for the tree.  They are incredibly simple.  In the interests of angels for all, here is the tutorial.

To make your own Paper Angel you are going to need:

Colored craft paper for gown, wings and face.
PVA glue
Double sided tape
Pens, glitter and stickers for decorating

Trace and cut  a circle from card and cut in half. We used a desert bowl, approx 180 mm diameter.
Decorate one piece for a gown and the other as wings.

Draw a smaller circle on skin toned paper. We used a spice jar, approx 45mm diameter.
Draw a face and glue hair onto the top.
Cut the circle out.

Sellotape the gown to make a cone.
Using double sided tape attach the face.
Fold the wings in half and check for fit, before cutting into the wing shape as below.
Using double sided tape, attach the wings.

Lastly, attach a loop and hang from the tree.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Decorating with Powertools - E's table centre

Before you get worried, this is not that picture.

E went pine cone collecting with her Dad.  After a few lessons in swinging a hammer from Granddad, they were off, separating cones and branches, filling the bag. 

It wasn't until afterwards that she remembered the candle holder she had seen in a shop.  It was a pinecone hollowed out to hold a tea light.  E drew her picture to explain to Granddad what she was talking about.    After a little explaining, the tools were gathered by Grandad.  E lost interest once the drawing was done, leaving me with tools and a mission.

After a bit of experimenting, I can attest, you will need a vice, drill, hole saw, spade bit and a chisel.  The green pine cones were easier to shape and are probably more fire resistant.  Despite her lack of interest in power tools, E was delighted to see her picture come to life.