Charity auction Monday

My next charity auction for Mary's Meals will take place on Monday 21st on my Facebook page. I'm offering these three 100gram skeins of 8ply superwash merino (I think they look fab together!) 

The auction will start on Monday morning and finish up at 8pm. All you have to do is go to my page and bid, there will be a reserve price and you can go from there.

I hope we can raise some money for this beautiful charity!

Silverbeet and ricotta pie

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 potato, finely chopped
300grams greens (silverbeet, spinach, kale, or a combination of greens)

450grams fresh ricotta
2 eggs
rind of 1/2 a lemon, grated
20grams grated parmesan
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
2 sheets puff pastry (shop bought or homemade)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. 

In a large frying pan, fry the onion in oil for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, potato and silver beet (or greens). Continue frying until silver beet is wilting. Take off the heat and allow to cool a little.

Meanwhile, mash together in a large bowl the ricotta, eggs, lemon, parmesan, nutmeg and salt and pepper. 

Grease your pie dish and lay a sheet of pastry as the base. 

Mix the vegetables into the ricotta mixture until nicely blended. Place the mixture into the pie dish.
Cover with another sheet of pastry, pressing down around the edges of the dish. Slash a couple of slits in the top with a sharp knife.

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the pie is golden brown and layers of the pastry are separating slightly.

I think this pie would be wonderful with filo pastry as well, maybe some feta cheese crumbled in? Next time! 

And, just for fun and because I do love pie!

Everyday bread

This is the recipe I make for a delicious yet not too time consuming bread for every day use. Makes 2 large loaves.

100g wholemeal flour
900g unbleached plain flour
2.5 teaspoons dried yeast
2.5 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
Approx 700ml warm water (varies with temp, dryness of flour etc)

Place all dry ingredients into your mixmaster's mixing bowl with the dough hook fitted. Start machine on low and drizzle most of the water in. Allow to mix for a minute or so, then add more water if needed. The dough should be really moist but not so sticky it can't be handled. 
Keep mixing on low for at least 5 minutes. Turn out of bowl onto an oiled bench and oil the bottom and inside of the bowl. Place the dough back in the bowl, oil the top lightly and cover with plastic wrap. Leave for 1.5 hours or until double in size. In cooler weather this will take longer.

Turn the dough out onto a bench and cut in half with a sharp knife. Knead each piece lightly then shape into required shape. You can do freeform loaves or use bread tins - I do either depending on my mood :) Freeform loaves can be placed on baking trays. Cover loaves with plastic wrap to rest.
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees (C). Allow the loaves to sit for 30 minutes. Slash the tops with a sharp knife and place in the oven. Set the timer for 5 minutes. When timer goes off, turn the temperature down to 230 degrees and set the timer to 30 minutes.
Remove from oven when done and cool on a baking rack. 

Linking up with Creative Friday.

3 ways to save money today - Volume 8

1. Don't buy cereal.
I've noticed a real drive by cereal companies for us to mimic American culture in our pursuit for cereal. It's really expensive, usually unhealthy and really unnecessary! The only type of cereal I buy on a regular basis is Vita Brits, which I find affordable, nutritious and tasty. Occasionally I buy cereal for the kids for a birthday or treat, but I find the novelty wears off pretty quickly anyway.
Oats are fantastic. If you buy a generic brand they are cheap and really versatile. I've been making my own muesli, toasted and natural for years.
There are so many alternatives to cereal that are healthier and will cost a fraction of the price. Get googling and find some new, simple breakfast dishes.

2. Make your own bread.
Commercial bread is increasing in price constantly. Yes, you can still buy a cheap white loaf for around a dollar but I find these akin to eating fluff, not nice.
It's not hard to make bread. It's a time investment but once you get into a routine it's very do-able. I'd like to say that I fully supply our family with home made bread but I'm not quite there yet. I'm happy to say that most of the time there is homemade bread in the pantry or freezer.
I have quite a few bread recipes right here on my blog:

Apple and Walnut bread
Wholemeal, rye and linseed bread
Spelt, honey and Linseed bread
Honey and Oat bread
My basic bread
My Everyday bread recipe

3. Make your own toilet spray.
We pay a lot of money for the privilege of spraying chemicals around in our home and it's not at all necessary! A small spray bottle, some water and some essential oil that you like the scent of, and you're done. Experiment with quantities of oil to water to get the ratio that suits you. A good essential oil can be a bit of an investment in terms of dollars, but when you consider how long one bottle will last you it's much cheaper than buying a chemical laden spray.

Completed cardi and more spinning!

Hooray, the cardigan is finally done! And it's perfect, there is room to grow and she is just so warm in it. It's hard to believe this little sweetie is turning 5 on Sunday, can't I wind back the clock just a little? 

I knit this with my hand dyed 8ply merino. The buttons are from Buttons by Benji, and though it's hard to see from the photo, they are totally gorgeous. The pattern is "Annie" by Tikki.

On the wheel currently is my "By the shores of Lake Violet" colour way on merino roving. Loving these colours!

And here is an idea of what it looks like randomly spun and plyed. 

Brrr, it's cold!

Yes, Winter is well and truly here but thankfully I have many activities to keep busy and warm. This is my last handspun skein.

I used my hand dyed "Mixed Berry" roving and employed the fractal spinning technique and it worked out beautifully!

The garden has slowed down but we are harvesting all those lovely winter veg now. Our son and I (so lovely to have a kitchen helper!) cooked up a big pot of garden harvested veggie soup with barley tonight.

And garlic bread made from scratch was the perfect accompaniment.

This is my newest colour way, now in the Etsy shop.

And I dyed some of that gorgeous First Edition roving in the same colour way. This is now on my spinning wheel and looking splendid.

So, Winter isn't all cold hands and noses, there are many delightful things about it too :)

What about you. Cool weather? Or warm?

This blog is closing!

All posts will now be found at my new site.  Click here to go the the new site.