Rock cakes

These are a firm favourite in our family, a recipe that I come back to over and over. They are quick to make, use relatively few ingredients and are pretty healthy. They could be made healthier with wholemeal flour and a sugar substitute, but I'm happy to serve these to my kids as they are, knowing that they are fresh, home baked with no additives or preservatives :)

Our kids love to eat them warm from the oven, tops sliced off and spread with butter that melts in. They also love to top them with jam and cream (especially if the jam is home made!)

Here is the recipe for you to try, the kids like to help make them too.

Makes about 9 large rock cakes.

2 cups SR flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice (or you can use your favourite spices e.g. a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove)
90grams butter
1/3 cup sugar of substitute
1/2 cup dried fruit (I used a mix of raisins, sultanas and currants)
1 egg
Milk to mix to a thick batter (around 1/2 cup?)
Raw sugar to top (optional)

Preheat oven to 190C and prepare a muffin tin with muffin patty pans. It helps to grease the top of the tray very lightly to prevent sticking. 
Sift flour, salt and spices into a large bowl. Add the chopped butter and rub into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. This step can be done in a food processor if you're feeling lazy (but then you have to wash the food processor bowl, so not worth the trouble to me!) Stir in the sugar and dried fruits. 
Add the egg and some of your milk and start mixing. You're going for a very thick, sticky batter, not dry at all. 
When thoroughly mixed, spoon the batter into the patty pans, filling about 3/4 of the way. This will give you a large cake that doesn't spill over the edge of the tin too much.
Sprinkle the tops of the batter with raw sugar (this is optional). 
Bake for around 18 minutes or until the tops are golden.
Turn out of tin onto a baking tray and watch them disappear!

Scarf off the loom

Another week, another item off the loom! This one took a little longer (a lot longer) than I had envisioned, but I'm overjoyed with the result and that is what is important.

I started with some 4ply merino that I had dyed in a rainbow gradient for the warp and teamed it with grey merino for the weft.

The pattern is 3/1 weft float, which was easy to work but was a significant time investment. This is the back side of the scarf (remember, when weaving patterns you get the additional surprise of seeing a different pattern on the underside!)

And this is the top side. See all those little grey floats?

I love the scarf and the colour arrangement has given me ideas of using a tencel or silk yarn for a real shimmer.
Available for sale in my Etsy shop now.

So, next project? You bet I have one planned already, in fact, I have a whole queue of them! Towels. Experimental towels. Stay tuned :)

New ideas and new stuff for weaving

Lots of new things happening for me with weaving! I'm still experimenting with pick up sticks. This pattern is a 3/1 weft float and uses just one pick up stick. I paired a grey weft with a gradient warp and I'm just loving the effect!

Some new 10ply cottons from Bendigo Woollen Mills arrived today, I have some interesting plans for them in the form of towel and face washer gift packs - we'll see if they turn out first though! 

Also newly arrived from Petlins, I splashed out on a new heddle for the loom plus some 8/2 cotton. This is the finest heddle you can get for the rigid heddle loom at 12.5 dent and the cotton is also fine - I have tea towels in mind but I think weaving this fine will be time consuming. It's disappointing that I can't use Australian cotton for this as I normally would - as far as I can tell there are no Australian weaving cottons. 
So that's my weaving taken care of for the foreseeable future, one project at a time :)

Comfort food

I've been looking though some of my blog posts and am surprised how many recipes I've posted! 

We're in for a cold snap this week so it's the perfect time for some hot comfort food.

Here is a list for you to check out from my kitchen:

*Home made sausage rolls

*Silverbeet and ricotta pie

*Everyday bread

*Cheese and bacon scrolls

*Apple cinnamon porridge

*Coconut rice pudding

*Rhubarb and custard crumble

*Roasted pumpkin soup

*Homemade potato chips

*Pork and pepper casserole (not my recipe, but very awesome!)

*Home made pasta

*Cornflake slice

Hope you're keeping warm!

My favourite place at home

Rhonda from the Down to Earth blog has been showing her favourite place at her home and has invited readers to do the same, so I thought I would join in!

This is what I call my studio, but in reality is a corner of our second  living room. We are very blessed to have two living rooms. It is right next to a large window, which is important because it's a darkish room. 

This little space houses my sewing machines, weaving loom and spinning wheel as well as a lot of odds and ends that are regularly used. The less regularly used things are put away in various hidey holes around the house.

What I love about this space is that it's mine! That's not to say that the table is not a dumping ground for all things that "need fixing" (oh, so many!) but generally the space is reserved exclusively for my creative work. It's also a functional and versatile space. I couldn't list the number of things that I do here, but with my love of fibre and textile arts, you can probably use your imagination :)

Yes, I dream of having a larger space or a proper studio one day (there is the issue of where my next loom is going to go!) but I am so grateful to have a dedicated space where I can find what I need and don't have to move things around too much. 

I'm looking forward to seeing your favourite spaces too. I must confess, Rhonda's front verandah looks like a dream come true! 

Black and white photography

Black and white photography is, to me, the most captivating photography. 

Stripped back and pared down the image speaks volumes.

When I first learned photography at the age of 16, I developed my photos only in black and white.

Perhaps this explains my attachment and love for black and white. Watching images appear on the photo paper as I worked through the developing process was really quite magical.

I love colour too, but sometimes these days we are a little over saturated with it and can't appreciate the message or feel of an image because it screams at our senses.

A black and white image is quiet, unobtrusive and gentle.

It invites the eye to take it's time, to drink in the image and all it contains.

The classic timelessness of a black and white will never cease to appeal to me. 

I haven't been picking up the camera a great deal lately, the cold weather begs me to stay indoors at the loom or the wheel (and fibre is so warm!) But I have been going over some older images and re-editing in black and white. I'm really enjoying the process and seeing the images from a completely different aspect.

How about you? Do you like black and white too? What do you like (or not like so much) about it? 

Make do and make a start

I thought I'd share with you a little reality check today. It is easy for us to imagine that people we see on social media, on websites...