one + four = life (baking, knitting, gardening and belts)

The one + four = life series is a ‘lovely weekly visual treat’ created by the lovely Pip from Meet me at Mikes.

herby muffins
Baking
These are my ugly but delicious Herby Bready Muffiny Thingys. Quite the mouthful I know but very tasty ones at that. Adapted from my Allergy Friendly Toasty Fruit Bread recipe they are fast becoming a fave regular breakfast for me. Only a minute in the microwave and a generous lashing of butter and I have myself a filling healthy tasty warm breakfast. That’s a winter winner in my books.

beanie love
Knitting
I started another beanie as soon as I finished the Baby it’s cold outside Beanie. I’ve since finished this one and am considering which yarn to use for the next one. I’m a bit addicted to beanie knitting I think. They’re fast and satisfying, what’s not to love?

veggie patch
Gardening
I’m so thrilled with my celery babies… having only recently learned about the whole grow-a-new-veg-from-the-old-veg thing. Do you do that? Do you know about it? Chopping the bottom off your celery and planting it? “They” say to put it in water for a week or so first, to get the roots started, but the lazy option of planting said celery bottom direct into the soil works too. Yay for shortcuts and cheap veg I say.

belts belts belts
Belts
Thing number 196 about being married to a leather man: You will stumble across long strands of leather, stretching from one room to another, tied to chairs, doors, cupboards etc, tempting a midnight trip should you forget they are there.
Some of these belts are in Charlie’s Shop already but most of them are still to be photographed and listed. It’s on the list. But recently we spent a bit of time creating a new item for the shop where you can design your own plaited belt. You simply pick your plait type, leather colour and buckle type, and Charlie plaits it up. It’s been something we’ve talked about doing for ages so to finally tick that one off the list is super satisfying.

I also came across a very interesting little read on the internet this week that I wanted to share. Five things I’ve learned about the creative process by Ben Lee is inspiring and encouraging. An interesting article that helped me look at the creative process a little differently, I thought you might like it too. Let me know what you think?

May you tick something off your list and enjoy hot buttery bready breakfasts.

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craft, music and chocolate

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I’m a bit like this tram at the moment… lots of stops and starts, mostly on the move but kinda going around in circles… it’s been busy lately but there’s been quiet moments too… I’ve been doing a bit of nothing and a heap of everything… Let me see if I can catch you up on some of my favourite things shall I?

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I’m crocheting this blankie.
It’s slow going as I’m changing yarn colour every row… look at all those ends!!! I’m trying to figure out a way to incorporate them into the design and I’ve got an idea, I’ll let you know if it works. I’m loving the colours together and the pattern is a cinch to remember.

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I’m knitting this beanie.
It is going to be quite luxurious. A squishy and soft beanie using two different yarn blends. The darker grey is a mix of alpaca, wool and bamboo. The lighter grey is alpaca, wool and silk. Deliciously chunky and quite the delight to knit as I’m not using a pattern, just winging it.

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I’m baking treats.
I made a batch of my Allergy Friendly Toasty Fruit Bread the other day, only I made a variation of the recipe. Ha – what a shock hey? I am a huge fan of ginger so instead of dried fruit I added crystalized ginger. And I was extra generous with the ginger spice too so it turned out a little like a gingerbread bread… kinda… if you use your bread-deprived imagination. Oh and I tried a garlic and herb version too and it turned out a treat. I popped the savoury mix into a muffin tin so I now have little thyme and garlic bread-like muffin things. I zap them for a mini in the microwave and slather too much butter on. Not too shabby at all.


I’m listening to a lot of Shakey Graves.
I love the way this guy makes music. Both hands, both feet, his voice and his heart. I was lucky enough to see Shakey Graves supporting Shovels & Rope recently and it was the best gig. You know when you see someone doing something and you think to yourself, yep they are doing exactly what they are meant to be doing in life. I really do love my music and discovering new music to enjoy is one life’s sweetest pleasures.

I also ate way too much chocolate over Easter but hey, the Bunny made me do it! I love the guilt free chocolate breakfast that comes with Easter. My break was full of good quality chocolate (because I’m a chocolate snob as well as a coffee snob) including a new to me variety of Lindt balls – Caramel with Sea Salt… umm… yummmm… and too much of my fave Willie’s Cacao milk chocolate with sea salt, deadly discovery that one. And to balance out the indulgence of a chocolate filled Easter, I planted some silver beet, chives, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy and celery in the veggie garden. Am sure the digging in the garden worked off at least one chocolate ball!?

So how about you, what have you been up to? More importantly, what’s your favourite Chocolate?

Wishing you chocolate filled breakfasts, and music that makes your heart sing.

allergy friendly toasty fruit bread

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This delicious toasty bread has no flour, no cornflour, no tapioca, and no nuts or grains of any kind! It’s gluten free, nut free and dairy free. I know, what IS in it hey? The secret to this allergy friendly toasty fruit bread is the humble spud! This recipe has been a long time coming. There were many trials and even more disasters. Then finally I made the most delicious fruit toast I’ve tasted for 10 years. That said I haven’t actually eaten toast for close to 10 years, so my comparison scale might be a tad off. Forgive me.

This recipe does come with warnings though;

  • Anything gluten free can be a bit hit and miss. Sorry if this misses for you.
  • It’s not really a bread eating kind of bread. It really comes into its own when you toast it. I slice my loaves and then freeze them, popping them straight into the toaster from the freezer.
  • If you don’t like fruit loaf, you may want to try some other flavourings. On its own without the spices and fruit it’s a bit elyuko. Too much like some weird potatoey dish gone wrong. A friend suggested a herb and garlic version which would do a great job masking the odd flavour. I’m yet to try that one but I will… thanks Jill!
  • There is a couple of processes to this bread, it’s not my favourite chuck it all in a bowl and mix method.
  • I have a dodgy airy oven so cooking time seems to change every time I cook it. The idea is to cook it long and slow or else the crust will burn. Tweak the timings to suit your dodgy or not so dodgy oven.
  • If you choose to slather it with butter and top it with homemade Peach & Vanilla Bean Jam, I can’t be held responsible for how much you devour!

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Alrighty, time for toast yes?

Allergy Friendly Toasty Fruit Bread.

Ingredients:

  • 600gm cooled mashed potato (dry mash, don’t add any butter/milk)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup potato flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar for the whites
  • 1/4 cup sugar for the yolks
  • 1/2 tablespoon bi carb soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of sultanas and/or currants or whatever dried fruit you like
  • 1/4 cup dates (I use the medjool ones)
  • Lots of Spices: Add what you like really but I added heaped teaspoons of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Be generous with them.
  • Pinch of salt (for luck!)

Method:

  • Whisk the whites of the eggs with their 1/4 cup of sugar until they are stiff peaks.
  • In another bowl mix all the dry ingredients. Sift if you can be bothered or whisk if you like short cuts (thanks lunchlady!). Toss the dried fruit through the dry ingredients.
  • Next you want to whisk the yolks with their 1/4 cup of sugar until they are really light in colour and fluffy. Add the mashed potato to the yolk mix and mix well.
  • Now you can lightly fold and gently mix all three mixes together – the egg white mix, the yolk potato mix and the dry mix.
  • Pour into a lined loaf tin and pop in a preheated 160c degree oven for about 40 odd minutes – give or take 15 -20 minutes! Keep an eye on it, it may need more or less depending on your oven and loaf tin size. Probably more so check it often. I use a really large tin 30cm L x 5cm W x 7cm D. If you have mix left over pop it in some little dishes if you have them. I used some baby heart cake tins with the over on my last quadruple mix, and they turned out pretty cute!

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Peach & Vanilla Bean Jam

Ingredients:

  • 2.5kg of chopped clingstone peaches. And I left the skin on, seemed like a hell of lot of work to take it off kilos of peaches!
  • 1 kg sugar
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 3 vanilla beans
  • Oh and I added 2 apples as my peaches were just under the 2.5kg weight and I wanted to remember quantities! The apples were my homegrown freshly picked granny smiths and I think they added a good hit of pectin as my jam set like a boss.

Method:

  • Cook the peaches down a bit first until they soften. Then add the sugar, lime juice and vanilla beans/skins. Cook it bubbling away and stirring often, for an hour or two. Pour into sterilised jars.

 

Ok that’s enough recipes for one post. If you do make either the jam or bread, let me know? If you’re looking for me I’ll be in the window seat eating toast and jam!

Wishing you hot buttery toasty mornings and peachy sweet jam.

 

homegrown love

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Homegrown veggies are love. Homemade produce is love. Grandmas are love. Grandma’s recipes to make homemade produce with homegrown veggies… well that’s a big old dose of homegrown love wrapped in a comforting sentimental crocheted blankie.

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Yesterday was Grandma’s Tomato Sauce day again here at Dove Cottage. It was the first time my sister and I have made it with our own homegrown tomatoes, all 17 kg’s of them! And boy were we in awe of Grandma… again. By the time we finished we were totally exhausted and wondered how Grandma used to manage it by herself as she was getting older.

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There were the usual culprits on the day… giggles, sticky pots, remembering Grandma, lots of dishes, piano playing, tears, lots of stirring, overflowing sauce bottles, and a house smelling of sweet spicy tomatoes.

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One of the most special parts of the day is when the Piano is played. The Piano has such a strong connection to both my Grandma and my Gran. My sister played on Gran’s Piano, using my Grandma’s music book, with skill and feeling nurtured by my Grandma… and she played Für Elise, the song I would always ask Grandma to play. I guess it’s stating the obvious when I tell you that’s when the tears came into the play for the day?

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I had such a healthy crop of juicy ripe tomatoes (which are still coming), that I had enough to try my hand at some semi dried tomatoes as well. I used the lovely Kate at Foxs Lane recipe and was so pleased with how well they turned out. Tasty little flavour filled bursts of sunshiney goodness.

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I also have a basket of Clingstone Peaches ready for stewing or baking into cakes. And the last of my Granny Smith Apples need picking too. Plus I’m busting to try this Green Tomato Salsa. I am learning how much time and effort goes into growing and preserving your own food. And I’m learning how satisfying it feels to do so. It’s reaffirming, I’m on the right path heading towards the semi self sufficient farmy dream. Granted there’s no farm yet, this is just the small scale suburban back yard version, but you gotta start somewhere right?

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Making Grandma’s Tomato Sauce is not just about the bottles of sauce at the end of the day, though they are pretty darn good! It’s about homegrown love, sister love, remembering Grandma’s love and kindness, honouring memories, feeling grateful for lovely loving grandparents, and taking a little wander down a very beautiful sentimental lane.

How about you, is there a special recipe in your life? Do tell.

Wishing you homegrown love and sweet juicy tomatoes.

hexy make up wipes

bear loves dove Hexy Make Up Wipes

Do you use those little disposable cotton pads to remove your make up? I do… Or I did, until I made some re-usable ones! They are pretty ace and I thought you might want to make some too? I made up this pattern for my hexy make up wipes and thought I’d pop a little tutorial here in case you are a beginner crocheter and would like to have a go.

Hexy Make Up Wipes by bear loves dove

I can totally recommend them as a great learning project, not too big or tricky. And hey, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind wiping your mascara off with a slightly wonky hexy if they don’t turn out perfect first go would you? And just think, every time you do, it’s like you are kissing the earth a smidge as you’re not piffing the disposable cotton ones in the bin. Oh and these guys survive the washing machine no probs, so don’t be thinking it means heaps more work, just pop them in with the next hot or cold load.

1. Supplies

Ok let’s get started. This is what you will need.

8 ply cotton (this is parchment colour by Bendigo Woollen Mills)

3mm Crochet Hook

Darning Needle

Pretty Scissors (ok, they don’t have to be pretty!)

I use American Crochet terminology and you’ll be making the following stitches:

Chain (ch), Slip Stitch (ss), Double Crochet (dc), Half Double Crochet (hdc).

magic loop

Start:

Chain 4 then join with a slip stitch into the 1st chain to create a loop OR make a ‘magic loop’

I made a magic loop in the picture above and there’s some great you tube videos around if you’d like to learn how to do one, they are really very easy once you know how.

2. Round 1

3. Round 1 Join

Round One:

Chain 3 (this becomes your first Double Crochet), then Double Crochet another 11 times into the middle of your loop. Join with a Slip Stitch into the top of the first Chain 3 you did. (12 stitches all up)

4. Round 2 & Join

Round Two:

Chain 3 then Double Crochet again into the same spot. (This spot is the place between your Round One Chain 3, and the Round One first Double Crochet).

Double Crochet 2 times into each space between your stitches. Join with a Slip Stitch into the top of the Chain 3 from this round. (24 stitches all up)

5. Round 3 1st point

Round Three:

Chain 2 then do a Half Double Crochet into the same spot. Chain 2, then do 2 more Half Double Crochet stitches into the very same spot.

6. Round 3 2nd point

Make a Half Double Crochet into the next 3 spaces.

Now into the 4th space do this: Make 2 Half Double Crochet stitches, Chain 2, make another 2 Half Double Crochet stitches ALL into the same space. This makes your little hexy corner.

7. Round 3 Join

Now make a Half Double Crochet into the next 3 spaces, **then do your Hexy Corner (make 2 Half Double Crochet stitches, Chain 2, make another 2 Half Double Crochet stitches ALL into the same space), then Half Double Crochet into the next 3 spaces**.

Repeat from ** to ** until you end up back at the start next to your first Chain 2. Slip Stitch into the top of the Chain 2.

8. Round 3 finish

Cut your yarn with a generous tail to make darning the ends a bit easier, and pull the loop right out through the last Chain.

9. Darn those ends

Now darn your end through the top of those first stitches, then work on the wrong side of your hexy whilst you darn that sucker in good and proper so your beautiful work doesn’t unravel.

10. Add a pop of colour

And that’s it! You can even add a pop of colour to the last round if you fancy. I hope you found the pattern easy. I’ve written it in a very long winded way, so if you want the short and very pinterest friendly version, tis here;

hexymake up wipes free pattern

Will you pop back and tell me if you make some? And please do let me know if you find a glitch in the pattern, I’m a beginner pattern maker / tutorial writer so forgive me if there is one!

Happy earth kissing and may your waterproof mascara hold steadfast during the sad movies.

lemon butter, sherbet and candy

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Mmmmm…. lemon butter… I could eat it by the spoonful… sometimes do! It’s the thing I hunt down at markets, forever in search of the perfect homemade lemon butter.

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Well I had myself a bit of a lemon butter off recently and I finally made some (even though my classic old New Zealand cookbook ‘Edmonds’ calls it lemon honey).  I also had a recipe for lemon custard, it’s been stuck to the fridge for months, teasing me.  Then I was gifted some lemons from my gorgeous daughter.  And you know what they say about life giving you lemons? Yes I’ve seen the pinterest boards saying ‘get yourself some tequilla and slam that sh*t down’… but tequilla and I aren’t fond of each other…  (bad memories!) … So when life gave me lemons, I decided lemon butter and lemon custard was the answer. And a day of whisking began.

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I whisked till my arm was burning. I kept remembering stories of curdled lemon butter when it all goes wrong. I was determined mine wouldn’t curdle. And it didn’t, all the whisking paid off. I tested both of these glorious lemony buttery delights extensively… I take my research seriously you know!  And I came to conclusion that they are both bloody delicious!

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But which one would I choose to make again you ask? Neither. I would take a little from each recipe and tweak up my own version. What a surprise hey?! You see I loved the addition of the zest in the lemon honey, but I loved the custardy texture of the lemon custard. The lemon honey was very sweet, the custard a bit tart… so I’d go somewhere in between for the sugar.

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The one on the left is the lemon honey, complete with lovely zingy bits of zest. The one of the right is the lemon custard. Funnily enough, looks a lot more like custard. Both equally moreish!

lemon custard
Now I found the recipe for the lemon custard online, so long ago and I really can’t remember where I found it. I’ve searched far and wide to where I thought it may have been and can’t find it. So I’m reproducing it here but please know it is not my recipe. If it is your recipe or you know the creator of it, please do let me know so I can share some link love.

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Now for the sherbet. My sherbet wrist warmers are done and I can’t wait to pop them on the next gloomy grey cold day, and feel all bright and happy and sherbet-ey.

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This is my new project. It’s my Popping Candy Blanket, because the colours remind me of popping candy. Some of the sherbet colours mixed in with some of the many random odds and ends of colours that I keep promising myself I’ll use up. I find it tricky to use up end bits of yarn because I’m pretty pedantic about what colours I like to play together. But I’m loving the bright colourful mix of this one as it honestly feels really happy, and I feel happy crocheting it.

What about you? Are you making anything that makes you happy? Like eating lemon butter by the spoonful? Life giving you lemons?

Wishing you juicy lemons, sherbet smiles and happy candy coloured days.