Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Time to get the icecream maker out again

Mmm - I was wondering what to do with all the frozen blackberries in the freezer and hey presto this blackberry recipe was just sent to me to put up on our Intranet at work.  Will feed it to the five Melbourne uni geology students who are staying with us for a week.
Blackberry Icecream
• 2 cups blackberries, about 12 ounces
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
• 1/2 cup sour cream, full fat
In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice until sugar is dissolved and berries are soft. Put the berry mixture in a blender and puree for about 1 minute. At this point, you might want to put the puree through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds. If you do remove the seeds, return the mixture to the blender. Add heavy cream and the sour cream and pulse a few times. Pour into a bowl and chill thoroughly. Freeze in your ice cream maker following the manufacturer's directions.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ten Days on the Island

I will remember this year's Ten Days on the Island as it has coincided with around ten days of angst and form-filling RSI moving my Aunt Cissy into a nursing home.  Poor Ciss, on one hand she seems accepting of  it being time to make the move -  especially as her beloved doctor has been so keen on her doing it, but on the other she has resisted it all the way.  

My feisty 83 year old aunt has become the new rebel inmate at the nursing home - smoking in her room and making surreptitious calls to ex-landlords to try and get herself back into her old digs!  It has been both painful and hellish for her kin trying to help and harness her! 

Cissy-moving aside, with Shauna down from Sydney, we did manage we did to get some 'culture' in.  'Power Plant' at the Botanical Gardens last Saturday night was a magical experience, evoking that childhood wonder of nighttime.  Mona was great too.  Hobart can sometimes really be impressive in the arts stakes me thinks...

Patchwork titivations

I like patchwork even though it is a bit twee.  It suits my sort of sewing though - easy straight lines and the building up of bits and pieces. I decided recently to use up all the heavy linens and furnishing materials I had left over from millymaker bag-making ventures to make a half quilt  for the end of our bed. 

I am very proud that the only expense involved in making it was two reels of cotton.  I even used an old tatty quilt as the 'innards' for it so it really is a recycled piece.  It looks much nicer on the end of the bed than the old moth-eaten blanket husband favoured and it is a nice weight to keep the tootsies warm in winter.

This weekend I made a tablerunner for the sideboard in the kitchen from bits of silk Japanese kimono scraps bought from Wafu Works sale last Sunday.  I like the nice bright citrus colours and it adds a bit of life to the 'minky' kitchen.

Life is an overwhelming array of laminate colours

I have a new kitchen...and my marriage is still intact.

What a process. I never realised how stressful it would be and of course we had interstate guests just at the stage when there was no kitchen at all. It was like camping inside. One night Alan and I sat on the floor tending the ancient Sunbeam electric frypan that belonged to A's Dad, extolling its virtues.  The next night it expired with a puff of smoke.  It was takeaways after that. 

I have discovered I am not as decisive about colours and choices as I thought I would be.  So many decisions to be make. So many tradesmen turning up at 7.30 am in the morning. So many unexpected expenses.  Our relatively small kitchen renovation involved seven tradesmen over a period of six weeks! 

I read in a 'housey' magazine that the most common thing that goes wrong with kitchen renovations is not allowing enough in the budget for the end components.  It is hard to make decisions about some things before other things are finished and we did rush some decisions at the end to get it all finished. If I could do it all again with hindsight I would have made some different choices... but husband was just coping with it all as it was. 

However we are happy and both love how the new kitchen works - particularly the dishwasher.  My first ever!  Would you believe I am now what could be described as a 'tidy' kitchen person.  Ha!  How long will this last.

So here's the transformation.  From this (short benches, nipple pink with timber touches):

The knockdown process revealed some alarming flaws in the house's basic structures:
And here is the end result.  All very neutral or as Anna described it "in minky tones".

Now how long do I have to wait before husband recovers and I can start on the rest of the house renovations??