Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas gifts from the kitchen

I love making people gifts and this years I was keen to make my gifts homemade. I didn't have much time for crafting unfortunately so I decided to make some goodies from the kitchen.

Reasons I like making gifts:
  • No shopping at horrid shopping centres full of piped Christmas music, just a trip to the grocer and spice market
  • I can make rather than shop
  • I enjoy cooking
  • It's usually cheaper to make than buy (especially if fruit is acquired through gleaning)
  • It's always lovely to receive something handmade
  • My collection of jars (and those hoarded by others) are of good use!
Here's a series of recipes that I made, complete with a few pics!

Apricot lavender jam

  • About 2o fresh apricots
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lavender flowers
  • freshly-squeezed lemon juice ( I used the juice of half a lemon)


  1. Cut the apricots in half, extract the pits and discard (no need to peel them).
  2. Place the apricots in a large stockpot with water, sugar, lemon juice and lavender flowers
  3. Cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally until the apricots are cooked into oblivion.
  4. As the mixture thickens and reduces, check the hot jam frequently and stir just to make sure it isn’t scorching.
  5. Several sources suggest placing small saucer in the freezer. When the jam looks thick and is looks slightly-jelled, turn off the heat and put a small amount of jam on the chilled plate. Put back in the freezer for a few minutes, then do the gel test: If the jam mounds, it’s done. If not, continue to cook, then re-test the jam until it reaches a thin jam texture.
  6. Once done, ladle the jam into clean jars.


Dukkah is a wonderful middle eastern spice mix that is ridiculously easy to make. It's traditionally served with olive oil and flat bread but also can be added to curries, salads, meat dishes etc. The ingredients list is quite forgiving, open to a variety of culinary substitutes in regard to the type of nuts and spices. We live near a fabulous middle eastern spice grocer and it's fantastic to go and buy loads of different spices, herbs and other dry goods. Here's the recipe I like to use:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Heat a non stick pan over high heat, add the nuts, and dry-toast until slightly browned and fragrant, being careful that they don't burn. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
  2. Repeat the procedure with each of the seeds and the peppercorns. Allow each of them to cool completely.
  3. Place the nuts and seeds, along with the salt into a blender and pulse until broken down but not until it becomes a paste.

Store in an airtight container in a cool place .

Capsicum chutney


  • 3 large Granny Smith apples
  • 6 capsicum (red or green is fine)
  • 1 onion
  • 115g raisins
  • 115g fresh or dried dates
  • ½ tspn mustard seed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar (I used brown which was fine)
  • 2 gloves garlic
  • chillies to taste
  1. Mince apples, capsicum, onions and garlic.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and boil on a low heat for 4o mins until thick
  3. Spoon carefully into sterilised jars.

And well. as for the tomato sauce, I can't go past Pip's Nanna's awesome recipe! You can find it over here

photo of tomato sauce and chutney, all ready to be labelled

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy festive season and holidays to you all!

This year has been an exteremely busy yet successful year in many ways. I'm feeling a sense of positive anticipation for the new year, but also extremely happy to be switching off for a few days.

Hugs to all during the festive season, hope it is relaxing and pleasurable! xx

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Freiburg, Germany

Chris and I went to Freiburg at the culmination of our trip to Europe this year. It is really a simply stunning place, as well as one of the world's most sustainable cities. If you'd fancy the green lowdown you can read Chris' post here

Here's some lovely pics!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fatigue has it's limitations

Such lovely bedding

I have been on Thyroxine for a couple of years for my underactive thyroid. This week I ran out. Since then I have been simply exhausted. Unfortunately an indication that I need to stay on the medication. I've had to accept that despite good intentions I won't be able to manage any crafting or finish the exhibition piece of been working on.

I haven't really done any craft markets this Christmas but I do have a brief one tomorrow selling Green Renters upcycled goodies in the morning at a govt building. When I held the group exhibition at my home in 2010 I thought it might lead to some opportunities for shared spaces, group markets etc but it seems to be limited to the same small cliques, none of which I'm invited to participate in.

I'm just too worn out. I need to look after myself a bit better or it'll get worse unfortunately. I also may be having surgery in 2012 for compartment syndrome in my legs so I need to be in good health for this...

We have our last workshop tomorrow night for the year. Last workshop until February! In the last year we've presented about 100 workshops, amazing stuff.It should be a lot of fun.

And lastly, here's some photos of Mr Pablo :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What have I been up to?

What I've been up to:
  • Delivered two Eco-crafting workshops this week and four How to have a sustainable festive season workshops
  • Made our Christmas tree!
  • Got interviewed and photographed by The Age
  • Chris and I ran a garage sale/pop up shop. Not wildly successful due to the weather but managed some decluttering nonetheless...
  • Went to a winery tasting


Midsomer Murders

Chris' amazing crumbed spicy tofu...

Red wine and lots of tea (hot and iced)!



Friday, December 9, 2011

Things I like today

Muppets wall decals!

hear hear!
I love this fruit bowl

Such a lovely print

Polka Dot Rabbit pop up shop

Pop up shop and garage sale
Sunday 11th December

161 Albion St Brunswick
  • books
  • cds
  • vintage wares
  • hand crafted wares
  • clothing
  • shoes
  • craft materials
  • loads of gorgeous seedlings!
  • cupcakes

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

End of year celebration - How to have a green festive season

Not quite full of Christmas cheer? Dreading another Christmas of tacky tinsel and podgy pudding? But there is another way you can enjoy seasonal festivities without the throw away toys and mountains of waste.

Join us to explore how you can make the festive season more environmentally friendly.

Topics include:

  • Green entertaining and parties
  • Sustainable drinks
  • Decorations
  • Gift giving the green way
  • Dealing with non-green relatives
  • And of course, how to cook an environmentally friendly Christmas lunch!

It'll be an evening of cheer with some musical entertainmen from Alana & The Age of Reasons, food and drink and a very special visitor....

Price will include one drink and nibbles, with more available to keep the festivities flowing for a donation. All attendees go in the draw to win a Bokashi Bin on the night! Bookings here

Monday, December 5, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bathroom in Brunswick

Some pics of our bathroom :)

Things that make a happy home

I get inspiration from lots of different things in my life. I have a ever lasting love of all things vintage, retro and handmade. I like being surrounded by things that evoke memories, colours and designs a like, beloved gifts...

Making things in my office...I sometimes wish I was one of those tidy creative people who has everything tidily put away at the end of each day. My husband wishes this even more. Especially as he told me he's interested in exploring a role as a de-clutterer as a profession...(hehe)

A collection of lamps ( the green one was originally my Grandma's and I got the bunny lamp in Norwich earlier in the year).

Can you see the lovely card made by definatalie after she was a kindly housesitter for us?

Some of my fabric (you can't see the messy piles thankfully)

Mr Pablo working hard
A portrait of us which we received from a dear friend as an engagement gift!

I know that living in an old rental home, I'll never have a palatial dwelling suitable for glossy magazines and design blogs. We're desperately short of storage space and the holes in the walls are difficult to conceal. Yet we do live happy lives and there's a lot of love within the walls...