A stollen at Christmas was a tradition for my mum. She made one every christmas. So this year, for the first time I decided to uphold that tradition and make one for our home over christmas. Actually I got slightly over excited and made 4. In 2 days.

I use a basic recipe I found on the web and adapted it to make it taste like mums.

To make the yeast sponge
1/4 cup of warm water
3/4 cup of warm milk
tsp of honey (or maple syrup if that’s all you have in the pantry)
About a tbsp of yeast (I use a basic dried yeast)

Combine the water and yeast, then add the milk, honey and flour. Combine and leave to bubble and rise for about 30 mins (can be longer)

Then add
A cup of raisons/candid fruit mix – this is personal, I prefer slightly less raison/fruit in mine, you can add up to a cup of each if you prefer a fruit filled Stollen. I soak mine in a little orange juice but you can use rum or brandy if you want.
1/2 cup of chopped almonds – toasted (optional) It tastes more like mums without, but I like it with!
tsp of mixed christmas spices
1/3 cup of honey
tsp of salt
tsp of spices
1 large egg
1/2 cup of melted butter

I mix all the wet ingredients together, and add to the yeast sponge. Then combine in 2-3 cups of flour, adding about 1/4 of a cup at a time, mixing well until the dough binds together – turn out onto a floured surface and knead until elastic and smooth. Then grease bowl and pop in, cover and leave to rise for between 45 mins or whenever you remember to go back and shape it.

Spices to sprinkle on
Marzipan – I think mine was a 300g block that did 2 smaller loaves.
Granulated sugar

To shape turn out onto a greased surface and flatten out into a sort of oval, or 2 oval if your making 2 small loaves. Sprinkle with spices and granulated sugar (you can omit the sugar if your popping marzipan in the middle) I rolled out my marzipan so its the same length as the dough, put it along once side and roll up the dough around the marzipan sausage. I then slightly flatten the long sausage of dough (with its marzipan centre) and fold it back on itself.

Leave to rise for, well, until is double in size or until you once again forget it, and then remember it.
Bake at 190 degrees for about 25 mins

December 24, 2014 Food


So I though that now spring is here and nearly summer I’d resume my weekly walk in the garden



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The beds are mostly all full now, a brassica spring bed that so far resisting bolting. Peas, peppers and garlic behind the wind shelter (which saved them from the 160km/h winds last night). My skinny potato bed, the area behind the beds dug and plated with self seeded sunflowers and corn. A new bed for zucchini and tomatoes and herbs. The back area (with its empty bed ready for manure and a frame to protect the autumn brassicas) the lines of carrots and onions surrounded by garlic, peas and beans in lines the more shaded bed with some random self sewn peas and pumpkin plants in the front.

November 16, 2014 Food







Since coming home from our wonderful break away in Oz we have been busy settling back into our rhythms and routines. Baking muffins (pear and chic chip, delicious! Kind of used this recipe) A little light romper suit that was a last minute make before the holiday. Super easy pattern but so versatile. Breathe and exhale. Think about the next month or so. A birthday party to plan and christmas to prepare for. Dresses to make, recipes to try out. Exciting.

And my veggie bed make, an old pallet. Hubby split it apart for me and removed the worst of the nails. The uprights are old tree stake posts, from one that snapped when we were banging them in. Sawn into the size I needed. It was the fastest make ever and SO rewarding. Some nails that we already had, a hammer and saw and away you go.  I didn’t even crack out the tape measure. 

So if you want some raised veggie beds. But don;t want to spend any money. Go get yourself a old pallet. In NZ your local ITM will likely be giving them away, seriously giving them away. Other countries I’m less sure, may be try local building and landscape supplies. Or the local supermarket. Interesting tip – you can fit a pallet into a reasonably roomy car with a bit of gentle ‘persuasion’. Just so ya know. Not because I’ve done that or anything.

November 10, 2014 Crafting, Food




Cheese straws for snacking

While finishing (or nearly finishing, not quite ready to properly photograph and enter in Magic Onions 2014 collection)

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I’m really hoping to complete a few more bits and get a lovely dawn light with a crispy frost, but you know, that might not actually happen, I may end up submitting variations of these. Or similar. Or it might snow and then I’ll get epic awesome snow pics, or not.

Speaking of snow it went for it today for an hour or so, but then cleared up and melted off. SO disappointed. Moo was too. She sat by the windows watching the flakes exclaiming every few minutes “mama its snow, real snow …. winter is here at last …. its been a long long time coming”. We are into town tomorrow to meet some lovely friends but hopefully on sunday we’ll be able to head to the hills and find some for her to play in.

July 18, 2014 Crafting, Food



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In light of my attempts to pacify my unhappy stomach I’ve been looking at ways to try and minimise the impact of gluten without totally excluding it from our lives. Mostly because I’m crap at cooking with gluten free flours. seriously the pits. everything. is. a. brick.

Ive started a sourdough starter. So far (2 days) so good. It’s not dead yet lol. I used this guide – incidentally Im loving this blog generally too. And I made some crackers with this recipe which we love. And lastly I put in a batch of no knead refrigerator dough. Hoping that a long proof (3 days) will help make the gluten more digestible.

The fridge bread is a simple linseed mix, I start it as usual, leave it to rise for about 3h after mixing. Then pop it in the fridge. You can use it after a night or so but Ive read around and it seems leave it for about 3 days is about right. bring it out, shape, leave to rise. Bake. Eat. This post explains it really well – and you can make bulk too.

I also made the banana cake I mentioned in my last post (or the one before that?) and its delicious. Even hubby likes it.

Wow, I’m really linky at the moment. Sorry.

July 4, 2014 Food



Brassica, beet and spinach bed – the spinach is not going great guns, no idea why its struggling so much. 



Courgettes and broccoli are still coming through – although the last 2 nights frosts might have done in the courgettes!

Below is the back garden which is in its winter/mid project/earth moving/weed mat needed/alterations slowly being made state. The middle back bed is up as we are suffering  from encroaching roots from the big tree behind it. Weed mat goes in this weekend and then lots and lots of manure on top, plus some pea straw and that will be left to mulch off till late winter. The bed not the right of that will have the same treatment. The 2 far left beds have been manured and topped with the soil from the dug out bed. You can just see the courgette plants out of the left and right beds. The long skinny bed on the right didn’t do well as a bean bed this year so will be a potato bed next summer. The bed with the brassicas will continue through winter and the be deep mulched and manured in late winter. The front left bed with all the new soil in will be the pepper bed.

We are also hoping to put up wind breaks on both front beds to protect those crops when the nor’wester comes through (its strong and very dry so really damages the crop)




Some flowers around the place, not many left but I love the fact some push on even in the cold and frosts. Sadly the nasturtiums were knocked out by the frosts this week so will be tidied up. 

May 27, 2014 Food











My autumn garden is looking a little ropey, but its still producing pretty well. Carrots, onions, spinach, beets, squash and courgettes are all coming into the kitchen every few days.

Newly planted spinach and kohl rabi plants, my slightly eaten brassicas in a  party dug over bed (they will get moved I think). The back gardens, a slightly more healthy selection of broccoli, cauliflower and kale. Onion bed – nearly finished now. Carrot bed with its courgette plant. Squash still coming through. My helper. Flowers and the Monarch butterfly who visited us.

A number of the beds have been turned over and are ready for fertiliser and mulch and setting a side for winter. So its looking kind of messy!

This weekend I’m hoping to get the resting beds properly sorted and covered and the back tidied up, poles sorted. Trampoline moved out onto the concrete. 

Over winter we will do more planning and getting some new new beds in. 

May 2, 2014 Food






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Some outtakes from this week, when I’ve grabbed the camera to take a quick, often unfocused, badly lit pictures.

Baking – cookies. Damn they were good. Yoghurt making. A new tea towel that makes me happy. A knitting project (dishcloths) and a book to read form a lovely friend. The equine dude who decided to nap on our front lawn – I adore having a free range only at this time of year. Pinecone decorations by a little lady, garlic hanging in the background – I grew that! A wet wet run and soggy feet – but it was fun. And my lady, in all her frozen yoghurt eating, bum wiggling glory. She is so funny.

This week had been good. Rainy. We have walked and biked when we could, sometimes just snuggling up when the weather said ‘no’ to outdoor activity. There have been highs – and lows. Such is parenting

April 10, 2014 Food


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So we love fruit leather in this house, but damn its expensive. We favour Annie’s but it adds to much to the grocery bill to buy it weekly – particularly at the rate madam eats it. Hubby mentioned he’d seen a recipe that you can do without a dehydrator. So I googled. Then I did my own thing. I do that. I’m a culinary rebel.

Using the thermomix I blended what we had – strawberries and peaches from the garden and some slightly sad grapes from the back of the fridge. Does anyone else get that – sad fruit forgotten at the back of the fridge? Anyway, I digress. 

Blend fruits, I then used thelma to cook off the fruit for about 30 minutes (90oC reverse speed 4), I added a 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid as we were out of lemons and a teaspoon of maple syrup for balance.

Once cooked off and looking syrupy pour into lined trays and pop in a very very low oven (70 degrees C) for anywhere between 4-10 hours (mine took 10) Yeah it was a long time. Really long. Most of the online recipes say 4-6h but at that point mine were still goopy in the middle. Next time I do them I’ll just do them in the evening and leave them in overnight when our rate is lower.

They are yummy. Seriously as good as the bought thing. Next up, home made Nutella.

Oh and I made muffins too – for more immediate gratification 

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April 3, 2014 Food











To many photos, sorry.

Dog, mints and herbs, blueberry bushes, peppers (sweet banana). Carrots (paris market)  and beets (bulls blood). Peppers and cherry tomatoes (sweet 100). Cat (Binkie). More peppers (California bell). Tomatoes (copia, yellow pear, black Cherokee). Carrots (rainbow blend) courgette (gold rush) beets (choggia) Mostly hidden squash (pattypan). Insanely big pumpkin (no idea – seeds where a gift), onions, courgette plants in the background looking worse for wear. (costata romanesco, gold rush, black beauty). Winter brassica bed broccoli – (sprouting) cauliflower (little cloud) A single sad lonely kohl rabi – they didn’t do at all well this year.

The garden is doing well, still producing as much as we can eat. Sadly a epic fail this year for the majority of brassicas, we had a few cauliflowers but little else. I have seedlings coming in hopes of some late autumn revivals, kohl rabi, kale etc. The courgettes are slowing down a lot (need to plant a few more mid season next year for a more continuous supply). The squash is lovely – will do some proper summer and winter squash next year as we are loving eating it. Who knows what that pumpkin plant will produce – need to think about planting arrangements if that always get that big!

Strawberries still giving us lots (when madam doesn’t get there first). Tomatoes would have done better if I hadn’t mucked up their planting and staking.

Live and learn. This garden has given us huge amount of joy as well as produce this year. We enjoy it, it challenges us, but I think for the first time since we moved in 4 years ago we are actually in charge. We are running the garden its not running us!



March 14, 2014 Food

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