DIY Coat Hanger and Feather Wreaths

gum-wreaths-3

Wire coat hangers are one of those things, like odd socks, that multiply in your wardrobe surreptitiously over time. This is a great use for at least one of them!

It’s a 30 minutes exercise and delivers an instant Christmas wreath… simple and easy for kids to make too.

You can tie the greenery or flowers to the wire or just twist it round and around, depending on how soft and bendy the flowers stalks are. It’s also a wonderful way to used fresh picked herbs which are soft enough twist around and add a lovely fragrance to the room.

And at the end of the post you’ll find a Found Feather Wreath which is also just as quick and easy if you already have a feather collection.

Read More...

Cooking with Chickpea Flour

chickpea-fritters-hero3-5

Made with healthy chickpea flour and lightly fried in good olive oil … what’s not to love about these salty nibbles?

At first glance, “Panelle” as they are called in Sicily, look a little bit like fat corn chips but these delicious puffy morsels are a revelation. They have a nourishing nutty taste and the flavour of olive oil without any greasiness.

Watching Fabrizia Lanza prepare this dish in the kitchen of Case Vecchie was a study in wonder. We watched, with our cameras and notebooks poised and, as each step unfolded, we were no closer to imaging the last.

The result served to us with a traditional Aperol Spritz in the courtyard of the old stone house, the late afternoon light receding over the hills. We could not stop eating them.

Read More...

Bringing Sicily Home

sicily-5

In Australia we call fava beans, in their distinctive large green spongy pods, broad beans. I always felt they were too much work until I tasted the authentic flavours of Sicily in Fabrizia Lanza’s fava bean soup … with an egg dropped in the middle and dusted with fresh parmigiana. I think you could taste the green goodness. And when I returned I waited to see them appear so I could bring some of that sicilian summer feeling into my Clareville kitchen.

Here I have used them simply … tossed into a raw zucchini salad and dropped into tomatoe and goats cheese tarts .. perfect for summer picnics.

Read More...

Afternoon Tea Classics

date cake hero

I have such strong memory of mum inviting the “ladies” over for afternoon tea. Beautifully dressed women with powdered faces and smooth lipstick pressed on cheeks as they said hello. The strong smell of perfume, each with their own, creating a heady mix of scent in the dining room. A medley of fine china cups and saucers patiently waiting on the linen covered dining table. These are two of mums classic afternoon tea recipes; Date Cake and Shortbread Pecan Balls. They’re very easy to make .. even easier if you use a kitchen wizz.

Read More...

A Sicilian Food Odyssey

The wondrous kitchen garden of Case Vecchia, full of fragrant herbs and flowers with beautiful fig trees ... a dream to sit it and wander through.

Sicily may seem a strange destination for someone who had been slowly transitioning away from wheat, pasta and dairy but there is undoubtedly a romance in the idea of living and learning in this simple rustic way and understanding the authentic roots of Sicilian cooking and farming and the wonder of bounty of their kitchen garden … tall artichokes, rows of fava beans hanging waiting to be picked, spinach, rainbow chard, tomatoes, olives, almonds, wild greens and honey. And it more than delivered.

Join me on my pilgrimage to the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School in Sicily with this recipe for a delicious Almond and Olive Oil Torte, “Torta di Mandorie e Olio d’Oliva”

Read More...

“Easy-as” Country Style Table Runner

Runner table1

A vintage linen runner, simply stitched, which I recently purchased from Faded Emporium inspired this design for an “easy-as” DIY version.

Just stitch together linen tea towels and voila! For instance, for a French country look you might like striped red and white linen or for a more Australian look just the raw linen perhaps with a faint little stripe.

(as they are already hemmed you don’t even need to own a sewing machine!)

Read More...

Yammy Drops – no guilt

jam drops-8

This recipe for Yammy Drops (yummy and jammy) is really a healthier version of the old fashioned jam drop. But don’t expect the same shortbread consistency, these are chock full of nutty flavours drawn from the sunflower seeds, tahini and almond meal and sweetened with maple syrup .. (the jam in the middle is a real treat). They’re great for school lunch boxes or to satisfy that 3pm low point when you’re normally seeking out chocolate!!

Read More...

Walnuts – Cracking and Baking Tips

walnuts hero

A walnut grower selling from a stall in a Canberra market last Saturday shared with me the “best ever” tip for opening walnuts in the shell. No more nut crackers needed when you follow these simple steps.

And to celebrate the joy of walnuts we have a recipe for Fresh Apple and Walnut Clusters … too chunky and full of apple, walnuts and raisins to be called a muffin !

Read More...

Sweet Potato Pie Base – Boom!

IMG_4026

Following on from our focus to transition slowly (the 20% rule) to healthier alternatives for the traditional ingredients we love … Here is a pastry-free crust for quiches or savoury tarts that really works a treat. You can prepare this sweet potato crust in the pie dish or tin and freeze it so you always have it on hand when you need a quick and tasty lunch or dinner. Especially good when you’re wanting the whole family to eat just a little bit healthier. Enjoy!

Read More...

Branch Weaving

feature shot3

Last year I had the joy of a experiencing a real slow living creative retreat in the hinterland of Byron Bay organised by an incredible team from Australia and abroad. This Local Milk Retreat was a mindfully created and curated 3 days photographic, styling, cooking and collaborative experience which provided the opportunity and luxury of slowing down and reconnecting with your creative passions.

It was such a treat to take time out to inhale the minutia of moments, the dappled light on a window, the texture of plate and linen, the color of fresh picked produce, the alchemy of a well crafted meal … in order to “speed up” your craftsmanship.

A highlight for me was learning branch weaving with Rebekah Seale from The Camellia Fiber Company in Tennessee. Follow the instructions and create your own.

Read More...