Tuesday, 28 January 2014

curds and whey

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A while ago my sister made Halloumi with a friend. I was so intrigued when she told me, I hadn't realised you could make cheeses like that at home.

Of course once I knew, I had to try it myself! I love to make things from scratch as you'd know if you've read this blog for any length of time.

I've made my own ricotta, paneer and yoghurt before, but I'd never realised that other cheeses were within the scope of the home kitchen. I imagined the equipment and processes were beyond the domestic realm.

I started dreaming about making Halloumi myself, and then for Christmas darling Mr F bought me this most fabulous Artisan Cheesemaking Kit. The kit I have is a beginner's kit but is very comprehensive and comes with all the equipment necessary to make a number of cheeses, from ricotta through to cheddar!

For my first cheese I of course had to attempt Halloumi, the cheese that inspired this adventure.

I first tasted delicious Halloumi many years ago, actually I remember, it was the first time I went to my Greek sister in law's house. This cypriot cheese is usually served fried as it is one cheese that doesn't melt on heating. It makes a great entree, or is delicious thrown into a salad or on a sandwich or in a pasta.

And it turns out Halloumi is also one of the simple cheeses to make, a fresh cheese that can be eaten the same day its made, straight from the pot. Which we did, fried in a little olive oil and butter. Yum. And I think you'd be surprised how easy it is to make your own cheese, I was.

Next up I made Mozzarella, but I'll save those pics for another day.

High school for my darling boys tomorrow and my big girl starts year 11 at the Senior Campus. We are very prepared for this momentous day, and went out today to buy some lunch treats for the three of them, my little way of sending a bit of me along with them.

Friday, 24 January 2014

homemade gozleme


I'm pretty sure we're pronouncing Gozleme wrong (goz-lemmy), especially when I hear other people saying goz-le-may! But whatever you call it it is delicious in any language.

I first tried gozleme at market stalls years ago, and it quickly became a firm favourite that I looked out anytime I was buying lunch from a stall. The type I like are made simply with spinach in pastry and a big squeeze of lemon juice on top.

Miss A started making proper gozleme a year or two ago, after we'd tried faking it with some wraps and cheese back here for her birthday lunch. Our fake version was tasty but didn't have the thin pastry wrapping round its filling as in the delicious originals.

The recipe we started using is this one from taste.com.au (a favourite recipe site). Its not traditional, I've read you need a certain flour for the proper version, and this market stall recipe on the sbs site doesn't use yeast, but requires you start ten hours ahead to let it rest and then roll and fold, roll and fold... I think I'll stick with our version for now.

Gozleme is a quick simple lunch which lasts on the table about two minutes. And its vego, which is always a good addition to our eating.

We recently made it while we were camping, on the camp grill plate, which shows you how simple and easy it really is.

This batch was made for our girl's birthday lunch last week (she's sixteen, can you believe it?!!!) according to tradition, and I took some photos along the way for those of you who haven't tried it.We like to add prefried mushrooms and you could also try onions, olives, eggplant, mince, egg, anything! Use baby spinach or just spinach leaves, no stems.

The only thing that would make it even better would be spinach straight from the garden and homemade feta, but I'm working on that (if you've seen my instagram feed you will know I got a cheesemaking kit for Xmas! But more of that soon!)

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

holidays * part two

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Part two of our annual holiday roadtrip entails camping on the Central Coast.

Our camping days started way back on my husband's bucks weekend (17 years ago). Mr Flowerpress' brother in laws and friends took him camping at the National Park campsite down the hill from his parents' house.

Mr F is the youngest of four kids, and a few months later all four siblings and their families came together to camp at this park situated on the most beautiful beach. Some of us were kid free in those days!

From there it quickly became an annual tradition, and every year since then we have camped together.

It gives our families who live in different parts of the state a chance to come together and time to catch up on all that's happening in our lives. Mixed in are friend's families who came to camp one year and just kept coming back.

We swim together, we cook together, we walk together, we laugh together and we live together.

There's no housework, no school, no work, no tv. There are waves and stars and bush turkeys and trees.

Some years it rains, some years its hot. Last year they shut the park to daytrippers when it hit 46 degrees. Another year we celebrated Miss A's birthday under a flooded tarp after a week of solid rain. A small tent collapsed under the weight of the deluge while we were singing Happy Birthday. You have to laugh!

One year I camped while six months pregnant with twins and well, this year those twins are going into high school.

I think it really hit us this year how long we've continued this tradition. We understood again how blessed we are for this special escape and company. And we celebrated that the big kids with lives of their own are still coming back to camp and still dreaming of this magic place.

I really hope I'm camping in another 17 years.

p.s. yes that is beer on tap, peroni actually, courtesy of an a b-i-l who was a publican for a while. And pps, pretty beach is on the bay, but still quite a pretty beach!

Monday, 20 January 2014

holidays * part one


I'm back and ready for the New Year!
I thought I'd share some of the hghlights from the last few weeks of holidays, it was lots of fun and so great to see both our families and spend time with them, a luxury we rarely get during the year as most of them live so far away.

The first leg was visiting my family up north for a fortnight. As usual we had lots of laughs, lots of great food, lunchtime beers, a great christmas and fun night out for new year.

I loved the early morning walks and swims on the beach and if you saw a raggle taggle bunch doing Salute to the Sun on the sand one morning with two dogs joining in, that was us. It wasn't pretty!

How are you all? So nice to keep up with some of you over the holidays on Instagram and share the cold drinks and hot sand. I really hope its cooler now poor Perth, Melbourne and Adelaidites. That hot weather looked pretty miserable.

Part two of the holidays tomorrow and then I've got a couple of simple tutorials I've photographed since I got back. See you then!

photos from above
* early morning walk and swim at Byron Bay dog beach...
* followed by coffee and very crispy bacon and egg muffins from Fish Heads
* my traditional xmas day pavlova (based on donna hay's recipe) - gone in sixty seconds
* the kids snowflake patterns saved from last year
* a love of flowers and art, inherited from mum and dad
* The Hombres at Bangalow pub for New Year's Eve, so good!
* big skies and time to watch them, heaven
* christmas doberman takes a nap
* not a moment to lose, a motto to live by

Sunday, 5 January 2014


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And there goes 2013, just like that!

Actually mentally I'm still in 2013, and will be for a while. I'm still on holidays and have some lovely family camping in my future, hooray. 2014 can cool its heels a moment while I recharge.

An annual tradition round here is this end of year post when I go through my Flickr pages and compile a mosaic or two of my creative life for the year. {and if you're interested here's 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008}

Its always a nice surprise to see how busy and productive I've been despite sometimes feeling like I'm getting nowhere and taking too long about it!!

This year is no exception. It was big! Some great important things happened this year and I learnt a lot.

My work was featured in The Sydney Morning Herald's Spectrum Design section.

I taught my first craft workshops at SewMakeCreate.

I did a ceramics course and learnt to throw pots. A new addiction this and I'm already signed up for more in 2014.

I learnt to Shibori, expose my own screens and make coiled brooches at workshops run by other people. It was fun! I tried embroidery. Here's to more learning this year too.

I cooked and ate a lot. A brief flirtation with the 5:2 diet and an increasing dislike for processed food saw me make my own pickles, jam, marmalade, yoghurt, ricotta, paneer, bread, soup, curries, pastries, pizza, dolmades, soap and lots of cake. I also grew more of my own produce, which made me very happy.

I printed lots of fabric. So much that I didn't get round to showing it all on the blog. That's something to remedy in 2014, and sewing more with my flowerpress fabrics is another.

I sewed some more clothes for me, and I thought and read a lot about learning to adapt patterns to my particular shape. That's another thing I want to pursue further this year.

I dithered in my bloggings and was quiet for some of the year. I can see from the comparative number of posts that I wasn't as present here. However, the absence made me realise blogging's importance in my life. I hope to embrace it anew. This year I hope to be a more focussed and committed blogger. Another thing I really enjoyed this year was getting out and meeting more bloggers in person, both friends I've met through the blog and via ABCD meetups and the Voices 2013 competition. Bloggers are such lovely people and its nice to have a chance to catch up on all that stuff that you never talk get a chance to talk about in emails.

Do you have plans for 2014, I need a few more ideas for the year, and I'd love it if you wanted to share yours here. And Happy New Year!!!  Here's to 2014, but not just yet ;-)