Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Simple Feijoa Muffins

This is a very basic feijoa muffin recipe and is quite nice. It comes from my mother's recipe book, so not quite sure where it has come from originally, but it is quick and easy to make. Depending on how ripe the muffins are will determine how much milk you will need.

1 cup chopped feijoas
75 gram butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
Milk to mix

1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp Sugar

Make up a cup of cut up feijoas either scooping out little bits  or peeling them and chopping them. You want pieces about 1 cm 'square'.

In a large bowl toss together the sugar, flour and baking powder. Set aside.
In a separate container melt the butter and add the feijoas.
Beat the eggs and add.
Add about half a cup of milk and then mix all lightly into the dry ingredients adding more milk if necessary to achieve a soft muffin batter consistency, but don't over mix. There can still be bits of unmixed batter showing. This is not a runny mixture - don't add too much milk.
Fill 12 well greased muffin tins.
Mix the topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of muffins before baking in a preheated oven at 200C for ten to fifteen minutes.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Fair Isle Jumper

As I have mentioned in a previous post I have a Pinterest account and one of the boards is titled “Things I’d Like My Mum To Make.” Each of my daughters with children, adds pics to it when they see something they would like me to make.

I am slowly making my way through the requests and this is a jumper Jennifer wanted me to make for her daughter. The picture she chose is for a jumper that read...

“A cute little lopi-sweater for toddlers and kids. A traditional Icelandic yoke and high neck to keep warm during cold winter months.” 

It had a pattern named ‘frost’ that had to be purchased from America but I knew I would be able to adapt a pattern I already had.

Hunting through my huge selection of knitting books, pattern collections from magazines and old patterns from family and market sales, I was able to find a really old one that had actually come from my grandmother The smallest size was going to mean it would be a little big but it would be able to allow for plenty of growth and possibly two winters wear.

I then studied the design of the fair isle and graphed it out on some old maths books papers. These graph pages are nice and big and just great for this very purpose.

Then it occurred to me that being a yoke style there would be decreases every few rows evenly around the yoke. So I had to work this concept into the design hoping the decreased stitches wouldn't alter the design too much. Taking a bit of “knitting” licence I managed to work the design and decreases to suit me rather than follow the pattern precisely and still come out with a great copy of the pattern.

I found some wool in almost the same colours although the brand only had the dark pink and I prefer when knitting garments to stick to the same brand and type of wool so that if there is any shrinkage it will be the same.

I used 100% Pure New Wool actually grown and spun in Australia (much to my disappointment - no disrespect to my AUstralian friends, but we do actually have sheep in New Zealand!) Panda Machine-wash 8 ply crepe exclusive for Spotlight

Once finished Natalie was very happy to model it and I think she found it "quite warm thanks Nana."

(and 'no' the top right pic is not Natalie!)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Is Eight Enough?

Do you remember an American comedy series in the 1980's called "Eight is Enough"?

It was based on a real life father of eight children Thomas Braden who wrote a book about his life and sadly died at age 92 of a heart attack.

Now for some of you, you will think that eight is certainly enough - in fact maybe you think it is too much when it comes to having children - but for some of us the number of children we have is irrelevant to what anyone else thinks and really if we can and want to then, we just will.

We for one, have had five children and that is not counting the two we lost through miscarriage at twelve weeks. We believe children are gifts from God and we wouldn't turn down the blessing of them even to the extent that we stopped all birth control except natural control after issues with IUD's after our second. This was when we had our first miscarriage and we believe the damage done by the faulty insertion (and subsequent surgery for removal) of the devise was what caused the miscarriage. Natural Birth Control gave us full control of having (or not) children, which we allowed to 'lapse' for when our last two were conceived.

Mark 10:13-14
The Little Children and Jesus
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

There are many famous large families around the world and one that is quiet 'famous' is the Duggar family They have 19 children and lost two as well. There are some in New Zealand to name a couple... Craig and Paulette Venables, live in a five-bedroom house in Whangarei with their 12 children; founder and CEO Jane McAllister of Dimples and husband Sam have 14 children.

We have a family in our church who have just welcomed their eighth child into their family and I thought of no better way than to bless them with some baking. So over ANZAC weekend I gathered up some recipes and tried some new ones I had found.

They are posted on my other blog My Julie/Julia Attempt.

There are two different Anzac Biscuits,
Chocolate Chip biscuits,
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins and
an ANZAC Caramel Slice.
Bible reference from New International Version (NIV)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

So Long Snow White

I was working in the garden and come across a white feather from the chooks.
But this isn't just any old feather, it is one from Snow White. I was going to take a pic but I could hear my children saying “Oh Mum…” so I didn’t.

Unfortunately Snow White is no longer with us. She had been ailing for a little while now and couldn't walk or stand. We brought her inside for a few of the cooler nights and left her squatting by the water trough while we were out during the day but one night she passed away.

We have had her for some time now and arrived back in May 2010 with two other hens from a family who were relocating to the south Island and could not take them with them.

We have had hens ever since we ‘inherited’ Harry’s parents’ hens back in 1998. The four shavers we got laid well and then we just kept being given peoples hens that were either needing homes because they were moving, overcrowding or just not getting on with the rest of the broods.

Snow White was never much of a layer we soon discovered, but she would scratch at the weeds in the garden and help with fertilising it so we kept her on. Now she is buried in the old vegie path and will give her ‘all’ to fertilising deep in the depths as she slowing wastes away.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

ANZAC Day - Tirau 2015

I have mentioned in a previous post that the 25th April is ANZAC day in New Zealand (and Australia).

I just thought I would post some pics of how we in Tirau have commemorated this special day.

A service is held in the Town Hall and had a lot of people from our church participating in it. I have been going to them most years since arriving in Tirau, 30 years ago and was saddened to note that there was only one RSA member left from those first days.

The service started with Mrs Nora Martelletti, a long standing member of the Tirau Community Board welcoming and introducing our new minister Rev John Rush.

A message from the Governor-General of New Zealand Lt.Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae GNZM, GSO, was read out by a local RSA member, Clive Collingwood.

Like most services throughout New Zealand we all then stood while the bringing in and presentation of colours (the New Zealand and British flags) by members of local RSA War Veterans takes place and are stood next to the Roll of Honour.

We all then sung God Save the Queen.

Then members of organisations are invited to bring in their wreaths which are placed at the foot of the Roll of Honour.

Prayers were then said and a reading from Psalm 100 with a response per line by the congregation.

Amazing Grace was sung and the Lord ’s Prayer said.

Then two members of our Churches youth group read lessons from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and John 15:9-13, with all people saying Psalm 23 a Psalm said by many a soldier in his final hours.

A member of our Parish, Mary Tidbury, told the story of her family connection to Melville Mirfin. who was one of the first men to volunteer for World War 1 in 1914. He is featured on a special stamp issued to commemorate King and Empire. He served from 1914 through to the occupation of Germany in 1919 and became one of the longest serving soldiers of WW1.

We listened to a recording of “Sons of Gallipoli" composed and sung by Fr Chris Skinner from the disc entitled “You Raise Me Up.

The message from the Prime Minister of New Zealand Rt John Key was read by Cassandra Robinson, Chairwoman of the Tirau Community Board.

We all stood for the singing of the National Anthem of New Zealand and then a Dedication was said by Rev John Rush.

As we sung a last song Let There Be Peace an offering was taken up for the RSA Welfare Programmes.

Then the bit that always gets me is the playing of the Last Post and the Reveille with the reciting by of us all

They shall not grow old,
As we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them.
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning,
We will remember them;
We will remember them.

The service is closed with the Benediction and the retiring of the colours.

All the wreaths are taken to the Tirau Cemetery and placed at the foot of the flag pole in the RSA section and a single poppy is laid on the graves of RSA members buried there.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

ANZAC Day 2015

New Zealanders observe Anzac Day on April 25.

Poppies outside the Information Centre
On 25 April 1915, Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, the site of New Zealand’s first major battle of World War One with the loss of over 2,721 New Zealand soldiers. The Australian and New Zealand soldiers were part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula. What followed was a bitter eight-month campaign that helped to forge our nation.

Tirau's ANZAC service is held here
Messages were encouraged to be written he

Anzac Day is a national day of commemoration (also observed in Australia) and it is a time of remembering all New Zealanders who died serving New Zealand during war and it honours returned servicemen and women, past and present, who served their country in wars and conflicts. Many New Zealanders attend parades, dawn services (a moving rite of passage for many kiwis) or commemorative ceremonies on Anzac Day. The Anzac Day parades involve returned service personnel wearing their medals while marching behind banners. Defence force members, cadets and youth organizations also join in the parade. It’s also common to lay wreaths to remember New Zealanders who fought and died in past wars and conflicts.

We Will Remember Them banners
Anzac Day has been a public holiday in New Zealand since 1921. Schools, government offices, and many businesses are closed. However, it was observed as early as 1916. A civic delegation in Wellington persuaded the government to gazette April 25 as a general half-day holiday. By 1920 it was apparent that most New Zealanders wanted Anzac Day observed as a sacred day and later that year the government introduced a bill to make Anzac Day a national holiday. As of January the 1st 2014, Anzac Day became "Mondayised" which means if it falls on a weekend, the following Monday becomes a day off work. ANZAC day is still  commemorated on its actual holiday date.

Every year, thousands of Kiwis and Australians – young and old – travel to be part of a commemorative service at Gallipoli, in Turkey. Australia and New Zealand conduct three commemorative services at Gallipoli on Anzac Day each year. The Dawn Service at the Anzac Commemorative Site is jointly conducted by both countries and is followed by an Australian Memorial Service at Lone Pine, and a New Zealand Memorial Service at Chunuk Bair. As the Anzac Commemorative Site has a limited capacity, anticipated demand to attend represents a challenge to ensuring a secure, safe and comfortable visitor experience, while maintaining the dignity and solemnity of the centenary commemorations. such was the demand this year a ballot was taken and draen on 31 March 2014.

Tirau's fallen soldiers
Crosses for Tirau's fallen
Students from Tirau School researched information on fallen soliders
Since the first commemorative services in 1916, Anzac Day has evolved into the observance we know today, with Kiwis and Australians of all ages attending services and events across the world, from dawn until dusk. In the afternoon we relax, spend time with our loved ones and if we are lucky, enjoy a day off work. We honor the Anzac values of courage, compassion, camaraderie, and commitment and a time we depended on each other as brothers.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mecki’s Courgette Cake - Part two

Before I post this recipe I thought I would tell you a bit more of the story behind it.

For those of you who follow this blog and my facebook page you will know I have another blog My Julie/Julia Attempt  On this other blog I am trying to work through a plastic bag of recipes I have collected from all manner of places. You know; magazines, newspapers, flyers, friends, web sites, the back of packets food comes in and just anything that catches my eye. I had originally thought I would make a recipe a day – just like in the book by Julie Powell, ‘Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously’, that was made in to the film Julie Julia starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.

Since it is just Harry and I at home I am reluctant to do too much of the baking of some food because unless I can freeze it (and there is a limit as to how much I can fit in the freezer!) I have to eat it myself (and yes the weight is going on!) or take it to somewhere where it will be eaten for me.

Now as I have lamented to you before, my vegetable garden was not very successful this year (well of course it isn't – you have to work at it to have things grow) but I have friends (no smart comments thank you) and they have gardens – and abundance of crops.

As in a previous post I was given some zucchini; also known as the courgette and if left for too long – the marrow, and attempted a new recipe to add to my Julie/Julia Attempt. Then I discovered the omission of the amount of flour. But not to be down at the first or second hurdle I finally decided, after the gifting of more zucchinis from Frances, to try the recipe again.

The recipe below is what was posted in the newspaper with the added amount of flour. Now I still think the first cake I made with 2 ¾ cups of flour and being left in the oven for slightly longer was nicer than this one but it was still quite nice.

Mecki’s Courgette Cake,
named after Mecki the German Wwoofers who made it while staying at Annette’s Taylor’s place.

500g courgettes, grated
1 small cup oil
1 ½ cups sugar
3 beaten eggs
3 cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 150°C. Line a 22cm coke tine with greased paper.
Combine courgettes, oil sugar and eggs.
In another bowl sift flour and other ingredients except almonds.
Slowly stir the flour into the courgette mixture. Add almonds and mix well.
Pour into cake tin and bake for about an hour. Cool for 10 minutes then remove from tin. Sprinkle with icing sugar, and if desired, slice in held and add whipped cream