Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mumsey’s Chocolate Kiwifruit Muffins

This is a recipe I made up myself.

Katrina wanted to have the two flavours and we looked on the net but the only recipes we could find were kiwifruit muffins with chocolate chips. She wanted a chocolate muffin with kiwifruit in it. So here it is and even if we do say so ourselves they are rather yummy.

1 ½ cups flour
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cocoa
½ raised tsp on baking soda
1 raised tsp cream of tartar
100gr butter
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup cubed kiwifruit

Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork.
In a separate bowl melt in the microwave (or a pot on the stove) the butter.
Add the milk and egg and beat with a fork to mix and break up the egg.
Slice and cube the kiwifruit and add to the milk mixture.
Fold the liquids into the dry ingredients in the bowl, folding about 14 times until just dampened. There may still be bits of dry flour but that is fine.
Spoon the mixture into 12 well-greased or paper cased muffin tins.
Bake at 210°C for 15 minutes until well risen and the centres bounce back when lightly pressed.
Let stand for 10 minutes in the tins before tipping out and allowing to cool

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In the News

As I have mentioned in an older post I work in our church's office in Tirau in the mornings, Monday to Friday. My position is office manager and entails all sorts of things.

As you can imagine being a church, Christmas is a busy time. One of the things we do is give out Christmas Love Boxes to people we know in our town that have had a bereavement through the year, a hard time in any way or worked very hard in some area and we as the church just want to bless them at this time of the year. The boxes are made up with basic grocery supplies and as many typically Christmas themed items we can obtain. People in our parish contribute to the 'store' throughout the year and although we give out food boxes to people during the year as we are aware of the need, the end of year boxes are a big 'drive'. Over the last three years the Lions of Tirau have also given us some boxes of items they have collected from their members at monthly meetings.

One of the wonderful aspects of my job in the business of the season is to deliver these boxes that a group of people have helped to make up. We have in the past given out 8 to 10 but with the help of the Lions that number has increased over the last few years and 2011 saw us blessing 17 homes in the town.

One of the local 'free' newspapers The Matamata Chronicle did an article on this project and it was published this week with a photo of Mark Sutherland, the Tirau Lions President and myself.

Unfortunately the photo in the article hasn't saved with the newspaper link but they emailed me a copy.
And as it says some people are completely overcome with emotion when they receive these 'gifts' but I too am filled with joy at seeing and knowing how we have contributed into their lives at this time of the year.
It is indeed better to give than to receive

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Monday, February 13, 2012

Poached Plums in Brandy

This is a quickly simply lovely dessert served with ice cream; either straight from the jar in the summer, or reheated in the winter. When I bottle them up I leave about 2 cms of space for plenty of the syrup to fill the jars completely, as the syrup is yummy.
600ml brandy
Rind of 1 lemon peeled in one long strip
350gr caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick (broken into three pieces)
1 kilo plums

Wash the plums. Put the brandy, lemon rind, sugar and cinnamon in a large pan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved, stirring gently.
Add the plums and poach for 15 minutes until soft.
Remove the fruit and pack in to hot sterilized jars.
Boil the syrup rapidly until reduced by a third.
Strain and pour over the plums carefully so the jars don’t crack to cover the plums and fill the jars so a good seal occurs.
Cover with lids.
Label when cold and store for up to 6 months in a cool dark place.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Making a Change

Would I want to be Amish?
I have just read a series of books by Beverly Lewis, and I am always inspired by the simple life style of the Amish.
There is no clutter, basic living conditions, sound roles and a Godly devotion to God and each other.

Well there are some things that would not draw me there. The lack of electricity for warmth, cooking or washing, ironing  and vacuuming. The separation from men at some meals and church.

But still there are things that we could all learn from them.
The fellowship they have in canning (Bottling the grown veges and fruit), quilting and other hand crafts the woman do together.
The men helping each other out with farm chores and building.
The community worshiping and eating together, supporting those that are going through a hard time, illness or birth/death.
Because of who they are they are often closely related but also very close knit as a community so keep together.

I find when I have read stories about them, I find I want to de-clutter and get back to all that makes me a woman, wife and home maker. I long to have the time to do all these things and not be rushed. I know I can have all this without actually joining a community by making good choices at home.

After really thinking and wanting this I realised that I spend far too much time on the computer. I have recently had some surgery and been reduced in the things I could do but as I slowly recover it has given me time to rethink and start a fresh.
I prayed to have my life in order and to be who God made me to be.

I have a facebook page and in the past played many of the games available. One was EggBuddies and I was addicted to it needing to come on three times a day to play and gain eggs/points/gold coins.
Many people would make remarks about it so then I started another identity just for games. In time I was shown that I seemed to be drawn or addicted to being the winner/being on top/competing the highest level etc... but all over pixels.
I didn't go to that identity for 36 hours and I realised the desire had gone. I deleted that facebook "person" and am now feeling quite a relief that I am on a new road.

I wont be joining an Amish community but I will be doing all I can to "keep it simple".

The Amish are just waiting to become cyborgs, too?

Which brings me to the other part of this post: the Amish. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by these people. These are the true minimalists! A people living only with what they need, (considerably less than we think we need!) free from the distractions of the internet, owning very little ‘stuff’. They live in small, clutter-free houses, have wardrobes with only one type of clothing in them and don’t waste any of their time on Facebook or in front of the T.V., because they haven’t even got electricity. Minimalists for sure, cyborgs – not at all.
I’ve said it many times, jokingly… and my wife is even serious when she states: “I’m moving in with the Amish one day!” But seriously, join the Amish if you want a simple life, a minimalist life, free from the burden of consumerism, online distractions and high-tech gadgets. Where there still is time to enjoy nature. Time to see your children grow up. Time to take a long walk through the woods. True minimalist bliss.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Judgment and The Mercy

A continuation from my last post I have just finished reading the two other books from Beverly Lewis' The Rose Trilogy.
The order is :
The Thorn
The Judgment
The Mercy

This is the story of Rose Anne, a young Amish woman in her early 20's set in the late 1980's. She made a commitment to the church at a very early age and has devoted her time to help in her home taking over the chores as she is the youngest of a large family (who have all married and left home) and her mother is confined to a wheelchair after a buggy accident.
Her sister Hen arrives home in the first book to return to her Amish roots with her daughter after being married to an Englisher for five years. Her husband Brandon wants to divorce her and gain custody of their daughter but is involved in an accident on the way to the lawyers and is persuaded to come to the farm to be looked after by Hen until his temporary blindness goes.
Rose has been a friend to the Bishops adopted son Nick (they live on the next door farm) since he arrived in the community as a young boy but after what appears to be a fight with the bishops son and his death, Nick flees to return to the outside world.
Rose is courted and engaged to a Amish man which she breaks as she still feels for Nick and there is another woman her beau likes, then courts another from the next district.
These books really need to be read one after each other and I am pleased my daughter Jennifer had all three. When they first came out there were a few months between and I don't think I would have liked to have to wait.

I wont tell more to spoil the stories but I really enjoy Amish stories and the simple life.
Beverly Lewis is a great writer of these having been raised in Pennsylvania Amish country, she has plenty of knowledge of the community. Her stories as fairly predictable but there is something relaxing and likeable about them.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Thorn

Beverly Lewis
I have just finished reading the first book in the Rose Trilogy by Beverly Lewis. I have read and loved a few of her books that are based on Amish families.

There are a few book reviews around but this is a summary of a couple you can find online.

Lancaster County, with its rolling meadows and secret byways, may seem idyllic, but it is not without its thorns. The Rose Trilogy is the stirring saga of two Amish sisters, and the events and decisions that change their lives. 

Rose Ann Kauffman, a spirited young woman,  has long enjoyed a close friendship with the bishop's rebellious foster son. Nick dresses Plain and works hard but stirs up plenty of trouble too. Rose's older sister, Hen—who knows more than she should about falling for the wrong man—cautions her against becoming too involved with him, but Rose is being courted by another, a good, Amish fellow, and so dismisses the warnings. 

Hen Kauffman Orringer's impulsive marriage to an outsider divided her from the People, a decision she regrets now that she has a daughter of her own. As Hen struggles to reclaim aspects of Amish culture, her very modern husband pushes back, and the two soon come to an impasse.  Can she find a way to reconcile her longing for the Old Ways with the life she has chosen? Unable to abandon her Amish ways, Hen is soon separated from her very modern husband. Mattie, their young daughter, must visit her father regularly, but Hen demands she wear Amish attire--and speak Pennsylvania Dutch, despite her husband's wishes.

Meanwhile, Rose keeps house for an English widower but is startled when he forbids her to ever go upstairs. What is the man hiding?

 Will Hen be able to reestablish her place among the People she abandoned? And will she be able to convince Rose to steer clear of rogue neighbor Nick?

 Like most of her books I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next two in the series. I find when I have read them I almost long to be apart of the Amish community, probably for the same reason the Hen so wanted to return to her Amish roots. The simple ease of life although hard working seems to have chosen the important things in life.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Plum Chutney

This is a lovely dark red rich chutney. It is a little hot so you may need to experiment with the amount of chilli you put in it. The original recipe called for fresh chillies, chopped (25gr), but I have never bought or grown chillies so I use dry ground chilli. You could use the preserved chilli you can purchase in a jar, but again you would need to experiment with the amount.

1.5kg plums weighed after stoning.
500gr carrots grated
625mls malt vinegar
500gr raisins
500gr soft brown sugar
25gr chopped garlic
1 small teaspoon gro
und chillies
25gr ground ginger
40gr salt

Cut up the plums and remove the stones.Weigh them to obtain the correct volume.
Grate the carrots.
After weighing the plums, add to a preserving pan with the carrots and vinegar.
Simmer until soft.
Add the remaining ingredients, and simmer for one hour until the mixture is thick and soft.
Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Put into hot jars and seal.
Label and let stand in a cool dark place for at least two weeks for the flavours to mature.