Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Pretties!!

Meet my new babies...  they were half-price today on Catch Of The Day and I could NOT resist! I know, I'm a total dork, but I'm so excited for these to arrive...!!! Oh, the food that I will cook in them.... Happy sigh.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Lovely Day To Make... Limoncello!

Happy Sunday!! Today we were promised rain, rain, rain. All I have seen is sun, sun, sun. Just look!!

Proof, from my backyard, that today has been sunny & cloud-free. Never mind! The sunshine gave me the perfect inspiration to make some delicious limoncello!! (Recipe here)

First, make sure you have 750ml of this:

Then take 6 lemons, give them a bit of a wash, and plonk them in a saucepan, covered with boiling water.

Leave them sitting like this for an hour.
In the meantime, make yourself some sugar syrup. Combine 1 cup of sugar with 1 and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. A pretty stirring spoon is a fantastic option, but not essential...

Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. If it doesn't fully dissolve, your syrup's going to be grainy.

All melted! Now, bring your heat up to medium-high and bring it to the boil. Watch it boil for a few minutes until it starts to thicken. Now, don't think, as I did, that it will be very thick at all. While hot, it only thickens slightly - basically you can tell it's thick enough when it's sort of drizzling off the spoon rather than dripping off it. It took me 2 batches of sugar syrup to work this out... blush!

Once the sugar is somewhat syrup-y, put aside to cool.

Once your lemons have been soaking for an hour, start grating them to get the rind. MAKE SURE to avoid grating any of the white pith just under the yellow skin, or you will end up with disgustingly bitter limoncello!
Take a peek at how much rind I got from my 6 lemons:

Don't rind if I do! *sorry, sorry*....
Combine your rind with your 750ml of vodka (I actually only used 700ml because I was being stingey and didn't want to open my 2nd bottle). I combined it in a bowl with a lip so it would be easier to transfer to a jug for pouring. If you have a jug that's big enough, just combine everything straight in there.

Mmm.. Chunky! Now, assuming your sugar syrup is cool, you can add it to your chunky lemon-vodka mixture. Then, transfer it to a couple of sterilised bottles***

This needs to sit for a month (a MONTH!), stored in a cool dark place and shaken every now and then. At the end of the month, you need to strain out all the chunks of rind, put it back in your bottles, and you have delicious limoncello! I can't wait to start making lemon drops and lemon mimosas in the Spring :)

Oh, and the final step is to track down any cute boys you might have in the house and proudly show them your wares. I found 3 cute boys in my house...

Needless to say, they were all very impressed!

*** To sterilise my wine bottle (the vodka bottle was freshly opened so was good to go) I filled it with 1 cup of warm vinegar, then topped it off with boiling water, and let it sit for 20 minutes with the lid on. Next I tipped that down the sink, filled the sink with boiling water and let the open bottle rest in there, covered with water, for another 20 minutes. My mother-in-law passed this tip onto me :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lady Trip!!!

I spent the weekend with mah besties down in beautiful Margaret River. In a nut-shell Margaret River was…

- A surprisingly short trip down, and a shockingly long trip back home

- The first time I’ve had nails long enough (sort of!) to paint since I was about 16 years old. They are now neon orange.

- A perfect mix of beautiful rain, and sunny sunshine

- A freakin’ delicious burger and chips at the Bootleg Brewery (my stomach is grumbling just thinking about it…!)

- A fun time of talking, listening and occasionally problem solving

- Discovering the very first wine I’ve ever liked

- A giant drunken domestic in the apartment above us, at 1am on Friday. Fun times.

- Thelma and Louise, which none of us had ever seen before! (followed by a massive appreciation for the insane Geena Davis. What doesn’t that woman do?!)

- Crochet time! I knocked 5 squares off, and now only need to make 1 more to finish my August quota. Woop!

- An epic blister on my foot! And no band-aids between the 3 of us!

- Tacos, burgers, stir-fry, French toast, and more chocolate than any of us are ever going to admit to eating

- The Chocolate Factory, and pining over a too-expensive roasted tomato mustard

- A pretty new turquoise wallet

- Watching the election, and consequently wondering exactly what a hung government means for the short term…

- Watching Hatti take naps

- Coffee (naturally) and tea (surprisingly)

We had an amazing time, and it was so good to be able to get out of town together for the first time since before I got married in 2008! I have to admit though, it seemed to go soooo fast, that now I’m wondering “Where the heck did the weekend go?”

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Pre-Spring To-Do List

I've mentioned that lately it's been sunny. Even though we're still in the early days of August, I'm convinced we've hit fake-Spring here in Perth. And nobody thought to tell the productive part of my brain that this isn't the REAL Spring, because I've found it's been quite suddenly kicked into gear! So thanks, premature sunshine, for cutting short my contented wallowing in Lazy Winter.
Yesterday afternoon I pulled out a new notepad and starting writing lists. Yup, lists, plural. But I will only bore you with one of them.

Things To Do Before Spring
1. Purchase a chunk of kitchen from Ikea. We've been talking about our planned kitchen reno FOREVER!

2. Weed the entire garden. If you saw our garden, you'd understand that this might not be all that realistic...

3. Make limoncello

4. Tidy up and re-arrange our cluttered, good-for-nothing reading room and turn it into the retreat it was supposed to be!!

5. Crochet 10 squares towards the blanket I'm working on

6. Pull up all the random concrete slabs all over our yard

7. Get rid of the random chunk of wooden fence in the middle of the yard, and the vine that's growing all over it (you can see, our yard is getting quite the touch-up!)

8. Frame & hang the various prints I've been purchasing over the last year!

9. Stop biting my nails - it would be so wonderful to paint my nails to be pretty for the Spring!

Contrary to much more standard lists, I'm stopping at 9 rather than the well-rounded 10. After all, we've only got half a month to go! Eeep!

Expect a follow-up in a few weeks...

Monday, August 2, 2010

What-I-Did Sunday

Sunday was a day of:

buying new herb seedlings

chilling in the garden

planting pretty flowers (photo edited by Steph with the Retro Camera app)

squinting in the sunshine

marinading, roasting and baking a pie from scratch

throwing the horrible pie in the bin

getting OldBoothed by Steph (my fave iPhone app!)

playing Jenga with Chris and Steph

applauding Chris's transformer-style man-tower of Jenga pieces

making and eating the most delicious, beautiful chocolate ganache tarts on the planet! (we used strawberries instead of raspberries)

Great day :)