Monday, 23 February 2015

"We can Pickle That"

Happy Preserving Day!!

After a fabulous summer of growing, a few of my friends and I decided to pickle and preserve the best of our summer crops!

We made a zucchini and capsicum pickle, pickled onions and tomato passata....

We also purchased some Tomatoes from the the green grocer, and as a bit of an experiment, decided to preserve them in separate batch to our home grown tom's...

Our store bought toms.. peeled and ready to 'get saucey'...

The mix of our garden toms - heirlooms, black russians, truss, roma's and then some other random ones...
The different smells while cooking was quite noticeable, with a much richer flavour coming from our home grown batch. The other noticeable difference was the colour, a much bolder, darker red.. On tasting the home grown batch won hands down!

Zuchinni Pickle simmering...
The Zucchini pickle was a particular favourite for the day - tasting amazing on crackers with some cheese, still warm from the pot!

The recipe is my aunt's - which I have attached. 

Because everyone needs Zucchini pickle in their lives..

And pickled onions... Traditional pub style, with pickling spice and vinegar!

They look tasty.. but fingers crossed in four weeks that is how they taste!

Our 'recipe' for the passata was VERY simple and pulled from about 30 different references.. Being first time saucers, we didn't want to go getting to fancy.. 

We simply de-skinned our tomatoes - we used about 8kg. 

First coring the top and marking an x on the bottom, a 45-60 seconds in the boiling pot and then into the ice bath to slip the skins off...

Then blending - we did ours in the food processor and then  straight into the pot to cook for 45 minutes... 

After 45 minutes we added just under 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar per batch (4kgs in each) to get the acidity right for preserving..

At this point it looked a little separated - so in went the stick blender for a quick whiz up.

And then our spoons for sampling.. we all agreed it was tasty at this point... high fives all round.

Into the pre-sterilized jars (which we kept warm in the oven post boiling.. Jars only.. we lost a few lids learning this process...)

And then boiled in the preserving pot until sealed - about 30 minutes! As we recycled our jars, we just waited until the little poppy bit had been sucked down, and bingo! They were ready...

We made 2 big batches (store purchased vs. home grown)

After sampling our fine preserves - making a tasty prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, basil, chilli, garlic and onion sauce, on fresh pasta, we were some very happy preservers!

Our pickling and preserving efforts...

Photo credits:

Rhi & Karzi.

On another note - I spent the preserving day thinking about this..

Portlandia - "we can pickle that"..

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Floral Flora - BHL.

Yah! Wedding Season... So many weddings, so little time for new frocks!

I made the By Hand London - Flora for a lovely couples wedding back in December. However, I have since worn it as my christmas dress and to another wedding this weekend. 

The pattern is a really simply sew up, and really rewarding as it looks so clean! The genius behind the lined bodice and closing it all up to be nice and tidy on the inside - is all done on the machine!.. I love machine sewn garments. 

The Fabric is from Tessuti - purchased in about November, and is a nice and heavy cotton sateen. Not still in stock, but you can find some of similar weight and drape here. It was an exxy purchase, but a leftover voucher from last christmas, and the fanciness of sewing a dress for a wedding made it worth it!

The dress is a flattering style, and I have fallen in love with the tank top with the pleated skirt... I am imagining tank crops and solo skirts! I added a lapped zipper to the dress - my go to finishing now! No fiddly invisible zips giving me grief at the waist join! Zooooooom - straight up!

Excuse the wrinkles! This was following the wedding.... So it had already been worn for the entire day! 

It took a little bit of fiddling to get the bodice to fit.. (including some cowboy sewing darts placed in at the last minute!) But I am happy I took the trouble.. Me and the BHL definitely have a different top size, but I am loving their patterns so much, I will commit to the many toiles...

Speaking of cowboy sewing... THIS SKIRT IS HUGE! The pleated action means it eats fabric like no tomorrow... and it needs super wide fabric! 150cm, no less! I thought I may be able to get away with 145cm (which I purchased, from tessuti.. rebel), but alas! No dice... It involved some cheeky cowboy sewing to add some inserts into the corner of the skirt panels. Not the text book solution, but it worked and it hasn't effected the drape of the skirt at all! And with the busy print, you can't tell!

I have plans to make another soon but as a seperates, a two piece set in a gorgeous print, extending for midi length, with a scuba knit top. If you don't see it come across the blog. Shut up. It failed.

Also... Meow glasses. Japan. Awesome. 

The Specs:

Pattern: BHL Flora

Farbic: Cotton Sateen from Tessuti and lined with cotton Voile

Notions: Zip.. It was super long. Now it's not. Thanks scissors.

Size: graded between 12, 14, 16.

Alterations: Cowboy darts under the arms. These have been transferred onto the flat pattern ready for the next version.

And wishing Sue and Seb and Stacey and Mat a long and happy married life together!