Sunday, October 08, 2017

Vanilla Ice Cream (8 people)

1/2 pint (240ml) milk,
1/2 pint (240ml) cream,
3 tablespoons (36g) icing sugar
1 tablespoon (20ml) vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 oz (7g) gelatine
Beat sugar and eggs until light and frothy. Dissolve gelatine and allow to cool. Stir in the milk. Add gelatine. Whip half the cream and fold into mixture. Freeze for 45 mins. Remove & empty into mixing bowl, add rest of cream & beat until light again. Return to freeze for 1 hour.

I haven't tried this recipe yet, but that seems like a LOT of vanilla. I might get ingredients for this tonight and see how it goes (I also really want to put cardamom in - this is a problem I suffer from in all areas of my cooking).

Edit 28/12/17:
I've tried this twice now (including for Christmas lunch) I'd re-write the recipe:

7g gelatine
25ml boiling water
2 eggs
36g icing sugar (castor sugar works too)
1 tsp vanilla (or to taste)
250ml milk
250ml cream

Dissolve the gelatine in the boiling water and allow to cool.
Beat eggs and sugar until light an frothy.
Beat in the vanilla and milk.
Stir through the gelatine.
Whip half the cream and fold into mixture.
Freeze for 45 minutes.
Scrape down sides, add the rest of the cream and beat until light.
Freeze for an hour and beat again.
Freeze for a couple more hours and serve.

This icecream is delicious! If you want to serve it and it's been in the freezer for a while, you'll have to set it out on the bench for a bit because it freezes solid. In a battle between butter knife and icecream, the plastic container I froze it in lost, the sides shattered before the icecream cut, but leaving it out for a few minutes made it soft enough to get out of the container.

Totally worth making, never tasted icecream quite like it!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Cumquat Marmalade

I love cumquat marmalade. I used to have terrible trouble sourcing it - you couldn't buy it anywhere and I only knew people with ornamental trees who were loath to part with the fruit. Now it is relatively easy to find for sale and I have friends with a giant tree who encourage people to come and raid it every year.

It is a little bit fiddly to make, cutting all the tiny fruit by hand and picking out the seeds. Sometimes (usually) I leave the seeds in, once you've started cooking it, they tend to float to the top and you can pick them out.

I've got two copies of the recipe, we think the one on the left is my great-great-grandmother's (Mildred [or Big Nan]) and the one on the right is my great-grandmother's (Olive [or Little Nan]). The recipe also works well for lemon marmalade.

Big Nan's Cumquat Jam
4 lbs Cumquats
6 lbs sugar
1 quart water
Prick or cut cumquats and then put on stove with water and boil until soft.
Add sugar and boil for half an hour

Little Nan's Cumquat Jam
4lbs Cumquats
6lbs sugar
1 qrt water
Wash and cut cumquats in slices. Add water, stand over night. Boil until soft, add sugar, boil for two and a half hours.

My version is relative (by weight) to how many cumquats I picked.
2 parts Cumquats
3 parts sugar
1 part water
Wash and cut cumquats in quarters. Add water and stand overnight.
Boil until soft then add sugar and boil until it passes the test where it turns to jelly on the plate you had in the freezer.
Fish out the seeds that have floated to the top.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Willow Housewife's Handbook on Cookery

I have my great great grandmother's cookbook. It is the Willow Housewife's Handbook on Cookery, but the recipes I use the most are the handwritten ones. I love working straight from the hand written notes, but I'm going to start putting them up here so I don't lose them/can find them again.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

One cat always leads to another?

 So I got it in my head that my poor scared BeeBee-Ate needed a friend to keep her company and show her how to be a cat. I made a list of personality traits I thought a second cat would need to fit in well with Bee and help, not hinder her. (Gentle, confident, playful, likes games of chasy, calm).

I found one cat on petrescue who I thought might suit. I went out to meet her, but she didn't seem to have enough 'play' to keep up with Bee. The woman who is fostering her recommended I stop in at the Lost Dogs Home, and to get a boy cat because she said they are smoochier and fit in better with other cats.

I looked at all the cats at the Lost Dogs Home and didn't see any that fit the bill. I looked at the kittens for half a second, but I didn't think Bee or I needed a kitten in our lives. Then as I walked out the door I thought again of the funny shivery little grey cat with a big metal staple in her guts who'd been pressing her self up against the glass of her enclosure when I went past. The staff didn't know anything about her. The home have waived the fee of adult cats for the month of July, so the cats have been moving through quickly and she'd only been in the adoption centre for an hour and a half. I went back and asked to look at her and she leapt into my arms and snuggled under my chin. Her little hip bones were sticking out and I was a goner. It just remained to be seen what BeeBee thought of her and the staff at the home reassured me I could bring her back if it all went to hell.

I followed the excellent advice of Pammy on adding a new cat to your household, but the beginning was a time of great stress and anxiety for me and the cats. Bee was horrified at the fuzzy little interloper. She stopped playing, she stopped eating, she hid all the time, her fur started falling out in little clumps that seemed to shoot off her every time she heard the new cat. The new cat was disgusted at being shut into a room on her own and just wanted to come oooooout and be frieeeeeeennnnnnnds.

But it has been gradually getting better, and today (eleven days after I brought the new cat home) I left them out together while I went to work and, when I got home, they both ran to greet me at the door.

I haven't worked out the new cat's name yet. I wanted to hold off until Bee agreed that she could stay. I was thinking Marilla, but for all that she's tiny wee bit of a thing she's a bit of a thug and Ripley suits her better (though I have trouble saying it). I'm also keen on Watson, and Tink or Starr are contenders.

It turns out the new cat has all the qualities on the list, though she is a little too enthusiastically affectionate for Bee's taste. She plays twice as hard as Bee, can leap extraordinary heights and has a predilection for destroying cardboard boxes.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

All about the cat

It has been 5 weeks now since I brought BeeBee-Ate home. I have been in paroxysms of anxiety because she was spending so much time under the bed. She would be super affectionate, and then something would give her a fright and she'd be off again.

I secretly wanted a lap cat, but the only time she sleeps on me is at night. That said, she shoots into the bedroom as soon as I'm under the covers and drapes herself across my legs. She's had a couple of nights of cat crazies on the bed, but she seems to have come to terms with the fact that I'm not going to get up and join her, so she goes and has the crazies somewhere else. She also sat next to me on the couch a couple of times while I was reading, so she might be a lap cat one day, but it is also okay if she just wants to be ornamental.

She is still very interested in eating, I've got her eating mainly wet food, a combination of raw meat, bones and organs and tinned food. She still wants the dry crunchies, but doesn't seem so desperately hungry anymore.

Her confidence seems to have leaped ahead in the last couple of days and she now comes and mugs you at the door when you get home for cat cuddles (rather than hiding under the bed) and she really leans in to the scritches. She has also conquered her fear of the clothes horse and has added pulling down socks to her list of fun activities. The other night when something gave her a fright she went and hid on the bed rather than under it!

She has so much energy for games and goes tearing up and down the rug in the corridor, playing with her toys, leaping and twisting in the air.

Saturday, April 29, 2017


Three weeks ago, I went to visit Bendigo RSPCA because they had a little orange cat who looked just like the cat I grew up with.

She originally came in to the RSPCA 6 months ago with a litter of kittens and they thought she was just over a year old. Her kittens were adopted quickly, and she went to a woman with Jack Russells.

The woman with Jack Russells had her for about 4 months and then returned her to the RSPCA because she was terrified of the dogs.

The RSPCA listed her as a year old again and she was there for another month. She's a bit stand offish to start with, so maybe that's why no one wanted her. She does that semi-feral thing where she gets used to you and is all snuggly, then freaks out a bit and needs to be off on her own. She does seem to be getting braver, but it seems like she'll always be a bit timid. She doesn't seem to be very confident in her own body, unsure about jumping onto things and balancing, but we are doing a gentle exercise program that will hopefully make her a bit more comfortable.

She is constantly hungry/asking for food, but she is not too loud about it. I've made her puzzle feeders and hide bits of dry food around the place for her to hunt for to try and convince her to slow down eating and not be so obsessive. Early days, right?

It turns out I'm a tiny bit allergic to her, but it's not that bad and it doesn't seem to be getting worse, so I'm just going to ignore it and hope it goes away.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Princess Pram blanket

I am nine squares in on this baby blanket and show no signs of slowing down. There is something satisfying about making square after square. I'll be stopping at 12, mainly because I'll run out of yarn. A little bit because I feel like a baby blanket shouldn't be too enormous.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015