Earrings and castles.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I like me some earrings. Big dangly earrings, cheap and cheerful or whatever you’d call them. So I’ve recently bought myself a few tools and supplies and I got a-making. I was pretty unsure of how they’d turn out so I didn’t get any progress photos, but here’s the finished product, what do you think?

photo 1

 

Well consider this just the first little bit of what may become an addiction, home-made earrings, uh-oh! More to come 🙂

But the other thing I wanted to share was from a couple of weeks ago when Dom and I went to Bavaria for the weekend. We went here:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wait, here’s a version without those people getting in the way…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 

Yes we went away for our anniversary, down to south Germany to the alps in Bavaria, and it was just spectacular. This is Castle Neuschwanstein (new swan stone, named after the swans that were a symbol of the ruling family at the time), which I always think of as the Disneyland castle. I can’t believe I took that photo! We had a long weekend of hiking and good food in a beautiful part of the world, which I highly recommend.

Summer is over now, there’s a real feel of autumn in the air. The leaves have even begun to fall. Does anyone have suggestions for good autumn-y things? Recipes, seasonal decorations, anything? I’d love to hear from you!

Cheers,

Luci

 

Rainy Day Blueberry Pancakes

August is supposed to be the hottest part of summer here, but I think the weather is trying to remind me of back home in Oz, because it’s been cold and rainy and really Melbourne-ish weather here for the last week or so. Bad weather makes me hungry, so on Sunday morning I decided that gorging on pancakes was the way to go.

on a plate with condiments behind

grey sky

Summer?

We’d been to a little farmer roadside fruit and veg stand the day before, hoping to find fresh strawberries, but they were out. And we got caught in a sudden freezing downpour. But on the upside, we got half a kilo of fresh delicious blueberries. And so of course they had to be incorporated into breakfast on Sunday!

all fruity

Basic pancake mix is: 

1 egg

1 cup self-raising flour

1 cup milk

pinch salt

That’s it! But I embellished on this mix and added:

about half a cup of blueberries

1 tablespoon icing sugar (or castor sugar, I just used what  had)

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Mix ingredients (minus berries) thoroughly, adding milk if it’s too thick and making sure to get out any big lumps. Once mixed, add the blueberries and stir through.

Add a little butter to a medium-hot pan. Ladle some batter mix onto the pan and tilt the pan back and forth a little, until you get a fairly even spread of mix. Cook for a couple of minutes, then flip. I keep my pancakes on a plate in a 50 degree oven until all are done, so they stay warm.

To serve, my absolute favourite topping is maple syrup with whipped cream, and adding any leftover blueberries (or any fruit, we had some raspberries in the fridge so they go in on the pancake love too). A squeeze of lemon juice and a little sugar sprinkled over is pretty yum-o as well. Here’s a gratuitous condiment shot:

kinda arty

So enjoy, I know I did!

Sorry for not posting last week by the way. Never fear, I’m not going anywhere. Scheduling is back to normal 🙂

Cheers,

Luci

It’s a Lamp!

(imagine the title being read in the same way Admiral Ackbar says “it’s a trap!” in Return of the Jedi. Yep I’m feeling nerdy!)

So I managed to break my bedside lamp a while ago (ok, several months ago…) in the most lame of ways – I dropped a tube of lip gloss onto the glass lampshade and it made a perfect little hole in the side and a shower of glass splinters. I wish I’d taken a photo as it was quite cute but yeah broken glass doesn’t work as a bedroom feature. Not in my house at least, some people might be into it though, who knows?

Anyway, I’ve been living without a bedside lamp ever since, using the torch app on my phone when I want to read in bed. This isn’t ideal so I’ve been on the lookout for a replacement, with the thought that I might try to DIY something (maybe even make a replacement lampshade as the rest of it is still totally fine). I had spontaneously bought a string of cheap white LED lights a while back with the thought that maybe I’d use them on our balcony but hadn’t got round to stringing them up. Then I was at a second hand market a little while ago and saw a big ol’ glass bottle that gave me an idea, so i forked out the 5 euros and brought it home. 

OK

 

I don’t know if this even counts as a DIY but I’m really happy with how it turned out. I just fed the string of lights in and let them pool in the bottom of the bottle, with just a few leading up to the neck as the light-less section of cord was relatively short, but the little light poking out at the top makes it seem vaguely lantern-like to me. The light it throws is soft and lovely thanks to the kinda smoky-gold colour of the glass, but still bright enough to read by. Very important for me 🙂

What do you think? It’s something different and a little decorative, which is a big step for me as I usually go for strictly practical household items but I’m trying to branch out a little!

good needs cropping

Cheers,

Luci

Refashioned for summer

Ever since I started sewing, I’ve been asking my everyone I know to pass on any clothes they might having lying around in their wardrobes that they don’t want, so I’ve got fabric to practice on without having having to pay for it. Sometimes, though, I try transforming things into something new. Sometimes, it even works!

This is what caught my eye recently:

before good

I love the colours and it’s a soft cotton blend which would make a great summer dress, but it had long baggy sleeves and weird rouching (or whatever it’s called) on the front. So, first to get rid of that weird front detail-y stuff.

removing weird stitches

After getting rid of that and giving it a good iron, I was left with this to work with:

big n shapeless

Hrm. Well, next to get it to fit a bit better. I put it on inside out and used safety pins to get it just right:

Inside out pinned

Looking a bit better, but a bit like i have sails! So off to the trusty sewing machine to sew up those sides, then trim off the excess (this is a non-fraying fabric, woo hoo!).

sewing

All that was left is the arms. First I chopped them off just above the elbow:

sleeves off good view

 

Then after a bit of trial and error adjusting the sleeve length, I got it looking pretty good. So sew and chop off the excess, and time for the try-on of truth:

finished good

 

That’ll do! I’m very happy with my new summer dress, and now that the rain has gone away I may get to take it for a test run. Morla isn’t so sure…

Morla under umbrella

 

Cheers, 

Luci

 

Avocado Carbonara

So we’re big pasta fans in this house, although as it’s been so hot here recently we’ve been opting more for salads like this, or BBQ, or anything that doesn’t involve having the stove on for too long. However, on this weekend just past, Dom took part in a triathlon, which means we spent the few days leading up to it doing that wonderful thing runners use pre-event – we carb-loaded. (by the way, no – I didn’t do the triathlon, but I had to join in on the food festivities to be supportive, right?)

in bowls

 

So I decided a nice creamy linguine carbonara seemed in order. It’d been a while, and also carbonara is freaking delicious. So off to the supermarket and home again, laden with pasta and cream and bacon and eggs and cheese. Only to discover, in my fruit bowl, an I-must-be-eaten-today avocado. Well, I can’t resist a good avo’, so that went in the mix too.

Here’s how I put it all together:

Ingredients (serves 4, or two over two days!)

500g pasta of choice, I prefer linguine or spaghetti

200ml cream

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

300g  bacon (no rind), diced

1 large onion, diced

2-4 crushed garlic cloves, depending on how strong you like your garlic. Actually I think I used 6…

about 50g grated parmesan cheese

1 large, ripe avocado (optional (but not to me)), chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

fresh chives or spring onion, chopped

chopped avocado with compost

egg mix

 Method

Put a pot of salted water on to boil, then put the pasta in to cook until al dente. Drain, set aside, keep warm.

fry bacon until it starts to brown, then add onion and garlic and let those fry up in the bacon fat (note – watch out here for curious/hungry fiancees here who smell what’s cooking and want to eat everything immediately. Chasing said persons off with a spatula may be effective, though only temporarily).

bacon frying

Add the cream once the onion is fried to translucency, and reduce the heat. Once cream begins to boil, add the drained pasta to the mix. Pour the eggs over the pasta, mixing through as you go so the egg sticks to the pasta. Then add in the avocado, sprinkle the cheese and chives and a good bit of salt and pepper, stir though, and you’re done!

ready to serve

 

Serve to aforementioned hungry person and a generous amount to yourself.

By the way, he did great in the triathlon!

Oh and I know I’ve been more food-focussed recently but there are other things I’ve been up to that aren’t edible, so I’ll share those with you before too long. In the meantime, do you have any comfort food you like finding an excuse to eat, like I do?

Cheers,

Luci

Coriander-Mint Quinoa Salad Deliciousness

It’s full-on summer here now, and so hot I had to go emergency bikini shopping last week (my one from last season had died on me, I think I need back-up swimwear supplies…). That also means it’s too hot to spend much time in front of a hot stove, or to turn the oven on. That’s how this recipe was born.

Ready to eat

This is a fairly simple recipe, but so yummy I just had to share. Dom liked it too, he ate three full bowls (always a good sign)!

Ingredients:

About 1.5 cups uncooked Quinoa

1 ripe avocado

1 red onion

1 cucumber

1 pack cherry tomatoes

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained.

A good handful each of fresh mint and fresh coriander

juice from 1 lime

Salt and pepper and chilli flakes, to taste

Olive oil

Method:

Rinse uncooked quinoa thoroughly, then cook according to packet directions, leave to cool.

While quinoa cooks, finely dice onion, avocado and tomatoes. Add to a large bowl. Add drained chickpeas.

Finely chop coriander and mint, add to bowl. Add lime juice and cooled quinoa, season with salt and pepper and a little chilli, if you’re into that sort of thing. Mix thoroughly and serve with a light drizzle of olive oil.

That’s it! It’s a mixture of crunchy and creamy and tangy and refreshing, and perfect for these hot evenings.

Rinsing

Rinsed

Ingredients on board

Ingredients in bowl

Herbs

 

ready blurry

An added plus – it makes for a great take-to-work lunch (yes, these finished-product photos are all in my lunch box, I was too hungry to remember to take photos of it all plated up nice so let’s just assume the presentation was amazing, OK?).

And just because the sunsets have been incredible recently, here’s a pic from at the lake last week:

Sunset

Until next time, Cheers!

– Luci

What’s your favourite hot-weather dinner?