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

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Wild Garlic Pesto.

The weather this weekend has been spectacular. Sun shining and birds singing and a lovely puff of breeze. It’s what Nick Cave referred to once as ‘the dirty end of winter’, but the snow doesn’t seem to think so – it snowed for a week in mid-January and since then it’s been getting a little more like spring every week. Last week I saw the first wildflowers of the season!

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Something else that happens at the start of the spring is that the wild garlic (in German: Bärlauch, pronounced bear-lock) starts to grow in the forest, which means when I go for a run through there I come home ravenous because it smells so good. So today I finally went and collected some. I got a few good handfuls and brought them home.

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After a good rinse, I dried the leaves and used my stick blender to mush them up. I then got some cashews for the mix but decided to crush them a bit before using the stick blender on them. Like so:

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Ta-da!

So I poured about three quarters of these in and blended them well, then poured the rest in and added a bit of lemon juice and a good bit of olive oil, blended a little more (not too much, I like a little bit of crunchy cashews in my pesto), added salt and pepper, and that’s it! 

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This stuff is a bit hot when raw, so cooked is probably best unless you like the taste of raw garlic. Mix it through cooked pasta with some grated parmesan, or however you like your pesto.

So to summarise, here’s the recipe:

2-3 good handfuls wild garlic leaves

about 1/4 cup olive oil

juice of 1/2 a lemon

cashews

salt and pepper, to taste.

Blend and eat!

The great thing about wild garlic leaves is that they taste like yummy garlicky goodness but don’t leave you with garlic breath!

Hope you had a great weekend, 

Cheers,

Luci

Air Freshener.

Hi there everyone! I’m sorry it’s been a little while, life has been conspiring to keep me off the internet. But I’m back now!

So this is just a quickie. My stick-diffuser air freshener in my bathroom is empty. It very well may have been for a while now, but I happened to notice it today, which is incidentally also the day that my lovely new essential oils turned up. One of which is Jasmine, which is one of my favourite scents in the world. We had it growing all around the house when I was growing up, and aside from smelling great it looks pretty too:

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The recipe is simple. I used almond oil as a carrier, a little vodka (you could use any strong clear alcohol) to help carry along the sticks, and about 25 drops of the jasmine oil. I’ll give that a day or two and then if it’s not strong enough, add more. 

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So that’s my solution to keeping waste to a minimum – recycle the old bottle! It was vanilla flavoured last time so we’ll see how much of that carries over, but vanilla and jasmine scents together will work pretty nicely anyway, I think 🙂

Apple Sauce.

I bought some apples recently and while they looked and smelled apple-y and wonderful, when I bit into one it was soft and squishy and just the wrong texture. There’s nothing worse than a Disappointment Apple. Well, as far as apples go, anyway. So I decided to cook the apples up, because they still had such a wonderful flavour and aroma. I peeled them because the internet recommended it, but actually I think next time I wouldn’t. I’m lazy, and anyway there’s tons of goodness in the peel.

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So I chopped up the peeled, cored apples (I used three), put them in a saucepan and added a little water, maybe 5mm in the bottom of the pan. It’s better to add less and top it up than to make it too watery. The recipe goes something like this:

3 apples, cored and peeled (optional)

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon maple syrup (or sugar)

a good few shakes of cinnamon

about half as much nutmeg

a little dash of salt

Put everything in a saucepan, cover and heat on low to medium, so the water gently simmers. Don’t let it dry out too much, add more water as needed but only a little at a time. Stir regularly and when the apples squish when pressed lightly with the back of a spoon, you’re done. Mash with a fork, masher, back of spoon, whatever. Taste and enjoy! I ate some of it with greek yogurt as a snack, and some more with the roast pork I made. Yum. 

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I love simple warming winter recipes! Do you have any favourites?

Cheers,

Luci

Summer Dress Part 2.

Well, it’s the coldest part of winter, what better time to make a summer dress…?

This is a follow on from the first instalment,which was little more than a teaser. But I got my bum in gear and actually managed to put together a functional item of clothing, woo hoo! But first things first:

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I plan to use this pattern again so I had to fold in all the larger sizes and longer version options on the pieces of pattern, after cutting them out (I am so slow at this stuff). Laying the pieces out seemed to take a long time – I must find out what the trick is to this step. But eventually I got to the nerve-wracking step of cutting the fabric and managed to not mess it up! Yay! Then I had to work out the instructions. Thankfully they had pictures, as the German instructions were pretty hard to translate. The first few steps had me make this, which didn’t look like much:

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But the next steps helped me turn that into this:

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Big n’ shapeless, but a recognisable part of a dress. So far, so good! I didn’t get any of the skirt-making in photos, but once I had that attached I got very excited as I had a dress-shaped thing! Putting in the zipper was a bit tricky and I think I could have done it a bit better, but I know that for next time.

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Then I put on the dress, zipped it up (the zipper works!) and discovered it looked like this…

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Shapeless and unflattering, and just the wrong length. I’d followed the instructions which said for sizing, go by the bust measurement, but apparently I’m an unusual shape because none of the rest of the dress fit properly anywhere. Luckily I’m much more experienced with taking in clothes, so after some quick pinning and some sewing, shape was re-discovered. I took it up a little to make it look a bit less 1950s, and this is the result:

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(not pictured: ugg boots. It’s bloody cold here!).

So that’s my first attempt at a grown-up sewing project, and I’m looking forward to wearing it in the summertime! Only 5 more months to go…

What do you think? Do you have any tips to make sewing from a pattern easier? Leave a comment below!

Cheers,

Luci

P.S. I actually finished this last week but delayed blogging about it in order to visit Prague for the weekend. So that’s where my priorities lie. 🙂

Summer Dress Part 1.

It’s winter here in Germany and the summer in Australia looks unimaginably hot from my 3 degree days, but I know it will be warm again one day and so I’m making a summer dress! I got given the pattern and cloth as a birthday present from my soon-to-be mother-in-law, and since I’ve never worked from a proper pattern before and it was written in German, it is a challenge. So this is just an intro – it’s about half done and I will hopefully finish it in the next week or so. Until then, this is the pattern:

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And this is the cloth I’m using:

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So check back in soon to see the finished product – wish me luck!

Cheers,

Luci

New Life for an Old Band T-Shirt.

I’ve always suspected that men’s T-shirts are made of a nicer fabric than women’s. Men’s T’s just feel nicer. So I don’r let Dom throw out any of his old shirts. They come into my sewing room and I see what I can make of them. This particular T is one I couldn’t resist – what self-respecting Aussie girl living in Germany (with a Heavy Metal freak of a man, no less) does’t have an ACDC T-shirt?

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Not me, that’s for sure! Not now, anyway. But I had to turn it from acres of soft shapeless fabric into something I would actually wear out in public. It looked like this, to start with:

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And I look like a girl wearing a man’s T-shirt. Comfy, but it’s indoor-only wear. So I got a-cutting and a-sewing. I took it in on the sides first, making it girl-shaped. This worked pretty well but the sleeves were then a sensible elbow-length. Not very rock’n’roll. So off came the sleeves. I gave it a slightly lower neckline, sewed up all the raw edges, tried it on and lo and behold – a cool new shirt for me! Woo hoo! I forgot to take progress photos (this is rapidly becoming a trademark of mine, sorry! Will strive for more progress pics from here on. Belated new years resolution…). What do you think of the finished product?

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Cheers,

Luci