Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Quantities of Quinces

I love the smell of quinces - its quite insidious how it seeps into everything, the car now smells like Quinces, evidence of our magnificent haul from the Easter weekend in Orange.
Not the most beautiful fruit (but definitely one of the most fragrant!)- Quinces!
We always seemed to get out hands on these beautiful fruits growing up- I can't remember who in the neighbourhood had a tree, but it only takes one of these delightfully prolific plants to keep everyone well stocked.
My parents have two trees - the branches are so weighed down with fruit that they rest on the ground and when you pick the fruit they spring gratefully back up!
Even with mums prolific preserving, and the local wildlife there is more than enough quinces for everyone.

As those who have been tricked into eating these raw- they are tongue-curlingly rich in tannins (and hard!), whilst some varieties have been bred so you can eat them raw ( or when they are very very ripe), the traditional varieties are useless unless cooked.
Qunices are known as Cydonia oblonga  with the rather fitting species name (oblonga) being a testament to is knobbly and odd shape.
In the cooking process the phenolic chemicals in the flesh (responsible for the astringency, e.g tannins) break down into subunits which can easily form anthocyanins in the presence of oxygen.  Its these anthocyanin compounds that given the rosy to deep red colour typical of cooked quinces.  (Read here for more). Due to the nature of anthocyanins, to get a deeper red colour a bit of acid can be added to lower the pH (However some cultivars produce a deeper red than others - so don't worry if yours are pinker rather than red).

Quince paste has been made throughout history (known as membrillo in spain!), its probably accompanying a cheese platter that most people have been exposed to Quinces, its ridiculously easy to make (and much cheaper than buying it!).
Its also commonly stewed (delicious for breakfast, dessert, in cakes - anytime or place really!). My mum stews quinces (in a light syrup) with vanilla and cardamon- delicious!
The internet has a great variety of recipes using quinces - I'll test out a couple over the next few weeks!
Do you have any recipes using quinces?

Monday, 21 April 2014

Easter Excursions

How lush is the central west at the moment?
Driving through the Bells line of road we were amazed at the change a couple of months (and a WHOLE LOTTA RAIN) makes to the landscape. 
We (predictably) headed west for the Easter long weekend to the land of autumn colours, fresh produce, fresher evenings and cute animals. 
How relaxing is playing in the garden. 

Autumn raspberries and blue skies
Cut flowers from the garden
Disappointingly boring homemade dried chorizo
Mounds of Salvias
Horned Cucumbers (un-ripe as it turns out!)
Rosy roses
Eye catching rose-hips
Yummiest tomatoes on earth
Can you guess what was planted here?
Piles and Piles of Preserves!
I can't stop thinking about recipes for quinces since getting home.

Wild apples (and pears)  - Freshly picked and delicious

What did you get up to for the Easter weekend? 

Friday, 18 April 2014

Inspiration: Painted Pots

How much of a time suck is Pinterest? I was pondering some ways to jazz up our little garden - how about a splash of paint?  
<From left to right>
TOP: Painted PlanterDipped Neon PotAir Plant Cube Planter,  DIY Terracotta Plant Pots
Bottom: Crafted Life Painted planter DIY Painted Planters, Myers Maison PotsColour Dip Pot

I've already cracked out my white spray paint! Fingers crossed they don't turn out horrendously tacky! (You will never know if they do! A Lady Never Tells...)

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Indie Stitches

Look what I found in my internet-ing last night: and even more exciting! They are based in AUSTRALIA !
I have been seriously lusting over the By Hand London patterns, however my dislike of waiting for international post and the fact that they only sell printed patterns, means I hadn't got my mitts on any of them. 
Thanks indie stitches for enabling my pattern habit... They have a cracking collection so pop on over and have a look!
Look what I got! 
The new FLORA pattern - looks like I got the last one as its now sold out at indie stiches - Yey!
The glorious ANNA pattern - there are some seriously lovely versions floating around the sew-o-sphere!
Now to continue my procrastination and think of what material to make these beauties up in!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Circle skirt sessions

You might remember the other week that I mentioned I had been making circle skirts? Well the pics have finally been taken! What do you think?
They certainly fill a definite gap in my wardrobe (lots of pencil skirts in there) and best of all are so uber easy to make!  They can be really really long, or really really short - I went for the more work friendly options!
All you need is some geometry, a zipper, lots of thread and patience for the hem, and your done!

Turn Turn Turn

Studying hard
More twirling!
Its soooooooo Big!
 Have you been sucked into a similar circle skirt making frenzy?? Have you escaped yet??