Friday, 30 August 2013

Chicken or Pork Congee Soup... Yeeum!

I've been promising to put our recipe for this delicious soup up, for ages. Picture to follow, sorry. Have to make some first.
To make the soup, firstly you need to make our Amazing Chicken Stock:
  • Skin a chicken (cook skin for the Magpies if you want), more than fill with cold water.
  • Add: chopped or shredded or grated: onion (brown with skin) / carrot / good hunk of ginger / celery / garlic / whatever.
  • Teaspoon-ish: turmeric / mango powder / fenugreek seeds. 1 cinnamon stick / few green cardamom / coupla black cardamom / few cloves / maybe some curry powder.
  • The husband adds a tablespoon of soy sauce and a bit of fish sauce but I don't. I've not done the taste test to see if it shows up.
  • When your concoction begins to boil, turn to a good simmer for exactly 25 minutes.
  • Remove chicken and de-bone as soon as it's cool enough.
  • Return bones and simmer for between 1 and 4 hours depending on the book you've read on the topic. We usually let it go for at least two.
  • Eat the most delicious chicken you'll have tasted in a long while, with a bit of soy, in sandwiches / salads / stir fry's etc.
Strain after the further time and decant to use for the soup and for all of your cooking. We do this every week, so our cooking has that extra flavour from the start. The magpies see me at the bus stop and fly off to our house because they know the hubby will be up for their breakfast.
Congee Soup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely cut
  • about 300g of minced pork
  • 2 litres of your stock
  • 2-3 inches of grated ginger (a good amount)
  • 1 small chilli, 1/2 if it's hot
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3/4 cup rice
  • 2 dessertspoons white sugar
  • 2 leaves of sage
  • lemon or lime juice
  • spring onions
  • Saute onions until brown
  • add ginger and garlic and brown
  • add mince and mash about until browned and separated
  • add everything else and stir in for half a minute
  • add stock lastly, stir to get the goody's off the bottom
Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with half a lemon or lime squeezed on top, and some spring onions. 

Monday, 26 August 2013

My One Trues Preliminary Sketch For His Bed-side Rug

All worked out with the Golden Mean, of course (ha ha ha). The Aussie crest, and the Eureka Flag.
My great-great-great John Smith was at Eureka.

We'll stick a bit of wattle in the middle somewhere.
'Here's the mighty wattle
The emblem of our land
You can stick it in a bottle
Or hold it in your hand.' (Barry Humphries)

Notice where he plonked Tassie.
I will do it Magdelena Briner Eby style, unless he has other plans for me, which is very possible. I thought this would be good to have on the go, for when I don't want to be too fussy. Country job... although that's an in joke around here because we always end up being fussy.
The whole idea was to use up bits and pieces I've changed my mind about using on the Uzbekistan Rug, but I can't see those colours working here...

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Joy's 'Glimmers Of Hope'

Glimmers of Hope is my first rug using a linen backing and is approximately 4 feet long and 1.5 feet wide.
It uses recycled hand dyed blanketing and is my own design. The image is a graphic representation of a phrase I woke up with in my head one morning a few years ago. "Glimmers of hope pierced the gloom". I then finished it with "like stars in the night sky".
After Googling this phrase, with no results, I can only put it down to inspiration.
I have long admired Van Gogh's work and this piece is strongly reflective of Starry Sky. After the recent loss of my youngest son, this rug brought together the hope I have in God's love that shines in the darkness of grief, Starry Night, and a hankering to try a design with cats paws. and there glimmers of hope pierce the gloom...

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Hubby Rug

I have finally got around to working on my hubby rug again. Since the last stage I have started on his shirt and on the background. I had to dye a special blue/grey for the shirt. I just boiled different shades of blues and some dark grey together to remove some of the dye. I then added some blue and black together and added that as well, adding one piece of wool back in at the time. The darkest first and the lightest when there was very little dye left in the pot. It worked out well. / I am quite happy with the colour of the background also. It is black and antique black/green. Lots more to do, but hopefully it will be finished by the end of October for the Stitches and Craft show.
I am also working on my Love Rug; one more picture to go, but I'll post that when it's off the frame as it takes too much to sew it back on. Happy hooking :))

Sunday, 18 August 2013


Lucky the husband is being nice. Although if he says one more time that I ought to have done a few preliminary drawings, I may have to frighten HIM. Boys always have a solution that would be helpful IF I WAS ASKING FOR ONE!
With all of my vast experience in colour and tone, and with years of teaching how to find your pleasing group of colours and SO ON... EVERY time I delve into a new medium I don't immediately take the knowledge with me.
So, rather than build a pile of colours that look lovely together at the outset, I have followed wrong thinking and ended up with a big pile of... Mud!
I love each and every colour. The tans are just completely gorgeous, and so I enjoy every stitch/hook. I'm immersed in the beauty of the textile and the joy of fibre. Likewise the greens. Yeeuum!
I could go on.
So, note from every class I have taught in 18 years: Begin with the colours (fabrics) you simply MUST use. Then add others to the pile that make these colours look happy. You might want to have a limited palette... or not, but in everything, these colours must be happy together.

I have just removed the whole of the foliage. I haven't liked it ever but didn't listen.
Starting again. At least the background (a must have) and the flowers are almost completed.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Just About To Remove & Redo The Greens

Well, I may have intended the greens to become a bit obscure and 'hinted at', but it just looks too muddy. So, I'm taking almost all of the green out and redoing it in a stronger shade.

Then, who knows, maybe the tan will look wrong? I think I like the tan.

Definitely obscure, but there... my initials.
It's worth the bother to undo. If this is going to be around forever, then I'll be annoyed forever and I'll cringe when my great-great-grand-daughter's admire my work. Best to fix it now. After all, no-one s making me do this and what's the hurry?

Sunday, 11 August 2013

August Hook-in at Lilydale

It was such a beautiful morning and we came from far and wide, all with a common interest. That of Rug Hooking. As we arrived, each in turn, Joy welcomed us warmly. Most of us were ready for a cuppa, especially Chris who drove 1 ½ hours to get to Lilydale. 

The food is great as always

After catching up on each other’s work, we headed to the dye kitchen, which happens to double up with the family kitchen as well [funny that].
With Gene Shepherd’s new book ‘Prepared to Dye’ ready and waiting, there were lots of oohs and aahs as we leafed through the beautiful book. 

Recipes were decided upon and we were off. Lis was looking for a dark background, to go with her multi coloured cat-paw rug, and after much discussion settled on an antique black recipe. Joy and Lis enjoyed all the ‘doing’ while we all watched as beautiful colours emerged. Ooh and  aah, once again at the results. 

Next Joy wanted a green and orange wool, for her next project which included a pumpkin, so a spot dye was suggested. Such fun

Over a most delicious lunch we chatted about the upcoming Stitches and Craft show in October. Each was delegated certain tasks and days to be there.
Robyne continued work on her Uzbekistan rug, Anne worked on her Santa Clause rug, Jen knitted and Chris continued work on her Hubby Rug. 

Both Lis and Joy were in the dye kitchen.
Joy had been working hard on her ‘Glimmers of Hope’ rug which was now finished. A beautiful rug indeed. Well done Joy.
My how the time flew. By 3.30PM, we packed up and headed for home. Another wonderful day of hooking with a bunch of wonderful ladies who are now firm friends. 
If you are looking to start a new craft, don't hesitate any longer. Come once and you'll be hooked- uhh, pardon the pun.

L-R: Chris, Jen, Anne, Robyne, Lis, Joy with some lovely newly dyed wool

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Anne's Macaroons. Yeeum!

Almond Macaroons


Makes 20

  • 2½ cups of whole almonds (plus 20 extra to decorate)
  • 1 cup (160g/5½ oz) icing sugar
  • 1 tspn Baking Powder
  • ½ tspn ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, separated.
  • Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
  • Preheat oven to 180°C(360°F). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
    Place almonds in a food processor and process until finely ground. 
    Combine the almonds, icing sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl.  Add the egg yolk and lemon zest and rub together with your fingers to create a crumb line texture.  
    Whip egg whites to form stiff peaks .  add the almond mixture and fold in gently to combine.
    Shape the mixture into 20 even-sized balls.  Arrange the macaroons roughly 2 cm (3/4in) apart on the tray, press an almond in the centre of each and flatten slightly. 
    Bake for 15 mins or until golden brown.  Leave to cool on the tray for 10 mins then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

    Try not to eat them all by yourself as soon as they come out of the oven!

    Thursday, 8 August 2013

    Lis and her Bird

    Here is an update on Lis's rug, with her gorgeous pet bird along for a ride!

    Tuesday, 6 August 2013

    Next Get Together This Saturday in Lilydale

    If you're interested in doing, watching, thinking about, meeting those who do or just piquing your curiosity about the group, come along this Saturday. We're meeting at Joy's house in Lilydale, which is due East of Melbourne about er... ah... an hour? Around about? Not far at all for loads of fun and learning.
    I've promised to bring some Congee Soup, our staple diet of late here at my place, and I'm sure there'll be way too much else to eat too!
    Please phone 97566868 AH or email us at for info about exactly where to go.

    Anne's Proggy Rug

    I'm finally half way and was almost tempted to take it off the frame and cut the rest off as it has taken me so long to make, and I'm not sure if I like it anymore.  But I will keep at it as think this design needs to be a bigger rug.  I will probably shear the top a bit as some of the proggy loops a longer.  I actually prefer the wrong side, but the right will provide warmth to feet when stepping out of the bed.

    Thursday, 1 August 2013

    Book Review: Gene Shepherd's 'Prepared To Dye'

    I bought this recently and, in spite of my bull-at-a-gate attitude to everything, actually read it (most of it anyway). It is excellent! I had no understanding of the why's and wherefore's of dyeing fabric and have found it very, practically useful immediately. I did have a good section on dyeing in another book, a very old (and wonderful) book, however, Gene Shepherd's 'Prepared To Dye' goes into the middle of things and explains why as well as how.
    An excellent book! I will be using methods found there this weekend, to reduce the colour intensity of previous efforts.