apple butter

It’s time to talk about apples.

It’s already spring here in Australia but there are still some lovely apples to be had and I urge you, before it’s too late, to make this delectable condiment before it’s too hot to have the stove on for five hours.

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life happens

When does one become an adult?

When can a young man or woman stand in front of their peers and older adults and declare themselves to be officially grown up?

What are the markers that show the world that you have left  that middle space between complete dependence and complete independence behind? And why the heck do we have to go through it in the first place?

What happens when we get to adulthood, and how do we deal with leaving our safety net behind?

Life happens to all of us, but only some people happen to life.

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linzertorte

Did you know that Jack Johnson likes his peanut butter crunchy? Someone’s mum once taught him how to use those peanut butter machines from the health food shop that she worked at and had no idea who he was.

Good story. Needs more dragons.

This happens. Listening to the radio on a Thursday afternoon.

An overcast and chilly Thursday afternoon, with nothing better to do. My favourite kind of day.

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cranberry lime muffins

This is what I did today.

I browned some butter.

Zested a lime.

Listened to some Eminem… yeah, I did.

I buttered a muffin tin.

Whisked together some eggs and milk and vanilla.

Whisked together some spelt flour and baking powder and plain flour and salt. And sugar. Can’t forget the sugar.

I took photos without the flash because they look less harsh that way. Maybe a little fuzzier and retro looking. That’s ok.

See my blue fingernails? I don’t usually paint my nails because I work in hospitality but my two week (almost – had to work yesterday:) break meant I could. Hence. The green and red tea towel matches the cranberries and limes. My favourite apron, complete with pocket for my camera, and the moccies I always cook in.

I opened the curtains and was glad the heater worked.

I stirred the contents of three bowls and a saucepan together – and then I washed those dishes while these muffins baked.

I made myself a cup of coffee. Mmm… coffee…

And then I ate me some muffins.

Sometimes, I forget that I have to look after myself, forget trying to fill other people’s holes, and let God fill mine. Sometimes, I have to remember that I have something to offer as well, but I have to take time to be me and do stuff for me otherwise I’ll lose it. Sometimes, you just need to make some muffins and some coffee and sit down and eat them. Because it’s good.

Sometimes you just need to bake for you. Not for anyone else, to get anyone’s attention or friendship or love or acceptance or gratitude. Just for you, because you love to bake, the physical action, the ingredients, sights, smells, tastes. Just because.

Brown Butter Cranberry Lime Muffins

Adapted from Joy the Baker

100g butter, unsalted

2 eggs

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon (or capful) vanilla extract

zest of one lime

1 1/2 cups plain flour – I used 1 cup wholemeal spelt and 1/2 cup plain white. Good.

1 teaspoon salt

170g dried cranberries (or 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, if you have them)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Butter and flour a 12 cup muffin pan (I never usually do this but I was out of paper cases. By all means, use them if you’ve got them.

If you’re using dried cranberries, pour them into a bowl and cover them with 1/2 cup water. Set aside.

Place the butter in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan. Melt for about ten minutes on medium-low heat. Keep a close eye – you want the butter to be brown, not burnt. Swirl the pan every few minutes. It’ll get frothy and emit a beautiful nutty smell. Take off the heat.

Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla and lime zest together.

Whisk the sugar, flour(s), salt and baking powder together.

Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour all the wet ingredients in (not the cranberries!) and stir together.

Drain the cranberries and fold them in thoroughly. Scoop into the prepared muffin tin and bake 18-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cool 5 minutes in the tin, then invert and cool on a rack or board. Eat at once, or when at room temperature.

blimey limey shortbread thins

Remember these guys? I had a bunch of logs in the freezer, ready to cut and bake and toss and eat. Yum. It’s really been useful, because… We have camp this week! Camp Sonshine in Melbourne’s east, a holiday day care for primary school aged kids. It’s so much fun for campers and leaders and we take care to provide the best care.

I’m in camp mode. Meal crew, activities, excursions, leaders, campers, averting disasters and dealing with crises. I love this camp.

Our premise is basically to love these kids as much as is humanly possible. More, because we’re opening up to Jesus to love through us. It’s a pretty amazing thing to be a part of.

It’s busy busy busy all day long. It’s great.

This means that posts will probably be sporadic and unpredictable, but that’s not really new, hey. It also means I’ll probably be writing about camp for a while. It’s really all-consuming because it goes for two weeks and it’s basically over twelve hours everyday, on the go.

What I love especially is just those moments where you find you’ve really touched someone or they really appreciate what you’ve done. We do a lot of laughing because the kids are so cute. And so serious! They have so much energy and are so fun and bubbly (kinda like these biscuits) but also fragile – also like these biscuits.

We’ve had them in the office for the leaders to munch on during the day because it is such a long one, and one of the funny moments – it might have been so funny because we were already tired from getting camp ready to go, but they got renamed from lime melting moments to blimey limey shortbread thins (you may have noticed from the title of the post).

They were originally (apparently) lemony shortbread delights but they’re not lemon, they’re lime. And so, that makes much more sense – they’re a really weird lemon! – and they got renamed. Blimey, they are good. Addictive, even. Kinda like leading on Camp Sonshine.

 

 

strawberry cupcakes

I know that it’s winter here in Melbourne. Living, as I do, in the hills, it gets cold here. We have a wood fire and piles of wood ready to be burnt, and as the weather gets colder I’m increasingly appreciative of our ducted heating system. Sometimes, all you want to do is snuggle down in bed for a few more minutes hours.

However, when it’s sunny outside and there are local strawberries for sale and you want to play pretend, summer is not a bad season to pretend to be in. Especially when all the American food blogs are talking about strawberries, cherries, barbeques and summer dresses.

I like winter. I do. But sometimes, you just gotta go with the summertime flow.

So I bought the strawberries, knowing that there would be a few gunky ones – more than a few, I think I was able to use about half of them – and decided to bake them in cupcakes. When it’s summer and the berries are amazing, I’m guessing you’d just roast them maybe, or make jam or even just eat them straight out of the punnet – but it being winter, I thought cupcakes were in order.

Contrary to some opinion, I don’t think that a muffin is a bald cupcake. I’m not saying they’re good for you, I just think that muffins have a different texture, a different feel. However, cupcakes definitely need a little something on top. And so, I decided to make some buttercream.

Mind you, it being almost seven and time to go meet some friends for pizza and camp prep sesh (yay for camp! yay for hanging out with kids for two weeks! yay for sleep deprivation! wait. What? Oh yeah, cupcakes.) I decided it had to be quick buttercream, one quartered from that goddess of cake decoration, i am baker.

And then I took them to said meeting and they were gobbled up quickly. Yum.

Strawberry Cupcakes

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

I halved this recipe because I only had a punnet of strawberries, and I used a plain and spelt flour combination because I’m quite fond of spelt at the moment. I also diced the strawberries and folded them through the batter.

3 tbsp butter

3/4 cup flour (I swapped in half a cup for wholemeal spelt. Good Idea)

pinch salt

1/2 cup sugar

small egg

1/4 cup milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

250g strawberries, diced

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and put cupcake liners into a muffin tin. I only made seven cupcakes out of this recipe.

Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat until silky smooth.

Whisk together dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add gradually while beating until just incorporated. Gently fold in the diced strawberries.

Divide among your cupcake liners. You want them to be in between three quarters and fully loaded. Bake for five minutes on 180 degrees, then lower to 160 degrees and bake another fifteen or so minutes. Cool in the pan and then unpan them and ice them. (I put them in the fridge for a few minutes to cool right down.)

Quick Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from i am baker

I, as I mentioned, quartered this recipe, which originally would have been able to frost two eight inch (20 cm) cakes. I still had leftovers.

65 g butter

1-2 cups icing sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp rosewater (This was my addition – a pink flavour to compliment the pink strawberry cupcakes)

Put the butter, milk, vanilla and half a cup of the icing sugar into your mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until smooth. Gradually add the rest of the sugar while beating, until you have a smooth, spreadable consistency. You may not need all the sugar.

a day in the life

I had a pretty good day on Friday. Sleep in, picnic, walk in the park, cupcakes and pizza. I thought I might share some pictures because I like taking pictures and I took a lot. I’m getting in the groove because I figured before I ask for a super fancy camera for my birthday, I’d better know whether I was going to use it. Right?

Right.

And, yes, that means that right now I use a point and click. Hey, a girl’s gotta have some sort of pictures on her food blog, right?

Right again. So.

This is my bed. I like to make my bed in the mornings… yeah, the picture’s a little wonky. Sorry. I had to get up early to drive my brother to work experience. I then slept another three hours. I love sleeping in.

I saw a beautiful sunrise this morning. I didn’t take photos because I was driving.

After I got up, at approximately noon, I messed around on the internet and wrote you some words. Then I took in the washing and took some photos of some flowers.

Pretty!

I went to the library to borrow some books… and to scan in a design for a camp I lead on in September. It’s called… September Camp. Surprise!

I can’t show you the design because it’s a secret still. I think.

Then I went on a picnic in the park.

I got coffee and a toastie from this place called Yarra Coffee. Good coffee – you can buy beans there too! – and great food. I got the #5 toastie, with avocado, tomato, fetta, pesto, baby spinach and possibly one more ingredient I can’t remember. I had a choice between olive and rosemary sourdough or plain. I chose olive and rosemary. Yum!

Toastie

Coffee

Converse

I went on a walk around the lake and listened to the Joy the Baker podcast with Joy and Tracy from Shutterbean (available from Homefries). I love going for walks! Me and my roommate went on walks around the lake pretty much every day for a while there last year.

Beautiful day for a walk. I really loved the look of these rushes. Oh! Unfortunately, I wanted to feed some scraps and duds to the ducks but I wasn’t allowed. Sad face.

I was going to make muffins but decided to make cupcakes instead when I saw local strawberries for sale.

And then I went to hang out with friends and eat pizza. And talk about camp. Excited!

How was your Friday?