Cooking with lavender – pancakes

I have a lovely lavender plant in my garden. It’s one of the few plants that survived me.
We don’t get many hours of sunlight, but it thrives in the shade.

But after visiting Bridgetown and all the lavender inspired soaps, and oils I’ve been thinking about how I can get more use out of it.

Currently we use it as a mosquito repellant, there’s always some hanging on our outside light.
I’m a mosquito magnet and I notice the difference.
I’ve tried those yellow mosquito lights but they don’t do anything.

Unfortunately I really don’t like the smell of lavender. My hay fever reacts badly to it, and it reminds me of old lady potpourri. So I’m not likely to have it inside the house.
I enjoy citrus fragrances a lot more and the only time my house smells of flowers it’s not by my choice.
But I did a bit of research which is opening my eyes to cooking with lavender.

There’s a chocolate lavender cake which I really want to try, but unfortunately couldn’t get the oven to light.
So instead I made the lavender sugar syrup by itself. Then Instead of putting it on an invisible chocolate cake, I put it on pancakes.

Inspired by that I made a lavender compound butter to go with it as well.
Absolutely delicious.

bek’s pantry pancakes

This is the ‘day before the food shopping’ pancakes, when you have run out of milk, eggs, and can’t be bothered popping to the shops just for that.
So I always have powdered eggs and powdered milk in the pantry. They don’t get used that often, but they’re good to take camping, and for when laziness strikes. Of course you can use 1 egg and 1 cup of milk but it really tastes pretty good for powder. I find it also makes it easier to get all the lumps out.

the ingredients
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tablespoon egg powder
1/2 cup milk powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup water

the method
Mix all the dry ingredients together.
Add the water and mix until there are no lumps.
Add more water if necessary.

I always make it in a Pyrex jug, just because that way I can save on washing up.

lavender sugar syrup
the ingredients
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
1 sprig of lavender

the method
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
Bring to the boil.
Keep boiling until the sauce thickens.
Take off the heat and once it has cooled slightly (because it will be very hot), pour it through a sieve, and serve.

lavender compound butter
This was a whim. But melted on the pancakes it was a whim that payed off.

the ingredients
butter
Lavender (cut into small pieces)
Lemon zest
Lemon juice

the method
Mix it all together.

It really comes down to eyeballing it, particularly when you only want a little bit.

I’m really not an authority on cooking pancakes. In fact I’m shocking at it. So bad that I’ve bought a crepe maker into my arsenal. It always heats to the right temperature and because it’s non-stick I don’t get those first pancake blues, where the first pancake is soaked in butter.
I do love my crepe maker.

I’m now going to be looking for more ways to use lavender in my cooking.

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A slice of organic life

I was given this book a few years ago now, and it’s since become a constant companion.

It’s quite light on, but it does give a nice overview about living organically.

It makes me day dream about keeping pigs, and making jam, and living more sustainable.
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I’m quite glad that my Mister shares these dreams and aspirations (even if he day dreams of chickens, ducks, geese, and weiros, which would be slightly more useful, but not quite as relaxing for this bird-fearing girl).

Last Christmas I started a trend of all handmade gifts. This year I intend on continuing that, but I do want to diversify. I also want to have those ‘last minute gifts’ handy in the cupboard.

So I spent most of this weekend knitting up dishcloths.
I felt very proud of myself as they were wish homespun yarn from our recent Bridgetown Adventure.

At the time I felt a little disappointed with this yarn, because I just didn’t know what to do with it. It is quite coarse and doesn’t feel nice on your skin; it wouldn’t be good for clothing.
But it is knitting up into dishcloths quite nicely, and I can see them being quite good for exfoliating cloths.

This is why I started looking through that book. I think these would be lovely presents with a home made lavender soap.
I have a lovely lavendar plant in my garden, which is very underused.
Unfortunately this book didn’t have a recipe for soap, but I will make a carrot soup tonight.

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I made cushions!!

I can make cushion covers.
I can sew straight seams. Ok well it took me a little while and a I had to unpick a couple, but I got there in the end.

When Spotlight recently had a 30% off everything sale I picked up some quilting flats. They’re 40×40 cm squares and pretty much made for cushion making.

Its all straight seams with an opening to put the inserts in.
Pretty easy and ended up less than $10 for two.

(I know that there’s a pretty black polka-dot fabric in there, but I don’t want to talk about it – there was a cushion disaster)

Totally cute and I can’t wait to make more to shake things up. Maybe next time I’ll get a little more adventurous like these gorgeous ones by .

And here’s me trying out spin cam…
http://spincam.net/s/ghpu/i

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A knitted bag bag

One of the downsides about online shopping is that you can’t take your own bags. Everything comes in plastic bags. You can give them back to the driver (when you remember), but there’s already an abundance clogging up my already clogged cupboards.

So I surfed Ravelry, took a couple of ideas and made a bag bag.
It took me about 3 tries to get the increases right but I got there.
The yarn is Moda Vera Cardellino in burnt orange. It’s been in my stash for a while. I bought it because the colour is so rich, but it’s not a colour I usually wear. Then I looked around and realised it was surrounding me in the apartment. So it’s going towards house projects.

So the bag bag.

It’s knitted in the round, with an I-cord hanging hook.

I used 7mm circular needles (because I like magic loop – but it could be adapted to any yarn, any size)

the pattern
Cast on 20 stitches.
Knit in 1×1 rib for ~10cms
Knit front and back (kfb) so you have 40 stitches
Knit in 2×2 rib for 5cms
Knit in basket stitch* until desired length.
Bind off leaving 3 stitches remaining.
Use those three stitches to make an i-cord.
Bind off i-cord and sew into bag.

Done!!

*rows 1-4 [k4 p4] repeat to end of round
rows 5-8 [p4 k4] repeat to end

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Is there enough interest for me to post this pattern on Ravelry??
Or would anyone buy one on etsy??
Any thoughts??

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How to fold a plastic bag

I know this seems like an odd post, but in preparation for my finished object (a plastic bag holder) tomorrow, I thought I’d share my patented technique for folding plastic bags.

Well it’s not really mine, I learnt this from an aunty’s friend. It was on a trip down south because they had a farm. I always wanted to grow up on a farm. Mostly because I sounded so cool in Enid Blyton novels. The place had a really awesome stream too.
But the real takeaway is how to fold plastic bags.

Plastic bags are infinitely useful. Going swimming its so easy to just put all your wet things into a plastic bag until you get home.
We use them as a bin too. And I always carry a couple in my bag just for emergencies. And they’re easier to carry if they’re folded.

So here is my tutorial for folding a plastic bag.

Take your plastic bag and lay it flat on the table.

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Fold it in half, and then in half again.

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Roll the bag up.

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Pull one loop between the other and tie.

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And there you go.
One convenient plastic bag, all wrapped up and ready for anything.

Tomorrow I have a knitting pattern to store all of these plastic bags neatly.

A certain ambience

We got new curtains installed! That has been on the list since day 1.

When I bought the apartment it had some hideous blue curtains.
Hideous and really didn’t match what I wanted this space to look like.
I bought some grey and black striped curtains pretty soon after, but I didn’t do the research well enough. They were expensive and they didn’t fit.
That annoyed me no end.
They were a constant reminder of how much I spent on an ill fitting product.

So when it came to replace them I didn’t have a big budget. So ikea to the rescue. The curtain rail was ~$10 (score!). I didn’t like any of the non-sheer curtains, but we need privacy. So I had the idea to buy bulk sheer ones and group them.
I think it’s worked well.
I love the flexibility I now have.

They can be sheer during the day, and bulked up during the night.

With the new couch, the place is starting to look cohesive.

It’s so nice having a space to call my own to come home to.

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