Little Pots of Goodness Pt 2 Tutorial

Little Pots of Goodness is something I blogged about here a while ago.  Since then, my mum has clued me into a wonderful little secret she recently learned…

Thanks for the backdrop Con.
Thanks for the backdrop Con.

You can cook stuff in jars WITH LIDS ON in the microwave!!!


Trying to capture this, really spun my camera out...
Trying to capture this, really spun my camera out…

It may not seem like much to you, but I always forget to get Reggie’s vegies (hehe), out of the freezer and then he’s hungry and I haven’t any food ready to go.

All I did was cook my fruit (apples, pears and apricots), with a pinch of cinnamon until soft, then blitzed with my trusty stick blender (I love, love, love my Kmix).  Whilst still hot, bottle in sterilised jars and put the lids on tight, then pop them into the microwave (I do 3 jars at a time) for 1 – 2 minutes.  You MUST watch, as soon as you see them boiling – STOP.  Or you will end up with goop everywhere – I know this from experience.

And it really is as simple as that.  I’ve done this 3 times now and the fruit is as lovely 3 weeks later as the day I popped it into jars.  Just to see, I have put a jar aside that I did 4 weeks ago, gonna give it 12 weeks and then open it – I am quietly confident all will be well.

I love these photos...
I love these photos…

Yep.  Good to go.  Little Pots of Goodness, right there on my pantry shelf, no fridge, no freezer, just old fashioned jars full of sunshine.

Trying to curl her tongue...
Trying to curl her tongue…



Olive & Pesto Bread Tutorial

MillbraeMakes Olive & Pesto Bread

700g bread flour*

300g wholegrain flour**

600ml tepid water – you may need up to 700ml

1tbsp. dried yeast

1tbsp. salt

2tbsp. olive oil

3 doz Kalamata Olives – well drained and patted dry.

½ cup Basil & Pinenut Pesto

2tbsp. parmesan – finely grated

*I love to use our local Cummins Milling Bread Flour.

**I have my own domestic mill and grind my own wholegrain (wholemeal) flour.  We produce thousands of tonnes of wheat every year on our farms, so I’m a bit lucky to be able to make my own flour.

Mix flours together.  In a separate bowl put 1 heaped tbsp. of combined flours and dried yeast, pour in 100ml of tepid water and stir until well combined.  Cover with cling wrap and pop it somewhere warm for 10 – 15 minutes until it’s full of bubbly goodness.


While this is going on, prepare your tins.  I use tins sized L28xW12xD11cm.  Spray liberally with olive oil and then give it another squirt, just for good measure.

If you are going for free form loaves, just have your baking paper and a couple of boards at ready.

In the bowl with the combined flours, add the salt and olive oil and the contents of bowl of bubbly goodness.  Give it as good a mix as you can until it is pretty much combined, this is where you may need to add a bit more water.  Turn out onto your floured bench and knead, knead, knead for a good 7 – 10 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic and all the icky-sticky mess has been tamed.  If you go a bit overboard with the extra water, you may need to dust with some extra flour a time or two – the wetter the dough the better tho, so hang in there and knead a bit longer before you add flour.


Cut the dough in half.  Put one half to the side for a mo.  Cut one half into 3 fairly equal sized portions.  Roll them into long fat sausages, about an inch in diameter, then flatten the 3 sausages to about ¼ inch with your fingers, on a well-floured surface.

Down the centre of each flattened sausage, place 6 olives evenly spaced, leaving about an inch at each end free.  Between each olive put a teaspoon or so of Pesto.


Pinch the sides of each sausage together, sealing well.  Roll (soft touch required here), them back into sausage shapes.  Carefully plait the 3 sausages together and super-duper carefully place the finished plait into your prepared tin.


If you are free-forming it, plait your 3 sausages directly on top of some baking paper on a board, saves the whole transferring caper.

Spray the top of your loaf with plenty of olive oil and cover the tin/loaf loosely with tented cling wrap.

Do it all over again with the 2nd half of your dough.  Pop both loaves somewhere warm – window sill, your car – parked in the sun… wherever works for you.

Give them a good half an hour of proving, then have a look-see, it could take up to an hour.


If at this stage they have risen quite a bit (not quite double), it’s time to pre-heat your oven to 210C – if going with free-form loaves, put your pizza stones in now and pre-heat with the oven, you will get a much better crust this way.  When the oven is up to temperature, remove cling wrap and sprinkle tops of loaves liberally with parmesan, now bung tins in the oven – or trim excess baking paper and transfer loaves to hot stones and bung in the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce temp to 180C (I like to open the oven door now to reduce the temp quickly) and bake for a further 10-15 minutes.

Turn bread out onto a wire rack.  Give the bottoms a bit of a knock – if they sound really hollow all is well and the bread is done.  If they sound quite dull, pop them back in the oven upside down for another 5 minutes.  Check for done-ness before removing, decide if cooked or not, then proceed to give them another 5 minutes, or turn off the oven.


Put on the kettle and make yourself a well-earned cup of tea.  Enjoy said cup of tea while you wait for the bread to cool enough to devour dunked in plenty of good olive oil.



Cheers – Carmen

Day 9 #100happydays

I cannot believe I’ve had my new (to me) sewing machine for over 3 weeks and today is the first day I actually got to try the embroidery bits. Oh, it was definitely worth the wait…

Leapin' Leon.
Leapin’ Leon.

He looks sooo much better in stitch than when I first drew him in my journal.  To say I’m rapt with the outcome is a major understatement.

As previously stated, I bought my machine second hand, sight unseen from a lovely lady that was changing brands.  Fortunately for me that meant I got every gadget/accessory the machine can have at a really bargain price.  Unfortunately, Janome writes terrible instructions and loading the software onto my computer took me a loooong time, but got there I did.  Also the instructions for loading a design onto the machine and actually sewing it are rotten as well.  Simple things like making sure you thread the bobbin before attaching the embroidery frame would have been handy.  Whinging aside, I got there in the end and am seriously over the moon with the results.

When those first stitches appeared, just where I thought they should – silly-whole-face-grin moment.

Hello Little Guy!
Hello Little Guy!

And then, as if by magic, he began to take form…

Nearly there...
Nearly there…

In what seemed like no time at all, it was time to trim the threads and welcome Leapin’ Leon to the world.

Happy dance now.
Happy dance now.

And happy dance I did.  Tomorrow he is going to find a new home on a t-shirt for one of the girls, Connie I think.  I don’t often do the whole cutesy thing, but today I did and I think he makes a lovely first project.

I am all a-buzz with ideas for designs and applications.  Cannot wait to show you more soon.