Yule Log!

On Christmas Day I hosted my first ever Christmas Dinner (normally we end up at a rellie’s house, not ours!)  I wanted to make a dessert that was Christmassy and chocolately and looked cool, so I decided to make yule log.  This is not something I’ve ever done before, and yule logs aren’t something we see a lot of in NZ (as Tammy mentions here, where she shows off her one that looks pretty darn cool!), but I’d bought a Christmas cookbook with a yule log recipe and it looked really neat in the photo!

I wanted to make it the day before but ran out of time (too busy making vanilla cookies and gingerbread men and biscotti!) so I ended up making it on Christmas Day while the roast lamb was cooking.  The recipe didn’t have any rising agent in it, and required whisking the eggs for 5 mins or so.  Once I’d folded the flour in the mixture was still quite lumpy but I was scared to overmix it so I put it in the pan lumpy.  It cooked lumpy.  And flat.  I knew I should have practised!  Luckily I’d made sure I had plenty of eggs, so I whipped up a chocolate sponge from the Chocolate Log recipe in the Edmonds book (yay – it had baking powder!).  That came out better – phew! 

 I spread whipped cream over the sponge – I had intended to fold pureed strawberries into the cream but A and I had sort of demolished the whole punnet on Christmas Eve, dipping them into warm melted chocolate (mmmmmmmmmmm).  Then instead of a buttercream icing like Tammy’s one, I used dark chocolate ganache.  I was a bit impatient and didn’t let the ganache cool down and get firm enough before spreading it, so it slipped down the sides a little into pools of chocolately goodness ;o)  I used a fork to try and make it look log-ish.

The final touch was a dusting of icing sugar – its supposed to look like snow I guess!  Which is daft in the middle of summer, but thats Christmas in New Zealand for you LOL.  I served it with vanilla icecream and it was a big hit!

 The photos aren’t the best,   and I didn’t have a decent serving dish but you get the idea…

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after all that sewing…

I was missing my knitting!  I was so busy in the lead up to Christmas (tidying the house, shopping, wrapping presents, stressing over the Christmas dinner menu etc) that it felt like I hadn’t picked up my knitting needles in weeks!  So as soon as all the Christmas fuss was over I whipped up a pair of shorties for E.  They are in Utiku opal like the soaker I’d made earlier for my secret santee.  I love that yarn!  Unfortunately this is the only photo I have so far (the cuff is seed stitch but it seems to be folded up in the pic).  I’ll try and get a better pic soon.  I’m not going to embellish these – I’m too lazy and I feel like knitting not sewing at the moment.

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Oh and I whipped this dishcloth up today from the bamboo/cotton yarn which my secret santa gave me.  Not very exciting, but nice and quick:

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A christmas apron

As I may have mentioned before, my sewing skills are rather limited.  But I loved the aprons Neak made for Tammy and was determined to have a go at one myself.  So I made this one for a christmas present for my sister (thats me in the pics, not my sister).  Its reversible and I made it nearly all by myself!  Well, mum gave me some directions cos I didn’t actually have a pattern with instructions, and I got a bit fed up by the time I got to the sash and discovered that its quite hard to topstitch a sash perfectly on both sides so I made mum do that bit.  And she did the button holes cos she has a super dooper embroidery machine that does them at the touch of a button but she doesn’t let me near it (I don’t blame her!).

 The pics were taken before the button was put on, cos I was impatient.  I still owe mum one as a christmas present, so I’d better get on to that next week.  And then I can make one for myself, cos I love them and think they are awesome!

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Christmas goodies

Well just because I haven’t updated my blog lately doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy!

I was inspired by Tammy’s goodies to have a go making some christmas cookies and icing them.  This was my first ever effort piping icing so please don’t laugh!  I had some good cake icing dye sitting around (for dyeing yarn!) so I put it to the use it was originally intended.  Unfortunately the only red I had was some cheap Spotlight food colouring, and well, it wasn’t very good!  I had to use heaps just to get a dark pink (it was supposed to be “christmas red” – yeah right!) and then it watered down my icing which then went all runny and didn’t want to set.  Bah!  So my gingerbread men have enourmous mouths and buttons and look very amateur *blush*.  These probably aren’t the best ones either, they just happen to be some that I gave mum and she took a photo of.  The rest ended up in E and my tummies very quickly…

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Yet another secret santa present!

What can I say – I like doing secret santa stuff!  This present was entirely handmade (just not all by me!)  I sewed another tiny happy bag, and knitted a cotton dishcloth – my first ever knitted dishcloth!  I used A Little Lace Kitchen Cloth pattern but I forgot to block it so mine doesn’t look very square – oops!  It was fun knitting in a lacy pattern for once.  To round off the present I asked Neak to make some earrings, and as usual she made something beautiful!  I believe my santee likes lime green – I hope she likes that colour as earrings!

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oh and here is a pic of E… just because…

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Horsey boarding school!

My warmblood filly Elisse turned 4 earlier this month.  On her birthday she went to boarding school!  She went to stay with my friend Jo at Jo’s beautiful Kerikeri property River Meadows, to be broken in and learn how to behave like a grown-up horse.  Jo is a full-time rider who starts and schools horses, as well as being a qualified riding instructor. 

Unfortunately  it immediately commenced raining as soon as Elisse got to Rivermeadows, so Jo didn’t get much of a chance to start work with Elisse – although she did manage to find time to tame Elisse’s massive bushy mane and pull it to a more respectable length.  Yesterday was Elisse’s first official day of being ‘started’.  And she wore a bridle and saddle for the first time, with very little fuss apparently.  Weather permitting, Elisse will be ready to come home to be ridden in early February 2008, and I’m looking forward to it very much (even if though means I have to go on a crash diet so that I don’t squash the poor filly…)

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Christmas bags

On Friday I received a lovely surprise in the post – E’s TNN secret santa had sent me a present too!  I’d only asked for one pressie for E, so this was unexpected and gave me lots of warm fuzzies.  My present was rad too, it was a gorgeous knitting bag (which has a special needle pocket inside, with a flap that covers the ends of the needles) and two balls of lovely soft wool yarn in a natural shade ready to be dyed!

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I’d been using a cloth shopping bag for my knitting so I happily transferred my WIP to this beauty and reclaimed the other bag for shopping.  I don’t have enough cloth shopping bags as it is and have been buying plastic ones lately, so was pleased to get that one back.

 This weekend I sewed christmas presents!  I can’t show them all here, but I can show this one because its recipient (my sister) has already seen it.  Its the first thing I’ve made from start to finish without having to ask for mum’s help so I was all proud of myself (although I have to admit she did the handsewing on it because I was busy with other things.)   The button is actually a clip-on earring that belonged to my late grandmother, I thought it added a wee bit of bling to the bag. 

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