The Stars Dance Again

lemon and vanilla stars || cityhippyfarmgirl

lemon and vanilla stars recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

Soon our school will be holding it’s annual school disco again. Flicking through my archive of short stories, I was reminded of this post. That little almost convulsing dancing boy I still see in the playground from time to time. He’s bigger now and probably doesn’t even remember that intense dance-off he once did. I did though, and it still gave me a chuckle just reading about it.

In honour of school disco’s and the joy of uninhibited dancing, I made a few more of those dancing star biscuits.

 lemon vanilla stars

200g softened butter

150g sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 tsp lemon rind

225g plain flour

squeeze of half a lemon

Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla and lemon. Then mix through the flour. Roll between two sheets of baking paper, and chill a little in the fridge.

Cut out stars and bake at 170C for about 15 minutes.

This dough also freezes easily into a log, just cut off rounds to bake as you need them.

school disco essentials…surely

loving… doors, dinosaurs, biscuits and coffee

secret door ways || cityhippyfarmgirl

 Loving…

secret leafy doorways that lead into secret leafy walled gardens. (If you never read The Secret Garden as a child, you really should get it from local library. The magic of gardens should never be underestimated.)

good coffee || cityhippyfarmgirlLoving…

coffee dates with friends. Just like leafy gardens, the magic of coffee should also never be underestimated. anzac biscuits || cityhippyfarmgirl

Loving…

a baking rack full of cooling Anzac Biscuits on wintry afternoons.

dinosaurs at dusk || cityhippyfarmgirl Loving…

Playing with dinosaurs at dusk, because really, how could you not love that?

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What have you been loving?

[“Often life’s pleasures pass us by simply because we don’t take a moment to focus on them… Make a point of noticing everyday something that uplifts your spirit or tickles your heart… Stop to breathe in the joy of this moment and then tell someone about it. Share your joy and revel in it. When your joy is savoured, and then shared, it is magnified…” ROBIN GRILLE]

 

 

 

Choosing a simple life

thistles and silos || cityhippyfarmgirl

grass at dusk || cityhippyfarmgirl

I’ve never been ‘on trend’ with things. Cutting edge seems more like a paper cut term to me, while most seasonal fashion trends hold my interest like a conference on data entry for a two year old.

One thing that I do seem to be knee deep in however, is the want for a simple life. From a blogging perspective, (and from when I first started) the bloggers searching for a simple life seems to have grown and grown.

There must be something in it if we are all wanting a similar thing? And it’s not just bloggers and social media types throwing themselves into the quest for a simpler lifestyle than our current fast paced one. We’re just the ones with our own tiny pedestals, #hashtagging about it. What about the people who have been quietly plodding on in their own green pedal powered goodness doing their thing for far longer beforehand?

These people are the proverbial roots of the whole picture. The knowledgeable ones who, people like me look up to and learn from.

So is it gaining momentum this lifestyle, this yearn for a simpler way of life?

I hope it’s not like drinking out of glass jars with handles, blending kale and spinach green smoothies or winding yourself up in washi tape. I don’t want it to be a hipster fad, that’s highly talked of, coming and inevitably going. I really hope it’s not. My genuine hope is that this is more than a trend. Something that becomes bigger and bigger, until this quest for simplicity, this need for stepping off the increasingly fast spinning mouse wheel of life gives people a little pause and clarity of ideas. A quest of simple wants, needs and values. All things that so many of us do seem to be seeking.

The difference between my simple life yearning now and family’s simple life journey before me, was that their’s was one out of necessity and mine is by choice. While some people will argue (and I completely agree) that it shouldn’t be a lifestyle of choice, we should be doing more than we are in our current environment. For now though, it still comes down to choice.

I am in the privileged position of being able to choose to recycle. To choose to make bread. To choose to make hand made things. To choose to ride my bike. And, to choose from where most of my purchases come from.

Choices and necessity in creating a simple life for ourselves and loved ones…it’s kind of interesting to think about isn’t it.

What about you? Tell me a little about some of your simple life choices.

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More simple life seekers- blogging style

Simples Lives

Slow Living Essentials

Little Eco Footprints

House of Humble

Think Big Live Simply

Date and Pecan Sourdough

date and pecan sourdough recipe|| cityhippyfarmgirl

I like knowing what the date is. Life with three small people seems to be a whirl wind of calendars, times and places to be. All those things would be a bit of a mess without knowing what the date was.

I also like my dates to be surrounded by a square, a calendar with big squares for me to scribble things on. There is not much point in me putting things in my phone as I invariably check it only after the activity or appointment is that I’ve just missed, (and I still don’t like to be that enslaved to technology anyway.) If there is enslavement to be had, I much prefer it to be with my kitchen calendar, with the big quares.

Put it on the calendar; I have been known to shriek out.

Why wasn’t it on the calendar? I demand.

Checking those little squares for where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing is part of my obligatory morning routine. Never in a studious, calm fashion where I neatly check off things as they go by. No, it’s done as I close the fridge with my foot. Toss the second school lunch box to the bench, reach for the cup of tepid tea on my left and yell out; have you cleaned your teeth yet!? That’s when I do my laser scanning eye over the appropriate square and silently hope I haven’t forgotten to add something on this particular date.

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How about you? How do you keep track of the date and all the things going on your life? 

date and pecan sourdough recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

Date and Pecan Sourdough

400g refreshed starter (100%)

300g wholemeal spelt flour

450g flour

550mls water

200g chopped medjool dates

100g pecan halves

1/2 tsp dark malt flour

2 tsp salt

Mix all your ingredients together except your salt. Mixing for about 6 minutes. Now leave it. Go find something else to do for about 40 minutes.

Add your salt and mix again for about another 6 minutes or if by hand until you get a smooth dough.

Put it back in the bowl and leave it for about an hour.

Dough out on to the bench, and do a three way fold. Back in the bowl for another hour or so. Divide the dough in two and then do a three way fold with the two portions. Leave them on the bench for twenty minutes or so.

Shape it. Laying it on lined trays, banetton baskets or tins, cover it and prove for 1-3 hours. Bake at 220C with steam.

Winter’s Song

winter sun || cityhippyfarmgirl

winter || cityhippyfarmgirl

If winter had a song it would be deep and slow.

A song that gets carried around in coat pockets,

slowing warming cold fingers.

A lone violin, a methodical drum.

Music that gives pause and time for reflection.

A song with the sounds of muffled whispers, crunching footsteps

and grainy long grey shadows.

A solo tune that echoes into the dark night

music that is slowly swayed to in colourful knitted socked feet,

and listened to on plump fluffed up blankets.

wintry tree || cityhippyfarmgirl

custard tart vs chocolate pudding

custard tart || cityhippyfarmgirl

custard tart || cityhippyfarmgirl

I recently made a chocolate self saucing pudding.

It was fairly forgettable really.

Prompted from a chat on instagram, I wanted to revisit my early teen winning staple. And I really mean staple. I made those chocolate puddings on a weekly basis at one stage. Fueled by my love of anything dessert orientated and driven by a new found kitchen freedom that one seems to acquire after a certain period of time that has passed of proving yourself. Yep, I could bake them alright, and along with it feed my hungry mouthed siblings all through the long winter months. (Which weren’t particularly long, but it does sound more dramatic.)

The question was, would I be doing the same for my own children? Would the humble self saucing chocolate pudding become a family favourite as it once was mine?

Errr, no. No it won’t be.

I made it. It was pleasant, and that was about it. It seems my chocolate pudding days go no further. After 20 plus years of not making it, it seems my palate has completely changed. No longer sated by a simple concoction of self-raising flour, sugar, and cocoa. It really just didn’t do anything for me.

Now I could adapt a recipe, make it my own. Throw some more ingredients in there that are more attune to what our young family enjoys, however I probably won’t… as instead I revisited the humble custard tart.

And that dear people, was well worth the revisit.

Given that I have a long held history with custard anything, it would have been a shame if this one didn’t cut it. At times in my younger life I may have been held up by custard. It’s not the first time I’ve mentioned the love for custard on the blog, (nor probably the last.) But what I will mention is the tart disappeared far quicker than the chocolate pudding, which unfortunately seemed to quietly whither within the fridge over a period of days.

This recipe isn’t very complicated. There is no resting of pastry, no straining of custard, and if you feel like that second slice…I say go right ahead.

custard tart || cityhippyfarmgirl

Custard Tart

Pastry

180g cold cubed butter

50g icing sugar

1 egg

250g plain flour

In a blender pulse, butter, flour and sugar together until it forms bread crumbs. Drop an egg in and a give it a quick whizz. Pop the mixture out on to a lightly floured bench top and gently knead until the dough comes together. Between two baking sheets, roll it out to about .5cm thickness. Plop the dough into your greased pie or tart dish, keeping one side of the baking paper on there. With the baking paper side up, add pie weights or something to weigh the pastry casing down- bake blind for about 20-15 minutes or until golden at 180C.

Custard

600mls milk

2 tsps vanilla

4 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup cornflour

50g melted butter

nutmeg

Add all ingredients except milk and nutmeg together to form a paste like consistency. In a pot over medium heat, add all of the paste and slowly add the milk, stirring continually. Keep stirring until the custard just comes together and then take it off the heat. (If by chance you get side tracked, and your custard gets a little lumpy- wizz it with a hand held mixer- voila! smooth custard.)

Pour custard into the tart shell and grate a little fresh nutmeg over the top.

Eat with enthusiasm and noisy laughter.

simple custard  tart recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

Food and how we waste it- The Green Noticeboard

Grab a cup of tea, some biscuits to dunk in it and plonk yourself in the comfy chair for 15 minutes.

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 I quite often come across links that I find interesting, full of things I should know about and sometimes just down right fascinating. Have a look at this one from Tristram Stuart. Feel free to link any of your own green links in the comments.

Let’s build this community green noticeboard board.

the green noticeboard || cityhippyfarmgirl