5 recipes I’ll be making over the holiday period

stollen || cityhippyfarmgirl

Selecting just five recipes for this post was actually harder than I thought. What to make, what to bake….and most importantly, what to eat??

Stollen, there will be definitely some of this. Stollen involves, dried fruit, marzipan and really….that is just a match made in heaven.

vegan-mango-icecream || cityhippyfarmgirl

This ice cream, as it was a sure hit last summer, and I’m always up for easy crowd pleasing dishes.

Coconut Mango Icecream

In a blender, add two big bananas, one can of coconut milk, 1/3 cup of sugar and whizz it up. Pour it out into a dish and blend some fresh mango. Swirl that in too. Freeze it and either run a fork through every half an hour or so until you are ready to eat it or bring it out about 20 minutes before you want to eat it, running a fork through it, (the banana content should stop it freezing completely solid.)

I think I will have a play with some St Lucia saffron buns. I’ve been making quite a few Cinnamon Buns as they are easy, freezable and everyone enjoys them, but I would like to branch out a little and see how the saffron buns turn out.

custard-tart  recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

This family favourite will probably get a look in….as really, I’d be crazy not to.

And lastly, sourdough doughnuts. I’ve been planning, and planning this one, working out my best point of attack. I’m going in people, and will not rest until they are sitting plump on the table, surrounding by happy expectant faces….or at least my one satisfied one.

*************

What are you making over the next few weeks?

Top 13 Eco friendly Gift Ideas

Top 13 Eco Friendly Gift Ideas || cityhippyfarmgirl

1. Fermenters Starter Pack- scoby’s, sourdough starters etc. Bundle a bunch of your favourite fermented goodies together and some written ‘how to’ instructions.

2. Get baking. Put together a little hand made hamper. Jam’s, biscuits, brownie, cake, pesto, bread, Iced VoVo Cupcakes- the options are endless. If you team that up with a little second hand basket, (always nicer than a gifted pair of synthetic, made in China, novelty boxer shorts…promise.) A little hamper like this is sure to win over your loved ones.

3. A succulent in a vintage teacup I still say is a visual winner. Get creative.

4. Assistent Original- now this is a pricey gift for Christmas, but if you are serious about a kitchen investment that is going to cater for every kitchen whim you have- it’s a worthy investment, as cooking from scratch is a commitment and you want to make it as easy as possible. (For bread baking nerds, look no further… 5 kilos of dough she can handle.)

5. Sign a loved one up for a Milkwood Permaculture course, (or a locally grown Permaculture course in your area.) They will be brimming with inspiration afterwards, and that…is always a good thing.

6. Subscription to your locally based farmer friendly organic fruit and vegetable box.

Bliss honey- south coast NSW || cityhippyfarmgirl

7. A big jar of local honey. Honey can be used as a face wash and natural exfoliant, stirred into your morning chai, or drizzled over toast. Make a list for the recipient of all the things they can do with their sticky prized jar. It really is a sweet idea!

8. Still sweet talking. What about the ultimate gift of a hive of native bees. Your recipient will be beeeside themselves with happiness.

how-to-make-gift-labels || cityhippyfarmgirl

9. Have a peek over at Ecolosophy. They have some wonderful eco friendly, handmade and fairtrade goodies, perfect for all ages.

anzac-biscuits || cityhippyfarmgirl

10. Or you could try… a simple plate, dish or second hand tin from your local op-shop/thrift shop/charity shop. Beautiful one off antique ones can bought for usually just a couple of dollars. Fill the plate with your favourite biscuits and the recipe printed out on the back of the card.

11. Digital Subscription to an inspiring magazine- someone will be jumping up and down with excitement. (Earth Garden Magazine, Great Ocean Quarterly, PiP Magazine, Green Magazine, Slow, Dumbo Feather- they are all wonderful!)

french-breakfast-tea-cityhippyfarmgirl

12. For the tea drinker- love chai, love tea and little ginger bread bites for dunking in. A simple present that is 673 times better than buying something bland in a generic department store.

enamelware || cityhippyfarmgirl

13. For the baker, drinker, eater…errr anything really- enamelware. You can’t go wrong, really you can’t.

 ****************

What are some of your eco friendly gift ideas?

 

 

 

 

cutting, stamping and tying

    how to make gift labels- cityhippyfarmgirl making labels- cityhippyfarmgirlhow to make labels- cityhippyfarmgirl

It’s dark outside

and everyone is asleep,

except for one

One who is cutting, stamping and tying,

now what do I need again?

brown paper for jam jar tops

brown cardboard

twine

hole punch

scissors I’ve had for 26 years

new stamps to play with from here

recycled glass jars

and the afternoon before of a hot sticky kitchen, making jam

gifts ready to go

and a bed that is calling

************

What are you making at the moment?

* linking into the inspiring My Creative Space

top 12 eco friendly christmas gift ideas

a little succulent gift- cityhippyfarmgirl

Nearly the end of the year again, which means there could be a little gift giving to be had. I love this time of year, but I don’t like the ridiculous amount of spending that usually goes along with it. You don’t have to spend oodles of money, you really don’t. Here are a few ideas to help with a greener tinged Christmas at your place this year.

1/ Tiny presents of tiny succulents in tiny tea cups, (or espresso cups as this little fella is.) You can easily do this with a little cup that may have a chip or a crack in it- stalk op shops, church fetes, roadside discards for succulent holding inspiration. The options are limitless, (have a peek at google images.) Think green, think succulents.

2/ Something for the inspired reader in your life- Changing Gears: by Greg Foyster

3/ Assistent Original- now this is a pricey gift for Christmas, but if you are serious about a kitchen investment that is going to cater for every kitchen whim you have- it’s a worthy investment, as cooking from scratch is a commitment and you want to make it as easy as possible. For bread baking nerds, look no further.

4/ Digital Subscription to a ‘green’ magazine- inspire someone with some idea thumping pages- There are oodles to pick from, and then even more.

5/ Subscription to your locally based farmer friendly fruit and veg box. FoodconnectWhole Larder LoveLocal Harvest etc.

6/ Sign a bloggy friend up to do Blog with Pip- they will love you to the moon and back, (and probably back some more; this course is AWESOME.)

12 eco friendly gift ideas- cityhippyfarmgirl

7/ If you don’t have a crafty hand yourself, have wander over to etsy- Buy direct from someone who does and support a small time crafter with a passion for handmade goodness.

8/ Sign a loved one up for a Milkwood Permaculture course, (or a locally grown Permaculture course in your area.) They will be brimming with inspiration afterwards, and that…is always a good thing.

gift cityhippyfarmgirl

9/ For the tea drinker- love chai, love tea, enamel cup and a little ginger bread bites for dunking in. A simple present that is 542 times better than buying something bland in a generic department store.

ginger bread gift ideas- cityhippyfarmgirl

10/ Or using the same gingerbread recipe, kid version style.

11/ Put together a little handmade food hamper. Jam’s, biscuits, brownie, cake, pesto, bread- the options are endless. If you team that up with a little second hand store basket (50c church sale thank you very much!) and you’re in Christmassy business, (always nicer than a gifted pair of synthetic, made in China, novelty boxer shorts…promise.)

12/ And if you still aren’t sure of what Uncle Roo and Aunt Bilby would like, make a donation on their part. There are so many charities to choose from in our collective corners of the world- choose one and your recipients will be so very thankful.

**********

For previous years eco Christmas gift ideas and wrapping see

eight eco friendly Christmas gift ideas

twelve eco friendly Christmas gift ideas

 

sunflowers and lists

christmas

biscuits

sunflower

I’m trying to remember to do quite a few things at the moment. Lists are being made, crossed off, lost, restarted, and scribbled upon. The end of the year where everything comes to a halt. Classes are finishing, teachers are changing, christmas decorations have been hung and there is a buzz in the air that is beginning to mount. But not before I go through my multiple lists.

Thank you biscuits for the dance teachers.

Thank you biscuits for the soccer teacher.

Thank you biscuits for the school teacher.

Goodbye biscuits for the school class.

Christmas biscuits for the neighbours and friends.

Now if only I could remember to take them when I go and see them.

This year we’ve done the festive bundle of sticks again. It feels right. Fifteen minutes of collecting fallen sticks from outside, held together by a ribbon and then decorated by the boys. Simple, environmentally friendly, space saving, and most importantly….I can put it up high. If I didn’t, little fingers would be breaking off everything she could and jamming it into her mouth for a little stick flavoured snack.

How about you?

Working your way through any lists? Anyone else doing Christmas sticks this year?…and sunflowers, aren’t they beautiful.

There is something about seeing them that just puts a smile to the face and a little dance in the toes. Seeing them in unlikely places, like a city side street… just makes them even sweeter.

double ginger bites

DSC_0019 copy

doublegingerbites

DSC_0081 copy

My loved grandparents came to visit… and there were Double Ginger Bites.

The girls came to visit for a little cake and coffee by candle light… and there were Double Ginger Bites.

A little Christmas package was sent…and there were Double Ginger Bites.

I was hungry, and dinner seemed like a terribly long way off…and there were Double Ginger Bites.

Double Ginger Bites

125 grams softened butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 beaten egg

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup golden syrup

4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tps cardamom

3 cups plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

100g chopped uncrystalised ginger

Mix wet ingredients together. Mix dry ingredients together. Mix them all together. Knead it a little on a floured surface, mixing in the chopped ginger until you get a smooth dough. Let it rest in the fridge a bit until firm, then roll out dough 5mm thickness (or thicker if you prefer) and cut into rough squares and lay on lined baking tray.

Bake at 190C for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until light golden.

eight eco friendly Christmas gift ideas

  

local honey- use as a face wash and natural exfoliant, stirred into your morning chai, or drizzled over toast

box of homemade biscuits (recipe below)

gift tag card made up from a dried pressed flower

lunch date voucher- favourite packed picnic lunch

giant gingerbread person in a crocheted pocket

jar of homemade almond pesto

gift wrapping- I’ve talked about using old maps as wrapping paper before. This particular one was gold, as I had found an unwanted old atlas on the street that someone had lazily put out there. At first I was dismayed at the thought of it sitting out there unwanted and unloved, getting rain damaged. We certainly didn’t need another atlas… then I remembered wrapping paper. Sure it was a bit sad that I was cutting into this large beautiful book, but I was certainly better than just going in the recycling bin which is where it was headed. Team it up with some wool to hold the folding in place, and no tape is necessary.

For more wrapping ideas, have a look at this rather awesome site on furoshiki, other wise known as the Japanese art of fabric gift wrapping.

(For last years 12 eco friendly Christmas gift ideas, see here.)

Coconut Strawberry Hearts

250g softened butter

1 cup (220g) sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp coconut essence

1 beaten egg

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

3 1/2 cups (525g) plain flour

strawberry jam

Cream butter and sugar together in a mixer until pale. Add vanilla, coconut essence and egg, then mix through rest of ingredients. Lightly knead biscuit dough and roll between two sheets of baking paper to about 5mm. Pop into the fridge for an hour or so until firm, and cut out to shapes. If the dough comes back to room temperature while you are still cutting, being tricky to handle, just pop it back into the fridge for a bit.

Bake at 170C for approximately 15-20 mins, a very light golden colour. Allow to cool and then add half a teaspoon of strawberry jam in between the two biscuits.

Eat two immediately to see if they are ok to gift. Yep? Ok, should be good to go.

For a similar recipe see Coconut Jam Drops.

speculating on speculaas and speculoos

chewed dog ears...or windmills if you squint really hard

I was supposed to make these last year, but that didn’t happen. This year it is though. The tasty spiced biscuits generally eaten for the Feast of Saint Nicolas, (Dec 5th or 6th- depending on whether you come from Belgium or the Netherlands) that taste rather good dunked into your beverage of choice.

SBS’s Feast magazine has had two recipes for them recently (September and December issues) and both varying slightly with their quantities and ingredients. I stuck with the simpler version and then have since tweaked it to suit me more. These are a really great biscuit to roll up and keep in the freezer, to be cooked at a moments notice. Give as gifts, and also a good excuse to go find yourself a speculoos plank. Yes indeed, a speculoos plank. Even the name is enticing and it’s one of those funky little wooden moulds to pop your biscuits in before baking.

The thought had entered my head, and there wasn’t a whole lot of persuading of that thought, that it wasn’t something I really needed. An investment in my future I rationalised. I’ll be making loads of these down the track. I’ll start a new tradition of making them every 6th of December for the family and for many years of Christmas presents to come.

See, of course it makes sense to buy one from Belgium for a friend to bring back with her on her travels in several weeks time.

That was almost the case and then I found out there is a little online Dutch store, that has them and can post straight away. Being an Australian based company this was going to be a whole lot quicker, (bought on Friday night, arrived on Monday morning- thank you Australia Post.)

So now what to do with my cute little wooden windmill mould?

Everything I had read on the internet said these were a bit of a pest to use initially when they were still new. One site helpfully suggested some ‘light swearing’ might be useful. On trying the mould out, I would suggest intermittent heavy swearing wouldn’t go astray either. I had made the dough quite a few times, I was happy with the taste and the way they could easily be cut from a log, baked and eaten. They were an easy biscuit to make in that form. Using the mould however…

First, it was new,so I needed to grubby is up a bit. Using rice flour to line it certainly helps and after quite some time of working out what works best accompanied with multiple pursing of lips, eyebrow frowns, and the odd whispered intermittent heavy swear word. It worked.

Hooray! Biscuit dough back in the fridge to firm up again and then baked. I did it, speculaas have been conquered.

Baked for 15-20 minutes until golden and then out they come. Speculaas not conquered.

They look different to the un-moulded ones. All that fiddling with the mould before they get baked  has caused the butter within to melt a bit, despite firming them up again before baking it, the dough has changed the consistency some what. How do I get them in without that small amount of melty action? The distinct windmill print looks a little more like a chewed dog ear now.

So I kept playing and fiddling, using a knife instead of my fingers to get the dough in and moulded around. The final verdict? The biscuit dough recipe is tasty, easy, and praticle. It works really well for rolled and cut circles, or simply rolled out and cut with a regular biscuit cutter.

I don’t think it’s the right recipe for the mould however, (unless you are happy with the chewed dog ear look, which in that case is fine.)

So I’ll keep playing and tweaking. In the mean time, at least I have something to nibble on while I do so.

Speculaas

adapted from SBS Feast Magazine recipe- Dec edition

250g (1 2/3 cup) plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

50g brown sugar

50g muscavado sugar

50g pecans

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, cloves

150g cold cubed butter

2 tbls cold water

Process all dry ingredients until mixed well. Then add butter and process again until it resembles bread crumbs. Mixture into a bowl and add 1-2 tbls of cold water. Give it a quick knead, bringing the mixture together to form a smooth round ball, divide into two logs. Wrap in plastic and into the fridge until it firms up, (over night is good, to let that spices infuse properly.) Or roll into log forms, and pop in the freezer for later use.*

For baking, cut rounds off on to a tray and bake….

OR

If you have a mould. Cut small rounds off and press the mixture into a rice flour dusted wooden mould. Fiddle with it until you work out the best method to get them out and then let me know how you can do all this and not let the butter in the dough change consistency.*

Thanks!

* Or simple roll mixture out and use regular biscuit cutters to get a shape that you like.

* They are still perfectly acceptable to be eaten, dunked and given away as gifts in this way.

An extra thought- I think the flour to butter ratio needs to be changed a little for using the mould properly… maybe. I’ll keep tweaking anyway and see what I come up with.