Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Soft Pillow Dollies

These sweet little dolls are so easy to make from your pile of scraps.
Simply trace and embroider her big smile and hair onto a scrap of linen then sew that to a brightly coloured piece for her dress. 
Add some ribbon or lace if you'd like and sew on a few handmade Incomparable buttons.
Then sew RST to a matching back piece, leaving the bottom seam open to turn right sides out, fill with stuffing and hand stitch closed.
Then give her to your favourite little girl(s) for a cuddle toy - these will make perfect Christmas stocking fillers.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Bunny Hug-ger!

Mum put this cute little bunny softy together last week. I can only assume she ran out of time and/or material by the time she got to the ears!

One thing has to be said for it though…it has a really cute butt(on) behind!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Lovely Lavender Pouches

We have quite a few hundred lavender bushes planted on the farm…looking pretty in purple and smelling glorious right now.

With the country fair coming up, I've been thinking of the farm produce we can offer alongside apples, olive oil and wine…and with lavender in such abundance, thought it would be a pity not to make good use of it.

Every evening I can be seen with my basket tucked under my arm clipping away at the lavender and hardly making a dent but filling the basket to the brim. Its been so easy to dry it in the sunshine here…and my house and patio smell quite heavenly…
well, until Bailey makes an appearance after a swim!

I made these little pouches by attaching a button on one side, then sewing along 3 sides of some fabric scraps RST, turning them out & then filling them up with dried loose lavender…and invisible stitching the fourth side closed - my technique leaves a lot to be desired.

I love how these look in a glass sweetie jar…scrumptious...

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Cup Cake Toppers

There's been a lot of baking and absolutely zero very little posting going on around here but that's about to change.
We've been busy getting ready to host a food and gift show on the farm with exhibitors from all over the Western Cape joining us over two weekends…from coffee and food trucks to gorgeous gifts and pamper products there will be many special handcrafted items on offer. We are offering kids' entertainment including pony and tractor rides so that mum can browse the stalls while the kids stay happily distracted and dad can have a wine or craft beer tasting while looking out over the beautiful views.

I've been putting together a range of these cute cup cake toppers…complete with pretty handmade Incomparable buttons.
There were no cupcakes in the house to use for display so I resorted to using this scrumptious banana choc chip muffin.

hmmm…looks good enough to eat.
You can make your own cup cake toppers or if you'd like to order a set of 12, email me for details.

Here's our flyer for the fair - if you're anywhere in the Western Cape or know of anyone who might enjoy the day out, please pass it along to them.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Chocolate Macarons with Kahlua Ganache

Macarons - these humble morsels have a reputation for reducing grown women to tears…both the women tearing their hair out doing the baking and those doing the tasting.

I've never really been a fan of the store bought variety (despite having ample opportunity to taste the real deal while living in France for a year.) For some reason they never really captured my imagination - or my taste buds for that matter.

That is, until a friend came over for dinner last week and brought a batch she had made…to say I was bowled over is an understatement.

They were so soft and light, seemingly completely insubstantial, yet packing a punch of chewy sweet delicious lingering flavour…I was smitten…and once they were sob finished, I had to have more…immediately!

Louise mentioned the Ottolenghi recipe so I did a quick search which came up with a few different options as well as instructions and oven temperatures that varied quite widely.
After a few experiments, I've found a combination that works well with my oven.

In a food processor whizz together:
110g icing sugar, 50g ground almonds, 12g cocoa powder.
Once its a fine powder, sieve into a bowl.
Using an electric beater, whip up:
2 egg whites until stiff.
Add in 40g castor sugar.

Once the meringue forms soft glossy peaks, add half the almond mix and fold in gently. Add the remaining mix and fold until incorporated.

Place a piping bag upright in tall glass to make it easier to fill then scoop the meringue into the bag.

Line 2 baking trays with non-stick parchment paper. As a guide you can draw circles leaving spaces to allow for the mixture spreading.
Pipe the meringue into each circle forming a disc.
Give the tray a bash on the counter to allow air bubbles to escape.

Leave the trays out for 15-30 minutes to allow the mixture to firm up.

Preheat the oven to 170ºC and bake for 12-14 minutes.
At 12 minutes open the oven door to allow steam to escape.
Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the trays.

Allow to cool.

For the ganache, heat 100g double cream in a saucepan.
Once its simmering, remove from heat and add 100g chocolate (I use Cadbury's Top Deck).
Allow to stand for 2 minutes and then whisk until its smooth and glossy.
Add 2 T Kahlua and mix it in.

I put my ganache into the fridge to allow it to harden.
After 10 minutes it should be firm enough to scoop between 2 macaron wafers.

I'm heading out to dinner with friends in town this evening and am wrapping a few macarons in a gift box for the hostess.
I've decorated my box with beautiful ribbon and an exquisite button from the new Incomparable range

I'm parting with these macarons rather hesitantly…perhaps I'll pop to the farm stall on the way and take her a bunch of flowers instead!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Easter Gift Pockets

Easter weekend is happening so late this year that it almost feels as though it must have been and gone already…and instead of being super prepared with all the extra planning time, I've fallen behind in my Easter preparations…just as well then that these pretty paper gift pockets are so quick and easy to make.

They are perfect for filling with small Easter treats and placing at each table setting or filling a basket at the door for guests to take one home with them as they leave.

You can whip these together while sitting in front of the TV…you might have to invite a few more guests to Easter though, as they're just so easy to make!

Use the template below or draw up your own using a triangle the size you require. Then draw two equal sized triangles next to the middle one…leaving a small triangle at the top for a fold over flap.

Fold over on the lines, glue the two opposite sides down together, fill with homemade goodies, close the flap and secure it with a cut out shape of paper and embellish it with the cutest Easter-themed buttons from our catalog.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Choc Chip Banana Muffins

If you've read through a few of our recipes, you'll have seen our guilt free banana muffins which are delicious and, unbelievably, healthy too.

This version notches it up on the taste scale and knocks healthy aside.

As a bonus, you need use only one bowl and they can be whipped together in about 5 minutes flat.

Which leaves just one question…what are you waiting for?

Turn the oven to 180ºC.
Mix together the following:
3 bananas, roughly mashed,
1 C sugar,
2 C flour,
1 t bicarbonate of soda,
1 t vanilla,
3 T sour cream,
2 eggs,
1/2 C butter, soft,
1 C choc chips (I used Cadbury's Top Deck)

Spoon into cupcake cases in a muffin tray.

Try to keep yourself busy for the next 20-25 minutes while they bake.

If they don't disappear within a few seconds, you could pop these cute Easter themed muffin top-pers on top…

Monday, 17 March 2014

Chewy Ginger Biscuits

Ginger is a firm favourite around here - whether its pickled, ground, fresh or crystallised there's bound to be a large supply in the store cupboard. 

The spicy aroma of ginger biscuits cooking is impossible hard to resist. 
With this in mind, I whipped up a quick batch of gingery, cinnamony soft sugar cookies.

To make a fresh batch, turn the oven to 175ºC and gather the following ingredients together:
1 & 1/4 C flour,
1/2t bicarbonate of soda,
1t ginger,
3/4t cinnamon,
pinch of nutmeg,
pinch salt,
3/8C butter,
1/2 C sugar,
1 egg,
1/8C honey
1/2 T water,
4T sugar and 1t cinnamon for dusting.

 Sieve the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt) together and set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg.

Stir in the water and honey.
Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Scoop tablespoon sized portions into your palm and roll them gently.
Dip in the sugar and cinnamon mix.
Place onto baking paper on a baking tray, press down slightly and bake for 8-12 minutes.

Let them cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.
Wrap them up in wax paper, tie them with baker's twine and finish off with a cheerful gingerbread man button. A cute and tasty homemade gift to take along for your next tea date.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Softy Giraffe

This softy giraffe is a quick and easy toy to create to take along to a baby shower as a sweet gift.

You can create your own giraffe using the template above (Note: seam allowance not included).
You'll need fabric, various coloured ribbons, stuffing, sewing machine and thread.

Cut 2 giraffes from complementary fabrics. Turn the template over for the second piece.
Pin various lengths of ribbon loops facing inwards on the right side of the fabric along his neck for the mane and 1 piece for the tail.

Place the fabric right sides together and sew together (I double back over the ribbons to secure them firmly into place) leaving a large enough gap to turn right side out and stuff.
Fill the giraffe with stuffing and hand stitch the opening closed.

If you can't bear to part with him, whip up another one or two.
Wrap in tissue paper with a big ribbon and an Incomparable heart pendant - the perfect finishing touch.

Optional: You can sew a patch of minky fabric or corduroy onto the body pieces before stitching together to add an extra tactile element for baby.

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