Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A Warm Winter Wooly and the Winners

Mum has been trying out some new knitting techniques. Her latest creation is this chunky beanie.

It lends itself perfectly to the large white Incomparable daisy flower button.

Thanks for your patience with my announcing the winners late - several people were having problems with the comment function and so we extended the deadline.

The 10 winners are:
Debbie S,
Carole R,
Linda Rumsey,
Sherra Bailey,
Odette van Heerden,
Pam Greer,
Beth Beal

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone for your comments.
If you haven't switch from GFC yet, have you tried using Feedly or Bloglovin'? There's also the option to sign up to follow via email and of course we are also available on FaceBook.

We are off to France next week to celebrate my parents' 40th wedding anniversary! So my next post will be all in France! 
À bientôt!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Already Been Chewed Peanut Butter Dog Treats

After a fresh early morning stroll I decided to bake the naughty pup some treats.

This recipe calls for only 5 ingredients and chances are they're already in your pantry.

1 C nutty wheat flour (or whole wheat flour),
1 and 1/2 t baking powder,
1/2 C peanut butter,
2 T honey,
1/2 C hot water.

Mix the flour and baking powder.
In a separate bowl mix the peanut butter, honey and water until smooth.
Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix into a dough.
On a floured bread board, roll out your dough and cut into shapes.
Pop into the oven at 190˚C for about 20 minutes.

Here comes trouble

I used my 'already been chewed' cookie shapes - which I thought were appropriate since Bails would like to claim that he's the one who did the chewing.

Those smelt delicious while baking

The quality control inspector helps himself:

They get the paws up sign of approval.

These were so easy to throw together and its good to know what ingredients are going into Bailey's treats since terms such as 'meat and animal derivatives' used to describe most store bought treats do not inspire much confidence in their origin. 
Realistically this is a dog who will happily scavenge from rubbish bags and bring home rotting things he finds in the fields but I still prefer to have some control over the food he eats.

And he is certainly a willing recipient!

Our give away deadline has been extended due to all the emails we are receiving about people struggling to leave comments on the blog. 

The 10 winners will be chosen tomorrow. 

You can leave a comment on today's post or hop across to our  FaceBook profile ButtonMad and leave a comment there to enter the give away .

Friday, 24 May 2013

Guilt Free Banana Muffins

I arrived home from a walk through the apple orchards with Bails to find that the still green-on-the-outside bananas that I'd bought a day ago were already going mushy on the inside. Only 1 thing to be done in such an emergency situation - bake delicious banana muffins of course!

It was a rather misty morning earlier so the thought of steaming muffins hot from the oven was welcome.

Our misty sunrise view

Compared with yesterday's sunrise!

For this recipe you'll need:
4-6 overripe bananas,
1/2 C sugar,
1 T honey,
2 eggs,
1 t oil,
2 C flour,
1/2 t bicarb,
3/4 t baking powder,
1/2 t salt,
1 t vanilla paste/essence

Mash the bananas, sugar and honey with a fork.
Add the eggs and oil and beat well.
Sift the dry ingredients into the mixture and mix.
Add vanilla.
Spoon into a greased muffin pan.
Bake at 170 C for 30 minutes.

Optional extra: swirl a teaspoon of Nutella or crunchy peanut butter through the middle of the muffins.
I made a variety. 

Bailey thought he would entertain me while I was baking:

Save a peanut butter muffin for me please mum, puleeez!

Baking is hard work!

The original recipe that I used called for twice the amount of sugar stated here and a full cup of oil but I'm trying to cut back on refined sugars and unnecessary fats and with the honey I added to them, these muffins are sweet, moist and delicious so I think they're a big improvement...and I get to add lashings of fresh butter with slightly less guilt (butter doesn't count so much as a fat as it does a way of life!)
Without the optional extra Nutella and if you serve these without butter, they are virtually fat free (2 eggs split over 12 muffins - not bad for a delicious snack!)

Not one but two muffins served on one of my favourite plates - a plain white ceramic plate with Incomparable chickens running around the edge. I glued these on using Bostik Home glue which goes through the dishwasher and is even oven proof to about 200 C!

Don't forget we are having a give away of 10 sets of nautical theme buttons to followers who follow via any medium other than GFC! Leave a comment on the blog letting us know how you follow. Give away ends on Sunday at midnight.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Sun, Sea, Surf...a Give Away and Beach Themed Birthdays

A short while ago my folks were fortunate enough to attend a friend's 60th birthday in the middle of England. It was a beach party theme with a sea sand floor, upside down surfboards for tables..and even members of the Beach Boys on stage to sing their old hits.

Now I'm hosting a children's beach themed party of my own and while I can't quite offer the Beach Boys or any of the other little luxuries, I've put together these glass bottles with some beach sand and the invitation rolled up inside...and some gorgeous sea themed Incomparable buttons wrapped around with gold ribbon.

There will be various activity stations for the kids:  
fabric painting onto T-shirts:

as well as painting and glueing together a wooden picture board with sea buttons:

and making cute framed pictures to take home for mum:

 Hosted in our new button barn, the kids will have a huge scratch patch of beach buttons to choose from...

...and they're not the only ones, because we are giving away 10 sets of assorted Incomparable sea buttons to 10 people who follow our blog by email anywhere in the world...if you currently follow us using GFC, you can easily sign up to follow us by email on the left hand bar on the blog. 
This give away will close at midnight on Sunday 26th May.

Of course on the menu is fish fingers! pie for lunch! :)

Friday, 10 May 2013

Crustless Melktert and some Stitching

This little beauty is the newest addition to my kitchen and its definitely love at first sight. My Kitchenaid is in Yellow Pepper. I ordered in the Pear but was informed that its no longer available in that colour. My heart nearly broke but then I unwrapped this baby and Pear is now but a distant memory (I think this colour looks great with my French grey/green cupboards).

Straight to work to test her out. I decided to make a South African classic.
Melktert or milktart is a traditional Afrikaans dessert. It is a set vanilla, cinnamon custard and is simply sublime.

This version requires only 1 bowl and no base - it bakes itself a lovely crust.

You will need:

3/4 C flour
2 t baking powder
2 C milk (I use full cream but you can use 2%)
2 eggs
1/2 C sugar
1 t vanilla essence
25g butter
pinch of salt
1/2 t cinnamon and some to sprinkle on top

Bails was intrigued by the delicious cinnamon smell filling the house and was looking rather hopeful.

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
Throw all your ingredients together and mix. 
Pour into a buttered pie dish. 
Sprinkle with cinnamon and pop into oven.
Wait impatiently for 45 minutes.
Serve immediately with a cup of tea or its just as delicious served cold.

Ring me up and invite me over for a healthy sized slice!

While waiting for this to bake, mum was busy knitting away trying out a new technique for her - intarsia.
This is what she came up with:

I was rather impressed with her handiwork and gave her an extra slice of melktert!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Date & Biscuit Ball Recipe

I've been searching for a healthy snack to serve with tea and to nibble on while sitting in front of the computer without feeling too guilty and hit upon these delicious date balls. Dates provide us with niacin which, in moderation, has numerous health benefits. They also solve my sweet craving so are doubly beneficial!
Super easy to whip together. If you want to treat yourself, follow this simple recipe:
200g marie biscuits (plain butter biscuits),
150g butter,
60g sugar,
300g chopped pitted dates,
1 t vanilla.
Crush the biscuits.
On the stove, melt the butter with sugar and dates and warm gently until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
Combine with the biscuits.
When the mixture is cool enough to handle, form small balls and place them on wax paper in the fridge to set.
I made mine to give away as a small gift beautifully wrapped in a small tin with some ribbon and a pretty Incomparable heart pendant.
Seems as though the lid won't fit with the excess of date balls so I get to taste test a couple! Yum, lucky me!




Monday, 6 May 2013

Elgin Cool Wine and Country Festival

On Saturday we opened our new button barn for the first time.

Last Monday this barn was completely empty. During the week we were all rather busy constructing shelves out of old apple crates and getting everything in order.

Things really came together with loads of hard work, mostly by Jen, and our buttons and other products are beautifully displayed.

We even have a small area for button enthusiasts to rest their weary feet...

While their husbands are entertained in the wine tasting area...

My sister Shan kept everyone happy with her passion for the Oneiric wine shining through...

After browsing at the button barn, guests were welcomed back to the main farm house where we provided breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea for 75 people!

Everyone mingled and relaxed on the patio in the glorious autumn sunshine.

We welcomed visitors from Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and closer to home from Johannesburg, Hermanus, Cape Town and Somerset West.

We finished the afternoon off with an assortment of cakes and chocolates and more fine wine from Oneiric. (Baked cheesecake recipe)

And of course, what day would be complete without a game of croquet on the lawn?!

All in all it was a wonderful day and we so enjoyed welcoming people to the beautiful valley we are so privileged to call home.

If you're ever fortunate enough to be travelling through the area, give us a call and pop in to say hi.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Wellington Boots

Autumn in the Cape is a wonderful time of year. Yesterday we had clear sunny skies and the temperature at 26 degrees C.
Today we woke up to soft rain and big puddles...

Bails is grateful for wellies because we still get to go traipsing about the farm despite the mud and wet conditions.

Perfect for splashing in on our morning walk.

Tomorrow we are set for another clear sky sunny day...and that is just as well because we are opening the farm and our new button barn to the public...

Its been a busy week setting everything up. And of course we aren't close to being ready - but then again, is one ever really ready?!

Have a wonderful weekend.
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