Saturday, April 23, 2011

An Old Favourite for Good Friday

Alison Holst's Kitchen Diary vol 6.  Jolly good Hot Cross Bun recipe, even my non-raisin-eater ate them raisins and all.  I didn't challenge the children too far by putting candied peel in, much as I like it in my buns I didn't have any in the pantry and the shops were closed.

Every "young mum" in the country owned at least one of Mrs Holst's books in late 70s and early 80s.  My mum got the new Kitchen Diary every year, I think they were popular Christmas presents, and most years our Christmas cake came from these books.  I found vols 4 and 6 on an op-shop trawl, and couldn't resist taking them home.  Reading through I'm hit with enormous waves of nostalgia - the line drawings by Alison's "food stylist" sister and the retro recipes take me straight back to my childhood.

The recipes are surprisingly modern and useful for the most part, although a few curried chicken dishes leave me cold.  Lots of ideas for using up your seasonal surplus, which was probably very unfashionable during the later '80s and '90s, but is right in tune with our more enlightened "modern" times :-)  How funny that I've become my hippy mother after all.  Anyway, should you find any old Kitchen Diaries, I advise you snap them up and relive your childhood too.

We enjoyed our buns with coffee in genuine 1970's brown-glazed artisan pottery mugs.  Perfect.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Q. What do call 40 million sheep in the snow?

A: Winter in New Zealand! *

Winter seems to have arrived all in one go today.  No nice gradual slide through autumn, the leaves slowly turning russet and gold and drifting gently into rustling piles for small children to leap on (for more on leaves and small children check out my new favourite blog, Handmade by Mother).  Around here a southerly buster blows through and all the leaves come off in one day (not to mention quite a few branches and about 40 million pears at my place), and it all ends up in soggy heaps blocking everyone's drains and gutters.

So anyway, I woke up this morning to the sound of driving rain, and my first thought was .... goody, what jersey shall I wear?! :-)

On the subject of jerseys - a huge thanks to everyone who's bought my Matariki pattern, remember all proceeds from sales this month will be donated to the Red Cross to help out in Christchurch, Japan and around the world so why not buy it now and feel virtuous while making sure your children are warm and toasty this winter!  Check out some of the gorgeous sweaters other knitters have posted on Ravelry.  I'm so happy with all the fantastic colour combinations people are coming up with, and so proud that I've encouraged some to try fair isle knitting for the first time!


*how many sheep in New Zealand? 

p.s. a note for my non-Kiwi readers: these are not my sheep and I don't believe it's ever actually snowed in Island Bay.  Those sheep live in Waiouru which is up a mountain.  The rest of New Zealand is a tropical paradise, honest.

p.p.s. 41 South Weather at Island Bay  No, I don't understand all that either, but it looks cool.  Hopefully you won't click that link until next February when it will say 26C and sunny.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Life in Wartime

Hopefully you can click on that and read the text.  It made me feel quite emotional: "gone for the duration".  I've been hanging out in the 1940s quite a bit lately.  The smaller size booklets, the ads full of apologies for shortages and "hard to find" products, the short, tight fashions with their hodge-podge of colours. 

I managed to find this supplement to the Lux Knitting Book 1941.  I don't actually have the 1941 book, 1940 and 1942, sure, but not '41.  Anyway, get knitting ladies - you can keep your man safe and lucky for the duration by knitting him lots and lots of socks!

And should his luck hold and he makes it home to you, the stork may well come a-visiting soon.  Then you might given a copy of this wee book by this rather terrifying looking woman.

Here's the book:

Personally I find these dolls a little creepy.

If you fancy something a little more modern you could try the Paragon Baby Book, no. 1.  not just knitteds, but Advice to Mothers too.

Ah yes, fantastic advice.  For the expectant mother :

"If you want to go to the pictures choose the lighter, gayer types and keep strictly away from thrillers, horror pictures and sad or morbid performances."

And for the new mother - fresh air, sunshine, vigorous washing and a strict schedule of feeding and sleep.  I'm pretty sure all that putting the baby outside for fresh air was directly related to the directive not to pick that howling baby up ;-)

I was intrigued by an ad for something called "Lactogol".  "If every young mother today would use Lactogol instead of putting their babies on the bottle as soon as they come home from the nursing home, there would be less illness amongst the babies - a breast fed baby comes on far better".  A quick Google and it turns out Lactogol was a linseed oil based preparation used for boosting milk supply and general good health for mothers and children.  Seems the health supplement industry's obsession with "good oils" is nothing new.

Monday, April 4, 2011

I'm a Lumber Jacket and I'm Ok

Sorry, couldn't help myself. 

Nice and autumny though, trying to get into the spirit of seasons changing and winter coming.  Such an untidy time of year - the garden looks scraggly and tired, and I'm feeling that way myself. 

Time to bust out the red wool.