Elderflower Champagne….

DSC00810For years we’ve talked about making some of this but we’ve not got round to it until this year….and it happened without any planning on our part (as so many things do in our lives lol!!)



Hubby (who’s an arborist) took out an elder from someone’s garden and with all those flowers lying on the ground (still attached to the tree) the plan was formed…well when I say plan it was more a case of we stood looking at it and he said ..hey shall we make Elderflower Champagne and I went and got a couple of shopping bags.

It’s a surprisingly simple thing to make…there’s no yeast to be added as there is naturally occurring yeast on the flowers….the only thing you need to bear in mind is when you collect the flowers don’t go mad because to make 28 litres of champagne you don’t really need 2 bags full of flowers.

The reason for this becomes apparent very quickly…

  • Firstly you then have to take loads out of the mix because it seems to stop fermentation
  • Secondly the flowers are really perfumed and the smell (whilst it’s lovely) is a bit overwhelming in the scheme of things.

So you don’t need many flowers but having had loads in and then removing them it appears a lot of the natural yeast gets left behind….and you need to keep an eye on the bottles (especially if you’re using plastic bottles)…they need to be vented or you will have the bottoms blowing out of the bottles all over your bedroom carpet…Oh yes they did 3 of them!!! (bedroom smelt lovely).

The end result is a flowery little brew that is now in the fridge in the workshop …the cold stops the fermentation and subsequent blowing up. Hubby worked it out at about 5.9%….I quite like it but I’d like to taste a brew that has less flowers in it and see what the difference is.

For 25 litres

  • 4kgs Sugar
  • 2 carrier bags of elderflower heads
  • 10 litres of hot water and 15 litres of cold water
  • 10 lemons (zest and juice)

Dissolve the sugar in the hot water in a large enough container to hold all the water (this will be your fermenting bucket). Top up with the cold water.

Once it’s cool add the flower heads, Lemon juice and zest. The cover the bucket with a bit of Muslin cloth or a tea towel and let it get on with doing what it does best.

If things haven’t started to happen by day 3 add some champagne yeast and that will start things off (but if you’re elderflower is anything like ours you won’t need it).

After 6 days strain it into a fresh bucket through some muslin cloth. (Now you may think you won’t bother doing this…think again…we didn’t and it’s an absolute pain because if you don’t strain it some of the sludge goes into the bottles and then you have to strain it when you’re pouring it into the glasses….it is much easier to do it once).

After about a week it’s ready to drink but keep an eye on it because as I said it can be a little lively…you have been warned Sarcastic smile


Hunger Games Themed Cake…

Keeley Hunger Games Mockingjay cakeWell unless you’ve been on a different planet or completely off grid you will doubtless have seen about the Hunger Games even if it’s not your kind of movie.Keeley Hunger Games Mockingjay cake 3




So a new release of the Hunger Games comes out and we belong to an archery club…put the two together and when one of the girls had a birthday coming up the theme was pretty much a done deal.

All edible the top is a disc of fondant with the Mocking Jay painted on top and then gold glitter sugar put onto it. The flames are fondant and the inside (cake and filling) was coloured with different colours so it looked like the cake was on fire inside. 

BLACK GARLIC Continued…….

I have been lacking somewhat in the documenting department….but things have still been going on regardless so I’m trying to play catch up.

DSC00460 So the Black Garlic…it’s been a great success and it’s not just me that thinks so Smile

It is delicious…it’s nothing like garlic it has a balsamicy (not sure if that is even a word!), sweet taste. It’s a DSC00465

lovely taste and I think we’re all (and that includes our friends) a little bit addicted. It’s kind of squishy almost like Liquorice …it can be sliced or it can be squashed too. DSC00464

24 bulbs turned into black garlic ……I didn’t buy organic garlic just common o garden garlic…the bags were $3 each. 24 bulbs for $6 total.

24 bulbs of garlic would have cost would have cost me over $200…There is someone selling them for $5 now but that would still be $120.. So from my frugal thinking point of view it’s ticking all the boxes because it’s going to save me in the long run…..not yet though because I went a bought another rice cooker that stays on warm permanently until you switch it off…but it won’t be long until it’s paid its way.  

I’ve got another load in there now…this time 4 bags of garlic …will still need to see how this works out as it’s a new cooker won’t be long though.


The first ever Invictus Games saw over 400 competitors from 13 nations compete across 9 adaptive sports. It is an international Paralympic-style multi-sport event in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans take part in sports including wheelchair basketball,Sitting volleyball and Indoor rowing.

The games were given the name Invictus after Invictus, the Latin for “Unconquered, Undefeated” the event was inspired by the Warrior Games (a similar event held in the United States). The first Invictus Games took place in 2014 at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

We were lucky enough to be involved with this on a more personal level when our archery club hosted two members of the military who needed to learn archery and quickly …and I mean quickly.

DSC00590 Medals to Commemorate the First Invictus Games that took place in London in 2014. Would like to say a huge thank you to our friends who we had the pleasure of meeting because of the games and who gave us this medal.

DSC00593These are limited edition and we (that’s me and T) feel very honoured to have been given one. So proud of all the people who took part because of who they are and what they stand for (although of course we were a bit biased)….
We will treasure this always.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud to watch all those servicemen and women take part and represent people with disabilities taking on the world and living their lives regardless of what life has dealt them…they’re and inspiration.


Now up until a couple of weeks ago I’d never even heard of black garlic never mind tasted the stuff. A friend and I went to a local farmers market and someone was selling it….it was VERY expensive – well at $9 a bulb of garlic I thought so !!!
So I did what any sensible person would do I bought one LOL!! …and then I came home and we all tried it …it was lovely ..it’s kind of sweet and garlicky…………

………..and then I did the second thing any sensible person who likes living frugally does (because lets face it $9 a bulb isn’t frugal by any stretch of the imagination) and I looked up how to make black garlic and then when I had had my mind blown looked up how to make black garlic at home.

Basically the bumpf said you need to slowly heat the garlic over weeks ….it seems lots of people make black garlic using a rice cooker on the warm cycle……Sooo I bought a second hand rice cooker which had a long warm function on it (24 hours) that I could reset every evening and a couple of bags of cheap garlic (not going to experiment with expensive stuff) and tonight the experiment started…
DSC00456   DSC00457

So the garlic is all wrapped up in a foil package and in 14 days time I’ll know whether it’s worked or not.

Silverstone….a cakey tribute.


Moist chocolate (with beetroot,which is why it’s so moist) cake. With a chequered flag and the outline of the Silverstone track in fondant.

Cake…a hint of Burlesque…

Well I haven’t been able to do much whilst I’ve been off sick and whilst some think this would be great a time (and in truth I would have been one of those at one time) it has been boring and is now verging on pergatory!!! 

The only thing to provide a break from the boring that was becoming mind numbing was a couple of friends asked me if I could make cakes for them – this was before I fell over and did in my shoulder but it was cutting it really fine to get a cake from somewhere else so I did them


Burlesque 3

A hint at burlesque  for my friends 21   year old daughter. Everything except the feather was edible (including the mask).

Burlesque 2



I had to buy a cheap plastic mask so I could get the shape of the mask and for it to take on the contours of a face. After that it was easy…roll out the fondant so it wasn’t too thick and then cut out the mask shape in the fondant (mixed in with some tylose powder) and onto the mask to dry ….only took a couple of days.

Note to self for the future though ….when you decorate a fondant mask don’t hold onto one piece too long or the warmth from your hands melts the fondant…..you can’t see it but the piece on the top snapped off (to repair I just melted some fondant to make a glue and pressed the broken bit back onto the mask. Then left it to harden again (which didn’t take long to be honest).

Pity I couldn’t get the colours to show better, the glitter on the mask and writing just isn’t showing …but believe me it’s there.

I was glad I took my time with this as I think if I had tried to do it short notice then I would have paid for it with lots of pain.

Thursday 14th August 2014

It’s here!!!…It’s here!!!

The Spirooli has arrived …



So everything has been getting Spiroolied (don’t know if that’s a word but if it isn’t it should be!)

Spirooli chips for tea for the small person.



Spirooli Zucchini “pasta” …now it’s of course not the same as actual pasta but it does give the feeling of eating pasta and of course the ability to feel smug that you’ve got rid of a ton load of carbs, which at the moment I’m doing.

I forgot!!!

I’ve got a new gadget coming soon….I was watching Queen Latifah’s chat show on TV the other week and she had Boy George on – he made a dish with Zucchini Spaghetti. I liked the idea of this given I’m just starting on my low carb journey. So I thought I would investigate gizmo’s for making veggie noodles / spaghetti.

I think this is a really good video to give you the comparisons…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0R1kSqx8bk 

I decided in the end to get the Spirooli slicer …because it will give you really long vegetable spaghetti. So you have the option of cutting it down to whatever size you want. I got it off Amazon in the USA….ironically it was cheaper for my to buy it and have it delivered to my door from America than it was for me to buy it in NZ…. sadly I find myself doing this more and more. It’s on it’s way so hopefully I’ll be eating veggie spaghetti really soonSmile 

Onwards and upwards……

I’ve strained my rotator cuff (shoulder) which is agony ..I thought the Sciatica was painful but this has topped it!

I have been to the doctor and so had blood tests done as well (he was thinking maybe Osteoarthritis….good news it isn’t. I also had fasting lipids and blood glucose and the results..
Good news – cholesterol is OK
Bad news – Blood sugars were high and I was told I’m pre-diabetic.
The good news with that is I’m not diabetic but it’s a huge warning. I’ve known since I packed the weight back on that I needed to lose it but this is the metaphorical slap round the face I think I needed (well I hope it is)…losing weight is no longer something I just want to do… I need to do it. I don’t see daily injections in my future and so I’ve got to do something about it.

It’s taken me a few days to process this and I’ve done nothing but read about diabetes on the net (in addition to all the bumpf he gave me) since I found out. So I’m going to REALLY apply myself. Lower fat, lower carb diet -my SW green days will be no more because I need to drop the carbs.

Hubby got a real bargain a cross trainer for $25 (they are around $400 normally) -the computer on it wasn’t working ..actually it was because the wires had come loose so he took it apart and has fixed it ..new batteries and it’s good to go.

We’ve decided to turn our spare bedroom into a place to exercise (gym sounds a bit much)….so youngest son thinks this is great because at 8 years old he’s getting the big bed out of there )grin2(
So I WILL be getting my act together now and be more positive about sorting out my weight this time!!! )grin2(

All I need to do now is find out what’s going on with my shoulder and keep losing weight….simple eh ?!!