Two wings lift a person up from earthy concerns: simplicity and purity. Simplicity should be in intention, purity in feelings. Simplicity reaches out after God, purity catches hold and tastes. ~ Thomas A’Kempis

Monday, 8 April 2019

A room with a view

Hi everyone,
What a silly title..but my kitchen is a room with a view, of the street and the garden :) I love this kitchen, even though it is tiny, it has served me very well. I cook meals in it for my husband almost every night, and also for family and friends. It's also been the place where I've been making soap for the past 6 - 7 years.
Over the last year or so  I started to feel like either I find a new space to make soap or yikes I might just not do it anymore as it was becoming too exhausting to drag all the equipment, containers, oils etc etc out every time and then pack it all up, put it away and scour the kitchen in time to prepare dinner. I was well over it.
So we thought about converting our carport into a workshop for hubby and a bit more than half of it for me as a soap studio.  However that option turned out to be too expensive having to involve permits, concrete laying and on and on $$$.
Finally almost like a revelation one day, I realised we could simply renovate a small room that was used as a storage room for all my soap making bits and pieces.
The room wasn't good for much else in its former state as it was the only room in the house still uninsulated, and in winter it was very cold and damp as a sponge...eee

Hubby and our new builder neighbour paired up and ta da...

the ceiling and walls were torn off and the carpet lifted up.
Now about 1 month later...

 we have this !!!! :)
New ceiling, walls painted a soft tan shade called 'parchment' by Resene and a wood look vinyl floor has been laid. A small air conditioning unit is going to be installed this week too. Then I'll sew some
little striped indigo  ticking curtains to cover the shelves in the bench unit, and we'll move in the soap fridge and all the other stuff (large cupboard etc). It is indescribably joyful !!

I feel blessed and very thankful to have this new fresh space, thats insulated, warm, dry and smells so lovely and new, after it being a room that was really just awful. 
So I celebrated by making ... you guessed it ! S O A P (still in the kitchen for now though :), a lovely coffee soap..since I am such a coffee lover. It's made with real espresso and decorated with a single little coffee bean on top.

~ O T H E R    H O M E S T E A D   H A P P E N I N G S ~
.My little wax warmer that sits in my kitchen..I love
it's starry glow especially now that the days are getting cooler.

My Reading Corner: I just finished a wonderful, very long book my daughter lent me called: Green Dolphin Street, by Elizabeth Goudge

The Synopsis:

Marianne Le Patourel meets William Ozanne in the 1830s on an island in the English Channel, but her sister Marguerite falls in love with him too. And so begins this sweeping, dramatic adventure for the women in the story.
William’s naval career is cut short, and writes to ask for Marguerite’s hand in marriage ― but somehow puts the wrong name in his letter. It is Marianne who arrives aboard the ship The Green Dolphin, and William decides not to reveal his mistake. And so begins the next, and biggest adventure of them all.
Earthquakes, shipwreck, encounters between New Zealand settlers and the indigenous Maori people – these are just some of the tales which help to describe life in 19th century New Zealand

The book is fiction but the author states in the note that it is based on fact. “That a man who had emigrated to the New World should after the lapse of years write home for a bride, and then get the wrong one because he had confused her name with that of her sister, may seem to the reader highly improbable; yet it happened. And in real life also the man held his tongue about his mistake and made a good job of his marriage.”

My thoughts: This was a great saga of a story, spanning the whole life of the characters, from childhood to old age. There were a lot of unexpected twists and turns which I didn't expect. This kept the story very exciting !!! I had no idea how it would end..but sadly like all good books it did, and what a great ending too. I would definitely recommend this book. 

Other reading: My Bible During my morning quiet time I had been reading through and meditating upon the book of ACTS. I read it very slowly, often pausing for days over a section, when I felt the Holy Spirit was really trying to get me to notice something in particular. This is my favourite way to read scripture. Then I make notes in my journal when I grasp what I'm to learn for that time. I've since moved onto Romans and am now beginning 1st Corinthians. Even though I've read through the New Testament countless times, it is always a rich feast, that I never tire of. 

I N  T H E  G A R D E N
Not much is happening. It needs weeding (as per usual). Many plants have powdery mildew and look worse for wear, such as my Dahlias and very finished zucchini plants. I'm harvesting the last remaining tomatoes, and need to harvest all the basil and dry some for cooking. Autumn is the time I harvest most herbs that I like to use in teas, like Lemon Verbena or for medicinal or culinary use.

I've had this punnet of Silverbeet plants sitting on my kitchen bench for over a week, but haven't had the time to plant them yet. I need to get them in the ground or otherwise the weather will turn too cold before they get a chance to put on some decent growth. !!

I N  T H E  K I T C H E N:

Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce: I picked a couple of large bowls of tomatoes and decided to just chop them all up and throw them in a saucepan with salt, fresh black pepper, chopped fresh basil, some dried oregano, and about 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. I brought this to a boil and then turned it down to a simmer for over an hour. By this time it had reduced a bit. I then thickened it with about 3/4 cup of tomato paste. Check the seasonings until it's just how you like your pasta sauce: eg. more basil, salt, pepper, parmesan etc. I froze the leftovers in jars and popped them in the freezer.

I served this over some cooked pasta. I had also cooked a chicken, so we had a little of that meat on the side, a buttered sourdough muffin and a simple salad. It was delicious. I always feel good when I have made every effort to not waste food from the garden that God has blessed us with, whether that be from sharing it with others or preserving it in some way.


Makes x 2
(This recipe can be doubled, as I did)
I think this recipe originally came from Facebook?..not sure, but it's delicious
works every time and quick. I have also made it with Feijoas.

Ingredients - base:
1/2 cup almond flour
20g melted butter

Ingredients - topping
125g cream cheese (1/2 plt Philadelphia) 
1 T & 1 teaspoon of sweetener - I use Erythritol/stevia blend - THM super sweet
1 squirt sugar free maple syrup
1 T lemon juice
vanilla essence
1/2 cup mashed fruit - I used frozen berries, that I defrosted a little in
the microwave and added in 1 doonk of stevia
1/2 cup cream - whip until soft peaks form

1. Turn the oven to 180 C. Prepare the base ingredients. Grease the base of 2 ramekins or spray with oil. Divide the base mixture between the ramekins and press down. Place the ramekins on a baking dish and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool the little dishes on a cooling rack.

2. Prepare the filling: Put the cream cheese, vanilla, sweetener, squirt of sugar free maple syrup, and lemon juice in a small deep bowl. Beat until everything is combined. Add the raspberries and beat again. 

3. Beat the 1/2 cup of cream until soft peaks form. I normally add 1 x doonk of stevia to the cream as well. Fold the cream through the cream cheese mixture, beating again if required.
4. Divide the berry/cream cheese mixture between the two ramekins (as long as the base and dishes are now cold) and decorate with an additional fresh raspberry that you just picked from the garden :) ..well that's what I did :)
5. Refrigerate for about 2 hours, then enjoy :)

~ Warning: these are very delicious and addictive ~

F U N   T H I N G S:
At the close of last month I celebrated my birthday :)
My sweet husband arranged to have that day off work and we spent a .wonderful day together.
First we went out for breakfast. Bacon and eggs on toast for me and panckakes for Bruce.

Then he took me shopping and we purchased a new dresser for our room. This will be for my clothes. I am so happy with it :) It's made from Oak and has been painted with chalk paint and an antique look varnish/distressed finish. The legs are painted black. I especially like the trim on the table and that he left the top just plain wood. 

That big bundle of ticking fabric sitting on top of the dresser is going to be made into little
curtains to hide the shelves on the benches in the soap room. If I have any leftover material I might make a new kitchen curtain too, since I love this fabric. Of course I got it on sale :)

~ Some of my other birthday gifts ~
2 favourite DVD's (Bright Star and Miss Potter)
and my favourite magazine - Country Living. I've been collecting these
magazines for years and have copies dating back to the 1980's, which I still love.

In the evening my daughter invited us over for a birthday dinner, which was delicious.
I heard from all my children, so it goes down as one of my most beloved birthdays ever.
~ ~ ~
The next night, we had a lovely evening out with friends. We went to our friends daughter/son in laws new Pizza restaurant in Napier called Vincies. They've only been open about 6 months and its already a very popular place to eat. Well done them !!! They sell Pizza by the slice, so you can try as many different sorts as you want without having to buy the a whole pizza. The slices are huge and very delicious !!!  :)

If you love pizza... why not stop by and try it for yourself :)

Well that's all for now. As I finish of this post I am super pooped as I spent the day at my daughters
helping out with the little grand girls. What a joy they are. :) 
Blessings to anyone who stops by my blog. If you are encouraged by anything written here, that brings me joy,so please feel free to leave me a comment. 
:)  Linda

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