July 15, 2014

I am a huge lover of IKEA - I even worked at IKEA for many years as a kitchen designer (yes, really!). During that time I brought home LOADS of furniture and other bits and pieces for my home, including a pile of these stools. Sadly, the stools were given away to a friend when I moved interstate 18 months ago, but after seeing this makeover on the Funkytime design blog I might have to get myself some more, and get painting! I've been needing some fun chairs to tuck under my outdoor table, I think these would be perfect.

Image Credit - Funkytime
For the full tutorial, click here.

Happy painting!

xx Shannon.


July 8, 2014

It's no secret that I love porridge. In fact, I will happily eat porridge for breakfast all-year-round. Yes, even in the middle of Summer… I love it that much… I find it a deliciously nourishing way to start my day. And oh, I have also been known to have it for dinner too, but that's another story.

Today I wanted to share some of my favourite porridge combinations from my years of porridge cooking experience. I tend to get bored of eating the same thing day-in-day-out so I've come up with some creative ways to turn the humble cooked oat into something amazingly delicious each day.

I have a basic recipe that I follow for cooking my oats, and once you've got this sorted you can mix it up a bit with different add-ins and toppings.

Basic Porridge Recipe (Serves 1)
1/2 cup rolled organic oats
2 cups of water
Dash of cinnamon

One thing I'd like to add here is please, no quick oats! Traditional rolled oats may take a little longer to cook, but this makes them extra delicious, easier to digest, and helps you to feel fuller for longer. Also, as I cook them with water rather than milk or a milk substitute, the longer cooking time helps them to break down and become a bit creamier. And really yum!

OK, so pop your oats, water and cinnamon into a saucepan and onto the stove, on the lowest heat setting you can. You want to cook your oats for about 15-20 minutes, without them coming to a full boil. They may bubble a bit towards the end, that's totally cool, just be sure to keep an eye on them and stir a bit so they don't stick to the bottom. They're done when they look nice and creamy and the oats have started to break down a little bit.

Now, for the fun part…. 'decorating' your breakfast. I call it decorating as I like to make an artwork out of my porridge. Breakfast for me is a ritual, a lovely, slow way to start the day. I take my time and have fun stirring, chopping, and arranging. But of course, that's just me, if you're in a hurry to get out the door just pop everything on top, it will still taste great!

Below are a few of my favourite porridge combinations - where I have listed dates or sultanas or figs I find these work best when cooked - just pop them in with your oats, water and cinnamon and they will add a lovely sweetness. I still always add honey though, preferably raw, organic and local - I do have a bit of a sweet tooth!

5 Winning Porridge Combinations

Sultanas - A Dollop of Plum Jam - Sunflower Seeds - Shredded Coconut
Chopped Dates - A Dash of Ginger Powder - Fresh Pear - Chopped Almonds - Sunflower Seeds
Chopped Dried Fig - Fresh Banana - Chia Seeds - Chopped Almonds - Brown Sugar - Coconut
Sultanas - Fresh Apple - Extra Cinnamon - Chopped Almonds
Fresh Mango - Chopped Almonds - Coconut (Summer Porridge!)

Enjoy xx


June 30, 2014

One of the things I love about working on the community food table at our local farmer's market is that I get to find out about and try lots of different foods. A few weeks ago an absolutely HUGE box of local Davidson plums were dropped off. I happily bit into one to see what they were like - turns out they are renowned for being quite sour - which attracted a few smiles from those who were more in the know.

I then discovered that these plums are ideal for making jam. Having never made jam before in my life, but always wanting to have a go, I took home a bag of plums and got cooking. A complete novice, I made an educated guess at how much sugar to use, and followed a few different jam making tips that I found online. After stirring and stirring for what seemed like forever (it was close to an hour!) my jam started to set. Hooray! After some fumbled attempts to get it from the stove and into my jars using a funnel (oh what a mess) I had jam.

Photo Styling by Ellie Beck.

And I'm super happy with how it turned out! Still a bit tart, full of flavour, and perfect for dolloping on my hot porridge in the mornings. And oh my, it goes so well with cake! I spread a layer of plum jam inside this carob cake I made recently, so, so delicious!

If you've been keen to try your hand at jam making, I say give it a go! The worst that can happen is that you'll end up with a runny topping for your desserts and ice cream. A quick online search will provide loads of jam making tips and advice. I might try making marmalade next, I'm still needing ways to put all those grapefruits to good use…

PS. Cute blackboard labels, krafty round stickers and yellow twine available in the online store.

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