Monday, 27 January 2014

Lumpy Space Princess Crochet Hat and two Mug Cozies

Just a quick update, I've been on holiday visiting with my family the past few weeks, so everything's a bit of a mess at the moment. It did give me a chance though to give my parents and sister some gifts I made for them over Christmas.

I made these mug cozies for mum and dad, and now that I look at them they seem a bit childish haha... but they said they loved them.

For my sister, I spent months making this Lumpy Space Princess hat. I couldn't find a pattern, so pretty much made it up as I went. You can't really tell from this pic, but I gave her hands as well.

There are maybe a few things that I'd do differently, but overall I'm happy with it! If you don't know who Lumpy Space Princess is, thennnn watch this...

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Planting Chilli Seeds - Hungarian Yellow Wax and Jalapeno

My seeds arrived today!

Two things I have learnt since beginning my garden:

1. You can't grow everything from seedlings (even though I think it's sooo much easier)

2. You can buy seeds for almost every type of plant on the internet, so why not try something different!? :)

So I ordered some Jalapeno and Hungarian Yellow Wax Chili seeds. It's early Summer here at the moment and quite hot, so hopefully they will do well.

I'm using the bottom half of egg cartons as seedling trays, with old takeaway cartons to hold the water. 

I read that since chillis need to be really warm to germinate, I'm covering them with plastic wrap and keeping them in the hot water cupboard. I'll check them every day and take them out when they start to germinate.

Again, if anyone is reading this and can see something that I'm doing wrong, please feel free to comment below!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Random Character Drawings

Just a couple of characters I drew when I thought I would try and do the 30 Characters Challenge back in November.

You can find the challenge here:

Really hope to give it another go next year!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Raised Bed Gardening in Auckland New Zealand

For Christmas I was given a raised garden bed frame.

I must have been talking too much about how I wanted to grow my own herbs... Ooops. Oh well if you don't ask you don't get!

I went out and bought some supplies from Mitre 10 Mega.

Two bags of compost and three bags of soil. A fork, trowel and rake, three pairs of gloves, plus some seed raising mix as I plan to grow Chillies. I got everything here for under $50!

I spent about a week peeking outside at different spots around the house to try and see which got the most sun, and decided this sheltered north-facing spot by the hedge will have to do.

In the beginning I was intent on lining the bed with plastic or weed mat, mostly because I think the wood is untreated and I want it to last for a while.

But in the end, and after lots of research, I decided just to lay a few sheets of newspaper in the bottom, to stop too much soil from falling through the holes.

I used the 'lasagne' method, by layering the soil and compost intermittently. I'll probably dig through it a bit before I plant just to mix it more and loosen it up.

This is all I've done so far, I want to let the soil rest for a few days so that the compost can break down a bit and everything can settle.

I really have NO idea what I'm doing! I'm just following my gut, and bits of info I've gathered from the net, and my mum.

If there's anything that I'm doing wrong or could do better, please feel free to comment. Any advice is welcome! 

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Halogen Oven Strawberry Chocolate Cupcakes.

Ever since I bought my halogen oven, it's been a struggle to find baking recipes that work with it. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the oven. There's something so magical about popping your food in there and watching it transform into something delicious. Oh and it cleans itself! Which is great if you're a messy cook like me :)

So through a lot of trial and error, (and taste testing.... :D ) I created these super-rich-dark-fudgy chocolate cupcakes, with a strawberry curd filling and strawberry buttercream frosting!

So if you have a halogen oven like me, I really suggest you give these a go! If your oven is different to mine (Flavorwave Turbo) then you may need to adjust the times very slightly, and don't forget to taste as you go!

I used a few different recipes from around the internet to create these, and I will include the links to the websites in the post

Chocolate cupcakes (by yelenasweets) :

Yelena has a step by step process with pictures that is really great and easy to follow, you can see it here:


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Prepare your cupcake pan and add your paper liners. *

Dissolve the coffee in the hot water.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the oil, vinegar and vanilla to the coffee.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined.

Preheat your halgoen oven to about 170 C. You can do this right before you are about to bake, as the oven will only take a few minutes to heat.

Drop about a teaspoon full (if using mini pans) or about a Tbsp of mixture into your cupcake liners, they need to be around 2/3 full. 

Bake for around 12 to 15 minutes, then check with a toothpick or a knife to see if they are done. You may need to increase the cooking time, but try not to increase the temp too much as you will end up with burnt tops. 

*I find that a silicone pan works best here, although I could only find a 12 cup pan, and had to cut mine in half to make it fit. If you do this please make sure your pan is 100% silicone, as toxins can leech out into the food. To see if your pan is 100% silicone, bend and stretch it. If you can see white then your pan contains fillers and should not be cut.

If you find that your tops are cracking, you can remove a cupcake liner from your pan and add water. This will help to keep them moist as they bake.

Pop them out so they can cool and continue until all the mixture is used up. If you are doing mini cakes you will end up with quite a few, so it's ok if your first few batches don't turn out quite right, I know mine didn't!

Next step.... Strawberry curd filling! And strawberry buttercream icing. I will show you the recipes for these in the next post:

I'd really love to hear if you make these, and any other great halogen over recipes that you've come up with!