Archive Page 2

Jam Off! Elderflower Marmalade Mania….

The Jam Off on Tuesday was great fun! CFD convinced me to bring my elderflower marmalade – and I am glad she did!

Turns out the elderflower marmalade had an appreciative audience and scored the ‘fruitest blend’ award! Awesome! Check out the Jam Off Aftermath… And there is a great after match analysis on the Xero site too…

The feedback has been great – and pressure to produce the recipe immense. Unfortunately it is a top-secret family recipe – yeah right!

It is no secret –  it was completely made up one balmy summer evening in an attempt to reduce my ‘carbon footprint’ and not let the cast-offs of elderflower cordial making go to waste. So here is…

The Pump House Cottage Elderflower Marmalade

40 Elderflower heads –  Rinse and de-bug and place in a large container/bucket (4L or bigger).

4 Oranges & 10 Lemons, pare off zest, cut up the remainder and add all to the elderflowers.

Combine 1.25 kg of sugar with 1 Litre of boiling water – stir until sugar dissolves.

Pour the boiling sugar solution over the unsuspecting elderflowers, zest etc.

Combine 50g of citric acid together with a cup of boiling water, stir to dissolve, and add to the elderflower party.

Stir, stir, stir… a good 10 seconds of industrious stirring should do it.

Cover the container with a tea towel – and leave for 5 days.

After the 5 days of steeping, sieve through muslin – keeping both the elderflower/citrus mulch and the liquid – Viola! You have now made elderflower cordial & have the ‘pulp’ for your elderflower marmalade!

Bottle up your elderflower cordial – it will be good for a couple of months – and is excellent diluted with a dolop of Gin & a splash of soda water…

Take the elderflower/citrus mulch leftover from the cordial straining and remove the elderflowers (thanks but we don’t need you anymore!)

Cut the zest and pulp up (I don’t like to have great lumps in my marmalade so I cut it up as finely as I could).

Place in a saucepan & ‘just’ cover the pulp with some of your elderflower cordial. Cook gently until a test piece of zest is tender to bite.

Weigh the mixture and add 75% of this weight in sugar i.e. if it weighs about 800g, add 600g of sugar (mine is usually around this…). Cook until suitably jammy. My setting test was pure guess-work (i.e. hey man it looks like jam now!) You may want to use a more scientific method.

Pour the hot marmalade into jars and ta da! Elderflower marmalade – Yum!

Unfortunately it is a seasonal recipe as elderflowers only make a 6 week appearance in october/november time here in NZ – so mark your calendars and plan to make a big batch next summer. I know I will be!

See you next year at Jam Off 2011!


Repiling! Pump House Cottage Style

The old lady has been stripped and jacked up – not one shred of dignity remains – and the repiling hasn’t even started yet!

The pump house cottage – thanks to her repiling antics – is currently starring in an article about repiling on the Propertytoolbox website! We are famous… Sort of….

 Before you go on – I have to warn you – it is not pretty – view the following pictures with caution!   

Hang on PHC - your already looking sad - but you are about to head skyward!

The house is already a shadow of its former self here – the lavender has been dug up and the bottom of the wall demolished – ready for the big move to a firm foundation. 

Perhaps not the PHC's best side

The jacks are in position – plug that baby in! So now the fun starts. Let the repiling begin!  

Just fresh air under here - and some old beer bottles....

Over a couple of days the PHC moved about 1.2m off the ground – I didn’t expect it to get that high! These repiling dudes make it look easy! It is fairly entertaining watching people walking about under the house… I think if I ventured underneath the house it would just tempt fate…. 

Ready for the close up!

 The bare bones exposed – all ready for a good clean out – this house repiling thing is cathartic. 

Now for the classics…

The ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots…… 

Up close and personal with the driveway - Before

IT Guy: Hmmm – dilemma – our house is holding up the neighbours driveway 

The tea lady: Hey! Lets move it over! 

The IT Guy: Yeah – good idea! 

The general public: You guys are insane. 

Moving a metre - all in a mornings work...

And viola! Done! Not a problem for the experts! Now we just need some new piles… 

Around the back - my lovely, serene toilet.....

I loved this little toilet room off the end of the house – there was something serene and peaceful about it – good feng shui (or something) or perhaps it was the only room in the house with a lock… 

Bye bye toilet - what a lovely toilet you were....

Anyway bye bye toilet – you are unfortunately collateral damage of the ‘big picture’. 

Sigh! The IT guy says he will get me a relaxing cubical for my next birthday. 

The inside has had a revamp too….. 


So much for the $23 trademe kitchen...

Now you can see why a $23 kitchen was the order of the day at the time – a dollar more would have been a waste…. 

I personally think that the repilers get a lot of satisfaction cutting holes in people floors – they are brutal!

Total distruction inside - now I agree - it is not habitable!

I think you could say that the whole place is ‘open plan’ now… 

And some really scary stuff just to put everyone off buying a 100+ year old house, re-piling & renovating in general….. 

The inside is unrecognisable – wall, floors, doors, toilet, windows – all keep disappearing indiscriminately – I try not to look too hard or ask too many questions.
Is that daylight I can see through that rotten wall

This was not a surprise – and not as bad as it could have been – hey but we still have some extra ventilation for now. 

Piles of dirt in the house - and holes in the floor - hey its progress!

This is the bubs room…. hmmm not sure that this is a worse mess then I have seen them make.

The old piles - whats left of them - how was the house holding up!

No wonder walking around the house was like traversing uneven terrain, the piles were a mere shadow of their former selves – but you have to marvel that untreated native timber lasted so long anyway. Go totara!

That floor was no good anyway…

 Now this one was a surprise – for me – not for anyone else – seems I was out of the loop on this floor ripping up decision… 

So anyway – the big renovation has started yay! Step one – repile – step 2 – everything else….. hmmmm…

And incase anyone is wondering – no we are not currently residing in the pump house cottage – we are temporarily living in some very small digs in Aro valley – a bit too close to Aro cafe for comfort. 

But we have pitched a tent in the garden of ‘the broken house’ as the bubs call it and camped out last friday and plan to camp out again – if the weather cooperates. 

To find out how the repiling pans out and the renovations progress – watch this space…

Potatoes and Peas at the Pump House Cottage

Check out the produce from the pump house cottage garden. Finally there is something resembling a harvest!

This was the pea harvest for christmas dinner. We didn’t even bother cooking them – the kids love to eat them raw – they treat them just like lollies!

The peas have been great – no only feeding us, but providing a wind break for the only tomato plants producing tomatoes.

Talking of tomatoes – the first was eaten from the garden tonite!

After being potato rustlers for a couple of days – snatching a peeping potato here and there – we decided to go for it and dig in. Laurie controlled proceedings, I dug and Laurie shouted and pounced each time a red skin peeked out! They were dutifully collected in her green sandpit bucket and delivered up to the house for everyone to ooh and ahh over.

We ate these for dinner tonite – steamed and served with Paul Newman original salad dressing on the side for ‘dip’

There was lots of ‘hmmmms yummmmms’ all round.

Where there is smoke…..

There is fire! Yes the fire brigade visited the pump house cottage the other day – and know it wasn’t because of some fanciful drill thinly veiling the kids desire to check out a fire engine – there was actually a fire!

The local firemen were called out to the pump house cottage late last thursday. Some over anxious neighbour had rung and reported a fire – and there was – we were having a good old fashioned burn up!

Check out this photo of the IT guy and the youngest fireman ever having a good old chinwag.

Even though the firemen came thrumping down the driveway with ‘your doing something naughty’ purpose – they left satisfied because we actually have a fire permit and did everything by the book – you can ask all the neighbours we wrote to telling them we were going to have a fire – crazy!

Now some tips if you are going to have a burn up:

1. get your washing in off the line first – I didn’t do this….

2 check the wind direction – away from the house is preferable – we didnt check this….

3. Shut up your house if the wind is blowing in anywhere near that direction – didn’t do this either

4. Prepare yourself for all the neighbourhood kids ‘dropping in’ with sticks laden with marshmellows – weren’t prepared for this

So now we have alot of smelly clothes, towels and linen, and a house that smells like a smokehouse, I am not even going to contemplate the damage to our carbon footprint! But our kids have new friends and photos with firemen – and we have NO MORE RUBBISH – not really bad result really.

Merry Christmas from the Pump House Cottage

The Brand!Merry christmas to all!

The folks here at the pump house cottage are celebrating by decorating the flegling pine growing in the jungle (a mere baby pinus radiata at only 4 metres!) with fairy lights and are planning to eat a christmas dinner of roast lamb, potatoes and kumara (thanks Prestons and Pak n Save) with sides of peas and brocolli and a salad of lettuce, spring onion and radish all (from the jungle/garden).

A small crop of strawberries will be harvested and served with cream and trifle – little will be remembered after this point as the rest of the day will pass in a sherry induced haze. 

I hope the rellies/friends/neighbours enjoy the newly branded pump house cottage elderflower cordial and marmalade.

So, the first festive beer has already been consumed, and pak n save has been cleaned out of $8.99 Lindaur rose. Auntie ann is coming around and the festivities will roll on into the new year if the Lindaur supply holds out.

My recipe for a great christmas – family & good friends, good food, happy smiling bubs, sunshine and bubbly.

Cheers! And have a great christmas!

Funny Thing About Strawberries

I could have sworn my strawberries just weren’t ready yet – but unless bird netting has magical maturing qualities it is odds on that the birds or perhaps my children have been plundering the strawberry patch – both don’t wait for them to get red and jucy .

To explain – All of a sudden, since putting on the bird netting – I have a bumper crop of strawberries… Hey I’m not really complaining – I got around to the netting task just in time for strawberries to double in price at the supermarket for christmas.

Yes – Cupcakes and Champagne Can Sustain Life – As I Know It.

Crazy weekend. Laurie had the whole shabang around for a birthday bash – a great time was had by all (or so they say!) and we are still eating left overs – Yum – I love left overs! Here is my recipe for a fun filled 2 year old party:

1 Treasure hunt – Chocolate coins and ladybugs look lovely in amongst the leaves and branches(I am still finding them in the garden) and glinting in the sunlight they are easy for the kids to find – gets them out and about too!

1 Pass the parcel  – Chocolate in the layers is VERY popular, keeps the kids happy, and you can tell who has had a turn by the full gob and/or chocolate moosh. If you get the number of layers right, by the last layer everyone is chocolated up and some have moved on leaving only the dedicated, making the choice for the final pressie easy!

1 Pinata – Our scarey spider pinata was thoroughly bashed (my mistake was putting fragile items inside – not one piece of candy cane that made it out was bigger then 5mm!) The kids loved the finger laser lights – fights broke out! Sometimes it is just really really really hard to share!

1 CD of kids music – they love to boogie!

Mix all of these ingredients thoroughly with

Cupcakes, chocolate crackles, ham and cheese rolls, fresh fruit, sugary drinks, lollies and Birthday cake!

Make sure to keep the parents topped up with sugary treats too, and alcohol (if necessary). 

Try not to let the neighbours kids kidnap all the partygoers and you have party central!!

And at the end of the day, after everyone has left, and the bubs are in bed – my recommendation for dinner is:

The pump house cottage cupcakes can not be beat! Especially washed down with a glass of Lindaurs finest Rose – Boy is the tea lady a classy chick!