Monday, December 24, 2012

Baked Marmalade & Maple Ham

This year I'm doing another baked ham. Each year I like to try a different glaze, and this year I'm doing a Baked Marmalade and Maple Ham. You can use brought Breadfast Marmalade, but I like to make my own 3 fruits Marmalade when citrus is in season and use that, as I think it has much better flavour.
Here's my Christmas Ham for this year, 2012.
Prep Time, about 25 minutes.   Cooking Time: about 2hrs, depending on the size of the ham. I'll give you the qty's etc for a 9kg ham, you can work it out from there.

1 x 9kg whole leg ham
1 cup Breakfast Marmalade (or homemade 3 Fruits Marmalade)
1/3 cup Maple Syrup. (I use the real stuff not the maple flavoured)
1 bottle of whole cloves. (You will probably use about 1/2 the bottle)

1.  Place oven shelf in lowest position, turn oven (gas fan forced) 160C.
Line the base of your oven with foil, helps with the mess.
Get out your largest baking pan to put the ham in.

2.  Remove the rind from the ham. To do this cut rind off at shank, leaving the shank covered with rind. Then slip you knife under the rind at the base of the ham and lift the rind up. Then using your fingers pull/pry the rind off. Score the ham in a diamond pattern, not too deep, then place ham in baking dish.

3.  In a bowl combine the Marmalade and Syrup, brush/spoon liberally over ham. Place a clove in the center of each diamond. Place in oven, cook turning the ham and basting with remaining mixture about every 15 minutes until no mixture is left and ham is golden brown.

Stand about 10 minutes if serving hot, or allow to cool completely on a wire rack. I like to take the cloves out before slicing.
Ham ready to cook

Finished cooked ham.

Merry Christmas Angels.
Merry Christmas, and enjoy your delicious baked ham!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Poodle Bed Quilt.- "A Dog's Breakfast"

Well,I must admit I'm proud of myself. I'm not much of a sewer without someone to instruct me. My first sewing lesson, was also my first quilting class a few years back. I don't make cloths or anything clever like that, but I enjoy cutting up perfectly good bits of fabric into different sizes and sewing them back together again. It's called "Quilting".

Having just recently purchased myself a gorgeous little black female miniature poodle (Lily), I went out to buy her a nice soft, comfy doggy bed. "Holy smoke", I had no idea they were so expensive!!! Went home empty handed and to solve this problem. I naturally spoke to Lily about this and asked her advise. She didn't comment on the subject, so I was left to ponder the answer myself. That afternoon I decided to take a "little nap" to let my sub conscious do the work, that sometimes helps me. Lily happily trotted into the bedroom with me and I lifted her up onto my quilted bedspread, where she promptly snuggled down, gave a big contented sigh and closed her eyes. "WHAM", that was it!!! The answer was literally staring me in the face! Make her a quilted bed.

Now the challenge was did I have enough "scrap" fabrics and what was I going to use for wadding? I had now decided that I was going to try to make her this wonderous bed without purchasing a single thing!

Into the cupboard I went and pulled out all my odd sods of fabrics that were "useless" as they were too small or too something for other previous projects. Hunted for wadding....didn't have any...mmmmm....found instead an old single bed synthetic doona that hadn't been used for years. Wella!!! Replacement wadding!!! Folded it in half for extra thickness....yerp...that will do the job.

I set up the sewing machine, got out all my quilting supplies, cutter, mat, ruler, then decided that as this was going to be a scrap quilt, it was going to have no rules other than keeping the fabrics cut straight, no curvy stuff. Then I just went with the flow. I had some 1" strips that had previously been "useless" which I now sewed together, cross cut, turned this way and that, sewed them back together, or sewed a bigger strip onto them. I cut larger strips 2" and did the same. Then found a lizard print that was a large square so cut it in half  (2 x triangles) and sewed them onto the end of a strip square etc. The afternoon quickly passed and in no time it seemed (with Lily's help of course, checking my work) the quilt top was finished.

Then I just decided to make the back strips of any colors sewn together. I folded the doona in half, layed it on the quilt top and just cut it to fit. No measurements were taken during this quilt making expedition other than the size of the strips. I simple kept laying it on the floor, and Lily would come and "check my work" by laying on it and I kept adding to it until I reckoned it was big enough to be able to accommodate her as an adult, with plenty to spare for folding over in winter so she could climb in between the layers like a tunnel, or whatever she likes.

She was a very thorough Supervisor and happily stretched out on the sample tossed on the floor each time.

I then decided that I didn't want to "quilt"  the 3 layers together as this would make it bulkier for washing and not sew the edges of the doona together to keep it in one piece, (basted by hand as it was too thick for the machine) and sew the top and bottom together a bit like a pillow case. I wanted to use velcro for the opening into which I could stuff the "wadding" but didn't have any, instead found some large metal "press studs", so used them.

So now Lily has her very own, personally make, doggy bed. Big and soft, bright and cheerful. As soon as I finished sewing on the press studs and put it on the floor, she came over, curled up and went to sleep on it. One happy customer!!! One happy dog owner. A "free" doggy bed courtesy of my quilting fabrics and and old unused doona!

I've decided to call the "pattern" I made for her bed "A Dogs Breakfast", quite apt I should think, with its mish mash of colors and fabrics. Now my puppy has a portable, comfortable, washable, multi-use bed. Reckon I will put it on the back seat in the car for her when we are traveling any distance so she can sleep comfortably.

So all you "quilters" out there who have a small dog or cat in need of a comfy bed, here's your inspiration, get out those old unused fabric off cuts and wadding or old doona's and cut and sew to your hearts (and your pets) content. Your pet will love you for it....I hope. Mine does.
Doona cut to size.

Lily checking "wadding" for comfort.

"This is mine....right?!"

Inspection of dog bed with wadding inside.

Is it finished yet mum?

"A Dog's Breakfast" quilt top.

"A Dog's Breakfast" quilt back.

Great Places To Visit - Doncaster East, Melbourne, Mullum Mullum Walking Track

Just because I'm currently in the city for awhile doesn't mean I have to "miss out" on my daily bush walks. Nearby to us i...