Tuesday, February 13, 2018

When life gives you peaches...

I ordered one peach in my grocery delivery yesterday.
They sent me eight.

That one peach was ordered for Mr E as he likes a summer peach now and again with his Weet-Bix for breakfast. Mostly he enjoys strawberries, blueberries, bananas or mangoes, but every so often a peach takes his fancy.

But here I was with eight and no plan for eight, just a plan for one. 
A one peach plan for chopping into small pieces and scattering across two Weet-Bix. A moat of  milk would be poured around them and my husband would smile and nod as I placed the nourishing bowl of morning goodness before him. 
My lovely day dream was certain to become a reality ensuring all would be well in my kitchen and across the dining table on Tuesday morning.

But eight?
I'm not the peachiest person. It's not a fruit we buy a lot in season. 
Truly, give me plums, cherries, passionfruit and berries upon berries..oh the bliss of such delights! I could find a use for them quick smart - if they lasted long enough. 
I've been known to put my hand in and out of the cherry bag until not one remained. Entire punnets of raspberries have 'fallen' into my granola, quickly becoming no more than a wistful lip smacking memory. Blueberries are often mistaken for sweeties and nibbled on until my fingers are purple and the bowl empty.
Yet I have never relished a peach in that same way.

So whilst a cup of tea was brewing, I chose an old recipe book from the shelf and set my iPad to the Google search engine. My aim was to create a few things from seven of the peaches, plus what I already had in the pantry, fridge and freezer.

Firstly, three peaches were peeled, halved and poached. I'd decided to make Peach Danish for dessert and as I have never poached fruit before I found a simple recipe on Google and adjusted it to suit.

The poaching liquid was made up of water, sugar (not too much), a cinnamon quill and one split vanilla bean. Once it was simmering away in went the peach halves and five minutes later they were done. 
I strained them and let them cool...

Then began the baking of a quartet of Peach Danish.
A mix of butter, icing (confectioners) sugar, egg yolk, vanilla essence and almond meal became the 'bed' my peach halves would sit on before being wrapped in the pastry and baked.

Silly me, we had the Peach Danish for dessert last night and I completely forgot to take the after photos, but Mr E would like to assure you they were delicious.

While the Peach Danish were baking I chopped the remaining four peaches and made jam. We're almost out of the Plum Jam I made recently and I'd never made Peach Jam before so I thought 'why not?' Jam-making is a regular occupation in my kitchen these days and as I only ever make enough for a couple of jars it cooks quickly.

(I also used a little of the hot syrup from the jam to glaze the Danish when they came out of the oven.)

Who'd have thought my afternoon would hold so much fun?
And all because I had seven peaches to spare.

It showed me how easily a lot can be done with just a little, and in the process I learned about poaching stone fruit, how to make the delicious almond meal filling for use in a Danish, and that Peach Jam is really quite yummy after testing it on toast at breakfast this morning.

Oh, and Mr E still had the final peach with his Weet-Bix for breakfast...though he's quite 'full' of peaches for now. 

Back to berries tomorrow.

Thank you for all the comments and thoughts shared after my last blog post, both here and in our Gentle Domesticity group
A renewed vigour for working more diligently around the home is literally changing my life. 

Each morning I wake excited about what area will be my focus that day and I can see more and more this home taking on a sparkle in places it had very truly grown dull or neglected.

At the weekend there was a lovely breeze tempering the tropical summer heat so I spent Saturday morning pulling apart the outdoor room, scrubbing things down, re-arranging and clearing excess.

Whilst I polished the glass louvres between the living room and the outdoor room, Mr E fertilised our potted plants, trimmed a few back and re-potted some others. 

Sophie watched.
She considers this her play area and wasn't sure she liked it when I brought out coffee, toast and some reading to the table next morning.
We used to sit out there a lot when we first moved here, but then it got too hot and we simply stopped (hence the neglect). That's changed now...we have freshened, cleaned and reclaimed the outdoor room. 
She's adjusting.

On Monday I pulled everything out of the fridge and gave it a good scrub before the groceries arrived, and today I cleaned out the three large drawers in my kitchen island.

Top drawer...

Middle drawer...
(notice my fresh supply of sweetly trimmed tea towels?)

Bottom drawer...

It took just 30 minutes to empty the drawers, wipe them down and replace things neatly.
I was able to toss a few things, put a few more aside to donate and use various containers as organised compartments. 

Some days it's a big task I tackle, like the outdoor room, but most days it's one thing, one 15-30 minute focused task to bring organisation and add refreshment through my home. 
This 'one thing' is in addition to the natural routines of my every-day housekeeping.

I keep a record of what I do each day in my planner so I can refer back to it every couple of months and retrace my steps. This way nothing is overlooked and each area will be given a 'deep clean' a few times each year. 

Are you stitching along with Allie?

This week she released block 2, Gratitude, in her A Garden of Contentment stitch-a-long.

This is my version of Allie's block...

I was blessed to find the perfect quilt backing/binding for this project at Spotlight last week for just $5 a metre. It blends beautifully with the applique and border fabrics I'm using from my stash. 

If I get time tomorrow you may see borders being sewn to the first two blocks and I'll take a photo of the backing fabric too.

To find out about Allie's beautiful stitch-a-long visit her blog here. 

At night whilst watching the Winter Olympics I'm stitching my new designs for March. I think the joy I'm feeling in living this gentle domestic life is running over into my designing these days. In some ways it was always there, but now there's something more...something deeply heart felt and purposeful. And it matters to me beyond a pattern to plan, sew and write. It matters that each design have a message behind it. 

Here's a peek at one...

What are you doing around your home this week?
Do you have a seasonal routine to follow or do you tackle tasks as they come up?

Tomorrow I'm going through all my business/recipe/household binders and clearing out the unnecessary so I can file what's genuinely important or needful.  It's been a few years since I did such an overhaul so it's very definitely overdue...

May your week overflow with joy, purpose and kindness.

Bless you heaps,


Leeanne said...

What a yummy looking dessert....but I did giggle at the thought of a 'quilt' in the mix, I'm sure it's a typo, maybe quill? I often clean out a drawer or fridge when something is cooking and I need to keep an eye on it. So when life gives you scraps what do you do? Kiwi Hugsxx

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Ha ha, thanks Leeanne! Must have 'quilts' on my mind. ;-)
Correct word now in place.

Janice said...

After your big tidy up everything is looking peachy! Pun fully intended. You certainly made good use of those extras.

Karen said...

Glad that peach of a husband and you got a delicious desert and more yummy jam to eat!

Águeda said...

I don't know if you like wine. But here, in Summer, when they are a lot of peachs, whe make " Sangría". It's very refreching.

Nanna Chel said...

Now I can't wait to hear if you had to pay for eight peaches when you ordered one, Jenny. LOL! Love your trimmed tea towels.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

No, Nana Chel, I only paid for one peach. Bargain!

Little Penpen said...

Awesome peach surprise! The pastry dessert looks good, I love peach dumplings. Your gratitude block is beautiful. You and Allie, both, design such pretty things.

Kaye said...

Jenny, I can not stand clutter so I have to organize everything. Your kitchen looks beautiful as do your drawers. I love peaches! That dessert looks scrumptious! I am doing the quilting on my husband's quilt this week. I am also embroidering the Sampler you released recently. Thank you for all you do!

Susan said...

Oh, peaches - there's nothing like one picked fresh off the tree. In Phoenix, we had one on the side of our house for a few years. They were small, and they were early peaches, but oh the sweetness of running out to pick a couple to cut up in my breakfast! Your plans were excellent for using extra peaches! I think I'll look for some at the grocery this week, just in case there's a good sale on them. I really do love (not like) Allie's latest design. I have no time to start something new, but I'm saving it for mid-July when school is finished. Yesterday, when I saw both of them on her blog, I thought how each reflected the two of you - both similarities and differences. =) Thanks for letting us walk this journey with you. I'm still poking along with my clearing out.

Julie said...

Oh Jenny I did laugh at the expression on dear Sophies face ... she certainly looks as though she is thinking that she is NOT sure she likes sharing her outdoor space at all!!! :-) I don't particularly like this time of year in our neck of the woods as we get horrendous field flies & Blowflies from the paddocks around us & everything inside the house feels like it is coated in a smear of fly spray as I try to keep them under control. So I have been attempting to clean small areas at a time to feel as though I am staying on top of it all. Roll on autumn ! Xxx

Allie-oops Designs said...

Wow who knew you could do so much with a few peaches!! Me, I eat them as is - but hardly ever as I can't really stand the fuzz. Sophie looks so put out, Jenny, but your porch looks amazing!!! Oh how I wish I could join you for a cuppa out there. Your drawers look great, that's something I need to tackle - I made quick decisions on where everything goes when we first moved in, just to get it put away, and they're a mess. But everything is still where I first put it, lol, at least I can remember where stuff is.
I made a start on getting organized. I went to the dollar store and bought 3 more notebooks! I'm going to have a different notebook for each thing - for instance, I frequently find my grocery list with a new design idea on it, and have to tear the page out and put it in an "idea" pile. I'll have to label them.
Your block is stunning and I love the fabric you picked!!!!

Tammy said...

Beautiful design of Allies that you did...My house is being put in order. Finally figured out how to get those windows all replaced. Yesterday was the big day. Work men in and out all day. My house was truly torn apart. Today was all about trying to set it to rights. And of course enjoying Valentines with my Mom for a bit. I'm utterly exhausted. So much I have had to do this past week. And no end in sight yet.

Ondrea said...

We managed to rescue some peaches from our tree despite most of them being eaten by the cockies. I stewed them to have with yogurt and we did eat some fresh ones which were quite juicy. Your danishes would have been yummy. Oh my! I do wish my drawers were big enough to keep so many things in and as neat as yours are. LOL, my munchkin has discovered he can open mine now so I need to get some safety thingos. Love your outdoor area and I am sure your cat will share it with you...eventually . This week I had planned to clean out our walk in robe and vacuum it. Hmmm, it is nearly Friday so I guess it may be a weekend job now. Thanks for another lovely post.

Createology said...

What an amazing day you had with 8 peaches. I love peach jam and peach cobbler and well anything with sugar added. Cleaning and organizing is happening here every day as we prep once again for our home and property to be offered for sale. “Third Time just has to be the Charm!” And dropping the price another painful $75,000. Love your stitcheries and the sweet messages they contain. Blessings Dear...<3