Saturday, August 29, 2015

Polaroid Challenge 2015 /8

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So this was a fun/different month because I have a new polaroid and new film - Woohoo!! Whilst thrifting I came across another polaroid for cheap with a built in flash, something I have secretly been craving. Although my other camera has flash potential it required disposable bulbs (annoying!) Whilst this new camera is simply powered by the film itself :) Okay that was my justification for buying yet another Polaroid + doesn't it look cool :p


Now it wasn't all roses this month - I still had one photo left in my other camera. I read online you can do a switcheroo but something must of gone wrong when I tried because I got this lovely shot...


Oops! I ordered more film online, I actually ordered some black & white film and a pack of coloured film with the skins border. There are 8 photos per pack and each photo has a different skin frame. It's fun because I have no idea which photo is going to pop out next! I kind of like the random pairing of the snake skin with Gremlin :) I'm also going to say the impossible film does not get accurate colours and definitely has a blue tinge (yup, something to be aware of!).

I've got my black and white film sitting in the fridge but I'm wondering if I should load up my other camera with it so I can swap between colour and black & white for the remainder of the year? My only fear is then I'll have two packs loaded and sitting in cameras for months with the potential for both films to go bad and then I'll have to properly cry :p Any advice polaroid experts???

This post is part of the Polaroid Challenge 2015, you can see my past photos here and read more about getting involved here by the lovely peeps at The Cat you and Us

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Kombucha Making Guide

Making Kombucha - Guide


I’ve been drinking and making my own Kombucha for over a year now. My friend Karla introduced me to it, so the following instructions are borrowed from her – with some slight revision with what's worked best for myself. I normally drink one 750ml a bottle a day and it’s honestly my favourite drink ever. There’s a lot of talk about Kombucha’s health benefits, I lean on the side that’s unsure but sure it’s a whole lot better than how much sugar I was consuming, before, in commercial drinks. I’m going to put my hand up and say I’m not the biggest fan of plain water (unless I’m dying of thirst) so kombucha has been a good compromise for me :)

Let's be honest there's definitely sugar in Kombucha and if you taste the mix, when you first brew it – it’s crazy sweet but the magic with kombucha comes down to this guy called a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). Yup you’re going to have a blob of bacteria and yeast in your drink as it brews but it’s responsible for converting the sugar into vinegar and somewhere in between that conversion is the magic taste! You also get to decide how sugary you want it – brew it for a short time and you’ll be getting something more like iced tea, brew it for longer and you enter more into the apple cider town. The more you sway to the vinegar side the more you supposedly reap those health benefits and happy gut bacteria!

What you need

8 LITRE GLASS DISPENSER (you can alter the measurements below if you have a smaller or larger vessel)
7 x 750ml glass bottles with air tight lids for bottling the kombucha
6 litres of filtered water
2 ¼ cups of raw organic sugar 
12 organic Ceylon tea bags 
1 scoby sitting in kombucha liquid (around 1-2 litres of liquid)
note:
if you don't know where to get your hands on a scoby a good tip is to buy a bottle of kombucha from the shops and check to see if it has a floating clear blob near the top (that’s a scoby!). I grew my scoby from a little blob, simply by sizing up the vessels and using the steps below. Mine took about 3 months (in summer) to get to a size where I can now brew 6 litres in a week.


Making Kombucha - sugar and tea
Piece of calico/chux to cover the glass dispenser +  
Elastic band to secure cloth
White vinegar for sterilising

DISCLAIMER: the most important part of process apart from using top quality ingredients is to make sure everything is sterilised from your hands, the glass jars and the bench space you’re working on. White vinegar works a charm for his, just give everything a nice rinse with it!



STEPS

1) Put 1.5 litres of the filtered water into a saucepan – heat on medium/high

2) Dissolve 2 ¼ cups of sugar into the water and keep a stir on (You want to make sure the sugar doesn’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan)

3) Once the water gets to the boil (the sugar should be dissolved by this stage) turn the heat off and put the 12 teabags in (just twist them up and hang their tags over the side of the saucepan).

4) Leave the teabags to steep for 15 minutes (with the saucepan lid on) and then take them out and discard (I also ring the teabags out using tongs to get every last tea drop!).

5) VERY IMPORTANT – let the tea brew cool to room temp (may take a whole day) otherwise it will hurt the scoby when you pour the mixture into your vessel. I just leave the lid on the saucepan and then on the bench to cool.

6) Once the liquid has cooled transfer the 1.5 litre tea mix to your 8 litre glass dispenser and add in (roughly) 4.5 more litres of plain water. I honestly don’t measure this amount, I just keep adding in the filtered water until the dispenser is almost full (I leave a little bit of breathing room at the top) note: since I continuously brew, my scoby and the previous liquid from the last brew (I leave around 1-2 litres) is already sitting in the bottom.  If this is your first time and your scoby and it's liquid is somewhere else now is the time to add it.

7) You’re almost finished, just place your chux/calico cloth over the glass jar, secure with an elastic band and place your jar into an airy/dark-ish environment (as long as the dispenser isn’t getting direct sun you should be alright).




Now it’s time for the mix to ferment and the scoby to do it’s thing! The time the fermenting process takes will vary but it’s a good idea to visually check and taste your mix every few days when you first start out.  If you see mold this is bad and you should throw out everything and start again. Your scoby will change colour (tainted by the tea) and may look weird/strange/have dangly bits and cloudy bits which are all normal but you may freak out.  There are some good resources on the internet that helped calm my own personal freak out - this page and this one!

With time you'll freak out less and be very aware of how it should smell and taste like :)

My large scoby takes 1 week for the perfect brew but the time will depend on how big your scoby is and how vinegar vs sweet you want your mix to taste. Also temperature plays a part, the colder the air the longer it takes to ferment.

As a super rough guide you can leave your mix to ferment for a week or up to 30 days, depending on the taste you prefer! I prefer mine to have an apple cider taste and not a sweet iced tea taste.



Once you think the taste is perfect, it’s time to bottle up the Kombucha and do the 2nd ferment! 

Dispense the kombucha liquid into your glass drinking bottles. I bottle mine the same day as I make the next tea brew (steps 1-7) – so I have a continuous brew happening! I recommend buying a glass drink dispenser for that exact reason – it’s easier and you don’t have to touch the scoby and risk contamination. 

After pouring the kombucha liquid into bottles, leave the bottles in a dark space.  The second ferment stage helps gets carbonation up. I still haven’t perfected the perfect carbonation but I believe filling your bottles up 80% and leaving some air helps! 

Everyone’s process is a little different but I put my 7 bottles in a dark space, and add them to the fridge as I go (I usually drink a bottle a day). When I put the bottle into the fridge I add my flavours. I’ve been on a solid passionfruit kick of late, so I literally cut up one passionfruit and scrape it directly into the bottle that I’m placing into the fridge.

OTHER FUN FLAVOUR COMBOS (my friends and I have tried - Thanks Shane, Emaya and Karla!) 
lemon myrtle leaves 
mango/peach/apricot (dried or fresh) 
lemons 
ginger 
berries 
(or a combo of the above!) 

But really the skies the limit! 


I honestly love kombucha, not only is it delicious but the thought that it could also be doing good, gets my two thumbs up.  Also it's soooo cheap to make and since I always have lots of bottles on the go, whenever peeps come to visit I have a delicious beverage to offer (not one person hasn't loved it!).  There are some slight start up costs and the process does seem slightly daunting at the start but a few rounds under your belt you won't even need the instructions anymore and your vessel and bottles will have paid for themselves :)

HAPPY KOMBUCHA MAKING!!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Biggenden/3

I almost forgot to blog these photos but a random thought sparked me to remember them. I'm not even sure when we visited Ben's Mum, maybe before Melbourne, anyways as you probably know from past times - I love taking photos there, so yup this post is super image heavy! 

Her home is always full of dogs (a bit like Jane's!) which is super cute and we get to take Gremlin up for our stay too. Gremlin and the dogs definitely don't mix well but there's a lot of compromising with the space, so everyone gets a chance to roam and explore and sniff things :)






We also took a trip down memory lane - I love looking at people's photo albums (how cute is little Ben!!)

His robot costume was pretty stellar too!!

You may have seen an iPhone snap of this pick on my Instagram!

I also have big plans this year to recreate that awesome cut out Santa Ben's Grandad made :) 

Okay time to be quiet-ish and just posting all the fun things around her home!

























I love that Poppy always looks like she smiling for photos!










I hardly ever see Gremlin do that sitting pose but something caught his eye out the window!




  and finishing off with some pretty tiles from a shop front in town!