I love these tea towels from IkoIko, and they would make great gifts for people who love retro and vintage. They are a bit more classy than the usual souvenir tea towel (although I love them too!). You can get them in landscape designs: Mt Egmont and Mitre Peak – as well as bird designs: fantails, tuis, and huia.
These are just $19.90 and IkoIko do mail order as well as have them in their Auckland and Wellington shops.
You know I love baking so I love Maisy & Grace’s vintage kitchen line Tala. This retro cooks’ measure would be a great addition for any baker’s kitchen. It has great retro looks, your normal cups and pint measures, and also measurements of most common products in grams and ounces. So if you are making a quick batch of scones, you wouldn’t even need to pull out your kitchen scales. I remember having something similar in our kitchen cupboards growing up – and Tala is an authentic vintage bakingware company as it’s been around since 1899.
You can see more about this measuring cup here.
Well I’ve been trying to write a post for a month, but this damn house, this damn move and (mutter mutter) my child is weaning off his day sleeps – everything has been thwarting me! But onto more interesting things – my favourite finds in the holidays (Happy New Year by the way!) were two gem irons. Yes, I can now make ginger gems, and they were every bit as delicious as I remembered. And why are they so delicious, you may ask. I can answer that: because the recipe includes a half cup of golden syrup for 16 gems! That’s a lot of golden syrup, no wonder they are so yummy.
I got my irons on trade me – I had a sudden realisation that I would not be able to buy them in the US, so I needed them now. And I whipped up my first batch immediately, sizzling away in the cast iron. Irons do come up on Trade Me quite often, but make sure you get the cast iron ones, not the aluminium ones as they don’t do as good a job. I found some aluminium gem irons at an op shop but they didn’t make great gems. If you want new, you can also get new gem irons for $70 (yikes!) at the Home Store here.
This ginger gem recipe is from the recipe book Ladies, a Plate: The Collection - my sister gave it to me for Christmas and it is a wonderful reference for traditional New Zealand baking (I’ll do a full review later on). I recommend it for any keen New Zealand baker.
Anyway here goes the recipe (just writing about it makes we want some, so I think I’ll make them again tomorrow):
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
60 ml milk
150g golden syrup (about 6 level tablespoons)
1 tbsp butter
And about 55 g extra butter for greasing the irons
Preheat the oven 230 degrees C. Put the ungreased irons in the oven to heat just before mixing.
Sift the flour, sugar, spices and salt into a large bowl.
Dissolve the baking soda in the milk.
Whisk the egg until light and fluffy – about half a minute with a rotary hand beater (which I don’t have so I used my electric beater).
Heat the golden syrup gently in a small saucepan, then add the butter and stir to melt.
Now work quickly. Tip the golden syrup into the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon – it will be quite dry. Don’t try to combine it all, just tip in the egg, mix again briefly, then lastly add the milk. Stir for a few seconds. It will now be soft dropping consistency. Set aside.
Take the gem irons out the oven and put on heatproof board. Drop about 1/2 tsp of butter into each space. You don’t need to spread the butter, it will move up the sides when the mixture goes in.
Now take an ordinary tablespoon and spoon the mixture into each space. If you let it drop from the side of the tablespoon it will fall neatly into place (makes 16 gems)
Bake for 10-12 minutes until risen and brown.
Take out of the oven, leave for a few minutes, then tip out onto a rack.
Yum yum yum!
I think my oven glove has finally bit the dust. I have been baking up a storm using the Little & Friday recipe book (I will update you soon as it is fab for good old-fashioned baking that is delicious) and almost burnt my finger as my oven glove is wearing out! Oven gloves would make a good gift as they add a great splash of colour to your kitchen and are perfect for people, like me, who bake.
These cute oven gloves are on sale today at Once It (you need to sign in to visit this sale site) and reminded me I needed to do a search for something bright and retro:
They are 100% cotton with a teflon liner. I think it is the same brand as I have now, and it has lasted for about 3 years even though I thrash it!
Or you could have a 1950s vibe in your kitchen with these mint green polka-dot oven mitts, which also come in pink:
Looking further afield, I found these bright 1960s-style oven gloves at Living and Giving which aren’t on sale but are even cheaper. I am not sure whether they are teflon lined though, so best to check that out – you can read more about this oven mitt here. They also have a matching double ended glove for $15.
I had a search through Felt.co.nz as well, but didn’t find anything very retro. There were quite a few kiwiana oven mitts by this seller for $19.90 which look very well made, and could be a fun Christmas gift to send to an expat Kiwi who bakes.Read More
Homemade gifts can be the perfect thing to give, especially to someone who has everything. We are coming up to strawberry season so how about making your own jam this summer to give away at Christmas? These great jam jars by Le Parfait are on sale at Once It (it’s a membership site so you’ll need to sign up here). You get 6 jam jars with lids all ready to fill with your favourite jam to keep or give away.
I have only made jam once – well actually it was jelly, guava jelly – and it was delicious! There was something strangely satisfying about making it as well, so I think I will try again this year. I used the recipe from Alison Holst’s book The Best of Alison Holst (a very handy book) for jelly, and she has a simple strawberry jam recipe:
1 tbsp water
2 cups sugar
.5 tsp tartaric acid
Heat clean strawberries with the water in a large saucepan, mashing them with a large potato masher to break them up a bit. Once this is soft, add sugar and stir over a moderate heat until it dissolves. Boil briskly for 3 minutes, then stir in the acid.
Boil briskly for another 4 mins. Pour into hot jars and seal.
There is a whole section on preserves that I will have to work my way through. My jelly was eaten so quickly I didn’t seal the jars properly, just kept them in the fridge until eaten. Easy! I saw strawberries when I was out yesterday so they have arrived. I can’t wait until they get a bit cheaper and I can try this recipe. There is nothing like the smell of homemade strawberry jam!Read More
These milk glass bowls are a retro design classic, manufactuerd in America since mid last century, this exquisite milk glass is still produced today in small batch runs resulting in the highest quality hand pressed glass. The membership sale site Once It (you need to join to see) have sets of three mixing bowls on sale for $139. Very nice but expensive gift for a baker!