Gardening, mending and cooking

6 May 2010
The weather forecast today is for fine and mild weather.  I am here in my home and I am going to make the most of my time and the weather.  I called in to see a friend on the way home from work yesterday and she gave me some cuttings from a beautifully fragrant pink flowering shrub she had growing in her yard.  At the moment, they're sitting in a glass of water on the kitchen sink, later I'll plant them in potting soil and hope they strike.  They'll make an ideal plant for our front driveway garden.

While I'm outside I'll pot on some tomato seedlings.  I have about 10 healthy seedlings there that I've grown from seed.  I'm hoping they'll be ready to plant when our current tomatoes are finished.  I like to keep tomatoes in pots, moving them to larger pots when they need it, and plant them out when they're ready to flower.  The tomatoes we have planted in the ground now have suffered because of the rain and have not grown many flowers yet.  Hanno applied sulphate of potash to encourage flowering but so far it's not made much difference.  We may end up growing only cherry tomatoes - they grow like weeds here - and if we have to struggle with the larger ones, it might be an easy alternative.

Awaiting another session on the sewing machine.

After a lazy lunch, and probably a short nap, I'll be in my work room mending some clothes.  I think I might have one of the oldest. still-in-use nighties in Australia.  I have a nightie that has a rip in the side seam, a little white cotton number, that I've worn, on and off, for about 20 years.  The cotton is so frail now, it rips easily, but I reckon that with this mending session, I'll give it at least another summer.  I wonder if anyone else keeps their clothing in use so long.  I love to hear your story if you mend things to keep them going a long time.

And finally, I was asked by quite a few ladies for the recipe for my egg custard.  Well, get ready for one of the easiest pudding recipes you'll ever cook.

Break four whole eggs into a mixing bowl or jug, add ½ cup cream, 1 cup of milk, a splash of good vanilla extract (or one vanilla bean, scraped) and two tablespoons of sugar.  Mix everything well so the egg whites are broken up and everything is well combined.

Pour into an oven-proof dish, sprinkle with nutmeg, and place in a slow oven 170C/340F for about 30 minutes or until the outside is set and the middle is still a bit wobbly.  AMENDED TO ADD: place the oven-proof dish in a water bath/bain marie so the boiling water comes up to cover the bottom half of the over-proof dish.  Make sure the water is boiling. You need this gentle method of heating, not straight oven baking, for this recipe.

This is the most delicious pudding that may be eaten either warm or cold.  You could also use this as the filling in a pastry flan to make custard tarts.

This is our cat, Hettie, in the late afternoon sun, waiting for her dinner.

I am looking forward to my day today. It will be full of gardening, baking and sewing with some cooking in the afternoon.  I'll be doing some cleaning up too, a little bit of  home maintenance to keep on top of everything, but if I don't get around to it all, there is always tomorrow.  I hope you're having a lovely week too.

Seth Godin's blog is one of a very few I read every day.  Please read his post today about consumer debt.  It makes a lot of sense.


  1. I put all my cutting in vermiculite. Holds water wonderfully.

  2. Particular thanks for sharing the egg custard recipe (and thanks to the original reader for enquiring about it). Sounds like a good day in store for you, Rhonda. My favourite kind.
    Tracy (Brisbane)

  3. Your day sounds lovely and just the right pace. Have a great day and I will be trying your custard. But what was the degrees to cook it in? 76F?

  4. I hope we get some sun soon too our poor seedlings are struggling with all this rain and cloud cover. Enjoy your day Rhonda, it sounds perfect.

  5. I had a dress I made when I was a teen and wore for years. Then my daughter wore it when she was a teen! Other than that my clothes have only lasted a good 15 years. Some of it due to changing sizes. :( Jewlery though has been through 40+ years for some and 80+in our family for others that I wear often. Purses the same. Saraheav

  6. Your day today sounds a lot like mine - bar the sewing. Read knitting instead when I've done the other stuff. As we're leaving this home soon, I have made up a tray of small pots - 30 in all & will go round the garden today snipping this & that to take cuttings of treasured plants. Love your pretty nightdress. Don't think I have anything 20 yrs old, but I have a long cuddly cardigan I knitted myself about 15 yrs ago & it's my favourite snuggle up item on chilly evenings. It's pretty daggy now but it has a lot more life left in it yet. Also have a pair of walking boots which belonged to my son (now 28) when he was that size. I always had my eye on inheriting them & they are still going strong today - they weren't expensive when bought new, but I've taken care of them, cleaning & nourishing with Dubbin after each use.
    Will try out the egg custard - never had much success with it before, so here goes.
    Hope your day turns as out well as you hope.

  7. Oh, meant to add as well - I sent an email to my younger son re Seth Bodin's blog - he will understand why!!!

  8. KJ's restart button, thanks for making me look at those temperatures again. Crikey! 76! LOL I've changed it now - it should be 340F.

  9. Please note everyone: I amended the baking method to include the bain marie, which I forgot about until I looked at the temperatures again.

  10. A sunny mild day here too Rhonda in northern day will be a bit like yours. I have some sewing to do, and seedlings to plant out, so a nice mix and balance of chores.

    I had a beautiful nightie a friend gave me probably 20+ years ago, fine, fine cotton, pintucked yoke, with pretty lace and tiny covered buttons.very expensive I think. Like you, I mended it, darned it, patched it, as hot sweaty summer nights weakened the cloth. When I could do no more, I couldn't bear to throw it out, so I used some of the fabric to back string quilt blocks for a quilt for my granddaughter, made little doll bodies with the good bits, and dyed the pintucked yoke and used it in crazy patchwork. The tiny buttons became a feature trim on a dress for another granddaughter.

    Enjoy your day.


  11. Gotta try the egg custard when the chocolate pudding runs out.

    I love the sound of your day. Only 3 more weeks of school and I can live that way! Yeah!!!

  12. Hi Rhonda
    thanks for the recipie I used to do someting similar but would add the zest of a lemon and the juce serving it over some sponge cake just delicious. this is very similar to the one i used to make


    * 1 cup sugar
    * 1/4 cup flour
    * 1/4 teaspoon salt
    * 1/4 cup lemon juice
    * 1 tablespoon lemon, zest of
    * 2 eggs, separated
    * 1 tablespoon melted butter
    * 1 cup milk


    In a medium mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour and salt.
    Stir in lemon juice, zest, beaten egg yolks, butter and milk.
    In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry; fold into lemon mixture.
    Pour into buttered 6 cup casserole dish.
    Place this casserole INSIDE a large pan (I use a 9x13 pan); pour hot water into the 9x13 pan to a depth of about 1 inch.
    Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the topping is set and golden brown.
    During baking this separates into a cake-like topping with a lemon sauce beneath.
    I have had one top that I can recall for at least 20 yrs was my best then went to casual down to scruffy clothes then to night wear and it still going strong when it finally dies it goes in the rag bag. I am one of lifes hoarders and also if I buy somthing I exspect it to last it has no choice in the matter!
    thanks for a good post tc
    Rachel in blighty

  13. is the shrub Luculia? I have it in my garden and it is the most brilliant perfume!

  14. Miss R, yes, it's a luculia.

  15. I'm still wearing socks that I darned in college 10 years ago. My darning ability is terrible and the darning thread is a contrasting colour so it really stands out, but no one sees that so it doesn't matter.

  16. I always try to make clothing last as long as possible. When my daughter was born, 18 years ago, my mother gave me a lovely cotton robe which I still have and have mended many times over the years. I put it in my quilt scraps bag, but I keep taking it out and wearing it again. Eventually, it will be so thin that I'll have no choice.

  17. Thanks for the link to seths blog Rhonda ... some real food for thought there.

  18. Thank you for the recipe Rhonda. I have been searching for the right ingredient mix for my grandmother's macaroni custard. I do remember she used to put it in a water bath to cook. The ingredients were four eggs and cream and milk and vanilla and sugar, and of course cooked macaroni. It was all dusted with nutmeg too. I think I will experiment with your recipe. She strained the raw custard mix over the macaroni in a buttered dish. I have a lot of old cookbooks but am yet to find a macaroni custard recipe in them. My grandmother has passed and no one else in the family seems to remember her measurements either! It was one of my favourite desserts when I was growing up.


  19. Hello Everyone
    I still have a dress I made in the late 1970's. It is long and loose and has elastic around the neck and sleeves. So comfortable. The very fine cotton is exquisite and brightly coloured. I just love it. I keep it in my camphor wood chest and now just wear it when I feel thirty something again!!!!
    Love to all the bloggers!

  20. I love your blog and check it every day. I, too, mend things, but I"m bad with my clothes and always end up with bleach or paint on them.
    My tip: If you aren't going to put your cuttings in planting medium right away, put them in a BROWN bottle (filled with water); the darkness of the bottle protects from light and enourages rooting. Don't put in a green or blue bottle, though.

  21. Hi Kaye, I hope the recipe works with the macaroni. I think it might. Good luck.

    Barb, they're already planted. :- )
    No flies on me. LOL

  22. Thanks for the custard recipe, my grandson loves custard so will try it soon. I too mend all of our clothes. Neither my husband nor myself work in professions where we need really good clothes, so our wardrobe goes like this - when new wear to work till it is no longer suitable, then wear for going out and about to the market etc.then when they get past that point they are used for around the garden and home for dirty jobs. Once they are past that stage jeans are cut up for quilts, bags etc and other clothing is cut up for rags or other uses - of course it depends on fabric. My pjs just went to be used for rags and the unusable parts will be used in the garden for tying up plants - they weren't as old as yours, but they were about 10 or 12 years old. Hope you enjoyed your day. Jean (Canada)

  23. A perfect day by my way of thinking.Planting and puttering and actually accomplishing some good things and still having time to take a nap. Just a perfect day....

  24. Hello Rhonda,

    Thanks for the custard recipe. I'll print that out and try it tomorrow. Might even make some custard tarts. I just think Hettie looks so cute. I miss having a cat around the house. Sound like today is going to be very special for you.

    Blessings Gail

  25. Thanks Rachel in blighty for the variation on Rhonda's recipe. What a great group of friends you have Rhonda.

    Blessings again Gail

  26. I had to laugh at the story of your 20 year old nightie. I graduated high school in May, 1987. When I left for college that August, I gave my mom a white blouse that I no longer wanted. She still wears that thing to this day! It's worn but not falling apart. I tease her and tell her I'm going to cut it up for rags but she says, No there's still use in it! The power of make do, use it up, wear it out! lol


  27. I do have a hooded sweatshirt that I received for Christmas one year back when I was in 8th grade. I graduated in 2001 - so 8th grade was probably 1997ish? It has absolutely no form to it and nearly bluish gray (used to be black) but I love it. I won't wear it out of the house but when it's a chilly damp day, it's my go-to warm shirt. I love it!

  28. I was just copying down the BAKED EGG CUSTARD recipe, which I've never made anything like that before. My question is does the oven proof dish rest on the bottom of the water dish or does it rest on the edges so that the bottom doesn't touch??? I hope that makes sense. A bainmarie as I know it (from industrial kitchens) had the dishes suspended over the water with the bottoms in the water. I'm not sure what size or type of pan to buy otherwise to fit my pyrex glass oven dishes.
    Thank you.


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