Tea with friends

It's been a crazy week with many visitors, reading, gardening, rest and a lot of busyness snaking through my days. The highlight of the week came yesterday when Clare Bowditch visited with her husband Marty and publicist Isabelle. Clare is on tour promoting her first book Your Own Kind of Girl and on their way to Maleny they dropped in for afternoon tea. It was wonderful seeing her again. I met Clare when she interviewed me in 2016 on tour with The Simple Home. She's a wonderful and interesting woman who makes everyone around her feel loved, although it's clear when reading her book, she had a complex and difficult past. If you're looking for a good book with a clear message about life and how it changes, this is the one for you. I'm still reading mine and I don't want it to end.




I make chilli jam at regular intervals throughout the year. I'm a fan of the sour-sweet taste and there are several foods that just have to have a splodge of chilli jam sitting to the side. I've made it so many times now that I don't use a recipe, I go by taste and the number of chillies I want to use.  This can be a dangerous move though, in terms of safely preserving the jam, but I only make three jars at a time now, it lives in the fridge and it's all gone in about three months.  So far, so good. If you want to make chilli jam, or any other jam, I suggest you follow a tried and true recipe. If you want to follow one of my recipes, please use this one.




Chillies have been part of the regular planting pattern here for many years and I thought I'd said goodbye to them when I froze some of the last crop. However, I've just been outside picking herbs and noticed several little chilli bushes, about two inches in height, colonising some space under the self-seeding parsley. It looks like my cayennes have had their say and my chilli days will continue. I'm glad I got that nudge because we do love chilli and chilli jam and I prefer homemade chilli condiments over those from the supermarket.

Over the past few days I've been cutting into an old cotton Battenburg bed skirt to make into pillow cases. I added some of the embroidery - it's white on white, it looks really good and fits in with my general aesthetic of the plainer the better. Some people find this style quite boring but it creates a certain calmness that is very appealing to me.  While I've been writing this I realised it's a good project for my Instagram Sewing Bee page. If you want to join in and upcycle something in your own home, go to IG and search for downtoearthsewingbee

JennyP asked if I could do a review of our dishwasher and new stove.  I'll do that in the next few days.  I'm also working on a garden update but I haven't had time when the light is right to take the photos. It will be along soon.  Have a great weekend, everyone.  xx

20 comments

  1. Ooh, that looks like a lovely spread you put on for your guests. Scones, jam and cream at Rhonda's would be on my bucket list too!
    I love the look of that chilli jam, especially in the Bon Maman jar. I collect those for jam making but never give them away.
    Lovely to see you on your blog.

    Cheers - Joolz xx

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    1. The feeling is mutual, Joolz. I'd like to go to your place for one of your delicious bakes. They're amazing!

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  2. Sounds like a lovely week with visitors. I know there is some issue with sweet chilli/jam that can be dangerous in terms of preserving however I don't know that that is...can you explain it to me. I made home made mayo and coleslaw dressing for the very first time 2 weeks ago and OMG yum....first time and I'm hooked I won't be buying store bought anymore. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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    1. You should understand the principles of preserving, Kathy. You can get sick if it goes wrong. We add ingredients like salt, vinegar and sugar because they provide conditions that bacteria can't grow in. However, you must get the ratios right or it won't work. Look at this site https://foodinjars.com/canning-101-archive/ It's an American site and they do things slightly differently to how we do them but it's a good start.

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  3. Hi

    Just out of interest could you swap sweet chilli sauce for chilli jam?

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    1. Not if it's chilli sauce from the supermarket. Homemade chilli sauce could be used for many things chilli jam is good for but not on sandwiches - too runny.

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  4. I think my husband would love chilli jam, sadly it is too cold for me to grow them here, I have tried several times I have come to the conclusion that we don't have a long enough warm period for them. I shall have to see if I can find a good organic supply from somewhere. Thank you for the inspiration.

    I hope that you have found some time to rest after your busyness with visitors. I look forward to seeing what is going on in your garden, I love to see what others are growing particularly in other parts of the world.

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  5. I tried making chilli Jam last year but it was very thick whereas yours is more liquid. I will have to give it another go.

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  6. I noticed my chilli plants are popping up too, Rhonda. I bought one of the hottest chillies last year but the menfolk who like the hotter ones didn't like the taste. I didn't even try it. LOL! Have a relaxing weekend after your busy week. We are in for a hot windy day here.

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  7. Love that ruby red colour of the chilli jam. i have bags of whole chillies we picked from the garden at the end of last season in the freezer. I think they only did so well here near Canberra as it was such a dry and warm autumn, and the frosts came in late. Am having a go again this year with habaneros and carolina reapers (not for the kiddies!). I used your scone recipe (From Down to Earth) the other day when a friend came over - I am not a scone maker but these came out delicious, with a healthy ratio of strawberry jam and cream! WIll be giving your chilli jam recipe a go - the kids love sweet chilli sauce and jam could only be better. Looking forward to the next update Rhonda!

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  8. Any chance of seeing your white on white embroidery on your pillow cases? It sounds lovely and peaceful!

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  9. I am just now reading your Down to Earth book. It is very good and I have already implemented many of the things you talk about. I am enjoying your gardening section!
    The other book looks good too! I love true life stories...so much more interesting than fiction. We're going into winter here in the U.S. so lots of out door maintenance to do. Take care and the jam looks good but spicy is not anything I can tolerate anymore....I wish!

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    1. I loved writing the gardening section so I'm really pleased you're enjoying it.

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  10. That sounds like an interesting book; thanks for sharing. I'm always inspired by people who have overcome a difficult past. She looks so happy. It must have been fun to get together again. I love your style. I think it's calming and feminine.

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  11. How lovely to catch up with someone you've not seen for a while, such a happy looking young lady to, no doubt the visit left you smiling Rhonda. The book sounds interesting so I will definitely be looking it up. I do love white on white embroidery, brings to mind a much simpler time....maybe that's why it is so calming and appealing. Have a lovely weekend! Kate from Tassie x

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  12. Good morning Rhonda and Hanno. Listening to ABC radio overnight and it sounds like there are bush fires now near the hinterland of the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast,take care and stay safe,thinking of you all!

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    1. Don't worry about us Jenny. We're fine here. The fires are further up the coast near Tewantin.

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  13. Your chilli jam has always fascinated me Rhonda. One day I shall get around to trying your recipe, I have a Pinterest page full of your recipes I want to try! I remember you talked about getting a heat pump dryer some time ago. Your talking about Jenny P's request for reviews on your new appliances reminded me I wanted to ask how you are finding it. Is it as energy efficient as you had hoped? Glad to hear the fire are staying away from you. Take care.

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    1. You should try the jam. It's very good. I've started the review of my stove and dryer and hope to have it on the blog this week. And yes, they're both energy efficient.

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