Friday, 30 August 2013

Guest Post by Wonderful at Home - Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto

Hi! My name is Kristen, and I blog over at Wonderful at Home. I have the great pleasure of guest posting for The Cottage Diaries today! My husband and I are trying to get healthier, and take in more foods that are better for our reproductive health while we go through our fertility treatments, so I decided to make this very tasty dish, and share it with you all! I bet just by looking at this, your stomach is starting to grumble with hunger, so let’s get started! 

If the name of this dish doesn't immediately send you into the kitchen, trust me that the taste will.  Let's start gathering our ingredients. 

(Makes 4 servings)
2 cups of vegetable stock, and 2 cups of chicken stock
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
6-8 sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups of risotto rice
8 oz of fresh asparagus, cooked
salt and pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Finely chop the onion, and slice the sun-dried tomato and set aside
2. Bring the stock to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce the heat and simmer over low heat while you cook the risotto
3. Heat the oil and butter in a skillet. Stir in the onion and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion is golden brown
4. Reduce the heat and add the risotto. Mix to coat the grains in the oil and butter mixture. Cook, stirring continuously until the rice is translucent
5. Gradually add the hot stock with a ladle, stirring between each pour so the rice absorbs. Increase the heat to medium so that the liquid simmers. Add the salt and pepper. Cook for 25-30 minutes (most importantly, until the risotto is tender, the liquid is mostly absorbed but creamy.
6. While the risotto is cooking, cut your cooked asparagus spears into one inch pieces and slice. Fold into the risotto in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
7. Sprinkle in some Parmesan cheese and stir
8. Divide into warm serving bowls, and sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on top.

I hope you all love this dish as much as we do. I was pretty happy when my husband finished his last bite and said "I really want to eat the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!" - Yes! Winner Winner! 

Thank you for spending some time with Wonderful at Home today. I hope you will stop over and see me more often!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Cinnamon Rolls



3/4 C milk
1/4 C butter
3 1/4 C flour
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1/4 C white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C water
1 egg
1 C brown sugar

1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 C butter, softened
1/2 C raisins

Vanilla Glaze:
115g icing sugar
1 Tbsp warm water
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in butter; stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, yeast, sugar and salt; mix well. Add water, egg and the milk mixture; mix well. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.

3. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes. 

4. Mix together butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.

5. Roll the dough out into a rectangle approximately 23 x 30 cm. 

6. Spread with the raisin mixture.

7. Roll up tightly from the longest side. Cut the roll into 12 equal pieces. 

8. Place the rolls on an oven tray, cover with oiled clingfilm and set aside in a warm place for about one hour, until doubled in size.  

9. Bake at 200 degrees celcius for about 25 minutes or until lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack. 

10. Make the vanilla glaze by mixing the ingredients together. Drizzle glaze over the buns once they have cooled slightly. 
Enjoy the cinnamon rolls warm with a cup of tea or coffee. Best eaten fresh.


Monday, 26 August 2013



1. Some days I can enjoy my morning coffee on the back porch looking out onto this beautiful blue sky, and I can pretend its summer

2. The odd cold and windy rainy day gives us an excuse for this:

3. Tamarillo pie, poached tamarillos in red wine sauce, tamarillos on my porridge...

4. The beaches are empty

5. Smudge stays inside more, which means more cuddle time

6. I get to sleep in while the hubby makes breakfast
7. Then the next day I let hubby sleep in while I make him breakfast
8. One last reason a New Zealand winter rocks? Because it gives me a reason to look forward to summer, bare feet and floral dresses!

What do you love about winter? 


Thursday, 22 August 2013

South Island: Farewell Spit

These photos were all taken at the top of the South Island around a secluded little beach front town called Puponga, which is nestled in at the start of the Farewell Spit. The rock formation you see in Cape Farewell. Staying here was probably one of the highlights of our South Island trip. People rush up here on tourist buses to drive along the Farewell Spit, but they miss out on this beautiful little beach. That's probably a good thing, because it is so peaceful and secluded, and if the tourists knew how beautiful this place is it wouldn't be the same. XMolly

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Stuff I Luff #12

These healthy flapjacks by Taz and Bear look so good!
How cool are these tissue pompoms featured on Through the Eyes of the Mrs?
Love this cute entranceway:
Must try this DIY fabric softener by Blythe Ponytail Parades:
Loving the gorgeous and whimsical photography by Kiana of Finch and Fawn. You must check out her blog!
What has caught your eye around the interweb lately?? Leave me a link below!


Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Home Decor: Collections

I love the feeling of picking up a cute vintage tin or bottle from a thrift store, but sometimes I have trouble finding the right place in my cottage to put it. Sometimes a vintage tin looks out of place among the other, newer things in my house. I think the answer is to make a collection of things and display them together. 

My tips for displaying a collection are:

1. Use items that are similar, but different. A collection of identical items is boring, so make sure the items differ in some way. A variety of shapes and sizes makes for a more appealing display.

2. Have enough, but not too many, items. How many items a display needs depends on what the item is. For tins or bottles, more is more, as long as there is sufficient variety. For something more unique, like globes or vintage cameras, you only need three or four or the collection may start to look boring and overdone. If you do have a large collection of something like vintage cameras, it is best to display them in a systematic way, in a custom-made display case like this:
Or on shelving, using chalkboard paint like this:
3. Choose only items that you like. It may be tempting to buy a whole lot of plain-looking tins just to make up a collection to display your favourite vintage tin, but the collection will just look like one nice tin surrounded by plain tins. Be discerning.

4. Before buying something, picture what it will look like in your home. Do you have a place for it? Are there other things that would look good with it? If you don't know where you are going to put it, it will probably just end up in storage (or in the junk cupboard if you're anything like me!).  

Some well-displayed collections:
Do you collect anything in particular?


Thursday, 8 August 2013

South Island: Kaiteriteri and Takaka



These pictures speak for themselves, don't they? If you're ever in New Zealand, the Tasman region is a must visit.


Monday, 5 August 2013

Subway Cookies

Subway cookies are good, right? And we can feel good about eating a Subway cookie, because we've just had a nice healthy sub so we NEED a cookie to balance things out. I tried out a copycat Subway recipe and I must say, they are pretty good! Now the problem is I have a whole batch of subway cookies right here, and I don't feel quite as good about eating two Subway cookies, or three, or four...

Subway Cookies

Recipe adapted from Hungry Janey

1 C brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 C white sugar
1 C butter, at room temperature 
2 eggs, at room temperature 
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 C flour, spoon-filled and levelled 
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 C chocolate chunks 

1. Cream butter and sugars together well. 

2. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla essence, and mix. 

3. Add flour, baking soda and salt, and mix thoroughly. 

4. Add chocolate chunks.

5. Place spoonfuls of cookie mixture onto a greased oven tray. 

6. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 10-15 minutes. 

7. Once cooked, leave for 5 minutes of the tray before moving them to a wire rack to cool.


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