26 April 2013

My Mystery Pastry Lemon Tartlets

I've been longing for lemon tarts recently, and have been looking for an opportunity to get into the kitchen without any interruptions to make some lemon curd and some little pastry cases.

Such an opportunity arose this afternoon. I had vaguely remembered seeing some leftover pastry from something lurking in the freezer. Don't ask me what it was from. I don't remember putting it there. My dear husband denies any knowledge of it either. Whatever it was from, I was pretty sure that I could make it work as a dainty pastry shell for my little lemon tarts.

Pastry circles all rolled out ready to go...
While the pastry was defrosting I quickly made my lemon curd. I used this recipe from Taste.com.au. Now, onto the pastry! As I was rolling it out I had a bit of a taste test. I'm pretty sure that it has yeast in it. It was quite springy, and a bit sweet. Blind baking was a must to stop this yeasty, springy pastry from puffing up too much. I baked the cases in a mini muffin tray that I "borrowed" from my mother in law (I don't think I've told her that I have it yet). About 15 minutes in a 200 degree oven seemed about right for cooking time, although those cases that were rolled a bit thinner do seem just a little browner than the rest.

22 April 2013

Blogger Photo Limits: Who Knew?

So, I was reading through some blogs the other day, and one that I was reading suddenly stopped in December last year. I read the last post, only to find out that she had stopped blogging because her photo limit had been reached! Photo limit? Who knew? Well, this is what happens when you don't do any research before you start a blog.

Worried about the status of my own photo storage, I did some research (mostly reading other blogs that have also come across this problem) and found out that I should have a 1GB photo storage limit for my photos, in a Picasa web album. And to top it all off, this is shared with other Google applications that I use. I found a post with a link that I could click to find out how much of my limit I was using.

I was astonished to find out that I was currently using over 48% of my limit, and, more interesting still, my limit was, not 1 GB, but 5GB! That means I've used more than 2.4GB. Where had all that space gone? Do I need to resize all the photos that are currently on my blog (in 20 posts, I wouldn't have thought that they would take up too much space, even when I made no effort at all to compress them!) Or maybe find another photo host and change the way I insert images into my blog?

After some looking in my Picasa account, I discovered that the majority of my photos are actually backups from my phone. I didn't realise that when I turned on the instant upload option on my new phone last year that it was going to back up every photo I have ever taken on my phone since I first bought a smart phone (2 and a half years ago now!) Or that they would be stored in Picasa. Or anything really. (Do you see a theme forming here - I don't do enough research on technologically related things). Photos up to 2048 x 2048 pixels (when using Google+) apparently do not count toward this limit. Although I have read that instant upload photos are automatically resized to be under this size limit, I did not seem to have happened with my photos.

I did find out why my limit is 5GB though. Apparently at some stage I signed up for Google Drive, (not that I even know what this is), and that gives you 5GB of storage space. How fortunate! Otherwise I would have run out of space a long time ago, definitely before I even started this blog.

Just before I hit the "Publish" button though, I thought I might try and get to the bottom of the instant upload issue. It turns out that you have to go into the setting of Google+ on your phone, and check the option to resize your uploads to 2048 pixels. I was looking for this so I could turn instant uploads off, but now that I have found the culprit, I might as well leave it there, and just upload the smaller photos. At least that way if something happened to my phone I would have a record of the photos that I have taken.

Problem solved. At least I no longer have to find an alternate method of storing blog photos. Now to just find a way (and time and the inclination) to tackle that enormous amount of full size photos stored in Picasa.

17 April 2013

Time to get back to work?

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet around here lately. I hinted in my last post that I was about to go on holidays, somewhere a little cold. Well, I've actually been back for more than 2 weeks now, and am still trying to get back in the swing of things.

I had a month away from home with my family, mostly in Europe, spending some time there with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law (also holidaying), and most of it with my parents-in-law, who since buying a house in Switzerland a few years ago have been progressively spending more time there than here.

Once I got away, it didn't take me long to lose the urge to be sewing something, or thinking about sewing something, or planning on sewing something. After arriving home it took me 3 days to put fabric to a machine, and I only did that because I'd had an order while away that I had promised to deliver directly after Easter. That didn't stop me from taking happy snaps of every fabric shop and sewing machine shop that I saw while I was away. I didn't actually venture into many of them. Fabrics in Switzerland tend to be quite expensive, and the one time that I thought I'd try and have a conversation with a shop owner, she didn't speak any English, so that didn't work. Paris however, had a multitude of shops, all in the same area, with very reasonably priced fabrics. It would have helped if I was actually looking for something specific, because as I didn't have anything in mind that I needed, I found it hard to find anything I wanted to buy.