You're The Sun That I Want, You Are The Sun I Want: Oo Ooo Oo Oo, Sunny.

I have been both social and stay-at-home. With me it's all or nothing, as the song goes. We went to the posh restaurant at the Casino for MrsDrWho's birthday. There was stunning service and we ate an amuse bouche and later on a white wine jelly with pistachios to cleanse our palates: very swish. I had pork belly with bacon, chorizo crumb, cauliflower puree, caramelised apple & onion and yoghurt cheese. I was hoping to have room for a white chocolate fondant dessert, but I can really only have one course. Oh well.

I knitted a Dalek hat for MrsDrWho: Extermin8 and I liked it so much I have started another- Extermin9. I am getting the knack of knitting with two colours at once, and there are not too many rows in the Insulate pattern when you have to carry the thread across more than four stitches.

Extermin8 extermin9

I also sewed two new bags, #85 Marvel and #86 with all the cats.

Bags 85 and 86

Cleo, Caramello and Muppin didn't miss out. I am slowly making them three cat beds. This is #2 and has some pink velvet on one side and Hello Kitty on the other. As usual, there were Lab tests by Gilly and Hedy. Just to be safe.

Gilly, Hedy and the cat bed

The Sunshine Rainbow Lollipop socks are complete. The ends aren't sewn in as I am not sure about the fit. MrsDrWho is going to wear and wash them a few times and I can undo the toes and heels and adjust them if necessary.

Sunshine Lollipop rainbow socks 2016

I also sent a present in the post to the lovely Knitting on the Avenue and Chloe. I was quite pleased with the knitting project bag that you put on your arm so you can walk about and knit. I think it is not so much for walking about but maybe for making your knitting more portable?? And a Star Wars bag because you can never have too many Star Wars bags, can you?

Bags june

On Monday we had a lovely surprise and met Jet'sMum and Jet on our walk. Hedy was very excited to meet a new friend and Gilly likes Jet because she is bigger than him!! Hedy is giving him a bit of a whack with her paw.

Jet Gilly and Hedy

Then there were all the dogs: Jet, Sandy, Gilly, Rafa and Hedy all running and playing and having a marvellous time together.

Such fun all the dogs

All the dogs that have lived in our house have their photo taken on the step outside the back door. I tried to take Hedy's picture today, but all I got was quite a lot of this:

Hedy asking with her paw

Waving, asking with her paw and sitting sideways. She is so cute though that I shall just try again next time the Sun comes out. When the Sun does come out Gilly likes nothing better than to soak up some of the warm sunbeams. She is so funny, almost asleep, basking in the warmth.

Gilly asleep in the sun

The world is full of so many awful things now, and really I like to be like Gilly, and just look for the happy things right now, and bask in them. Sun, sun, sun.

Tomorrow it is Sewing and I plan on making some coconut cupcakes. They sound delicious and I can't wait to bake them!!!


Friday Food: Coco Pop Choc Mousse Cups

Cocopop cupThe name of the recipe in no way indicates the difficulty involved: basically you make a kind of Mars Bar slice mix and press it into muffin tin holes and then fill with a melted chocolate mix folded into whipped cream. I really enjoyed making these, and the recipe comes from the Woman's Day magazine, where there is also a Froot Loop cake and a Cornflake slice, and whence I sourced the Jelly Cake Doughnuts. If you don't have Coco Pops, you could just use any plain puffed rice cereal. In our house, when I was a little girl, Sundays were the day for Wicked Breakfast Cereals: Coco Pops, Frosty Flakes, Honey Smacks, Froot Loops - they all came out for special occasions only. These mousse cups are a special occasion food as well.

I eschewed the recipe directions and did all my melting, gently, in the microwave with 30 second bursts and lots of stirring. I always err on the side of a little less melting than I think I want and then I stir any lumps into submission. I spooned 2 tablespoons full of the Coco Pop mixture into my muffin tin holes and then pressed them firmly into the base and sides. In the end I had enough left over to cover the base of a loaf tin, and I topped that with the left over mousse: so bonus dessert!!

I greased the muffin tin holes with some butter and then cut strips of baking paper and placed them cross-wise in the tin to make a lining. They popped out perfectly when they were set.

The trick to folding the melted chocolate and condensed milk into the whipped cream is to first add a good dollop of the cream to the melted chocolate/condensed milk and stir that in well to loosen the mixture. Then fold that into the whipped cream very gently. I was very pleased as it was smooth and had a nice texture.

I can only think of one downside, and that is you have to wait 4 hours for the mousse to set before you can eat them!!!!

NB An Australian tablespoon is very sensibly 20ml, or 4x5ml teaspoons.

 

Coco Pop Choc Mousse Cups     makes at least 12

  • 100g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 50g butter, chopped
  • 60ml golden syrup
  • 3 cups Coco Pops
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 395g tin of condensed milk
  • 300ml cream
  •  1 tspn vanilla extract

 

Grease and then line the 12 holes of a muffin tin with strips of baking paper and set aside. Melt the milk chocolate, butter and golden syrup in the microwave in 30 second bursts using a Medium heat. As soon as it looks almost melted, stir until it is smooth and combined.

First melt

Put the Coco Pops into a large bowl and then pour in the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly so that every Pop is coated and shiny. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of mixture into each muffin tin hole and use a smaller spoon to press the Pops firmly into the base and up the sides. Make sure the base is covered, add a few more Pops if you need them. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Pops and cups

Start the mousse by melting together the dark chocolate and 1/2 the tin of condensed milk in the microwave. Once again, stir the under-melted chocolate until it is smooth and combined. Set aside to cool.

Melting again

Whip the cream and vanilla till soft peaks form. Spoon a good dollop of the cream into the cooled chocolate/condensed milk mixture and mix firmly together.

Whip, fold a third

Once it is combined, pour into the whipped cream and gently fold together until there are no pale streaks of cream showing.

And fold and fill

Take the cups from the fridge and spoon the mousse in, filling right to the top.

Cocopop cups

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and then serve as they are or perhaps with some cream and shaved chocolate on top.

Coco pop cups


Tooth Or Derring

The tooth in question is Hedy Lamarr's. Hedy lost a baby tooth early this week and you can see her Big Girl tooth coming through.  It's the tiny point of tooth just poking out of her gum. No wonder puppies chew, the tooth fell out somewhere and she had a big hole in her gum. It must really hurt.

Oh the indignity of having a tooth photo taken.

Hedy's big girl tooth

The derring-do occurred when Hedy broke into the kitchen, opening the baby gate by herself, and ate the carcase of a BBQ chicken from the bin- no drumsticks or wings, just the cartilage middle section.  I knew something was afoot because Gilly came and told me with her Special Ears on. As we are on to dog number 6 I didn't panic. I rang the vet and Dr Megan remembered Hedy. She said to keep an eye on her for either emission or non-emissions from either end, and no dinner or breakfast. We have tied the baby gate for the time being. Of course I knew what she had eaten and always ring the vet. I thought I should add that. Hedy usually likes to do whatever Lorelai Gilmore does:

Gilly do Hedy see Hedy do

On our walk we usually just see this: Gilly off on her walk, and Hedy trying to keep up and keep on task, looking to Gilly. 

Gilly takes Hedy for a walk

I have knitted a hat for the baby next door, Modern Sweet in some Loyal 10ply in a hot pink. Very cute and I love the flower. It just took an evening to make.

Modern Sweet 2016

I'm also knitting a new hotwater bottle cover for my new back-up hotwater bottle. It is a pattern of my own design, and the last one was in 5ply so this 8ply is a tad too big but I don't care. I am using all odd ends of wool and using Fibonacci stripes, because they make everything pleasing to the eye.

Slih

Nothing much has been happening this week because I have a cold, a cold which I suspect I caught at Leukaemia Support group when I was in a room for two hours with the hot air-conditioning on. We don't walk on Wednesday, and I took them walking this morning, but both days I have slept till way in the afternoon. I did wonder if it was time for Hedy to have just two meals a day, but no, they continue till she's six months old. So the sleeping is why Hedy wasn't being sufficiently supervised.

Labradors love treats

At the weekend I read about an Eco-Cooler, an air-conditioner that works without power. It uses the principle that air you breathe out with an open mouth and a "ha" is hot, but air you blow out through pursed lips is cool. It needs a lot of plastic bottles and I'd like to try it out in Summer. So, I bought some fizzy cordial, as we call it, and conducted a taste test so no-one else has to. Believe me, no-one else wants to.

Special edition fizzy cordial

There are three Fan Made flavours: Fairy Floss, Fruit Tingler and Pineapple Coconut and then Traditional Pink Lemonade.

Fizzy cordial

I don't drink fizzy cordial, maybe some lemonade in Summer, but rarely, so the first overall impression of the flavours was how sweet they were: incredibly sweet.

The blue Fairy Floss tastes vaguely of almost burnt sugar and sweetness. It doesn't really remind me of Fairy Floss very much.

The Fruit Tingler is perhaps the best of the four. It tastes distinctly of Fruit Tingle lollies. And sugar.

The Pineapple Coconut has an artificial and strong coconut smell, but a lesser flavour. The pineapple flavour is not prominent.

Can a drink taste pink?? Yes, it can because that is what the Pink Lemonade tastes like: pink. Or what I imagine pink tastes like. Pink and sweet.

Well, that was certainly an experience. And not an altogether pleasant one. I think of myself as having a sweet tooth, but these were all overly sweet, being 31/34/31/31% sugar respectively. Definitely a sometimes food and one that I will not add to my menu any time soon.

Our Sewing group continues on, and some blocks have been sewn.

Bom continues

I had all sorts of plans for this week, but none of them will come to fruition and I am just not worrying about it. Tomorrow I have an appointment to have my hair cut I shall and bake a chocolate cake for the vet. Dr Megan talked to me over the phone and the nurses were very kind to ask her to ring me back. The Labradors snuggle together on the couch every evening. And I have a hotwater bottle and some yoghurt full of the right kind of healthy bacteria for tea. We watched Doctor Thorne this afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed it. I can't wait for Episode 2. I like Trollope. I remember watching The Pallisers and then Barchester Chronicles on TV and we read Trollope at Matric. Very witty and he writes excellent women!!!

Labrador sisters


Friday Food: Sticky Date Scrolls

A date scrollWhat to bake, what to bake?? I have made a luxurious chocolate mousse cake, and some brown sugar and oat muffins too, but MrsDrWho seemed delighted with the pink iced sticky date scrolls. So much so that I made two more batches for Sewing on Wednesday. I found these in the "date" feature in June's Recipes+ magazine. They are just so cute and it does really matter which way the icing stripes run. Believe me, it really does.

 

I just used my own scone recipe, which isn't really a proper recipe at all. Lassie Nan, my dad's mum, taught me: basically use two cups of self-raising flour, rub in a knob of butter and when it resembles breadcrumbs, add enough milk to make a sticky, but not too sticky, dough. I can't ever tell how much milk I will need, I just know when the dough feels right. You may have a good scone recipe you like to use.

I read a clever tip somewhere, can't for the life of me remember where, but rub a little oil on the knife before chopping the dates and it stops them sticking- very helpful. I added a few more dates to the date mixture as I felt it was a little too runny, and that's about it. Being scones, the date scrolls will only keep for two days in an airtight container. MrsReno warmed her sticky date scroll in the microwave and ate it with vanilla ice-cream: they're very versatile!!

NB Rather sensibly, an Australian tablespoon is 20ml, or 4 x 5ml teaspoons.

 

Sticky Date Scrolls    makes 8

  • 125g pitted dates
  • 1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbspn brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 1/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 30g butter, chopped
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbspn boiling water
  • few drops of pink food colouring, or one drop of red.

Grease and line a loaf tin, mine is about 22 x 11cm.

Chop the dates

Lightly oil your knife and then chop the dates roughly.

Date filling

Put them in a small bowl and stir through the brown sugar and bicarb soda. Then pour in the boiling water and set aside for 20 minutes. The dates should soften, but I mashed them half way through with a fork to speed the process, because I am an impatient cook sometimes.

Rub butter into flour

Preheat the oven to 220*C/200*C fan-forced. Put the flour in a large bowl and rub in the butter. It should be easy and if you give the bowl a little shake, any lumps rise to the surface and can be annihilated. Make a well in the centre.

Add milk, make dough

Pour in almost all of the milk. Leave a little just in case. Gently mix to combine. Don't work the dough too much. I found that there wasn't enough milk and there was dry flour left in the bowl. I added some more milk, a few teaspoons at a time, until the dough was a little sticky, but didn't stick to my hands too much.

Filling, roll out dough

Once the dates are softened, roll out the dough, or just press it out with your fingers, to be about 35 x 20cm.

Add filling, trim

Trim off the raggedy edges and then spread the date mixture over the scone dough, making sure to leave at least a 2cm border all around. Or vice versa. I think it needs a larger border at the joining edge.

They see me rolling

Starting at the long edge nearest you, begin to roll the scroll. The beginning should be quite tight, and then continue rolling firmly until you reach the other long edge.

Eighths

Press the edges together to join and then trim the ends. You don't want to be eating dateless date scrolls. Then cut the roll into 8 equal parts.

And bake

Carefully place them in the loaf tin, with the cute scroll side up. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the scrolls are golden and sound hollow when you tap them. Set aside to cool.

Pink icing

Check the scrolls are cool, if they are too warm, the icing disappears as it melts. Mix the icing sugar, boiling water and food colouring together to form a reasonably runny icing.  It should fall easily from a spoon so that you can swoosh it across the sticky date scrolls.  I think it is Very Important to ice East to West, rather than North to South, as evidenced above. I gritted my teeth and iced the second batch The Wrong Way. I know they will taste the same, but they look wrong.

I loaded up my spoon with icing, and tilted it over the bowl to start it off. Any blobs at the start will fall off into the bowl. Then with lightning speed move the spoon over the scrolls and swoosh from side to side.

Then pull them apart and serve with a nice cup of tea or coffee. Eat them warm or cold, with ice-cream or just as they are. They are deliciously sticky from the icing and the dates!!!

Date scrolls


Here Comes The Rain Again (And Again And Again)

Last week I was feeling sad when The GardyGardeners left for their new home on The Mainland. We had a lovely lunch to farewell them properly. I managed to somehow have three things happening on the same day and in the end I had a small migraine. I dosed myself up and just went to lunch: a bit woozy and fuzzy, but I didn't do the two other things. I just slept in the dark. I knitted a Corgi for them to take to their new house, but poor Corgi Ben didn't have any eyes or a nose. I will have to post him.

Almost corgi ben

Corgi Ben also has tag from the engraving shop!!! He is knitted in some 4 and 5ply and the pattern is from last week's English Women's Weekly and is called The Queen's Favourite. Ben is a tad plump, but I think that he will squash down a bit, and he will be safer to be posted if he is plumper.

This week when I went to post to my blog I couldn't access it at all. I couldn't even see my blog or anything Typepad. I sent an email and this morning when we woke up it was all ship-shape and Bristol fashion.

We are in the middle of a flood emergency - a one in a hundred year event. The peak of the flood has just passed through the city. We are up high and safe, but some of my friends over the river have been evacuated, and some friends' houses have been flooded. Sadly, people have died and many cows and sheep have drowned. The flood barriers have been raised and so now we wait. It will be a long and difficult recovery for everyone affected. We are very grateful to have the Police, Emergency Services, SES and other professionals and volunteers to keep us safe.

The dam where we walk has been overflowing and fuelling the flood. The power and the noise is frightening, but when the video bumps up and down, that's Hedy Lamarr pulling on the lead and you can hear her barking.

Yesterday afternoon and evening we were trapped at home because the traffic diverted from the highway went around the front and then the back of our house. There was a seven kilometre traffic jam and in the end I walked up to the shop at the corner. This is the view of the Eastern side of the city from our front window.

Flood photos 6 2016

Gilly was on full alert and spent hours running from the front window to the garage at the back gate, just to keep an eye on things. Hedy was a little confused by it all.

Gilly on traffic alert being pleased

Wet afternoon

Hedy was not confused about the joy of a lot of rain and mud. She has been playing in the rain and the paddle pool and digging holes, though she would deny it.

Hedy is sure she didn't dig the holes

We had a very cold snap last week and it was -2*C and there was ice on the grass at the dam. I think Lorelai Gilmore is about to be hit from behind by Hedy Lamarr.

Icy Gilly and Hedy

Or worse, there could be nipping. Hedy has nipped Gilly with her sharp little baby teeth and given her tiny sores. Gilly is such a patient and good girl, and takes it all in her stride. They both love to run and play, and for Hedy, her walk is the high point of the day: after breakfast!!

I am slowly catching up on presents for my friends' husbands and partners. I made a decision that they will all be having a hat, or something I have sewn, and something baked. I knitted a hat in Hawthorn colours for WeeJock&Bessie's dad. It is The Hawk-thron Hat in Loyal 10ply, always a wonderful wool to knit with. The second hat is for Mr HouseOf and I knitted it using some Inca Spun Tweed and then Silk Garden as the colour changing contrast. The colour change is quite long, so there is not too much contrast. I used the Turn a Square pattern, but it turned out rather larger than I expected, so I just decided it is a slouchy beanie. The Inca Spun Tweed is so soft and lovely to knit with, I'll use it again.

Hats for men

Tonight it is Sewing and we are going to leave Hedy Lamarr out of her crate at night for the first time. We bit the bullet and let her be free during the day a week or so ago. Lorelai Gilmore is there to look after her and I suspect Hedy sleeps in her crate when there are no people about. Baby steps for the not so baby puppy.

Gilly and Hedy May 31 2016

 


Friday Food: Blondie

BlondieIt was Nigella Week on Masterchef, but I was a tad under-whelmed by her Masterclass baking. It was a pavlova with lemon curd, cream and toasted almonds. That's pretty much an everyday dessert in Australia: pavlova and cream with some fruit. I make a pretty mean lemon curd, and I can whip up a pavlova in no time at all. I do love making Nigella's Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova, and it is always a hit at dessert time. Instead, I was inspired this week by the Yellow Team's Blondie. It has the bonus attributes of having no dark or milk chocolate, so I can eat it, and it is gluten free as well.

In the Fete episode all the teams had to make a fresh jam, but I just opened a bottle of my mum's jam and used that instead. I don't have any fresh raspberries as they are currently $56 per kilo and I refuse to buy frozen raspberries from overseas. I think it works well without the extra berries.

This is a very easy melt and mix recipe and, though there is a little cooling time, once it is all combined it bakes in 40 minutes. I think it is best served cold, as the white chocolate is a little cloying when it is warm, but each to her own!! The recipe says it serves 12 as a dessert, but I think as a slice it would make 24 pieces.

 

Blondie      serves 12/24

  • 200g white chocolate, chopped. I used buttons.
  • 200g butter, chopped
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 200g almond meal, I used cashew meal
  • 50g chopped pecans
  • raspberry jam and cream to serve

 

Grease and line a 20 x 30cm slice tin. Preheat the oven to 160*C.

Melting

Put the chocolate and butter into a saucepan over a low heat and slowly melt together. As usual, I take it off the heat while there is still some melting to go, and then stir till it is smooth.

Add sugar and cool

Mix in the brown sugar and vanilla extract and allow to cool slightly.

Eggs and nuts

Now whisk in the eggs, and fold in the almond meal and pecans until it is all thoroughly combined.

Bake and cool

Spoon into the tray and smooth out evenly. Bake for 35-40 minutes. I turned the tray half way through and it did take the entire 40 minutes. The Blondie will be golden brown and a little darker at the edges, which will have come away from the side of the tin. Cool on a rack until cold.

Blondie jam and cream

Slice and serve with jam and whipped cream as a dessert. I think it would also be nice dusted with a little icing sugar as a treat. The Blondie should keep for about a week in an airtight container.

 


Rolling In The Sleep

I have been sleeping. I have been sleeping for five days in a row. We went out for walks, and supplies, but other than that is has been all sleeping. The weather has been cold, we just had the coldest May day on record, so it has been all hotwater bottles and extra quilts on the bed. Today is the first day I feel un-tired. We still had a nap this afternoon, but I went out to do some shopping and left Hedy Lamarr out of her crate to run free in the house and back yard with Lorelai Gilmore. I did shut the hidden dining room door and the hall door, but when I came home Gilly was waiting at the gate and Hedy came from inside when I called- she was probably asleep in her crate!!

Consequently, not much else has been happening. Hedy goes for a walk off her lead. She comes when she is called and runs like the wind. So fast that she is a blur. Gilly is poking out her tongue. It is the season for rolling in something smelly and eating it as well.

Hedy speedy Gilly slow

Hedy has met Rafa the Border Collie and Sandy the Failed Guide Dog. They have both been champions. They have put up with a wriggly, licky puppy with hardly any growls at all. And if there is a little growl, Gilly appears from nowhere and puts herself between them and Hedy. What a good job she does.

Hedy with Sandy and Rafa... and Gilly

And all The Labradors...

Wiggly Labradors

Hedy is so cute and she is such a good girl. Her worst fault is stealing balls of wool, and that is because I haven't put them away. She has grown out of her cute dark green baby collar and has a new one. I felt guilty, so I went back and now Gilly has a matching collar. Gilly woke up on the couch next to Hedy Lamarr the other day and she wagged and wagged her tail, and licked Hedy's paws and belly. I think Hedy is settling in well. She doesn't bite me all the time either, which is nice!!

Hedy points

I have almost finished MrsDrWho's birthday socks. I have made both the afterthought heels and knitted past where I think I should start the toes. Which is annoying, but sensible because it is a new style of sock and I need to ask her to try them on. The stripes match so well, I am so chuffed.

Sl&r socks almost done

I bought myself a present today: two Pyrex bowls in a gorgeous aqua colour. They were on sale for half price so I treated myself. The container with the lid in already filled with some salmon pasta sauce, which I ate from the cute bowl for my tea.

Pyrex1

Pyrex

I drove MrsDrWho's automatic car with no problems at all. I feel slightly silly that I was so worried. Now I feel confident that I could drive any car at all. She had a lovely trip away and if I need to drive the car to the airport again I will definitely be available.

Well, our house has been quite boring. I watched the end of River, a TV show on The Netflix and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am making my way through The Night Manager now.

Tomorrow I plan to start knitting a corgi for The GardyGardeners. They have always had corgis and as they leave for The Mainland soon, a corgi will be a nice keepsake for them.

Corgi


Friday Food: Jelly Cake Doughnuts

A jelly doughnutI saw these doughnuts in a magazine in the supermarket queue. When I came home I downloaded the Woman's Day magazine using the Zinio for Libraries app and voila!! There's also a Wagon Wheel tart and I might make that too. On the whole, four out of five people gave these the thumbs up: I was the dissenter. I like jelly lamingtons because the jelly has soaked into the cake and it is jelly-y and moist. The jelly didn't soak into the doughnuts enough for my liking, it seemed to set in clumps on the outside. The other four people loved them and they do look so pretty.

If I make these again, and I shall, I will poke the doughnuts all over with a skewer, and let them sit in the jelly on the bench, rather than in the fridge. I think I would use two packets of jelly as well, for optimum jellying. I used raspberry jelly, but you can use any flavour you like.

They don't keep very long, and even in an airtight container I think they need to be used the next day. I was able to buy both cinnamon and sugar doughnuts and I liked the sugar ones best. The cinnamon seemed to interfere with the jelly flavour.

NB  Rather sensibly, and Australian tablespoon is 20ml, or 4 teaspoons.

 

Jelly Cake Doughnuts    makes 12

  • 1 packet of jelly crystals  (85g)
  • 12 fresh doughnuts, cinnamon or sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 2 tbspn icing sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract, I used vanilla bean paste

 

Make up the jelly, stirring in the cup of boiling water until the crystals are completely dissolved. Add the cup of cold water, pour into a shallow tray and refrigerate for 2 hours. It will be half set.

Jelly the doughnuts

Place the doughnuts into the jelly, turning them a few times. Place back in the fridge to chill for a further hour, turning two or three times more.

After chilling

Pour the coconut into a tray. Shake any excess jelly from the doughnuts and then roll them gently in the coconut. Don't forget the sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes so the coconut sticks to the jelly properly.

Lamingtonify

Whip the cream, icing sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks. Spoon the cream into a piping bag with a large star tip, or just a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off.

Whip cream

Use a serrated knife to cut the doughnuts in half and pipe the cream in a swirly pattern.

Piping the cream

Pop the tops back on and they are ready to be eaten. And they look so cute!!

Jelly doughnuts


Happy Walk, Keep Walking Happy Walk.

Most recent first: Hedy Lamarr has been for her first walk with Lorelai Gilmore. It all went spectacularly well. Rafa's dad and mum pointed out that Hedy is much more obedient than Gilly, who is having a little regression while she gets used to Hedy. I am just glad Hedy came back when she was called. I cheated and left her lead attached as a bit of an impediment, so I might just have a chance of catching her if she didn't come back.

Into the wide green yonder

I am a tad puffed out, breathing heavily, it was Gilly and my second walk for the day. Every time we play the video, Hedy comes from wherever she is when she hears me call her name. She is so cute!!!

Hedy walks very well on her lead, though she occasionally goes the wrong way!!!

Hedy walking with Gilly

We all enjoyed our walk and look forward to more happy times at the dam together.

Gilly taking Hedy for her first walk

It  is also time to start leaving Hedy out of the crate when we go out. I popped up to the deli at the corner and when I came home The Labradors met me at the gate, safe and sound.

Gilly and Hedy good girls

Gilly enjoyed her last walk without Hedy yesterday. She loves the cool weather and the rain, and we have had plenty of rain and an electrical storm. If only we could have the rain spread out, rather than in one fell swoop. Lorelai Gilmore can't wait for Rafa to be let out of the car so they can run very fast together.

Gilly is ready to meet Rafa

Gilly actually meets Rafa

I have, no surprise, sewed some more grocery bags: bags 81-83 in fact. The first for a cat loving friend, and the next two for Mrs and then Mr Madcage. The duckies are a late Easter present!!!

Bags may 2016

I found the best sock wool ever for MrsDrWho: Rainbow Sparkles from Opal. Beautiful rainbow merges and glittery silver sparkles that are soft and don't feel scratchy at all.

Rainbow sparkle sock wool

To retain the gorgeous stripes I decided to tackle an afterthought heel. There are so many variations, but somewhere I read a tip that you should knit the heel and then measure on the person to see how long the foot should be. Fantastic idea. I knitted half the stitches for the heel on waste wool, and then slipped them back on the left-hand needled and knitted them again with the sparkly sock wool. Then it was just a case of pulling out the waste wool and picking up the top and bottom stitches. I decided to make the swirl heel from the Crystal socklet at Knitty.com. Here are the Sunshine Lollipop and Rainbow socks thus far.

Sunshine lollipop rainbow sock and heel

Mr Madcage also has a new birthday Forest beanie, knitted in Loyal 10ply with a twisty cable pattern. I do like the Loyal 10ply. It is soft and light and very warm and knits up beautifully. I did have a better photo, but it turned out I actually took a video and I don't know how to make a photo from a video.

Forest beanie 2016

For the very first time I decided to bake something Star Wars for May The Fourth Be With You. I watched a very helpful video and then made some Darth Vader black fondant helmets.

Darth Vader May The Fourth

I piped swirly red and chocolate two tone buttercream onto some fudgy chocolate cupcakes and topped each with a Darth Vader helmet. I don't think they are too bad at all, and MrsDrwho said the cakes were very yummy.

May the Fourth Darths

This week I am having a rest as far as possible. Last week I had a migraine, and then on Monday we had the NBN debacle- that's the National Broadband Network, where our house will be getting Fibre To The Home.  I met The NBN man a few weeks ago when he came to confirm that we will have the cable from the pole outside to the roof, as our house is built on a giant rock and there is no way to dig a trench. Easy, I thought. Ha!

During my five or six phone calls and Live Chats I was assured that the technician who was to come on Monday would do the outside and inside installations. I talked to my friends who have The NBN said they said this is not the way things are done, but I checked and checked again. On Monday the technician turned up and he was just the Inside Person. The Outside People had not done their job yet. The Inside had not talked to The Outside and so nothing could go ahead. Well, after all this, I ended up telling the ISP not to even talk to me until they had it all sorted out. And I shan't believe them even then, since I have had two separate communications, stating two different dates and times since then.

This week I am also going to drive an automatic car. I have only ever driven a manual car, but our car is too small to take two people and their suit cases to the airport. I am going for a drive tonight, just so I can get a feel for the car and learn it's super modern things like reversing camera and other things of which I know nothing!! Hedy is already having her post-lunch nap in her crate, Gilly is asleep on the  couch and I think a nap is definitely called for after all the tooing and froing.


Friday Food: Nutella Cupcakes

A nutella cupcakeWednesday was Sewing night and I wanted something delicious to bake for my friends. Nothing appropriate caught my eye in any of this month's magazines and so I turned to Cupcake Jemma and her Nutella Cupcakes. They were perfect: perfect and easy to make. The recipe makes 12 small cupcakes, rather than large muffins and I did fill the paper cases with a spoon and not an ice-cream scoop. Still, I always think a cupcake is a cupcake, regardless of the size.

I didn't have any hazelnuts so I used some hazelnut meal I already had. Otherwise, I followed the recipe faithfully. I couldn't find the largest diameter piping tip and so I used a smaller one, which didn't give the nicest plumpest swirls. Hey ho, they tasted fine and if you don't have a piping bag and tips use a ziplock bag. That is what I always did until MrsDrWho bought me a piping present!!

NB Rather sensibly, an Australian tablespoon is 20ml, or 4 teaspoons.

 

Nutella Cupcakes      makes 12

  • 50g hazelnuts, roasted, skinned, pulverised (or hazelnut meal)
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 25g cocoa (Dutch processed is very cocoa-y)
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1/4 tspn bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 125g softened butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 tbspn milk
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract

For the buttercream

  • 100g softened butter
  • 150g Nutella
  • 225g icing sugar sifted
  • 2-3 tbspn milk

Preheat the oven to 170*C and line a muffin try with cupcake papers.

Make the cupcakes

Put the ingredients for the cupcake batter, bar the milk and vanilla, into the bowl and then beat with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Then add as much milk and vanilla extract as needed to make the batter smooth and beat again for another minute. And honestly I don't think it a terrible catastrophe if you put everything in at once and beat for 90 seconds. I always give the bowl a few stirs with a spoon, just to make sure there is nothing sticking to the bottom of the bowl.

Fill and bake

Spoon into the 12 cupcake paper cases and then bake for 20-22 minutes. The cakes will slightly come away from the edges, spring back when lightly pressed in the centre and if you poke a toothpick into the centre it will come out clean. My cupcakes needed the full 22 minutes and I turned the tray half way through.

Allow the cakes to cool for a few minutes and then place on a rack. Allow them to become completely cooled before you even think of icing them!!

Buttercream starts

To make the buttercream, whip the butter and Nutella on a high speed for 4-5 minutes. It should be a pale colour and very light and silky.

Beat,add icing sugar

Add half the icing sugar and beat well, and then add the rest of the icing sugar. My buttercream did not combine very well and so I needed to add half the milk and then a little more again until it came together nicely.

Buttercream complete

I followed Jemma's instructions and put some Nutella 'stripes' down the inside of the piping bag before I filled it with the Nutella buttercream. It works in the same way as striped toothpaste, and whether you pipe swirls, or splodges, you have lovely two-tone frosting.

And frosting

I sprinkled some nuts on top and they were finished.

Cupcakes all in rows

The cupcakes are quite moist and there is an excellent cake-to-icing ratio happening.

Inside cupcake

The Nutella Cupcakes would keep for a few days, un-iced, in an airtight container, but once the buttercream is piped on top I think they should be eaten sooner rather than later.

Nutella cupcakes