Friday Food: White Choc Boozy Gin Fudge

Boozy gin choc fudgeWe are still a tad poorly at our house, so it was with great pleasure I remembered this recipe from The Decorated Cookie. In fact, there is a series of boozy fudges and I have made some with vodka and dark chocolate too. This white chocolate and gin fudge with lime is pretty fabulous. MrsDrWho sent me home with some Bailey's Irish Cream, Kirsch and Butterscotch Schnapps, so I am looking forward to some more boozy fudges. I am thinking about dark chocolate and kirsch with perhaps some dried cherries mixed through??

This is such an easy recipe: three or four ingredients and a few minutes of sifting, mixing and microwaving and maybe some zesting, and the fudge is done. This is definitely for adults only, as the alcohol is not cooked in any way and so it remains alcoholic. I used pure icing sugar which I sifted and ordinary eating chocolate, though I did find some posh chocolate with vanilla. The recipe calls for choc chips or buttons, but I checked, and they are just chocolate with nothing added and our choc chips have things added.  I sprinkled some lime zest over the top, but you could used lemon or even orange zest. They would all be good. I have converted the recipe to grams and I made 1/8 of the recipe quite easily, which yielded 9 2.5cm (1 inch) squares. As it is warm, I did pop it in the fridge to firm up.

The Decorated Cookie says it will keep for about a week in the fridge, and as it is not Winter at Christmastime here, that's where I will keep mine. I do think it will last for longer than a week, as there is nothing that will really deteriorate. I shall be making many, and varied, versions of this for Christmas gifts!!! This is a great recipe, and I can highly recommend it.

 

NB: I shall put the measurements for my 1/8 batch in brackets for each ingredient. I think it would be perfectly fine to round things up or down a little too!!!

 

Boozy White Chocolate and Gin Fudge        makes 60-72 pieces

  • 908g pure icing sugar, sifted     (112g)
  • 236ml gin   (30ml)
  • 340g good white eating chocolate     (42g)
  • zest of two limes    (zest of 1/4 lime)

 

Icing sugar and gin

Before you begin, line a 20x 30cm tin with baking paper. For 1/8 I used a small plastic container measuring about 7 x 11cm.

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, make a well in the centre and add the gin. Mix to combine.

Melt chocolate

Gently melt the white chocolate in the microwave. Break chocolate into smaller pieces and microwave it in 20 second bursts on Medium or High depending on the microwave's strength. Stir thoroughly after each burst as the chocolate burns very easily. This batch took 60 seconds in all.

Combine

Mix the icing sugar and gin with the melted chocolate expeditiously, as it will set quite quickly.

Set add lime

Spoon the fudge into the container and distribute evenly, smoothing the top. Sprinkle over the lime zest and gently push it into the fudge. Let it sit for 30 minutes and if it is still soft, put it in the fridge for an hour or so before you cut into small squares. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container, especially in Summer!! And then enjoy your boozy fudge: remember, don't eat boozy fudge and drive.

Boozy gin and lime chocolate fudge


Friday Food: Adam Liaw's Easy Cheeseburger

Adam liaw easy cheeseburgerI have finally surfaced from the fog of being poorly, though we do still sleep most of the day. And I know this is hard to believe, but I am not very hungry. Today I remembered seeing Adam Liaw's easy cheeseburger and it was just what I fancied as some proper-ish food. I can't really justify the Heston method of making burgers: too complicated and too expensive to buy my own meat grinder, so this was an easy cheat.

The ingredients are readily available, and the cheeseburgers really are quick to prepare and cook. Do buy the cheapest beef mince: he explains that instead of trying to buy more expensive meat with a high fat content and then mincing it yourself, cheap mince has enough fat for the burger to stay moist. I think that just gently moulding the mince to form the burger, and not squashing or kneading it, also helps. There is nothing to bind the mince. When I was little we called dill pickles, gherkins. Now they have lots of names, but I still think of them as gherkins. Maybe they are something completely different?? I am not dill pickle/gherkin aware.

We don't have a BBQ or a griddle plate, and as I was only making one, I used a little cast iron frypan. It didn't really do a great job heating/toasting the buns, but they tasted perfectly fine. Though the burgers require at least 10 minutes in the refrigerator before they are cooked, they can be ready in about 20 minutes: maybe quicker than going to The Scottish Restaurant!!

The burgers were moist, flavourful and I could almost have eaten another one, well, in my mind. These are really great cheeseburgers: thanks Adam Liaw.

 

Adam Liaw's Easy Cheeseburgers        makes 4

  • 500g cheap beef mince
  • 2 tbspn (40ml) vegetable oil or dripping
  • 4 soft hamburger buns
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, shaved into rings
  • 4 slices tasty cheddar cheese
  • gherkins or dill pickles
  • tomato sauce
  • American style mustard

 

Divide the mince into four equal parts and gently form into a burgers. I made mine and then put it between two pieces of Gladwrap and poked and prodded it until it was the same size as my hamburger bun. It was quite thin. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.

Mince and burger

Heat a grill or large frypan, I went to 5 on a scale of 6. Brush the pan or plate with oil. Cut the buns in half and place, cut side down, in the pan. Check to see they don't burn, season with salt and pepper and then set to the side if there is a cool spot.

Heat and toast buns

Take the burgers from the fridge and put into the pan. Press some of the shaved onion rings into the top. After just 1 minute, flip the burger and top with a cheese slice and the top of the bun. Cook for a further 1-2 minutes, the cheese should be melting. Because the burger is so thin, maybe less than 1/2 cm, it will be cooked through in a short time.

Burger and onion

Squeeze the mustard and tomato sauce onto the base of the bun. Flip the top of the bun with the burger and cheese onto the base and there you are. Your burger is ready to serve with a gherkin on the side.

Cheese, bun and condiments

It is totally delicious, and I interspersed my bites of burger with bites of gherkin: Yum.

Easy cheeseburger

 


Swollen Swollen Swollen, Though The Streams Are Swollen, Keep Them Doggies Rollin': Rawhide.

It is no wonder I have been feeling tired: I am officially sick. I actually feel a tad ( a tiny tad ) better when I know I am sick, and not imagining it. Not that I have ever imagined being sick.

There was a cancellation at the doctor on Monday, and I have swollen glands in my neck, a temperature and an infected throat. Oh, and now I have a raging cold and a gravelly voice.

Hedy and the water and the toy 1

Hedy and the water and the toy 2

Hedy Lamarr has run amok, all night and all day. I changed the water bowl, to no avail. Hedy still dips her toys in the water, swooshes them about and then runs about the house, shaking them.

Gilly trotting

Lorelai Gilmore is a perfect Labrador, lying on the bed and looking inquisitively at me when I cough my hacking cough.

Rafa Gilly Hedy Sandy

I did arise from my sick bed yesterday to go for a walk, but I was so pleased today is Wednesday and we don't walk on Wednesdays.

Sandy Rolypoly Hedy Gilly

Three dogs walking

Look, various photos of various combinations of dogs. I have been up for half an hour, it is time for bed again.

Super Moon.

Supermoon peeking through clouds


Friday Food: Oven-roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

Tomato tart with goat's cheeseThere are so many Christmas magazine issues, I feel overwhelmed: in a good way. I mainly focus on the sweet, but this savoury tart in the December 2016 Donna Hay Magazine caught my eye. It looks so scrumptious, I love the array of tomato slices, and it is so simple to make. It is indeed very delicious, because I have eaten it for early dinner and some more for supper!!! I really only needed to buy a couple of out-of-the-ordinary ingredients, and they were not too tricky to find.

I used goat cheese rather then the goat curd the recipe asks for, basically because I could put my hand right on it in the deli. I bought a small roll, 100g, and it was plenty. I could not find any white balsamic vinegar, instead I used a Moscato Glaze, which has a sharpish taste, on the same level as lemon juice. It works really well. I also used flat leaf parsley and spring onions, as I always have those in the fridge. Instead of olive oil, I used avocado oil. It was a gift, along with a few other special oils, and it worked perfectly with the tomatoes and the Moscato Glaze.

So, I adapted the recipe to what I had at home, mostly, and it worked perfectly well. I can see this as a delicious lunch, I ate mine with some broccolini, as a posh entrée or an upmarket side with chicken, fish or steak. This tastes just as good piping hot, warm or cool. I am not sure it will refrigerate well at all, but I don't mind. I will eat it slightly less crispy, and cold, tomorrow!!

 

 

Oven-roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart       serves 4

  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted. I used butter puff.
  • 140g (1/2 cup) goat curd/cheese
  • 400g fresh tomatoes, sliced 1cm thick
  • salt and pepper
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dill sprigs
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 20ml (1 tbspn) white balsamic vinegar

 

Preheat the oven to 240*C.  I would also heat the tray. I usually do this, didn't this time, and wish I had. It just makes the base of the pastry crispier.

Puff pastry

Lay one sheet of the thawed puff pastry directly on top of the other and press firmly together. I also scored a 1cm border around the edge of the top sheet, as this gives more of a puffed crust.

Cheesy goodness

I left the goat cheese out of the fridge to soften, and then spread it out evenly over the pastry with the back of a spoon, which I dipped into some very hot water.

You say tomatoes

My 3 medium tomatoes were almost 500g, but that meant I could cut off the bottom and have nice uniform slices.

Top and bake

Array the slices of tomato atop the goat cheese and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. I had some nice sea salt flakes and some chilli cracked pepper. Drizzle over half the oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown, and the pastry is cooked through.

Top with your herbs of choice and drizzle with the remaining oil and the white balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!!

Tomato and goat cheese tart


That Touch Of Sink

Yesterday Hedy Lamarr had her first swim. In truth, she had her first sink: she ran full pelt toward the ducky she spied and leaped into the water and sank like a stone. There is no documentary evidence per se as I was in will-I-have-to-wade-in-and-save-her mode. I do have "after" photos:

Labradors not swimming

Hedy submerged totally, and after the beat when I wondered whether I would have to save her or not, she surfaced like a submarine, spluttering and dog paddling!!! I made sure to clean her ears and eyes before breakfast.

Gilly does not swim. She wades about doing a kind of canine water aerobics and gets wet up to her chin. Hedy is very vocal and is always making high pitched barks.

Lemon butter biscuits

I have been poorly on and off and spent more time sleeping. Not much else has happened at our house: a little more knitting and some baking. I baked some Jamie Oliver Lemon Butter biscuits for The Vet today. They tasted lemony and buttery but they were not very pretty and I had run out of icing sugar and I just glazed them with some lemon curd. The recipe did make twenty, though it refused to roll out without sticking. I just rolled 20g balls of dough instead.

New toy

As anyone reading my blog knows, I am the world's worst photographer. MrsDrWho bought The Labradors some soft toys at her school fair.  Gilly had the toy, and Hedy stole it. Gilly is chasing her trying to get it back. To no avail.

Lorelai Gilmore is very well. She stole Hedy's treat yesterday, much to Hedy's shock and horror. Gilly is bright eyed and interested in all sorts of things out the window now. She even sneaks into the kitchen if we forget to shut the baby gate.  We go to The Vet next week for more blood tests.

Gilly likes a good step

Hedy Lamarr is in denial. We weighed her at The Vet last week and she is a tad more then 23kg. Gilly is a tad under 27kg. Hedy thinks she is still a tiny puppy.

Hedy says her little box fits perfectly well

She is too big to lie sidie-waysie in her crate, or Little Box as I like to call it. She does not let this deter her.

Hedy is sure she fits

The lady at the wool shop gave me some banana passionfruit. I have frozen the pulp, mixed with a little sugar, in my new freezer. I love freezing things, I have two litres of freshly squeezed lemon juice and six take-away containers of raspberries and loganberries from MrsReno. There is still plenty of room for more frozen things!!!

Banana passionfruit

Last night I went with MrsDrWho, and other lovely people, to see Blackadder. Encore Theatre dramatised three of the Elizabethan episodes: Head, Money and Beer. It was very good, though the seats were uncomfortable. I was glad to go out as I had had a shock. I had had my heart set on something and my hopes were dashed. When I met MrsDrWho I burst into tears. After a lot of Blackadder and a commiseratory glass of wine I had things more in perspective. I did have to listen to Classic FM all day today though. I can only hope that in Australia we see what happens when a country is divided and we don't go down that path. I am glad to live here in a small city, on a small island, where in spite of all our differences, we manage to get along. Still, I Maintain The Rage from 1975, but maybe those Over There will instead maintain their hope in the face of adversity. I shall hope along with them. Together: we can.

Halloween here

Oh and we had a Halloween here, of sorts. There was a great letter in our letterbox inviting us to participate if we wished and a balloon to tie to the letterbox to show assent. The letter also acknowledged not everyone celebrates Halloween in Australia (which is as it should be) And although we didn't participate, I feel a lot happier about it than in years gone by. The Halloweeners were all rather older teenagers and the only interruption to the early evening was their laughter!!

I used my $10 Spotlight Christmas voucher wisely, and bought four sewing patterns and a 6B Wilton piping tip for just $10. I am love a bargain. I saw 8096 on The Curvy Sewing Collective and was smitten, and not just because it is green!! I shall make the third iteration, with the wider gathered shoulder straps. Not so sure about 1102, as it is made in knit fabric, but I might give the version modelled a try.

Patterns 1
I saw 8137 reviewed as well, and I am in search of a woven fabric wrap dress, so I will try a sleeveless short dress version. I just love the skirt on Butterick 5982. I am not sure about the dart in the centre front, but there is some discussion here about a full bust adjustment in the comments.

Patterns 2

The weather is very Springy: hot, cold, frosty, snowy, rainy and wind so strong I couldn't open the car door. It has not been terribly hot, but it was hot enough that I didn't want to take The Labradors in the car for a visit to The Vet this afternoon. We are also enduring mosquitoes the size of blow flies and bulbous, loud blow flies as well.

Labradors on the new bedding

The night is coolish, but we have a new woollen underlay and a new doona so we will be snuggling under the doona and sticking a foot out of bed to cool down. My mum very kindly gave me some money so I could pick up my lay-by early. It is technically too hot for the woollen doona, but I don't care. The old underlay was so old, I had turned it already from top to bottom and in many places there was No Wool Left!! This is a photo taken in a poorly lit room with the iPad, which doesn't have a flash. After disassembling the bed, and making it halfway again, I was too tired to find the camera. Gilly looks so happy, and Hedy sits up very straight to have her photo taken and is very interested in case there might be a treat afterwards.

I have also started answering my blog comments, slowly but surely, and they are not a task or a bother. I like to answer my comments, it is just they get away from me sometimes!! Gilly is lying on the almost finished quilt (and I let her, she's sick) and Hedy is squashed in her little box, so all is right with the world. Time for bed for all Labradors.


Friday Food: Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Peanut butter cupcakeSometimes, in a state of ennui, I can't think of anything to bake. I sent this link, The Scran Line, to my Sewing friends and they chose two cupcakes: Peanut Brittle and Carrot Cake. Since Wednesday I have made two and a half batches of Carrot Cake cupcakes and half a batch of Peanut butter cupcakes!! I did cheat and actually made toffee peanuts (which can be can be made into a praline) instead of a proper brittle. They have a hidden surprise of chocolate sauce in the centre and vanilla buttercream on top.  You can just make the peanut cupcakes and ice them with some chocolate ganache or an easy peanut butter icing, and not go the whole hog with chocolate sauce, buttercream and peanut toffee.

Suprise inside

The recipe says it makes 20 cupcakes, and I halved it and it still made 12. I filled each cupcake paper with 60ml of batter. We are lucky to have quite a few brands of peanut butter which are just Australian peanuts: nothing else added.  This makes me very happy. The chocolate sauce is just melted in the microwave, it took about 2 minutes, and looks pretty luxurious.

I watched a video from The Australian River Cottage before I made my toffee. I often have bad luck with toffee, it either crystallises before it is melted or it burns. This time I just used 150g of caster sugar and swirled the pan as it melted and it worked really well. I used Australian peanuts and Tasmanian hazelnuts. MrsDrWho doesn't like peanuts so I made her some toffee hazelnuts so she wouldn't feel left out.

After I made half the buttercream recipe, (and I forgot to add the peanut butter but honestly it was fine) I bought an actual Wilton 6B tip and used it to pipe the buttercream after the cupcakes were safely at Sewing. I forgot to take a photo I was so excited at the lovely piping pattern. I am not in love with wondrous architectural buttercream toppings. I prefer a lower frosting to cupcake ratio, so I just piped a ring shape and then filled it with the roughly crushed peanut toffee.

I'll give amounts for the full cupcake recipe, along with the chocolate sauce and vanilla buttercream.

 

NB An Australian tablespoon is, very sensibly, 20ml.

 

Peanut Butter Cupcakes      makes 20-24

For the cupcakes:

  • 430g plain flour
  • 265g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 3 tspn baking powder
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 375ml milk
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbspn (40ml) Greek yoghurt (I used the top of my passionfruit yoghurt!!)
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 4 tbspn (80ml) smooth peanut butter

 

For the chocolate sauce:

  • 400g dark chocolate, I used 70% cocoa
  • 50g butter
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 250ml cream

 

For the toffee peanuts:

  • 100g peanuts
  • 150g caster sugar

 

For the vanilla buttercream:

  • 500g butter, softened
  • 1kg icing sugar mixture, sifted. You may need a little more.
  • 2 tbspn (40ml) milk
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C or 160*C fan-forced and line your muffin tray with paper cases.

Dry, butter and wet

To make the cupcakes, I follow The Scran Line's unusual method. It seems to work very well. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in the bowl of your stand mixer and mix for a few minutes on a low speed until it is well combined. Then add the softened butter, I always judge it to be softened if I poke it with my finger and it "gives" a little.  Mix on low speed until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. I also whisk the eggs into the oil while I am waiting.

Add wet to dry and butter

Next, slowly pour the oil and eggs into the mixer as it is running on a low speed and continue until it comes together. Scrape the bowl once to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom and mix for another 30 seconds.

Add peanut butter

Fold in the peanut butter and the batter is ready. I put 1/4 cup, or 60ml, of the batter into each paper case and then bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes, turning the tray halfway through.

Bake and cool

Check they are cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre and it should come out clean.  They will also be slightly golden brown on top and will come away from the edge. Allow to cool completely on a rack.

Chocolate sauce

The chocolate sauce is so easy to make. Just put everything into a microwave proof container and heat in 20 second bursts on High. Stir well after each 20 seconds, especially at the start when it doesn't look like it needs it. Just heat until it is smooth and glossy. This will keep, refrigerated, for at least a week, and you can make it saucy again simply by reheating gently in the microwave.

Toffee

Before I made the toffee, I roasted the nuts for 5 minutes at 180*C and then put them on some baking paper. I did try to rub off the skins, but I was tired and I gave up. I made my successful toffee by pouring 150g of caster sugar into a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat. I then stood there and peered intently, swirling the sugar every few minutes until it really started to melt.

Toffee and nuts

Once it was a nice dark amber colour and all the sugar was dissolved I poured it over the peanuts and hazelnuts. The toffee is BOILING hot, even hotter than that, and for once I managed not to burn myself. I did that on the oven shelf instead. It sets in a few minutes and you can crush it roughly by putting the toffee in a ziplock bag and banging it with a rolling pin. Or you can make praline using a blender.

Vanilla buttercream

The vanilla buttercream takes a little while to make, but it is not difficult. Put the softened butter into the stand mixer and beat on a medium speed for 5 minutes. The butter will change from pale yellow to white and it will be fluffier. The add half the icing sugar mixture and beat till it is combined. Finally add the remaining icing sugar, the milk and vanilla extract and beat for a final 5 minutes. You can add the peanut butter here, I forgot, and beat it in well. I found  the buttercream was quite soft and so I filled my piping bag and refrigerated it until it was time to leave. By the time I was ready to pipe onto the cupcakes, the icing was the right consistency.

Buttercream, filled cupcakes

To assemble the cupcakes, first you core them. I used the large end of the piping tip and pressed down half way into the cupcake and then used a teaspoon to ease out some of the cake. I left at least half the depth of the cake so that the chocolate sauce wouldn't leak out the bottom. Fill the centre with chocolate sauce, then pipe on your desired amount of buttercream, and top with the toffee peanuts. The carrot cupcakes are lurking at the back of the plate.

Cupcakes galore

 

 


Friday Food: Four-Ingredient Chocolate Cupcakes

4 ingredient cupcakeDelicious magazine is celebrating its 15th birthday. I used to collect Delicious, but now I use the Zinio for Libraries app to read it on my ipad. This month I was very interested in the 4 ingredient chocolate cupcakes because, well, 4 ingredients and chocolate cupcakes. The 4 ingredients are chocolate, cream cheese, eggs and brown sugar. I was lucky enough to use proper farm eggs, and the whites whipped up in no time flat. There are actually 6 ingredients, but they haven't counted salt and water. I made half the recipe and 15 cupcakes and the recipe says a whole batch is 24, so you might have 30. MrsDrWho tasted the cupcakes and said they were unusual, kind of like a baked mousse. In fact when they came out of the oven they were quite puffed and then sank when they cooled, some even developed a hole. I don't think that really matters.

Once again, the recipe gave the total of the ingredients, but you have to read the recipe really carefully, because you don't use them all in the cupcakes, they are used for the frosting too. I will give the amounts for one whole batch, separated into cakes and frosting.

I was not very successful in making the frosting lovely and shiny as it is in the magazine photo, but my bakes often suffer from being refrigerated and transported. I ended up just spooning on some frosting rather than piping it.

Magazine shiny frosting

I think that is all really, other than the cupcakes being fine for gluten-free people!! I don't think these will keep for very long as they were not terribly moist, and they went a little hard when they were kept in the fridge.

 

4 Ingredient Chocolate Cupcakes     makes 24-30

For the cupcakes:

  • 500g dark chocolate, at least 70%
  • 500g full fat Philadelphia cream cheese, cubed and softened
  • 12 eggs, separated
  • 250g brown sugar

 

For the frosting:

  • 200g dark chocolate, at least 70%
  • 500g full fat Philly cream cheese, cubed and softened
  • 80g brown sugar
  • 20ml water (1 Australian tablespoon)
  • pinch salt

 

Preheat the oven to 150*C and line muffin trays with paper cases.

Melt chocolate

For the cupcakes, melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave and set aside to cool slightly.

Philly

I cubed my Philly cream cheese earlier and put it out in the sun in a big clear tub, with the lid on!!  Once it is softened, beat it with a spatula or spoon until it is smooth.

Combining

Then pour in the cooled chocolate and beat together. Add the egg yolks and sugar and mix well to combine.

Eggwhites

Whisk the egg-whites, by hand or with a beater, until stiff peaks form. There looks to be some yellow in the beaten egg-whites, but it is just a trick of the camera. Any yolk at all in the egg-whites will prevent them from whipping up.

Cupcake batter

Gently fold 1/3 of the egg-whites into the chocolate mixture. This is to loosen it, so that the rest of the egg-whites will be easier to fold in. You always lose a little of the lift from this first 1/3. Gently fold in the remaining egg-whites until no white streaks remain.

Bake and cool

Spoon or scoop into the paper cases, I filled mine to about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. I found it took 25 minutes for my cakes to cook. Set the cakes aside to cool completely.

Choc and cream cheese

Make the frosting by melting and cooling 200g dark chocolate, and softening and beating 500g of cream cheese.

Frosting

Beat the chocolate and cream cheese until smooth and then add the sugar, water and salt. Beat again until smooth. The icing will be thick and they recommend chilling it to thicken. This is when mine went dull, instead of shiny.

Spoon or pipe the icing onto the cupcakes and you are done!!!

4 ingredient chocolate cupcakes


Where Have All The Flours Gone? Long time Passing.

This week I went to The Hospital to participate in a pretend ward round for the almost graduating doctors. They have a small replica ward and there were four patients and we all had a scenario to play. I was being me, with a relapse. An actor was playing a dementia patient and caused havoc all around the ward and he even ran away from his doctors!! Though the bed wasn't terribly comfortable, it was a very restful three and a half hours. I changed into my pyjamas and my next door neighbour gave me some honey bear lollies to eat. We had cups of tea and sandwiches at half time.

Pretend Hospital

Last week I did actually feel quite poorly and had a couple of days in bed. Luckily one was Wednesday and we don't go for a walk, and I roused myself to take The Labradors for a walk on Thursday and then I could sleep contentedly knowing they had their exercise. The weather has been typical Spring weather: hailstorms, heavy rain, wind and then warm sunny days. No-one knows what to wear or if they should take their umbrella or not.

Hedy has learned a new trick. When she plays with Sandy, she does evasive roly polys to try and get the better of him. She is so funny, and after all the rolling on the grass also very wet. Gilly doesn't play. She likes to wander about investigating all the smells, and (I am sorry to say) eating wallaby pooh.

Gilly went to see Dr David last week and we had good news again. Her blood results were all in the normal range and this week she only has to take one blue tablet each day, and we don't have to go back for a month!! Lorelai Gilmore is so happy, she wags her tail on her walk and she is naughty at home: I caught her in the kitchen!!!!

Gilly at the vet

She is still very hungry all the time and likes to eat her food up on the step, so she can be higher than Hedy Lamarr. Hedy likes to try and steal Gilly's food.

How Gilly eats her breakfast

Hedy is so big now and she can be quite defiant. She knows she mustn't jump up when someone comes home, so she sits perfectly: and barks crossly. If it is later in the evening, Gilly is always waiting at the gate, but during the day they are both there. They are not allowed at the back gate because they bark at dogs going past, but if I am at the car, I let them have a special gate treat!!!

Gilly and Hedy waiting at the gate

I had meant to blog last week, but on Thursday and Friday my internet was interrupted. Earlier this year I was without a landline for five weeks, and finally my ISP apologised and gave me some compensation and upgraded me to a better plan. I was very pleased, but no-one explained clearly that being upgraded meant an interruption to the internet!! It was all fixed by later on Friday, but I lost the will to bake and blog!!

Our knitting group had a Dessert Degustation. One of our number is undertaking a Hospitality course and she has been cooking with some famous chefs, like Tetsuya!!! We were lucky enough to experience these culinary delights from our talented chef:

Dessert degustation 1

Poh's White chocolate ganache tart with raspberries, creme caramel and chickpea brownie with berry compote and whipped coconut cream. I couldn't eat the chocolate brownie, and I couldn't even fit in a second slice of the delicious white chocolate tart!! The creme caramel was so smooth and the caramel so yummy.

Dessert degustation 2

The final dessert was Tetsuya's Granny Smith apple granita with apple jelly. We didn't know about the tiny hidden apple jelly cubes so they were a wonderful surprise. This may have been my favourite. To finish we had three truffles, I can't remember what the dark chocolate one was, but the other two were saffron and cumin I think, and then a spiced rum and coconut. It was a marvellous selection of desserts and no-one had room for dinner.

Hedy has also been using food, but not in a good way. While I was sleeping she chose some plain flour from the shopping bag and then opened it and played with it, in the loungeroom, on the carpet. I am not sure how to remove it as it has set in a crusty layer. The darker spots are where she has tried to nibble the flour. She is still very much a puppy.

Hedy's flour explosion

But look at her: even when she is lying in wait for Gilly half way up the steps, she is as cute as a giant button!! I think that might be flour on her nose.

Hedy waits to jump on Gilly

I am knitting a hat for WeeJock and Bessie's dad. It will be the Five by Five, Faith Hat and I am using some lovely soft Inca Spun Tweed in grey. I have knitted a ball of wool since lunch time and only have another 5cm to work until the crown decreases. I think I shall finish it tomorrow!!

5 by 5 faith hat start

Hedy always gets a sudden urge to play rough and rowdy rebel games at bedtime. There is an awful lot of refereeing to do and maybe a little cider vinegar squirting. Oh no, now she is blowing bubbles in the water bowl. She is fascinated by the patterns the water makes in the light, and so we have a towel under the inside water bowl now. Thank goodness for Lorelai Gilmore!!!


Friday Food: Lemon Cheesecake Pavlova

Lemon cheese cake pavFrankenstein desserts are all the go, and while I am not always a fan, I thought the combination of pavlova and lemon cheesecake sounded delicious. This was the cover recipe on the September issue of Taste Magazine, but you can find it online here now. The pavlova needs to be made the day before and cooled overnight in the oven and then the cheesecake added on top and the dessert refrigerated for at least 3 hours. In truth, you could easily serve this as a frozen dessert, which would have circumvented my problem- read on.....

I found the recipe annoying because it doesn't separate the sugar into two parts: one for the pavlova and one for the berries. I had measured it out could not be bothered doing it again, so I just made a 4 egg pavlova and had some extra small pavlovas. The recipe also lumps the toppings in with the general ingredients. I have separated them into better categories. I know I am supposed to read the whole recipe, but I just expect it will be organised the way I like!!!

I used fresh local strawberries instead of raspberries. The raspberries are either frozen, imported from overseas countries where they don't have strict food laws, or unbelievably expensive right now. MrsDrWho and MrsReno said strawberries were fine. I used posh lemon curd from the supermarket, and I added the zest of the lemon I juiced to the cheesecake, because I don't think you can have too much lemon really.

Although I followed the recipe faithfully and accurately, and refrigerated it for 6 hours, the cheesecake portion didn't "set" and oozed over the sides of the pavlova when I removed it from the tin. It still tasted the same, but didn't look spectacular at all. I didn't bother with the white chocolate decorations as this recipe involved many steps, and I was tired by the time it was in the fridge. You can refer the the recipe online for the instructions.

Good and not so good

 

Lemon Cheesecake Pavlova       serves 8-10

For the Pavlova:

  • 3 eggwhites at room temperature
  • 190g caster sugar
  • 1 tspn cornflour
  • 1/2 tspn white or cider vinegar. I have used malt at a pinch.

 

For the Cheesecake:

  • 25og Philly cream cheese, full fat, at room temperature
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 40ml (2 tbspn) fresh lemon juice and the zest
  • 2 tspn gelatine powder
  • 40ml warm water
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 145g (1/2 cup) lemon curd

 

For the topping:

  • 250g frozen raspberries or fresh strawberries
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 2 passionfruit, or a tin of passionfruit
  • 185ml double cream
  • 125ml thickened cream

 

Make the pavlova first. Line a 12 x 27cm loaf tin with baking paper and preheat the oven to 120*C/100*C fan-forced.

Whisk eggwhites

I always wipe the metal mixer bowl and the beaters with some lemon juice or vinegar and it is vital that there is not a skerrick of egg yolk or the whites won't whip properly. Whip the eggs until they are just holding their shape and then add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. It generally takes about 10-15 minutes to properly incorporate the sugar. The eggs are ready when you rub a little bit of the mixture between your finer and you can't feel a single grain of sugar: it is smooth and glossy.

Add sugar, cornflour, vinegar

Spoon into the tin and smooth the top and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Bake pavlova

Turn the oven off and leave it to cool overnight. If needs be, you could make the pavlova early in the morning on the day you want the dessert.

Gelatine

Before you start making the cheesecake part, put the the warm water in a small heatproof bowl or glass and sprinkle over the gelatine. Place this bowl/glass into a larger heatproof bowl and pour in boiling water until it comes half way up the sides of the smaller bowl/glass. Stir every minute for about 5 minutes until the gelatine is totally dissolved. Set aside until it is at room temperature.

Creamcheese lemon

Meanwhile beat the room temperature cream cheese with the sugar until it is smooth. Add the lemon juice/zest and beat briefly to combine and then finally beat in the cooled gelatine mixture.

Add lemon add gelatine

In a new bowl, whisk the thickened cream until it soft peaks form. Fold in about 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture and then add the rest. Fold gently to combine. Swirl through the lemon curd. The idea is that you will see the swirls of curd in the finished cheesecake.

Combine

Spoon onto the pavlova, even out the top and then cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Layer cheesecake on pavlova

Prepare the berries by defrosting them if they are frozen, and blending them with the sugar. You could also push them through a sieve. I don't mind the pips in berries, and there is passionfruit, which is basically pips anyway. Whip the creams till soft peaks form and then assemble the dessert.

Berries

Gently remove the dessert from the tin, spoon on the cream and pour over the berry sauce and passionfruit. You can add some extra berries and white chocolate shapes too. I chose to put a slice of the sad squished dessert on a plate and then added the cream and fruit on top. I wish you better luck than I had with the gelatine setting, but be assured the taste was not affected at all. I think this would be a fabulous frozen dessert for Summer, especially as it can be made beforehand and served whenever you want.

Lemon cheesecake pavlova


Now It's Music I've Found, And I'm Tired, I'll Sleep Sound.

Oh I am so tired. I am beyond tired. Today we went for a walk and unexpectedly met Rafa and his dad. Hedy played so much she had to have a little lie down.

Hedy the ball Rafa

Then I had my hair cut and this afternoon I went to be a Patient-Partner at the Hospital. Seven people searched for, found and then palpated my spleen.  An enlarged spleen is a rarity, so the almost newly minted doctors and their tutors were excited to feel my spleen. I also had to exert myself so that they could hear the murmur in my heart. And get on the bed, off the bed, several times. I want to go to sleep, but I know if we go to bed now, I shall be awake in the middle of the night again.

Lorelai Gilmore is feeling very well. We met a new puppy, Sebastian, but I don't have a decent photo of him. Hedy, Sandy and Rafa played with him. Gilly?? No, Gilly met Sebastian's human and ascertained immediately that she had treats in her pocket. Gilly has never met a pocket full of treats she doesn't love!!

Gilly, never met a pocket she didn't like

Lorelai Gilmore has her "asking for a treat" face and paw down pat. Look at that face.

Gilly asking for a treat

Hedy Lamarr never passes up a treat, she also never passes up a muddy puddle.

Hedy in the muddy puddle

When Hedy bites Gilly, I squirt a little diluted apple cider vinegar at her. I only had to do this a few times before she realised what it meant. After that I just had to show her the bottle and say "No!". Unfortunately I left the bottle on the desk and Hedy wrought her revenge quickly, chewing off the top.

Hedy's revenge

I have been knitting something from Craftsy's new free Autumn Knit-along . They say Fall, I say Autumn. It is a gift, so I have not shown it as it truly is. I am very pleased though. It was a fun knit and looks great too.

Some knitting

I've also been trying to eat more vegetables. Tonight I had peas, sweet potatoes and potato. Yesterday I had some carrots, Hasselback potatoes with bacon and broccolini (not shown).

Bacon-y potatoes

I am tired in other ways too. A female politician has said she felt bullied by a male politician. The male Premier has decided there is no case to answer and the male politician apologised for his tone, but not the bullying. Now he is saying that he is the victim. How is it that he seems to have turned the whole thing around and made it about him?? The Premier says there should be mediation, but I think there should be a proper third party inquiry. I don't believe that putting a bully, and the person they bullied together is a good idea. I think it can give more power to the bully. No-one really know what happened, but the male politician threatening to sue anyone who discusses it seems wrong.

It is still a man's world.

Today is International Day of the Girl and a survey released shows that two-thirds of girls believe that gender inequality is a persistent problem in Australia. 40% say they do more chores than the boys in their family and only 16% feel they are valued for their brains and ability. Things have changed, but not enough. It seems that because girls have been given the same opportunities as boys, boys feel they have had something taken away from them. And when women are given equal opportunities to men, men also feel that they have lost out: I am speaking generally. I think of the way Julia Gillard was, and Hillary Clinton is, treated so poorly by men and by the media. I despair of old rich entitled white men. Women and men are certainly different, but deserve the same opportunities and respect. A few weeks ago I found a credit card on the road behind my parked car. I took the card to the police station and I had to fill in a form. The form was all "he", "him" and "his". Not even a pretence of "s/he". I do feel not as equal when simple things such as government forms only have male pronouns. I would like to see all forms with just female pronouns and then tell men that these pronouns are inclusive. I don't feel included.

What else can I talk about?? The Plebiscite for Same Sex Marriage. I cannot for the life of me work out why I can have a vote-that-might-not-even-be-worthwhile about same sex marriage, but not one about going to war or the deficit. It does seem now that The Plebiscite might be off. I think couples should be able to be married in a civil ceremony. Everyone should have a civil ceremony and then they can have their marriage blessed, or whatever, in a church if that is what they choose. And churches should be able to refuse if they want to. I don't want to interfere in their religion. I can't think of one good reason why there should not be same sex marriage. The arguments used against it sound oh so familiar to those used against African Americans, against our Aborigines and against women. And saying that children deserve a mother and a father?: even fifteen years ago in my classroom most of the children's parents were no longer together in their original family unit. There were single mums, single dads, people who had remarried, people whose spouse had died, the list goes on. I believe children are better off with two people, or one person, who loves them, rather than with two people who hate being together and make their home an unhappy or unsafe place.

I feel like Hillary after saying all that!!

And I just can't even start thinking about Donald Trump.

There. I've managed to while away an hour. Time for a cup of tea, maybe another episode of Fringe and then sleep. Tomorrow there is no walk, we don't walk on Wednesdays, so I plan to sleep all morning.

And now I plan to press "Publish" and be damned.