Lie-low and Stitches

In between the snow and rain and wind, we have had some sunny days, and there is nothing a Labrador enjoys more (well, apart from eating and walks) than lying in the sun soaking up the Winter warmth.

Lying in the sun

All went well when Hedy went to the Vet to have her stitches removed. We went straight into a consulting room as there was a very barky unhappy-to-be-there dog in the Waiting Room. The nurse whisked Hedy out to the surgery and Gilly waited for her. Waited and waited, even though it was only five minutes. She was quite worried.

Gilly worries about hedy

Hedy cared not one jot, she was ready to run and play again.

Hedy at the vet after stitches removed

Instead of being like an angry giant parrot on the end of a stick, Hedy was allowed to run free at last. I am not sure Gilly was so happy, she liked being Boss of the Walk. You can just see Gilly, being Boss of the Walk, far away up the hill. She was rather naughty to run up there, but since Hedy was on the lead, she took the opportunity when it arose.

Gilly far away

Now things are back to normal, with Hedy Lamarr at Lorelai Gilmore's heels.

First walk off the lead

We all went to bed yesterday and most of today as I had a migraine. The DVR in the lounge-room has decided not to Timer Record any more, so I had to use the others. I have two old DVD recorders that can only tune in SD stations. The remote control may have been on the bed so I could turn the news on. Late this morning I was awakened by a strange noise.....

Demoted remote

Oh dear, this is Hedy's first official Naughty Thing. Gilly was shocked, shocked and horrified. It can not be all Hedy's fault as she had access to the remote. It still works, but intermittently. What good luck it is the remote for the DVR that is broken. Household appliances know when your Tax Return is expected. They know. So far we need a new DVR, a new Rice Cooker and a new mixer. The Rice Cooker costs less than $20 and works very hard almost every day, so I am not so bothered by that.

I am knitting WeeJock&Bessie's Mum a hat in some soft and luxurious Debbie Bliss Andes: mulberry silk and alpaca. I have only made the ribbing, twisted ribbing, thus far and I need to buy some more short 4.5mm ends to do the actual hat. This will be the not so slouchy version.

Hat band

I am also sewing a Star Spangled Jacket. Here is a tip: always cut sequinned fabric out on a sheet or some other protective covering. Ask me how I know. There are sequins from dawn till dusk all over the house. The jacket doesn't have a full lining, and the spangled fabric is not solid, so I needed to make my brain work extra hard to figure out how to work the full lining and facings. I am almost to the putting it all together stage. When you are about to take a photo and you say "Wait" to The Labradors, this is what happens: Gilly waits patiently and Hedy just rolls on into the picture.

Star spangled jacket with help

Our Sewing night has changed this term, so I have to be organised and sew this fortnight's block and bake some cakes for tomorrow night. I am thinking of baking the Cherry Ripe cupcakes from this month's Taste magazine. I bought some fresh cherries to tizzy them up. I am not sure about the overflowing chocolate ganache. Sure, it looks great, but it is not very eater friendly.

Cupcake

 


Friday Food: Salted Caramel Brownie

Slice of brownieThis brownie does not follow the recipe as written on the BBC GoodFood website, because I wasn't completely paying attention as I baked. Regardless, it worked out very well, all things considered.  Not only did I confuse the method, I also baked it in the wrong tin. It was not my best baking hour, but MrsDrWho and her mum pronounced it delicious. The recipe uses ingredients that are usually in my pantry and I just needed to buy some caramel in a tin, or Top'n'Fill as it is called here. The recipe calls for two different kinds of dark chocolate, I compromised with 100g of the 70% cocoa and then just some ordinary dark chocolate of unknown percentage. We can't buy golden caster sugar, so I substituted roughly 2/3 caster sugar and 1/3 light brown sugar.

I made a quick chocolate sauce from a runny ganache at the last moment, because my friends are like the Masterchef judges and love a dessert with a saucy addition!!!

There isn't much to add, I used a hand whisk and other than that there is just some melting and combining before you bake. In a warm climate I would store this in the fridge, but here in Winter it will keep for a week in an airtight container in the cupboard.

 

Salted Caramel Brownies     makes 16 pieces

  • 200g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 100g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
  • 100g dark chocolate, 50% cocoa solids
  • 1 395g can of Top'n'Fill or other caramel
  • 1 tspn salt flakes, and a little extra for sprinkling
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 60g light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 130g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa, I used Dutch processed

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C/160*C fan-forced and grease and line a 20cm square cake tin, sides and base.

Melting chocolate and butter

Break the chocolate into pieces and melt with the butter in the microwave in 30 second bursts. Stop melting just before all the chocolate is melted and then stir until smooth.

Caramel eggs sugar

Put half of the caramel, the salt, sugar and eggs into a large bowl and with a mixer, or hand whisk, beat until well combined. Whisk in the chocolate and butter mixture.

Add choc butter flour cocoa

Finally sift in the cocoa and plain flour and fold in until the batter is smooth and even.

Brownie base and caramel

Spread half the brownie batter into the base of the tin, then spread over an even layer of the remaining caramel in the tin. Dollop the rest of the brownie mixture over the top of the caramel and swirl through with a spoon or knife.

Top and bake

Sprinkle a little of the extra salt over the top and then bake for 25-30 minutes. There should be a firm crust on top, but the centre will still jiggle when you wriggle the tin. Let the brownie cool completely in the tin and then cut into 16 even pieces. Serve with a chocolate ganache sauce for an extra indulgence.

Salted caramel brownie


The Powering Inferno

We have been living in interesting times at our house: so many social outings for the holidays and with overseas visitors, an operation for Hedy Lamarr, our land-line has not been working for almost a fortnight, there were terrible storms and our power was off for two days. There has been a little bit of teetering on the edge, but I think we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Labradors went to visit at MrsDrWho's house and met The Overseas Visitors. Much hilarity ensued.

Gilly and Hedy playing

Hedy Lamarr went to be de-sexed. We had been practising all the important things like having your ears, eyes and teeth checked, having a pretend injection and a new addition- having your leg shaved. Gilly and I dropped Hedy off at 7-45am.

Operation Vet

Gilly and I went for a walk together,

Gilly all by herself

and then we had hardly been home at all before the power went off. A tree had fallen on the power lines and in our street the house next door had power, the next three didn't and then the house on the corner did. Our houses very weirdly wired here, the suburb is old and houses were built and connected willy-nilly. This is not the tree that fell on our power lines, just one of the many that blew over in town. Towns were flooded, roofs blown off and almost 20,000 people were without power at one point. It has been a very bad year for wild weather.

Tree down

Hedy was well enough to come home at 1pm and then we bunkered down, waiting for the power to be reconnected.

Hedy on the way home from the vet

The land-line doesn't work in a power outage anyway, so were were home along together with no way to communicate with the outside world!! The Hydro rang the neighbours later in the evening to say the power was not going to be fixed and then MrsDrWho brought a thermos of hot sweet tea and more thermoses for the hot water bottle and some hot food.

Oops cloud collar

The power was finally restored late the next night, and oh how I appreciated a hot shower and a cup of tea whenever I wanted one. And the internet. I still need to organise for the land-line to be fixed. The phone company just tells you to ring them about the fault, and of course I have no phone, so I can't. I did email, but they are just hopeless.

On our walk this morning

Hedy is allowed to go for a walk on her lead with Gilly. The entire time she barks, crossly and loudly. She is Not Happy At All to be restrained. As soon as Gilly is on the lead, Hedy is as good as gold and as quiet as a mouse. Hedy has recovered incredibly fast and is in total denial that she had an operation at all. She wears her cloud collar when I go out, but otherwise she doesn't seem too interested in her stitches, which come out at the end of the week. She now has smaller cloud collar #2 as she somehow punctured larger cloud collar #1 and pulled it off.

Blurry Gilly and hungry Hedy

I have caught up on lots of reading. We were slightly prepared for the power outage with a torch and radio and spare batteries. I read by hanging the torch from the lamp that wasn't working. Unfortunately, the emergency services urged people to check websites and online for all the relevant road closures, snow falls and power outages and we don't have a smart phone so we were in the dark: metaphorically and literally!! We could have decamped to someone else's house but with Hedy only just having had her operation, I decided she was better at home in the place she knew, safe and sound with Gilly.

I haven't done any knitting or proper sewing. I made a toile for the Gold Star Spangled Jacket, and I finished The Extermin9 Hat for Uncle Dutch's birthday. This time I used the most up-to-date iteration of the pattern and so all the slipped stitches lined up. I like the variegated red colour too.

Extermin9 hat 2016

I have done an awful lot of sleeping, all day and all night. When things are difficult, sleep is a great refuge. And so to bed again, even though we didn't officially get up until 1pm this afternoon.


Friday Food: Tray Bake Kits

Vanilla cakeReading a cooking magazine I spotted new Woolworths Tray Bake Kits. Of course I had to have them all. Not that I am affected by advertising but really: tray bake kits with a tray and all the bits and bobs. What's not to want???

I really wanted them and so, in the end, I went to three supermarkets before I finally had all the kits in my hot little hand.

There are three types: vanilla cake, chocolate cake and brownies and they cost $4 each. You add a little butter, two eggs and milk to the cakes and one egg, oil and water to the brownies. They come with a folded tray that opens and slots together and icing and sprinkles for the cakes. The whole thing is as cute as a button. Some Woolworths had all three kits, some two and some none at all.

New traybake kits

So dear Reader, I have taken it upon myself to test the kits and taste the vanilla cake at least.

 

Tray Bake Kits    makes 18 pieces

The cakes require additional ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 190ml (3/4 cup) milk

The icing also needs:

  • 60g butter, softened
  • 20ml milk

Contents

Vanilla cake kit contents. The chocolate cake kit has a chocolate cake mix and 100s and 1000s.

 

The brownies require additional ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 100ml water

There is no icing or frosting for the brownies.

 

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C or 160*C fan-forced for all the kits. Unfold and assemble the tray and grease it. I tried both butter and oil, and the butter seemed to work best of all. I folded the creases of all the tray edges and made sure the openings were open so the little arrows slid in easily. They are pretty good trays and maintain their shape quite well. I got better by #3!!!

Tray assembled

To make the cakes, put the cake mix, butter, eggs and milk into the mixer bowl and beat slowly to combine. Once everything comes together, beat on Medium speed for 3 minutes. Then just mix with a spoon to make sure everything is properly combined.

Vanilla cake batter combined

Pour into the tray and bake for 30-35 minutes. I baked mine for 30 minutes and turned the tray half way through. It is cooked when the cake is golden, comes away from the side of the tray and a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.

Vanilla trayed and baked

Set aside to cool completely.

Vanilla icing

While it is cooling make the icing. Put the icing mix, softened butter and milk into a bowl and beat slowly to combine and then on a high speed for 2 minutes. It will be pale and light.

Vanilla cake iced and sprinkled

Spread the icing on the cake and top with the sprinkles. There is just the right amount of icing, a little more than you think you need, but not too much.

De-traying the cake

It came out of the tray quite easily and didn't stick at all when I used butter to grease the tray.

Here's the chocolate cake:

The chocolate cake

And vanilla and chocolate cake pieces.

Vanilla and choc tray bake

I think the vanilla cake is delicious, it is quite vanilla-y and the icing is light and tasty. It till tastes faintly like a packet mix, but not too badly. My next-door neighbour tasted it and thought it was very yummy. She liked the chocolate one a lot and the icing was very fudgy and rich.

 

To make the Brownies, put the cake mix into a bowl with the egg, water and vegetable oil and mix with a spoon until combined.

The brownie

Pour into the tray and bake for 30-35 minutes. I baked this one for the full 35 minutes.

Cool and slice and it is done.

Choc brownie

I did taste the brownie and I think it was the least successful of the three. I thought it was a bit too flat and the edges were crusty while the centre was moist. While I might consider the cake kits, I would not buy the Brownie one again.

In reality, I like the cake kits for their novelty value, but I will always make a cake from scratch. I like knowing the ingredients I am using are as local as possible, or Australian at least. I like the whole baking process and as we don't have a proper life at our house, it fills in the time some days. Baking cheers me up!!!


I Am Monarch Of All I Savoy

A Labrador is a bottomless pit. No matter how much I feed Hedy, she is still starving, and because she is naughty and a puppy, she finds things to eat. Gilly does not, she is such a good girl. It was very quiet and when I went to investigate, there was Hedy with her head in the bag of vegetables, and there was the cabbage all hollowed out. It was a Wombok cabbage, but I could not resist the Savoy/Survey serendipity.

Hedy's cabbage

My mum and aunt came to visit at the weekend and we ate out and chatted and shopped and had a marvellous time. I am so lucky she comes to visit as I can't travel on a bus or aeroplane because of germs in such a closed environment, nor can I drive that far in a day. My mum brought me a set of cups, saucers and plates that belonged to Tiger Nan. They are so pretty, and I have unpacked them and put them, carefully, in the dresser.

Cup saucer and plate sets

I sewed them some shopping bags, what a surprise!! #87 and #88

Bags 87 and 88

We continue along on our Summer Block of the Month 2016 quilting every fortnight. I am behind, but other people have made all four Sawtooth blocks, and here are the last.

Last of this block

Poor Lorelai Gilmore, Hedy Lamarr is such a trial to her. Yet Gilly continues to be a patient and kind sister. When we are walking without other dog friends, Hedy chases Gilly

Chasing game very fast

and bites her. Gilly opens her mouth and shows all her teeth, but never bites back.

Poor Gilly, Hedy bites her

Look how Hedy really grabs Gilly's fur and skin and bites and pulls hard.

Poor Gilly, naughty Hedy

That expression on Gilly's face, she is resigned and not asking for help. I try to remain Switzerland, but if I do drag Hedy away, Gilly comes over and asks with her paw to have the puppy returned.

And then the game is over and it is off to smell things together.

Game over Gilly and Hedy

We slept all day today, and no-one (Hedy Lamarr) did anything even vaguely wicked: which is fairly amazing.  Soon Hedy Lamarr is going to the vet to be desexed. We have to buy a new cloud collar. It is much nicer than the cone collar, and Peri wore it happily and Lorelai Gilmore wore is for fun!!!

FullSizeRender(2)
FullSizeRender(3)

I hope Hedy likes it too.


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