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Monday Munchies #26

I am quite surprised that I have stuck to my Monday Munchies, in sickness and in health, and today I am  officially half way through the year. Which is both exciting and scary.

Today I have cooked Nigella's Chocolate Raspberry Pudding Cake.  Back when I could eat chocolate and drink coffee this was one of my favourite desserts. What could be better than chocolate and raspberries?? This is also easy-peasy lemon-squeezy: melt and mix and pour into the tin, but it is very impressive. This recipe is from the Delicious Let's Entertain book which I won, with a recipe, from the ABC.

I have been meaning to ask, Gentle Reader, if you prefer the little step by step pictures, or just one photo of the finished product???

Chocolate Raspberry Pudding Cake  serves 8 Pudding Cake
  • 250g good dark chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 3/4 cup espresso coffee plus 3/4 cup water OR 370ml hot water and 2 tspn instant coffee
  • 250g butter, cubed
  • 95g light brown sugar
  • 95g caster sugar
  • optional-2 tbspn Raspberry liqueur
  • 185g self raising flour, sifted
  • 3 tbspn cocoa, sifted
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 250g raspberries

Preheat the oven to 180*C then grease and line a 22-23cm springform pan and then cover the outside with a layer or two of foil.

Put the chocolate, coffee/water, butter, sugars [and liqueur if using it] into a medium saucepan and melt slowly over a low eat. Stir frequently, if not all the time, till it is melted and glossy.

Stir in the flour and cocoa and then the eggs. Beat well by hand till it is smooth and glossy again. It will be quite runny, but Nigella says that as the chocolate in the pudding cake cools, it will set.

Pour 2 cm of the chocolate mixture into the pan and then pour in the raspberries and then cover with the remaining chocolate mixture. Push any raspberries that pop up back under the batter.

Place in the oven and cook for 40-45 minutes. I like to put it into another pan and add 2 cm of boiling water around the outside, bain-marie style, to help it cook more slowly and gently. That's optional. 

After 40-45 minutes you can tell it is cooked when the top is firm all the way to the centre, and dry and slightly cracked. You can't test with a skewer!! It will be very fudgy in the centre.

Cool for 15 minutes in the pan and then turn out and dust with cocoa or icing sugar. Serve with yoghurt(!!) or whipped cream. Good hot, warm and cold.




If She Has To, She Can Do Anything.

I had a little moment in the car this morning listening to the radio, a teary moment. I am a Feminist. (shock, horror) Apparently it's not popular now to be a Feminist.  For me, Feminism is a belief in social, political, and economic equality.

I know, me!!!: a knitting, cooking, sewing, teaching woman, I believe in Feminism. But I do. Thanks to my dad, who told me I could do, and be, anything I wanted. Thanks to the nuns at school who pooh-poohed the priests' idea that we should all get married and have lots of little Catholics without exploring any other possibilities.  They said go to Uni, have a career: explore. And thanks to me, because I always believed that I was equal, even when it was clear things were skewed the other way, I believed.

Today something happened that I truly believed never would, we have a female Prime Minister: Julia Gillard.

Julia Gillard

Sure, it's not a miracle bullet, but it's a big step in the right direction. I've been singing this all morning, can't help myself. Join in, you know you want to!!!!




Children Of The Quorn

At long last Quorn. I have seen it on British-type TV and read about it in magazines from the UK, but today it was in the supermarket freezer so The Labradors and I had Quorn Dippers. Really, they are like Mirror Universe Chicken Nuggets. But I feel smugly healthy after eating them!!!

Quorn flower
Look away MrsDrWho, I am showing some birthday knitting for you. Poor MrsDrWho, while I am having a slight teeny-tiny Georgette Heyer decline, she is waiting for her birthday presents. I am the pointy end of some Thuja socks. Sorry about the pictures, the environmentally friendly globes don't make for good photos.

A thuja
I have knitted a pair of Duffers (which here are silly people, old or young) or slippers. I used doubled Highlands from Bendigo Woollen Mill, and Onyi assures me they will felt.

A duffer
And I have a big ball of 10ply Luxury to make an Eyelet Cowl from Vogue Knitting. So much knitting, such a long wait. 

Cowl
Still, I have Decadent Chocolate Biscuits in and out the oven and individual Nigella's Chocolate Pavlovas ready to go in late tonight and I reckon there will be Kiss Biscuits anon!!

Ready steady

The ice-cream scoop is my friend. They have three kinds of chocolate, pecans and sultanas.

Go decadent biscuits
I am so happy to have my new oven. I have been cooking at every opportunity. I made sausage rolls and tiny chocolate cup cakes for morning tea today. Tomorrow I might make some Savoury Mince Spirals to take to sewing, and a cake. I am looking forward to Christmas when I can cook to my heart's content!!!!!!

Peri has been playing somewhere really muddy, maybe the paddle pool and then the wild garden near the hose??  Regardless, she managed to get mud all over her paddy paws and legs and the floor and the wall!! She looks so worried, but I was not cross!! She is so lovely!! Last night she had to be patted on the couch for an hour. It was very relaxing.

Miss Muddy Peri
Miss Gilly has had a wearing day: supervising the rubbish men, Morning tea, chasing the birdies, playing in the pool and helping with the photos and cooking. No wonder she is ready for a big sleep!!!

Resting is so tiring

Finally I have some new books from The Library to read, all at once:

  • The Ambassador's Mission by Trudi Canavan. I love her books, and she's Australian.
  • Colonial Cousins, a history of Australia and India's connections
  • The Dome, which I have started and already do not like
And I bought myself a new book too: The TARDIS Handbook. It is my treat and I am saving it to read on Friday. In bed. All day!!

Two doctors' appointments down this week, one to go, Hurray!! Tonight I am finishing my Soap and Cloth Swap cloth and watch Lie to Me, which I really like, before bed. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!!


Monday Munchies #25

I won't lie to you, this is not a "Quick, I need something on the table in half an hour" kind of meal. Well, not unless you cook it the day before. This is more of a leisurely weekend kind of meal, but it is one of my favourites. It all started when I was a teenager and the Australian Women's Weekly had a recipe for Greek Spaghetti: pasta topped with a bolognaise and then a bechamel cheese sauce. My mum cooked it regularly and we delighted in her exotic fare!!

I later discovered it was a pale copy of the Greek Pastisto, so here is my cobbled together version.

Pastisto serves 8-10 Pastisto
Pasta
  • 300g short macaroni-like pasta
  • 1 egg and two egg whites* (see yolks in the sauce!!!)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Meat Sauce
  • 2 tbspn olive oil
  • 1 kg lamb mince
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 tbspn tomato paste
  • 1 tbspn brown sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 100ml passata or diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 tspn cinnamon
  • 1/2 tspn nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup white wine or chicken stock
Cheese Bechamel Sauce and Topping
  • 100g butter
  • 1/2 cup Plain Flour
  • 1 litre milk
  • 125g grated tasty cheese
  • 1/4 tspn nutmeg
  • 3 egg yolks*
  • grated Parmesan cheese

  1.  Grease a 4 litre casserole dish, mine is rectangular. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet. Drain and then add the egg and egg whites and the Parmesan cheese. Cover the base of the dish evenly with the pasta. Set aside.
  2. Cook the mince, making sure you break it up well so there are no lumps. Add the onion and cook till browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further minute or two. Then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Spoon this over the pasta to create a second layer.
  3. For the cheese sauce, melt the butter over a low heat, add the flour and cook over a medium heat till it boils. Cook out for 1-2 minutes, stirring well. Then remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk a little at a time. I find that heating the milk makes it easier. When the mixture is smooth, put back on a low-medium heat and stir till it boils and thickens. Take off the heat and pour a few tablespoons of the sauce over the egg yolks and whisk furiously. Then gradually pour back into the sauce, along with the grated tasty cheese and nutmeg. Stir till smooth then spoon over the meat layer. Finish with another generous grating of Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake in a 180*C oven for about an hour. It will be golden brown on top. Leave to rest for 15 minutes and then serve.

This freezes very well and it good hot, or cold with a salad. The cold Pastisto cuts into beautiful slices where you can see all the layers!!!

This recipe works well if you cook the pasta, and then the meat sauce and while that is simmering away, you make the cheese Bechamel sauce. A very efficient use of your time!!!


I Go: Week. Week In The Presence Of Duty.

I am looking forward to next Friday. Between today and next Friday there are a lot of things happening: three medical appointments (And my last one on Wednesday took two hours including all the waiting time at the clinic for a ten minute procedure. I knitted. They were run off their feet.) several outings to celebrate a certain Time Lady's birthday, a knitting afternoon tea and recovering from my mum and aunt's visit. It was a lovely visit, but I have to be in tip top shape and be happy and cheery and stay up late and generally enjoy myself. Which I did. But now I am pretty much too tired to sleep!!

Wheeeeeeeee
Peri, at the back, and Miss Gilly, in front, met Nanny and their Aunty. There was a small amount of leaping on Gilly's part, but then she was a good girl. I have eaten out three times since lunch yesterday and there are three more 'eating outs' to come in the next two days!! My oven will be sitting sad and cold in the kitchen.

The weather has been wintry. There is torrential rain, thunder and lightning and wild winds. So wild, that they blew the letters out of the foam on the verandah that I had set up for blocking my knitting. The power has been off too, but I have some candles and matches at the ready!!

Wild Wild Wet Wind
So it's just a week, a week in the presence of duty, and then I can be off duty for a while. I plan to knit, and sew and maybe reply to my comments. I LOVE replying, it's not a chore or a duty, and neither are social outings!!! Right now I am going to make a hot water bottle - one without a hole poked with a knitting needle, and then sit on the couch with a cup of tea and watch the 7pm ABC news!!!

Monday Munchies #24 should have appeared by now. Happy cooking!!



Oven You, Is Easy 'Cause You're Beautiful

Any thought of ringing the doctor's surgery was banished when kind friends from somewhere on The Continent arrived and this happened:

Nearly
And then this!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Voila
At long last: love!! My new oven and hot plates are in situ at last. So far I have roasted a lovely organic chicken and some vegetables(potatoes, parsnip, pumpkin, sweet potato, onion and carrot with some sadly insipid gravy- I was too hungry to wait for browning to happen) and in the morning we will have two sorts of scones for morning tea: sweet and savoury!! Then I am making something with rhubarb and something lemony and a bit later on something chocolatey!!! I am in cooking heaven!!

Dinner 

The chemist gave me some saline spray for me ears. She's not bonkers, she thinks my ear ache is actually my sinuses again, which makes sense. So I have been spraying the salty water up my nose, and surprisingly, I feel a little better!!! I shall try for an appointment in the morning. I have no other appliances languishing anywhere!!

Sadly, my new sewing machine has to be packed off to, possibly, Mrs Reno's dad to be looked at. The Labradors' Sewing Machine Incident did not pan out well. But look at the two of then snuggled up together on the couch!! I can't stay cross, though I am having a tiny Georgette Heyer Decline, just a teeny tiny one. I am sure once I have the contents of an ocean up my nose I will feel much better!!!

Cuddle pups


Monday Munchies #24

Here is a delicious cake using rhubarb. This is a small cake, so it is quick to make and quick to cook. You need about half a bunch or 5-ish stalks of rhubarb. I found this recipe on the old AWW cooking website but I found one like it in one of their books as well.

Upside Down Rhubarb Cake serves 8 ( 4 really!!!)

Topping

  • 60g butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb
Cake
  • 60g butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packedUD Rhubarb cake
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Self Raising Flour
  • 1 tspn cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 180*C and line a 20cm square or round cake tin with baking paper. I line the base twice.

Put the sugar and butter for the topping in a saucepan and cook over a low heat for 3 minutes or until it is smooth.

Pour into the cake tin, swirl to cover the base and then tip in the rhubarb. Cover the base evenly and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar for the cake and then add in the eggs, one at a time, beating slowly. Fold in the flour and cinnamon and then the sour cream.

Spread the cake batter over the rhubarb. I dip my spoon into some boiling water before each 'smooth' and I find this helps!!

Bake for 40-45 minutes. The top will be quite brown and the cake will come away from the side of the tin. A skewer will come out clean when the cake is tested.

Rest for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a plate.

Serve with cream, ice cream or custard.

Monday:

Due to 'circumstances' MM will not be appearing today.

It will appear a bit later in the week.

I have ear ache (again*) and my nice 4mm sock needle poked a hole in my hot water bottle. My mum and aunt are coming to visit this week and I am just generally boogelly

I shall cook something absolutely delicious to make up for it.

Any requests??? Chocolate, raspberry, rhubarb, sweet or savoury???

*MrsDrWho, she of the fabulous quilts, has suggested a doctor's appointment, because if I get sick and have to go to hospital what will happen to The Labradors? She's good at that, knowing the right questions to ask!


I Sing The Baby Electric

Baby Electric had her First Birthday party today. Her actual birthday is this week, but Auntie and Uncle Dutch are off on a ca-ra-ravanning# holiday and you can't have a party without Grandparents.

There was Fairy Bread, made with proper spherical 100s and 1000s and not the soft Sprinkles. Mr and Mrs Electric have a brand new house and the front is painted bright lime green. It's a great house!!

Babies know little and remember less about their first birthday and so it was really a gathering of family and friends and babies!!! There was a cake and singing and lots of bubbles being blown. Here is a picture where everyone's identity is almost completely obscured. Just the way I like it.

Baby Electric's party

And yes, I do know that I left my camera on the table and certain people took photos. I heard you discussing taking a picture of the dip!!!

I sewed a dolly for Baby Electric. It is from the free Black Apple tutorial. She is all hand stitched and to make her 3D I cut out six pairs of the body shape from cotton batting, each 5mm smaller than the last. I layered them from biggest to smallest to biggest again and basted them together. The Dolly is made from linen and cotton fabric. Then I knitted her a little scarf, it's really cold today!!Baby Electric likes dollies.

Dolly  

I also knitted an Aviatrix Hat, this time with some 10 ply, I think. It fits her perfectly!!

Baby's hat

Last night it was -2* C and this morning at 10am on our walk, the puddles were still frozen over. Lorelai Gilmore was so happy to be on her walk, and will now demonstrate the icy puddles!!!

Look how happy Peri was today!!

Peri in the Sun

Peri had very funny ears yesterday. I am not sure why her ears are all Flying Nun, but she seems very happy nonetheless!!

Eary Peri

Peri and Lorelai Gilmore run about madly for half an hour or so, and they are not puffed out at all.

Gilly's not puffed out
I think our Winter is so easy to bear because even though it is cold, icy even, the sky is a clear blue. We do have fog, drizzle and overcast days, but who could be cross about such a beautiful sky? An aeroplane was flying overhead when I took this photo.

Blue skies shining on us 

Monday is a holiday so MrsDrWho has an extra bonus school holiday. Tomorrow I am going to visit, I hope, and we will watch Doctor Who on her big TV!! Now it is time to fill the hot water bottle, shepherd The Labradors outside and then back to bed and under their blankets. Lorelai Gilmore always insists on sleeping in everyone else's spot. She's a rummun. Peri is much better and likes to sleep in her spot, with her blanket arranged just so


#How I loved Adventure Island. Clown lived in a ca-ra-ravan.


Things Of Stone And Would (I Please Be More Interesting)

I, I who have nothing really interesting to share. Lunch with friends, more lunch with friends, waiting to pick a friend up from the airport, afternoon tea with said friend. And it's not as if the weather has been curtailing more exciting adventures. It hasn't. It's been crisp and chilly and sunny. The oak tree outside the back door decided to drop all of its leaves in one fell swoop this week and so we have enough leaves to carpet several MCGs.

No books have arrived for me at The Library, no parcels I am expecting either and I have been reduced to de-cluttering. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it seems such a sad task to undertake in the holidays. I am trying to be ruthless. Ergo, I must have spent quite a lot of time in the past in a state of 'ruth' for all the cluttering to occur.

Peri and Lorelai Gilmore have enjoyed their walks, whether in the fog or the chilly iciness of Winter. Last week they were suddenly alert, all ears, listening for something.

Do You Hear What I Hear

This was the something.

Wobbally
The wallaby stood very still at the top of the hill, nose twitching, for more than just a few seconds before s/he took off at speed. Poor Lorelai still believes she could catch a wallaby. She's dreamin'.

Not a single stitch of knitting or sewing these past few days. Inordinate amounts of DVD watching on the couch with my quilt at home or Farscape at MrsDrWho's house. Yesterday I was extra, extra, tired because on Tuesday evening we went to the Princess to see Rockwiz!!! I am not as huge a fan as MrsDrWho, but I have had the tickets pinned to the cork board above my computer here for ten-ish months. Every day I would see them and then suddenly last week I realised the time had come!!

And now, look away if you have tickets for the show so you won't read any spoilers after the photo....

Rockwiz
We had perfect seats, Row M, right in the centre. My word it was loud. After songs I was just a little bit deaf.

Brian Nankervis hosted the pre-show at 8pm where 24 contestants from the audience were put through their paces and four chosen. I was extremely glad there wasn't a Blue Ticket under my chair!!

The 'show' began at 9-30pm and it was pretty fabulous. I think Julia Zemiro is great and the band and Dugald too. And Julia and Brian can certainly sing. The guest stars were Ella Hooper (I don't know any of her songs)and, wait for it, Russell Morris!!! OMGCB. He sang The Real Thing. I was a little bit overwhelmed!!! It was very much louder and rockier than this version. I was quite deaf after this and I could feel the waves of sound hitting me. Pretty sure I said "It's Russell Morris" at least a dozen times, but I had only ever seen him on TV, and here he was, in real life: The Real Thing!!! Poor MrsDrWho, who is a woman of the world and has seen far more interesting and famous people- she had to listen to me all evening.


There was an 'unusual' singer called Holiday Sidewinder, I think, and then Dave Faulkner from the Hoodoo Gurus. I did know him and I remember listening to the Hoodoos on the radio when I was at College/Uni. Because let's make it clear, I have been to exactly two concerts in my life and MrsDrWho would pooh-pooh the second (Elton John at the footy ground) and the first was Sherbet when I was sixteen!! The noise and smoke and general rowdiness persuaded me very quickly that I did not like concerts. Little has changed.

I knew one or two answers during the evening but they kept having answers like The White Stripes and Joy Division and other bands with names I vaguely recognised. No Frank, or Nat or Doris. Or Dean or Perry or Matt. Still I was not bored for a moment and I would go again in a shot.

By the time I got home and played with The Labradors and had a cup of tea it was midnight!! I hope Rockwiz tours again soon.


Monday Munchies #23

MrsDrWho's Dad really likes lemon and so at tea tonight there were lemon tarts. I cheated and bought the tart cases, frozen. Too many things are happening and I couldn't guarantee nice home made pastry. This is the easiest recipe and it tastes, and looks, pretty fabulous with minimum effort!!

Sometimes I don't want to make enough lemon filling to feed an army, so this is just enough for four people, I think.

Very Lemony Tartlets makes 12Lemony tartlet

  • 12 small lemon tart cases or your own!!
  • 1 egg
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of cornflour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 40g of melted butter, cooled

Cook the tart cases as per instructions and cool. Set oven to 180*C while you make the filling.

Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk till combined.

That's it. Make sure there are no lumps of flour.

Fill each tart case almost to the brim and then bake for 10-15 minutes. The filling should be set.

Cool for a few minutes to eat warm with cream and a sifting of icing sugar. Or refrigerate for delayed gratification.