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Monday Munchies #48

Something Christmassy, or Gifty if you are not that way inclined, this week. The great thing is that you can make this dough, freeze it for up to three months, then defrost it the fridge overnight. Roll out and bake as you normally would at your leisure. I'm thinking possibly, one could cut out biscuit shapes and freeze them, they'd be ready to go!!

This is a generic gingerbread recipe, but it isn't too dry and floury. I also like treacle rather than honey or golden syrup, but you can choose!! When they are baked, they can be iced with some lemon glace icing, royal icing can be piped on, or some dark chocolate spread on the back. Or you could cut some smaller shapes out of the bigger stars and then sandwich two together.

Now I have some gingerbread dough stashed away in my freezer, ready for a day closer to Christmas!!


Gingerbread Biscuits   makes about 40

  • 125g softened butter
  • 100g or 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 125ml treacle OR golden syrup OR honey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tbspn ground ginger (4 tspn)
  • 1 tspn mixed spice
  • 1 tspn bicarbonate of soda

You don't need to preheat the oven to 180*C until the dough goes into the fridge to cool.

Cream the butter and sugar until it is pale and fluffy, then add the egg and treacle and beat till combined.

Sift the dry ingredients together, and then mix into the creamed mixture with a spoon. It doesn't take very long at all.

Dough again
Tip out onto the bench with a little plain flour and then knead lightly till smooth. Form a disc and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes. At this point you may also wrap the dough securely with clingwrap and then put it in a ziplock bag and freeze it.

Now preheat the oven to 180*C and line some trays with baking paper.


Roll the dough out between two pieces of baking paper until it is about 4 or 5mm thick. Using the baking paper means that no extra flour is incorporated and so the dough mantains its integrity. Dip a biscuit cutter into the flour and then cut out shapes and place them on the tray. Smoosh the leftovers together and then roll between the two sheets of baking paper again, ad infinitum, until it is all used.

Place on a tray and bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack. Decorate as desired.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

Gingerbread biscuits

Harry Potter And The Deathly Fellows

Harry Potter and The Deathy Hallows was fantastic. It was scary and dark and cold and mesmerising. I didn't look at the time once, or even think of doing it. If you have been reading the books and following the films, then it is a must see. I think the critics who pooh-pooh it aren't fans. I am glad they decided to split the last book into two films, it means the story will be told properly.

MrsDrWho and I have a new Going To The Pictures Rule. Way back in 2005 we went to see Kingdom of Heaven with Orlando Bloom (no, he didn't accompany us, he was in the film) and we went on Half Price Tuesday. The theatre was full of the noisiest, rudest people. It spoiled the film.

Rule One is No Tuesdays.

Rule Two is, if the twenty-somethings behind us are rowdy and raucous during the ads and the previews, we must move to quieter seats. Honestly, they must have thought they were at home. They talked and made noises all the way through. Not Happy Jan.

Last week I did something every day and it was too much for me in the end. Still, je ne regrette rien:

  • Tuesday: Leukaemia Support Group and Trivia
  • Wednesday: MrsDrWho's school
  • Thursday Harry Potter Film
  • Friday: TinkingBell came to visit (3 hours of talking, some car driving and a little shopping)
  • Saturday: WeeJockandBessie'sMum's birthday

Here's the delicious food. I had the salmon nicoise, first on the middle row,  and the lemon marscapone parfait with almond tuile and raspberry sorbet, very last on the last row.

So on Sunday I was very poorly. I was the kind of poorly where I needed a hot waterbottle for my feet to stop me feeling shivery and my lovely crocheted facecloth dunked in cold water and draped across my forehead to keep me cool. Doona: on. Window: wide open.

Also I had very weird dreams. I dreamed someone stole our toilet, I got up and it was gone, so I locked the door (it was our toilet from home when I was little, it had a door to the outside) and I went to ring the police...then I woke up and thought what a silly dream...till I went into the toilet and it was gone and I locked the door and went to ring the police.. by the third time I woke up I was getting more than a little worried, but I was actually properly awake. I haven't been up to very much at all, I have read blogs in my reader and not really commented. I think I am on the mend......

I hope I am on the mend.....

Everyone is so kind to leave such lovely get well comments. Thank you very much indeed.

Yesterday The Dog Car had a flat battery. There we all were, wearing our seatbelts, and I turned the key and nothing happened. We went for a little walk to the shop. Gilly does silly waiting. Maybe she is making a wish??

Silly waiting
The RACT man came and put in a new battery. They replaced my last battery 5 years ago so I certainly had my money's worth out of it. The Labradors didn't like waiting at the gate. They felt all left out. We did go for a proper walk at the dam after that.

Take us pleaseeeeeeeeee
I have to thank The Australian Women's Weekly. My mum really wanted one of their books that was out of print, and I was extremely suspicious that their 'official' site was in the UK so I emailed them for help. The lovely Olivia said she had found the book my mum wanted in their office and that she would send it to me. Just like that. How kind. Well done AWW. (Something else I had to say... can't remember)

I have a stamp. I am not very good at stamping.

I have made a Nigella's Raspberry Chocolate Pudding Cake for MrsDrWho's turn at Morning Tea tomorrow. It is a good recipe because it is all melt and mix. I am going to drop it off at her house. I can do that because even though it is 28*Cinside and hotter outside, I have the Air-Con in The New Car!!! I am supposed to go to Trivia tonight, and I really want to go, but I don't think I will be able to. I need to rest up and feel better.


Yesterday: The 47th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. He would have been 93. Camelot.

Today: Similarly, the 47th Anniversary of Doctor Who. Happy days indeed.

There, I'm hot and tired now. I'm going to have some lunch and a shower and then venture out. I apologise if some of this doesn't make sense!!!

Thanks Kristen, I have fixed the anniverary dates which did not make sense!!


Monday Munchies #47

I have been poorly, so I am not up to much. Still, I managed to make some easy and very nice biscuits. I am making these for Aunty Dutch's birthday. The same mixture with the addition of cocoa, makes brown choc-chip biscuits.

Choc Chip Biscuits: two kinds   makes 24

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1 tbspn milk
  • 100g white choc chips
  • OR 2 tspn cocoa and 100g dark choc chips

How to
Cream the butter and sugar, add the vanilla and egg, beat till combined. Mix in the flour, baking powder and choc chips. Roll into walnut sized portions (40g, I measured) then flatten slightly. Bake for 16-18 minutes at 180*C. Cool 5 minutes on the tray and then on a rack. Ice as you wish.

To make chocolate choc chips biscuits, remove 2 tablespoons of flour and replace with the same amount of cocoa.

So tired off to bed


The very silly goats have managed to outwit the park rangers again.

They have eaten, hoofed or jumped the barriers and made their way to the top of the dam, where they stand and bleat piteously. Silly goats.

Higland Goats
There were some very good smells at the dam on our walk today. It was raining and quite cold, and the conditions must enhance the scents. Peri rolled in something smelly and Gilly went off my herself and I had to whistle to find her. I wasn't worrried.

Smelly dogs
My car has travelled 1000km. I must have been shaking with excitement because the picture is more than a little wobbly and fuzzy. What I expect from my photos really. I have to book in for the first service now.

M km
At Leukaemia Support Group today we made some decorations for our Christmas lunch. Our LovelyNurse emailed and asked me for some ideas yesterday, and she bought all the materials!! The candy cane reindeer were a hit with the men,

Deer oh deer

who considered a few of the other things to be too girly for them.

Girly things
I ordered some 5ply Classic wool from the Bendigo Woollen Mills and it finally arrived. The colour is not right, it is aqua and quite green. I am very happy!!

At last the Opal scarf is complete. It's HundertWasser in Silver Spiral and I used 4mm needles in 1x1 rib. I am very happy, it is soft and silky on the skin and the perfect length.

Round like a circle in a spiral

I went to Triv tonight, where we came third and I guessed the Baffler too. Third wins a wine voucher and the Baffler a jug of delicious cider. Last week the man who runs the Trivia night gave the wrong information, so MrsValley and WeeJock&Bessie'sMum, if you are reading this, there are two more nights: the 23rd and the 30th.

For This month I am reading thus far I have read The Folding Knife by KJ Parker. It was on my list for ages before I read it. She writes fantasy fiction, complicated political stories. I have read all her books, and this was typical. The story starts at the end, so you know the protagonist ends up alone, with nothing. I think her stories are becoming a little formulaic, the main character and those closest to him are clearly painted but the rest of the people in the book are one dimensional, or not even that. I like all the machinations of politics in fantasy, I like Jennifer Fallon's Wolfblade/Hythrun series too. The book was a page turner, but I was disappointed in the way the end was written, even though I knew how it would finish.

I read the original Logan's Run. It was pretty fabulous and I loved the way the little intermittent pieces between the chapters counted down from 10 to1. The film, TV series and novelisation were not the same as the original book so it would good to see the ideas explored. There are sequels, but I have read that they are not as good and I don't want to sully my enjoyment.

I read Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. It is a YA fantasy book set in a world where at 16 everyone is plastic surgeried to within an inch of their lives and are Pretties. Before this you are an Ugly. It's the story of how a girl is forced to locate, infiltrate and betray those who shun the process and have fled to live in the post apocalyptic world, which is not very apocalyptic. There are four books, and I shan't be reading the rest. It was OK, I enjoyed it, but not enough to want to wait in The Library queue.

I loved The Ghost and Mrs McClure recommended by Debby. It is set in present day times and there is a Ghost and Mrs McClure. She runs a bookshop along with her aunt and young son and only she can see  and communicate with The Ghost. Others who see him don't believe. This is the first book and it appears there will be individual crimes to solve as well as an overall arc where the two try to discover who killed The Ghost way back when. I have the second book ready to pick up from The Library.

I am currently reading Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay because when I borrowed it the first time I had a cold and couldn't concentrate.

I am busy tomorrow and then on Thursday MrsDrWho and I have tickets for Harry Potter 7 and then on Friday I am meeting a friend from along the Coast!! I am planning to do a lot of sleeping in between times. I had a 3 hour sleep this afternoon: the shape of things to come this week!!!

Monday Munchies #46

It has been so long since I made Choux pastry that I thought I might have lost the knack. The stars must have been in alignment though, because the little chocolate eclairs turned out exceedingly well!! I did need a piping bag and nozzle which I was able to buy as a disposable set for $2-50, and apart from that, no special equipment.

Some tips include: preheat the oven so it is absolutely at the required temperature, shake a little cold water over the eclairs before they go into the oven and I put a little dish of water in there too, and dip the eclairs into the icing - don't try to ice them with a knife or spoon, it's just too tiresome!! I used milk chocolate, but dark is what the recipe calls for and it does look fabulously rich and chocolatey.

According to MrsDrWho's mum and dad and MrsDrWho herself, these were delicious!!


Little Chocolate Eclairs    makes about 16

For the Choux Pastry

  • 125ml or 1/2 cup water
  • 50g butter, cubed
  • 60g plain flor
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

For the Filling

  • 300ml cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tspn sugar, or to taste

For the Icing

  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 1 tbspn butter
  • 2 tbspn water (20ml)
  • 85g icing sugar


To make the pastry:

Choux po pi do

Preheat the oven to 200*C or 180*C fan forced. Put the water and butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat and once the butter is melted, turn the heat up and as soon as it boils remove from the heat and tip all the flour in at once. Turn the heat off now, you won't need it again. Then with a wooden spoon (I used a metal one and it seemed fine) beat the mixture till it comes together. It will leave the side of the saucepan and come together. Mine didn't form a ball of it's own accord, but when I pulled it together it did. Try not to beat it too much. Leave it to cool for about 10 minutes or until it is just warm.

Choux belong to me
Put it into the mixer bowl and beat with your electric mixer. Add the beaten eggs a spoonful at a time and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and glossy. It should be soft and have almost a dropping consistency.

Ahhh choux
I didn't have a piping set at home, so I used a ziplock bag. I put it into a cup and spooned in the pastry mixture. I find it easier to fill them that way. Then I snipped off about 1cm at the corner and zipped the bag shut. I drew a line on the baking paper on the tray that was about 5cm long to give me a gauge and then piped the little eclair shapes. I left 3cm between them to allow for spreading. Just before they went into the oven I sprinkled them with a little cold water.

Choux are the sunshine of my life
I also put a little bowl of water on the shelf below. Cook the eclairs for 12-15 minutes. Different recipes gave a variety of temperates, adjustments and times. I turned the tray after 10 minutes and then just kept an eye on them. When they are the right eclair colour, take them out. Pierce the end of each eclair with a sharp knife, to allow them to cool properly inside and out.

To make the filling:

Whip the cream, vanilla and sugar until well whipped but not stiff peaks. Fill the piping bag, use the ordinary round piping nozzle, and then poke it into the hole you ame earlier in the eclair and squeeze!! Sometimes you may need to fill from both ends. Then put them in the fridge to firm up.

Choux choux train
To make the icing:

Put the butter, water and chocolate in a bowl and microwave until the butter is melted, perhaps 30 seconds. Stir until the chocolate melts too and the mixture is well combined. Then add the icing sugar a little at a time and whisk till smooth. Holding the eclair by the long sides, dip the top into the icing, let the excess drip off, and put back in a sealed container in the fridge.

Chocolate eclairs

Then devour madly!!! They won't keep long, they are best eaten the day, or day after, they are made, so mad devouring is definitely the go!! I am thinking of making profiteroles with a custard filling next time.




That's One Small Step For (a) Labrador

I don't know what Peri Naughty was thinking the other day, but she decided to step things up at breakfast time, and dine upmarket. She fits on the step as if it was custom built for her.

Peri's stepping up
Lorelai Gilmore was thinking like Harki. She had a TeddyBunny (a soft toy with a squeak inside) and just like Harki, she worried at it until she emerged from the struggle triumphant, with The Squeak. She then proceeded to run about, inside and then out, squeaking The Squeak madly. I even had to throw it up the backyard, which is no mean feat.

Gilly is squeaky

Peri was sure she was missing out and that The Squeak was a tasty treat and would not be convinced otherwise, even when I showed her The Squeak.

Peri is squeakily disappointed
I have still not come to terms with the excitement of The Labradors being seatbelted into the old car. And neither has the novelty of the new green car with it's lovely cool air conditioning waned. It has been hot and muggy and was 28*C yesterday. I can go places in the car now though, it is so cool inside. Thankfully cooler, showery weather is forecast for the coming week. The hot humid weather tries my patience and makes me tired.

Gilly in the good spotPeri in the plum spot

The Dalek Bag is as complete as it is going to get right now. I will have to attach the little clip  on the other end of the silver strap at the right length for AuntieDutch. I have attached one clip and sewn in the lining.

Lined The Dalek Bag
I also finally gave The Irish Baby's Cardi to his dad at Triv this week. It only needed buttons to be complete.

The Keating Cardigan

And one Planes on a Sock sock is finished too. I think I want the swirls to go in the opposite direction on the other sock. I think I know how to do it. I'll see when I start.

One Plane on a Sock sock
I'm proofreading some reports, without the assistance of chocolate, and then tomorrow I am making chocolate eclairs, so I shall have to become reaquainted with choux pastry!! But tonight it is New Tricks and then Spooks!!

I have to catch up with the books I was reading at the start of the month too, I haven't forgotten.

Monday Munchies #45

The Cherry Clafoutis Idea was not for turning. I went to the supermarket and bought some more cherries and found a nice recipe: one without goats' cheese. It is a quick recipe, though I think I left mine in the oven a tad too long. Nevertheless, it tastes delicious. I used my four new Pyrex 300ml custard 'cups'.

 Cherry Clafoutis   serves 4

  • 2 tins of stoned cherries in syrup (425g each)
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 200*C. Drain the cherries through a sieve and then spread them on some kitchen paper and pat them dry. Divide them evenly between four 300ml ovenproof containers.

Cherry Ripe
Sift the flour ito a bowl and add the sugar. Set aside. Mix the milk, eggs and vanilla. Whisk till combined.

Cherry Baby
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and then slowly add a little of the milk mixture. Whisk, slowly incorporating the dry ingredients, adding more milk mixture until it is all combined.

Cherry Ames
My mixture weighs 546g, so I poured approximately 136g into each small dish. I put the dishes into a pan so they were easy to handle.

Marc Cherry
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly set, and dust with icing sugar before serving.

Cherry Jones

What Da-Lek About You!!

The Dalek Bag is almost complete.

Dalek on the way
It needs the lining to be handstitched in and a strap threaded through the casing on the back. I also want to find a silver fastening of some kind for the strap so it can be undone and removed, and maybe a zipper tag too. I have been doing an inordinate amount of tiny buttonhole stitch and using horrid metallic thread. Lots of basting and making creative decisions on the hop as well. The wrist strap houses the eye stalk and the weaponry. The zip is along the back edge. All in all I am reasonably happy. (It is about 28cm tall)

Dalek Bag
I am still knitting along on the Spiral Scarf, there's just more of the same. I have started some new socks: Planes on a Sock, with the diagonal plane pattern from my Vogue Stitchionary. I really love it, I am up to the heel flap. The ladder between the needles will need to be well blocked I see. These will match my new aqua shoes The lovely wool was a gift!!

Planes on a sock 1
Peri and Gilly have had their first application of special tick repellent. They practised having pretend liquid rubbed on the back of their necks last night and then this morning  while they were eating their vegetables and food with salmon 'juice', I squirted in on. I didn't even know you could buy it, really it's flea repellent, but if you apply it fortnightly it keeps ticks away. I found a teeny tiny pink tick on Gilly's fur on Saturday and it gave me pause. It costs $80 for six weeks' worth for both Labradors from the vet. I think I should be able to buy it online for a cheaper price, but I am happy to pay the extra because they gave me lots of advice when I popped in. 

Although we are in the middle of a huge electrical storm, with jagged lightning lighting up the city, and rain teeming down, earlier this week it was almost tropical, well 20*C anyway. Peri was sunbathing. It's a hard life:

Peri's sleepy in the sun
At the aforementioned dam, Lorelai Gilmore has been stalking those darn wallabies. She is in her special 'alert' position. I think she looks like she is at a dog show, winning Best in Show for her stance!!

Gilly is alert
I have been out to dine several times: a new Indian restaurant, breakfast with Mrs MadCage and then Italian with MrsDrWho and MrsHockey(not Joe). I had the prosciutto wrapped asparagus and poached egg, and then in the evening chicken breasts with sweet chilli and  scallops in champagne cream sauce. Delicious. MrsDrWho had Pasta Bora Bora, which is seafood, and MrsHockey(not Joe) had calamari.

Dining out
The dollar is so good that I bought some sock wool  here as the postage is free!! The colour is Ireland. I may have to buy some more if the $AU is still at parity with the $US.

MrsValley left a surprise treat for The Labradors at the back gate a fortnight ago and I kept forgetting to take a photo. I remembered, finally, and jolly good thing too, as the treats have diminished!! They are tiny fruit cakes, made with all natural ingredients and the fruit is banana. They are, The Labradors tell me, absolutely the best cakes EVER!!! Thank you AuntieMrsValley, they are indeed Spoiled Dogs!!

I have started to feel more like myself, hence the sewing and new knitting. I have been washing fabric ready to do some more sewing, and of course it won't get dry now. If it is pelting down tomorrow we shan't go for a walk as The Labradors musn't get wet for 24 hours after their tick treatment. I had to empty the paddle pool, poor babies.

Instead, I will think about what I shall cook for Monday Munchies. I was going to make cherry clafoutis. MrsDrWho and I saw the end of Junior MasterChef after tea. After Stargate Universe and after an episode of Farscape. I forgot the cherries. I may venture out for more.....

Queue Gardens

The nice fabric shop that closed down earlier this year had a sale on Tuesday. Huge percentages off the last of their stock they said, so I thought I would pop along. There were indeed bargains, but there was a long queue. I counted at least 18 people with their arms full of imminent purchases. I took one look and decided that whatever the bargains, there was no way I could stand up for as long as it was going to take. I wended my empty way back to the car. I cartoonised the photo to protect the shoppers' identities.

Too many people

And I went to Esme's instead and fulfilled my material needs. Well my button needs, and here is the Dalek Bag in progress. I'm using felt and shiny fabric and appliqueing it on. Then I shall embroider and sew on the rest of the buttons. The bag may need a gusset. Not sure yet.

Needs lines Lines are better

This afternoon I went outside the encourage The Labradors to have a play in the Sun, but they went off somewhere in the garden by themselves. Meanwhile I realised that I should have drawn in the lines for the faceted areas on the base before I started sewing on the buttons. Luckily I could still manage it without too much trouble. It doesn't look terribly much like a Dalek yet.

Because I went, unsuccessfully, to the sale in the morning, we went for our walk to the dam in the afternoon yesterday. Playing in the creek ensued.

Peri and Gilly in the creek
After we came home they disappeared outside and then came back very muddy and grubby.  Gilly was lying by the doorway, making everything dirty, and in the Spangly scarf photo I see she's been standing on the window ledge as well. I love her yet. I love Peri too, and she's a bit tidier.

Peri's grubby Gilly's grubby

I know what they were doing. They were on mission: digging a hole.

Holey moley
And here is Peri next to the hole, which means she can't stand and look through the fence. I've filled the hole in now. I hope they don't decided to dig it out again.

The 100 Waters scarf continues. I think it is over a metre long now. And I knitted a Spangly scarf, to go with the Dalek bag, from one skein of Moda Very Ballroom. It is awful to knit with. I cast on 12 stitches and worked in garter stitch till I used it all up. It's decorative more than functional, but so sparkly!!

100w scarf Spangly scarf

Many other things have arrived in the letter box, and are in progress, but I'm saving them for next time.

I must get back to the Dalek bag now. And late afternoon tea: a custard tart and some French Earl Grey tea. TTFN!!!

The OPAM Busters

I met my Goal for OPAM this month. I almost met and exceeded it, hindered only by the loss of a lone Tennis sock. If I could have found it I would have knitted up the other sock, after all I found the wool but I have no idea where I wrote the pattern.

In October I completed the Mint Slice Socks:

Mint Slice

The Croc Socks:

Croc Socks

And last but not least, The Witchery ahh Socks. These are the Through The Loops' Mystery KAL. Thanks to DrBones' Leonie for mentioning them on her blog!! The Mystery name made me think of the Witchery song by The Little River Band. Which you can hear, here. There used to be a clothes shop called Witchery and I think the ad was written for them first and then lengthened into a song. I kept singing "Mystery aah, aah, aah".

The Witchery aah Socks are knitted on 2.5mm needles using the lovely Elizabeth from Wired for Fibre. There was a clue every Friday and I managed to finish these on the last Day of October. They are being modelled on my sock blockers which I cut from my sewing machine box.

Witchery aah
I haven't set my goal for November yet, I shall have to think of what I want to do. I know people everywhere are waiting with bated breath to read what I am making!!!

Spring is here: windy and humid weather, then rain, then sun and now snow is forecast again. One day we go to the dam and there are no puddles, the next day it's puddly and one further day along and the puddles have disappeared. Lorelai Gilmore is skimming the best water from the top of the puddle. Peri's not so interested in the water, I reckon she was off somewhere rolling in something smelly because Gilly stops and looks over to where we had been.


When we stop at the shop on the way home from our walk, I can see The Labradors sitting in the back. There is some jockeying for position, I believe they both want to be in the middle to see what is happening ahead. I think Gilly is winning, but Peri looks happy. She's just a happy girl. I am giving her extra pats at the moment. Just because.

Mirror, mirror in the car Who are the cutest puppies by far

This afternoon I am going to do some sewing, I am making a Dalek Bag. I have a picture of a Dalek, so it's going very well so far. MrsDrWho has lent me two seasons of Psych so I may watch some of that while I sew.