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Analyze (TAR)-DIS

This week has passed in a slight haze of extra tiredness and, I suspect, hay fever.

On Tuesday I was at the airport, waiting for this plane carrying a friend's mum home.

Where I was
I'm not quite sure about Wednesday. I didn't fall asleep until about 4am and then I was up again at 8am. There may have been a nap at some stage but it took a few days to get back into sleeping synch. If there is such a thing.

On Thursday I visited Auntie Dutch for afternoon tea and her birthday. Auntie Electric and Toddler Electric were there so I gave Toddler this Citizen Kane Hat. She looks so beautiful!! Uncle Dutch came home too, so I had a lovely catch up.

Citizen Kane hat for Toddler Electric
I made Auntie Dutch this TARDIS Skirt and this matching box bag. Auntie Dutch is just the right size for drafting a pattern that will fit onto one metre of fabric!! It's from The Spoonflower.

Auntie Dutch modelling
This RainDear hat was finished in time and I made this DW Doctor Who (new season) 11 cloth to pop inside the bag.

Hat and cloth
And though you can't see from the first photo, cropped to protect the innocent, she was wearing everything at once!!


Our Knitting Dining Out group went to the local Institute of Hospitality. The students prepare and cook the food, make drinks and serve. The new building is very nice but the acoustics are just terrible. We all left with slight headaches and ringing in our ears. The food was delicious. I had a Very Berry Mocktail and this grilled sirloin with special butter, asparagus, mushroom and onion compote and beetroot glaze. It was so yummy, the only thing missing was some bread to sop up the lovely gravy at the end.

Student dining experience

Today I walked with this pair of Labradors:

Trit trot Labradors
Peri and Gilly have The Spring Fever and every day they want to play rough and rowdy rebel games inside. I have to use my Teacher's Voice and stand up tall and point at the door and say, "OUT!".

I found this bamboo in my Monday Spring Clean. I have 15 balls of Cleckheaton Bamboo, enough for a whole cardigan. I wish I could point you to THIS pattern with a clicky link, but I am not sure of a pattern that will suit bamboo. Any suggestions are gratefully accepted.

Bamboo

And now this is the end of my post, I am going to sit and knit and watch this show, and then read this new book.


Snap! Crackle! Pop! Rice Troubles!!

Brownie #2, Caramel Crunch Brownie, was a bit of a fizzer. I followed the instruction to the letter, but it just didn't set. The instructions stated quite vehemently NOT to refrigerate the brownie, but even on a Spring day of 22*C the ganache didn't set. It seems that the brownie, toffee rice bubbles and then ganache layers retained too much heat and never cooled down enough to 'set'.  After a night in the refrigerator it went to MrsDrWho's staff room where it was pronounced tasty, but rich, and then proceeded to slightly fall apart again as it warmed up to room temperature. I shan't make this again. On to Brownie #3.

Brownie #2

I have not been doing very much at all, mostly lolling about watching Rubicon which is the most fabulous TV show. They only made thirteen episodes and it is almost painfully slow, but riveting. I had to concentrate closely all the time. It is set in a Government think tank full of intelligence analysts and centres on a conspiracy. It reminds me a little of Nowhere Man, another show that messed with your mind. I have been knitting a hat while I watched as it is easy to just go round and round for 12 cm. These are the adornments and I need to felt the white ones. Auntie Dutch, do not click through HERE to see what I am making you for your birthday!!!

Adornments Bare hat
In the last three days I have been knitting the front of my Short Scene cardigan. The chart on Knitty.com seemed to be wrong so I googled errata and couldn't find any. I emailed the pattern's creator and she said that some symbols were missing. That was very kind of her and she answered the same day too. I had already gone ahead, willy-nilly, and changed the chart. Thank goodness I was right!! I shall finish this tonight and start the band for the left front.

Short scene right front

Peri and Gilly have been enjoying their walks at the dam. Peri has been rolling in imaginary smelly things, which is good.

Peri be rollin'

The she took off into the bush and wouldn't come when I called her: bones, we think. Sandy the Labrador's dad said there were bones to be had. Lorelai Gilmore likes to walk just with me, but she worries if Peri is away for too long. This is Gilly looking for Peri when I ask where she is. It is absolutely the right direction!!

Gilly looks for Peri
This afternoon Peri was making muddy paws. Later on her legs were clean so she must have paddled in the paddle pool. Gilly was shiny and clean and playing with her plastic cup. You can see that Peri had stolen it!!

Peri has four dirty feet
Some flowers are blooming in the front garden. Tori the Labrador's rose, Peace, is beautiful andd has a gorgeous sweet scent. The red camellias are looking lovely too. The white one always flowers when it is windy and rainy and goes brown and sad.

Tori's rose and camellia
I have nothing to read. I am waiting for some Library boooks to arrive. I can see that the are in transit, but they have been transiting for a week. It's not that I don't have seventeen bookcases full of books, but I fancy reading :

and then almost on the way are :

and MrsDrWho accidentally ordered two copies of Snuff by Terry Pratchett, so there's one for me!!

Graeme Base came to town a few weeks ago and I went along so he could sign his latest book for MrsDrWho who, annoyingly, had to be at school on a Tuesday at 10am.  How unreasonable!! Here's the website link to the Karnak interactive-ness.

Graeme Base and his books
I took a little sidey-waysie video while he was talking to the TV people. His illustrated/picture books are wonderful, I used Animalia, The Eleventh Hour and other when I was teaching. They are not just books for children, they are books for people of all ages to enjoy on many different levels.

 

Snap, Crackle, Pop, Rice Bubbles!


Tuesday's Letters Eat 38: 'W' is for Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad

I noticed the temperature in Perth, WA was 36*C last week and it is 26*C on the West Coast here, so when MrsDrWho suggested Nigella's Watermelon Salad I thought it very appropriate.

This is as easy as pie and the different flavours compliment each other so well. It is very moreish.

I bought a wedge that was about one quarter of a melon.

That's it really, gather your supplies and whip this up in a few minutes!!! You can make and serve the salad in the same dish.

NB I only made half the recipe here.

 

Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad    serves 8

  • a small red onion, thickly sliced
  • 2-4 fresh limes or lime juice in a lime shaped bottle (I used that)
  • 1.5kg of watermelon, I bought seedless
  • 250g feta cheese
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch mint, chopped
  • 3-4 tbspn olive oil
  • 100g black olives, pitted
  • freshly ground black pepper

 

Put the sliced onion in a small dish and and enough lime juice to cover it. Set aside.

Onion and watermelon

Cut the watermelon flesh into 4cm chunks, and de-seed it if you can't buy a seedless melon.

Similarly, cut the feta cheese into chunks, I favour triangles, and add to the melon.

Collating the salad
Pick off the parsley leaves and add them to the salad just as you would any salad greens. Next the mint, olives and the onions and lime juice- the juice should have taken on a pinkish hue.

Mix gently together with your hands and then dress with the olive oil and pepper.

Watermelon salad


Dinky Boots

People cast aspersions* on my car and its smallness yesterday, but I am beastly careless, and they were only joking. The Boot Protector I ordered last week arrived this afternoon and so I went up immediately and put it into the boot of the new (old new) car. Well it is the Only Car now. I can not only fold down the back seats, but I can then lift the base of the seats up and the hook to the front seats for safety. The Boot Protector is meant for 4WD vehicles so it is a tad short, but the flap that is meant to pull out over the bumper fills the gap nicely and velcros securely. It isn't quite high enough at the sides but I am going to MacGyver some heavy duty plastic that will cover that section.

Boot protector
Peri and Gilly have never been in the new car. Peri hopped straight in, but Gilly was a bit worried. But once Peri was in, so was she. There is plenty of room. They can stand up or sit down. They can't put their heads out the windows. Gilly tried to jump up on the seat twice, but I said no in a cross voice and that was it. They are such clever Labradors, they learned so quickly, adapted so well and had a lovely ride in the car.

Peri and Gilly in the new car
The dam was so full of smells, but we only had a short walk, and then it was back in the car and we were home by 6pm.

Peri and Gilly back in the bush
I stopped just at the reservoir and took this photo on the way home. I bought the boot protector from Running Dog and am very happy with the service and the product. We are very glad to be able to go for a ride in the car to the dam to walk again.

Peepo Pups
I've not been well the last five or six days, I've had a weird 'thing': a temperature and rapid pulse and wooziness, but all my tests were OK when I rang today. I have some lovely antibiotics which are two shades of green and they seem to have knocked whatever it was on the head. Because I have a compromised immune system I get to take antibiotics as a safety precaution, normally healthy people wouldn't have been prescribed them.

This morning I felt well enough to take Peri and Gilly for a short walk around the block and then I decided not to Spring Clean, even though it is Monday, and I finished the Citizen Kane Hat. I've had all the flowers and leaves and the actual hat sitting in a basket since Autumn. It wasn't a difficult job, but there were 130-ish ends to be threaded through the hat above the rolled brim, tied and then sewn in and snipped. I made ten more small roses to fill in the gaps. I am a bit worried that the sewn in ends might irritate Toddler Electric's delicate head, but since it will fit on my head, it probably won't be too tight. I shall find stretch ribbon or some-such to sew inside and cover the ends if needs be. I am amused that I took one photo on two packets of Four Roses Plain Flour!!

Citizen Kane

MrsDrWho gave Peri and Gilly some excellent rawhide teats for my birthday and I put them away for a rainy day. It was a 'rainy' day on Saturday when they missed their walk as I was poorly,

Peri and the edible frisbee
Gilly and the edible frisbee
and so they had 36 fun filled minutes of rawhide frisbee fun!!! And then it was over......

Edible frisbee demise
I did bake a nice lemony lemon tart. Because I was resting, the pastry also rested in the fridge once in plastic wrap and then a second time in the flan tin, so it was nice and crisp.

Lemony lemon tart
And now I can take my tablet and we can all go to bed at last. I have some new Gunpowder Mint tea but I think I'll have some Sleep Tight instead!!!

* I always think in my mind 'casting nasturtiums!!!

 


Ricotta Get Out Of This Place, If It's The Last Thing We Ever Do.

Today I made ricotta cheese. I feel very clever. It turned out to be just like ricotta cheese from the deli. Who knew it was so easy??

There are lots of recipes, but I used Donna Hay's: 750ml milk, 250ml thickened cream, 1/2 tspn salt flakes and 40ml lemon juice, though you can substitute white vinegar.

Cheesy

You bring the milk, cream and salt to the boil, add the lemon juice and simmer for 2 minutes. Rest for 5 minutes off the heat and then pour into a lined strainer over a bowl and leave for 1 hour.

Cheesing

Then it is done. It's amazing, it's like magic!! The ricotta tastes lemony and maybe next time I will use white vinegar to see what happens.

My ricotta

If I had not been so excited I would have remembered to save the whey and put it in the refrigerator. I'll remember next time. I made the ricotta and ham tart from Donna Hay's 10th Anniversary book with the ricotta.

My ricotta in a tart

Peri Naughty has really been enjoying the Sun, and the hole she has dug in the garden. She spent several sessions sun baking and then coming inside for a big drink and a cool down.

Peri sleepy in the sun

Lorelai Gilmore has been saving us from the Line Marking Men. She had to keep woofing at them when they stood in the middle of the road directing traffic, and we had to reassure her everything was fine. She's also been making mud again using the paddle pool and dirt.

Gilly is muddy again
Brownie #1 Review: MrsDrWho and the staff said the brownie was very nice, spongy and light. But they also thought it was brownie-lite, maybe for the uninitiated and young brownie connoisseur. It was all gone by lunchtime, nonetheless!!

Brownie 1
I am feeling good at the moment, tired, but well in my head. I am doing a little Spring cleaning every Monday and thus far I have found my Photo Book of all the dogs (hurray!!) and many other things, including a Hmm Hmm panel belonging to MrsDrWho. The edges had frayed to billio and I said I would fix it. The nice lady at Esme's helped me find a fine stripe to match and I used Heat'n'Bond Lite and the fabric to fashion a new border. Here's the Before and After:

Panel games

I also remembered to buy some stretch black jewellery thread so I can re-thread the necklace that broke. I bought a tiny jar of green buttons for $4-95. So many lovely buttons. There was another identical jar, I may have to go and buy it too, then I will have enough for some sets.

Necklace and buttons

I also decided to look at the Homy-Ped catalogue today. I had browsed it, but in a desultory fashion. I went into the chemist shop and bought one pair of casual shoes, well not really shoes. They are called Libby, in the Pear colour for $40. They have diamantes on the buckles, but I am not holding that against them. The kind lady put the other pair of shoes away for me till the end of October so I can save up for them: Dakota, with the bead trim, also in Pear. The Libby pair is very supportive in the mid sole area, so I am wearing them for a little while at a time.

Shoes, now and to come

I also cancelled the insurance on The Dog Car and handed in the number plates. It's a strange feeling, soon The Dog Car will be off to The Wreckers.

I've replaced the Library Card I lost a month or so ago, the very day I had it issued. I had been looking for it, and putting off asking for a new card. The Librarian I saw said I would have to pay in an ominous voice. We get one free replacement card a year. I thought it might cost $50, or even $100. Nope!! It cost $7-70 including GST. Knowing I am a Library Card Loser, I've made a photocopy, laminated it and tested it on the Self Issue machine. It works!!! Now I have a back up. Just in case.

Tomorrow I am going to have a rest day. I didn't mean to do so many things today, it just happened. I might knit.


Tuesday's Letters Eat 37: 'V' is for Vegemite and Cheese Scrolls

Vegemite is greatly misunderstood by people who aren't Australian. It is to be used sparingly, and not slathered on like other spreads.

I prefer my Vegemite on lightly toasted white bread (mini white loaf from the bakery at the corner) which is then buttered and lightly spread with Vegemite. I like small triangles or soldiers. I never have Vegemite soldiers with a boiled egg. It is just plain wrong!!

The Vegemite and Cheese scrolls are great, because if you can't find any Vegemite, you can substitute chutney or chopped ham, for example. In fact, the Vegemite was really difficult to spread on the soft scone dough. Perhaps I should have tried My First Vegemite???!!! There is also Vegemite CheesyBite but I have always given that a wide berth as a marketing exercise and not Vegemite canon.

I only made half the recipe, and it worked very well, as would doubling the amount.

 

Vegemite and Cheese Scrolls  makes 20-24

  • 2 1/4 cups self raising flour, sifted
  • 30g butter, cubed
  • salt and pepper if desired
  • 1 cup milk
  • Vegemite
  • 1/2 cup grated tasty cheese

Preheat the oven to 200*C and grease and line a tray.

Butter and seasoning
Rub the butter into the flour and add salt and pepper if desired. I just added pepper.

Milk
Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk, mix lightly to a dough.

Dough
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and then roll out to a rectangle, about 35 x 40cm. Trim if necessary. I patched a hole with some left over dough.

Topping and rolling
Spread the Vegemite over the dough and then add the grated cheese, sprinkled evenly but leaving the ends cheese free. Start rolling from one end, quite tightly.

Rolling and cutting
Continue to roll until you reach the cheese free end. I brushed a little water on the dough and pinched the end into the roll to seal it. Trim the ends and then cut into 2cm slices.

Tray and cooking
Place on the tray, spiral side up and bake for 15-18 minutes. My scrolls took 16 minutes.

Serve right away. Or, keep in an airtight container for a day or two. Delicious!!

Vegemite and cheese scrolls


Purple Wayne

Last year I hemmed, with great trepidation, MrsSherlock's daughter's lined Wayne Cooper maxi-dress. All went well. MrsSherlock's daughter has been gaining health, and she asked me on Thursday if I could take in the bodice of her dress for Sunday: that's today. She tried on the dress and we pinned and then decided on an amount to be taken in. Which I then promptly changed when I went to sew it yesterday. The dress is boned and has lots of gathered outer fabric over a firm inner lining and the pinned tuck was actually much longer then it was unpinned.

I knew I had a day up my sleeve so I went ahead. I decided to make two darts, a wider and longer one in the front  and a second shorter and narrower in the back at the side seams.

Www
I tacked down the centre line of each dart and then outside the dart sewing line and then I sewed. I finger pressed the darts towards the side seam and then carefully sewed them to the lining. On the outside of one dart I had to catch the ruched fabric to the point of the dart. I took it to be tried on and it fitted perfectly. What a relief, though I had planned extra time in case it needed to be adjusted. Here are the Before and After pictures. I think it looks OK.

Adjusted

Still walking around the block instead of going to the Dam. There is a lot of grass growing on the nature strip areas and Peri and Gilly have been helping by chomping and eating lots. Peri has been full of energy and giving Gilly a run for her money.

Peri Moooooooo

Gilly is particularly enthusiastic. I've been worried she's looking too thin and her harness is quite loose,  so I've been giving her a little extra rice and vegetables every day. This morning Gilly was waking us up using her front paw and she scratched up inside one of my nostrils. Can't have a bandaid there and it's really sore.

Gilly Moooooooooooooo
The Admiral Halsey Notified Me, He Had To Have A Sock Or He Couldn't Go To Sea socks are complete. And I must remember not to have such a long name for the things I knit ever again. I used 'square' 2.5mm Knit Pro double pointed needles and Admiral Druik Opal sock wool. The wool is nice and soft and the colour repeat longer than one of my socks. I am proud of the stripe matching!!

The needles are great, I think my stiches look so neat and uniform and smooth. I am an even knitter, but I can see an improvement. I also can't use my usual Death Grip, so I felt very relaxed all the time.

I knitted a Cat Bordhi Sweet Tomato Heel, and although I enjoyed the intellectual challenge of the heel, it doesn't fit my own heel very well at all. It will be OK, but I'll go back to my normal heel flap and gusset next time. Although, the lady in the wool shop gave me an unusual heel flap and turn pattern, so I could be swayed. All in all, I have really enjoyed knitting these socks, even though I knitted three heels altogether!!

Admiral Halsey Socks
Donna Hay's 10th Anniversary Magazine (and yes I have them all) has a section on Brownies and so I am cooking my way through them all. The first is a plain and ordinary brownie, just butter, dark chocolate, brown sugar, eggs and flour. It makes a 20 x 30cm brownie. I shall be asking MrsDrWho for a review each brownie as I go.

Brownie 1

There is also a section on making your own Ricotta cheese. It must be a band wagon, because there's a post here too. I'm all aboard the cheese making wagon and I plan to make some of my own cheese tomorrow, which I shall turn into a tart.

It's "V" this week for my Tuesday's Letters Eat and I shall be cooking with Vegemite!! I am looking forward to the experience!! I roasted a half leg of lamb yesterday and it was so melt in the mouth and tender. I made mint sauce too. And now I am roasting some potatoes in the casserole I used yesterday. In lamb fat. Well lamb and extra virgin olive oil fat. I don't care if it is bad for me, I love potatoes cooked with a roast.

I'm making discs with my DVD today. I'm enjoying the new shows Person of Interest and Unforgettable* so far. Haven't caught up with Terra Nova and though I really want to like Ringer, the reviews aren't good. I will tune in before I tune out. I am especially looking forward to Homeland, with Damien Lewis. My favourite!!! You know when a show isn't rating well as it goes first to the digital channel and then to the HD digital station. I predict a lot of show shuffling.

*It was originally going to be titled The Rememberer. Glad they changed it!!


All The President's Labradors

The Babygate scandal continues. Gilly hates it. The gate moves by itself and makes a bang when it closes. Peri doesn't like it because it locks her out of the Food Acquisition Area (kitchen).

Labradors behind the Baby Gate
They have been enjoying the last few sunny days. Of course today is Show Day and so the weather is dull, overcast and threatening rain. It's either like this or blisteringly hot.

Lying like dogs in the sun
I have been preparing for Summer Sun by having my eyes tested and purchasing some new prescription sunglasses. Ghoul Eyes courtesy of Picnik!! My old glasses are four years old and they have faded something wicked. The new ones are so nice and dark that is seems as if supermarkets are experiencing a power cut, when in fact the glasses are just screening out the light and glare.

New sunglasses
I thought about the Owl Apron Pocket Fiasco and I mused upon a way to fix it. I sewed a piece of green fabric onto the side which was too short and then clipped the curve and trimmed and pressed it. I cut it to fit.

Fixing the owl pocket

Then I carried on as I assumed I was meant to, sewed the pocket and lining right sides together, and turned it right side out. It worked well, it's not perfect but the plain green will be right at the edge near the topstitching to attach the pocket to the apron.

I fixed it
On the other hand, if you are making a Cat Bordhi Sweet Tomato Heel with three wedges and a bazillion wraps and wraps and stitches knitted together, and you drop a stitch after the heel is complete, this is what happens:

When you drop a stitch.....
And in Dog Car news, it is an ex-car. It's dead, Dave. Uncle Dutch gave me the verdict on Tuesday. The part I needed was not the problem, he'd need proper mechanics' tools to access the pump, even after he took the tyre off. I could probably buy a secondhand car for the price of having it fixed.

Farewell Dog Car
Whilst investigating they saw other things that were about to go wrong, so it's goodnight Irene Dog Car. It's been a very good car, and until now, only one big thing has had to be fixed. All the dogs went in the car: Vundy, Tori, Harki, Peri and now Gilly. It is full of every kind of dog hair!! If this had happened a few months ago I would have had a Florence Nightingale decline. Instead, The Dutches and I discussed what I might do, talked about options, and I am buying a special boot protector. My seats fold right up, and The Labradors are only in there for eight minutes.They can just be very close for that amount of time!!!!

Neighbourhood escapers

Until then, they are apparently very happy to walk on their leads. On the way to the shops we saw a chook and a rabbit, so much tail wagging and sniffing ensued. A man at the shops asked if they were retired guide dogs because they were being so well behaved.

This evening I am going to Sewing, and I am talking some of Jamie's Portuguese custard tarts and the Tomato Mustard tart for supper. I shall be re-knitting the heel of the Admiral Halsey Notified Me, He Had To Have A Sock Or He Couldn't Go To Sea Sock #2.


Tuesday's Letters Eat 36: 'U' is for Upside Down Cakes

Have I made an Upside Down Cake this year?? I can't remember and I am beastly careless. I am cooking a plain and ordinary Upside Down Pineapple Cake, and some muffin sized individual cakes: pumpkin and cherry, golden kiwifruit and vanilla, pear and ginger, raspberry and orange and lemon. You will see I also attempted a chocolate pecan cake, but I broke it trying to remove it from the tin.

I had hoped to use bananas, but they were all quite green and so I was thwarted.

I used Stephanie Alexander's recipe, but I used brown sugar instead of caster for the small cakes. At the end of the post I'll write about the small cakes.

 

Upside Down Pineapple Cake   serves 6-8

  • 175g softened butter
  • 150g caster sugar - or brown
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tspn extra baking powder
  • 1 tbspn coconut or almond meal.

For the Caramel:

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 40g butter
  • 1 tin pineapple rings, drained, or a real pineapple

Preheat the oven to 180*C and grease and line a 26cm round tin. My tin was a 26 x 18cm rectangle.

Creaming
Cream the butter and sugar. It will be light, pale and creamy.

Egging
Add the eggs and beat briefly.

Flourcoconut
Sift the dry ingredients together and then fold into the batter.

Caramel
Make the caramel by putting the sugar and water in a heavy based pan. Bring slowly to the boil, and then do not stir at all. It will gradually turn golden brown. Then it is ready. It needs a close eye. Quickly stir through the butter. 

Pineapple and caramel
Pour into the base of the cake tin. Put the pineapple rings onto some kitchen paper, and then pat dry. Arrange the pineapple rings on top.

Finishing off
Spoon in the cake batter. There always seems to be less than I think there is and so I use a large spoon, dipped in a cup of boiling water, to smooth the cake evenly into the tin.

Bake for about 50 minutes. The cake will be quite brown on top. Cool in the tin a little and then turn out onto a plate. The cake will keep for a day or two in the refrigerator. (This cake was off to be eaten by The Dutches)

Upside down Pineapple cake
I made another batter for the small cakes, which I cooked in a muffin tin. I lined the base and poured the caramel in, if needed. They took about 25 minutes to cook. I used two ice cream scoops of the batter and flavoured them. That made two little cakes. You may, of course, adapt any of these to one large cake.

Little cakes in progress
Lemon: melt a tablespoon each of butter and sugar in a small pan. When bubbling, add two thin lemon slices and cook for a minute. Place in the bottom of the muffin place.  Add some grated lemon rind and a squeeze of juice to the batter, mix and then scoop on top of the lemon slices.

Raspberry and Orange: Pour some caramel into the muffin pan base and top with some raspberries. Add some orange rind and a squeeze of juice to the batter, mix and then scoop on top of the berries.

Pear and Ginger: Pour caramel into the base of the tin and then add some pear slices. Mix a little ground ginger, or even grate some fresh, and mix well, and then scoop on top of the pear.

Pumpkin and Cherry: Spoon some cherry conserve into the two muffin bases. Microwave a little butternut pumpkin till soft. Mash with a little butter and cinnamon or nutmeg.(No pumpkin spice here!!) Mix the pumpkin into the cake batter and then spoon over the cherry conserve.

Golden Kiwifruit and Vanilla: Pour some caramel into the base and top with a thick round of golden kiwifruit. Mix two scoops of batter with some vanilla seeds from half a vanilla pod and then spoon onto the kiwifruit.

Ta da!!!

Individual USD Cakes


Owl My Love, Owl My Kisses

Mrs Madcage loves owls, and so I managed to find a panel to sew her an apron. It's my first gift for Christmas* 2011. On her behalf I love The Owl Apron and yet on my behalf I am disappointed in The Owl Apron. Here's the front:

Owl apron front And it has pockets:

Pockets
But when I put the pockets and pocket lining right sides together, this is what happens:

Pocket1 Pocket2

Oh no, the pattern designer forgot to flip the lining, so I am going to have the wrong side of the lining showing inside the pocket when it is attached. I have to give the BSODL(tm) ladies their due though, when I said I was disappointed they wrote a note to send to the Fabric People, went to remove any remaining panels and then offered me a 20% discount on whatever I was buying. I was buying half a metre of drill and a zip, but I didn't take advantage and suddenly buy a sewing machine!!!

If you are looking for something relatively quick to cook for tea I can recommend Bill Granger's Chicken Curry. With the addition of rice and some greens it serves 6 easily and is so tasty. I could have eaten two servings!! I'm freezing some and I gave some to the NextDoorNeighbours' husband who loves curry: she doesn't!! I did add a whole red chilli, seeds and all, and before I added the coconut milk it was really quite hot, but the lemon/lime juice and coconut milk made it nicely spicy.

Bill's curry
Peri and Gilly are starting to lose their Winter Undercoat. Can you see it accumulating on the polished boards in the dining room?? I only swept on Friday. It's going to be a long, furry Spring!! And Gilly has her plastic cup, it's like a security blanket.

Bright Eyes Labradors

I've knitted the back of the Short Scene. It took one whole ball of Rondo, so four small 50g balls. I have a long torso, so I lengthened the back from the waist to the underarm. The M1L and M1R increases are also very obvious, maybe with a fluffier 10ply they would be hidden. I have decided it is a design feature and I am happy to live with it. I have started one front.

Short Scene back

Daylight Saving started on Sunday morning and so we are all at sixes and sevens. The mornings are crisp and chilly, while the afternoons are sunny and the evenings long. Peri and Gilly still think that a walk around the block is like a trip to Luna Park and so are very happy even though they are not going to the Dam.

I am thinking about what in the world I can cook for 'U' tomorrow. Something with Udon noodles?? A Ukrainian recipe?? Any ideas??

*Sorry for mentioning Christmas, I should have used Hmmm Hmmm. That's the noise that was substituted for the word in the Double Unit MrsDrWho and I taught in. No mention of the Christmas word till we said so- once we declared Christmas in December you could say it to your heart's content. Who wants Christmas cards in October?? We had to keep a lid on it!!