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Friday Food: Parsnip Croquettes

Parsnip croqsLately I have been wondering if parsnips are the Brussel Sprouts of the root vegetable family. I love parsnips, but if you don't prepare them properly they can be awful. There are lots of honey roasted and crispy Moroccan recipes, but I settled on Nigel Slater's Parsnip Croquettes as my inspiration. I went with all parsnip, but he uses half parsnip and half potato. I wanted to, as they say on Masterchef, make parsnip the 'star' of the dish!!!

Parsnips can have a woody core. Experience has taught me to cut the woody part out, so only the sweet and soft outside layer remains. I made half the recipe, but luckily I had extra parsnips: by the time I topped, tailed and cored them I had lost 1/3 of the amount needed. Err on the generous side. The lucky Labradors are having the peel and offcuts in their dinner tonight.

This recipe could easily be part of an Indian meal, I think I would make them teeny tiny and bite-size.

You can't whip these up and serve immediately, they need to chill for an hour, and then a further 20-30 minutes. I like to think of them as food that helps me be prepared!!!

 

Parsnip Croquettes      makes 8 large

  • 900g parsnips, or a combination of parsnips and potatoes
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tspn ground cumin
  • 2 egg yolks (from 2 separated eggs)
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • extra plain flour
  • 2 egg whites
  • panko breadcrumbs (that's the Japanese kind, but any kind will do)
  • vegetable oil for shallow frying

 

Top and tail the parsnips, peel them and check to see if the centre core is woody. If it isn't, go right ahead and cut the parsnips into chunks.

Parsnip prep

If the core is woody, cut each parsnip into quarters lengthwise, and then cut the core out. Then cut the remaining flesh into chunks.

Boiling

Place the parsnips in a pan of cold water, almost covering them, and bring to the boil. Cover, turn the heat down and simmer till tender. Mine took only 10 minutes.

Parsnip mash

Drain well, add the butter and cumin and turn the heat up to medium and once it sizzles, cook for 2-3 minutes. The spice needs to cook and you will smell when it is fragrant and ready. Season with salt and pepper and mash enthusiastically.

Make croquettes

Add the egg yolks (save the whites for the crumbing later on) and flour and combine with a fork. Cover and chill in the fridge for an hour. Form the cold parsnip into croquette shapes, or any shape you fancy really. I used a 1/3 cup measure and made 4. And I appear not to have taken photos of this. I have no idea why.

Assembly line

I set up a crumbing system: the croquettes, plain flour, whisked egg white and then panko. Roll the croquette in plain flour, then make sure it is covered with the whisked egg white and then dredge with panko. Press it on gently but firmly. Pop back in the fridge for another 20-30 minutes. This step is not strictly necessary, but gives by far the best result.

And fry

Heat the vegetable oil in a fry pan over a medium heat. The oil should be about half the depth of the croquettes. To check if it is the correct heat, drop a cube of bread or some breadcrumbs into the oil: if it goes a nice golden brown and sizzles, it is ready. Anything else and it is too hot, or not hot enough.

And fry some more

Shallow fry for 2-3 minutes on each side. They should go a nice deep golden brown. They will be easy to turn when they are ready. If, like me, you made the oil too shallow, briefly fry each 'edge' by turning the croquette on its side!! Set aside to drain for a minute or so, and then serve straight away with some greens, a raita or maybe a tomato chutney.

Parsnip croquettes


Lemon Meringue Blondie

As someone who can't eat brownies, and finds white chocolate brownies cloyingly sweet at times, this Lemon Meringue Blondie is a fantastic alternative.

Lemon blondie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found this recipe in the Australian Women's Weekly issue with the hereditary rich Windsor UK people on the cover. I am not enamoured of the AWW, so I snapped a photo of the recipe. I followed the recipe except for the size of the tin. My tins were all too big or too small, and I think I needed one of those aluminium disposable BBQ trays. The lemon curd formed a layer under the meringue topping, but I am not sure whether this is correct or not.The meringue topping is easy, no faffing about, the whites are just beaten with the caster sugar and that's that.

The meringue and coconut topping could be omitted if so desired. It is added half way through the baking time. If you would rather not have spare egg yolks floating around, I separated the egg whites and then added the three yolks and one more egg after I had creamed the butter and sugar. It will just make the brownie a little richer and won't affect the moisture content. I could not stop myself adding just the zest of a lemon to the creamed mixture, I like things very lemony.

The slice should be really cold before it is cut, as it is quite delicate.

 

Lemon Meringue Blondie    makes 20 pieces

  • 185g butter, softened
  • 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 75g (1/2 cup) self raising flour
  • 215g (2/3 cup) lemon curd: I used Yackandandah brand
  • 80g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
  • 150g white chocolate, finely chopped

For the meringue topping

  • 3 egg whites
  • 165g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 50g (1/2 cup) shredded coconut or coconut flakes

Preheat the oven to 170*C (150*C fan-forced) and grease and line a 20 x 30cm slice tin. Make sure the baking paper is well above the sides of the tin, at least 5cm, as it needs to contain the meringue topping.

Cream butter and sugar

Cream the butter and caster sugar and then add the eggs and beat till combined.

Curd and chocolate

Add the flours, coconut and curd, and zest if you like, and fold into the creamed mixture. Finally add the chopped chocolate and fold that in as well. Spread into the slice tin and bake for 20-25 minutes. The top needs to be set enough to spread on the topping.

Spread into the tin

Make the meringue topping by just beating the egg whites and caster sugar for 4 minutes. That's it!! No fussing about with adding a spoonful of sugar at a time.

Meringue topping

I removed the tin from the oven and spooned the meringue all over the top before spreading quickly and gently to cover evenly. Sprinkle over the coconut and put it back into the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes until the top is browned. I found the blondie was still far too wobbly and turned the temperature down 10*C more and baked it for a further 10 minutes. There can be a slight wobble, but it must not be oozy.

Adding the topping

Mine did deflate a little as it cooled, but was perfectly baked inside. Yum

Blondie cooling

And that's it. This blondie doesn't need any further embellishment. A lovely square of the scrumptious lemon meringue blondie on a plate is all you need. This doesn't keep long, or well. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container, but the meringue topping will deteriorate after a day or so. It's a dessert for eating right now. Sorry about the blindingly white meringue. My Ribbet editing skills are poor, though I prefer to think my meringue is just brilliant!!!

Lemon meringue blondie


Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Big Fat Lies

As Kath and Kim would say, I'm teaming with the theme, so here's Clarke and Dawe this week.

 

This morning the street lights were on at 7-45am when we left for our walk and still on when we got home at 9am. In the middle of a rainstorm. This persuaded me, at last, to buy a raincoat. My japara ceased to be rainproof last year, it was twenty-five years old so it was to be expected. I went to an outdoor shop, and lo and behold there was a raincoat for $29-99. (It is from Sweden originally)

I thought it had to be a mistake, but it wasn't. The seams and pockets are heat sealed and there is a natty hood. I shan't be like Dawn French, trapped in my cagoule (persevere, the cagoule gets a guernsey at the 2-00 mark, and she's trapped in it at 2-57) because the tie is elasticised. It rained like all get out this afternoon and so we all stood out in the rain. I didn't get wet, but The Labradors did. Still, even though I moved their dinner under the porch tonight, they insisted on eating every scattered grain of rice in the pouring rain. They like the water. I was having a bit of trouble with getting both of them in focus at the same time.

Walkin' in the rain almost

Poor Rafa has cut his paw and had to have it bandaged at the Vet. He sent Peri and Gilly an email to tell them about his accident.

Poor rafa

Back to the raincoat, the raincoat and new pyjamas!! New green pyjamas: Yay!!

Pjs on raincoats and whiskers on kittens

Today was all about the pickles. I made a jar of Donna Hay's quick beetroot pickle, but I can't taste it for two days as it needs to pickle. Then I prepared thirty-two teeny tiny pickling onions. I top and tailed them and peeled off the skins. They are soaking in brine now, waiting to be pickled tomorrow. I am using Sally Wise's recipe, but I have just 1 kg.

Getting pickled

Late this afternoon we all sat on the couch,

Peri and Gilly snuggle

and I started knitting some 8ply socks for MrsDrWho's birthday and watched Endeavour. If you like sci-fi TV and film you'll recognise my sock inspiration.

Jayne's socks in progress

Jamie Oliver's specially packaged chicken was on sale at the supermarket. I snapped it up to try. It is fried in a pan for 20-25 minutes and it was very, very tasty. I am not sure there were enough green olive slices, it could have done with more, still at just over $1-50 a serve it is good value. I served it, as suggested, with wedges.

Jamie's chicken

John Flanagan's new Brotherband book #4 appeared in the bookshop and I realised I hadn't read book #3. I haven't been reading much and so I took a while to get back into the swing of it. I really loved his Ranger books, these are not quite as good, but I still really enjoy them.

The Typepad is once again having a conniption. So, comments aren't being emailed to me, they may not appear when you try to post them, and various other weird things are happening. Just want you to know it's not you, it's me!!


Can You Hear Them? They Talk About Tax, Telling Lies. Well, That's No Surprise.....

 

No sad and disappointed blue text this week. What can you do, really??

Happy, inordinately cue Labradors. We have had such warm weather, 12 at night and 20 during the day, that it was a relief to have rain teeming down on the roof last night.

Peri and Gilly are inordinately cute

We have been doing lots: On Friday I had surprise lunch with Auntie Dutch, Toddler Zoe and her mum. Auntie Dutch and I must share some weird telepathy. On Thursday morning at 3am while I still could not sleep, I decided I should drop off her Ood cowl, biscuits and a card. Similarly, Auntie Dutch felt the urge to call me and ask to catch up. We must have an "it's been too long since we saw each other" meter.

Ood cowl

Auntie Dutch modelled her Ood One Out Cowl and even wore it about town. Toddler Zoe spoke into the globe quite a lot. Thank heavens we weren't paying for the call!! Toddler Zoe liked her Easter Bunny. I still can't get the face right. At least it doesn't have dead eyes. Zoe's Mum knew crosses meant dead eyes. I am old, too old, to know that!! I enlarged the pattern by inserting a scan into a plain text, and then clicking and dragging to make it bigger.

Big Bunny

We had lunch at the cool and trendy cafe: I had a pulled pork roll with green beans fries, so did Zoe's Mum and Auntie Dutch had carrot and chickpea fritters, I think.

Food glorious food

I could have eaten a big bowl of cheese chilli bean fries. They should have that on the menu, they were so delicious. I've also had the most fabulous Hasselback potatoes and Jamie Oliver Lamb Shawarma for tea at MrsDrWho's house. And yes, cauliflower in cheese sauce. And I took some home for yesterday's tea too.

As I had almost a whole bottle of actual real maple syrup, I browsed the Internet for a recipe to use it up. I found The Pioneer Woman's Pancake Mini-Muffins. You make your favourite pancake batter and then spoon it into a greased mini-muffin tray. My first batch of 20ml were doughy and, ergo, Labrador treats. My measuring spoons have a half teaspoon of 10ml and so I used that for the next batch. You crank the oven up to 220*C and bake them for 7-9 minutes. Then serve in a bowl drizzled with maple syrup. Oh my word, if you had two mini-muffin trays you could turn out 48 of these little pancakes every 10 minutes - much better than cooking proper pancakes if you are in a hurry. I ate some, but I gave the rest to MrsDrWho along with the maple syrup. Never the imitation maple syrup. Never.

Pancakes in mini tin

Peri and Gilly have been very happy. There has been such a lot of running and playing by themselves and with their friends.

Running Labradors

Today at the dam there was work in progress and three people drilling and attaching conduit whilst hanging from the staircase. They had some big temporary fences up to stop anyone going down the steps. Hang on, where's Peri?? OK, she wriggled under an impossibly low gap and went down to investigated. She was escorted off the premises, but in a nice way!!!

Dam good work

On the knitting front, I am continuing with my Autumn is Coming set with a version of the Strata Cowl. I caught up with lots of knitting aquaintances and my friend Onyi at Knits Needles & Wool on Saturday afternoon.

Autumn is coming cowl on the go

MissSkipping's brother was there and he took some photos. Miss Skipping sent them to me and I have pixelated them to save everyone's eyes and preserve a smidgen of privacy. I am wearing green and Onyi has a lovely orange vest. There must have been twenty-five to thirty women all knitting together. There was an esprit de corp de tricoter.

Knit in

My new sewing patterns arrived today. I had an inkling they would. I bought four patterns for $24 including posrtage, from the US. The yellow dress in the centre is my favourite, the one with the exciting gap in the back and with no sleeves of course.

Patterns

I am not 100% sold on the other two, but I think I would like a fuller skirt on the mauve dress, whilst still keeping the peplum. The fourth was not quite what I thought I had ordered.

Beetroot was just $2 a kilo this morning and I saw a quick pickle recipe in my new Donna Hay magazine. I shall make half the recipe and maybe also some pickled onions over the next few days. My dad and mum always made pickled onions and we kept them in a giant glazed pottery pot with a lid. You would take off the lid and it would be onion lucky dip with the long handled fork.

Pickled beetroot

There is Sticky Note on my Desktop. It says "Sunday" and reminds me I have not done my Sunday exercises. Tomorrow I need to do Wednesday's. I shall have to get my act together. I thought I had caught up on emails and reading blog posts, but I've fallen behind with that too. I remind myself that procrastination is normal, and I am very chuffed to have already completed my Friday Food recipe for this week. Yay for me!!

Peri and Gilly are already in bed. There will have to be  small treats to encourage them to go outside again before we all go back to bed, perchance to sleep!!! 


Friday Food: Sticky Date Cupcakes With Whiskey Ganache And Sugared Pecans

And this must be the recipe with the longest name ever!! It comes from the Winter, Issue 75 Donna Hay magazine. I took these for dessert tonight at WeeJock and Bessie's Mum's house. At first glance the recipe seemed to be complicated, but it was in fact quite straight forward and easy.

Sticky date cupcakes

The recipe called for whiskey and I substituted brandy, and I prefer pecans to walnuts. I filled the cupcake papers with 1/4 of a cup of the cake batter and made 13 cupcakes. The fresh dates, from the USA, were 227 g instead of 250, but the missing 23g didn't seem to matter at all. I made half the ganache and had enough to frost 11 cupcakes, though the ganache wasn't shiny as in the Donna Hay photo. I wonder if the alcohol made it grainy??

I cooked the cupcakes and the sugared pecans at the same time, to save on electricity!!

The general consensus was that these were delicious.

 

Sticky Date Cupcakes With Whiskey Ganache And Sugared Pecans   makes 12

  • 250g fresh pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 cup (250ml) of boiling water
  • 1 tspn bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 3/4 cup (135g) dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (150g) self raising flour

For the ganache

  • 1/2 cup (125ml) pouring, or single, cream
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 1 tbspn (20ml) brandy

For the sugared pecans

  • 1 1/2 cups (150g) pecans
  • 1/2 cup (110g) white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tspn sea salt flakes
  • 1 tbspn (20ml) brandy

Preheat the oven to 180*C and place 12 cupcake papers into the cupcake or muffin tray.

Pour the boiling water over the dates, add the bicarb soda, and soak for 5 minutes. Place the date mixture, butter and brown sugar into the food processor and blend until smooth. My Oskar is small so I had to do two batches.

Dates and blending

Pour into a bowl, add the eggs and mix well, and then fold in the flour. The mixture should not have any flecks of the white. It will be a much paler batter now.

Cake batter

Fill the cupcake papers and bake for 20-25 minutes. I turned the tray at 10 minutes and mine only took 20 minutes. They are cooked when the top springs back when lightly pressed, they have come away from the edges of the pan and/or a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Baking

Cool in the tin for a few minutes and then remove and cool on a rack. I love the way the cupcakes are so uniform.

Cooling cakes

As soon as the cupcakes go into the oven mix the nuts, sugar, salt and brandy and spread out on a tray lined with baking paper. It is easy to spread them out to make one thin layer.

Sugared pecans

Put the tray into the oven with the cupcakes. Bake for 14-16 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely. It will form a kind of toffee-ed sheet. Once it is cool, chop coarsely and set aside.

Ganache

To make the ganache, heat the cream in a saucepan, or microwave, and when it is almost boiling add the chocolate and remove from the heat. Stir gently until the chocolate has dissolved and the ganache is smooth. Add the brandy and allow to cool at room temperature.

Frosting and sugared pecans

Assemble the cupcakes: spoon on some ganache and use a butter knife dipped into boiling water to spread and smooth it over the top. Press a generous amount of the sugared pecans into the ganache.

Serve and enjoy!!!

Sticky date cupcake, ganache, sugared pecans


The Fudget

If you don't want to feel sad and disappointed, you can scroll past the blue text to The Labradors' photo........

 Sad Things

The Abbott Coalition Government Budget has made me very sad. Sad and angry and resigned. It will affect me personally, but I am trying  not to feel anxious about it, as long as I can afford to take The Labradors to the Vet, it will be OK. We are lucky that we have our house, but it is shocking to learn that pensioners will lose benefits, have to pay extra and their pensions will increase at a slower rate.

Worse off are the unemployed, where people under 30 years who are unemployed will have to wait 6 months before they can access Newstart. How will they live?? Single parents will lose their Family Benefit when children turn 6 instead of 16, and it is the children who will suffer. A single parent with one child will lose almost $3000. The Prime Minister will lose almost $6000. He earns ELEVEN times the woman's wage. How is this fair??

Young people under 25 will have to Earn or Learn, ie go back to study or find a job. Good luck with either here in Tasmania: the Uni is raising its fees so only The Entitled will be able to afford to attend, there are few if any places at a TAFE or Technical College, and there are fees there as well. And I can't even think about a Matric class full of 24 year olds who don't want to be there. Get a job?? We have the highest Youth Unemployment in the country.

The Federal Coalition has cut our Freight Equalisation: because it costs more to transport food and vital goods across Bass Strait, there is a subsidy. Only a partial one now. And we will also be paying even more for our petrol. We pay a premium now.

It is hard not to complain when our cigar smoking Treasurer says that pensioners, the unemployed and single parents should give up 1/3 of a packet of cigarettes or two glasses of beer, that's all they have to do to pay for the GP visit. The man has no idea of what it is like not to have enough money. The pensioners I know don't drink, smoke, or have any other indulgences. They simply can't afford it.

The Age of Entitlement is only over for the poor, The Entitled will continue to be Entitled. Australians are the second richest people in the world after Switzerland, but it seems only the poorest will be called on the make sacrifices.

 

Happy Things

There's a boy in the car

Peri is saying, "Mum, Mum, there's a boy in the car!!!" Sandy ran away from his Dad and when Rafa's Dad and I found him he needed to be chauffeured to the top of the hill. He wouldn't get into Rafa's car, but he would get into ours. The Girls were not amused. Sandy was not amused. He slumped down along the back door of the car. I thought it would be a fun thing to do, but obviously there are Rules, and we humans broke them.

Peri and Gilly went for a ride in the car yesterday to Bella's Mum's house. Peri was fine, but once we weren't going to The Vet, Gilly cried in my ear all the way. Poor Peri fell out the car when we arriuved. She was in the car and I was attaching her lead to her colllar and then she just fell onto the drive way. I was quite worried, but she seems fine.I did that thing you do where you rub the affected area. That'll fix any medical problems for sure.

They met Bella, the black Labrador and had to stay outside. Lorelai Gilmore spent almost the entire two hours crying at the back door and window. Peri explored the shed and garden and was very confident. They wore Bella out, she had to have a rest.

This is what we saw: Gilly, Gilly and Peri, Gilly, Peri and Bella.

How much are these doggies in the window

How much are those doggies in the window???

Gilly peri bella

I made some baked pumpkin biscuits, but forgot to take a photo. I also took along a Raspberry Brownie. Bella's Mum said it was delicious. I  left the extra raspberries and chocolate off the top. It was lovely to catch up with Bella'sMum!!

I cooked Amy Johnson slice for Sewing last night. I was very tired and forgot to take a photo of all the blocks. That has never happened before. MrsSherlock finished two blocks, MrsReno and I one, and MrsDrWho none at all. She's still in moving in mode. Parts of my block may have fallen on the floor and been trodden on......

BOM 2014 May

Knits Needles & Wool is supporting the local Women's Refuge this year with knitted items. We are knitting this Saturday afternoon with wool donated by the big wool companies. Thank you Big Wool Companies. I have made a head start with some wool they saved especially for me. You can see why. I took these photos with my Ipad under the energy saving lights: the colours are not true. I have knitted a beanie ( just cast on 100 stitches and then decreased when I thought it was long enough) and some Handwarmers: I call them both Autumn is Coming.

Autumn is coming set

It is no secret that I really like watching TV. I clearly remember when the B&W, and then later on the Colour, TV arrived at our house. Here are the 2014-15 Autumn Upfront Trailers from CBS, ABC (USA), NBC and FOX. Since the devil ( not that I believe in him/her) finds work for idle hands I always knit when I watch TV, or sew or embroider. Or read or use my Ipad!!! When I saw my psychologist this week we talked about how I like to feel useful. I used to have a 'use' when I was teaching, and so now I look for other ways to bring meaning to my life.

We also had a jolly good talk about how I am not lazy, which is what I think, but just procrastinate like normal people. I have put a Sticky Note on my Desktop and I plan to do my exercises three times a week, on Wednesday, Sunday and one other day. The Exercise Physiologist left and the new one is not properly certified yet and so I have not done one single exercise.

A cushiony life

After our walk today we all spent the day in bed, dozing and reading and dozing again. Doing three things yesterday was too much for Peri and me. Gilly is young, she copes far better. The Labradors managed to sneak in a little Autumn sun bathing on their new favourite cushions. I do love Autumn with her crisp icy mornings, maybe even a fog, and then bright sunny days.

And now I am pressing the Publish button, even though I haven't checked my typing again. I like to live on the grammar and spelling edge sometimes.


Friday Food: Crunchy Granola Sweet

GranolaWell, this is a novelty, Friday Food on Friday. Today I made something simple, but delicious. If my mum lived closer, I would give her some for Mother's Day on Sunday: definitely later in the year when she comes to visit. I put a cup of granola in a cellophane bag. No ribbon, but I had a tinsel pipecleaner.

This is an easy granola recipe, you don't need seven varieties of seed and five kinds of nuts and three things from the special health food store - not that there is anything wrong with that, but I can cope really well with something simple right now.

This recipe is inspired by the one I saw here. I used mainly maple syrup as my sweetener, with just a spoonful of lightly flavoured honey as MrsDrWho isn't a honey fan and this is for her. I bought dried blueberries and cranberries in town and the rest was easy. It makes me happy to bake something when I know where all the ingredients come from, and there are no weird food numbers or additives.

The only caveat is keep a watchful eye on the granola once it is in the oven. It went from not toasted at all, to reasonably toasted, in a few minutes. I had two trays which I swapped and turned at 5 and 10 minutes and it took 15 minutes in all to cook.

I added some chopped dark almond chocolate when the granola cooled. Keep it in an airtight container, if you can: it is very moreish.

 

Crunch Granola Sweet    makes 3-ish cups

  • 2 cups of whole rolled oats, not the quick or cut kind
  • 1/2 cup slivered almond or any nut you prefer
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup dried blueberries, or again whatever you prefer
  • 2 tbspn neutral vegetable oil, eg sunflower
  • 2 tbspn honey
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180*C. Mix the oats, nuts and coconut and then add the berries.

Oats and berries mainly

Mix the oil and the honey and then pour over the dry ingredients.

Adding honey and oil

Mix really thoroughly. You need to coat every oat, nut and berry. Taste the mixture to make sure it is to your liking and you can add a little more honey if you need to.

Spread on a tray, or two, lined with baking paper. The granola should be spread out in a thin layer.

Baking

Bake for 5 minutes, then stir and turn/ swap trays. Do this at the 10 minute mark, and 15 minutes if you need to. Keep an eagle eye on the granola as it can easily catch and burn. The centre picure shows the granola toasts more quickly at the edges and where it is thinner. In the last picture it is much more evenly browned, and this is what to look for.

Chocolate anyone

Remove from the oven and cool on the tray. When cold, you can add some chocolate if you wish.

Serve the granola with milk, or yoghurt and fruit, or eat straight from the container as a snack.

  Crunchy granola sweet


Bed and Circuses

Actually, perhaps The Labradors would have been happier with Bread and Circuses, but there was definite Labrador public approval of their new beds. They did extremely well today: two new outside bed cushions with a nice plastic base to stop the damp seeping in, and a giantly huge heated bed for the coming Winter.

Bed heads

Peri settled herself onto the new outside cushion in an instant and Gilly loves the new heated bed, even when it isn't turned on. I am happy because the new Warmy Bed only cost $40 and the sheepskin cover is a darker colour so it won't show Labrador dirt so quickly. It is 110 x 84cm, room for two Labradors. That's Gilly waiting for her favourite toy, a plastic cup. I made her sit and wait while I took a photo. She's a very obedient girl.

New outside beds

On Sunday MrsDrWho and I re-commenced our Farscape viewing. We can't remember when we last watched and so it took a little detective work to find out where we finished: the end of Season 2. It was most enjoyable. MrsDrWho made, what she calls, Eton Smash for dessert. I couldn't eat all mine and so I brought it home. Peri was in lurve with it and sat, eyes glued to the table, until I had eaten it all. This last week I have been on a vegetable binge: mashed parsnip, potato and sweet potato with garlic, peas, carrots and broccoli. Yum. Vegetables are so tasty this time of year.

Dinner and dessert

I also bought lots of beetroot, at $1-50 per kilo and it is Chilli-fest at one supermarket so I have started buying a little selection. These are a green poblano and I can't remember the name of the red one, though it is mild. The red chilli is about 18cm long. Yum.

Chilli fest

Baking makes me happy, and I made a big batch of melting moments on Tuesday. The passionfruit are beginning to ripen and so I flavoured the filling with a little lemon and two passionfruit. Very tasty.

Passionfruit moments

I was poorly again on Monday, and I mention this for posterity so I can keep track of my wellness, not out of a need for succour. I felt cold, which is very unusual for me. I had a hot water bottle AND an extra quilt. I was cheered up when two Independent members were elected to the Legislative Council, which is the Upper House of Review in our State Parliament. We went to vote and Peri and Gilly were very disappointed that there wasn't a sausage sizzle. The people working on the election said how well behaved they were and I was very chuffed. They were happy to see me come out the other end of the school hall. I am so glad to have a happy photo of Gilly. Peri smiles in photos all the time and Gilly always seems to look worried.

Labradors voting

I have finished making half of Auntie Dutch's birthday present from last year. I am very late. I haven't given The Dutches all of their Christmas 2013 present, or MrsDrWho either. I am very behind. I knitted Auntie Dutch an Ood cowl. An Ood is one of the new species in Doctor Who.

Ood of time cowl 2014

The Ood of Time cowl has an orb attached. The orb facilitates the Oods' speech. I made the orb detachable. I crocheted a little chain loop on the end and sewed a button inside the cowl at the centre of the tentacles. If it is windy, or Auntie Dutch is in a sports car, she won't be strangled by the orb and its cord.

Ood orb

I had another Library crisis, where I thought I had ten outstanding books and a huge fine. Turns out I had a $1 fine and one book to take back. I found the lost book this afternoon. I make myself do penance and I can't collect my new books on Hold until I return the overdues and pay the fine.

Is this strange? Do other people do this??? Perhaps it is the nuns, they certainly instilled guilt in us at school. My mum and dad instilled an excellent moral code at home. If I do something wrong, I feel an enormous amount of guilt. I have to confess to someone if I have wronged them, or eg, broken MrsDrWho's casserole dish lid. I did that once. And do you know, she didn't really care. It was just a lid. I think I may take things a little too seriously at times.

Tomorrow I am supervising MrsDrWho's cats while the cat door man installs the cat doors. I have to wrangle them into one room and shut the door to keep everyone concerned safe, and inside. MrsDrWho has every confidence in me. There may be some herding of cats, and we all know how successful that is: there will no doubt be circuses!!!


Friday Food: Fry Pan Ricotta Lasagne

Frypan ricotta lasagneThere was going to be a tomato meat rolled up lasagne as well, but unfortunately when halving the recipe I forgot to halve the stock and no matter what I did, the meat sauce just tasted of salt. I should never cook when I am tired.

The fry pan ricotta lasagne was inspired by the cover of the latest Taste magazine, where they made lasagne in a fry pan. I thought the lasagne sheets were rolled up. They were not, they were layered. I should read the recipe carefully, not just glance fleetingly at the photo on the cover.

So after a wasted morning of unsuccessfully doctoring the meat sauce I gave up and just made the ricotta version. It was so quick. I used fresh lasagne sheets from the refrigerator section of the supermarket. The recipe should have made 4, half of eight, but I was a tad too generous with the filling. Taste

After all the trials and tribulations, it was a relief to at last eat my very late, tasty lunch. 

I made my tomato pasta sauce, but I know there are excellent bottle of pasta sauce to be had now. You can replace the ricotta filling with your favourite meaty bolognaise sauce.

 

Fry Pan Ricotta Lasagne   serves 4

  • 8 sheets of fresh lasagne
  • 600-800g fresh ricotta
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup grated cheese, mozzarella or tasty
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbspn chopped parsley
  • extra Parmesan and parsley for the topping
  • 500g jar of tomato pasta sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180*C. I used my fry pan which has a 25cm diameter and is 6cm high.

Filling

Place the ricotta, eggs, cheeses and parsley into a bowl and mix very well. Add salt and pepper to taste. The cheeses add quite a lot of salt already.

Roll up and the pan
Spread half the pasta sauce over the base of the fry pan. Lay out the lasagne sheets and spread 1/8 of the filling along each one, leaving a little space at the end so the filling doesn't leak out at the join. Place the lasagne rolls into the pan with the join facing down.(And I don't appear to have taken a picture of that, sorry)

And baking

When all the rolls are in the fry pan, pour over the other half of the pasta sauce and sprinkle with the extra Parmesan cheese, I used some mozzarella too. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Serve with a green salad and/or some crusty bread. Here is my lonely fry pan ricotta lasagne just before it was eaten with a garnish of parsley. I am hoping for a more positive cooking experience next week, but I think I just managed to rescue this one.

Fry pan ricotta lasagne