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October 2014
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December 2014

No, No Internet That's All I Hear.

And now, the continuing story of a girl and her modem: which died and now I am waiting for a replacement.

That is all really, we have had no internet and right now I am using my neighbour's 4G device so I can check a few emails and such like.

Normal services may resume some time this week. We are not holding our breath.

The Labradors are well. Peri is happy we had rain yesterday and got thoroughly wet. Gilly is busy digging in the garden.


Friday Food: Mini Rudolphs

RudolphAnd yes, it's Friday Food on Saturday again. I meant to make these cute little reindeer last year, but didn't quite get around to it. I couldn't buy the little chocolate cups this year and so I used Cadbury Dairy Milk Rolls, rather like plain Rolos. And instead of two, I used four for each reindeer, so you can make 4 from a packet.

The weather was warmish, so I found the best way to 'set' them was to put them in the fridge for 10 minutes after each stage.

I was able to buy all the bits and bobs at the supermarket and I had some black gel food dye left from The Minecraft biscuits, so I used that for the eyes.

You need to keep the melted chocolate runny, so I put my little china bowl in another larger bowl with some boiling water, and topped it up as the water cooled. You have to be careful not to get water in the chocolate, or it will be a bit of a disaster and the chocolate could seize.

As Christmas is approaching I was able to buy some mini pretzels that had a star shape and I cut off three of the points to make one antler. I am pretty sure I could have used any antlery shape if there were no stars.

Christmas is closer than it seems, so I am going to try a few new Christmas cooking ideas on my blog for the rest of the year. Happy Reindeering!!! Oh and these are from last year's December Super Food Ideas magazine.

 

Mini Rudolphs       generally this is what you will need

  • Cadbury Dairy Milk Roll, or something like this
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup melted milk chocolate
  • star shaped mini pretzels, 2 for each reindeer
  • red Smarties or M&Ms
  • tiny baking marshmallows
  • a tube of black writing icing
  • thin strips of sour straps or fruit leather for the scarf

Gather your equipment and ingredients. Melt the milk chocolate and cut the marshmallows. I cut mine into thirds and then each third in half, ie 6 pieces. I used a toothpick to do all the chocolate gluing.

What you need

For each reindeer, using the melted milk chocolate throughout, glue two pairs of the tiny chocolates together: one pair for the neck and the other for the head. Wait for them to bond, and then glue a red nose to half the pairs. I put them in the fridge for 10 or so minutes at each stage.

Noses and necks

Next, glue the heads on to the necks and leave them till they are strong and set. Cut the mini pretzel stars as you wish, and glue two to the back of each reindeer. I rested them on some crumpled foil as they wouldn't balance on their noses. Leave them to set and then add the eyes.

Antlers and half eyes

Finally, paint on the eyeballs with a tube of writing icing, or mix up some icing sugar and food dye of your own. I blobbed the black on with a toothpick. Wrap a thin strip of sour strap or fruit leather around the reindeer's neck and Bob's your uncle!!!

Whole eyes

And there you are, Mini Rudolphs, suitably Christmassy and all ready to eat. Oh, I feel a bit sad for them now....... Poor Wonky Reindeer.

Mini Rudolphs


Our Neck-lace Of The Woods

Things have been quiet in our neck of the woods. Once again, I tried to fit too many things into my days and I was also worried about having a terrible dental emergency. I couldn't see the dentist and so in the end, as the Long Weekend was a day away, I went to see my GP. Whereupon she pronounced my sore gum to be just that: a sore gum, maybe a big ulcer?? But I went away with a prescription for penicillin in my hand, just in case I needed it, and of course I didn't. She allowed me to use some Bonjela and it took the swelling away immediately. I have now been to the dentist for a check up and my teeth are shiny and white and so clean again.

In our necklace of the woods, there has been much progress. It's actually our necklace of the caravan. I bought the cutest little embroidery frame and decided to appliqué something for AuntieDutch. I was torn between a caravan, a bicycle and a hot air balloon. The caravan won, and I printed out the free pattern at 20% and spent a long, but worthwhile, afternoon making the necklace. I am so pleased with the way it turned out!!! The inside of the frame measures just 4.5cm/1 7/8 inch. How cute is the bunting??

Cararavan necklace

I also finished the Fox On The Run little scarf. Are you too young to remember The Sweet??? Probably. I am quite chuffed, though the fox could look a little foxier. I have a clear press stud to sew on when I give it to AuntieDutch.

On the run scarf

When The Spoonflower had their Free Postage Offer I 'designed' some Labrador material. I wanted a picture that I could sew onto a shopping bag. I think I did quite well, I have nine full images and I will be able to make a tenth with a seam across it. Gilly decided to help me when I wanted to take a photo, and made herself very comfortable.

Thank you Gilly

Then Peri decided to help as well!!!

Our material so there

Two Recipe To Riches episodes have gone by and so here's a quick review. I have decided to award marks out of ten.

R2r week 2

First, Chunky Pork and Apple sausages, costing $7-99 for six sausages.  On the whole, these were pretty good, using the original ingredients with the sad addition of a preservative- which I can live without.  Costing $1-33 each, they are on a par with the sausages from the posh deli at the corner.

R2r sausages

They were easy to cook, I put them in the fry pan with no added oil, and barely a tablespoon came out of the six sausages. They tasted of apple and pork, but I did find three or four hard gristly bits in the first two I ate. For this reason I am giving them the mark of 8/10. I would definitely buy these again.

Last week was Health week, and the winner was a protein treat.

R2r week 3

The Choc Bombs cost $5-99 for 5 'bombs', or $1-20 each. These are basically protein bars in ball form, containing cacoa, chia seeds, dates and lots of other things.  They are Ferrero Rocher size. My sewing friends tasted them and the general consensus was that they were just OK, or less. I think if you are a health freak and want a different protein bar taste, these would be the go, but none of my friends ate a whole one. For people like me, I'd only give them a 3/10, but perhaps protein bar people would score them higher??

Tonight Recipe to Riches theme is on-the-go breakfast food, and it will either be a frozen smoothie/yoghurt with muesli or posh baked beans. Oh and it's the baked beans!!

This is what I saw today at the supermarket: five cars parked in spaces for three in the Disabled Parking area. What the dickens is going on?? Well, not all the cars have a Disabled sticker, and maybe they are just confused?? That is how my car was badly dented and how my mum's car was scratched along almost the whole side last week. No-one left a note. People are strange and uncaring sometimes. I'm glad I know lots of nice, kind people to ameliorate the horrid ones.

What the dickens

Here's another what-the-dickens? except fuzzier because I was stopped at the lights and had to take this picture out the window as the lady with the Dog In Her Backpack cycled right!!!!! I know Peri and Gilly would adore being transported like this, but I'd need to be of The Hulk proportions.

Biking dog

We have nothing else planned for this week. Nothing at all going out-wise, but I am going to make a flyscreen for the bedroom window. We have casement windows and I did look into buying a bespoke screen, but at $198 for just one it was far too expensive. I've spent $28-25 on some supplies and that's my project for the rest of the week.

I do have some inordinately cute knitting projects under way and since I accidentally marked all the Bloglovin' posts I haven't read yet 'Read', I have some backwards blog reading to do as well. The Labradors are both fast asleep, they had an extra long walk today. They first half was with Sandy and then after he left Rafa arrived, so they had another walk with him. I think we will all go to bed in a few minutes and get some extra sleep under our belts!!!


Friday Food: Margate Biscuits

Margate stackI'm not sure about the rest of The World, but here in Australia we have a biscuit called Kingston. As it happens, there is a city in the south of the State called Kingston. And if you are going to devise a recipe for your own Kingston biscuit, then what better name than Margate, the next town along from Kingston!!!

That's what Alistair Wise did in his new book, named after his shop: Sweet Envy. Most every Sunday he is on our local ABC Radio with an interesting and challenging recipe, which listeners are encouraged to make. His mum, Sally Wise, is a fabulous cook too and I own many of her books. I borrowed Sweet Envy from The Library.

This is a version of an ANZAC biscuit, made extra special with a filling of chocolate frosting and ganache. I made some as per the recipe and then some single biscuits with ganache drizzle on top. The general consensus was that they were delicious!! I was very pleased. They are yummy just as a plain biscuit too.

Alistair says you can keep the filled biscuits, in an airtight container, in a cool dark place for up to a week. I would only do that with the plain biscuits. Once they are filled I think they need to be kept in the fridge, especially in Summer, or fill them and eat them straight away. You could also just layer the two fillings, which would be quicker and easier.

The biscuits are large, next time I make them I will make them half as big. I really like that you can make these from your pantry. You don't need any fancy ingredients or a lot of time. Two hints to help you- make sure you flatten the biscuits before you bake them and really, really let them cool on the trays. I let mine cool for 10 minutes, otherwise they are too soft and break when you lift them up.

 

Margate Biscuits    makes 24 or 12 filled biscuits: large

  • 130g butter
  • 1 tbspn (20ml) golden syrup of honey
  • 230g caster sugar
  • 120g desiccated coconut
  • 120g rolled oats
  • 2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbspn (40ml) boiling water
  • 175g plain flour
  • pinch of salt

Frosting

  • 150g softened butter
  • 125g pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 50ml milk
  • vanilla bean, but I used 1 tspn vanilla extract

Ganache

  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 150ml thin, or pouring, cream

 

Preheat oven to 180*C and grease then line two trays with baking paper.

Melting

Put a saucepan over a low heat and gently melt the butter and golden syrup/honey.

Dry and bicarb

Once it is all melted, add the caster sugar, coconut and rolled oats. Mix well. Dissolve the bicarb in the boiling water and add to the mixture.

Flour and done

Finally add the flour and salt, and stir till everything is perfectly combined. Because I am a little obsessed with numbers, I weighed my mixture, 840g, and divided it by 24 which gave me 35g for each biscuit. I then proceeded to make each ball of the mixture and weighed it. You don't have to do that, they were round about a heaped tablespoon full. You have to squash the mixture quite a lot before it will make a ball, so be patient. It's also quite messy!!!

If you don't squash

I put 6 biscuits on each tray as I was not sure how much they would spread: not too much, You could put 8. Remember to squash them with your fingers before they go into the oven, mine held their spherical shape far too well. When I turned the tray halfway through, I just squashed them flat and they were fine.

Biscuits formed and baked

Bake for 10-15 minutes, mine took 12 and I swapped shelves and rotated the trays halfway through. The biscuits should be beautifully golden brown when they are ready. Cool on the tray for at least 10 minutes. I used the cooling time to make the next biscuit balls.

Make the chocolate ganache by heating the cream to boiling point and then pouring it over the chocolate. Stir till the ganache is smooth and set aside.

Ganache

If you would like to make the frosting, beat the butter and icing sugar in a mixer for at least 10 minutes until it is pale and light. Slowly pour in the milk and vanilla extract, and then add half of the chocolate ganache. Make sure it is all combined well, and there are no pale streaks. I gave it a good mix with a spoon.

Buttercream

To assemble the Margate biscuits, first match similarly sized biscuits. Place them in pairs, wrong sides up, and pipe or spread the chocolate frosting onto one. If you pipe, swirl it around the outside and then dollop a good spoonful of ganache into the centre. Top with the matching biscuits and very, very gently press down lightly so they gel together. You don't want to squash the filling out the sides!!

Filling

And there you are.

Yummy biscuits

Margate biscuits for everyone to enjoy and eat any which way you please.

Margates