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January 2015
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March 2015

Friday Food: Weetbix Slice: Tizzied Up

I wrote the heaWeetbix tizziedder for the post and then I wondered if other people in the world know what "tizzied up" means. I did a quick definition search and came up empty. Basically, tizzied up means taking something basic and making it more pleasing in a simple, but effective way. I believe Kath and Kim would tizzy things up. A lot.

 

The Weetbix slice is a basic quick and easy recipe, and this month's Taste magazine tizzied it up. Even tizzied, the ingredients are probably in most houses and you can substitute to your heart's content: peanut butter for Nutella, oats or raisins for coconut, maple syrup or honey for Nutella. Add nuts or seeds, dried fruit or choc chips. Decorate with chocolate icing, or hundreds and thousands!!! I actually used Vitabrits instead of Weetbix, as the former has less added sugar and I always like to sprinkle a little sugar on my brits or bix.

I bought ordinary M&M's, but you could use any small lolly. I chopped them up a little, and there were just enough brown ones in the big packet. Excellent!!

Joy of joys, this takes 15-20 minutes to bake. By the time the oven has heated up, the slice is ready to bake. I think it is a pretty great recipe. Jet'sMum asked for a cake this morning, and this is a slice, but as it is a posher version I think it might just qualify!!!

Taste Magazine puts a fancy info-graphic instead of a list of ingredients. I prefer a list.

 

Weetbix Slice: Tizzied Up      makes 16-18 pieces Taste puts pictures of ingredients

  • 125g butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup Nutella
  • 1 egg
  • 5 Weetbix, crushed
  • 1 cup Self Raising flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut

To decorate:

  • 100g white chocolate, gently melted
  • 30g mini M&M's

 

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C or 160*C fan-forced.

Butter nutella egg

Mix the melted butter and the Nutella and then mix in the egg.

Mix dry and wet

Place the dry ingredients in a  large bowl and whisk to combine. Make a well in the centre and add the wet ingredients. Stir well.

Line and fill tin

Grease and line a brownie or slice tin, approximately 16 x 26cm, letting the baking paper to over hang the sides. Spoon the weetbix mixture into the tin and press down evenly. Bake for about 15 minutes. It is ready when the top is  just firm and it is golden brown. Mine took 20 minutes to be ready.

Bake cool melt

Cool in the tin. Make sure it is quite cold, and remove carefully to a rack. At this stage you can make a simple chocolate icing, or go for something a little more fancy. I put the melted white chocolate in a ziplock bag, snipped the corner and then drizzled diagonally across the slice.  Then I scattered over the M&M's. I did make sure they were in some chocolate so they would adhere.

Decorate

When the topping is set, use a serrated knife to trim the edges if you so desire, and then cut into pieces. I think the slice needs to go into the fridge to 'set'. This was not quite cold when I cut it, and it was a tad crumbly. I think a little cold would fix that. Keep in an airtight container, in the fridge if it is hot.

Weetbix slice


He's The Boogie Woogie Boogey Man From Company T

Delve back through the information on your fridge, back to 2003. It's 2003 again. But this time we're not all receiving a "Be alert, not alarmed" fridge magnet. Oh no, we're to be totally alarmed. Tony, the PM, says we're to be alarmed, afraid, and not notice what's happening over there, where he is slowly imploding.

Be alert

While the Federal Government is trying to restrict my personal rights and collect my metadata in the name of freedom, we still have child refugees in detention centres and some unemployed possibly condemned to live for six months without any money at all. Bah humbug.

In other news the heat wave appears to be over. We have been very unhappy and unwell and Peri and I are especially pleased that it doesn't feel like 28*C when we wake up and hideously hotter as the day progresses. Thankfully a cool change has come and last night we all slept well for the first time in a fortnight. Friday, and most of Saturday, I had a nasty migraine so there was no Friday Food. I have my fingers, toes and eyes crossed that I will continue being well this week so I can bake!!

Peri's icy block

Peri and Gilly spurn Doctor Harry's ice blocks for dogs ideas. They won't have a bar of water, chicken stock, or chicken stock with treats inside.

Gilly's icy block

In desperation I made up a mixture of half Jalna Greek yoghurt and half water with a tablespoon full of some local honey. I froze them in a muffin tray. These icy blocks finally passed muster. I am glad that I have another weapon in my Dog Cooling arsenal, along with the paddle pool and spritzing of bellies and heads with cool water.

Labrador icy blocks

I have sewed some bags this year. I have my bag sewing down to a fine art now.

Bags of 2015 thus far

I have had two lovely outings: one with MrsMadcage, and one with TinkingBell. MrsMadcage and I talked non-stop and shopped with the same focus. She found some cute fox fabric and I am going to make a brand new kind of bag for her. More to follow.

When TinkingBell and I meet, we relish the opportunity to exchange gifts. It is like Christmas or birthdays. This time I sewed some vinyl zippy bags. They are tricky, but worth the effort. I think they are very good for storing your crafty bits and bobs - for lots of crafts. This is the first time I tried this particular bag, and I am eager to try it again.

Vinyl zippy bags

TinkingBell gave me a marvellous Jamie Oliver Tiny Greenhouse for growing herbs. I hope the seeds are girding their loins. And some gorgeous green wool that will become something warm and luscious for my neck in Winter. Come on Winter!!!

Gifts

We had breakfast and I was excited to see coddled eggs on the menu. My great aunt would coddle eggs for us when I was small. She had silver coddlers and broke the eggs into them and baked them bain marie in the oven. You can also do the same thing on the stove top. I can't remember whether I liked them way back then, but I love them now. These were delicious, lightly coddled so the whites were set and the yolks runny. Served with crusty sour dough soldiers with garlic and herb oil and bacon jam. I eschewed the bacon jam, it was a tad rich.

Coddled eggs

I've been reading up a storm whenever the weather was cool enough. I have six thick books by the bed and four more on the go: an old autobiography of Tony Curtis, a new biography of Queen Victoria and Glenda Larke's new book being the highlights for me.

The evenings are drawing in. Peri starts getting ready for bed at about 87pm now: as soon as it starts getting dark. She persuades Gilly that it is time for bed and that they need to go up the steps to The Forbidden Zone to do a wee and then Have A Treat and go to bed. Peri is a funny old girl. Gilly and I indulge her. We might indulge her again right now!!!


Friday Food: Hazelnut Cherry Truffles

TruffleIt would come as no surprise to anyone that I couldn't find my Australian Women's Weekly Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits. However, I did have a scribbled note about this recipe in the kitchen, and I took a leap of faith and went with that.

I make these truffles every Christmas for MrsDrWho, and of course, Christmas comes late to our house. You can make up to 60 truffles with this recipe, but the hazelnut outer coating can be frozen and kept for afterwards. Maybe Easter??

You can replace the hazelnut meal with almond meal. I used some very vintage Cherry Brandy to soak the cherries and flavour the truffles, but you can use brandy, rum or whatever you fancy. If you would prefer not to use alcohol, substitute some orange juice or maybe vanilla extract.

Though they may look complicated, the separate parts are easy to make. The assembling can be a tad messy!!!

The pictures may be a bid worse than usual as my camera battery's charge ran out and I used my iPad, poorly, for some of them. I hope the recipe makes sense, I am still not totally compos mentis.

 

Hazelnut Cherry Truffles    makes up to 60

  • 40-60 glace cherries
  • 20ml Cherry Brandy or whatever you fancy
  • 350g white chocolate
  • 1 cup pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup hazelnut meal
  • 1 egg-white
  • 1/4 cup thickened cream
  • 2 tspn extra Cherry Brandy
  • 400g dark or milk chocolate to coat the truffles
  • a little extra white chocolate for decorating if you wish

Soak the glace cherries in the Cherry Brandy, overnight or at least for a few hours. U put them in a ziplock bag, so I could make sure they were well and truly macerated.

Soak the glace cherries

Melt 350g white chocolate gently, in the microwave or over a bowl of gently simmering water. It is best to let is almost melt, and then remove from the heat and stir to melt the last few pieces so it is smooth.

Melt chocolate

While the chocolate is melting, mix the hazelnut meal and icing sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg-white and mix till a thick paste forms. This didn't happen for me, so I just poured in the cream and continued to fold everything together. If it is a little wet, add some extra hazelnut meal, if it is a little thick add some cream. It should be thick enough to stand a spoon up in it.

Sugar, meal, eggwhite, cream

Finally add the Cherry Brandy and the melted chocolate and mix together well. Spoon into a lined bar tin or some other square or rectangular container. This makes it easier to cut even pieces later on, rather than spooning the mixture out inaccurately. of course you don't have to do this, but I like my truffles to be almost the same size. Refrigerate for about an hour until firm.

Combining

My bar of hazelnut truffle coating measured 27 x 7 x 3cm. I cut generous 1cm slices and then cut each one into quarters.

Form the truffles

To make the truffles, form each small piece of the hazelnut mixture into a flattened disc and then place a cherry in the centre. Wrap the sides of the disc up and around the cherry to encase it. Finally roll into a ball. I kept the scraps of hazelnut mixture in case I needed to patch a hole. The cherry needs to be totally encased. The coating can be as thick or thin as you choose.

Making the truffles

Refrigerate the truffles for about 30 minutes, or even put them in the freezer.

Coating the truffles

Melt the dark or milk chocolate gently, as before, in a bowl or container that is the right size for truffle dipping. Dip each truffle in the chocolate to cover it totally. I used a toothpick to dip, and I covered up the toothpick hole on top with a swirl of extra chocolate. Refrigerate the truffles and then they are done.

Or you can decorate them as you please. I melted a little extra white chocolate in a ziplock bag, snipped a hole in the corner and swirled or swooshed across the truffles. You could roll them in sprinkles, use gold leaf (my word!) or a sliver of hazelnut or cherry.

Decorate

The truffles will keep for quite a long time in an airtight container in the fridge and I have even frozen them!!!

Hazelnut cherry truffles


'Old It, SisBoom, Wallop, What A Picture!

I especially put on my new dress this evening to post to my blog!! Yesterday I had a bug and was not very well. Luckily Peri and Gilly are excellent nurses. Today I felt better, but we still slept till 3pm. I have had my usual invalid food of Vegemite on toast and cups of tea, supplemented with fizzy lemon and lime Hydralyte tablets. I find the taste and effect of the tablets to be very good.

Good Girls

I do tire of Full Bust Adjustments and wanted a simple, cool dress to wear. I searched about on The Internet and chanced upon the SisBoom patterns. I checked out some Jamie dresses and reviews and decided to buy the pattern.

I took a day to make a toile of the bodice and a friend helped me pin and fit it. Then I made a wearable toile out of some old material. I love my new dress!!! And of course there are no photos without Labradors and no, Peri is not smelling Gilly's nether regions, even though it looks like it.

Dress 1

The dress has so many size options and a FBA, but again, I cut a size that was way too big for me. At least it is easier to take in, rather than let out with no extra material. I don't think next time I will do the FBA as there is quite a lot of gathering I don't need. I know, hard to believe. I also took up twice the recommended hem for my height, but I have a long torso and short legs, so I should have remembered that. There is a side zip, which I inserted on the right, so I have to do contortions to get it undone.

One great feature is that you only print out the pattern pieces for the bodice you need, and they are clearly marked, and the skirt is measured on the fabric. I only needed to print out 10 pages and they were very easy to tape together.

I emailed SisBoom to tell them of my dress joy, and had a lovely reply. Patterns are on sale till the 15th of February if you use the code SWOON. That means they are $6 US which works out to about $8 AU. So of course I bought two more patterns: Carolina Mae and Angie.

New patterns

I have done a little knitting and crocheting. I had some Vickie Howell Craft which is cotton and milk fibre so I crocheted and knitted two facecloths.

Facecloths

And now I am off to rest again. I have my usual appointment with my GP tomorrow, so if I am not feeling better still, I have a back up plan!!!

If you are unwell on a day when it is 30*C, Peri and Gilly will play in the paddle pool and then dig and lie in their ginormous hole in the garden. Peri looks deliriously happy. It was much cooler today, 24*C, with a nice cool brisk breeze. We were all pretty deliriously happy about that too.

Muddy happy Peri and Gilly


It's Her Party And I'll Cry If I Want To.

You know you are too tired and too poorly when you turn up to a child's birthday party a day early. The weather was hot and humid, The Labradors went for a walk, and I wrapped and baked and tied and sewed on a button or two and left for Toddler Zoe's third birthday party.

I thought it was strange that no-one else was there when I pulled up outside. Uncle Dutch came out and I knew instantly that I was a day early. I had a teeny tiny cry, and Toddler Zoe's mum and dad and Uncle Dutch and Other Grandma fed me freshly baked sausage rolls and poured some extra sweet tea and before you could say Jack Robinson I was feeling fine again. It meant I had a few special hours with Toddler Zoe and I had a chance to fix the straps on her dress. Then I went to The Party Proper the next day!! Oh how we laughed at my inability to arrive on the right day!!!

Toddler zoe dresses

Toddler Zoe likes flowers, so I was pleased her dresses were flowery. But, I also managed to find some flowery windmill material, so there's a Dutch connection too. I take extra care to finish the inside with French seams, or biased binding, and I also cover the ends of the zips too. I want her dresses to be nice to wear.

Although the temperatures haven't been exceedingly high, as usual I have felt the heat terribly. As has Peri. Gilly is less densely furred, and she's younger too. We are all very grateful for the air conditioner MrsDrWho rehoused here. I managed to make it blow even colder air, so cold that I felt a slight chill. It does make sleeping easier. We have had no rain, despite the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting it constantly. There has been a lot of lying in bed with the air con blowing cold, and colder!!!

Peri and Gilly at the fence

This is what my next door neighbours see many times a day: Peri and Gilly waiting to be noticed and have a treat. If no-one notices quickly enough, Gilly gives a gruff "Woof" of impatience!!! Peri is feeling incredibly well. Her new arthritis drugs must have a cumulative effect, because she doesn't limp at all any more and she is so much happier and wags her tail and plays and runs about.

MissSingapore gave me lots of green wool for Christmas and I did actually find a cool time to knit. I made a Dalegg. That would be a Dalek that is made from an egg cosy pattern!!  Toddler Zoe has a Dalek she can drive about, so I knew she would like one, It's much bigger than an egg cosy, but just the right size for a small hand to grasp.

The dalegg  2015

I never want my blog to be a "should", so I have been just not worrying that I haven't posted. I do try to answer my comments, so I'll make that the thing I'd like to do over the next few days. I find I am best not to make resolutions, rather I have things I'd like to do this year.

This year I'd like to wear my necklaces more!!!

Oh and in breaking news, I sewed a new dress!!! I have worn it twice. It's a wearable toile, and though  it's not quite right, I love it anyway. More to come soon.

Now we're all off to bed. The GardyGardeners come tomorrow, and I have Pigs in Blankets to bake so we must be up early.

 


Friday Food: Hurry Hurry Pasta

Hurry hurry pasta in the panTranslated into Italian, that's Pasta Sciue Sciue, from the SMH Good Food. Truly, this is made in a hurry, but not a flustered one. And it is quite elegant and very flavourful.

I was able to buy a punnet of mixed gourmet tomatoes. Really ripe tomatoes being a must I think, it is where most of the deliciousness comes from. I accidentally left the fresh basil out of the fridge, so it was a tad wilted. Nevertheless it tasted fine. I used Angel Hair pasta. I boil the kettle and have the hot plate already on high and then pour the boiling water into the saucepan, add the salt, and as soon as it is bubbling this pasta is cooked in 2 minutes. Perfect.

It makes a generous serving for lunch, or add some tinned salmon, or pork. I did that and just folded it through the pasta. I've cooked this twice now, and it really can be ready to eat in less than 10 minutes. Way less. Today I cooked half the recipe, it's easy with the amounts to halve or double.

 

Hurry Hurry Pasta    serves 4

  • 350g pasta
  • extra salt for cooking the pasta
  • 500g small ripe gourmet or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, finely sliced
  • 80ml very good olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • good pinch dry chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tspn dried oregano
  • 1 tspn sea salt
  • Parmesan cheese, grated for serving
  • extra very good olive oil for drizzling

When you choose your pasta, time it so that it will be cooked just as the tomatoes are. That should take about 5 minutes, so work back from there!! make sure the well salted water is boiling hard when you add the pasta.

Tomatoes

Prepare the tomatoes, cut them into halves or quarters.

Fluttery garlic

Heat the oil in a pan over a low heat. Add the garlic, chilli flakes and dried oregano. Watch carefully for when the garlic 'flutters', and you will know exactly when that is: the garlic slices start to rock back and forth in the pan. As soon as that happens, turn the heat up to high and add the tomatoes and sea salt.

Cook on high

Cover the pan and then cook for 2-3 minutes. Take it off the heat and give the pan a chef-y shake a couple of times. It is ready when the tomatoes are soft and have released their juice.

Add pasta and basil

Add the sliced basil and the drained pasta and mix well to combine.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese. I think some crusty bread and a salad wouldn't go amiss either.

Hurry hurry pasta yum