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August 2015
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October 2015

Every Little Sneeze Seems To Whisper Louise.

Peri and Gilly both looked very happy when we popped into the vet to pick up some tablets. I am always very grateful that they enjoy going to the vet, it makes it soooo much easier.

When we were at the vet again

Gilly has been auditioning for the part of Mata Hari I think: all mysterious with smouldering eyes. She loves to be under The Labrador blanket but doesn't want to totally miss out.

Gilly in the bed

Lorelai Gilmore is all about the not missing out and when we are first to the dam she is on constant "Who is coming?" alert. Peri, not so much, but Lorelai Gilmore looks forward to lots of running with Rafa and Sandy.

Who can it be now

Peri does have a bit of a run, usually when she has sneakily opened the gate to the bush herself and then wants to catch up with everyone else. She has a bit of a lopsided straight legged lope, but it works for her. And she is so happy to be running, even if it is a sad old dog's run.

Peri having a little run

I caught up with TinkingBell on Thursday, which was why I didn't quite get to blogging last week. I did some sewing and cooking on Wednesday and then had a big sleep most of Friday. It is always the way: it never rains, but it pours and I had an appointment at the exercise physiologist smack bang in the middle of the day. So it was out for a walk, then to brunch with Tinking and then off to the EP, then back for lunch with Tinking and then home and to bed!!

Exploding TARDIS bag

It is always lovely to catch up with friends, especially when it is as if you left off a conversation with them just yesterday. There was so much chatting, swapping of new authors, pattern book recommendations and then more chatting. I sewed TinkingBell an exploding TARDIS bag, and made some fudge. I was lucky enough to receive some green Breeze that needed a new home and how lucky that I found I already had a ball and a bit of my own Harmony in pretty much the same colour!! There is definitely enough for a cardi, a cool cardi for the not so cold times.

Wool, well cotton

I have been drinking the carefully chosen for me tasty tea as well, lemon and chamomile, and it is just yummy. It is also good for the digestion, and I sometimes find I need some peppermint or ginger tea, so this is a marvellous addition.

Delicious tea

I am also lucky to have received a wonderful TARDIS bag from a lovely friend, Mrs Mitten. Once again my photo unskills mean that I don't have a proper photo, but it is a fantastic TARDIS  bag with a long strap and it is extra special because I make bags for other people, and rarely for myself. I shall take a better photo with my camera, instead of the iPad in poor light, and post it again. Just because the bag is so nice.

Bag

I am very lucky to have lots of wonderful friends. Thank you, friends!!!

Lime milkshake milo

The Lime Milkshake Milo has been knitted and posted away for a new and very welcome baby. I made the Hugs and Kisses version of the cable: OXOXO, in some gorgeous Naturally Loyal. I do love to knit with the Naturally Loyal, it is one of my favourite wools.

Peri and I have hay fever and we are both sneezy and have itchy eyes. I can't take anything much, but I find one paracetamol in the morning and one in the evening staves off the worst. The wattle is out and I think that might be the culprit for both of us. At least Gilly can see and smell properly. My nose is sore from the constant sneezing and it makes my brain fuzzy too.

The Labradors are in bed. They have had a few naps today as Peri and I find the hay fever so annoying that a sleep really helps. Tomorrow I plan to wash the material for my Star Wars dress and perhaps start adjusting the pattern. I am seriously thinking I need my Doctor Who dress too, so maybe I will cut out two at once. I watched the new episode of Doctor Who on The iPad at 7-45am. I love being able to see it early in the day, and I am very pleased The ABC has continued to do this. Right, bedtime for everyone, and some soothing tea for me.


Friday Food: Peanut Butter and Jelly Loaf

Slice of pb&jAnd I'm using the name from the October Delicious, but I really mean Peanut Butter and Jam Loaf. Once again I have gone for ease over technique and this week I was able to taste my own baking, and I can therefore attest that the loaf is tasty and interesting. This is a one bowl loaf and so easy to make. I am pretty sure I like it, but there's a niggling doubt in my mind. I may have to eat another slice to find out. The peanut butter is not the foremost taste, but the crunch of the roasted peanuts and then sweet moist strawberries are very welcome. The recipe makes two generous loaves, but I halved it and made one, in case it was awful. It is not.

I was able to buy some raw Australia peanuts, which I then roasted, and local unsalted peanut butter at the supermarket and strawberries are in season and only $1-90 for a 250g punnet. This is a very economical loaf to bake. In the end I decided not to pour extra strawberry jam over the loaf, but I did consider a little sugar syrup glaze would gussy the loaf up for a posh afternoon tea. The only possible tricky ingredient is the buttermilk, but you can substitute some milk soured with lemon juice/vinegar, or some light sour cream, or plain yoghurt at a pinch. The cake took ten minutes longer to bake then the recipe suggested, but it was not overly brown on top.

I will give the recipe proper, but I just halved it and went with two whole eggs and it was fine.

 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Loaf   makes 2

  • 260g (1 3/4 cups) plain flour
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 125g butter, melted and cooled
  • 280g (1 cup) peanut butter, I used smooth unsalted
  • pinch of salt
  • 250ml (1 cup) buttermilk
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g (1 cup) roasted unsalted peanuts. 100g in the loaf, 50g on top
  • 450g strawberries, hulled. 300g in the loaf, 150g on top
  • icing sugar and strawberry jam to serve

 

Preheat the oven to 170*C, and grease and line two loaf tins. I used my ordinary loaf tin which measures 20 x 10 cm on the base. Make sure your butter is melted and cooled.

Flour sugar pb

Put the sifted flour, baking powder, buttermilk and sugar in a large bowl and then add the peanut butter, pinch of salt and lemon juice.

Peanuts

I roasted the peanuts at 170*C for about 15 minutes. The skins just peeled off and chopping them was the most work I did for the loaf. Remember to add just the peanuts for inside the loaf: 100g/50g for one loaf.

And we are done

I chopped the strawberries for in the loaf batter (300g or 150g for one loaf) randomly because I wanted some large chunks and then small pieces throughout the loaf. Add the eggs and then mix well until combined. And that's it.

Making baking

Spoon into the tin, smooth the top and then slice the rest of the strawberries and arrange on top, and sprinkle over the remaining peanuts. Bake for 55 minutes. Mine took 65 and I knew it was done when a skewer poked into the centre came out clean. That's the best indicator for this loaf I think. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then on a rack. You can spoon over some warmed strawberry jam and dust with icing sugar when you serve the loaf if you so choose. I may have eaten a slice off the end!!!

Pb and strawberry loaf


Friday Food: Celebration Cupcakes

C cupcakeThis week we have an actual reason for being late with Friday Food: Peri was not very well at all, and so we had to go to the vet and see Dr Rob and she has some special painkillers to make her feel well. Gilly has been taking extra care and cleaning Peri's ears! We had a phone call yesterday to say that her blood test was good, better than last time. Dr David and I agreed that she just had a "thing" and left it at that for a fortnight. Of course, when I am upset or worried I usually bake.

I have been looking at the recipe for Celebration Cupcakes on the back of the CSR Caster Sugar packet for years. This was to be their moment in the sun. And a very good shining moment it was too: a deliciously moist cupcake, with white choc bits, orange zest and an orangey icing. Perfect.

I followed the recipe exactly and they turned out so well I even tasted one, or three. Though I shouldn't. They are moreish. The mixture made 21 cupcakes, with the papers filled 2/3 full and there was just the right amount of icing too. I am picturing these made with lemon zest and fresh peaches, blueberries or raspberries.

 

Celebration Cupcakes    makes 20

  • 165g butter, cubed and softened
  • 165g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly whipped
  • 125g sour cream
  • 185g self raising flour
  • zest of an orange
  • 125g white choc bits

For the icing

  • 90g butter
  • 180g pure icing sugar
  • orange juice from the zested orange

 

Preheat the oven to 190*C or 170*C fan-forced. Put the paper cases into the cupcake tray.

Creaming add eggs

I like to just soften the butter and warm the sugar as the oven heats up, I wasn't paying attention and some cubes melted. I have been reading that softening butter in the microwave changes the texture or something like that, so I am avoiding it a little more. Anyway, you should (apparently) be able to easily push your finger into the butter, and it is then officially softened. Cream the butter and sugar until it is light and pale, maybe 4-5 minutes. Then add the lightly whipped eggs and beat till thoroughly combined.

Add sour cream

Mix in the sour cream. It makes a nice light batter.

Flour choc zest

Add the zest of an orange and the flour and choc bits and fold through till no streaks of flour remain.

And bake

Fill the cupcake papers 2/3 full, I made 21 little cakes, and then bake for 15-18 minutes. I found it took 20 minutes for my cakes and they did not brown on top terribly much. They did spring back when touched on the top, and come away from the side of the pan. Cool on a rack and do not ice until cold.

Icing

To make the icing, I slightly melted the butter, added the fresh orange juice and then mixed in the icing sugar with a spoon. I liked the icing better when I let it set and whisked it with a fork and it went a nice pale colour, but you could also use it runny. Add a little extra juice or icing sugar till you have an icing you like. These are probably best eaten within a few days as they are quite moist and in a warm climate might benefit from being kept in the fridge!!

Celebration cupcakes


#putoutyouronions

While I have not lost my mother, as a country we have been very careless with our Prime Minister. Again. It was on, and my favourite hashtag on The Twitter was #putoutyouronions. I wish I had The Twitter just so I could have done that!! So it's farewell Tony and hello Malcolm, who at least knows that the PM is decided by the Party with the majority and not by a special vote by electors.

Good to live in a country where this all happens without the Defence Forces driving tanks through the streets, with not a shot fired, or a water cannon aimed. Yay for us. My mum and I talk on the phone on Monday nights and we both said that we couldn't go to sleep until we knew who would be the PM.

I have been Getting Things Done now I am feeling a little more like myself. I have almost finished a pair of socks for MrsDrWho's birthday, which was in June. I am using my usual pattern in some Opal Hundertwasser Kuss im Regen, Kiss in the Rain. I call them The I Just Want Your (Kiss) Socks. I love the colours and the way they merge and play.

I just want your socks sock

Peri is pottering along, she needs help sometimes to jump into the car, but we are developing a routine and try to anticipate each other. Peri is very funny, because when she is exceptionally pleased and joyous, she has what I like to call Happy Hackles. And she likes to be patted on The Hackle area: hard.

Peri's happy hackles

Lorelai Gilmore is exceedingly pleased as well, because The Paddle Pool has been broken out for Spring. It has been very hot, 26*C,which I hope is not the shape of things to come. We have to put an extra cover on the bed, because she likes to play in the pool and then go to bed. As you do.

Gilly's spring paddle pool

Gilly is very interested in cars and so far has been in Rafa's car, and now Sandy's. You can just see Sandy on the far side.

Gilly in Sandy's car

I picked up the latest John Flanagan book today. I had ordered it a few days ago from Petrarch's and expected it in a fortnight, so it came early. As I was leaving the shop one of the Shop Men was coming back in, I showed him my book and he looked inside the cover and then swapped it for a book signed by the author. I am extra chuffed now.

A new book

There is a new way to eat a Golden Gaytime ice-cream: it comes in a tub at the supermarket now. There are new flavours: mint, strawberry and chocolate, but I went for the stock standard toffee and vanilla with biscuit crumbs. It is nice to have an ice cream without chocolate, which I am not supposed to eat.

Gt

On Monday I found ALL my Library books and took them back. I also found my proper prescription sunglasses, and I am very happy about that. MrsDrWho and I went shopping and I bought a few Christmas presents. We found some tops in Target with a push-the-button-for-sound feature: they play the Star Wars theme. I had been quite cross that there were no clothes at all for women, apparently Disney feels they have the Princess market for girls and adult women are not a demographic they are interested in. Still, Target does have some pyjamas and a top.This is a children's t-shirt, but I am going to take off the button and sew a little pocket in my soon-to-be Star Wars dress and push it all the time to annoy everyone. And amuse myself.

Da da da da da da da da dum

I 'virtually' attended The Writers' and Readers' Festival, and I notice they avoided any proper punctuation.  I went to Words for Nerds as it streamed for free in our Library. The speakers were Jane Caro, Julian Burnside and Don Watson. It was slightly spoiled by the woman in charge in the room speaking loudly on her phone. Twice. Very enjoyable and I would go again. I have read books authored by all three, and I am very interested in words too. It is a Very Poor photo.

Writer reader festival

And now we are going to watch Gruen, time shifted, and then go to bed and read the new book. We haven't had a nap today at all. I might not read very much.


Friday Food: Chicken Wings with Sriracha, Honey and Sesame

WingsHappiness is an easy recipe that tastes marvellous. This is such a recipe. It is not a meal, per se, by itself, but makes a delicious snack or lunch or part of a larger spread. I like to trim the tips from the chicken wings and then cut the wings in half: the tips don't go to waste, they go to The Labradors. The tips burn easily, so they are best removed. Then just make a simple marinade and let the wings rest for 15 minutes while the oven heats up. 30 minutes later they are ready.

There was no way I was going to find micro sisho leaves, so I used the tips of some fresh mint, which seems to be a good substitute. You can adjust the heat of the recipe by adding a little extra chilli, but I thought they had all the flavours I like: spicy, hot, salty and a little sweet. I was also being canny and using up the rest of the bottle of Sriracha sauce. If you can't find this particular sauce then substitute a chilli sauce that you like.

This recipe is from the Aug/Sept issue of Donna Hay Magazine.

 

Chicken Wings with Sriracha, Honey and Sesame    serves 4

  • 2 kg chicken wings, tips removed and halved at joint
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) Sriracha sauce
  • 20ml (1 tbspn) soy sauce
  • 90g (1/4 cup) honey
  • 1 tspn sesame oil
  • salt and pepper
  • baby sisho or tiny mint leaves to serve

Preheat the oven to 220*C and I put the tray in too, so it gets nice and hot.

Prepare wings

Remove the tip from the chicken wings and then cut at the joint.. Place in a ziplock bag or a shallow plastic container that seals.

Put the Sriracha sauce, honey, sesame oil, soy, salt and pepper in a bowl and then whisk to combine.

Marinade

Pour over the wings and massage till they are well covered. I prefer a ziplock bag so I can flip the wings a few times. Leave them for just 15 minutes to marinate.

Line the tray with baking paper and then put the chicken wings on. I like to leave lots of room so they bake and don't boil/steam.

Bake wings

 Cook for 30 minutes, turning the wings at least once. They should be dark and sticky.

Mint

Serve with the tiny leaves if you like, but they are perfect as they are.

Sriracha wings


Oh Mother, Where Art Thou???

Well, I almost went with The Day My Mum Might Have Gone Psycho. It started when my sister rang from The Mainland to say that the Doctors' surgery had rung her to say my mum had missed her appointment. My mum never misses an appointment. No-one could contact her by landline, mobile or email. I knew she was going out with some friends, but I didn't know their numbers, or the new next-door neighbour and my Aunt was on The Mainland too.

So I did what any good daughter would do, I rang the Police and asked for help. I also told them her age. I was more worried about that really. In about half an hour the Police rang back to say that her car was not there and there was no sign of violence at all, and she wasn't lying inside unconscious. So we sat by the phone, ringing and messaging until my mum arrived home at about 3pm.

Turns out her appointment at the doctor was on THURSDAY and she had been on a tour of the Menzies Centre and had not turned her phone back on. Everything was fine, and I am glad the doctors' surgery rang, but very cross they had the wrong day and then sent my mum a letter chiding her for missing her appointment. It took me more than a few days to recover from the day, but I did go into the Police Station in town and thank them very much. I am grateful to live in a place where the Police will look for a person who has been misplaced for just a few hours.

We have also updated all our contact numbers and my mum's new mobile has an alarm and automatically dials for help.

Look, Gilly and Peri: happy girls.

Gilly and Peri Happy girls

Peri's blood test showed two of her liver enzymes are high, and she must have another test in three months. She is sometimes wobbly on her back legs and only goes up the steps if it is really worth it. When Uncle Dutch came, he said she looked at him and he saw her think: "He'll come down the stairs and pat me," and he did and she was right!!

The Whipper-snipper Man came again and made the paving weed free and like new. He also took out lots more weeds.  Gilly can run in great circles from the bottom to the top and up the side and the paddle pool is in service again. Peri is pleased to have the side to sniff new smells.

Back yard

My mum and Aunt came to visit last week. We shopped and ate and I helped mum choose a new mobile and then we shopped and ate a little more. For three days. I had a lovely time and it was so nice to see them both. Plus, my mum wasn't missing, which was a bonus. I felt fairly fine on Friday, but went downhill and on Saturday I didn't wake up till almost 10am and I had to pretend it was Sunday so The Labradors didn't know they had missed their walk. We had a catch up walk on Sunday proper.

Peri had the best day ever when she found a huge bone from a wallaby. It had been stripped clean and was not smelly at all. She ran, in her own fashion, all the way from the gate to the dam, proudly carrying the bone. Neither Rafa nor Gilly could get a look in.

Peri bone 1

Peri Gilly bone

She didn't want to chew it, just carry it. In the end we threw it over the fence before she wanted to bring it home.

Peri bone so happy

I have nothing crafty to show, as although I feel well, what with my mum almost disappearing, the vet visits and then visitors, I feel quite tired. Yesterday I felt a bit better and of course I did too many things. A new book arrived a few weeks ago at the PO at the corner, but there was no card in the letter box. Luckily they know me and sent another card today and I went to pick up my book. Since it was 19*C today, I need to sew a dress. MrsDrWho has suggested I cut out two at once. I think she might be on to something there.

Book

Cadbury have a new kind of chocolate treat. They have been around for a few weeks so I bought some and made MrsDrWho taste them. There is a sweet, and a savoury, chocolate 'biscuit'.

New choc

The sweet version has little Nice biscuits without the sugar, which taste vaguely of Malt'o'milk biscuits. The savoury version is reminiscent of the Lemon Crisp biscuits, which has two sweet biscuits sprinkled with salt and a creamy lemon filling.: obviously with chocolate and not lemon. I am not sure they will catch on, but they are soooo much better than Vegemite Chocolate. That was a mad creative flop!!

Cleo is very apprehensive about the whole thing, but determined to be involved.

New choc biscuits

And now I am going to watch some TV (Hinterland on The Netflix and then on real TV The Chaser's Media Circus. Gruen was back last night after almost two years) and then we are all going to bed. We have new cotton sheets with 250 thread count. They are as smooth as silk and I think I may need some more. The old sheets have a lower thread count and have developed dreadful bobbles. I am throwing them out and there is no way of using them for anything else really.

And there will definitely be Friday Food. I had prepared for last week, but then the sleep over.