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February 2016
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April 2016

Some People Want To Fill The World With Gilly Love Songs, And What's Wrong With That?

There could not be a better big sister for Hedy, than Gilly. Lorelai Gilmore is interested and kind and endlessly patient with the very annoying puppy who has come to live with us. She is so very happy to have someone to play with, and since Hedy can't jump up on the bed yet, she has an oasis of peace to which she can escape when the puppy is too much.

Last week we went to The Vet, just for a visit, so Hedy's first experience wouldn't be her vaccinations.

Gilly and Hedy's trip to the vet

She was very reassured by Gilly, who loves going to The Vet. Hedy went out the back with the nurses and did an accidental wee of excitement. Gilly waited with me and had lots of pats and treats from the other nurses. Hedy has a nice new bandanna and didn't mind wearing it at all. It is very strange hearing what an excellent job Hedy Lamarr is doing when she puts on weight. She has gained almost 2kg in almost two weeks, which is exactly the right amount for a puppy.

Hedy at the vet by herself

Hedy only cried a little in the car, and I think it was because she couldn't see out the windows.

Gilly and Hedy visit the vet

Gilly likes to play with Hedy, they love Tug of War.

Tug of war

They also like taking naps together.

Sleepy Labradors

Hedy bites Gilly, she pounces on her, she growls and she inspects Gilly's belly, just in case Gilly might be her mother and there could be a drink of milk. She chases Gilly and steals whatever she has and runs away with it. Through all of this, Gilly is never rough,or cross, and never growls. I think she should be a little more assertive, but they should work it out for themselves. I don't think Lorelai Gilmore realised how much she missed Peri, until Hedy Lamarr came along.

Here are Harki and Peri, and Baby Gilly, seven years and three days ago. I think Gilly and Hedy look very much alike!! I keep calling Gilly Harki because she is so pale in colour and Hedy is caramelly like Peri.

Harki, Peri Baby Gilly

When Hedy sleeps, Gilly goes about her Big Dog business and usually sleeps. I take the opportunity to sleep as well, or to sew. I have made bags #74 and 75 for AuntieDutch and MrsDrWho respectively. I also sewed a sturdy Easter fabric basket for MrsDrWho. I found a less than Fat Quarter sized piece of glitter Easter material and used a free Craftsy pattern. It turned out rather well, and will store folded fat Quarters very nicely.

Bags #74 and 75

Easter sturdy fabric basket

I sewed the best matching buttons I could find onto my Equinox cardi today and washed it and it is still drying, but it is done. I am very happy it fits so perfectly, well it did before it was washed!! The sleeves are kind of 7/8 and I like that. I used exactly three skeins of wool. I have about a metre left over so not exactly exactly, but so close I think it can count. I can't seem to photograph the colour, it is darker than this.

Equinox cardi 2016

And now it is an hour and a half since their dinner and The Labradors have spent all of it running in and out playing Labrador games. They are very happy. Soon Hedy will need a sleep. Oh she's here now. Hedy knows her name and will come when she is called. She does almost all her wees and poohs outside (5 wees and 3 poohs inside thus far which is very good) and because we are home she is carried out and popped into the nice grassy area and praised highly when something good happens. Gilly is praised as well, and she gets everything first. First at last!!

We have started out new quilts at Sewing. It is the Summer BOM from 2015 at Craftsy. Here are our first blocks.

Sbomcollage

Oh, Hedy is complaining because something is not going her way: the door is too open, the water is too full or some other tiny thing is awry in her little world. Thank goodness we have the Lovely Lorelai Gilmore to be a good influence.

Here is The Labradors' Easter picture. Happy Easter!!!

Easter 2016


Friday Food: Choc-centre Cupcakes

Choc centre cupcakeFriday Food on Sunday again. A puppy is a big responsibility and as well as a huge distraction, and Hedy makes Gilly and me tired: so much playing to be done! 

This week I baked Choc-centre Cupcakes from the April Taste magazine. On the whole, these were very easy as you put all of the cupcake ingredients into the food processor for 30 seconds and the batter is done. The recipe says to cut a cone from the cupcake after it is baked and then put the Lindor chocolate ball in, and cover with the trimmed cake cone. I was disappointed with the quality of the Salted Caramel Lindor balls. They came straight home from the supermarket in less than ten minutes, but they seem to have been affected by the heat at some time prior to that. They were not soft and runny inside and the chocolate casing was discoloured and wrinkled from the foil wrapper. There were 13 in the box so I cut one open to check. I decided to put the chocolate balls in before the cupcakes baked and I was very happy with the result.

Lindor

The frosting took forever to beat with the mix-master. More than 15 minutes and I used light, rather then dark, brown sugar. I still don't think it looks as pale as the photo in the magazine. I decided not to frost all the cupcakes, because with a little judicious microwaving (10-20 seconds) I think MrsDrWho can recreate the "just baked" oozing chocolate centre at any time.

I will make these again, with maybe a Raffaello, a Ferrero Rocher, or even a mini Cadbury Creme Egg, inside. They're very versatile and easy, but look marvellous.

 

Choc-centre Cupcakes        makes 12

  • 120g almond meal
  • 75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
  • 50g (1/2 cup) cocoa - I used Dutch processed
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • 140g (1/2 cup) Nutella
  • 80g butter, melted
  • 2 tspn vanillla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) maple, or golden, syrup
  • 12 Lindor Salted Caramel Balls
  • 50g dark chocolate, melted, for drizzling over frosting

For the Frosting

  • 125g (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 155g (3/4 cup) dark brown sugar, I used light brown

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C or 160*C fan-forced, and line a muffin tray with paper cases.

Blending

Combine the almond meal, flour, cocoa, baking powder, Nutella, butter, vanilla, eggs, buttermilk and maple/golden syrup in the food processor. Blend for 10-15 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl and then blend for a further 10-15 seconds.

I put two tablespoons of the mixture, that's 2 x 20ml spoons, into the cupcake paper and then pressed in the Lindor ball. I had enough batter left for another teaspoonful to go on top. If I had been more careful, I could have avoided the holes in the top by covering the Lindor balls evenly.

Fill and bake

Bake for 20 minutes and these were right on the mark. I turned my tray at 10 minutes, and they were perfectly baked in the time allowed. I was too impatient, but they should be completely cooled in the pan.

Frosting

Meanwhile, make the frosting by beating the butter and brown sugar for at least 10-15 minutes. It will eventually go paler and creamy.

I spread the frosting on with a knife and drizzled over some of the melted dark chocolate, but I think these would be best served warm, so the centre is runny, and maybe with a dollop of cream or a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Happy Easter!!

Choc centre cupcakes


Friday Food: Easter Egg Biscuits

An easter egg biscuitI was browsing The Pinterest, as I am wont to do, and I saw these cute and clever biscuits. The recipe was in German, and the Google Translate was not terribly helpful, so I went with what I thought would work. After baking these, I think they would be better covered in some white fondant or plain glace icing for easy transport, but they work really well with sifted icing sugar if they are staying home to be eaten.

I used my Kiss Biscuit recipe and added the zest of a lemon, or it could be an orange, whilst creaming the butter and sugar. Any plain sweet biscuit dough should work. Though I only baked a few biscuits, using maths, I think the Kiss Biscuit dough could make up to 40 paired Easter Egg Biscuits. I filled these with bought lemon curd: we have a new puppy, I can't do puppies and curd. I think other fillings could be marmalade or apricot jam, even a light caramel. I have included a clicky link to my lemon curd recipe in the ingredients below. If you don't have a new puppy, it is a good one to try.

I had a nice new Easter Egg biscuit cutter but I didn't have a small circle cutter. I used the lid from my Lemon Barley cordial bottle. I cut the circles from the biscuits after they had been in the fridge chilling. I found it easier to keep the circles very circular with the chilled dough.

The biscuits keep for at least a week, unfilled, in an airtight container in a cupboard. Filled, they last a day or two, depending on how squooshy you like them.

 

Easter Egg Biscuits   makes up to 40 paired biscuits

 

Make the biscuit dough following the recipe, but add the lemon zest at the creaming stage.

Zesty dough

After chilling in the fridge for 30 minutes, cut off about 1/4 of the dough, knead briefly, and form into a disc. Roll out evenly to a 3mm thickness and cut out the Easter Egg shapes. Place carefully on a tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate for 15 minutes. This helps the biscuits hold their shape when they bake.

Refrigerate and bake

Preheat the oven to 180*C when the biscuits go in to the fridge to chill. Cut out the holes and then bake for 12 minutes, turning the trays half way through. Do not nurse The Puppy and ignore the timer, my biscuits are a little too cooked for my liking, but sifted icing sugar covers a multitude of sins. Place on a rack and cool completely.

Curd and sift

Match up the biscuits, a base with a holey biscuit. Spread the base (the intact biscuit) with lemon curd. Sift icing sugar over the holey biscuits and then gently join to two together.

Happy Easter Biscuits!!!

Easter egg biscuits


Ready, Hedy, Go!!

Oh. a puppy has a lot of 'go'. She likes to wake up at 4-15am and play for an hour. She does not like to nap in the afternoon at a suitable time for us. She likes to jump and/or slither from a precarious high point to a very low one one. And she is slowly becoming part of the family. When we came home from our walk this morning Gilly ignored the paddle pool, and ran straight to the back door, tail wagging, and then inside to Hedy.

Gilly, Hedy, the toy

A puppy is a lot to put up with when you are a seven-year-old.

Hedy woofs when she wants something. Or she feels she is being ignored. She is starting to come when her name is called. Gilly can also be sent to successfully find the puppy, and sometimes bring her back.

Hedy does steps

On Sunday morning she could not go down the steps, or up the steps. By lunch time she had worked out going down, and then by the end of the day she could go up all by herself. And up and down whilst carrying her new squeaky toy, which is a present from MrsDrWho. She can get in and out of the paddle pool too.

Gilly in puppy prison

We leave the door to The Puppy Prison, as I like to call it, open all the time, except for when Hedy is in there for her own safety when we go out. Gilly likes to go in there too, and I sprinkle puppy treats inside so it is a nice place to be.

There has been precious little knitting or sewing. I made a Cat grocery bag #73. I am starting to number them as I go now.

Cat bag 2016 #73

The Equinox Cardigan is on the verge of being finished. I need to graft the underarms, seam the sleeves and sew on some buttons.  Finding the right buttons is always the most difficult part of knitting a cardigan.

Equinox march

The colour is not true, it is a dark pine green colour. Thanks to people who know I am a Green Enthusiast, I was alerted to The Knitpicks Australia Green sale for St Patrick's Day. Who knew?? A whole sale of green wool. I bought some wool to make a new Solstice Cardi in Forest Heather. I really love this cardigan, and I know it fits. I also bought some Wool of the Andes in 5ply Grass colour. Those two, and some green cotton Dishie and I was 5 cents over the $60 for free postage.

The weather has taken a turn and has been so wonderfully cool. There is a cool breeze now, and it is crisp and darker in the morning. It makes it much easier to be patient with a new puppy and give Gilly all the usual attention too. I can't believe it is Easter next week. I'm really not ready. Not at all. Luckily the puppy can't come into the kitchen, though she barks and cries when she thinks her food is being prepared. Gilly isn't allowed in either, because the puppy isn't. Life is so unfair.

I almost missed my appointment at The Hospital today. I went to have a blood test yesterday, but somehow I thought my appointment was tomorrow. A niggle in the back of my mind made me check after our walk. My numbers are the same, which is good. We are always pleased when my numbers are the same: wrong, but the same. So I have all day tomorrow to think about, and make, Friday Food.


Friday Food: Mini Choc Bunny Tarts

One Easter Bunny tartHere we are again with Friday Food on Sunday. It was hot today, but we have adjusted a little to The Puppy, and so Friday Food could be undertaken. I was inspired by what I like to call The Sacrificial Bunny Tartlets in this month's Coles Magazine, but things needed to be beaten and baked and crushed, and so I took the idea and made it simpler. I made ganache in the microwave that took just a minute. I made little cups out of Chocolate Ripple biscuits that were softened briefly in the microwave too. Then I filled the cups, unwrapped the Bunnies and Bob's your uncle. I made dark chocolate ganache, but milk and white would be great too, in fact I will definitely make all three for Easter gifts. I am also toying with the idea of using Butternut Snap biscuits, caramel and a thin topping of ganache and then a Bunny. If your Easter is in the Northern Hemisphere, baking the Coles tarts would be great.

Choc tarts with malteaster bunny

I bought Mini MaltEaster Bunnies, there were 16 in a pack and this recipe would easily make 16 little tarts, but I made 12 because that's how many holes the tray has. I am not quite sure what the tray is called, my mum always made Rock cakes in one like this. I searched and it appears the Rest of the World calls it a Mince Pie Tray: there you go. The Mini Bunnies look as if they are having fun at the pool, while the large ones look, well, sacrificial.

 

Mini Choc Bunny Tarts        makes about 16

  • 200g good dark chocolate: or milk or white
  • 1/3 cup (85ml) cream
  • 65g butter
  • 16 Chocolate Ripple Biscuits
  • 16 Mini MaltEaster Bunnies

 

Ganache

Make the ganache by first putting the chocolate, cream and butter into a microwave proof dish. The heat for 30 seconds and stir. Heat for another 30 seconds and stir till smooth. Of course if you have an all-powerful microwave, maybe 15 second bursts. Once the ganache is smooth and shiny set it aside too cool. I didn't put it in the fridge as I read it loses its shine.

Biscuits

Place two Choc Ripple biscuits on a plate, or some baking paper, in the microwave and heat for between 10 and 20 seconds. There are enough in the packet to conduct and experiment. Three at a time was too many, and two for 20 seconds on High worked perfectly for me. If you don't have a microwave, you can heat and soften them in the oven: bake for 2-3 minutes at 180*C.

Soften

The tray is non-stick, and as soon as the biscuit is heated slightly it should be softer in the centre. Place it on top of one of the curved cup holes, and press down with something hemispherical. I used my 20ml metal tablespoon measure, but a soup spoon or an ice-cream scoop would work just as well. The biscuit will quickly cool and hold the curved cup shape.

Make biscuit cups

When the ganache has cooled slightly, fill each cup almost to the brim. These biscuit cups held about 3 teaspoons of the ganache.

Fill biscuit cups

Apply the bunnies as desired.

Apply the bunnies

And the Mini Choc Bunny Tarts are complete.

Bunnies applied

The evening is cooler and so I think I will put these in the cupboard overnight. In warmer climes they probably need to be refrigerated and they won't keep for more than two days. The biscuits will go soggy, and no Bunny wants a soggy bottom.

Easter bunny mini tarts


Everything's Gone To Hedy In A Handbasket

Well, on the hottest and most humid day, Hedy Lamarr came to live with us. MrsDrWho drove us there and back in her car. I am so very grateful to my wonderful mum, who bought Hedy for us!!!

Here's Hedy Lamarr:

Hello I'm Hedy

She had just had a bath, to no avail, as she muddied herself right up again. Gilly has been such a good girl. She met Hedy in The Forbidden Zone and I fed her a thousand tasty treats to make meeting Hedy a happy experience.

Gilly says hello to Hedy

She is not quite sure what Hedy is.

Gilly meets Hedy

At first Lorelai Gilmore was afraid of her, and she still gives a start if The Puppy touches her, or gives one of her very shrill barks.

Watch out Gilly here comes Hedy

Gilly has had more exercise at home, in the last hour or so, than all of last week. She trots around after Hedy, just in case.

Hedy having dinner

Hedy know what food is, she is a little glutton and ate all her food in a flash: A true Labrador. And she's already found a little bone to gnaw on.

Gilly finds Hedy with a bone

We all had a nice sleep for a couple of hours before dinner, and after much mad playing, running about and jumping in and out of the paddle pool, The Labradors are sleeping again. We are looking forward to some cooler weather this week.

I have had some lovely catching up time with friends: Mrs Valley and Miss NewCar - separately. I have a lovely new bag and a cowl scarf from Mrs Valley (both in the car and I am too tired to walk back up the steps)

I sewed some bags and a table runner.

Bags

Christmas tablerunner

My word, we had forgotten how much work a puppy can be, but Hedy is very sweet and wickedly naughty: she's already tried to chew a magazine, the washing basket and the handle of the drinking bucket outside. From now on, we all sleep when the puppy sleeps!!!

There was no Friday Food. I was swapping the sideboard and the desk and being just very hot and we went to bed at 7pm. I do have my eye on some Bunny Sacrifice Tartlets, so we will see.


It's On, Like Puppy Kong.

Well, unexpectedly, Auntie Dutch and I were able to visit Hedy Lamarr last night, and here she is!!!

Hedy Lamarr

She is as cute as a button and so happy to be cuddled by Auntie Dutch. She's coming home on Saturday afternoon. I brought home a towel that smelled of Hedy and Gilly has been sniffing it. A Lot.

Here are lots of puppies. Hedy has six brothers and sisters.

Puppies

There are pale, and more caramel coloured, pups. Hedy is caramel, like Peri. The breeder chose Hedy for me, she was the one his daughters liked the most and he said she was a good pup. He could have handed me ANY puppy, and I would have taken her home and loved her!!!

Here is Bruno, Hedy and Gilly's dad, and on the left is Dolly. Dolly is a relative of Gilly and I think she looks like her too. When she saw us she cried and woofed and sounded just like Gilly.

Dolly and bruno

Lottie is Hedy's mum, but she was not for meeting us. She was not very happy last night. I expect it is hard when your puppies are older and leaving home.

Lottie mum

MrsDrWho is going to take me to fetch Hedy on Saturday. It has been a whirlwind this week. We have hidden the cords and cables in the bedroom and loungeroom, and put all the shoes away, or in a high sided basket. We are also trying to get everything ship shape out in the world: sewing, knitting, lunches and dinners, things to do, places to go: all sorted out as much as possible so we can stay home with the new puppy for a fortnight or so.

I finally got around to binding Uncle and Auntie Dutch's Christmas quilt. It was inspired by the In Color Order Giant Vintage Star Quilt. I was kicking myself because I only bought half a metre of the reindeer material, but in the end I quite liked the spotty gold points as well.

Reindeer Star Quilt

I've almost completed Block 4 of The Splendid Sampler and now things have ground to a slight halt. I made Suffolk Puffs (or Yoyos) instead of appliquéing circles. I still have to embroider the flower stems. I shall have plenty of time at home later on to catch up, if I want to.

FullSizeRender

While I was extra poorly with some weird bug last week, I slouched sideways on the couch and watched so many episodes of Marvel, Agents of SHIELD, that I am all caught up. I knitted some more of my cardigan and I have fewer than twenty rows of raglan decreases to go. Then there is just the back of the neck, the collar so to speak, to make. And buttons to choose. The dark pine colour does not photograph very well at night, but it looks like a cardigan now.

Here are the two Labradors, Lorelai Gilmore and her friend Sandy, playing on their walk. One is in and one is out and it is very exciting. Gilly is going so fast the camera can barely see her.

Fast as lightning

Bottoms up

I had to shepherd her out. It was a great game.

Tomorrow it will be 30*C and then only 21*C on Thursday. Perhaps this is the start of a beautiful Autumn?? The nights are drawing in and the Sun is rising so much later. There is a chill in the air of a morning when we walk, but I have yet to change into a long sleeved top.

We are enjoying the last few days of Lorelai Gilmore by herself. It will be a big change for her, but I am very confident she will learn to love Hedy as much as she loved Harki and Peri.


Friday Food: Bunny Cottontails

A bunny cottontailAs I have been Poorly this week, here is a quick and easy Easter treat from the Coles magazine, March 2016. I made these in 10 minutes and then waited 20 minutes for them to set in the fridge. Done and coconut dusted. Basically, some marshmallows, coated in white chocolate and rolled in desiccated coconut. Sadly, my camera flash wouldn't co-operate so please excuse the worse than usual photos.

Most packets of marshmallows have both pink and white now, so to make just the white Bunny Cottontails, there will be pink marshmallows left over. I coloured the white chocolate and coconut with a little red food colouring and made good use of the pink marshmallows.

Using only the white marshmallows, I estimate this makes up to 50 bunny cottontails: so hop to it!!!

 

Bunny Cottontails    makes up to 50

  • 500g marshmallows, using only the white ones
  • 200g of white chocolate melts
  • 80g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
  • a little food colouring if you want to use the pink marshmallows

 

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir, frequently, and it should take about 5 minutes.

Marshmallows and chocolate

While the chocolate is melting, sort out the marshmallows and put them on a lined baking tray. Put the coconut into a bowl.

Dip

Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, use a fork to dip the marshmallows, one by one, into the chocolate. Tap the fork on the edge of the bowl to remove excess chocolate and then gently roll the choc coated marshmallow in coconut and place carefully on the lined tray.

Coconut and cool

Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes and they are ready to go!!! Here is a pink Bunny Cottontail cut in half.

Inside and out

And here's a whole lot of Bunny Cottontails. I expect they need to be kept in the fridge until they are ready to be eaten.

Bunny cottontails