Previous month:
June 2017

Yes, Pie Crust Promises.

Yes,  pie crust promises: easily made, easily broken. Thank you, Mary Poppins. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and really annoying letters. I was being prepared for Friday Food. I made sweet shortcrust pastry, I blind baked the pastry case and let it cool and then I opened my letters.

Pie crust

The jolly Superannuation people sent me a cheery and celebratory letter telling me that in seven and a half years I could think about retirement: retirement party!!! they said. And I could top up my super and look forward to a fabulous retirement. And so it went on, and on...

Obviously the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing at that company. It made me a tad upset. I have been retired for coming up to seventeen years now: a retirement I didn't choose and it has been no 'party'.

I rang up to let them know that their letter was rather thoughtless and cruel. The woman I spoke to was very apologetic, and understanding. She said they would put a flag on my account so I didn't receive any more overly cheerful and depressing letters. I do worry about other people in my situation though, who may be more negatively affected. I am going to go into their office on Monday and ask to speak to someone and find out exactly what is happening.

And then I didn't feel like doing any more baking.

The Labradors have been enjoying the cold weather. Gilly has been investigating the frozen puddles. It has been a very frosty Winter so far and the puddles are, more often than not, frozen. The grass is crunchy and white with ice and it is a cold Labrador playground of fun!! They run and play so much more when it is cold. Tonight as I was on the phone to my mum they were in and out, and round and round the lemon tree, in the freezing cold night-time.

Gilly inspecting the puddle

Gilly is also very interested in the water cracker biscuits in my pocket. She comes up and nuzzles my hand and looks at me with her lovely eyes and I give in, and give her half a biscuit. Lorelai Gilmore is still lovely and thin and she is allowed to have treats, such as they are.

Gilly is treated

Hedy Lamarr is not talking to me. I put ear cleaning drops in her ears and she has sent me to Coventry at home. On our walk it is a different story. It is all Billy Ball, all the time. She is so happy, hyper excited and then doubly so if she catches the Billy Ball: bonus!!

Hedy loves her Billy ball

I have a not terribly good photo of the finished Star Wars Wall hanging. It still has a rogue pencil line and Hedy's muddy paw prints on BB8, but it is complete. MrsDrWho likes it and I found a kind of starry hanger as well.

Star wars wall hanging

I hope to finish the Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Pie tomorrow, and I will post it next Friday. Once it gets to Sunday I always feel the Friday moment has passed. I am OK with Saturday,  but Sunday is beyond the pale.


Wondering Woman

Judy-May has a new house!! How exciting!! She organised a House-warming Afternoon Tea and so I said I couldn't possibly have a catch up with my Sewing friends on Tuesday afternoon because: House-warming Afternoon Tea. In the back of my mind I had a niggling memory of something happening Thursday afternoon. I expect you can see where this is going.....

There I was, sitting at home with a present and a TimTam Brownie and I realised I didn't know where to go to find the new house. I plaintively posted on The Ravelry about said situation and feeling out of the loop. I don't have The Facebook, I am not Modern and the others are Modern. Turns out, the House-warming was today: Thursday afternoon. I took myself off to bed with a cup of tea and had a nice lie down on Tuesday!!! I am surprised we let me out of the house sometimes. My kind Knitting friends had a laugh with me this afternoon. I am wondering what I will forget next.

Here is the Wonder Woman table runner. I used one pink and two red fat quarters and just 20cm of the Wonder Woman fabric. I did a little hand quilting and fussy cut Diana for the centre of the squares.

Wonder woman table runner

MissSingapore is a celebratory age this year and MrsDrWho suggested a cup, saucer and plate. That could be my "thing" and I could buy it for her from now on to make a collection. MissSingapore is vegetarian and I just went to Cocoon by chance and there I found a gorgeous cup and saucer by LyndalT, which is animal bone free. It is Fine New China and perfect, as Miss Singapore can drink from it knowing it is free from animal products. Lyndal is an Australian and I rang to say how pleased I was. She was lovely to chat to. I am borrowing the photo from her website, I will put the clicky link here. The cup and saucer are secure in their box and I am too afraid to remove them.

Tea cup and saucer

I am knitting a doily to accompany the tea cup and saucer. It is Flacon, not a Ravelry pattern, using 4ply cotton and 2.5mm needles. I have four more rounds and then the crocheted edging to finish.

Doily

I am knitting MrsDrWho a cowl using Time Traveller in worsted Felici from The KnitPicks. Which is of course on sale now. I took it to MrsDrWho's house on Sunday to try for size and now I can't find it. More wondering.....

Time traveller wool

Vandals regularly break into The Dam area, after the gate is shut, and drive all over the grass areas.

Vandals and construction

Sandy's Dad thinks the Parks & Wildlife need to use a motion activated camera to catch them. The P&W put some rather large rocks to block the side, but the vandals just pushed them out of the way. Now they have cemented in two upright logs. Up the hill the vandals pushed the logs over and now there is a huge felled tree and more rocks. Their efforts seem to be in vain.

Vandal proofing

The construction in the dam area has not started, but I managed to kick Hedy's Billy Ball under the fence.

Billy ball is lost

She was very upset. She cleverly ran around to the opposite side because it should have rolled out there. It didn't. I had to find a stick and hook the ball and pull it slowly towards us. Thank goodness I succeeded!! Hedy Lamarr has faith in me.

Please help

Lorelai Gilmore is just smelling things. That's what she wants to do. That, and roll in something smelly herself.

Gilly smells something good

Gilly smells more smells

And now some Labradors running. Gilly sees Sandy and his Dad walking down the hill from our car and she keeps and eagle eye out for them. Now Hedy copies and does the same, but she takes her Billy Ball with her. When Sandy appears they run to greet him, and then they all run back through the gate.

 Gilly might stop and smell something and come last, but fast!!

This week I made a mash-up dessert: Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Pie. I didn't take any pictures, but Onyi has requested it for Friday Food tomorrow, and her wish shall be granted!!


Friday Food: Chocolate-Mayo Cupcakes

Choc mayo cupcakeI did not know that today was International Chocolate Day. Indeed for a large part of the day I did not even realise it was Friday. Even though MrsDrWho started school holidays, and sent me an email saying that, I still thought it was Thursday. The SMH had a World Chocolate Day headline, but the clicky link sends you through a wormhole to the 4th November last year. Very timey-wimey.

Luckily I had a chocolate recipe on hand, Martha Stewart's Chocolate-Mayo Cupcakes. Yes, mayonnaise in a cupcake. I was dubious. I secretly worked with friends to have people taste test the cupcakes without knowing they contained mayonnaise. No-one could tell. So there you go. I tasted the icing and I thought I could tell, but apparently we got away with it. I don't have a link to the recipe, but it is in the July/August Martha Magazine.

The recipe requires a lot of Dutch processed cocoa: 1. 1/6 cups. So be prepared. It  is the Dutch cocoa that gives the cupcakes their rich chocolate taste. I bought whole egg mayonnaise, but I used instant coffee because that is all we have at our house. I can't drink coffee. Or eat chocolate.

Other than that, I followed the recipe and used 1/4 cup measure to fill the cupcake papers. I was only able to make 14 cupcakes, and the recipe says it will make 18. This is an easy, all-in-one recipe and I can recommend it highly!!

 

Chocolate-Mayo Cupcakes       makes 14-18

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa
  • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn salt, I used sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup of strong hot brewed coffee
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise

For the icing:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbspn milk (40ml)

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C and line two muffin trays with cupcake papers, 14-18 of them.

Mix all ingredients

Put all the ingredients into a large bowl. Then remember the coffee, add that and whisk together some more.

Add coffee and it is done

I wondered why it was so dry, it needed the coffee!! Divide between the cupcake papers, and then bake for 15-17 minutes. The cupcakes will be cooked when the top springs back slightly when pressed. Let the cakes cool completely in the tin.

Bake

Make the icing by whisking all the ingredients together. 

Icing

The icing seemed quite dry and I added a few teaspoons of milk, just to free it up a little. I had icing left over, it is a very generous recipe, which I like.

And ice the cakes

When the cakes are colds, ice them and decorate as desired. I crumbled some Flake over the top.

Chocolate mayo cupcake

Happy International Chocolate Day!!!


I'd Like To Buy A Towel Please.

Labradors eat anything. Literally anything. And The Labradors at our house have eaten pretty much everything they shouldn't. Last week Hedy ate most of a tea-towel. I absent-mindedly hung the tea-towel over the baby gate to the kitchen, instead of on the oven handle. There must have been biscuit on it, because I had used it to take the giant biscuits' tray out of the oven.

More giant biscuits

When I came home, I wondered what on earth was lying in the mud near the fence. Yes, it's the end of the tea-towel as we know it. I kept an eye on Hedy for the next day or so, but it didn't seem to have any ill effects. Thank goodness.

Hedy ate the teatowel

We had such very good news today at The Vet. Dr Gary gave Lorelai Gilmore her blood test and she has a platelet score of 50. Which is excellent. I think it has been 35, then 38 the last twice. She still has to take her Imuran, but we don't have to go back for three months. We are ever so grateful to all the doctors and nurses for taking such wonderful care of Gilly. She has a blue bandage because her leg bled a little, it stayed on for just an hour when we came home. She is very happy.

Gilly is well!!!

I am extra absent-minded because my mum came to stay and we did so much over the three days that I have spent a week in bed recovering. It was so lovely to see her and we spent time shopping, chatting about knitting, doing crosswords and practising her Ipad skills and dining in and out!! Mum came for a walk one frosty morning and Hedy was so excited she almost turned inside out. Gilly was sure Mum had a treat in her hand (she didn't) and spent the first half of the walk trying to inveigle the treat away.

Gilly is serious Hedy is not

One of our neighbours has chickens and we benefit from the eggs every now and then. Last week I looked over the road and at Not-The-Chicken-House, there was a chicken on the front patio!!!

Chicken awl

There has been very little crafting. Poor MrsDrWho is once again waiting for birthday presents because my life has ups and downs. I am making a Star Wars Character wall hanging. It is meant to be paper pieced and quilted. Instead, I used Heat & Bond Lite to stick the pieces in place and then puffy paint to seal the edges. Also, it has some muddy paw appliqué from guess who? Hedy.

Hedy trod on this

Today I sewed finally sewed the pieces together and basted the wadding to the back.  Not much farther to go now.

R2d2

I bought MrsDrWho some Star Wars earrings from BooKittyBootique on The Etsy. All the earrings are lovely, I bought some aqua ones for me and an excellent R2D2 pair for MrsDrWho. As I was wrapping them up I somehow hit the end of the cutting board and one pinged its way across the room into oblivion. I sent a message to BooKitty and not only did she offer to replace the earring, but she sent another pair and they were hand delivered!! I can recommend her Etsy shop.It was so kind of her and I very much appreciate the extra effort and thoughtfulness. MrsDrWho loves her earrings and earring story.

Trainee guide and hearing dogs

I have met some wonderful service and working dogs lately. I went for lunch with Auntie Dutch and we found ourselves next to a Guide Dogs In Training outing. The dogs were all so happy to see each other and they (mostly) waited patiently. The lovely golden Labrador next to me wriggled closer until she was secretly touching my foot. I resisted patting her as she was working. I went to the Council Chambers and met a newly trained Hearing Assistance dog. I've seen him out working as well. His humans were waiting for approval to come through so he would have the same rights as a Guide dog. His humans were happy to be in the photo!!

Alice the recruiting dog

I met Alice the Army Reserve recruiting dog in the Mall. The recruiters hoped that if people stopped to pat her they might be interested in joining the Reserve. MrsDrWho and I assured them we would not be signing up!!

Hedy and Sandy play Rafa's game

Rafa The Border Collie is away and so Hedy has decided she will play with Sandy. Sandy is almost thirteen, but he plays like a puppy. Lorelai Gilmore will only put up with so many shenanigans, and she makes sure everyone is playing sensible.

Gilly sorts out Hedy and Sandy

Hedy loves to play with her Billy Ball. On Monday we accidentally left the ball at home. It was a very traumatic walk for Hedy. I made a special effort to remember Billy Ball on Tuesday and much joy ensued. And when Hedy Lamarr wants to play, she wants to play now.

Hedy wants to play NOW

I have a new Winter coat. It is not new, it is from the posh St Vinnies' shop in town. My next door neighbour was walking past with me and insisted we go in. I protested I could never find anything in there. She proved me wrong. It is a Junior Look green coat, 80% wool, 20% nylon, fully lined, with pockets and it cost the grand total of $18. Of course it won't do up over my upper nether regions. I was experimenting with a kilt pin here, but I just wear it open and if it is deathly cold (as it has been, it was -5*C overnight twice) I wear a scarf.

New coat

When it is -5*C, the water on top of the buckets outside freezes and so do all the puddles at the dam and the grass. It is a Labrador Winter wonderland.

Gilly and Hedy on a frosty morning

Well, not much happening, but we still have lots to tell!! There will be Friday Food, in fact I have two Friday Foods.  I am one ahead now, which is handy.