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.


Friday Food: Giant Macadamia & Chocolate Biscuit

Giant chocolate biscuitNoooo, Better Homes & Gardens magazine, you should not be publishing the August issue while it is still June. It is making my year go way too fast. But you are forgiven because you have an excellent biscuit baking section. This week I made giant biscuits.  The recipe makes two. The biscuits are melt and mix and I complicated things by making a plain and a chocolate version. I don't think the chocolate version was as successful, but I can't taste it to find out: it seems less snappy and crispy. I halved the initial melted mixture and then substituted 1 tablespoon of Dutch Processed cocoa for one tablespoon of the self-raising flour.  I forgot to add the vanilla.

I am not sure if the white chocolate is supposed to be melted, but I don't think it is, otherwise it would have been melted with the butter. I used white choc chips and a good bar of dark chocolate. The only macadamia nuts in the supermarket were already chopped into smallish pieces. I kind of prefer larger chunks really.

My oven trays are 28cm wide and I traced a slightly smaller circle on the back of the baking paper so I could make the biscuit roundish. And that's it: easy to make, quick to bake and they look very impressive and the plain biscuit has a lovely golden edge.

 

 

Giant Macadamia & Chocolate Biscuit           makes 2

 

  • 200g butter, melted
  • 100g white chocolate, finely chopped. I used choc chips.
  • 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla paste
  • 1 egg
  • 300g (2 cups) self raising flour
  • 1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g good dark chocolate, chgopped
  • 1/2 cup macadamias, chopped

 

Preheat the oven to 200C or 180 fan-forced. Line two trays with baking paper. I traced a circle on the back of the paper to help make more circular biscuits.

Melt

Put the sugar and butter in a bowl and mix with the white chocolate.

Egg and mix

Add the egg and mix till combined.

Dry and half the yummy things

And from here I halved the batter and made half plain and half chocolate as explained at the top. Add the flour, bicarb and half the dark chocolate and nuts. Save the other half for the topping.

Mix to a dough

Mix to a dough. I ended up using my hands to bring it together.

Make a big biscuit

Form a disc and then press out into a circle on the baking paper, it should be about 1cm thick.  Sprinkle over the extra chocolate and nuts and press gently but firmly so they stick on top.

And baked

Bake for 20 minutes, I swapped the trays and turned them half way through. Cool on the tray. The biscuits will keep for a week in an airtight container, or freeze for 3 months!!

Giant choc biscuits

 


Friday Food: Nutella Chocolate Truffles

TruffleIn spite of the blog title, I used Nutino for my truffles because it appears higher on the list of friendly choc-hazelnut spreads. This three ingredient recipe from EugenieKitchen, well four if you count the sprinkles, takes but a few minutes to make. Then, as many lazy hours of refrigeration or freezing as you wish, before you roll it into balls and be-jewel with chocolate sprinkles.

I used Old Gold eating chocolate with 40-45% cocoa, and thickened cream. You can buy thickened cream with no gelatine now, which vegetarians would appreciate.

I used a baking paper-lined box to refrigerate the truffle mixture as I find it easier to divide evenly using a rectangular container.  It measures 5 x 6 inches, which is an unwieldy  12.7 x 15.2 cm. I drew some lines using the Imperial measurements and made 30 truffles. I could only find a 115g bottle of chocolate sprinkles, but it was plenty and there were some left over.

The truffles will keep for at least a fortnight in the fridge in an airtight container and they do need to be refrigerated as they are quite soft*.

 

Nutella Chocolate Truffles          makes 24-30

  • 125ml (1/2 cup) thickened cream
  • 130g (4 1/2 oz) good dark chocolate
  • 110g (1/3 cup) Nutella or substitute
  • about 120g sprinkles or 1/2 cup cocoa powder

 

 

Cream and chocolate melt

Heat the cream in the microwave for 1 minute on High, stir and then heat for 1 minute more. It should be almost boiling. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't boil over. Meanwhile chop the chocolate finely and place it in a small bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate and cover for a minute to let the hot cream melt the chocolate.

Add choc hazelnut spread

Stir gently but firmly until the chocolate and cream is smooth and combined. Add the Nutella (or substitute) and once again stir until smooth and combined.

Refrigerate and divide

If you so choose, pour into a square or rectangular container lined with baking paper or cling-wrap and refrigerate until firm. I marked some truffle-sized portions as soon as it was set. You can just refrigerate the truffle mixture in a bowl and scoop out a spoonful later on. I am a tad obsessed with trying to make them the same size.

Roll in sprinkles

I find it easiest to put the sprinkles/cocoa in a bowl and then gently shake the truffles about until they are coated. Then I roll them into balls and refrigerate again until firm.

Nutella chocolate truffles fake roses

And that is it, so simple and so delicious. I admit I did lick the spoon at the end and they taste heavenly: so smooth and chocolaty.

* I realised as I typed the recipe that I had only used 110g of chocolate instead of 130g. This may be why the truffles are softer. They still taste decadent!!


Weather You Like It, Or Not.

Life has been so busy this week. Monday was a holiday, and I can't actually remember what we did. On Tuesday I went to Leukaemia Support Group and found that one of our number had died. I don't have the local paper delivered any more so it was a bit of a shock. Two of our group have died in the last six months, but their other halves have continued to attend, and we are all pleased to see them. I baked a big batch of Coconut Rough Muffins and went and spent a little time with WeeJock & Bessie whose Mum and Dad had to elsewhere unexpectedly.

Weejock and bessie

Yesterday I baked some TimTam Brownies and went to the wool shop for some knitting time with knitting friends. I went to pat WeeJock and Bessie and there may have been some slight miscommunication between their Mum and Dad because I set off the alarm. Oh, it was so loud and piercing and went straight through me. I had no idea what to do, but luckily their kind next-door neighbour knew what to do and we were able to disarm the alarm. I had to go home and have a cup of tea and a little lie down. Then I took some muffins to MrsDrWho, because I had promised to, and she is writing reports. We went to bed at 7pm last night.

Today has been just as hectic. We went for a walk, I baked more muffins, had lunch with friends. I am sitting here now and I can hear we have a mouse. It is rustling in the wall. I shall have to do something about it tomorrow. I made a scarf for one of my lunch friends, a simple Feather & Fan stitch in charcoal Jet 12ply. I knitted two halves so that the ends both had a nice curve and then grafted them together at the back of the neck. The socks are in Crunchy Salad, Fresh'n'Juicy from Opal. They are almost finished, for MrsDrWho's birthday.

Mrsmauritius scarf crunchy salad socks

I knitted the Cowl for MrsMichigan last year, but I hadn't posted it and now it is Summer, but she will have it for their Winter. It is a Craftsy free pattern in a knit-along by Kate Atherley: the Waverton Cowl.

Wave-over-there cowl 2017

Lorelai Gilmore's health continues to improve. She runs and plays with the other dogs and jumps up for a treat, even though she knows she shouldn't.

Gilly boop

Hedy is just full of happiness and wickedness. She is sometimes so happy she quivers with joy.

Hedy is so happy

For only the second time in maybe fifteen years, there are lemons on the lemon tree: there were three, now there are two. I am a terrible gardener and plants volunteer to come to our house and die. Still, I am hoping this is a sign of things to come.

La la la la lemon

The lemon tree is in The Forbidden Zone and The Labradors are only allowed in there under strict supervision. So, late in the evening when I came home from Sewing, they went mad. They went round and round the tree, one going one way to try and catch the other. It was a good game!! Hedy has laser eyes, and Gilly is so fast.

Labradors' night time circles

I sewed a new dress sometime in the last few months. It is the Cashmerette Upton Dress in some lovely Christmas tablecloth poinsettia material. MrsHouseOf paid the grand sum of $4 for four metres and gave it to me, so it was free!! I love that I didn't have to do a Full Bust Adjustment. I followed the instructions and cut out a toile and it fitted almost perfectly. I always have to raise the armholes and lower the waist a tad, but I am so pleased. I love the swooshiness of the skirt. I sewed the pleated skirt, v-neck version. It is a little loose and needs some tweaking, but I couldn't be happier. I like a loose dress when the weather is warm. I obviously have ONE pose, because each of my neighbours took these photos at different times during the day!!

Upton Poinsettia dress

The ABC TV News decided to update their weather map. That is a good thing, but when they updated it, they put the numbers for the forecast first and then the name of the town or city. I couldn't work out why I was having difficulty reading the chart when the sound was down. My eyes were searching wildly for the place name in the few seconds the map was up, and then it was gone before I could find the numbers.

I know we read from left to right, not middle to end, then back to the start and then to the middle again. I taught many children to read when I was teaching, so I know I have some expertise in this area. I rang The ABC and explained why I thought they needed to revise their chart almost three weeks ago. They said the graphic designer would ring me, but no-one did. Tonight I watched the News and something seemed different with The Weather: yes!!! They have changed the order and the place name is first and then the forecast numbers. The map is so much easier to read. I feel it is a victory for common sense and teachers of reading everywhere. Thank you ABC!!

Weather before and after

We all had a nap this afternoon, and it is very late. The Labradors are in bed already. Tomorrow I am thinking of making some Nutella-like truffles for Friday Food. It will be an experiment, so I may need a back up plan.


Friday Food: Ferrero Rocher Brownies

A ferrero rocher brownie pieceEvery week Taste.com.au sends out a newsletter and the words Ferrero Rocher Brownies leaped out at me on Monday. Yes: I had everything I needed except the eponymous chocolate treats. I decided to make the brownie for Sewing on Thursday evening and serendipitously the chocolates were on sale for half price!! This is an unusual brownie in that you whip the eggs and sugar, rather than melting chocolate and butter: there is no butter in this recipe. Despite this, MrsDrWho said it was excellent, very rich and she could only eat a small piece. My brownie was quite fudgy, but still properly cooked.

I have trouble with things being arranged randomly. In spite of my best efforts the 16 Ferrero Rocher** supposedly arranged randomly, were really (secretly) in a 4x4 array. I just gave in and made the array properly. I did cut pieces of the baked brownie to make the best of the cross-section of the Ferrero Rocher and it looks pretty fabulous.

I used Dutch Processed cocoa and Original Old Gold chocolate which is 40-45% cocoa. Two of the eggs are from the chickens over the road and one from the deli at the corner and the over-the-road eggs are have much paler yolks. In truth, you could replace the Ferrero Rocher with any chocolate confectionery you desire.

 

 

Ferrero Rocher Brownies     serves  16-20

 

  • 3 eggs
  • 200g (1 cup) brown sugar
  • 300g (1 cup) Choc-Hazelnut spread
  • 115g (3/4 cup) plain flour
  • 1 tbspn Dutch processed cocoa
  • 100g dark choc, finely chopped
  • 16 Ferrero Rocher chocolates

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C or 160*C fan-forced and grease and line a 20cm/8 inch square cake tin.

Beat eggs and sugar

Use an electric mixer or beater to beat the eggs and sugar for about 4 minutes, it will become thick and creamy and double in size.

Add hazelnut choc spread

Gently warm the Choc-Hazelnut spread in the microwave and then fold carefully into the egg and sugar mixture.

Dry ingredients and chopped choc

Combine the flour and cocoa, and chop the dark chocolate.

Add dry and choc and fold in

Add the dry ingredients and chopped chocolate to the batter and fold together, trying not to knock out too much air.

Ferrero rocher

Unwrap the Ferrero Rocher.

Arrange ferrero rocher

Keep 1/4 -1/2 cup of the brownie batter aside, and pour the rest into the tin and spread evenly, smoothing the top. Place the chocolates randomly, or not randomly in my case, into the brownie.

Add extra batter and bake

Pour the resrved brownie batter over the top, trying to mainly cover the tops of the chocolates and bake for 35-40 minutes. My brownie was set on top, but still soft in the centre after 35 minutes. Cool in the tin and then cut into pieces as you like.

Ferrero rocher brownies

I especially like the way the brownie looks when the Ferrero Rocher are cut in cross-section.  I can't think of a way to improve the brownie at all!!

** What is a Ferrero Rocher?? I am not sure how to refer to them. They are not lollies, and not really chocolates per se, hence the endless repetition of Ferrero Rocher throughout this post!!


Friday Food: Giant Choc Chip Cookie

Giant cookieI love a good baking trend, and the Better Homes & Gardens trend this year is a giant cookie shaped silicon baking pan. Last year it was a doughnut pan and a few years before a long bar tin. I bought the $8 offer in the supermarket for the magazine, cooking booklet and one silicon pan, but there is an offer in their shop if you fancy a pan or two. I decided I only needed one pan and chose the cheaper route.

There are eighteen recipes: gluten-free, no-bake, microwave and ordinary oven baking. There are also three variations for the Giant Cookie: classic, triple chocolate and confetti. I chose the classic.

If you don't have this silicon pan, you can use any 23cm/9 inch round cake tin.

I followed the recipe exactly, and it is just melt and mix, so marvellously easy. The giant cookie turned out surprisingly well, surprisingly because this is the first time I have used a silicon pan. I greased it very well, in every nook and cranny. I placed it on a baking tray at every turn to make it more stable. You could use any combination of choc chips, even chopped chocolate and/or nuts and dried fruit. I even piped chocolate over the pattern on the top, in a wriggly way, but a pattern nonetheless. MrsDrWho declared it exceedingly tasty, as did people in the staffroom when she took some to school.

I shall definitely make this again.

 

Giant Choc Chip Cookie        serves one giant or 12-14 ordinary people

 

  • cooking oil/spray to grease silicon pan
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
  • 300g choc chips, any combination
  • 50g chocolate of your choice extra, melted, for piping

 

Grease the pan

Preheat the oven to 180*c or 160*C fan-forced. Thoroughly grease the silicon pan. I used some baking paper and oil, but it is easier to use a cooking spray, I just don't have any. Put the pan on an oven tray.

Butter sugar egg

Use a large bowl and mix the melted butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix again.

Make the dough

Stir in the dry ingredients until a smooth dough forms. Divide the dough into thirds, roughly.

Cover the star

Press one third of the dough into the centre of the silicon pan, to cover just the star part.  Leave the outside border dough free, and smooth the top as best as possible.

Choc chip dough at last

Add the choc chips to the remaining two-thirds of the dough and mix through evenly. Very gently press the choc chip dough in the pan, covering the centre star area and pressing right out to the fluted border section.

Smooth the top

The recipe says to smooth the top and so I used a piece of baking paper to protect the cookie and smoothed as best I could. I am not sure so much care was needed, but the cookie was beautifully smooth.

Bake and cool

Place the tray with the cookie pan into the oven and bake for 35 minutes. I found it took 40 minutes for mine to bake properly. The recipe says bake for 30 minutes for a chewy cookie and 40 minutes for a crunchier texture. I have not tried any other baking times, so I can't say what will happen.

Cool in the pan, on the tray, for 20 minutes and then turn out onto a rack, starry side up, and leave to cool completely. When it is cold you can pipe chocolate, following the outline of the star pattern. I forgot my piping tips, so I used a ziplock bag with a tiny hole snipped in one corner. It was not very accurate, but it shows the general idea.

Slice of giant cookie cake

The giant cookie is fun to make and I would definitely love to try some more baking ideas using the silicon pan. Oh I did, I baked a giant wagon wheel!! It was a labour of love, but worth it in the end. Don't cut the wheel straight from the fridge, it cracks terribly. IPad photo, so not the best, sorry.

Giant wagon wheel

 Oops, I pressed Publish and forgot to remove all the white space at the bottom of the post!!


Dip-That-Toe

For the last two months I have either had a cold, or been recovering from a cold. And not even a bad cold. I went to the doctor for my usual appointment and she decided I didn't need antibiotics, and I didn't. But it took me so long to recover. Every day we would go for a walk, then we would go to bed until four or five o'clock in the afternoon, and we would sleep all night too. It was only last week that I started having proper days awake. Consequently I am dipping my toe back into The Internet and my blog.

There has been very little crafting: I knitted a Milo (It's Marvellous What A Difference), some socks for MrsDrWho ( Magical Happy Socks) and I made Wee Master Singapore some Shiny Gold Disco Trousers to match the Shiny Gold T-Shirt I sewed for him. Oh and I made a whole other set of pouches with Labradors on the front. I sewed one set and promptly put them somewhere safe, aka Lost. I sewed another set and of course then I found the first.

Things I have made

Lorelai Gilmore's health has continued to improve. She is feeling very well and loves to run and play all the time. Winter is here today, but we have had a few fogs and frosty cold mornings already. Gilly and Hedy love the colder mornings, they are invigorated.

Winter walk

We went to the vet for Gilly's blood test a fortnight ago. This is how Hedy waits for Gilly.

Hedy waits for Gilly at the vet

And it is impossible to take a photo of her joy when Gilly comes back. Poor Gilly, Hedy's waggy tail is a bother.

Gilly is back  Hedy is so happy

Hedy loves to play with Rafa and the ball. The ball is the thing. They both want it, they both can't have it at the same time. Rafa has the same toy, but if there are two, it is too confusing for them.

Hedy and rafa wrestling with the ball

I've had to return a whole stack of books to The Library, unread. I couldn't concentrate at all. Thank goodness I feel better, as I have lots of new books on Hold as well as the old one, back on Hold again.

I used my candy thermometer for the first time and made some Italian meringue. I made a syrup with sugar and water and brought it to the boil until it reached 120*C. Meanwhile I whisked some egg-whites. When the syrup reached the correct temperature I slowly poured it into the bowl as I whisked the egg-whites until they were cool. I don't have a blowtorch to brown the meringue. I am afraid of them, uncalled for I know, but gas and matches or an ignition spark scare me. I made some lemon curd and marscapone filled doughnuts topped with the Italian meringue and also some apple pie doughnuts, tipped with whipped cream, pecans and maple syrup. I took them for supper at Sewing. I feel more confident with the candy thermometer now, there may be more temperature related recipes in my future.

Doughnuts

Last week I went to Sewing, this week to Knitting Dining Out and I was also an unexpected Patient/Partner for the Fourth Year Doctors. I was the lucky ninth phone call to find someone to fill a gap.

And now it is time for all good Labradors (and naughty ones) to go to bed. Tomorrow I am going to ask my next door neighbour to take a photo of the new dress I sewed ages ago, and I shall endeavour to post for Friday Food and even, shock/horror, read and comment on blogs!!!

Here is Lorelai Gilmore running. She hasn't run like this since Peri Naughty died. Oh and here's Hedy Lamarr and her BillyBall and Sandy too.


Friday Food: Coconut Rough Muffins

Coconut rough muffinI remember eating Golden Roughs as a child. They were milk chocolate and toasted coconut, shaped into a disc. It seemed quite big then, bigger than the palm of my hand, but since I haven't seen them for years, I expect they were much smaller. The toasted coconut ever so slightly poked up through the chocolate top. They were delicious. The new May Delicious has a no-waste cupcake/muffin baking section. MrsDrWho, who once thought she didn't like coconut, actually does. As she is on school holidays, I decided to bake some Coconut Rough muffins.

Serendipitously, I had everything except the shredded coconut, which was the no-waste item, and now I have left over shredded coconut which I need to use up: coconut inception!!!!

I followed the recipe exactly, although it made 16 rather than 12 muffins. I measure out cupcakes and muffins with an old-fashioned ice-cream scoop which I think is 1/4 cup. A cupcake is a cupcake, and I prefer to make 16 smaller, instead of 12 overflowing, cakes.

I can't taste the muffins, because they are chocolate, but they smell delicious. Oh and they are so easy to make, you can make them even if you are still recovering from a never ending cold.

 

 

Coconut Rough Muffins     makes 12-16

 

  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 70g shredded coconut
  • 25g cocoa, I used Dutch processed cocoa
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 375ml buttermilk
  • 165ml sunflower oil
  • 1 egg

For the icing/ganache:

  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 125ml thickened cream
  • extra coconut for sprinkling

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C and line one or two muffin trays with paper cases: if you have two trays you can bake all the muffins at once, swapping and turning the trays half way through the baking time to help them cook evenly.

Put the flour, sugar, coconut, cocoa, salt and the 50g of chopped chocolate into a large bowl and whisk to smooth any lumps and combine.

Dry ingredients

In another bowl or jug combine the buttermilk, oil and egg. Again, whisk till combined. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet. In hindsight I should have used a larger bowl. No matter. Mix gently to combine. Some people only mix their muffins 20 times, eg, I just mix them until all the ingredients come together and no more. It is important not to over-mix muffin batter.

Add wet to dry

Scoop the mixture into the paper cases and bake for 22 minutes. They are cooked when a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. This is a very good recipe because I set an alarm for 22 minutes on my Ipad, and they were perfectly baked in the time allowed.

And bake and cool

Leave for a few minutes in the tray and then remove to a cooling rack until they are completely cold.

Icing ganache

To make the icing, which is chocolate ganache, put the 150g of chopped chocolate into a bowl and heat the cream to almost boiling point: I use the microwave. Pour the cream over the chocolate, cover and leave for a minute and then stir until smooth. When the ganache is cold, spread over the muffins and top with a little of the shredded coconut.

Coconut rough muffins

Perfect.