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February 2005
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April 2005

Sew and sew!!!!!

Yesterday the Labradors and I went unexpectedly to Aunty Cathy’s. They behaved so well, much better than last time. Peri played in the watering system. They didn’t cry and sook at the window and they had a good walk too. At the end they both escaped inside for a quick run. It wore them out. I am tired as I have done something for 3 days in a row: visited on Sunday, egg rolling on Monday and then visiting again yesterday. Cathy is making a beautiful embroidered quilt, and it inspired me to come home and finish the quilting on my Christmas quilt. All I have to do now is back it and bind the edges!! I might do a tiny bit of quilting or buttons or something in the squares of the lattices where they intersect, but it is almost finished!!! I have some cushions to make for Karen’s school now. I have a shark, two surfboards and something else I can’t remember. Then I think I will make my dog couch cover. You can see it here: I am going to use a teal green plain slip cover underneath and then piece all my dog material together. I might have enough to make two. I also want to make a green quilt with all of the bazillion kinds of green material I have collected. This can go over all my doona covers and then I can edge plain curtains to match the quilt. As my doona covers are myriad green colours it is impossible to match green curtains to them all. I also want to do some knitting. I am feeling tired now though and I think I will have a nap soon….. I shall have to venture out later on as I have run out of eggs and I want to make corn fritters for my tea. Coconut Caramel Logs 200 g chopped Jersey Caramels 100 g butter ½ cup toasted nuts, chopped 1/4 cup glace cherries, chopped ½ cup toasted coconut Melt butter and caramels. Stir till melted then add nuts and cherries. Refrigerate. When cold, roll into log shapes – 8 cm ( about 3 inches) and roll in coconut. Cut diagonally in half and keep in the fridge!!! Makes about 24. You can add whatever ingredients you like, eg apricots and almonds, or macadamias and chocolate!!!

Roll, roll, roll your egg!!!

There was egg rolling galore in the Scottish tradition and my egg was too nice to be rolled. It was hard boiled and then as I had no dye I coloured it in with green permanent ( or as I always like to say – pernament) and then I did a lovely design with gold glitter puffy paint : lines, dots, eggs coloured in, outlines, hearts and 2 paw prints. It dried really well and was stunning. I was so tired I slept till 9 am this morning and only got up as the Labradors were very, very, very insistent that I do. Harki is playing with ½ a tennis ball in a little bag and Peri is on her picnic rug surveying her domain!!! Oh, now we are playing with bout 1/8 th of a tennis ball!! It is sunny and warm this morning, in Hobart it has been positively Autumnal for weeks. They have had 13 C which is about 58 F and is quite nippy. We are having 20 C which is about 72 F. I don’t mind the cooler weather at all. Sun in the morning and then dark nights now we have ended Daylight Saving. This morning I have been doing sweeping to complement the vacuuming of the weekend. I shall also do washing while the weather is conducive to drying. I don’t have a dryer. The Americans seem to only have dryers and not clothes lines. I like to dry in the fresh air as the Sun and breeze impart a lovely clean smell. It also is better for your clothes as they aren’t buffeted by the action of the dryer. Towels are a bit scratchy, but they dry you better!!! I have a semi-blocked ear this morning and what feels like the start of a cold. I have only 2 more days to wait until my tooth is fixed in some way, shape or form. I am a bit fragile health wise at the moment and I have an appointment next week to see the specialist and have my port flushed again. Through exercise my knee feels better, which is good. If I was a horse they would have shot me by now!!! White Chocolate Muffins 150 g good white chocolate 250 g butter 40 g caster sugar 250 ml milk 225 g plain flour 75 g self raising flour 1 tspn vanilla extract For the muffins : place butter, chocolate, sugar and milk in a pan and melt over gentle heat, stirring. Cool, then add sifted dry ingredients and vanilla. Spoon into muffin papers and bake at 160 C ( 140 F) for 30-35 minutes. Ice when cool if desired with white chocolate ganache. ( 100 g chocolate, 50 ml cream : melt, then cool)

The rocky road to success!!

Yesterday I watched 3 episodes of Dead Like Me. It is great and I am sorry it has been cancelled. It is only on Austar, our pay TV here, but I really like it. Arrested Development has started on free-to-air, and amazingly, they started with the first episode at an ungodly hour. I have watched the first 5 minutes and it is very good. Not laugh out loud funny, but like The Office : situational, ironic, satirical humour. Of course the rest of TV is poor. This week we get an Enterprise and a Medium and that’s all really. Oh I do like Operatunity, that’s interesting. The protesters at Baxter Detention Centre have been arrested for invading airspace by flying kites. The whole thing smacks of Big Brother, and not in a reality TV show way. When protesters went to protest in front of Amanda Vanstone’s house they were stopped and she said it was becoming too personal. As if detaining indefinitely, children too, isn’t personal. Today I am going to visit for Easter and that is all. We have been for a 25 minute walk, and now the Labradors are playing with the extra-squeaky squeaky toy. Daylight Saving ended last night : Spring ahead, Fall back. So the clocks went back an hour. Of course the Labradors woke up at 7-30 am which was 6-30 yesterday, but we all got an extra hour’s sleep. It was so light. It is usually dark at 7 am but it was as light as can be this morning. That does not bode well for tonight when the sunset is at 6-11 pm and so it will be dark by 6-30 pm. This is the worst part of the downhill run to Winter. I like the other aspects of Winter though. You can always get warm and toasty, but I can not always get cool in the hot Summer. The GardyGardeners gave me a recipe for Rocky Road, so I made some last night. I will put it here now. The Chocettes are tiny balls of Picnic, Turkish Delight, Crunchie etc, covered in chocolate. I don’t know if they are available everywhere, but they are here in Australia. And the squeaky toy is just about de-stuffed and almost dead!!! Special Rocky Road 200 g dark chocolate 2 x 250 g roast almond chocolate 250 g pink and white marshmallows 1 cp roasted nuts of your choice 1 cup toasted shredded coconut 150 g Turkish Delight Chocettes( or chopped up Turkish Delight) extra g melted white chocolate for decoration Grease and line a slice tin ( 30 x 20 cm or 12 x 8 inches) and melt the dark chocolate and spread in the tin as a base. Melt the almond chocolate and then mix in the other ingredients. Spoon over base, flatten slightly and then drizzle white chocolate over the top. Refrigerate till set. Use a hot sharp knife and cut into pieces. I used caramello chocolate Easter eggs instead of the Turkish delight, but you can tailor the type of chocolate and nuts etc used to suit your taste. It is very rich and though the recipe says to cut 24 pieces, I cut about twice that.

Friday's on my mind!!!

NB: I am too lazy to go back and make the previous post's recipe orange. The will just BE two red ones!!!! Good Friday is over. I felt dull and lethargic all day. I had Milk Arrowroot biscuits for breakfast and lunch – 8 in all, and cups of tea. No wonder I was vague: I had eaten no real food. I went to Karen’s at about 3-30 pm and we watched the DVD of Stargate the movie and then the first 2 episodes of Stargate SG1 the series. There was more plot in one episode of SG1 than in the whole film, though they did set up the entire show, all the ideas and science etc. The writers must have had a good show ‘bible’ as they have barely deviated from it. It as weird to see how young Richard Dean Anderson was though, and Michael Shanks has Spader down pat. Carter was much more aggressive as a character and was only a captain. Teal’c has really bulked up too. I didn’t get home till 8-40 pm and then slept a dream filled sleep again. I have been dreaming every night lately. Long and complicated dreams with huge plots. I can remember parts of them, but they were OK. I never have nightmares. I have never woken up with fear pounding through my veins. I wonder if there is something wrong with me? Other people I know have nightmares. Oh the Labradors have just had a huge chasing game in and outside. It was over a TeddyBunny’s head. Now they need a big rest!!! Bah humbug, the online access to the Library was supposed to be off line tomorrow for updating etc, but it is not there now. I hate that. I wanted to place a hold on a science book about language. I am addicted to books about langue. It fascinates me. I am reading The Storied of English by David Crystal at the moment, having just watched and read The Adventure of English by Melvyn Bragg. I have apparently invented a very nice truffle. It was an act of desperation as I had no honey or nuts. I like to call them: White Lemon Truffles. 200 g white chocolate 125 g cream cheese ½ to ¾ cup coconut extra coconut for rolling grated rind of a large lemon Melt chocolate and cream cheese carefully. Add rind and beat with a wooden spoon till smooth. Fold in coconut – I sometimes use the shredded coconut for a change. Refrigerate till cool enough to roll into balls and then roll in extra coconut. I often pour the mixture into a square lined tin. It is easy then to cut the cooled mixture into even squares and then roll into truffles. They are all the same size then!!!

Living in the future : Literally.

Yesterday I met Karen for a late lunch and we had a tiny shop. I was desperate to buy a book , but I couldn’t find one at all. I wanted the new Australian Women’s Weekly big fat “Home Baking” book. It is bigger than A4 size and very thick and it is $34-95 : but no, they didn’t have one. So I went to look at all the sci-fi and fantasy books: nooooooo, there was not one book there I either didn’t already own, or was not interested in owning. Karen did point out a variety of other books, but I was bereft. Luckily today I have The Stories of English by David Crystal and Pathway to Treason by Ken Harris from the Library. Karen has promised to lend me some new books too. I made the cutest little bags for Pauline’s children : 3 crazy coloured prints, not too OTT, and then I appliquéd a felt bunny’s head, embroidered, onto the front. They are small and have a drawstring closure. I will fill them with some Binka’s lollies. They are free of everything artificial and there are dinosaurs!!! Today I took my printer cartridge to be refilled ( $7-50, how cheap is that???) and delivered Easter treats and Henny Pinny pincushions to people’s houses. Then I went to the GardyGardener’s for morning tea, and then home for a rest. Finally I went to the Library, picked up the printer cartridge, went to the fruit and veg and then, though I really needed to go to the supermarket, I was too tired to even consider facing a queue. I will go on Saturday. I only need a tiny few things. I am too tired, going out twice was too much. I will put a tape in for Dr Who and then go to bed for a long sleep. And I was all weirded out as I was sure I wrote on Tuesday and the date here said Monday, and then I remembered that as well as being light years ahead of other places in the world in most areas, we also live in the future, a day ahead of America. The future is already here, literally!!!! We are living in a time slip. Oh also I have no idea which rainbow colour I am up to. I always miss out green, but otherwise I do the ROY G BIV thing ( Richard Of York Gained Battles In Vain) I chose red anyway. I suppose it should have been orange. If it is wrong I will fix it later on. Chocolate Candied Orange Peel 2 or 3 oranges 1 cup sugar 1 cup water 100-200 g chocolate, melted Cut skin from the flesh, and then carefully trim all the pith, leaving just the thin rind. You can cut out fancy shapes but so much is wasted I make 1 cm strips. Pop rind into a pan of boiling water, boil for 5 minutes and drain. Repeat twice more. Then put the sugar and water into the pan, stir as sugar dissolves and then add the rind and boil steadily for 5-10 minutes or until the peel is translucent. Drain and dry on a rack. When dry ( and this may take 24 hours or more), dip into the chocolate and eat when set. You can used any rind really. I can’t eat oranges, but people seem to like this best.

Mental or Dental?????

Mental or dental? What a dilemma. When the dental receptionist offered me an appointment at the same time as my appointment with the counsellor, I had to make a quick decision. I decided to see to my mental health and then my dental!!! My tooth still hurts but I hope to just keep eating on the left side and avoiding hot or cold things – air included. I have made all my Easter cards and I just have to write in them and post the ones I need to post. I have made 2 lots of fudge, coffee truffles, lemon and coconut truffles, cherry chocolate things, coconut Easter eggs and I have still to make tiny chocolate lamingtons. I am waiting for the cake to defrost. All in all I have done quite a good job. I have 4 more pincushions to make : you can see what they kind of look like here - Oh I lost the cursor for a while. Tomorrow the GardyGardeners came and we are having choc chip hot cross bunnies . They are teeny tiny hot cross buns with choc chips in them. Then I will pop into school at lunch and take them some Easter treats. There is a student free day for ELs on Thursday so they won’t be at school. I have to go to the Vet too, and I may quickly go into the Hospital if I am not too tired. I am quite pleased with my cards, they have 2 big rabbit paw prints on the front and I have ‘coloured in’ with glitter puffy paint. The darn spell check has gone all American again. I am quite worn out with my mental health day. I shall have to add a recipe later on or tomorrow as I am feeling very tired now. A cup of tea ( universal cure-all) and a nap, I think.

Gnashing and rubbing of gums if this keeps up!!

My tooth has broken. I was eating a spearmint Lifesaver on my way to Karen’s and it was a bit crunchy. A bit too crunchy for a Lifesaver I thought. Indeed it was, and so part of one of my back teeth has a section missing. I rang the dentist this morning and I am on the emergency waiting list but it will be late April before I see anyone. This is terrible as my tooth hurts but no-one cares. I will spend a lot of time with my tongue on my tooth to keep the air out and I will be eating mushy food to avoid the chewing!!! Imagine people who can’t afford to go to the dentist at all. Dental costs are not covered by Medicare, and even with private health insurance, you get back less than half of the cost. The stray cat has gone so there is great exultation and tail wagging, especially on Peri’s part. She has her job back : watching the house next door!!! We watched 2 episodes of Blake’s 7, one was terrible and the other OK. We liked it anyway!!! Started a third, but I lost concentration and came home. I wanted a nap but I stayed awake till after Miss Marple and slept soundly all the way through till 8 am. A very good night’s sleep. The Labradors slept too as it is dark till 7 am now. Daylight Saving ends soon : this weekend I think so there will be an extra hour’s sleep but it will be dark so early in the evening. It will be dark by 7 pm. That means 11 weeks of shorter days , and then we are on our way to Spring!!! Not wishing my life away or anything. I have 4 more Easter things to make and II have a little shopping to do to buy the rest of the cooking ingredients and I have a card to make too. I must do that now as I think of it. White Chocolate Truffles 200 g white chocolate 125 g Philly cream cheese 1 tspn vanilla extract 1 tbspn honey ¼ cup chopped nuts ¼ cup coconut ( plus extra for coating) Melt chocolate and honey gently . Beat cream cheese with vanilla until smooth. Combine cream cheese with chocolate mixture and fold in nuts and cocoanut. Refrigerate for several hours. Roll into balls and coat with coconut. You can substitute any nuts/fruit etc as you like.

Da dah da da da daaah dah ( Hum the Star Wars theme with me!!)

Re the Cat Wars on the dogblog : I think all cats should have to be registered in the same way dogs are. I know dogs are bigger animals in some cases, but cats cause more damage to the wild life, and infinitely more general bother in our neighbourhood. Cats should be kept under supervision too, in one of those lovely runs I have seen on TV so they don't eat the little birds and lizards. I know that when Peri was little and nippy she caught 2 or 3 baby birds and/or lizards, but she has no hope now she is a grown up proper dog. Cat owners need to be responsible for their cats. Speaking of Wars, Star Wars the original movie was on last night. It was the digitally enhanced A New Hope and even though I was in danger of being forced to watch the whole thing, I don't like the enhanced version very much at all. There is a plan to watch 1, 2, then go to the pictures to see 3, then 4,5 and 6 to give a total Star Wars experience in May!!! Welcome to the wonderful world of Easter TV where for the next fortnight there are wall to wall repeats of almost everything. There are new episodes of Enterprise, Dead Zone, Stargate SG-1 and Jeremiah, all on after the magic 10-30 pm time, but anything else has been given the boot. This does mean Karen cat catch up on her 86 tapes. I am up to tape 77, and I have watched a fair proportion of the TV on the more recent ones so I feel quite in control. Of course now Karen is taping things for me to watch, it is a vicious circle of TV watching. Today there will be 2 more episodes of Blake's 7 to be seen, and I saw season 4 I think, of Due South on the IMDB. I shall search for it as we really need that. You can never have too much Benton. Coconut Easter Eggs 3 cups icing sugar 395 tin sweetened condensed milk 1 tspn coconut essence or vanilla extract yellow food colouring Optional - 200 g chocolate - 30 g copha Sift sugar and then combine with milk and coconut. Here you can choose the flavours you like: the mixture will be divided up into 1/2 and 3/4. The 1/4 will be the yolk, coloured yellow and the 3/4 will be the white, flavoured coconut or vanilla. You can colour the yolk green and flavour it peppermint, or red/pink and use rosewater or orange and use orangewater. You choose!!!. Make the 1/4 yolk part into small 1 1/2 cm balls ( 3/4 inch?) and shape the white mixture around to form egg shapes. Now if you like you can roll them in extra coconut and refrigerate and they are ready, or you can just refrigerate them till set and then dip them in the combined melted chocolate and copha. Either way they are easy and tasty Easter treats. Makes about 30.

Stray Cat Ballou, Cat Ballou, She's mean and evil through and through

Yesterday we didn’t do anything except go for a walk and then lounge on the couch and do some big catching up on TV. I made the most excellent mousse ever – recipe follows, and took it to Di’s. She made tea and we sat and talked. I have just spent the better part of the afternoon searching for the recipe for coconut Easter eggs. I knew I had seen it this week, so I went through all the magazines and other books for what seemed like hours. In the end I remembered I had bought 2 tins of condensed milk on special and that the recipe must have been in the Roelf Vos catalogue. I had, of course, every catalogue except that one. Thankfully the supermarket still had some so I have 2 now in case. We are having cat wars. There is a stray cat that keeps coming next door and staying there. The Labradors bark at the cat. They don’t bark at the cat who lives there. I have had to put up the shade cloth barrier, stapling it to the fence. Peri is bereft as she spends quite a lot of the day lying down near the fence, looking through to next door. She is going to have to get used to it, as if they bark, people will complain. She is inside now and I hope by tomorrow she will be happier. Best Ever Chocolate Mousse 100 g dark chocolate 50 g butter 2 eggs separated 1 tspn caster sugar Melt butter in a double boiler over a low heat. Whisk in the yolks and then the butter in small pieces. Whip the egg whites till soft peaks form and then sprinkle sugar over the top and beat till silky. Fold in very thoroughly. Refrigerate. I added 2 tspn coffee to the chocolate and then covered the set mousse with whipped cream also flavoured with coffee, as Di likes the mocha flavour.

Lamingtons very pretty and the lamington is sweet!!!

2 days in a row!! People will collapse with shock!!! No phone call for Millionaire, but Sale of the Century will be back later in the year, maybe with a Daddo at the helm, and that will suit him more I think. The tailgate gas struts in my car were fine, and Karen went above and beyond the call of friendship by picking me up at 9am!! I was very tired this morning and only took the Labradors for a 10 minute walk along the footpath and back. At Karen’s we watched an episode of Blake’s 7 and they mentioned about 20 times “The Forbidden Zone” which is what I call the area between the first wrought iron gate to the outside world and the second inner wooden gate. I must have unconsciously called it by the name form Blake’s 7. Karen and I really ruined the whole atmosphere of the episode by laughing uproariously ever time TFZ was mentioned. At Spotlight we accidentally met Suzanne and went for a very late lunch. All in all an excellent day though I want to sleep now. I am going to stay awake so I can sleep all through the night. Tiny Lamingtons Day old sponge cake 2 cups pure icing sugar ½ cup cocoa 125 ml boiling water desiccated coconut Sift icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl and stir in boiling water until it is smooth. Cut sponge into rectangular pieces. Using 2 forks, dip each piece of cake into the warm icing, let the excess drip off, then roll in the coconut and place on a wire rack. You can make jelly lamingtons, usually red, but using an almost set jelly instead of the icing.