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July 2005

Mc OKay or not???

Which is your favourite Stargate Atlantis character – Shepard or McKay?? I realise this question will only make sense to bout 0.0001% of the viewing audience, but it presents a dilemma: do you want to look at the character or be entertained - and I mean in a nice cerebral way!!! This all harks back to my Venn diagram of fictional characters, with cuteness and looks on one side and intellect and conversational entertainment on the other, with the cream of the crop in the intersection. I fear that Shepard and McKay are on opposite ends of any continuum. Shepard is no Jack O’Neill, although he has elements of jack and Daniel , while McKay is pure scientist, with a bit of marine thrown in. I must admit that I am fascinated by his ability to talk really, really fast and some of his best lines are throw-aways and asides. I like that he is honest about his beliefs and feelings to the point of rudeness sometimes. I don’t want strangers to be rude to me, but  there is that certain honesty from friends, they will tell you if your bottom looks big in this….. So I am erring on the side of McKay. I like geeks!!!!

On the knitting front I have picked up and knitted the two bands around the lower edge of the Fibonacci Jumper and I am up to the last ends on the shoulders and then the neck. I plan to complete this tonight and maybe even the get the sleeves sewn up. I have until Tuesday night to finish, si I will steam and block tomorrow.

On the cooking front I made the most excellent fish cakes : Desiree potatoes, red salmon, parsley, lemon and I made some mayonnaise with honey wholegrain mustard. They are cooking right now. I dipped them in egg, flour and a little milk and then breadcrumbs and I am frying them in a little oil and butter. They are delicious.

Cherry Truffles

  • 1 egg white

  • 125 g dark chocolate, grated

  • 1 tbspn rum, kirsch, etc

  • 2 tbspn icing sugar

  • 24 glace cherries

  • ½ cup cocoa/drinking chocolate

Soak the cherries in the alcohol. Combine all the other ingredients except for the cocoa/drinking chocolate.  Refrigerate about 20 minutes in a square or rectangular tin. Cut mixture into 24 even pieces, flatten each piece and enclose a cherry. Rollin the cocoa/drinking chocolate and refrigerate. These are very easy and look luxurious!!!


Very 1967........

No walk this morning, but I did watch Stargate Atlantis. It was very amusing, there were myriad Kirk references by McKay!!!! Indulge me…

McKay:

Word of caution. The whole Captain Kirk routine is problematic, to say the least; let alone morally dubious.
Sheppard: What Routine?
McKay: Romancing the alien priestess… very 1967 of you

McKay:

Oh my god, he is Kirk...

Then off to brunch and Aunty Captain Mrs Archer ( henceforth  she shall be referred to as ACMA as it is too long to type otherwise)  shopped for books, saucepans, pepper grinders and clothes. I saw another Labrador rug but I will have to wait till payday not next week but the week after. 

Knitting – not a jot, not one single stitch, not a knit nor a purl. I shall start as soon as I have finished here.

Cooking : yes, here is the recipe I mentioned yesterday.

Fudgy Chocolate Biscuits

  • 125 g butter

  • 250 g brown sugar

  • 100 g dark chocolate

  • 1 tspn vanilla extract

  • 2 eggs

  • 185 g plain flour

  • ½ tspn baking powder

  • 1 tspn Bicarb soda

  • 40 g cocoa powder

  • 250 g choc bits : I used ½ white and ½ milk

Melt the butter, sugar and chocolate, cool slightly and add the vanilla. Mix in the eggs and the well sifted dry ingredients and the choc chips. I usually put the mixture in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to cool and then roll tablespoonfuls into balls and bake at 180 C ( 160 ff) for 10 minutes. Then cool on the tray for about 10 minutes. When they come out of the oven they will be puffy, but they deflate and develop cracks as they cool. These are crispy on the outside and fudgy in the middle.


By the rivers of Riverside by Joanie M!!!

First of all, I am so proud of myself – a successful picture!! I expect my technical expertise ( Please!!!) is at an end now though…

Today I invented a new biscuit recipe. Unfortunately the recipe is in the car and as there are 3 lots of stairs and two gates, I’m not going out in the dark and cold to fetch it. It will have to be added tomorrow. Suffice it to say there is an elegant sufficiency of chocolate(s) in a fudgy biscuit. It has been tested and approved by others too.

Today I went to visit "Joanie the Labrador’s" mother, saw her brother, and her dad came home from work at the end too. Joanie has gyp in her legs, but she is so lovely, and loving. Joanie isn't related to Harki, Peri or Tori,  and she is quite old now. A big fluffy girl too. She is like Peri : she carried the newspaper all the way up the steps on her dodgy legs, wagging her tail thumpily. Peri loves to carry things too, but harki brings them back!!!

I looked at all Joanie’s Mum’s holiday photos: Italy, France, Switzerland, England, Singapore etc.  I just love looking at photos. They were great, and the stories behind them too. I was so lucky to get the most lovely jade coloured Italian glass earrings. I wore them all afternoon.

Last night at the shoe party I bought a pair of shoes in Heritage green with a bumpy kind of lizard skin-like insert of – Heritage green!!! There were so many shoes and we tried lots on.

I am having cheese and celery sandwiches for tea, a blast from the past. I had forgotten my Nan made them for us for lunch when we were little.

Now I have Atlantis to watch and lots of knitting to do……


Greening Australia : My Way

Silkgarden208_1 Today I am attempting to post my very first image. It is not anything I have made, as I don’t have a camera, but Aunty Captain Mrs Archer does, and I might ask her to take some photos and then I can save them in my memory stick and load them into my computer. We’ll see. Anyway, this is something I desire, and it was obviously made for me, especially for me!!! It is myriad greens, there are so many greens and so little time and money. I am saving up to buy some of this Noro Silk Garden though, from this site : http://www.prestigeyarns.com/home.htm

Am I a closet fan of anything? No, no matter the dagginess, geekiness or naffiness ( is that a word?) of a show, I am always happy to say I watch it and like it. In fact, I quite enjoy taking people aback. I liked Abba when they were uncool. I still wanted to watch Dr Who, even at its worst. The Star Trek TOS ? Yep!! Blake’s 7, dodgy sets, acting and all? Yep. The Krypton Factor? Yep. Hunter? Yep. Starsky and Hutch, ChiPS,

F Troop, The Scorpion King movie? Yes, yes, yes and yes!!!! It would surprise no-one then, to be told that most of the things I want to watch on TV are :

  • Not even on TV so you have to buy the DVDs

  • On so late at night you MUST have a VCR

  • On late at night at the same time as another show so you need at least 2 VCRs

  • Only on Austar

  • So, so rare you can only read about them in SFX or on the net

  • You only find out about them after they have been cancelled

  • You only have one other person to discuss the show with – OK, with whom to discuss the show.  Dangling grammar!!

In the ‘olden days’ you would simply have missed out, thank heavens for new technology. I really liked Hunter and Land’s End was excellent too. Who knew there had been a new series of Hunter in 2003?? I will have to keep an eye out.

At the moment I am indulging in North & South ( ABC P&P –alike) Sharpe and Hornblower. Sigh! Thank heavens for old technology!!!

Knitting. Well, there are about 6 rows on the last leg to go. I talked on the phone, watched Black Books and The Movie Show with David and Margaret and then went to bed . I am going nowhere today. Well, a shoe party tonight, but I will be home all day so I expect to do knitting and housework. These are my only jobs for the day, so I expect to finished them completely. I am now eyeing other new projects….I have the colour chart from the Bendigo Mill and almost 3 new kinds of green jeans. Cardigan?? Jumper?? Jacket? I think I need a hat too for walking in the cold. I am not a hat person, too many compulsory years of hat wearing at school, but my head is cold!!!

No, an update, I have finished all the legs and I am now sewing up the bodies - it is so fast. I will definitely finish today.

The Labradors are happy, they had sardine oil on their boiled celery. Harki has completely recovered from her FlippyFloppy ear and she and Peri have had a big play already. The fog has rolled in now and the sun has disappeared.


Horror-scope

This is my Horoscope for June : find the courage to move out of your comfort zone, broaden your horizons and involve yourself in things you have always dreamed of doing. In theory it’s a no-brainer. In reality, you’ll have to fight the urge to withdraw into yourself and the sanctity of your private space.

Why am I making you read this tosh? Well, it is absolutely true, well in part!!! I had the chance to go and meet new knitting people, but I chickened out at the last minute. I was too nervous to go. I went to bed for a nap instead. The weird feeling in my stomach went away when I realised I didn’t have to go. How sad is that? I do live in a narrow world: well bounded and convergent. I am more than slightly obsessive : when we go for a walk we are halfway at 12 minutes, or 14, NEVER 13, even though that’s our house number. When I think of it, I have to go to the IMDB and look up a show and then find out everyone’s age, or height. I can’t rest until I know. I have to make spreadsheets of the books I own, and all the magazines. I ‘A to Z’ them, make them all in order by date, and colour them all green. All the books in the bedroom are rearranged regularly to be more ordered.

But dusting? What’s that? Can’t motivate myself to dust. Can motivate myself to  cut tiny squares of all the Christmas fabric I own and organise them by colours onto a pin to carry in my bag. Am I weird or what? I’m sure I wasn’t that bad when I was still well and at work, I have definitely lost some of my grip on reality since I had to stop teaching. On reflection does anyone else really need to meet me!!!!

Harki had to go to the Vet as her FlippyFloppy ear went from a little annoyance, to a big deal, in one day. She was such an angel, she always is, and she had an injection and some new drops. It made her feel better in about an hour and she is so happy today. Peri was locked inside as last time I left her out and she howled piteously like a coyote the entire time. So far we haven’t spotted any damage.

So, the mini crisis is over. Today I cooked 2 brownies and a blondie and  took Stargate-SG1 Season 2 to Mark. This morning we had a walk in the drizzle, though it has rained torrentially on and off for the rest of the day, and the GardyGardeners came for morning tea. Harki has let me throw her new toys up the backyard and now she won’t go and get them. But they are both asleep and so we will let sleeping dogs lie!!

On the knitting front I have 2 legs to go and all the knitting for the dinosaurs is complete. I think tonight I will sew them up and have them all finished, embroidered and adorned with horns, spikes and frills!!!  I want to sew in the rest of the ends of the Fibonacci Jumper too. Tomorrow I aim to start the bands for the hem.

Rich Chocolate Cake

  • 6 eggs

  • 110 g brown sugar

  • 400 g melted dark chocolate - cooled

  • 250 ml thickened cream

  • 1/3 cup alcohol: a coffee liqueur, whiskey, rum or just strong coffee

Preheat oven to 180 C ( 160 ff) and grease and line a 22 cm tin.

Beat eggs and sugar for 5 minutes. Turn speed to low and gradually add the chocolate, then fold in the cream and liqueur. Pour into pan, and place in another larger pan , and into the oven. Half fill the larger pan with boiling water, and cook for about ½ an hour. Cover with foil and cook for another ½ an hour. Cool in pan, and then refrigerate overnight.  Dredge with cocoa and is yummy with berries. An easy recipe that looks $1,000,000!!!!


Danny La Rue - now there's a proper queen...

Despite trying not to. I am compelled to write about the “Queen’s Birthday Honours List”.  How appalling. I can’t believe that this sort of thing goes on. Farmer, the head of DIMIA??? Pell??? What is going on? This system is just about gongs for the boys. A large percentage of the people, not all, are given an award when they are just doing their highly paid lucrative job. And more often than not, doing it badly, unethically, immorally. Where is the award to the Meals on Wheels person, the Red Cross canteen lady, the man who runs Little Aths? These people and many more like them give up their own time to work for others. They don’t get paid, it isn’t their job, they do it for the good of others with no thought of reward. It is getting to be that Sodom and Gomorrah are looking like Paradise, compared with the machinations and corruption in Parliament.

Onto other things. Due to my not reading the pattern, I blithely made the body for Trice the Triceratops and it was wrong. I thought about reknitting, but in the end I made a new head and then cut off the old one and joined them with a 3 needle cast off.  Mr Stegs needs a spiny back and head and I have 8 legs to do.

I  have almost finished the wrap. As would be expected, I need to buy more wool to finish about 50 cm of blanket stitch. Isn’t that always the way? I did do some nice embroidery along the 2 front edges, lazy daisies in light blue and apricot  with contrasting bullion stitch centres and a backstitch  curvy green stem joining them all. I swanned about the house wearing it, but it was too hot!! I know Aunty Captain Mrs Archer likes the wrap with a hood I made for her last year as she was muffled on the phone the other night and uttered words I never really expected to hear : “I couldn’t get the phone inside my Hood.” Right, yes, thanks Batman!!!

I have now knitted the spiny part of Mr Stegs and am half way through his head. As before I will have to attach it. I will do the same as for Trice. That will teach me to read the pattern next time. At least I have the knitting know-how to fix it!!!

I have just made a kind of Crème Brulee .I am off to Di amd Mark's for tea. School starts tomorrow so it is a last hurrah for Di. Only 12 more weeks to go..... Instead of having to do the bothersome mini blow torch or grilling of sugar, you make toffee and then artistically place shards of it in the custard!! Much easier. I have made it in plastic drinking cups so I can turn them out, it has a little bit of gelatine as well to aid with setting. I have some blueberries to scatter around the plate too. I am on a bit of a blueberry ping : last night I made blueberry pikelets for tea. The berries went all melty and squishy and I sprinkled them with a little cinnamon sugar. So yummy!!!

Blueberry Pikelets

  • 150 g self raising flour

  • 1 egg

  • 200-250 ml milk

  • butter for cooking

  • blueberries

  • cinnamon sugar

Put the sifted flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the egg in and then add the milk a little at a time, whisking as you go. It should have the consistency of pouring cream. Grease the pan over a medium heat – I used the wriggly grill on 170 C.  Place spoonfuls of the batter into the pan, and add 4 or 5 berries to each pikelet. Cook till bubbles form on the surface and flip. Cook about 2 minutes on the other side. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and eat. You can keep them warm in the oven, and they are nice drizzled with maple syrup too.


Rhapsody by Blondie

Last night whilst watching Dr Who, Arrested Development and the penultimate The Last Detective I sewed in the ends along the front and shoulders of the Fibonacci Jumper, only the back and a few stray ones to go now. I also knitted the body of the last dinosaur. No blanket stitching was done, but I have made up for it by doing some this morning. I plan to sit and finish the wrap today, all the blanket stitching at least, and then look for a picture of Captain Sheridan’s shirt on the net for a starting point for making Aunty Captain Mrs Archer one. Really for this she should be Aunty Captain Mrs Sheridan!!!

It has stopped raining but I am still hoping for more – we had about 20 mm which is almost an inch in the old language.

A Blondie, not a Brownie

  • 185 g butter

  • 200 g good white chocolate

  • 1 tspn vanilla extract

  • 330 g caster sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • 300 g plain flour

  • ½ tspn baking powder

  • I cup of – extra chocolate, chopped, nuts of your choice, raspberries…you choose

Preheat oven to 180 C (160 ff) Grease and line a 23 cm square tin. Gently melt the butter and chocolate, then add the vanilla and sugar and mix till smooth. Add the eggs and mix very well, and then the dry ingredients . Fold through till combined. Pour half the mixture into the tin, smooth, and then spread the ‘extras’ evenly and top with the remaining mixture. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until just set. Don’t over cook. Cool in tin and then slice and eat!!!


You can't stop the rain, nobody can stop the rain!!!

I shall answer some comment questions first:

Rose-Maree- no, we are all really still at home, and as if I could get away from the Labradors!!! They seek me out if I am not in the room they are in!!! I wouldn’t want to leave them anyway, they’re my children.

Cathy- I do like this new blog, and it lets me do things I would be unable to do otherwise, being a Luddite!!!

Suzi- It takes a little bit of getting used to, but if I can do it, it must be easy. It was fairly easy to set up and then to make lists and I have even changed things. I emailed for help about registering for the 30 days free and they emailed back the next day : pretty good!!!  Computers were still the size of a house when I went to school and the first time I ever saw one was after I had been teaching for quite a few years. It was an old BBC.

The Labradors are very well. They have cast iron stomachs in many respects, though Harki is allergic to lamb and a few other things. Once I gave her lamb mince and she was so sick she had to have that chalky pink strawberry flavoured medicine from the vet just like humans have!!!!

What lovely rain we have been having!! It has rained all night and now all day. The Labradors are like big wet woolly sheep : they had a great walk in the rain this morning and ran in every puddle.

No knitting of any shape or form was done yesterday. I spent the day in my pyjamas. I mooched about and slept and caught up on TV again. I did make the excellent pasta recipe from yesterday. It was so nice I have made it again today. I can eat the same meal 3 or 4 times in a row if I really like it. I don’t mind at all. I added a touch too much chilli today, but I like things hot, so its OK.

While we were watching Babylon 5 this afternoon, Captain Sheridan appeared on screen wearing his very nice mandarin collared Earth Alliance uniform shirt. Aunty Captain Mrs Archer really liked it. I might try to whip her up a shirt for her birthday.  I have a pattern I can adapt and I even have a few B5 iron on patched for the sleeve!! How cool is that???

Welcome to my world!!!

Tonight I will be sewing in ends and blanket stitching and also knitting a dinosaur body. I feel the need for variety!!! I must say it is like not doing homework – to confess that I have done nothing tomorrow. Writing this compels me, in some papist way, to actually do what I say I will. Ah, catholic guilt is a wonderful thing!!!

Potato and avocado bake

  • 1 kg waxy small potatoes

  • sea salt and ground black pepper

  • 30 g butter and extra olive oil

  • 2 medium onions, sliced ( red or brown)

  • 2 medium avocado skinned and chopped

Wash potatoes and then cut into 3 cm chunks. Place in a large flat dish and drizzle with oil and season well with salt and pepper. Bake at 180 C ( 160 ff ) for about 30 minutes. Fry onions in butter for about 5 minutes and then add to the potatoes along with the avocado. Bake for 10-15 minutes more. Serve as a side dish or a warm salad.


Ripper of a Fog

There was fog so thick you could cut it with a knife again this morning, but the day has segued into sunshine and crispness. This morning I opened my eyes to be greeted by the Sphinx-like gaze of Harki. She and Peri were treating the bed like a bouncy castle because I was finally awake. They are asleep on the couch in the sun now.

Last night I cut out the wrap and started blanket stitching around it. I am doing it in matching wool, but I think I will add some extra decoration to the edges in a lighter blue too. It is about 12 metres around the edges so I shall have to be blanket stitching like there is no tomorrow.

I like my new home here, I think it is quite good and every day I play with the things you can do. It even adds a book cover to your book list!!! I think it is ineviatable that I shall stay. I will have to attempt to import my blogger blog. There are instructions. If the whole world wide web fails sometime during the next 4 weeks - It will be me!!!

Quick Chilli and Parmesan Pasta

  • 400 g very fine spaghetti
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 red chillies finely chopped ( deseeded if you like it cooler)
  • 2 rashers of bacon or some smoked salmon
  • juice of a lemon
  • 150 g baby spinach
  • 100 g grated parmesan

Cook the pasta as directed and drain. Fry the garlic, bacon if used and chillies for about 2 minutes. Save a little cheese to garnish and then fold all the ingredients through the pasta.  That's it!! Very quick, easy and tasty.


The Quality of High Tea is not "not strained"

The whole post disappeared when I previewed it and then the server had a fit. Now I have to type the whole thing again. I should have done it in Word like I usually do and not trusted the Internet. It can only end in tears.

High Tea was very disappointing. I Have virtually given up, for now, my earnest Tea Enthusiasm and accepted that there will be tea bag usage whatever the status of the dining out facility. I am semi-resigned to tea bags. The smoked salmon and the cucumber sandwiches were fine but the egg ones had an awful tang. The scones were light and cakey but the cream was not King Island cream as it used to be and the jam was out of a jar and very ordinary. The cakes were even more disappointing: two slices of three varieties, a dry almond cake and a lemon and a coffee cheesecake.  High Tea really was High tea when it began but now the shine has gone. We had to wander into the Foyer to order more tea and again to pay. We usually go once during the holidays and about twice during term time, as they are open from 2 till 5. We will be finding somewhere else to go now.

I wore my new green clothes again, but even though I tried them on, the jeans are too big. I have misunderestimated myself, as George Dubya says. They are so nice though I am willing to undo the waistband, belt carriers and all, and take them in and reattach it. It is a fiddly job and mighty annoying, but it is so hard to get green stretchy cord jeans or trousers. I have swapped the khaki pair, but I will have to fix the teal ones too.

Tonight I hope to make the pattern for the wrap in this month’s Stitches. I have royal blue polar fleece and I am making it for Aunty captain Mrs Archer for her birthday. I will turn under a little edging and stitch it by hand : blanket stitch maybe? I have wool to do it already.

The Fibonacci Stripe Jumper is well on its way. I knitted up the side seam. There is only one as I knitted it sideways. I left the final stitches on the needle and lined them up with the cast on edge and then knitted them together, almost like a 3 needle cast off. Then I cast off with a larger needle quite loosely. The seam is very neat and stretchy. I hate the sewing up part and I always knit pieces together if I can. I cobbled together the shoulders and tried it on. It will fit. I will have to block it before I attempt a hem. I think a faced plain band with garter stitch edges making a side split. I will see how I go.

Today I have made a mint split pea soup. I followed the recipe but it needs a lot more than 2 teaspoons of curry. On Fresh today they made a chocolate pear cake, here is a recipe of mine.

Upside-down pear cake

  • 250 ml water

  • 110 g caster sugar

  • 200 g butter, softened

  • 200 g brown sugar

  • 1 tspn vanilla extract

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 200 g nut meal, almond or hazelnut

  • 2 tbspn self raising flour

  • 1 or 2 Packham pears

Make the toffee by melting the water and caster sugar over a low heat till the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer until it is caramel coloured. Grease and line well a 23 cm tin. Pour in the toffee to cover the base. Peel and core the pear and cut into 1 cm slices, then line the base. Preheat the oven to 180 C or 160 fan forced.

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs and then fold in the dry ingredients. Smooth over the pears and bake for about 45 minutes. Cool in the in for 10 minutes and then invert onto a plate. Serve warm or cool with cream and/or ice-cream.