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LabraDawson's Creek

Peri and Lorelai Gilmore have been in the creek again today, but here's the video I took the first time Gilly spied the water!!! She is so excited and Peri is too.

Peri is looking very cute at the moment, even if she is rolling in smelly things.

Lickety Split Peri
The Labradors are excellent sisters, but I don't think this is a kiss.  I think here Lorelai Gilmore is licking the smelly stuff Peri has rolled in.....

Kiss Kiss Lick Lick
Lorelai Gilmore loves going for a walk so much she looks Silly-Happy!!!

Silly Happy Gilly
Cardigan news: there has been much progress. All the pieces are finished. The sleeves are pinned out now and the fronts too. I am not sure if I should have buttons or a zip. I think a  zip, since the opened ended zips have The Exact Colour of the Chappa'ai Cardigan. How can that not be an omen??

Chappa'ai Sleeves and Front
I am about to start embroidering the Chevrons (lights) and some of the Event Horizon of the Chappa'ai itself (Stargate). The Event Horizon is all shimmery and blue, but mine will have just hints of blue to be going on with.

Embroidering the Chappa'ai
I washed my ADAMO Cardi today and it grew like Topsy. Obviously I did not block it to within an inch of its life, even though I thought I did. Today I just soaked it in warm water, and then squeezed it out gently, wrapped it carefully, tightly and lovingly in a towel and gave it a bit of a waterless spin in the washing machine. Not quite sure what I did wrong, but luckily, it is fine. The sleeves and body are longer but it actually fits better this way so I breathed a big sigh of relief.


Tomorrow I am going to a Complementary Therapy Workshop day organised by The Leukaemia Support Group. We are exploring Homeopathic medicine, Reiki and Reflexology, Yoga and Deep Relaxation. There is also morning tea and lunch. As a seminar goer at school, we were always very interested in what the food would be like!! The food is always delicious at LSG. 

The Labradors are asleep now it is dark, but they can be every energetic. The look like magnificent beasts when they run and play!!! Just like Saffy and Silas!!!

Peri and Gilly are Magnificent

My Guilty Pleasure has come back to TV: Masterchef. I only like some parts, the actual cooking, and I try to record it so I can fast forward through the endless recaps and people talking about what they did in a weird tense. There is a lot of TV watching at the moment: Farscape is coming along nicely and it's Spot The Australian Actor. Bonekickers is not high drama, but I like it. Burn Up reminds me of State of Play, Edge of Darkness or The State Within. I don't know how the episode ended because it went too late after Doctor Who, which was great. Again. There are cracks. Cracks are the new Bad Wolf I think. Foyle's War is back soon, three new episodes screen here starting Sunday May 9th at 8-35pm. Hooray for People Power.

Now I am off to make some cauliflower soup for tea.

Monday Munchies #17

Remember the Mashed Potato from MM#15?? I mentioned fish cakes, and voila, here they are!!! I used salmon but any cooked fish you like is perfect. I have also used sweet potato and carrot as part of the mash depending on leftovers. And there are never many leftovers here!! (Two Labradors)

Fish Cakes makes about 18
  • mashed potato for 4 or 6
  • one onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 415g tin of salmon drained* and flaked
  • two eggs, beaten**
  • breadcrumbs
  • oil/butter for frying

*It is better for one's health to add all the bones and skin, but I hate the bones and skin: and so I don't.

** You can add an extra egg to the potato mixture, but with refrigeration the mixture holds its shape and stays together when frying.

Fish cakes
Start with cool mashed potato and add the parsley, salmon, lemon juice and zest. If you prefer, you can lightly sauté the onion, and I do, and then add it to the potato mixture. Gentle fold together so as not to break up the fish too much. Use a wet 1/4 cup measure and scoop out the fish cakes. Place on a tray and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Lightly beat the eggs, you may add a little water or milk and use just one egg if you like. Dip each cake lightly into the egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs. Refrigerate again for about 30 minutes or over night. They can be frozen at this point.

Heat the oil/butter over a medium heat and pop the fish cakes in. Cook for 4-5 minutes each side. Drain on paper towel and then serve with a salad or vegetables and mayonnaise. A wedge of lemon does just fine here too. The cooked cakes can be frozen as well. They are very versatile!!

Fish's Eye view

Lie-low And Stitch

Welcome to my world: a world where you count the rows on one Chappa'ai cardigan front and think you have done too many so you unravel quite a few. Then you realise you didn't do any side seam shaping on the other front so you unravel the whole front down the to the rib and then you realise that you did bust dart shaping and so of course there would be more rows at the centre front. That's when you also realise you can't find the piece of paper with all the shaping rows written out in full. All I can say is thank goodness I have such an obsession with saving things in My Documents because there it was, all safe and sound.  Now if I can just rinse out the Golden Syrup that seems to have spilled on the back, I can knit my way back to the underarm cast off with positive thoughts. Don't ask. Really, don't ask. Here's a hint.

Gilly is so helpful

This may also give you a hint. I slept quite well last night, opened the dog door early and went back to bed. I woke up to this:

Tree in the bed
That would be one of the oak tree branches I cut off yesterday and put up by the back gate, and a ball of brown felting wool. I B&W-ed the photo because the full colour horror is too much to bear. Instead of creating havoc, Peri found one of her stashed Christmas presents and had a lovely time chewing and eating it up.

Peri's treat Gilly's loss
Lorelai Gilmore has been helping me pin out the completed Baktus still-without-a-proper-name scarf. My ability to name has momentarily deserted me. This is the best photo I could get. 

Gilly and scarf
I still have my cold, and yesterday was a day off from walking which is perhaps why there was a tree in the bed. This morning was the first day ever that Gilly has seen water in the creek. She was a bit nervous at first, wondering what Peri was doing.

Shall I hope in with Peri
Then she jumped right in and was wet all over in a trice. She's going to love Winter and what a good sister Peri is!!!

The Labradors in the creek
I ventured out for a couple of hours to MrsDrWho's house on Sunday evening to watch Doctor Who's return. Fabulous, he will be a great Doctor thank you very much, and Steven Moffat's writing is excellent. I also went to Trivia on Tuesday in the middle of a terrible electrical storm, when much to our chagrin we came second. We really wanted to come third because the prize was a wine voucher!! Today I shall go to The Library and return the Sublime Stitching book. It was a bit of a disappointment being transfers, and not the designs I was excitedly expecting to see. I've bought a pattern I have been coveting for a top/tunic/dress: Amy Butler's Liverpool. I bought it from Belsize Square online and even with postage, theirs was the cheapest I could (googling around a bit) find. Buying something cheers me up.

I have been knitting something else secret and doing a little sewing as well, but I run out of enthusiasm and have to go for a nap, ergo, lots of Labrador pictures these last few weeks!!

Monday Munchies #16

Next Sunday is ANZAC Day, the 25th of April, and so I have baked ANZAC Biscuits. Not cookies, never cookies. It is against the law to call them cookies. Really. I never bake any kind of cookies, I always bake biscuits!!

I have baked two kinds on ANZAC Biscuits: one with coconut and one without. I like the one without much better, it must be like the recipe my mum used to make. The recipe tastes too salty for me, perhaps more salt was added to preserve the biscuits?? They do need some salt though.

One year my class researched and found out that in actual fact Hard Tack biscuits were sent to the troops. These biscuits were also know as ANZAC Tiles or Wafers. We cooked some, and ANZACs as well, and then pinned them to the wall in a plastic bag for weeks and weeks. The hard tack was still hard and edible. The ANZACs looked reasonably OK, but we were loath to eat them in case they were bad!!

The method/cooking time is the same for both biscuits, so I will list the ingredients for both recipes and then the Method.

ANZAC Biscuits - recipe with coconut makes about 36
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tbspn Golden Syrup
  • 1 tbspn boiling water
  • 1 tspn bicarb soda (Baking Soda in the US I think)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tspn salt (recipe says 1 tspn)

ANZAC Biscuits- without coconut (my preferred recipe) makes about 16
  • 90g butter
  • 1 tspn Golden Syrup
  • 1 tbspn boiling water
  • 1 tspn bicarb soda
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 tspn salt (recipe says 1 tspn)
ANZAC Biscuits times two

METHOD - preheat oven to 175*C
  • Gently melt butter in a pan and then add the Golden Syrup and stir. Remove from heat.
  • Put the bicarb soda in a small bowl and pour over the boiling water. Add immediately to the butter mixture. It will foam up slightly.
  • Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Make a well in the centre.
  • Pour the butter mixture into the dry and then mix till combined. You have to mix well, because some flour and oats always hides at the bottom.
  • Roll into tablespoon sized balls and place on a lined tray and press down gently with the back of the fork. The second recipe was wetter and so I just scooped out with a tablespoon full and rolled lightly. These also spread, so I only put 8 on the tray and that was perfect.
  • Bake for 16 minutes, swapping trays halfway through. Check at 12 minutes just in case.
  • Cool on trays for 5 minutes especially for the second recipe, they need to cool and 'set'
  • Store in a sealed container.
You can, in a totally apocryphal way, add choc chips, or ginger or even spread the base of the cooled biscuits with melted chocolate!! I don't.

Catch Me (Up) If You Can

On the feeling well front, I am feeling slightly better thank you!! The cold seems to be working it's way down my body: headache, sinus, ear ache, stuffy nose, and now tickle in the sore throat and an annoying cough. Give it another week and just my toes will be sore and it will be over!!! And look, it's Autumn!!!

Don't leaf me this way
This is a little catch up of a few things. Way back in August last year I began my No Commercial Bottle of Shampoo or Conditioner Hair Washing Policy. So far I have used two and a bit bars of the special soap and two and a bit bottles of cider vinegar. All in all it has gone very well. It is much cheaper than my old routine of shampoo and conditioner since I am not MrsDrWho with her endless stash !! I stick the end of the old bar onto the new one. My hairdresser hasn't said anything untoward about my hair either.

Soap not on a rope
Laurie gave me an award. It is Happy 101 and if I was really so nice and happy and sweet I would have acknowledged it sooner. I am acknowledging it now: Thank you Laurie. Typically, I am unable to choose people to pass it on to, so award yourself!!! Go on, you deserve it.

Happy Award
I finally retrieved my lost ball of wool from MrsDrWho's house when I took The Kittens to The Vet to be vaccinated this morning and I have crossed The Rubicon of the pointy bit of the Baktus-without-a-better-name-yet and it's all decreasing from here on in!!

Pointy end
On our Thursday walk we met Ochre and her mum at the dam. Ochre is 3 1/2 and she's a Kiwi!! She came over here to be trained as a Guide Dog and made it almost to the very end. They waited for her to be slightly less enthusiastic and energetic, but luckily for her mum, she retained her enthusiasm for life!! She's a Labrador Golden Retriever cross and Peri, Lorelai Gilmore and Ochre had a wonderful game together!! Ochre is very well behaved!! In the picture it is, from left to right, Gilly, Ochre and then Peri at the front. All Labradors have amazing ears!!!

Gilly, Ochre and Peri

    Look where Gilly's nose is!! They are being Very Friendly!!!Playing with a friend

I have joined Melissa's Fat Quarter Swap and today, at the death knell, I posted off my seven identical Fat Quarters to be divvied out to the others. We'll all end up with eight FQs and then we have to make something!! I have a few ideas rattling around in my head. I had a lovely time folding the material using this tutorial. Then I added a small tag and posted them off. I cartoonised the photo so no googling Swappers!!!

Swap cartoon
Finally, one day shy of six weeks, my letter from the RBF arrived and it was a positive result. They agree with my diagnosis and this time I have a four year gap until the next Medical Review. While there are some aspects I am still not happy about, it is a good positive outcome. I am very lucky to have had wonderful support to see me through the whole process and am relieved that The Labradors won't have to starve because I can't work!!! My next goal is to be well enough to go to MrsDrWho's for tea and Doctor Who on Sunday night. Finger's crossed!!

Nurse Gladys Emmanu-unwell*

There has been a week of unwellness. I was contemplating going to the doctor today but I slept in past ringing up time, and so I have soldiered on and I have to go on Wednesday anyhow. It usually takes a proper person a week or seven days to recover, so it takes me twice as long with my suppressed immune system. I am feeling slightly more like myself today. I haven't spent 20/24 hours in bed and I took The Labradors for a small walk, though I will admit I also took them two and four days ago because I have the amazing power to rise from my sick bed to drive them to the dam for fifteen minutes!!!

Gilly runs so fast to me and then when she hears Peri coming she runs back like a rocket. Peri is very good at avoiding a rocket puppy because she used to do the exact same thing to Harki!!! They needed walking because they also spent 20/24 hours asleep on the bed and it was a walk, or more of the ninja plastic bag wrestling game they like to play on top of me.

I am so cross to be sick because I missed out on lots of outings with my friends and will probably miss more this week too. Bah Humbug. Still, I will be feeling well soon, and other people might still be sick and in bed.

Peri and Gilly rampant

I used the Random Generator to choose the winners for the Easter Bunny Baskets. I just assigned each comment a number in chronological order.

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2010-04-12 07:44:07 UTC

So congratulations to Samsara, Monika and Lynne S of Oz !!! I will email you soon or you can email me and I will post the Bunnies away. Monika has much to celebrate. Her lovely Biko, the White German Shepherd, died unexpectedly the day before Harki and on her post today (click on her name) you can meet the new puppy Denny, Denny Crane!! Happy and Denny look like fine friends and brothers!!!

So it has been very quiet here, I've watched some TV, slept and taken the sad and ineffectual drugs I am allowed for my cold. They don't work. I must try the Vicks on your feet trick that Laurie suggested next time. I am so glad I had my Flu and H1N1 vaccination a fortnight ago, because if this is how I feel with a cold, the Flu would be awful. All the well wishes helped. I flitted about others' blogs and commented but I haven't answered my comments. This is an example of my 'Should' issues, where I set myself almost insurmountable goals!!!

My wool arrived from Bendigo Woollen Mills and so I can finished the Chappa'ai Cardigan and I have knitted half a Baktus as well. I left the second ball of wool at MrsDrWho's house last Monday so there has been no more knitting on that.

Now I am going to have a cup of tea, a hot water bottle and a cardigan (Green is the new Black) and watch TV till bed time. Gilly is very confused by the cardigan wearing. She was confused by the skirt wearing when Spring came too. All this covering and uncovering is very strange to her. Peri is used to it, and she is also being more dominant and giving Gilly what for when she teases her!!

*Nurse Gladys Emanuel is Arkwright's fiancée in Open All Hours. What a great show that was.

Monday Munchies #15

I am a working family's dream. I will happily eat the same thing for tea every night for a week. My latest fad is grilled pork cutlet chop, gravy, local apple sauce, peas, local mint jelly, carrot batons and mashed potato.

On the other side of the world they are all gleefully starting to eat new potatoes, but as we gently fade into Autumn, I look for the starchy white fleshed potatoes to mash. And that's what I am cooking today: mashed potatoes.

Green grocer's potatoes
Our local green grocer has quite a selection of potatoes and today I chose Kennebecs, but you should check locally to see what's best in your area. We are spoiled for choice. So here's how I make mashed potatoes.

Delicious Mashed Potato  serves 4
  • 800g mashing potatoes
  • 1/3 cup hot milk - 30 secs in the microwave
  • 40g butter
  • salt, pepper
  • garlic clove crushed, chives snipped

Peel your potatoes and then rinse and cut into cubes, I actually cut wedge shapes about 3 cm long. Place into the pan and then just cover with COLD water. This is very important because it allows the potato to cook evenly, otherwise the hot water cooks the outside too quickly and makes them crumbly. Add a pinch of salt. Place on the stove and bring to the boil. Once boiling, put the lid on the saucepan and turn the heat down so the water is just simmering. (I added a crushed clove of garlic for some extra flavour)

Diced and ready to cook
Check progress at about 15 minutes by sticking a knife or fork into a large piece of potato. It should be tender but not falling apart. Generally it takes 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and then put back on the stove for a minute or two to make sure that the potatoes are dry, shake the pan a little to help it along. (Remove the garlic, or you can squeeze the flesh out and add it)

The potato mash it was a graveyard smash
Roughly mash the potatoes and then add the hot milk and butter. Mash till all combines and then fluff by whipping with a fork. Serve with a scattering of chives, or add some Parmesan cheese, blue cheese, crispy bacon, the sky's the limit really. My plate shows one serve. 

Dinner time
You can use the left overs to make some yummy fish cakes. Just add some finely chopped onion, an egg and some tuna or salmon. Form into cakes and refrigerate for about 30 minutes and then dip in egg and breadcrumbs and fry till crisply brown. Yum!!!

My So-Cold Life

MrsDrWho wondered yesterday whilst watching three more episodes of Farscape (82 to go) if I was allergic to her cats again, because I was rubbing my red and itchy eyes. Nope, this morning I woke up with a cold: sore throat, stuffed up nose and a headache. I am good in a poorly health situation though, I took The Girls for a quick walk, and bought Lemon and Honey tea and some Chicken Noodle soup and I am about to have a shower and then go to bed. It's all Pride and Prejudice here with no real cold medication I can take, instead it is Vicks all round and maybe some painkillers. I am just cross I have a cold when all my friends are on holidays.

This is Harki's lovely rose, from her Auntie MrsDrWho. It's a bright red double bloom Floribunda rose called Matthias Meilland.

Harki's Rose
Here, at last, is The Tempest/As Dreams Are Made On Cardigan. It took 5 balls of Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett sock wool, and almost a whole ball of Bambi Grignasco for the stripes, hems and the buttonband cast off.  It has a v-neck and incredibly on sale buttons that cost 20 cents each. The buttons I really liked were going to cost more than the whole cardigan did.

Tempest ADAMO
So I'm off to bed now. Here's a picture of The Labradors on their walk, Peri and Gilly, side by side. Off they trot. Life goes happily on.

Peri and Gilly trot along
Look at those cute faces!! (And Gilly's plastic)

Peri and Gilly posing

Monday Munchies #14

Bakerella, she of the Cake Pops, also made some sort of Oreo Pop. I can't find it, but today I present TimTam Pops, and Mint Slice Pops. I can't taste them because they are chocolate, but they look pretty edible!!! I may try my hand at some Cake Pops before too long.

Pops all in rows

TimTam/Mint Slice Pops
  • 1 packet of TimTams or Mint Slice or other biscuit
  • 65g cream cheese (Philly)
  • 300g more or less of chocolate, to be melted
  • pop sticks, I cut some satay skewers

In your blender, whizz up the biscuits until they are crumbs and then add the cream cheese and whizz some more till it is all combined. Place in the fridge. When cold, cut into cubes of desired proportions, roll into balls. Insert sticks and refrigerate till 'set'. The dip into the melted chocolate and they are done!! I topped the Mint Slice Pops with a little crushed peppermint lolly. I poked holes in some polystyrene and then stood up all the pops to dry.

Look out here we come

Peri Naughty and Lorelai Gilmore were stalking the photo-shoot.

I wonder why???

Good, Good, Good, Good Fridaytions

Every Good Friday Peri goes to the party next door. This year Lorelai Gilmore went too. They went down to the fence at noon and though they deigned to pop inside now and then to check up on me, they stayed until very late when all the party goers next door went inside. Peri just adores the party, and like to lie with her head resting on the bottom rung of the fence and just poke her nose through. Lorelai Gilmore is learning to look up in the sky to spot planes. No doubt this will be a handy skill she can use in the future. It's tiring work, being at the party, and Peri likes to stretch every now and then.

Party party party
Here's a short video of Peri and Lorelai Gilmore at a break in their party!!! Peri has her own cup in case of sudden party drinks!! You can see my feet, I'm wearing my outside shoes. And the video seems to be wider than usual. I don't know why. Or maybe it isn't for you???

I finished my Tempest/As Dreams Are Made On cardigan, and I have worn it with the skirt I was wearing in the video, but it just didn't match. I'll take another photo. MrsDrWho's was excellent, but she was right about the not matching.

There has been some Easter cooking for others and some Easter presents for me: a Doctor Who DVD, some fabulous cutters and a lovely new tray for morning teas. And Labrador treats: thank you MrsDrWho.

Easter Treats for me
I haven't quite got the hang of normal time yet. The end of Daylight Saving means we get our hour back, but The Labradors were up with the birds and there was no sleeping in today. And it is dark so early. It won't take long to adjust, but it is a bit of a shock at first. I have also been watching all seven episodes of George Gently (Inspector) and so I am in the weird twilighty world of the 1960s and the afternoon just slipped away. Yesterday MrsDrWho and I embarked on our Farscape viewing. Three episodes down, 85 to go. And two films.

Harki came home from the Vet this week and she is living in a lovely velvet bag on the mantelpiece with Vundy and Tori. MrsDrWho gave me a beautiful rose to plant in the garden but I forgot to take a photo in the daytime: see above-Daylight Saving.

I have made some little Easter Bunny baskets. They are teeny tiny, well about 10cm a side, and cute. They have a pompom tail, but you can't see it in the photo. Would you like a bunny basket?? It might have a chocolate treat inside. Leave a comment and The Labradors and I will choose one name each on Friday 8th April. They have button eyes, I used perle thread to embroider their faces and they are lined with grey. They appear to have rounded up some stray eggs in the photo. I am afraid they will need a bit of an iron after they have been posted. Not too hot because I am pretty sure you'd have a hot cross bunny then!!!

Funny Bunnies
I want to watch the end of the last George Gently and I have a little knitting to finish and then to bed. Tomorrow is Monday Munchy day and I have to walk The Labradors and then make the aforementioned Munchy!! I must also update my OPAM challenge. I think we shall all sleep exceedingly well tonight and there might even be a hot water bottle, you never know!!