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September 2010
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Come Fly With Me, Let's Take Off In The Car!!

"Labradors, welcome aboard Flight 9488 to the Hydro Dam. This is your captain speaking. Take off will be in one minute. We ask that you please fasten your new seatbelts at this time and secure all baggage in the foot locker. We will be cruising at a speed of 60 kph and our journey will take approximately eight minutes. There are two exits, one to the left and one to the right, take a minute to lick the window next to you, and at any time during the flight rub your nose on it too. While we wait for take off, please stay seated. A light snack of treats when you come when called and a selection of beverages from muddy puddles and the creek will be served on arrival. When re-embarking please be sure to shake lots of water from the creek onto the windows too. Now please relax and enjoy your flight."

Labradors in harnesses
Oh, you can see my reflection in the window. My cold makes me stupid, fancy standing where I would appear. The Labradors are very clever. It took two days of wearing the harnesses about the house for a few minutes at a time, and then once in the car in the back as usual. The next day they sat on the seats and were clipped in, something they have never done before, and they were champion. Gilly tends to squirm about and I will have to tighten her harness, but they are such good and clever girls!! I think Peri is looking smug!!

Yesterday I went to the shops and then baked some vegetables and chicken and made sausage rolls. Consequently this morning after Nineses, I was feeling tired and poorly and I went back to bed at 11am with a hot water bottle and a cold facecloth on my eyes and slept till 3-30pm. I feel better now!!! I just needed more sleep. I hope my cold will be gone by Monday, that will be a fortnight and I think that's all anyone should have to bear.

I have been crocheting. I made rainbow circles from which to make coin purses. The small one is half trebles and not very circular. The larger one is trebles, which are strangely easier to make, and it is nicely round. Now I can make some more, because once the pattern is set, it's easy to follow. You always make two trebles into the two trebles in the row below. I have spotty fabric and zips to make little coin purses.

Rainbow collection

Tomorrow I am going to sewing, where there is less sewing and more chatting!! I shall take my crocheting I think. It is my first social outing for ten days so I am definitely going to rest up. I shall spend dome time perusing my cook books and choosing something to bake for supper.

Now a happy story about excellent service. I have lost my headset for my mobile. It is an aerial to receive the radio while we walk. I can't find it anywhere and I last used it eleven days ago, so I decided to buy a new set. This will ensure I will find the old set, but then I will have a spare. I looked on the Nokia site to find a retailer near to where I live but there are none in the Northern Capital. The closest was ninety minutes away, and for a journey of that magnitude Apple Islanders need a cut lunch and a machete. I emailed and the Nokia person explained the headset was discontinued but she found a replacement and directed me to an online store. I could not for the life of me fill in the form. I typed in my suburb and then no boxes were next to the postcode and state. I got caught in a loop of asterisked red instructions to fill in non-existent boxes. I copied and pasted the form and emailed for help. Five minutes later my phone rang and it was a lady from Mobile Fulfillment Services. I could not believe it, she has rung to help me. Apparently their mainland form doesn't recognise my suburb, but when I typed in the name of the Northern Capital a drop down box appeared and I could click on it and the form filled in the details. I have to say I am so impressed with the excellent response. I know I should not be but how often am I cross about things like this?? I am very happy!!

And now two Labradors watching the kitten through the fence.

Where's the kitten

Monday Munchies #43

I bought some rhubarb at the greengrocer's and I knew I wanted to make something with it. I dithered about and in the end I found this recipe on the Australian BH&G site. It's both slice and crumble, yet really neither. The best thing about this recipe is that I had everything already in my fridge and cupboards, I just needed some apples, and it was apples!!! I am also more than slightly alarmed that this is MM#43, which means only eight weeks until Christmas time. The recipe declares it serves 16, but I think 8-10 is a more reasonable figure.

Rhubarb and Apple Oat Slice  serves 8-10

  • 1 bunch of rhubarb
  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup extra of plain flour

Preheat the oven to 180*C. Line a tray or oven proof dish with baking paper. Rhubarb can have an adverse reaction with some metals, so be careful to cover your metal tray. I used a glass tray. Trim the ends of the rhubarb and wash it in cold water and then cut into 10cm lengths. Throw the leaf ends away safely as they are poisonous.

Peel, eighth and then cut away the core of the apples.

Arrange them on top of the rhubarb. Mix the brown sugar and vanilla together and then sprinkle evenly over the fruit. I divided my sugar mixture into four and then sprinkled one quarter over each row.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, remove and cool. Meanwhile, cream the softened butter and sugar till light and fluffy, and add the eggs, beating well again. Fold in the flour and oats and combine well.

Grease and line a 20 x 30cm lamington tray, or similar. Divide the oat mixture in half and spread one half over the base. It will be quite thin. I cheated and added a little more at the edges, and I used my hands and kept them wet with cold water. It is perfectly OK to use a little more of the mixture, don't panic. Arrange the fruit over the base.

Quite a lot here really
Add the extra plain flour to the remaining oat mixture and mix to make a crumble consistency. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.

Done done done
Cool in the tray on a rack and then serve with whatever takes your fancy: ice cream, cream, yoghurt, custard - it all sounds good to me!!

Yum yum yum

Who's Minding The Mint Slices?

Another pair of socks for the OPAM completed and jolly nice they are too.

These are The Mint Slice socks, using the Old Knittery Cashmere Merino in my custom dyed Mint Slice colour. Using my usual personal sock pattern with 64 stitches and 2.5mm needles. I did 26 stitches of 2x2 ribbing on the back of the leg just because I wanted to. I love them: they are deliciously yummy and the closest thing to chocolate I am likely to have near me without feeling poorly.

Mint Slice Socks
Peri has been taking advantage of the warm sunshine in between the rain. I think she is still basking in the glory of her visit to the Vet and ensuing rump steak!!!

Peri in the sunshine
Gilly has been investigating the empty dog food bag. Notice how Peri doesn't really care that her sister is trapped in the bag. Also notice how after I 'saved' her from the bag, all Gilly was really interested in was getting back in the bag.

Gilly and the bag

Mrs Mauritius went on a holiday, if I could find the pertinent postcard I would put a picture here, and she went to the Hundertwasser Museum. She was amazed when I told her that Opal had manufactured sock wool in colours inspired by his art. I am knitting her a scarf in the lovely 5 or 6 ply Silver Spiral colour. I'm just doing a 1x1 rib with an even number of stitches and slipping the first stitch of every row. It's looking good so far.

100 waters scarf start
When the dollar was good I ordered some material from the Fat Quarter Shop. A Pure Charm pack to make a little quilt for my Aunt for Christmas,

Pure charm

and a Very Hungry Caterpillar panel and some material and flannel spots for Baby Electric.

Panel Spot flannel and fabric

MrsDrWho is so tired after a week of Learn to Swim that she has been laughing, a little maniacally I am afraid, at the latest Top 50 Jokes. She's also having trouble dressing herself. I would have though she would have had lots of training at LTS.

I still have my cold, but this morning when I woke up I could breathe, occasionally, through my nose. Big nasal breakthrough!!

Bloggy Book Club. The book I was most likely reading early this month was Don't Judge A Girl By Her Cover, Book 3 in the Gallagher Girls series. Unfortunately, I thought I had placed a old on #2, but Library Hold Placers can't be choosers and so I just read it. Yes, it's a YA book, a very YA book but I like it. It is amusing and witty and has twists and turns and a little bit of hard reality. The characters are a somewhat formulaic, but not too much and on the whole I am willing to overlook this for the amount of amusement I gained from the read. I have been reading quite a lot of YA lately: Todd McCaffrey, Terry Pratchett, Eoin Colfer, John Flanagan and Zizou Corder. I'm looking forward to the arrival of Book 2.

Now I am poaching some free range chicken breasts in lovely stock with garlic, chilli, onion, ginger, carrot, red onion and bok choy. Then I'll add the bok choy leaves and some rice vermicelli and chick peas for a restorative soup for tea. Tastes good, and is good for me!!

And Desi Harness in 'I Love Lucy'!!

The Labradors have their harnesses for riding in the car. They have been wearing them for a little while today. Peri is a star, she wears hers with great aplomb and style.

Peri's harness
Lorelai Gilmore tried to eat hers.

Gilly's harness
I have had a cold, a head cold, and it has been all Jane Bennett at Netherfield with only panadol to make me feel better. I spent most of the week in bed, sleeping, and The Labradors were OK for the first few days but then they really needed to go for a walk. We went for the kind of walk where one sits at a picnic table and one's Labrador companions run about happily.

Off we go

Yesterday Peri went to the Vet and donated blood for a sick dog.

Peri is so brave

Three, yes three, separate medical people came out to tell me how very good she was and how pleased they were with her. What a brave and good girl she is. Dr Jessica said that Peri should have rump steak to help her replenish her strength. So she did. I am so proud of her, she has become such a sensible girl!!!

Peri's rump steak treat
Gilly's new favourite thing to do is to lie down in the creek or the paddle pool, to get the benefit from the cool water.

Gilly's watery dip

Peri looks so happy in the pool and wearing her harness. They are going to wear them for a few minutes each day, it's only eight minutes in the car to the dam, and then they will try sitting in the back seat of the old car. We'll see how it goes.

Happy Peri and Gilly

There has been little knitting, I am up to the foot part of the second Mint Slice sock. Earlier this month I had in my hand my Tennis sock but not the rest of the ball of wool, then I moved things about TV/DVR wise and now I have the rest of the ball of wool, and no Tennis sock. Still, for OPAM I will have finished three pairs of lsocks, and that's not bad. If I could just find that sock......

Mint slice 2
The Typepad People have still not fixed the spell check and it is still difficult for some people to leave a comment. My help ticket says they are working on it. This does not augur well, as the last time they tagged a ticket this way, was 13 months ago and there has not been a resolution  as yet. I don't know why they have to upgrade something that was working perfectly well.

Now, I am off to bed for a nap, it's been a sunny warm day and I have stayed awake thus far. It's probable twelve to seven that Peri and Gilly could force themselves to have a nap too.

Oh I haven't talked about the book I was reading at the start of the month. I will catch that up next time.

Monday Munchies #42

Megan, who has Sunday in the Kitchen recipes, asked for the sponge recipe I have using these last few weeks, and so here it is. It is from Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion. Her recipe is for a five egg sponge but I did the maths and transformed it into a three egg sponge. I'll put both lists of ingredients and this is the time to use your digital scales. The five egg sponge is great for lamingtons made in a lamington tray (25 x 30 cm more or less), and is also great filled with jam or fruit or curd and cream and always dusted with icing sugar. This cake today was for the doctors and nurses at the Vet.

Three Egg Sponge Cake

  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 90g plain flour, sifted 3 times
  • 36g unsalted butter melted and cooled

Five Egg Sponge Cake

  • 5 eggs at room temperature
  • 165g caster sugar
  • 150g plain flour, sifted three times
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

To fill the sponge:

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup jam or curd
  • 300ml of thickened cream
  • pure icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180*C. My oven is fan forced and I still cooked the sponge at this temperature, but you will know your oven best. Make sure you have melted the butter and it is cooling before you start .

Now prepare the tin. It is best not to use a non-stick cake tin, but I don't have one. Instead, I grease the whole tin with butter and line just the base with baking paper. Then add some plain flour to the tin and shake it around the edges as you rotate and then tip the excess out. This gives the sponge something to hang on to as it rises up the sides.


Whip the eggs and the sugar for 10 minutes. The mix should be thick and pale and creamy. If using 5 eggs, use your large bowl!!

1 whipping

Now prepare the flour. The flour should be sifted three times and then I like to sift it again when adding it to the egg and sugar mixture.To fold it in, use a metal spoon and scoop around the outer edge half way and then scoop upwards and across the top. The flour tends to hide at the bottom so you have to do the scooping up. Fold very gently and slowly, so as not to knock the air out of the batter mixture.

2 sifting

I add a big spoonful of the batter to the cooled butter, and mix it in before I add it back to the batter. You pour it gently down the side and then fold and mix gently again until it is incorporated. Spoon into the tin and smooth the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Do Not Open The Oven Door until 15 minutes have passed. Your sponge may sink. Mine took 20 minutes to cook.

4 mixing

You will know the sponge is cooked because it will have come away slightly from the sides of the tin, but mostly because when you press the centre top gently with your finger it will spring back. If it is not cooked it stays depressed. Cool the cake in the tin for 5-10 minutes and then on a rack until it is cold. This takes about half an hour.

6 resting

If you want to fill your sponge, it will need to be cut in half. I run a serrated knife about 1cm into the outer edge of the cake, at the half way mark and then I do it again, gently sawing more deeply into the cake and rotating it as I go. At the very last I cut through. It doesn't really matter if it is a bit uneven. Flip the cake top over next to the base so that when you place it back on top it will match up. Handle the sponge gently but it is surprisingly resilient.

7 cutting
Finally, spread jam or curd over the base right to the edge and then really thickly whipped cream almost to the edge. Carefully replace the top of the cake and then dust generously with pure icing sugar using a sieve.

8 filling
And there's the finished, filled sponge cake. It should really be eaten the day it is cooked and filled, but will probably be OK the next day. I brushed the inside of a sponge with a lemon sugar syrup before I filled it with curd and cream and refrigerated it over night and it was fine. It also makes good lamingtons the next day, in fact they are best made with day or two old sponge.


I Could Not Wait To Be Tired Not Sound

You know it is time to get your act together when friends start emailing to ask if you are OK. I am OK, just tired: tired out from the regime of SSS daily posting, Daylight Saving and the juggling of drugs by my specialist.

Self Stitched September was great, but thinking about what to wear and then photographing it every day was a mammoth task. I am the person who can wear the same thing (washed) every day for a week if I am in the mood. As I am wearing the same thing this afternoon as I wore yesterday!!

Daylight Saving seemed fine at first, but then the weird time delay kicked in and I would lie there unable to sleep, wake late and not be home from walking The Labradors until lunch time.The repeat ad infinitum.

We are trying to decrease the amount of one of the drugs I take to keep me well. It has lots of horrid side effects and because my numbers are reasonable, it's the perfect time to try.  Of course fewer tablets means it is less efficacious. And I think I have had a dizzy woozy thing as well. Who knows??

So basically I have been meaning to post but it has seems such a gargantuan task that I have put it off, and had a nap!! Also, Typepad has been Upgraded and of course now things on their Compose page have stopped working. As is their wont, they always say the issue is at my end, but I am wise to their tactics and I know it is not. I am trying to keep up my Please Fix Things Campaign, and now their Engineers are Looking Into Things. The Firefox Spell Check won't work, and the Typepad checker is slow and not Australian, so please excuse any errors. I can spell, but I can't type.

There has been knitting:

Mint slice one One Mint Slice sock using the lovely Knittery cashmere sock wool, the nice thick one that Daphne specially dyed for me. Just a k2,P2 rib cuff, then I continued the rib for part of the back and part of the heel. I love the colours and the way they play.

These are The Through The Loops 2010 Mystery Socks, knitted with Elizabeth from the lovely Katie's Wired for Fibre.  Believe me, they are much greener than they look. There's aclue every week. I would have knitted the other heelflap and turn by now but I have broken almost two paxckets of the wooden 2.5mm needles. I need to buy some metal ones, but there are none to be had here. I wonder where the best place to buy them is??

Croc Socks

Finally MrsDrWho has her Croc Socks. I knitted myself a pair in plain green with the same pattern, meant to look like crocodile skin. It narrows to a point on the foot. Love the rainbow wool, clown vomit MrsDrWho calls it, dyed by Katt years ago. It is nice squooshy wool, and I love the pooling, different on each sock.

Baby irish's cardi
The Keating Cardigan for Baby Irish just needs to be washed and buttoned up, and it will be ready to go.

New shoes
New $20 shoes with four different greens!!!!


New to me TV from MrsDrWho's mum and a new HD DVR with twin tuners. It took me a day to move the old TV, SD DVR and VCR two metres to the left and then bring the TV from the dining room to the lounge room and set it up. I had a tiny failure to make my new DVR and TV communicate by MrsDrWho talked me through it. I can record two channels at once and watch another station too.  In our house we can now record five things simultaneously, at varying degrees of definition. I know, I have no life, but if there is ever anything good on TV it is all on at once.


MrsDrWho invited lots of people for Kebabs, she made a bazillion. In the same way, I have been whipping up a sponge every few days, and filling it will raspberries and cream, or here I brushed on some home made lemon syrup, lemon curd and the cream and a dusting of icing sugar on top. My new oven makes fabulous sponges.

Rainy Day Dogs
Peri has the perfect imprint of the exhaust on her front. Every time I try to wash it off she runs away. I think she thinks she has a cool tattoo. In typical Spring fashion we had a few days of torrential rain, snow down to 300m and a very cold change. Peri and Gilly loved the big puddles that appeared overnight. It was raining so hard the rain drops managed to get on the camera lens. Or maybe Lorelai Gilmore has a halo?? You can see the rain in the puddle. They were Very Wet Dogs and I was wringing wet too.

There, I think I have somewhat caught up now. I just made some individual sticky date puddings to take to MrsDrWho's. We are going to watch the third episode of a Farscape three-parter and Star Gate Universe. A happy afternoon. I will try to be back sooner, rather than later!!

Monday Munchies #41

This is an easy and tasty recipe. It's not any one cook or chef's recipe, but a cobbled together version I made last week. I've forced myself to make it again. I boned a 1.3kg chicken, but I have used thigh fillets and I expect any cut would work. I used wholegrain commercial breadcrumbs because I never have any left over bread. (Labradors) This recipe doesn't make the crisp shell of fried crumbed chicken, but it is delicious and, I think, healthier. If you can't buy buttermilk, you can make your own by souring a cup of milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and letting it stand for 5 minutes.

Buttermilk Crumbed Chicken  serves 4

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • optional flavourings: mustard, Tabasco, garlic, chilli flakes eg.
  • 8 pieces of chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Paremsan cheese
  • 1-2 tspn dried herbs: oregano, parsley, thyme eg.
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pour the buttermilk into a ziplock bag and add any flavouring you like, I didn't add anything at all because the chicken was free range and I like the simple, succulent taste of plain chook. Put the chicken in and smoosh it all about so the buttermilk coats every piece, all over. Zip the bag up and leave in the fridge for at least an hour, and even overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180*C.
Mix the breadcrumbs, cheese, herbs, salt and pepper together in a tray. Take each piece of chicken out of the bag, giving it a tiny moment to drip any excess liquid, then place it in the breadcrumbs and lightly press them in, turn the chicken over and repeat. Place on a tray, leaving a little space between each piece and then bake in the oven for between 30 and 40 minutes. It may depend on the thickness of your portions!!!

Henny penny
Remove to a plate and enjoy!! The chicken is delicious hot or cold.

Ta da

Monday Munchies #40

The only time I succumb to using the word Fall instead of Autumn is when Daylight Saving starts. I chant : Spring Ahead, Fall Back to remind myself what the real time is and what to do with the clock.

Daylight Saving means everyone is up an hour earlier because Peri and Gilly are. It means we are home earlier from our walk, and breakfast is at a proper hour. And so we feel the need for morning tea. Elevenses. We sit at the little table and chairs and I have a cup of tea, and I fancy something nice to eat. Bananas seem to be abundant at the greengrocer and the posh deli at the corner, so that decided today's Monday Munchy. The recipe is from an old Delicious magazine.

It is also such an easy recipe, you can be eating it an hour after you begin making it. The bananas need to be older, very ripe is best, and I used four. I expect you could also use any kind of oil, if you have a preference. I used golden caster sugar instead of white.

Banana Bread
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour (225g)
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1 tspn cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar (110g)
  • 1 tspn of salt-I put a few twists of the salt cellar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil (85ml)
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 65g pecan nuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180*C and grease and line a small loaf tin, about 4 cup capacity.

Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a big bowl.

In another bowl, mix the egg, oil and vanilla.

Add the nuts to the mashed bananas.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and then mix in the bananas and nuts and the wet ingredients. Mix gently, don't over mix, just make sure all the flour is combined.

Spoon into the tin and bake for about 50 minutes.It is fairly usual for a loaf to split on the top, in fact Nigella thinks it de rigueur. You can turn the temperature down a little, but really it's a design feature. Cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes and then on a rack. 

Slice and serve with butter and honey or ricotta is nice too.It can easily be frozen in slices, with baking or freezer paper in between. Then you can just thaw a slice whenever you want.

Cake vier

Peter OPAM

When I was small, I had some Disney books which came with a little 45. You put the record onto the record-player and then when Tinkerbell spoke, you read along with the book. I had quite a lot. I loved them.

You will know it's time to turn the page when Tinkerbell rings her little bell like this, (ring)!!

Let's being now with September's OPAM.

I met my goal this month and it was to make a case for my new camera.

I followed this tutorial and used some lovely Kaffe Fasset material, two layers of cotton quilt batting and some of my Crazy Lime Skirt fabric for a lining. I quilted lengthways with green Perle thread and then around various circles as well.

I accidentally matched the pattern. I sewed a kind of bound button hole for the camera strap.

A case in point

I have named this The Tony Camera Case after Tony Curtis. Vale Tony, you handsome devil you!!! (google image)


Tony Camera Case
Peri Naughty and Lorelai Gilmore have been making the most of the newly exposed dirt in the garden. It soaks up all the heat from the Sun, so it is great to lie on. As usual, they got so hot they had to come inside.

Sunny Days