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November 2010
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January 2011

The Love Of Eleven Makes One Elevenly*

Every New Year's Eve for the last ten years or so, all the new dates must be written into the Buffy Diary. This year's Diary, when selected from the five left in the dresser, came up five pages short. Whomever sold it didn't quite sell a whole year.  The Colour Copy on the printer fixed the problem though. I have to use a colour other than green to write the dates because I write everything else in green.

Getting ready
The New Year makes me very confused, shops are open or closed at random, I never know what is happening or what the date or day is. That material under the diarying?? It's the The Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt material. The quilt which will be finished tomorrow and photographed for the last OPAM of 2010. Yes, it will.

There was an excellent percent off offer for turning a Blogger blog into a book and so I transformed Harki and Peri's Dogblog. Black and white inside, and only a few photos because I didn't have a digital camera six years ago.

Dogblog book
There's no mosaic, or any lists. For us, this was a sad year because Harki died. We still miss her and say goodnight to her in a Waltons-esque way, every night. But when we think of her there are only happy thoughts. Loveliest and best Labrador ever: Harki-Parki-Parker-Posey. Here she is with her sisters last year (2009).

The Girls
Peri has lost half a kilo. Peri looks thinner and she bounces about a lot. She still has some quieter days, but on the whole she is very happy. Peri is such a loving Labrador and so pretty too.

Peri goes wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Miss Lorelai Gilmore also gained health, half a kilo of health, and she has been trying some unusual poses. Gilly is such a gorgeous, playful pup. She's also very clever. And wet.

Look at me I'm Gilly
At our house we are hoping for a happy and healthy 2011, and The Labradors send wiggly waggly tails and smiles to everyone. We aren't much for the New Year celebrations, I'm off to have a cup of tea now. That's the end of this year then.

The Ends
* The love of heaven makes one heavenly.
William Shakespeare

Five French Hens

At Christmastime I love all my presents, but there are always a few that make me have elbows and go 'Eeeeeeeee!!. This year MrsDrWho gave me a fabulous book: The Knitted Farmyard, and when I opened to the first page, there were five little chickens,(or four and a rooster. I'm not too bothered) We both had tiny paroxysms of delight!! It is is very cute and you can knit a whole farmyard with farmers, pigs and sheep and cows with udders and cabbages and a dog and a cat. And a pond. MrsDrWho was especially entranced by the pond!! We always label our gifts to each other with cryptic clues, so you have to try and guess what's inside. This book was labelled as a Potential OPAM  (One Project a Month) and I reckon if I knitted some each month I would have a lovely big farm at the end of the year.

Five french hens
I had a lovely time at MrsDrWho's mum and dad's on Christmas Day. Lots of delicious food and drink and pudding. I came home with a plum pudding in a cloth of my very own, a special small one. It just needs boiling up for half an hour. Peri and Gilly were so lucky, MrsDrWho found some kangaroo bones for them, as Peri is on her special diet. I cracked  with my hammer and they had half each. It is obviously pretty delicious!!!

Peri and her kangaroo bone
Gilly and her kangaroo bone
I have been feeling slightly better, though I have done very little. I have been resting and doing some sewing over the last week or so. I made MrsDrWho's WeeNephew a circular playmat/sack for all his Thomas the Tank Engine things. It has five or six kinds of Thomas fabric on the inside, and then his favourite colour purple on the outside. It has a drawstring and when pulled up, it holds quite a lot of trains. I made him a purple backpack too.

Thomas playmat sack
Thomas backpack
Backpack 2

My next door neighbour's name starts with an E so I made her an apron in the style of Masterchef, her favourite TV programme.

Mastercheffy apron

And today I sewed a little quilt for my aunt. My mum and my aunt are coming to visit for the day tomorrow, so I have been making coconut ice and shortbread as well as Bishop's cake!! I used some Saffron Craig fabrics, an assorted pack of five from Esme's, and just tie quilted at each corner of the centre patchwork. I put the other green tree fabric on the back, so it wouldn't go to waste.The Thomas play mat and this quilt are two thirds of my OPAM Goal, and so I just have The Very Hungry Caterpillar quilt left to sew.

Aunt's Quilt
This is always a very weird time of the year, I never know what day it is or what the proper date is either. It's a kind of yearly limbo and I'm looking forward to the New Year. I think I will write my Christmas Cards on Thursday, you never know. If the weather stays so nice and cool, I may even do some other jobs!! I am so happy it is cool, well, late teens, early twenties and sunny. Perfect Summer weather for us. People who would like it to be hotter should fly North to the mainland. Where it is either raining and there are floods or it is 40*C. There is an awful lot of weather about.

Monday Munchies #52

And so here I am at the end of my year long Monday Munchies journey. Apart from a tiny hiccough at the end, I kept to my schedule each week, and cooked something, sometimes anything, to get the post published. On the whole I baked more cakes and desserts than savoury things, and there were lots of helpful comments and suggestions that often sent me off on other cooking tangents.

Next year I am going to cook alphabetically: every odd fortnight I'll cook something following the alphabet, eg Week 1, Apples, and every even fortnight will be alphabet free. I think it is very serendipitous that there are twenty-six alphabet letters and twenty-six fortnights in a year!! I am making a blog that just has the MM recipes, without all the other posts, and I'll put a link to that when I have finished. I am looking forward to Monday Munchies 2011.

My last Monday Munchies for the year is a Bishop's Cake, sometimes called a Stained Glass Window cake or a Festive Fruit and Nut Cake. I make this every year for my mum. It's one of her favourite Christmas things.

Bishop's Cake   makes one loaf cake or 6 half cup muffin sized cakes

  • 250g glace cherries
  • 250g other glace fruit: ginger, pear, fig, etc
  • 250g pitted dates
  • 250g whole unsalted Brazil nuts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 90g softened butter
  • 1 tbspn rum, optional
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup self raising flour

Preheat oven to 150*C (130FF) and grease and line the tins with baking paper.

Fruit and nuts
Chop any larger pieces of fruit to the same size as the Brazil nuts, and mix all the fruit and nuts together in a large bowl.

Eggs and things
Beat the eggs until they thick and creamy. Add the sugar, vanilla, butter and rum, if desired, and beat again until well combined. I used a tablespoon of orange marmalade instead of the rum.

More fruit, nuts  and eggs and things
Sift the flours over the fruit and nuts and mix to combine, then pour over the egg mixture and stir very well, so all the fruit and nuts are coated.

In the tin
Fill the tins with the cake mixture. Press down a little, it helps to eliminate any big gaps between the fruit and nuts.

In the oven
Bake for between 1 1/2 and 2 hours. It is cooked when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. My muffins and square tin cakes were cooked in 90 minutes. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so and then on a rack.  It will keep for up to three months in an airtight container in the fridge.

  Ta da, a cake

Monday Munchies #51

This is a fabulous dessert, which looks and tastes like a million dollars, but takes only a few minutes to make: plus freezing time!! I think this recipe originally came from a very old English Women's Weekly, but I can't quite remember. You can substitute other flavours, orange and peach, or lime and blueberry, they'd also be very tasty. Although I usually make my own little meringues, this year I just bought some nests and crushed them up. The recipe also says to blend and then push the berries through a sieve, but truly, it is fine if you just use the whole berries. This will keep in the freezer for two or three months. Just take it out fifteen minutes before you are ready to serve.


Lemon and Raspberry Icecream  makes about 2 litres

  • 900ml thickened cream
  • juice and zest of 4 lemons
  • 240g pure icing sugar, sifted*
  • 75g meringues, crushed
  • 250g raspberries, frozen or fresh
  • 60g pure icing sugar, sifted*

*300g of pure icing sugar all up.

If you want to speed the freezing process, line a metal 2 litre loaf tin with clingwrap and put it into the freezer an hour before hand, otherwise just use some plastic containers.

Mix the berries with 60g of icing sugar and then blend and push through a sieve to remove the seeds, or just don't bother and leave them to the side.

We wish you a merry christmas
Put the cream, juice, zest and remaining icing sugar into a large bowl and whip. Start slowly, as it may spit cream out because the juice makes it quite runny. Only whip until soft peaks form.

Jingle bells

Add the crushed meringues and fold through gently by hand.

Have yourself a merry little christmas
Pour half the cream mixture into the container, then spread the raspberry layer in the middle and then cover with the rest of the cream mixture.

Orana orana orana to christmas day
Cover tightly with clingwrap, or put on the lid, and freeze for 4 or 5 hours, or until needed.

If you want, you could also just fold the berries through the cream mixture and then freeze in a shallow tray. That would make a very speedy frozen dessert.

I'm ice creaming of a white christmas

Merry Christmas from Peri Naughty and Lorelai Gilmore.

They are so happy!!! 

Peri has been sticking her head in the barbeques at the dam,

and then Gilly has been sniffing the charcoal and making her nose dirty!!!

Woof woof Merry Christmas




Monday Munchies #50

MrsDrWho's school was being BER-ed this year, so the canteen/kitchen was under construction and we couldn't do any proper cooking in an oven.

But next year, we already know what we are going to make: Scary Reindeer Biscuits. These are in the free Woolworth's Christmas magazine and I fell immediately in love with them. They are perfect children's cooking.

The biscuit is a gingerbread man, made with gingerbread, plain biscuit dough, or whatever takes your fancy. Bake a batch, leave them to cool, and then decorate.

Scary Reindeer Biscuits  makes about 20

  • gingerbread man biscuits
  • 40 white chocolate melts
  • 40 dark choc bits
  • 100-150g melted milk chocolate
  • 20 raspberry lollies

Gather your supplies:

Surprise supplies
Spread melted milk chocolate over each biscuit and then turn so the legs are at the top.

Add two white chocolate melts for the eyes. Press gently into the milk chocolate icing.

Dip two choc bits into the melted chocolate and 'glue' them onto the white melts to make eyes.

Finally, glue on a raspberry for a red nose.

Scary reindeer
Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until set.


I'm toying with adding some pretzels for antlers, or maybe licorice straps.....

And believe me, these are Very Scary!!!


Pancrea-Titis Andronicus

The ante-penultimate Monday Munchie #50 did not appear last week. All was going well until about 10-30am Monday morning, when I suddenly came down with a virus which involved shivering and fevers. I had to take to my bed for two days and even now when I am at the PO or the shop, people say "Oh, what's wrong, you don't look well?", it's not good for the ego!!! I am on the slow road to recovery because, using cricket parlance, it really hit me for six.

Then on Wednesday evening, Peri didn't seem herself. She was sick a few times, she panted and couldn't get comfortable. Nothing I could put my finger on, but I knew she wasn't well, so on Thursday we went to the Vet. She has mild pancreatitis.

Poor Pancreatitis Peri
We are very lucky. Dr Marion gave her an antibiotic injection, which made poor Peri cry, and some dog Stemetil. Dr Marion is very gentle, but the injection was a stingy one. Peri was a very brave girl. Now she is on a strict diet forever: kangaroo, rice, vegetables. That's it. She can have kangaroo bones and rice cakes with a smear of Vegemite for treats. Kangaroo mince fit for human consumption is available in the supermarket for about $8 a kilo, so they won't have to catch their own wallabies at the dam!!!

Roo the day
Dr Marion doesn't know what caused it, I wonder if someone neighbourly gave her a fatty chicken neck treat when I was out and that was the trigger?  Neighbourly people have been given rice cakes to use as treats now. But it is very manageable, and Lorelai Gilmore can have the same food too. They will also have two smaller meals instead of just one big one: happy days for them!! Peri was off her food for a day or two, but this morning she was trying to steal from Gilly's bowl. She ran and played on our walk this morning and rolled in something very smelly. I can't wash her because she has had her tick treatment, so there's a wafting something smelly all through the house.

Stinky Pinky Peri

Lorelai Gilmore is fine and well and happy. She keeps looking after Peri by cleaning her ears and her eyes for her. She is very alert when we go for walk, one cracking branch or bird call, and she's on the look out for trouble: Who's there??

Gilly is really alert
Nothing else much has happened. MrsDrWho and I had longstanding tickets to Boy's Own McBeth at the Earl Arts, so she picked me up and brought me back home. It was very enjoyable and if I had been well, we would have bought two more tickets at the door for the next night. Highly amusing!!

MrsValley, with whom I dined at a new local winery, also chauffeured me. The food was fabulous and the wine so delicious. I had ice Riesling. And of course, the company was perfect!!! We shared an entree of pork and chicken terrine, with a very tiny and cute fig an walnut loaf, toasted. Then I had hot smoked salmon salad and MrsValley had mushroom risotto with black truffle.

Other than that, we have been at home, sleeping and resting. I have not written or posted any cards, or cooked anything Christmassy. I am lying low, keeping under the radar, trying to stay well so that I can go to MrsDrWho's Mum and Dad's house for Christmas lunch.

So, here's hoping Monday Munchie #50 will appear later on today and then #51 sometime this week, leaving the final  #52 for next Monday. Then it will be a wrap!!!

I'm Dreaming Of Write Christmas.

The Labradors have quite a lot of cards this year: Christmas postcards. Would you like Peri and Gilly to write you a card?? If you are overseas it might be a New Years' card by the time it arrives!! Send them an email with your address, and they will personally lick the stamp before I pop it in the post box on their behalf. The stamps are self adhesive, but they will lick them regardless.

Postcard anyone
If you click on the Email Me link in the top right hand corner of the blog, your default email may, or may not, open up with an email for Peri and Gilly. It works for me, but then I'm a semi-Luddite and have no idea if it will work for anyone else!!! Or you can leave a comment and I'll get back to you......

I have a new teapot, Mrs HouseOf and her family gave it to me. It is a lovely classic shape, it pours beautifully (no drips) and most importantly, makes a nice cup of tea. Or two. Or three. I am drinking some French Earl Grey from T2 right now.

I'm a teapot
Christmas With Friends was lovely last night. I took absolutely NO pictures of the little zippy chocolate wrapper bags, or Mrs HouseOf's skirt, that I sewed. Luckily MrsDrWho took pictures of the desserts I made, otherwise there would be absolutely no record at all. I made little lemon tarts with raspberries on top, chocolate brownie, fairy cakes, little pavlovas with cream and passionfruit and strawberries dipped in white and dark chocolate. After nibbles and main course, I couldn't eat any at all. I had a cup of tea!!!

Would you like a little dessert

I found something really funny and cute to cook for my antepenultimate Monday Munchies. And no, it's not The Ungingerbread House, even though that is most amusing.

And now I am so tired: lunch yesterday, Christmas With Friends last night and then Shopping with MrsDrWho and Mrs HouseOf plus two Young HouseOfs, and I am totally worn out. I have to get up early to be at the hospital by 8-30am to have my port flushed. Then home and walk The Labradors and then, I think, I shall take to my bed with my new pillows and donna cover, and have a nap until the afternoon.

And So This Is Christmas And What Have I Done?

I don't remember where I was thirty years ago when I heard John Lennon was dead. I am actually pretty poor at all the remembering where I was when I heard things. I do know that apart from me, only one girl at high school and Matric actually knew who The Beatles were, and Monty Python.

There has been some more swimming, or not swimming, depending on which Labrador you are. And words spoken on the video are not meant to be a narration, I really do talk to The Labradors on our walk, and most of the rest of the time too. They know what I mean.


I've been making a few things. I crocheted some stars, I found a pattern on The Ravelry, but it is from The Royal Sisters. I did the version for people who crochet tightly and then I did a picot instead of four chains: chain 5, slip back through 3rd chain, chain 2. I used some 8ply sparkly gold 'stuff' and a 4mm hook. Then I sewed two circles of Christmas fabric together, leaving a little gap and turned it right side out and then filled them with polyfill. I sewed the star on by just catching the picots, and I added a hanging loop. It is a decoration and a pin cushion because I sewed from the back through to the front and then back again and pulled the cotton tight to make it plump up.

I made a tetrahedron bag for our knitting gift swap. I am very pleased with it and so was the recipient. I like this material because it looks festive and Christmassy without looking out of place the rest of the year.

Tetrahedron bag

I sewed a Christmassy, but other part of the yearly, apron for our lovely Nurse at LSG. I love the green striped fabric and if she spills something on the 'good' side she can whip it off and have the 'less good' side facing out.

I went to MrsDrWho's school to do some non-oven cooking and I saw the most amusing Advent Calendars, some Corky the Reindeer and little Candy Cane mice. So cute!!

School craft

Peri has been experimenting with new ways to engage with her breakfast. She's still wet from her swim. I think I see my missing rubber glove on the steps. Lately Peri has been bringing me things when I come home, usually shoes. She doesn't chew them, she just retrieves!!!

Eating gym
Lorelai Gilmore looks so long. She likes to let the cool breeze coming through the window waft over her belly when it is humid. Gilly has had FlippyFloppyEar. We saw Dr Tim and she was a very good girl. She sits very still and quietly while we put the ointment in her ears.She's also not fat!!

Gilly lounges

This is just a quick post*, lots of things have/are/will be happening but I am a little tired and my blood pressure is playing up again. I had to go and have my BP taken today. Three times in the nurses' office and then once in my doctor's room where it was cooler and quieter. I woke up this morning, knowing I had to go, and then I had a nervous knot in my stomach all day, and I felt jittery. Which is silly, and I know it is. I have to go back in a fortnight and see if it has gone down at all, or if I need some new and interesting extra drugs. I am taking a new drug which makes me less puffy. I did wonder if I was imagining it, but MrsDrWho said my ankles did look less gigantic. My doctor laughed when I said I thought I was less puffy. but wondered if I just imagined it. She said you can't have psychosomatic unpuffiness!!

The weather is cooler and wet. There are some flood warnings and thunder storms and more rain forecast but it will only be 18* at the end of the week. Bliss!!! It means we can sleep in peace and coolness.

*Quick?? I don't think so!! Not even short. 681 words.

Monday Munchies #49

Three more Monday Munchies after this. I can't believe the year is so close to being over. Where did it go???

Continuing on with the Starry Christmas theme, today: Stained Glass Window biscuits. These can be decorations, made with a hole in the top and a ribbon threaded through, and the biscuit hangs on the tree. Not in my house though, in Summer I worry about flies and, well, Labradors who might make mighty leaps to achieve a biscuit!!! Also, we don't put up a tree. I think I would prefer to enclose the biscuit in a cellophane bag and then tie that to the branches.

I used Nigella's Cut-Out Biscuit recipe and I found some fruit drops, clear hard sugar lollies, in Coles. Boiled lollies can be used but some won't give the window effect. I used one quarter of the dough and made three 7cm and four 5.5cm biscuits and the little centre star cut out was 2.5cm cutter. I think the full batch would be about 25 7cm stars or 36 5.5cm ones. (I measured the cutters from point to point to decide what to call them)

Oops, I accidentally clicked Publish instead of preview. Damn, somewhere out there will be a poorly typed, half photo-ed post!!!

Stained Glass Window Biscuits  makes between 25 and 36

  • 175g softened butter, I used low salt
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 400g plain flour
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • coloured clear boiled lollies/fruit drops
  • large and smaller biscuit cutters

Star of wonder
The dough must rest in the fridge for an hour, or overnight, so this is not really a recipe to make on the spur of the moment. Cream the butter and sugar until they are pale and creamy, then add the eggs and vanilla and beat again till well combined. My eggs were only medium size so I added another yolk. Sift the dry ingredients.

Star of might
Add the creamed mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together gently by hand. Form into a disc and wrap tightly in clingwrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. The dough will also freeze well, and can be defrosted in the fridge when needed.

Star with royal beauty bright
While the dough chills, crush the lollies. I experimented a little and found the method that worked best for me. I unwrapped the lollies and then put them in a little cellophane bag, or a ziplock, and then wrapped that in a clean teatowel/kitchen cloth and hammered them gently. I unwrapped the little parcel frequently to make sure I was hitting the right spot. The lollies shouldn't all be crushed to oblivion, some small chunks are fine.

Westward leading
Preheat the oven to 180*C and line a tray with baking paper. This is very important as the melted lollies will stick like glue to an unprotected tray. Roll the dough out to 5mm thickness between two sheets of clingwrap or baking paper. This means less flour is used and the dough is the same consistency from start to finish. Dip the cutter in flour and cut out the large shape. Lift it onto the tray with a knife and then cut out the smaller centre shape. It's easier to lift a whole shape than an unstable one with the centre missing.

Still proceeding
Fill the centres with the crushed lollies. I filled the small shapes to be level with the biscuit top, and I overfilled the larger ones, to see what would happen. Bake for 10 minutes, turning the trays half way through. Cool for 10 minutes on the tray and then cool on a rack. Overfilling the centres makes the 'stained glass' thicker, the thinner 'glass' is just as good.

Guide us to thy perfect light
The possibilities are endless, for the large shape, and the tiny cut out windows. This process also makes fabulous windows in the sides of Gingerbread Houses!!!

Chestnuts Roasting On An OPAM Fire

I didn't write anything for November's One Project A Month Goal because it was a secret, but I managed to complete it on time and I gave it to MrsDrWho last night. I made an Advent calendar Quilt for her, complete with treats!! Hurray. This month is the last month of the OPAM.

Advent opam
I haven't been doing very much else, it has been warmish, and I have had social outings. I did have my hair cut and for the very first time, I had my eyebrows waxed. MrsDrWho says this is a good thing as before I had slightly demonic arches. Here are some not very good before and after photos:

Before After
There, I look like a demented serial killer. It's hard taking a photo of one's eyebrows.  Be afraid, be very afraid. I can see my green TARDIS in one photo!!! Yes, pretty much demonic and my eyes are quite pointy. However, fat fills out your wrinkles: a beauty routine to which I subscribe in a big way.

Peri and Gilly had a swim yesterday. Peri loves to swim, she swims to Olympic standards, she swims and looks to the shore and smiles so happily. Gilly has never been swimming. She swims like Harki: once she realised that she couldn't touch the bottom, she panicked and came straight back in!!! I love how happy Peri is and how interested Gilly is, until she goes in!! Peri is a long way out, if I was my dad I would be calling her in: up to the ankles is far enough I remember. I have another video of Peri fetching sticks. I am a rubbish thrower but she is a fabulous Retriever. I'll save that for later on.


Peri and Gilly look so slim when they are wet.

Slim swimmers
When she has finished her swim, Peri likes to play with the last stick. It is the only time she every really plays enthusiastically, and for a long time, with a toy. She thinks it is the best game ever!! Gilly is once again amazed at all the Swimming Traditions Peri has.

Peri's swimming stick
Last night was the final Trivia and MrsValley's team, with her husband, sons and their partners won!! Our team was very happy to see them win. Congratulations!!!

Today I am having a rest, I am crocheting some gold stars and making  pincushion slash decorations. We'll see how that works for me!!!