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Tuesday's Letters Eat 31: 'R' is for Rice, Sticky Chilli

This is a quick and spicy dish. Jamie Oliver serves it with seared scallops, but I think it would be great with fish, chicken or even some sliced Asian-style beef or pork. I ate it with some salad for my lunch!!

It takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, so it is friendly fast food. I thought I had spring onions but alas, no, so I used finely sliced red onion and I added a small chilli (de-seeded) for a little extra zing. That's the good thing about this recipe, you can add whatever takes your fancy.


Jamie Oliver's Sticky Chilli Rice   serves 2 as a snack, or 4 as a side

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 1/4 cups of water -  refer to your rice packet for absorption method amounts
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbspn soy sauce
  • 1 tbspn sesame oil
  • 3 or 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • parsley or coriander, chopped
  • sweet chilli sauce
  • pepper and salt, if needed


Rice cooks
Follow the instructions on the packet for the Absorption Method and set your rice cooking. My packet said to bring the rice and water to the boil in a pan and then to cover and simmer on a low heat for 14 minutes. I added a layer of baking paper under the lid, just to make sure it was well sealed.

Set the timer for 5 minutes before the rice is ready. When the timer rings, gently fork the rice to fluff it up.

Fork through
Whisk the spring onions, oil, soy and eggs together, and then pour in the egg mixture along with the lemon juice. Return to the heat and cover. Cook for a further 4 or 5 minutes.

Flavour the rice
Fold through the chopped parsley/ coriander.

Almost ricey ready
To serve, spoon into a dish and season. Garnish with a little extra green and top with some sweet chilli sauce.

Spicy Rice

So You Think You Can Prance?

There was a great deal of prancing about when we encountered Sandy the Labrador on our walk. Gilly and Sandy took off like hover dogs, then there was a close encounter of the Two Labrador kind and Peri emerged from the bush at full pelt once she realised she was missing out.

Labs playing
Then they performed a Triple Prance Past in order of age: Gilly, Sandy and Peri.

It is true that the grass is always greener, and tastier, on the other side of the fence. It's a jolly good thing Lorelai Gilmore's shoulders are wider than her head otherwise she could slip right under the fence. My next door neighbour snapped this picture for me.


Peri, Sphinx-like, has been enjoying the afternoon Sun. The forecast temperature today was only 12*C, but I think she found a warm spot!!

Peri's warm

Now I have tizzied up my post with the proper amount of Cute Labrador Pictures I can go on to other topics.

I have jumped on the Sorbetto top band wagon (waggon). It is a free download from Colette Patterns.

I am participating in Self-Stitched September again this year and if I don't sew something quickly I will be wearing exactly the same things as last year. I am getting more relaxed or slightly punch drunk, I am not sure which, because this afternoon I whipped up a toile of a Sorbetto with a sleeve and a FBA. The neck is a bit too scoopy, but other than that it is fine. I need to draft the skirt part and then on Thursday I am going to sew them together with an elastic waist (or the illusion of a waist) and then I will have a dress!! I have seen some other Sorbetto dresses on The Flickr. I desperately wanted something to co-ordinate with my new emerald cardigan and this was the best I could find at the BSODL. There is nowhere else to buy dressmaking fabric, so beggars can't be choosers. I think I might get some emerald fabric to bind the neck and let a little peep out from under the hem of the sleeves too.

Sorbetto dress top

A while ago I would have soldiered on and started the dress proper, but today I stopped and remembered to take things at a slower pace. I've already managed to nearly chop the end off my finger this afternoon with my new knife. It is serrated and not even deathly sharp, but still, I have managed to cut the nail away right down to the Extremely Painful At All Times area. I go through twenty bandaids a day.

The socks I haven't named yet are a hair's breadth away from being finished. I made a mistake with the toe last night. I just stopped knitting and I will look at them again later this afternoon. I don't think I decreased the same way on the second toe. Easily fixed and almost, almost a finished project!!

I've already cooked tomorrow's Tuesday's Letters Eat recipe, so now I will have time to make some Gold Rush themed cupcakes to take with me to MrsDrWho's Open Afternoon at school on Wednesday. I will also find time to change all my cooking headers that have a double quotation mark instead of an apostrophe. How did that happen???

And now it is time to feed the ravening horde of hounds, well Peri and Gilly. They are milling about and nosing my hand away from the keyboard!!

Rondo The Twist

Have you read any Paul Jennings?  If you haven't he's very good, a kind of older children's Roald Dahl, the slightly scary and weird Roald Dahl!! Or, you can watch the DVDs, Round The Twist, also very good. I quite like Wunderpants, Santa Claws, Spaghetti Pig-Out and Little Squirt. His stories are wicked and slightly rude,sometimes scary but always riveting!! have been to a dinner where he spoke and read excerpts from his books.

I bought some Rondo, a 100% highly twisted wool, from Bendigo Woollen Mills. It is Lime Zest, it could be a little zestier for my taste, but it was only $10-50 a ball so I bought four. I am not sure what I will knit as yet. I found three balls of Classic 5ply in Poseidon I think. Maybe I will make Deco??

Third of another sock
I have been knitting the nameless sock, I am almost to the heel. It is hard going in the dark blue Patonyle.

Peri and Gilly have special ritual games that must be played before they put their harnesses on to go for a ride in the Dog Car. The game is played this way: Gilly has a toy and Peri must try and take it from her.

There is much running, hiding, dodging, growling and general mayhem.

Sometimes I am standing there feeling as useful as a hip pocket on a singlet  while they have a lovely time playing. Still, once we are there, they trot along together as cute as can be.

Trit trot

I used more of the rosemary from Tuesday's recipe to make some roast potatoes. I finely chopped the rosemary, added some grated garlic and a little lemon zest, salt and pepper and oil and then roasted them at 220*C for about 45 minutes. Perfect!!

Rosemary roast potatoes
I have two new books. The first is a biography of Terry Nation, the man who invented the Daleks and wrote Blake's 7 and Survivors, and contributed to many more famous TV shows. I am really enjoying it and I am reading a chapter or two every night to make it last longer!! The other book is Nancy Bush's Vintage socks. Wow, so much information and so many patterns. I will definitely have to read it thoroughly before I decide to knit anything. Thank you MrsDrWho, excellent choices!!

What I did with my psychologist this week:

Really too busy
We looked at next week in my diary and I learned why I am feeling so tired and sometimes find it difficult to cope. I need to lower my expectations of what I can do. I do so many things, well too many, and I have to rationalise somewhere. I have DW dog walking, *blogging, light blue housework, red squares going to the supermarket or shop, green social interactions and yellow something else I can't remember!! Now I am feeling better mentally, I want to do the things I like, but I am more tired than usual. I looked at the week and saw Fridays are usually free and decided I would vacuum then: Wrong!! I should be having a rest them and trying to eliminate other things.

Maybe I can have the heavy non-perishable groceries delivered once a fortnight.

I could have my drugs posted to me from the hospital because there are NO parking places. Ever. It is worth paying $4 to have my drugs posted to me, rather than spend half an hour driving up and down the road looking for a parking place and becoming more and more frustrated and upset.

And maybe even have a box of fruit and vegetables delivered as well. Lots to think about, and I am going to work on a way of using a chart to help me plan my weeks more carefully.

If I have 10 'units' of energy each day for doing tasks or coping with things that happen, then my day might look like this:

  • 2 units: dog walking
  • 2 units: showering, getting dressed 
  • 2 units: making breakfast for everyone and tidying up
  • 4 units: talking to my mum

And there are none left for anything else. I did know this, but now I understand why an hour or so of sewing that requires concentration wears me out.

MrsDrWho has lent me her Wii and so I am relaxing with some yoga and deep breathing!!!

This is my 1000th Typepad post, but not my 1000th over all. I started blogging way back on 8th October 2004, so this is probably my 1100th post. I like to talk, even when it is written down!! I average a post every 2.5 days which is more frequent than I thought. I have found that having my blog, and interacting with other people and other bloggers, has stopped me feeling so isolated after I had to leave work. I spent every day of every week for forty weeks a year with my class, and I still miss it so much, miss the children and working with them, and them being My Class for the whole year.

Life is never what you expect, but there is always a silver lining and in our house it is Golden: The Labradors!!!

And if you've read all the way to the end here, you deserve a medal!!!

Tuesday"s Letters Eat 30: 'R' is Rosemary Potato Pizza

MrsValley gave me some rosemary from her garden a few weeks ago and I have been impatiently waiting for 'R' to arrive. I opened my Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion and there was the perfect recipe: pizza with rosemary and potatoes. I didn't make my pizza dough. A bakery chain makes a lovely fresh pizza base ( 2 for $4) and the lady serving me said it was ready to be rolled out thinly if I so desired. It has no preservatives so the other base is going in the freezer for later on.

You don't need much rosemary at all, but it packs a delicious punch. I used waxy potatoes, and they cooked perfectly. This is so quick and so tasty I want to make it again straight away!!


Rosemary and Potato Pizza   makes 2

  • 3 potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 1/3  cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 x 4cm springs of rosemary
  • salt, pepper
  • pizza dough or bases

Preheat the oven and the tray you will be using in the oven at 250*C

Roll out the pizza dough as thinly as possible.

Coat the potato slices with the oil.

Strip the leaves from the rosemary and finely chop.

Arrange the potato slices, overlapping, on the pizza. Press them into the dough a little. Then sprinkle over the chopped rosemary and the salt and pepper.

On the rack
Place on the hot oven tray and bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 200*C, remove from the tray and bake for 5 minutes more just on the oven rack. The edges should be golden and the base crisp. Stephanie says they eat this as a morning snack in Rome, but I could eat it any time!!

Rosemary and Potato Pizza

Meet The Dress

Or maybe Dress Gang??  Or Lorna Doona?? I never watch Meet the Press because I am an Insiders fan.  Not many people saw Press Gang, which was such a great show. I do like Lorna Doone, in book form or on TV. Anyway, meet The Dress and The Dress Gang. This is my toile for the Rooibos dress from Colette pattern, made from a doona cover.

Why it is hard to get a picure at our house Rooibos dress

 It took about twenty photos before the novelty wore off and The Labradors (Dress Gang) went away. Yes, that is me, a very small picture of me, and I am conveniently headless where the mirror broke. I don't think I will have seven years' bad luck and I do like the way it crops out my head automatically.

I did a FBA and then added two inches of width to the front and back midriff bands, but it was too much. Apparently my upper midriff is the right size!! I will have to move the extra dart created by the FBA up a little, and also add some length directly under the three lower bust darts, but otherwise it is my most successful FBA ever. The back bodice darts are way too pointy and puff out, so I shall lengthen and narrow them. The shoulders need to be raised and I lowered the neckline and maintained the square shape without the little twiddly turnover pieces. And I am surprised to see that my legs don't look all that fat!!! Considering I am wearing a terribly unmatched and non-drapy dress, it is not too bad at all. I just have to redraft the front bodice and sew it to the skirt again and then I think I will be ready to make the Real Dress. There is a Sew Along, but I am just catching up. I find dressmaking very, very tiring. The Colette patterns are made for women who are curvy, and I am encouraged to sew another pattern, now that I know they really do have a curvier fit.

The wild weather has gone, the flood peak in town has passed and the Sun is shining, so Peri and Gilly and I spent some time in the garden. I had cups of tea and just watched them going about their business. I don't know what Peri saw when she was looking with Gilly,


but she decided it was a Hackles Up situation.

Peri has hackles
And then there was the job of trimming the tasty grass.

Our grass is greener and tastier
And there was also quite a lot of this:

Gilly and Peri gaze
Maybe there would be a treat?? They were, sadly, disappointed. Hence the grass being trimmed!!!

I haven't knitted another stitch of the socks I have not named yet. It has taken all my effort to cut out and then sew The Dress, but I am baking an Upside Down Apple Cake, maybe with some extra caramel sauce. And some bought custard!!

Cake before smoothing
Yesterday MrsDrWho and I had brunch in town and then shopped. We also read poems for the masses in a book shop because it was, apparently, Local Book Shop Day. I purchased more green Reg Grundies and I have twelve now. And another cardigan at an extremely reduced price as a gift, I'm going to sew a skirt to match so I hope I can find co-ordinating fabric. It isn't this blue, it is more of a soft teal/denimy colour.  The end of Winter is certainly a time for bargains!!

Cardi gift
I am in a quandary about this weeks recipe. I wonder should I cook with quinoa, or go straight to 'R'??  U,V,W,X,Y and Z offer fewer recipe options and I do want to fit in some Christmas cooking in December. I will think on it. Oh I can smell the cake, it smells so lovely: all apple-y and brown sugary. It is almost cooked now. Maybe I should just have a tiny little taste, just a crumb from the edge.....

I Get To Buy With A Little Help From My Friends

Just when you thought it was safe to anticipate Spring, or Fathers' Day........

It's baaaaa aaack
Yes!! the First Christmas Sighting of 2011. I am not cross at all, I am just noting that it has occurred!! I checked them out there are no Star Wars or Star Trek figurines, but if you like, you can have a Twilight Keepsake.

Help!!! My tax return has arrived and so now I am in the market for a desperately needed new computer. I am going to have one 'built' for me. I don't really do anything other than use the internet and save pictures and documents, but if anyone has any advice or ideas, I would be extremely grateful. I am not very knowledgeable about what I might want, and though I feel sure I will be well looked after, I would like to know what I need. I know I don't need to burn DVDs or have spectacular video game thingies!!

It's raining again and the North East is having their fifth flood this year so far. This means road closures, sand bagging and no school!! It is warm, really warm. I knew that Spring weather, with its rain and wind, was not far away. Every year as soon as my white camellia flowers along come the gales and downpours, just in time to ruin the beautiful white flowers and turn them brown.

Spring and the camellia
We walked in the rain this morning and Peri and Gilly love the wet and wild conditions. They run so fast they are too quick for the camera. Or me?? I love their happy expressions. Adults laugh fewer than fifteen times a day, children more than a hundred: I laugh at all the Labrador fun when we go for a walk, and I can see the happiness on their faces.

Peri and Gilly running fast

Gilly came home and insisted on playing with her Squeaky Toy. It is not technically new, but it was lost somewhere in the garden. She is very good at the start of the game, though she looks as if I should be wary of picking the toy up, and races to fetch it. Then she just stands at the top of the stairs and drops the toy. When the toy is a ball it usually rolls down the stairs to me, but when the Hot Dog Toy won't, she stands there and waits for me to go up the stairs, and then she grabs it and runs away. A great game!! You can see the poor Pink Squeaky Pig With No Legs that didn't roll down the stairs either.

Gilly has a toy Gilly has a toy so there
Peri is far more sensible, and old, so she spent her time more wisely. She curled up in a cuddly ball. I love the raindrop on her head.

Peri all curled up
MrsDrWho gave me some wonderful teas. I bought some nice BPA free containers and I am drinking my way to happiness. The tea is, L to R, top then bottom: Gunpowder, Lemongrass and Ginger, Peppermint, New Guinea, Assam and Blue Mountain.

T 4 me
To celebrate, I bought a very necessary new tea strainer and a cup, on sale, for $2-50!!

Tea accoutrements
I also bought an emerald green cardigan, for $14 instead of $40 at the Archery shop. The colour doesn't photograph very well. It is woollen and quite thin and just what I wanted for Spring. I am planning on wearing more emerald green this year. And they had green Reg Grundies (Australian Rhyming slang, Reg is a real person, but I am hoping he won't attract weirdy people when they google Reg Grundies. I never actually say Reg Grundies now, but I did when I was little) They are so hard to find, and I am going to go back and buy some more if there are some I particularly like. I don't draw the line at teal or aqua!!

Green things
Someone emailed me and asked how they could 'follow' my blog. The truth is, I have no idea. I don't know how following works or if the Typepad even does following: sorry about that.
I also have had a few emails asking me to do advertising or reviews on my blog. I just delete them as Spam. So if you are reading this, Ad and Review people: don't bother!!!

Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, stop copying me!! I saw the ad on TV and I bought my copy this month and they are making: Queen Pudding!!  The odds must be astronomical. I should buy a ticket in Tatts!! Their recipe is much more modern and trendy.

Stop copying me
There has been knitting. I have finished on sock and am about to start the other. I've also traced off a pattern for a possible Rooibos dress. I am making a toile and it was cheaper to buy a doona cover to cut up- 4m x 2.2m which is about 8m of fabric for $10- than fabric.

One sock Rooibos sal

MrsDrWho and I are trying to see the Glee film. We are not fans of the show itself, with all its Home & Away/Beverly Hills 90210 teenage dramas, but even I know lots of the songs, because they are Very Old Songs. Our local cinema is not playing nicely, and unless MrsDrWho's school is closed, we can't go. No evening sessions. We hope there may be a weekend screening.

I am reading Geraldine Brooks' new book, Caleb's Crossing. At first I didn't like it, well I read the first page and I was tired and I sort of gave up, but MrsDrWho encouraged me to keep reading and not to be so silly and now I am really enjoying it. I have read all her books and I'm glad I persevered with this one.

Shopping has worn me out, and The Labradors are already asleep, so I think I shall have a nap. I while away many an afternoon with a nap!!

Tuesday"s Letters Eat 28: 'Q' is for Queen Pudding

I have also seen this called Queen of Puddings, but when I talked to my mum on the phone last night she said that it was a cheap and easy recipe and used up stale bread and ingredients that she always had in the cupboard. It is a pudding with a sort of baked bread and butter base, then raspberry jam and finally a meringue topping. It is lovely hot or warm, but we also ate it cold and it tasted just as good. I have halved the recipe, but my mum always made enough for eight, that meant leftovers. This recipe serves 4 but it is easily doubled. The recipe was in Imperial measurements so I have made it be manageably metric. If you don't have 2 large eggs, I suggest using three ordinary sized ones, just to make sure the custard will set.

The little black dots in my pudding are poppy seeds from the day old bread. They get everywhere when you trim the crusts!!


Queen Pudding  serves 4

  • 600ml of milk
  • 100-120g day old bread, made into breadcrumbs
  • 5 tspn of caster sugar
  • 15g butter
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • raspberry jam, always raspberry or strawberry. Never apricot.
  • 5 tspn caster sugar plus a little extra for sprinkling

You will need a baking dish of some kind, I am using a 1.7 litre pie dish.

Bring the milk to the boil, that means it doesn't quite boil. You will see tiny bubbles around the edges and the milk thinks about rising in a froth in the centre. Take off the heat.

Bread milk and other things
I sliced the bread and then rubbed it to make breadcrumbs, but you could whizz it in the processor, or even grate it. Add the breadcrumbs, 5 tspns of sugar, the lemon zest and the butter, stir till combined and then leave to cool for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180*C now.

Eggs and dish
Separate the eggs, and mix the yolks into the custard and then pour into the oven proof dish and bake in the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes.

Baking baking baking 

Heat the jam in a pan or in the microwave. This makes it easier to spread on the top of the custard so it is not broken. The amount of jam you need depends on the size of your dish. I used about 2/3 cup.

The custard is ready when it is set and doesn't wobble in the centre. Mine only took 25 minutes. Remove from the oven. Spread the runny warm jam over the pudding very carefully.

Spreading the jam
Meanwhile, whip the egg-whites till they are fluffy and then add the caster sugar and beat until all the sugar is dissolved. This isn't a proper meringue, as long as the mixture isn't gritty when you rub a little between your fingers, it is fine.

Meringue topping
Spread over the top of the jam, I find a fork is best. Go right to the edge and perhaps over the edge a little. Sprinkle a teaspoon or so of caster sugar over the meringue.

Meringue on top

Place back in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the meringue topping is golden brown.

Cooking and done
Serve hot or warm. Once refrigerated, the custard may weep a little, that is, there will be a liquid in the dish. You can pour this off, or eat it, it makes no difference. One taste, and I remembered being small and eating this on a cool Winter's evening. I love the contrast between the custard and the meringue and then the hit of sweetness from the jam.

Queen Pudding


Stick Of The Dump

I can't remember when I first read Stig Of The Dump, but it is a book I think of fondly and must read again soon. We don't have dumps here, we go to the tip. Auntie and Uncle Dutch came yesterday and took the oak tree to the tip, in stick form. I can't say I miss the tree at all, and it is off to make mulch I think. Thank you again, kind Auntie and Uncle Dutch!!!

Bye bye tree
Auntie and Uncle Dutch bought me a beautiful whisk in Stanley of all places!! And some excellent people/Labrador wipes for when Peri and Gilly get a little dirt on themselves when we go for a walk. Which hardly ever happens. Uncle Dutch cleaned the exhaust pipe mark from Peri's head, so the wipes work very well.

Wipes and whisk
Today MrsValley and I ventured out for lunch at Kouklas (no website). It is a Greek restaurant up the river. I had seafood pie, full of prawns, white fish,and salmon and MrsValley had moussaka. We shared a slice of lemon curd tart for dessert. It was a perfect afternoon, the Sun shining and lots of conversation and a glass and a half of wine!!! Kouklas have the most delicious food.

Seafood pie Moussaka lemon curd tart
The river was so still and wide, which is amazing because the dam is overflowing right to the tippy top. The water just rushes over and makes a very loud noise and really, when I am standing near it, I feel a little afraid. Nature is frightening sometimes. There was much spray and Sun: a rainbow appeared.

Dam rainbow
I sewed MrsValley a bag from a teatowel with lots of her favourite animals. I cut the teatowel in half so all the animals were right way up, and I used a little grass green poplin for the handles and base for optimum animal viewing pleasure.

Animal bag
I've also knitted a hat, the Zumthor hat, for MrReno's birthday. It is an easy pattern, but I liked the simplicity and I know MrReno will enjoy the hat's back-story. I used some Loyal Naturally 10ply as I stayed home all day Wednesday and I only had green wool. Who would have guessed?? I shall try to take a picture of the hat being worn, which will show off the interesting structure.

I popped into KMart this morning to buy a container and there were no real people at any of the checkouts. I could only go through the self-serve area. I gave a surprised staff member my container and went next door to the supermarket where a nice young woman served me, and the container was half price.

K nomart
And finally Peri and Gilly, waiting for one of their yummy treats from MrsValley. They are so lucky. I received some beautifully fragrant Rosemary from her garden.  I am already thinking about what I shall cook with my R for Rosemary. The Labradors have had so many extra pats in the last few days. I believe it has made them cuter, if that is possible!!

Gilly and Peri wait for a treat

Tuesday"s Letters Eat 27: 'P' is for Pavlova, Chocolate Raspberry

Nigella's Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova is a staple at our house and always a hit at dessert time. It has only 50g of chocolate but packs a big chocolatey punch. You can make this on the day, but it will keep in an airtight container for a week or even two and can then be assembled with cream and raspberries at one's leisure.

The secrets to a good pavlova include-

  • a squeaky clean metal or glass mixer bowl and beaters, I rub a cut lemon over the inside of the bowl to make sure there is no oily residue
  • separate the eggs while they are cold, but bring the whites to room temperature before beating them
  • beat the mixture really well so that all the sugar is dissolved, I beat this pavlova for 15 minutes
  • use a metal spoon to incorporate any sugar on the side of the bowl or to fold in any other ingredients
  • leave the pavlova to cool completely in the oven after it is cooked

I use frozen raspberries when they are not in season and they defrost quite quickly once they are added on top. I find I use less cream than the recipe calls for, but go with what you prefer.

I needed to turn the oven temperature down as mine is fan-forced. The recipe says 150*C when you put the pavlova in the oven, but I actually turned it down to 130*C. Don't worry about cracks, as Nigella suggests you invert the pavlova onto the serving plate!!!


Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova   serves 8-12

  • 6 egg whites
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 tspn balsamic vinegar, but I have used malt or even white at a pinch
  • 3 tbspn cocoa, sifted
  • 50g good dark chocolate, chopped finely
  • 500ml thickened cream, whipped
  • 500g raspberries
  • a little extra dark chocolate, grated

Preheat the oven to 180*C and grease and line a large baking tray. If you want to make a round pavlova, draw a circle the size you want on the underside of the baking paper before you place it on the tray, then you can use it as a guide.

Bowling  whites
After the egg whites are a room temperature start beating on a high speed until peaks form.

Eggs and sugar
Then begin adding the sugar. Add one spoonful at a time, and then beat for a minute. Repeat until all the sugar is used. This took 15 minutes for me. Also, keep an eye on the sides of the bowl as some sugar will collect there. Scrape down the sides to incorporate the sugar a few times.


Actual pavlova mixture
The mixture will be very thick and glossy and when you rub a little of the mixture between your thumb and forefinger it should be smooth and not gritty at all. I stood there with a book and a timer and just resigned myself to a 15 minute, often interrupted, reading session!!

Adding one Folding one
And that's the hardest part done. Add the vinegar, chocolate and cocoa and, using a metal spoon, gently fold it in until well combined.  I use the slowly go round the bowl side and then scoop down and then up into the middle method. It takes a few minutes but it is worth the extra effort.

Pav to oven
Spoon the mixture onto the tray and form it into the desired shape. It does spread, so make your pavlova higher then you think you need too, smoothing the edges and the top. Put into the oven and turn the temperature down to 150*C or 130*C for a fan-forced oven.

Bake for 1 - 1 1/4 hours. It is cooked when the top and sides are crisp and dry, though it may still be a little soft in the centre. Turn the oven off and with the door slightly ajar leave the pavlova to cool completely.

At this stage you can place the pavlova in an airtight container and keep it in the cupboard for 1-2 weeks if you so choose. Or you can invert it onto the serving plate, pile it high with cream and raspberries and sprinkle it with the grated dark chocolate and eat it with delight!!

Chocolate raspberry pav

The Sixth Census

Tomorrow night is Census Night. I enjoy Census night and this year you can fill in the form on-line. Which I am grateful for, as I saw my Census man walking down the street at Morning Tea time last week and he spat, twice, on my front lawn. I didn't really want to hand him all my details in an envelope. He could have opened it. Yes, I do believe, slightly, in conspiracy theories, which is why I always vote using my own pen (not green, in case they recognise me!!) and not the pencil provided, so they can't change my vote.

You can play the Census Spotlight here. I pretended to be several different people!!

Tomorrow night
I shall also answer Yes to the question that asks if they can keep my information and make it available in one hundred years. They can go right ahead, I won't be here!!! I see on Who Do You Think You Are? how helpful the Census information can be.

Actual knitting content. Yes, some cabled socks in dark blue Patonyle, which is just terrible on the eyes of an evening. I must buy a knitting/embroidery light. I am cabling without a cable needle, but as the cables are just CF4 and CB4 I knit the second pair of stitches on the needle and then I go back and knit the first two stitches. It works well, and I just can't cable without a cable needle. I have tried, but my resting off the needle stitches just unravel before my eyes.

Peri and Glly took off down the track to the mud when I let them off their leads this morning. Here they are, all muddied up to their knees and beyond.

Labradors with muddy paws
This was cause for great celebration and lots of games.

Paws a go round
I was so glad the little creek was full of running water today. Peri and Lorelai Gilmore hopped in two or three times and came out all clean and golden again.

Clean pups
The rain started bucketing down just as we got into the car at the end of our walk and it hasn't stopped yet. After their breakfast and some more rowdy games, The Labradors finally settled down for a nap together.

After the walk
I have some new measuring cups. I have been coveting these for ages now, but because the matching measuring spoons aren't to Australian Standards, I didn't bother with any at all. Now I have some, thanks to Mrs HouseOf. They have a great range of measurements and are inordinately cute as well.

Homer cups
I read the last of Glenda Larke's WaterGiver series, StormLord's Exile,  last night. I have had it for a week, but I didn't want the trilogy to end so I just read a few pages each night, until last night I gave in and read it all in one fell swoop. I also have Son of Heaven by David Wingrove on the go. I am not loving it as I am too worried that the dog is going to die, and it is the first of twenty books and I am not sure I want to commit to something I am only so-so about.

Today I baked a whole pumpkin for The Labradors' food. They love it, it is sweet and tasty!! Later on I am going to make a second chocolate pavlova, ready for MrsDrWho's mornigntea and my blog. Then tonight I talk to my mum on the phone. Afterwards I am always very tired and we go to bed!!