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December 2013

Friday Food: Peppermint Fondants (or Creams)

Peppermint Fondants, or Creams, are a Christmas staple at our house. I started making them when I was still teaching and MrsDrWho continues the tradition every year in her class. I cannot tell you how many garishly green fondants have been packaged up and sent home. Luckily they still taste great.

We closely supervised the younger children (ghastly garish neon green etc etc) but older children can work independently.

If you can't use raw egg, substitute condensed milk. If you can find it, peppermint oil is eminently superior to peppermint essence. Use pure icing sugar, not the mix which contains cornflour. And of course you can leave them plain white if you so choose.

If you don't want to go with the traditional peppermint, try other flavours and colours: pink strawberry or pale yellow lemon fondants. A box of assorted fondants would be very pretty. I love that these can look handmade, or fairly posh. And best of all, you can make them now and set them aside in preparation for Christmas gifting.


Peppermint Fondants   makes a big batch of tiny treats

  • 1 egg-white, lightly whisked
  • 300-400g pure icing sugar, sifted
  • peppermint oil or essence: a few drops
  • green food colouring, a very few drops
  • cornflour and baking paper for rolling out
  • chocolate and embellishments to decorate

Whisk the egg-white in a clean metal or glass bowl until it is foamy. Add a few drops of peppermint and a few drops of green food colouring. I added 5 teeny tiny drops to my batch. I quite like this green colour.

  Egg white, green

Add about 300g of the pure icing sugar and stir well. Depending on the size of your egg-white, and other random variables, you may need to add more icing sugar. It should come together in a ball, not sticky or dry: rather like warm plasticine!!! Knead lightly to make sure the colour is evenly distributed.

Adding the icing sugar

Dust some baking paper with cornflour and then pat the fondant out into a disc shape. I use half, and pop the other half in a ziplock bag. Top with another piece of baking paper and roll out to a thickness of about 1cm. Dip cutters into icing sugar before cutting out shapes, or roll small amounts into balls and flatten with a fork.

Making shapes

Air dry is a cool, safe spot (away from ants or Labradors) at least overnight, preferably for a day. Then the fondants are ready to be packaged up in cellophane bags, or an airtight container, until they are needed.

You can also dip or coat them in chocolate: dark or milk I think, and decorate with sprinkles or silver cachous.

Peppermint fondants

Around He Whirled In Eighty Days

AKA Gonski in Sixty Seconds. Education funding is up in the air again. Despite endorsing the Gonski Report recommendations, Minister Pyne (and the Liberal Coalition Government) has reneged on the deals the States signed with The Commonwealth before the election. Why is it that politicians feel they can berate and harass teachers, yet deny them the funding they need to continue to teach effectively and creatively???

It is a good thing that I am not wasting my energy on being cross about things I can't change. This time last year my depression was starting to affect me very severely. I am so aware this year of taking care of myself: I'm saying no if I have to, and I realise deadlines are not my friend!!! I think I should be making things all year in preparation for the Christmas rush, but in fact I am making things for me and for birthdays and Easter and other things through the year. It is an unreasonable expectation and so I am not considering it at all this year. 'Should' is my enemy.

We had a walk in two parts today. Peri and Gilly had a walk by themselves and we were just driving up the hill when Rafa and his dad drove down towards the dam. The Labradors started squeaking and crying and I could hear Rafa whining so I did a U-turn around and went back and they had another turn about the park together. Peri and Gilly were quite tired and had a nap together in the sun. There were ants to be investigated too.

Sunny dogs

I made some shopping bags for the lovely nurses at Leukaemia Support Group. They have both been especially helpful this year. I bought a great new pattern from Michelle Patterns, which has a special trick for the gusset and excellent handles. The bags are lined and double stitched and very strong. I made the middle size. I added a loop of elastic between the handles on one side, so the check out person can loop it over their bag stand and the bag can be folded, rolled up and secured with the elastic too. I met Charley The Labrador's Nurse mum in The BSODL (tm) as I was buying the Christmas Dog material, and she said it was very cute. Since I was buying it for her I was very pleased. The other nurse celebrates the more religious side of Christmas and I didn't think it appropriate to put Baby Jesus on a shopping bag so I used some cute pink-spot-with-ladybird material.

Bags of fun

I also made some easy gingerbread snowflakes and piped on some poor Royal icing decorations.

Gingerbread biscuits

We had our LSG Christmas break up BBQ today. There was a great turn out and we used the new BBQ area and furniture.  Everyone brought a salad or a dessert and there was a wonderful selection. It was quite hot and I had to walk quite a way because there was no parking. I came home and had a long sleep.

MrsDrWho and I went to the cinema on Sunday to watch the Fiftieth Anniversary episode of Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor in 3D (Spoilers). We had great seats with a giant space in front of us so no-one could block out our short person's view. It was a fabulous episode and I enjoyed every minute. I did feel that newer fans didn't understand all the references and jokes, but I had a perfectly wonderful time. It was a nice change to be part of such a well behaved audience, with proper cinema manners. I think Doctor Who fans are quite polite!! And now, enjoy once more my Doctor Who ZippyUppy Cardigan which I no longer wear as it is too short and totally the wrong shape for me. Maybe I should make it into a cushion?????


Gilly loves the new decking and will stand, dance and leap about on it. I am glad it isn't high up, because she stands right on the edge.

Gilly on the precipice

Peri is ever hopeful that when she sees me I come laden with treats. Sadly, this is not true, so she has to be satisfied with a cuddle and a pat.

Peri is inquisitive

Tomorrow The GardyGardeners will be here. It has rained the last two Wednesdays and Gilly has spent a long time looking out the front window and sitting at the front door with her head tilted in anticipation. We are having gingerbread snowflakes for Morning Tea.

On Thursday there will be a general finishing off of BOM 2013 quilt blocks and then we will square them up to 12 1/2 inches. It is very exciting to have finished my twenty blocks. They will be put away till next year when I will join them together. Meanwhile MrsDrWho and I are making a Mine Creeper quilt for her nephew. Wish us luck, we need all the luck we can get!!!

Friday Food: Fruit Cake Chocolate Truffles

There are lots of recipes for making truffles with fruit cake. This is one of the very easiest. I did find it in the Donna Hay Dec/Jan 2013 Issue, just as I hoped. No copha, no fuss at all really.

The rum can be replaced with alcohol of your choice (cherry brandy) , or some fruit juice, even tea. I used Dutch cocoa for the 'dusting' and even went the extra mile to decorate one plum pudding-style.

Though these are quick, there is waiting time of about 30 minutes and then another 30. The second waiting time could easily be overnight!!

I made 1/3 of the recipe. You just use the ratio of 3 parts fruit cake to 2 parts dark chocolate and you can make any amount you choose. I would even go as far as to say any kind of fruit cake would work, so you could use whatever you have in the cupboard. I didn't even blend the cake in the food processor, I just crumbled it by hand.

I think you could make a batch now, and keep them in the fridge until required. They would be a handy last minute gift, or you could take them to dinner at a friend's house. I am taking these to Leukaemia Support Group Christmas BBQ!!


Fruit Cake Chocolate Truffles   makes about 20

  • 300g dark fruit cake, home-made or bought from the shop
  • 200g dark chocolate, melted
  • 200g dark chocolate melted, extra
  • cocoa for dusting
  • or a little white chocolate melted and red and green glace cherries

Combine the crumbled cake and rum.

To melt the chocolate, microwave carefully on 50% power, 1 minute at a time - or place in a china or glass heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Don't let the water cross the chocolate's beam or it will seize. This is bad.

Melt and mix

Add the melted chocolate and combine well. This is where I deviated from the recipe. I rolled the mixture into a cylinder shape and twisted the ends of the baking paper.


Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until it is set enough to handle, but not too hard to cut or roll into a ball.

Slice into tablespoon amounts and roll into balls. I decided to pop the truffles into the freezer for 15 minutes or so, it just made them easier to dip into the melted chocolate.

Roll and refrigerate

Melt the extra dark chocolate and dip or roll the truffles so they are covered. Place carefully on baking paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes or over night.

I put the cocoa in a ziplock bag and gentle wafted the truffles around. Very gently!! And you are done.

Coat and dust

I also decorated one truffle as a plum pudding, with a little white chocolate dolloped on top and some glace cherries representing holly. Ta da!!





Gutter Get You Into My Life.

Two days ago it was so warm that we refilled the paddle pool and Gilly had a very wet play time. Last night and today we had thunder, lightning and torrential rain. Once again the Council's gutter drain blocked and we had a slight flood outside the back door. I had to arise from my somewhat sick bed and go out in the torrent with a broom and poke and prod and get very wet. It is too much to hope that the Council might actually send workers regularly to sweep up and clean the gutters and drains. They used to when we first moved here, now it is all outsourced and not happening. We won a prize of some sort in the Keep Australia Beautiful Awards. Apparently they have not be up outside our house.

Gilly swims

I didn't properly wake up until 10-30am this morning, but there wouldn't have been a walk anyway as it was raining too hard. After I fed The Labradors, we wert back to bed and we all slept till 5-30pm. I do feel I have caught up on some sleep. I love sleeping, or going to sleep, while it is raining. The sound of the rain on the roof is very soothing.

Last night at Sewing, I laid out (almost) all the blocks for my BOM 2013 Quilt. Yay!! There are only nineteen blocks on the floor because the twentieth block was underneath another one. I have photo-shopped it into the photo. I ran out of some of the background fabric, so I bought a spotted replacement. Guess what I found in the bottom of the tub this morning??? Yes, some of my background fabric!!!


And just as there is always A Labrador or two in my photos, so there is always a cat (or three) in photos at MrsDrWho's house. This is Cleo.


Here are the aforementioned Labradors assisting in a photo-shoot this evening.

Peri and Gilly

I was trying to take a picture of my new boots, being worn. They match my paisley green jeans perfectly. They were quite comfortable too.


The other day I went out to visit one of our new knitting friends from Dining Out, the very kind Marcel'sMum. Marcel is a beautiful Australian Mist cat and he has a sister, Ophelia, who was hiding. I had a delicious plum muffin and some tea made with real tea leaves and she gave me some felt. I am so lucky, it has the TARDIS blue colour that I needed and could not buy. Thank you so much!!!

Felt again

The BSODL(tm) had a sale of MCCalls patterns. I bought five for $10. It is too hard to make a collage of five, I bought a similar dress pattern to 6696 as well. The Disney-type patterns are actually aprons, which is a great idea and I think the coat will be perfect with it's circular skirt. I shall make a lightweight coat and perhaps plain blue version. It is a poor photo because I took it with my IPad (I love my Ipad) and the light is not good here at night time. The skirt is for MrsHouseOf.

Patterns 1

Patterns 2

While I was out buying patterns, this happened at home. Again an Ipad photo. I had put all the sewing off cuts, paper and bits and bobs, torn plastic bags and other not-to-be recycled things in a rubbish bag and tied it with a double knot to the round door knob so it would stay upright. They undid the knot, or pulled it off, and then took everything out of the bag. Proudly. A little while after I had come home Gilly crept past with an empty Schmackos bag in her mouth- that was what they were after. The whole dining room floor was covered in, thankfully, clean rubbish. Look at Peri's face, she can't understand why I was miffed. I can't be cross with them, I obviously left the treat bag in the rubbish bag as a game to amuse them while I selfishly went out and left them alone.

When I was out

Here's how sad the look when I just venture down to the letterbox to fetch the post.

Letter Labradors

Well, I've been up for almost four hours. I have made a yummy salmon and rice concoction and fed The Labradors and watched the News. I think it is time to go back to bed with my new Donna Hay magazine and plan my Christmas baking. I might spot something that takes my fancy for Friday Food. The week goes so quickly.

I shall not go into all the machinations that occurred, but I managed to obtain two tickets for the Doctor Who Fiftieth Anniversary 3D screening at the cinema in town. MrsDrWho and I are off to watch it at 4-30pm on Sunday. I am currently watching and reading everything about Kennedy's assassination fifty years ago. It was something that I remember, not the actual event, but the ramifications. It was talked about for years in the media. It still is now. It makes me sad, and though I know it was not all sunshine and roses, it always seems like Camelot to me.

Do Labradors Dream Of Electric Crocodiles?

No, not until they spy a tasty crocodile treat. A crocodile treat is very desirable.


Peri decided she would impersonate a crocodile too. She is very gentle. Gilly has to wait and be second. She has a hard life.

Labrador crocodile

MrsDrWho's kittens would not have a bar of the crocodile treats, but Peri and Gilly are not so silly. A piece of dried crocodile is a delicious morsel to be savoured: it is wonderful!!!

MrsDrWho and I are catching up on the brunches we didn't have this year. Yesterday we wanted to have the divine ricotta blueberry hotcakes, but they were off the menu. Instead I had a breakfast take on Caesar salad and MrsDrWho had a fillet steak sandwich. It was really lunch.


Ray Martin was signing books in Petrarch's book shop. The owner invited me to shake hands with Ray: I said it was nice to meet him and I had seen him on TV. I resisted saying I thought he was a tiny bit hypocritical to complain about John Safran lingering outside his house, when his modus operandi as a journalist had been exactly the same. Oh well. MrsDrWho 'kinneared' me with Ray. I am not poking him in the side, it's an illusion.

Kinnear of ray

I finished my whooshy petticoat: voila!!


Here are some pictures of me revealing my petticoat, and believe me, this is as much of my leg above the knee you need to see.

Your petticoat is showing

And here I am with petticoat in the first picture, and without in the second. My dress is not too pouffy, but it is definitely whooshier than without the petticoat. It wouldn't all fit into the photo.

NB Pretty much all pictures are WITH Labrador.

With or without

MrsDrWho bought us both an early Christmas present, so we can get lots of use in before the year ends. Mine has dogs, hers has cats and a few dogs. I love my new cup.

Early present

I am knitting secret things with this lovely mohair and silk 2ply.

2 ply lace mohair and silk

I am also Secret Sewing. I was very carefully collecting all the little felt offcuts and paper, and putting them into a plastic cup. Apparently when anything is in a cup, it can be food or drink, and when I came home my careful plan proved to be easily thwarted by Labradors.

Helpful labs while i am out

I cooked pavlovas for dessert today. They turned out well, but I used half the recipes and made eight  little pavlovas- Nigella used the whole recipe and only made six. They must have been giant individual pavs. Since there are five left over we can have them at Sewing on Wednesday.


In good news, I found the original pattern piece for the front bodice of my dress. I can now perform pattern adjustments and sew my Green Strawberry Fields dress. Hurray!!!

On Thursday I went to see Annie The Musical. I had never seen the film or the musical, but I knew almost all the songs. The singing was fabulous, the cast wonderful and the music fantastic. The show lasted for 3 1/4 hours, with only a fifteen minute interval, but if you had asked me, I would have said I was only there for two hours.

The storm we expected didn't turn out to be too bad, and we made it through successfully. Thank goodness.

Last week I bought the glace fruit for my mum's annual Christmas cake. Peri, Gilly and I had to taste test the glace ginger. It is delicious, but the container has mysteriously moved from the kitchen to the computer desk tonight. I am being forced, forced I tell you, to eat the ginger. I convince myself that it is good for the digestion!!! Get thee behind me, ginger.

There is nothing else for it, I shall have to buy more ginger.

Oh, new boots!! A few weeks ago there was a 40% off the already low sale price sale and so I am the happy owner of a $28 pair of very comfortable olive boots. I am ready for next Winter: Winter is coming......


Friday Food: Parmesan Shortbread

It's about forty days till Christmas and I have been making baking plans in my mind. Somewhere in a magazine, I can't find where, I saw some lovely cheesy biscuits cut into star shapes. I might just add some savoury biscuits to my gifts this year.

Well, I needed to have a trial run and a taste test. This is batch #1, Nigellla's Parmesan Shortbread. Four ingredients, a quick mix, 45 minutes in the fridge, 15 in the oven and they are done.

You can mix the dough in a processor, but it took all of 2 minutes to do it by hand. Half the batch made 12 biscuits, so you can bank on 24 altogether. I think I will freeze the sliced raw dough and then I just have to cook whatever I need on the day.

I prefer to grate the Parmesan myself, with my nifty micro-plane grater.

For once, I can taste the things I've cooked. These are short, but not too crumbly and nicely cheesy. They are a good base for adding a little mustard, chilli or any herbs you fancy. Oh, maybe some chopped nuts would be nice too. I fancy these would the perfect accompaniment for a Christmas glass of bubbly!!


Parmesan Shortbread    makes 24-ish

  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g soft unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 75g Parmesan, grated
  • 1 egg yolk


Put all the ingredients into a bowl and rub the butter in.

Prepare the dough

A dough will form, knead very lightly and then divide into two equal portions.


I prefer foil lined with baking paper, but clingwrap is what Nigella uses here. Using half the dough, roll into a cylinder with a diameter of about 3cm, and it will be about 12cm long. Flatten the ends a little. Roll up and seal tightly, twisting the ends to make a cracker shape. Do the same for the other half.

Roll into a cylinder

Refrigerate for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180*C and line a tray.

Unroll the dough and cut 1cm slices. Lay the slices on the tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, turning the tray halfway through.

Ready to bake

You want a pale golden colour around the edges. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.

Bake and cool

You can freeze any leftover dough and thaw gently in the fridge before using.

Parmesan shortbread

Horton Hears A What??

Tonight was the final of Recipe to Riches, and here's my last review: Horton's Jangles, and before you ask, The Powers That Be preferred the name Jangles to spicy meat balls.

Jingle jangles

The box of frozen meatballs and a sweet chilli sauce was $6-99 for 400g. The pork and chicken spicy meatballs were delicious!! They heated in the oven for 10-15 minutes and then when drizzled with the sauce were a yummy treat. They would be a nice party food, on a cellophane decorated toothpick.

If you were pushed for time, these would be a great option.


The winner of the series was the Chocorn. My knitting friends really liked it. I wonder if they will buy it???

I have been buying felt. The BlackSpot of Doomlight(tm) had felt on sale for $5 a metre. I bought some wool felt at that price instead of $25 per metre. That was a great saving. I only went along because MrsDrWho wanted some felt for her Christmas Craft at school. Mine already has dog hairs on it.....


I made an interesting nacho bake for tea tonight. (I have fixed the link, I trust) It was delicious, I didn't add all of the kidney beans, but I rather liked the fact that I was able to use the spices in my cupboard, rather than a commercial taco spice mix. I added half a red chilli, but even then it wasn't too hot. The recipe says it serves four, but I think with some salad it would serve six easily.

Nacho bake

Peri and Gilly were inspecting a car at the dam today. I wondered where they were and then, Boo!!: Gilly came around the corner and then Peri appeared!! The photos were taken from across the car park at the dam, so they aren't very sharp. I love the expression on Gilly's face, she looks surprised to see me, while Peri is just happy and unconcerned.

Boo, Labradors peep round the car

They did another circuit together before they certified the car as A-OK.

Labradors have fun

Peri has taken up residence at the fence again. She can spend all afternoon, lying in the Sun, with her chin resting on the horizontal bar at the bottom of the fence. She keeps and eye on everything that happens next door.

Peri's new old spot

Though Peri watches, Gilly is the watch dog. When a delivery came from the garden centre to next door today, I went outside because I heard Gilly's Stranger Danger bark. As soon as I said it was OK, she stopped being on duty and had a nice drink from her outside bucket. It's her favourite tipple!!

Gilly's drink

Every year when Vundy and Tori's roses bloom, I remember that I should have replaced Harki's stolen roses. I must make a note in my diary, I am not sure when rose buying time is. Anyway, this year I have assigned Harki the beautiful fragrant apricot rose in the front garden. Their roses are the velvety red Mr Lincoln for Vundy, the gorgeous Peace for Tori and then Harki's stand-in rose.

Roses for dogs

I am so glad I took the rose photo yesterday because we are having a storm tonight. We've been warned to tie down outside furniture, and batten down the hatches until later on tomorrow, when there will be thunderstorms. Last Friday we had the coldest November day on record. Of course we are lucky to be here and not in The Philippines. I can't comprehend the death and destruction caused by the typhoon. I am glad Australia is sending money and expert help.

Christmas is coming, where did the year go?? I have to brush up on my construction skills so I can make Ungingerbread houses at school. In MrsDrWho's class small groups are assigned special activities and I am making houses.

Un gingerbread house

The Lovely Andrea has started a blog. I am hoping you will post some photos of her craft soon!!!

I must find my torch as the power often goes off in electrical storms here, and make sure all the windows are tightly shut before we all go to bed. It's all quiet now, but the worst of the storm is expected at 4am.

Friday Food: Sour Cherry Port Brownie

Oh, I almost forgot Friday Food, even though I made the brownie on Sunday. We were off to bed when I suddenly remembered. This recipe is from the Christmas 2013 Family Circle.

The only thing I needed to buy was a jar of Morello cherries. The best thing was that I didn't use the whole jar and so I ate them!!

I didn't have port, but I used cherry brandy instead. A fair swap I think.


Sour Cherry Port Brownie   makes 20 pieces

  • 60ml of port or cherry brandy
  • 250g drained Morello cherries
  • 250g butter, chopped (ha!! I didn't do that)
  • 200g good dark chocolate, 70% is good
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder

For the ganache

  • 200g good dark chocolate, 70%!!
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream


Preheat the oven to 180*C, 160* fan-forced and grease and line a 20 x 30 pan, at least 3cm deep.

Heat the port in a saucepan and bring quickly to the boil. Add to the cherries and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.


Use the same saucepan to melt the butter and chocolate over a low heat. When it is smooth remove from the heat. Cool for 10 minutes, add the brown sugar and beaten eggs. Whisk well.


Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Fold into the chocolate batter.

Dry ingredients

When the batter is nice and smooth, add the cherries and the port/cherry brandy.

More cherries

Pour into the lined pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. I checked mine at 50 and 60 minutes and it was not cooked. It felt squishy in the centre and a skewer poked into the middle came out covered with batter. In the end I covered the brownie with foil, and cooked it for another 10 minutes and it was fine.


The brownie may look quite risen and cracked. When you turn it out onto a rack to cool, turn it out onto the top. It will level out, and any cracks will be hidden with the ganache. Excellent!!


While the brownie is cooling, heat the cream in the microwave or in a saucepan until it is boiling. Add the chocolate and allow it to sit for a minute or so and then stir until smooth. If the weather is warm, pop it into the fridge until it is of a spreading consistency. It was neither hot or cold, so I left the ganache on the bench and then spooned it over the top, and I let some run down the side, artistically!!!

Ready to ice

Cut into 20 pieces and serve. It will freeze well, probably better without the ganache, but I think it would be fine really. It looks pretty fabulous and quite Christmassy with the dark red cherries.

  Sour cherry port brownie


Sweet Darling, I Can Leave My Hat On. I Can Leave My Hat On, Baby. I Can Leave My Hat On. Ooh, I Can Leave My Hat On.

And we would all rather I leave my hat and other garments on, rather than doing as Joe Cocker's lyrics suggest. Then the world can count itself lucky it doesn't have to poke its eyes out with a spoon.

I don't have a hat. I must avoid the Sun between 11am and 3pm as it has contraindications with my drugs. I wore a hat on duty at school and at sport and I wear sunscreen now, but wearing a posh velvet high hat to school as a child turned me right off them. Still, there are times when I need a hat. Lorenna Buck has a free Sun and Rain Hat pattern. I printed it out and sewed a hat.


I used 60cm of 112cm wide material. It was on the sale table and there wasn't enough for a dress, or it would have been one. I sewed up the lining for the crown first and then I was able to make adjustments. I took it in about 2cm, but it is still a little loose. I think my head will expand with the heat in Summer, so bigger is better!!!


I also spent a day fixing my Pear Dress. The armholes were too large and there was a weird fullness in the Princess seam that goes to the armhole. I learned why in my Craftsy course, and so I just did the best I could. I removed the facings. I had trimmed and snipped the seams so there was no room to manoeuvre. I made 5cm Pear material biased binding and used it folded in half to enclose the seam. I eked a little extra coverage by allowing the binding to show. It is not perfect, but now when I wear the dress I am happy my upper nether garment is not displayed for all to see.

Much binding in the marsh

I was disappointed to find that after knitting my gorgeous green cardigan, I didn't like it. It doesn't suit me. The scoop neck is wrong, the shape is wrong and the length is very wrong. So I have sighed many sighs and now I will unravel it.

Farewell lovely cardigan

We are nearing the end of our year's Block of the Month quilt. Last week we sewed Disappearing Nine Patch block. Mine was not quite right, I didn't have clear instructions and so I just added some strips in the centre. In case you are ever making a 12 inch block, your nine small squares need to be 4 3/4 inches.

Disappearing nine patch

There was some consideration of going to The Craft Fair at Deloraine, but I can't seem to get rid of my cold and if I am not in tip-top condition (for me that's probably 50% of normal) I just can't keep up the pace, no matter how slow it is. Maybe next year. In some ways it is good to have a rest year and then I really appreciate the craft even more.

I only have two more Recipe to Riches reviews and next week it is the Grand Final. Well, RudeBoy Ribs (sauce): I was very disappointed that after a whole show of being shown ribs, of ribs being 'batched up' ribs tasted, ribs' packaging designed and ribs launched, that the actual product for sale was RudeBoy Rib Sauce. The packaging entreated the consumer to use chicken wings or eggplant (blerch) and I could not buy a rib to save my life in Woolworths, even after they promised the would find some for me. In the end I found some at Coles and I cooked them. Woolworths said there was a shortage of ribs, and I think maybe they should have thought of that before they chose Ribless Rib Sauce.


To the ribs then: you boil the ribs in stock and then baste with the sauce and cook for two hours in the oven. The packet was not clear as to what 'a serve' was and I only used one sachet of sauce. In retrospect I could have used two. The ribs were delicious!! If I find ribs in Woolworths I will buy them and use up the rest of the sauce. I would have been even happier if the ribs were already in the sauce in the meat cabinet and all I had to do was heat them up and finish them off.

Rudeboy ribs

Peri and Gilly have been eating enough grass to qualify as graminivores. Gilly wasn't very well later in the day and I remembered reading that pumpkin was soothing for dogs' stomachs. I quickly microwaved some of the cute pumpkin my neighbour gave me. I mashed it up and fed some to Gilly and Peri. I am not sure if the pumpkin did have a soothing effect, or if she was just happy to have extra food, but half an hour later Gilly was as bright as a button again.

Peri and Gilly chomp grass

The Labradors are not used to boisterous boys, even though they are pretty 'girlsterous' themselves. Gilly looks very worried about the game Rafa and Sandy were playing, but Peri is just daintily moving out of the way. She's smart!! The boys are only playing, no-one every growls and it is waggy tails all round.

Gilly and Peri watch the boys play

MrsDrWho has been writing reports and so I furnished her with some Kiss Biscuits to ease the pain. I've also already cooked this week's Friday Food too. How organised is that???


I went to the Exercise Physiologist on Friday and surprised myself with my progress. It seems that once you read a certain point the improvement is incremental. Now I don't just balance on one leg, I have to have my arms out and lean forward in a kind of arabesque and hold my balance for thirty seconds. I can only manage a few exercises every second day, but it all helps me stay stable and flexible.

Our weather has been crisp and cool when we walk, and then warm and sunny as the day progresses. Not too hot, but I have to wear cool dresses and have the air-con on '2' in the car. The nights are still relatively cool, too cool to plant tomatoes yet. I know things like that, yet I can't even grow Rosemary which is so hard to kill. It is a puzzlement!!!

I've read this twice, but my eyes are tired and itchy. I'll fix any blatant errors tomorrow.

Friday Food: Paper Bag Chicken

I'm not sure how True Blue this recipe is, but the magazine assures me it is dinky-di.

I remember a few years ago there were Shaker (Fries) Chips and one of the doughnut chains was advertising shaker flavours recently. It would be fun if everyone had their own home made shaker bag for the chicken!

You need drumsticks and thighs, and as usual I am making do with what I could find: 'un-cruel' chicken drumsticks. Only one supermarket sells thighs with the bone in, so we are just having legs. Thighs without the bone in are not as good when roasted.

And that's it. Buy some chicken, spices and a paper bag and you are away. Of course you can change the spice mix to suit any tastes. I like spicy things and so I used the full measure of cayenne pepper, if you like things milder just use a sprinkle.

NB Our tablespoon is 20ml or 4 teaspoons.


Paper Bag Chicken   serves 4

  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1 tbspn olive oil
  • 1 tbspn smoked paprika
  • 1 tspn garlic powder
  • 1/2 tspn ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tspn cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tspn dried thyme
  • sea salt
  • brown paper bags

Preheat the oven to 180*C or 160*C fan-forced.

Oil the chicken and season it well with sea salt. Mine salt in a grinder, I don't have loose flakes. Roast on a tray for 30-40 minutes. They should be golden and cooked right through.

Prepare the chicken to roast

Measure out the spices and then combine them.


When it is cooked, put the chicken in a paper bag and add a good pinch of the spice mix.

Close the bag tight and then SHAKE........

Ready for the shake

Everyone could have their own brown paper bag. Serve with a salad- I'd like a potato salad, or chips. I roasted some potato cubes and carrot sticks at the same time. This would be good Summer BBQ or picnic food.

Paper bag chicken