Previous month:
January 2018
Next month:
March 2018

Happy Birthday Two You, Happy Birthday Two You, Happy Birthday Dear Hedy Lamarr, Happy Birthday Two You!!

We are so very late for Hedy Lamarr's birthday blog celebration. Here she is doing what she loves best of all: waiting for me to kick the ball so she can catch it, on our walk.

Happy birthday two  you hedy

Her birthday was a little over four weeks ago when we were still in the grip of The Terrible Humid Heat. Rest assured, she had a tasty breakfast and dinner and lots of playing with her friends on her walk. Now she is a big Two Year Old we are not sure whether Hedy will be a terrible Two, or perhaps a little more grown up??

Happy Birthday Hedy Lamarr

We can't believe Hedy is two. Where did the time go? It seems barely any time at all since she met AuntieDutch or came home in the car to meet Lorelai Gilmore with MrsDrWho. Hedy is very affectionate, but has no boundaries at all. She is full on all the time, but I think this is still the joy of youth. There are times when she is quieter and more gentle. Gilly is a patient sister, but sometimes I have to growl at Hedy when she plays a rough game.

Hedy waits for play time

Hedy has a small Billyball at home and at any time you choose, she is probably outside, waiting to play. She brings the ball inside, leaves it there and runs up the stairs outside. She waits and waits and is every hopeful. Sometimes I think we should ignore her, but she is such a lovely girl, and we don't want to miss out on any play time!!

Lorelai Gilmore and Hedy Lamarr love to search out interesting smells at the dam on their walk. Hedy watches Gilly carefully and likes to do what she does.

Gilly and hedy smelling smells

And Gilly loves to eat the smelly things she finds. Look at that dirty tongue and that happy face!!

Gilly eats boogelly things

It is always a comfort to know that The Labradors have each other when we are not at home. Gilly is always waiting at the gate, sometimes Hedy is inside asleep in her little box. But they both sit and wait for the gate to be opened. Hedy likes to give some big woofs to alert everyone that we are home!!

Waiting at the gate

Not to be outdone, Hedy Lamarr has a bag to give away for her birthday Two. It's another polypop tote bag, #137, made with Gilly and Hedy's Spoonflower material we printed. Please leave a comment and when the week is up, we'll draw a winner and post of a birthday gift to someone.

#137 Hedy's Birthday bag

I am still getting around to sending off a card from Lorelai Gilmore's birthday give-away. Where does the time go? February is almost over too!!

Friday Food: Retro Ginger Snap Cream Cake

Retro gingersnap cream cakeI do like ginger, all things ginger, and yesterday when the new Delicious Magazine for March appeared it was straight to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for the Ginger Snap Cream Cake. It is a variation on the traditional Chocolate Ripple Cake. You only need six things, and it is quite easy to assemble and there is no baking at all.

I have just one quibble, which is a quibble I have been having with a few recipes lately: the sizes of loaf tins. I never have the right size. My favourite tin was too long, and the other one was too narrow. I bought some disposable foil loaf trays, which were also not the right size, but as close as I could get. With a little more cream and another packet of biscuits I made two desserts.

Australians are very picky about our Gingernut biscuits, we have several versions for various states. I used 1 2/3 packets or 400g-ish of biscuits and another 300ml of cream. I still had a little ginger syrup left over. I didn't use crystallised ginger. I am able to buy Naked Ginger, which is still sweet and sharp but not as sugary, which I prefer. If you don't want to use sherry, you could substitute orange or apple juice, or use lemon cordial.

You start this recipe the day before it is required, and I like the idea of being prepared for an upcoming dessert occasion. I am now prepared for Sunday dinner and the neighbours have a surprise dessert!!



Retro Ginger Snap Cream Cake        serves 6-8

  • 250ml (1 cup) sweet sherry
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) ginger cordial, I used Budgerim Refresher
  • 600ml thickened cream
  • 100g white chocolate, melted
  • thinly sliced candied ginger to serve


Make syrup

Make a ginger syrup by pouring the ginger cordial and sherry into a small saucepan over a high heat and then bring it to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes and it should have reduced by 1/3. I was chuffed when I measured to see I had exactly 250ml, so well done science. Set the syrup aside to cool.

Whip and chill cream

Whip the cream to stiff peaks and refrigerate until you are ready to begin. I added some sneaky vanilla extract, about 1 tspn.

Dip and layer

The recipe says to brush the tin with the syrup, I did this the first time, the second time I put a thin layer of cream over the sides and base of the tin. Now it is time to dip each biscuit in the ginger syrup, making sure both sides are covered, but it is not softened: it's a quick dip! Arrange the biscuits over the base of the tin. I tried two methods. With the first I broke biscuits to fill in the gaps. I didn't like that.

Cover and chill

In the second tin I overlapped the biscuits slightly, and just used halves to fill in the ends. I turned the tin around and started with whole biscuits at the other end as I layered.

Cover each layer of biscuits with about 1/2 cup of whipped cream, or as much as you need so you do not see any biscuits poking through. Continue layering until the tin is full, or the biscuits are all used up, and finish with a layer of cream. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate overnight. The flavours will meld and the biscuits will soften.

Melt chocolate

Meanwhile, make the chocolate shards. Melt the white chocolate using your preferred mentioned: I did 30 seconds bursts with stirring in between using the microwave. Pour the melted chocolate over a piece of baking paper and spread evenly. I used my offset palette knife because it makes me feel cheffy. Use a piece of paper that is bigger than you think you will need. I know this because I did not. Cover the chocolate with another piece of baking paper and smooth. This is where the bigger-than-you-think-you-need paper comes into play.

Spread  sandwich  roll  freeze

Wrap around a rolling pin, or the tube from the clingwrap, and secure. You don't want the chocolate to ooze out the ends. Freeze until set and when you unwrap it, you make shards!!

Ginger and choc shards

Slice the ginger thinly and you are ready to go. Top the cream cake with the shards and the ginger and serve while the shards are still cold, otherwise the wilt and they don't look as pretty: see below. It is very moreish and definitely a retro treat!!

Gingernut cream cake

Friday Food: Lemon Bars, not Key Lime

Lemon bars not key limeI love lemons, I love them even more because they are one of the dessert things I can eat. MrsDrWho gave me some lemons and I saw Sarah Carey make Key Lime Bars and so Lemon Bars were born. They are tangy, sour and sweet, crunchy and smooth: a delightful combination.

This is very similar to the filling for a Lemon Meringue Pie. Sarah Carey warns against eating the uncooked egg yolks, but in Australia our eggs are very safe and, unless you are pregnant or have some other condition, we eat raw eggs in mousse and mayonnaises all the time.

I used Granita biscuits instead of Graham crackers which I can't buy, because they crumb so easily and beautifully. I used fresh lemon juice and the zest of a lemon. And that's about it. You could easily use limes, though I have no chance of finding 23 Key Limes here! It works best if you use fresh juice, rather then bottled, but sometimes beggars can't be choosers so go with what you have.

I used the correct tin, 8" or 20cm square, but both the base and the filling were much thinner than the one in the video. Next time I would probably use a large bar tin instead of the square one. I don't know why this happened? In the past BH&G have made twice the caramel filling to achieve the look on the cover of their magazine, and I might just double the filling too.

This is best made the day before required and refrigerated overnight. It is simply served with a dollop of whipped cream and a decorative slice of lemon. It will keep for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge.



Lemon, Not Lime, Bars         serves 9-16


For the base

  • 1 1/4  cups Granita biscuits, crumbed (I used 14)
  • 80g butter, melted
  • 50g caster sugar


For the filling

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tin sweetened condensed milk, 95g
  • 160ml fresh lemon juice


To serve

  • whipped cream
  • thin lemon slices
  • a dusting of icing sugar?



Make the base

Grease and line a tin, or just grease a glass baking dish. Preheat the oven to 180*C or 160*C fan-forced. Mix the biscuit crumbs, butter and sugar til thoroughly combined.

Bake and cool

Spread the crumbs in the tin, pressing down evenly and firmly. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and dry. Cool on a rack. Leave the oven on.

Eggs and cond milk filling

While the biscuit base is baking make the filling. Whisk the egg yolks and zest for 5 minutes until very thick, then pour in the sweetened condensed milk slowly and beat for a further 3 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and whisk until just combined.

Lemon juice and filling

Pour the filling over the base and smooth. It says to wait until the base is cold but I am too impatient. Bake for 10 minutes at the previous temperature, turning half way through.

Fill and bake

Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Slice and enjoy!!

Lemon not lime bars

ABC, Not As Easy As 1 2 3.

Oh it has been so lovely and cool. Well perhaps the pendulum of weather swung a bit too far the other way: we had terrible storms, hurricane like winds, 104mm or 4in of rain and more than 20,000 households are/were without power. At our house we had a lot of rain and a small branch fell off a small tree. Lorelai Gilmore and Hedy Lamarr are in their element, which must be water?? Well it isn't fire, wind or earth, so it must be water. Hedy loves to make splashes and waves.

Hedy in the giant puddle

Gilly is looking her best now the weather is not so hot:

Gilly's close up

And this photo is very typical, Gilly is happily trotting past and Hedy wants to play with the ball. Now!

Happy Gilly and billyball hedy

MrsDrWho's mum gave me some greengages. I love greengages. I just cut them in half and popped out the stone and boiled them with some water and about a tablespoon of caster sugar for ten minutes. I plan to have them with yoghurt, some expensive vanilla ice-cream and maybe top some with a crumble?? When I was little we had a green and a golden gage tree, they are a kind of plum I think. It is the taste of my childhood. I am also lucky to have received a jar of greengage jam....

Yummy greengages

I have sewed a few bags already this year. I am not sure of numbers. I have a list somewhere, not sure where, but I can ask Judy-May the number of her positive word bag.

Bags 2018

I am an easy mark when I see Labrador bags in the supermarkets. This is a Coles Easter bag and $1 of the $2 price goes to The Guide Dogs. I bought three because that is all they had!!

Guide dog bag

I saw this pattern on The Internet and had to have it. The Spotlight didn't have a copy at our shop or online and I ended up buying it from The Etsy. It is on its way and the weather is cool... Who knows, I might sew?

Pattern on its way

Now let us speak of The ABC's First Annual Public Meeting.

Abc ticket

I booked a ticket and like everyone else assumed that we would be having a "meeting". No, that was not what happened. Most of the people there were on the north side of sixty, if not seventy. There were FOUR chairs and a couch.

Abc legs

Eventually they rounded up a weird assortment of chairs, not enough for everyone and for almost an hour I sat on the floor. Then we were treated to a similar amount of time of the television screen buffering. Buffering and buffering. Older people were watching the meeting stream on their smart phones. It appears my ticket just entitled me to almost watch the live stream. That's it. No discussion as promised. And we were told to both cheer when we were to have a live cross, and also to be deathly quiet. Most people couldn't hear the instructions given by a softly spoken woman on the stairs to people hard of hearing. It was not worth the bother. I shall be writing a letter to Michelle Guthrie offering my organisational skills and expertise. I can organise sitting down. I can organise chairs, and a microphone (it's the ABC for dog's sake), and someone to make sure the streaming feed is working. It did eventually work, but we ended up watching a TV backwards through glass and relying on the closed captions because there was no sound.

Hedy in little box

We are seriously considering putting Hedy's little box away. She's older now and though she naps in it, it takes up a huge part of the dining room. Well I just looked and not really a huge part. And it's not inconvenient, but one day we will have a new puppy and we don't want two little boxes. We are not sure how she will cope.

There has been much news of kangaroos/wallabies on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. My mum has a wallaby that greets her at her front door after it has chewed all the new leaves from her plants. We see lots of wallabies and pademelons.

Wallabies not on the Harbour bridge

We see them almost every day as we drive to and from the dam. If we are walking up the hill with the dogs on their leads the marsupials are quite unafraid. They know they can leap high over the wire fence and be away, even if a dog accidentally gets loose. Which they won't because we don't want them chasing the wild life, or running on the road. And yes, I did stop the car to take a photo. There is little traffic and the rule is not to stop for animals but there is no danger if you slow down and give way to them.

Autumn is coming. The nights are drawing in. The temperatures could still be high, but it is only a fortnight until Autumn officially begins. Yay!! I shall be in my element.

Friday Food: Glazed Strawberry Doughnut Cake ...........(On Sunday)

Donut-ish cakeOnce again we have succumbed to the heat, but rallied when the temperature cooled. The Super Food Ideas magazine March 2018 says that in this cake they have " redone the doughnut so it tastes the same but doesn't require a deep fryer."

The cake is very easy to make, super simple in fact. The quick strawberry jam is also as quick as titled, but does need 30 minutes to cool. I used strawberries that were freshly picked and then frozen. I defrosted them and they didn't really dice as such. I added the vanilla extract as the jam cooled, as I have always believed that boiling heat kind of kills the vanilla. The jammy centre is a lovely surprise.

I had quite a difficult time finding the correctly sized loaf tin. In the end I bought a silicone pan from The KMart for $5 which was not wide enough, hence the jam dam situation I fear. It did mean the cake was a tad wonky.

MrsDrWho liked the cake, but said it didn’t really taste like a doughnut. I think of doughnuts as being sugar and cinnamon rather than having a strawberry jam filling, so maybe this is why it seems less doughnutty.



Glazed Strawberry Doughnut Loaf     serves 10


Quick Strawberry Jam

  • 250g strawberries, hulled and finely diced
  • 2 tbspn caster sugar (2 x 20ml)
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract


Doughnut Cake

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/3 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract



  • 2 cups icing sugar mixture
  • 40-60ml hot water
  • pink food colouring
  • long sprinkles


Quick jam

To make the jam, put the strawberries and sugar in a small pan and stir continuously over a medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved. This did not take 4-5 minutes as the recipe stated, more like 1-2. Regardless, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick to the pan. Cool for 30 minutes and then stir in the vanilla extract.

Preheat the oven to 180*C/160*C fan-forced and grease and line a 10.5 x 21 x 6.5cm deep loaf tin.


Begin the cake by creaming the butter and sugar. It is creamed when it is paler in colour and lighter in texture. I also check the sugar is pretty much dissolved by rubbing a little of the mixture between thumb and forefinger tips.

Egg and rest of ingredients

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating till just combined. Then add the flour, coconut, milk and vanilla and whisk for 30 seconds or until combined.

En jaminate

Spoon 2/3 of the mixture into the loaf pan. Level and spoon in the jam, leaving a 1.5cm border. I found this tricky as the loaf pan was too narrow. I ended up making a bit of a dip with the back of a spoon down the centre and then built up the edges with teaspoons of the cake batter. Drop small spoonfuls of the rest of the cake batter over the top of the jam. I used a spoon dipped in hot water to smooth the batter over the top.


Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and firm to the touch. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then place on a rack to cool completely.

Ice and sprinkles

Once the cake is cool, make the icing. Put the icing and 2 x 20ml of hot water into a bowl and mix til smooth. Add a little more water if needed. Then add a little pink colouring and mix until you reach the desired shade. I added about 8 drops of a liquid pink. You would need far less gel colour. Spread the icing over the cake and then top with sprinkles. Leave for about 2 hours for the icing to set, then slice and serve.

Donut inspired cake

Some Like It Not Hot

Gilly has a new toy hedy wants it

We saw Bonnie the Labrador @randomknits had a new toy. I decided Gilly should have a new squeaky toy. Hedy wants it, Gilly has it, and so it begins.......

Oh so many things have happened. The heat is somewhat less, 27*C instead of 37*C, and the nights are often cool enough to sleep. I did have a little crisis. I heard a beeping sound in the middle the night and thought it was coming from the fuse box. I worried all night and I could feel my heart beating fast and my stomach swirling and I could not think properly. I rang The Lifeline people at about 6am because I didn't want to wake up anyone I knew!! The woman on the phone listened, and suggested I ring an electrician and ask their advice. I did. He answered the phone at 7am, and was so kind and understanding. He asked for a photo of the fuse box and I emailed one to him. He said it all looked absolutely fine and there was no sparking or fizzing or other weird things happening. I left a little gift of thanks for him, and for his dog, at his office.

I felt so much better, and that night when I heard the sound I called my next door neighbour and she said it sounded like a cricket. And over the next week we had all sorts of cricket noises because of the hot weather. I was just so hot and so tired and unwell that I could not employ any of my usual coping strategies. This year, if there are no medical or major appliance emergencies, we are going to buy an air-conditioner for the bedroom. Being able to sleep and be cool will be so wonderful!!!

I like to talk about my anxiety and/or depression because when I didn't talk about it, things became very terrible. And I don't want things to be terrible again. I also know to ask for help. That helps!!

Cobie again

Lorelai Gilmore and Hedy Lamarr met a new friend. Sandy's dad and mum are respite carers for Guide Dogs and Guide Dogs in training. This last week they looked after Cobie. He has some Golden Retriever in his mix. Cobie is about the same age as Hedy but he is bigger than everyone and has beautiful longer fur.

Hedy gilly rafa cobie

From the left you can see Hedy, Gilly, Rafa and Cobie.  Lots of happy waggy tails. All the dogs get on very well and play happily together. Cobie is on his lead because he is worth a lot of money and must be kept safe from falling into gorges or over cliffs.

Lorelai Gilmore is feeling better now the weather is cooler. Hedy is always pushing to the front and demanding attention and pats, but Gilly just stands quietly and waits. I asked the other humans to pat her too, and she was as pleased as punch.

Lorelai is beautiful

Hedy just wants to play with her Billyball. She is more than a little obsessed.

Hedy ready to play

I love back to school time, I love all the stationery and the accoutrements. I have also had a lot of therapy and I no longer feel sad when my friends go back to teach their new classes. I did some lunch and recess prepping for MrsDrWho to make the transition a little easier. In the shops I saw a lot of coffee cups, keep cups, travel cups and on a pamphlet I saw a tea travel cup, which used tea leaves. I emailed the Sistema company, but they said it was discontinued in Australia. To my surprise and joy, Tash offered to send me the showroom Twist'n'Sip tea cup. I am very grateful and it is so lovely. I put tea leaves in and it brews. I can close the top so it doesn't spill and I can click it open to drink. Now I am likely to take this to the back yard, or maybe to a picnic, not in the car. Thank you Sistema, for your unexpected kindness.

Twist'n'sip tea

MrsDrWho and I went on a  little road trip to Latrobe to visit Reliquaire on the last Thursday of the holidays. Reliquaire was razed to the ground on Christmas Eve 2015, but they relocated and then rebuilt. It is a shop full of lovely bits and bobs, from a $1 badge to a $5500 giant bear and everything in between. We spent a few hours browsing and found lots of hidden things behind secret doors like these dinosaurs.

Reliquaire dinos

We had morning tea first, and later on lunch, and stopped at Ashgrove cheese for cheese supplies. I love cheese. I am glad it is chocolate I cannot eat because I could not live without cheese. I bought Harvarti with jalapenos, Double Gloucester and cheddar with cracked pepper. MrsDrWho bought matching Harvarti with bacon. I had cheese for dinner.


Artists and schools have painted the cows which decorate the Ashgrove grounds.  They amuse me.

Ashgrove cows

I am well enough to have knitted a sock, using Opal Fresh & Juicy in the Sweet Chocolate Dream colour. I used my usual pattern which I cobbled together. One sock down, one to go. I love the colours, and Opal does knit up beautifully, my stitches look so nice. None of the colours are really right. maybe the first one but a little less bright than the second?? I mainly watched Altered Carbon on The Netflix while I knitted. I have also sewed a little.....

Blueberry choc shake 2018

I bought two T-shirts from The KMart, one on sale for $5 and one for $10. I plan to make this raglan T-shirt in Autumn, with the Star wars picture and logo cut out and used with some green material.


I saw on The Instagram that people made a Make 9 goal. I think I will join in, but instead of nine patterns, I might choose the nine different materials I want to use to sew dresses. I bought this pattern from The Etsy. It is a trend, and I am at the very end of the trend, so far at the end that I couldn't buy it here. I like the low cut front, but even so, I shall raise it a little. I always feel my cleavage can draw the eye from other parts I would rather were not so prominent!!

New pattern

It is 21*C now, so it feels about 27*C and we shall lie in bed with the cool breeze blowing and hope to sleep. I have chosen something for my Friday Food, and there's a day up my sleeve so I am very hopeful!!

If you left a comment on Lorelai Gilmore's birthday post, expect an email in the next few days!!!

Friday Food: Blueberry Muffin Loaf ...........(On Sunday)

Some blueberry muffin loafMrsDrWho requested a muffin loaf. She had seen it on a food channel and was desirous of trying one. I found this recipe by searching and it is by British Bake Off winner Jo Wheatley. I whipped up the muffin batter in no time flat, but it does take an hour to bake, so if you are after instant gratification muffins, stick to the individual ones.

I made no changes whatsoever to the recipe, other than using a long, rather than a loaf, tin. The crumble sprinkled on top just disappeared into the muffins, so I probably wouldn't bother with that next time. The muffin loaf is moist and both MrsDrWho, and her mum, declared it delicious.

The temperatures have finally dropped and we have had a few days to recover, which is why I can bake again. Also, MrsDrWho officially returns for the 2018 school year this week and I like to bake her consolation cakes. Not that she doesn't love teaching, it is the consistently getting up early that is the hard part.



Blueberry Muffin Loaf     serves 6-8

For the muffin loaf:

  • 200g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 75g butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 160ml milk
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 130g blueberries, fresh or frozen


For the Crumble topping:

  • 20g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 20g caster sugar



Preheat the oven to 180*C or 160*C fan-forced and grease and line a 900g loaf tin.

Crumble topping

To make the crumble topping, put all the ingredients into a bowl and rub together until they make a crumble mixture. Set aside.

Sift dry ingredients

Sift the flour, bicarb and sugars into a large bowl and mix.

Wet ingredients

In another bowl or jug whisk together the milk, egg, vanilla and cooled butter.

Add wet to dry

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet.

Mix and add blueberries

Mix gently and sparingly until the batter just comes together, then add the blueberries and mix to distribute.

Add crumble topping and bake

Spoon the muffin batter into the tin, smooth the top and sprinkle over the crumble. Bake for about an hour. The muffins are cooked when the top springs back, they have come away from the sides of the tin, and of course a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.

Cool, slice and serve. As with most muffins, this loaf won't keep for very long and is best eaten within the first two days. I suspect warm from the oven with butter is best!!

Blueberry muffin loaf