Monday, May 31, 2010

Another week gone...

More comfort food being eaten here at the moment. The weather has turned quite cold with foggy mornings and dull days. After Brianna's culinary delight last Monday, my pasta disaster on Tuesday, we then had lamb cutlets and veggies on Wednesday.
Thursday night we had Chicken Enchiladas - quite spicy but very tasty.
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Netball was at Robe but we escaped the rain and stayed dry for the duration of the game.
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I watched this movie (and wasted my Sunday afternoon) while Angus watched the footy. Hugh Grant was a total let-down in this flick. I think he is best off acting in British comedy/dramas because when he does American films he seems to come off as a foppish, bumbling English fool. I loved him in Nottinghill, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually but he failed to enthuse me in this poor excuse for a comedy. And Sarah Jessica Parker - why did she need to wear a wig? Score 4/10 Annoying
(of course this is entirely my own opinion)
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I had a hankering for a Jubilee Cake on Sunday afternoon also. I have a Green & Gold Cookbook so I looked up the recipe and made the cake. Simple ingredients and simple recipe.... for a fruity house brick!!! It was a total, inedible disaster. I threw the inch high cake (and all the yummy fruit I had wasted) in the scrap bin and started again, determined to have that cake.
My sister Leanne came to the rescue with a 'never fail' recipe that she had. Above is the fruit mixture boiling away. I could just eat the fruit like this.
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Ah, a much better result.
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BOILED JUBILEE CAKE
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In a small saucepan add -
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 cups mixed dried fruit (I also added chopped dried apricots and Craisins)
60 gms butter
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Boil all of these until sugar has dissolved. Let the mixure completely cool.
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To the cooled fruit mixure, add 2 cups of SR flour and 1 beaten egg. Mix well to combine.
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Place in a lined loaf tin and cook for approx. 40-50 minutes at 180C (test with skewer and make sure it comes out clean).
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Make a runny icing mixure (icing sugar and milk) and ice the cake when it has nearly cooled. Sprinkle with coconut if desired. Wait for icing to set then slice a piece off and butter it. Serve with tea or coffee and a friend.
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It was a very wet and dreary weekend with showers of rain both days. I love my Mum's homemade soup so I gave her the ingredients (bacon bones, carrot, potato, swede, turnip, celery, onion, split pea soup mix) and she made me a big pot of it. My lunch today - Yum! I just can't get the flavour in it like she does.
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My pc monitor decided to give up the ghost on Saturday so I am without a computer at the moment. Bri is away for a few days so I can't commandeer her laptop so posts will have to be done at work (like this one).
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Hope you are all well,
Joolz

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Don't ya hate it when...

... you blow the bottom out of not one, but TWO jars of pasta sauce, just by sitting (dropping) them on the tiled kitchen floor...
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All I did was sit the bag of groceries down on the floor (okay, I may have put it down hard) but something went CRRRAAACKK! Then the sauce exploded, SPLAAATT! out of the bag and onto the floor~
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There are two jars of Dolmio Pasta sauce in there and both lids popped off and...
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... the bottoms of both jars were blown out! I've never seen anything like it! Of course, everything else in the bag was in a cardboard box which got covered in tomato goo and had to be washed and went soggy and the boxes had to be thrown away and now I have unlabled goods in my pantry and...
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... can you believe it? Once I got everything out I had about 1.5 litres of tomato goo plus some lovely sharp glass shards in the shopping bag. I didn't even attempt to recycle the bag, it all just went straight in the bin otherwise I would've ended up with a nasty cut on my hand, I'm sure. I've mopped and wiped and got the place clean again and thank goodness I had an extra jar of sauce in the pantry. Holy crap! Lucky it was on special for 2 for AUD$4.00!
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Cheers - Joolz (and yes, I'm having a wine!)

Chicken Yumbo's & Potato Springers...

Brianna decided she'd like to cook dinner for us last night. She had made this meal in her Hospitality class at school and wanted to try it out on us. Who was I to say no to dinner being cooked for me?
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First up, she made Potato Springers (curly fries) ...
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... next she made the Chicken Yumbo's - chicken breast tenders coated in Greek yoghurt then rolled in a mixture of cornflake crumbs and bread crumbs...
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The finished product (we didn't use any oil at all - the yoghurt keeps them moist and the crumbs crisp up) ...
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This is Angus' impersonation of Matt Preston from MasterChef Australia, giving his verdict on the Chicken Yumbo's. Score 9/10
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Bri made a dipping sauce with 2 tablespoons each of Dijon mustard, honey and olive oil - use a Bamix or stab blender and whiz until thick and creamy...
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This is the tool that makes the potato springers - you screw the end into an oblong potato and start rotating around the potato, it cuts through as you go...
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Here they are, standing up ready to go in the oven. She tossed them in a bag with a little oil to coat and sprinkled them with a herb mix...
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The meal plated up with a nice little salad - it sure was delicious! Thanks, Breezy!
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While all that was cooking, I thought I'd make an Apple Crumble. I diced up 3 Granny Smith apples, added 1 tblspn brown sugar and a shake of cinnamon and about a tablespoon of water in the bottom. In a bowl, I combined about 1/2 cup each or crushed cornflakes, rolled oats and Just Right cereal, 1 tblspn brown sugar and 1 tblspn butter, melted. Mix all these together then simply pour over apples and pat down. Bake for about 40 minutes until the crumble has browned a bit.
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Serve with a little lite cream. Very comforting on a cold night!
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Cheers - Joolz

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Letter to Juliet...

Kirby and I went and saw this movie last night. Quite good but very predictable at the end and I didn't like Christopher Egan's pompous British accent - he's an Aussie for goodness sake!
(although I realise that was the exact character he was playing). Vanessa Redgrave was lovely in it but I found Amanda Seyfried a bit bland. But do go see it for a wonderful tour through Italy's beautiful countryside. I would watch it again on DVD but I won't be buying it for my collection of chick flicks. 7/10
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I narrowly escaped (I hope, fingers crossed) getting a virus on my PC. I was after a list of songs from the soundtrack of Letters to Juliet and I clicked on a site that immediately sent the alarm bells ringing on my computer - flashing signs saying I had 10 viruses her and 7 there but my McAfee has stepped in and it all seems okay. I will take a lot more notice of the SiteAdvisor tags on websites from now on.
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On my list for Sunday morning early viewing at 7am with a cup of coffee in hand and a rug on the couch will be Mona Lisa Smile (recommended by Little Jenny Wren) and then Blue Lagoon to follow. I never saw Mona Lisa Smile when it came out but the trailer that Jenny had on her blog made it look great. I'll let you know what I think.
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Cheers - Joolz

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cupcake Icecream Cones...

My neice, Bianca made some of these the other day for her neice, Miss Rylee, so I thought I'd give them a go. You can microwave these (1 takes 30 seconds I found) but I thought baking was better.
First, cover a muffin tray with foil and make a hole to sit the cones in. This stops them toppling over.
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Mix up the cake mixture of your choice - I used chocolate cake...
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...fill them with a really large tablespoonful of mixture (next time, up to that inside rim would be best, now I know they won't explode over the sides too much) ...
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... bake for 15 minutes (checking at 5 minute intervals) at 180C...
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... drag out all your pretty decorations and go beserk! ...
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Pretty cool, huh? Or do I just have too much time on my hands? I love doing things like this, though.
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These are going to be demolished by a group of 16 year olds at school tomorrow when Brianna takes them for her best friend, Maddy who is turning 16! Happy Birthday, Mads!
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Now onto making a casserole for netball teas tomorrow night. Bri is going to chop and prepare it then we'll toss it in the slow cooker.
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Cheers - Joolz

Monday, May 17, 2010

Around town and my garden....

We have some lovely parks and gardens in our town. Lots of green lawns which create an air of spaciousness.
This area is behind our Civics & Arts Centre - a good spot for tourists to pull up in their cars and with caravans to sit and have lunch. There are shady trees nearby and park benches.
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This is our Cross of Sacrifice where the Anzac Day Dawn Service is held. The crowd numbers are growing each year for the service and for the march which is held later in the morning. It is a chilling thing to listen to the Last Post being played on the bugle.
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We have a very talented sculptor in our midst. He has opened Ant's Redgum Gallery and he sculpts pieces from redgum timber. This eagle is all from the one piece of redgum - amazing. I drive past the gallery every day and have watched this chunk of wood being transformed into the work of art you see here. He started off using a chain saw to cut the basic shape them went on to chisel and sand the finer details.
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The attention to detail is fantastic. I am yet to visit his gallery but I must do it soon.
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Late afternoon in my poor neglected garden on Saturday.
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Oh dear! Sadly neglected, these standard roses have now been pruned back and most of the weeds have been pulled. Because this bed is watered over summer by our sprinkler system with bore water the weeds grow like crazy, the roses get watered all over and don't do so well and there is kikuyu grass (which has long runners) growing in amongst everything. It is nearly impossible to get rid of. I'd like to gut this bed totally and plant low growing carpet roses and some other shrubs after spraying the grass and renewing the soil and bark. Maybe come spring time. For now, I've pulled the weeds so it does look neater.
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A lone rose among the thorns.
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The mornings are getting frosty but I am still enjoying my early morning walks. I've taken to the town streets and it's quite interesting peering into peoples gardens to see what they have growing.
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Cheers - Joolz

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Quiz answer ...

Kris from Life at Rosemary Hill was first to guess if you take away the first letter, the words were all pallindromes (same spelt forwards and backwards) and Jackie from Teacher's Pet (sorry I can;t access your blog ??) also guessed that by moving the first letter to the end of the word, it spelled the same.
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Just a little brain teaser for you ladies. Anyone else got any mind boggling puzzles to keep our grey matter ticking over?
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Back later with some pics from around my town.
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Cheers - Joolz

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Welcome Home Jessica !!!!!!!!!!

WoooHooo! Congratulations and
welcome home, Jessica!
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This courageous 16 year old sailed back into Sydney Harbour this afternoon after 210 days at sea, having sailed around the world alone. Jess, you are a true inspiration to all Australians and especially the youth of Australia and the world. You did what you said you wanted to do...
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LIVE YOUR DREAM
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We are so happy you are back safe and sound with your family and loved ones. Enjoy the accolades and don't go changing!
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Joolz and family

Friday, May 14, 2010

The week in pictures and a few (too many) words...

Have you had a go at my quiz?? Take a look and see if you can guess what the common theme is.
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V from Stickhorse Cowgirls asked me what the raspberry lollies were that I use in my Rocky Road...
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They are just your generic (Home Brand from Woolworths) type of raspberry jube. They make the Rocky Road nice and chewy, along with the marshmallow and peanuts etc.
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This is the arrangement of flowers we gave Angus' mum, Margaret for Mother's Day. I gave my mum a nice little patio cream rose in a planter.
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A beautiful pink Day Lily amongst the arrangment.
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Tuesday bought delicious rain, soaking everything and...
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... very nearly filling our two rainwater tanks. Yay!
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Bonnie was sunning herself on the bonnet of Bri's car on Thursday morning but the minute I wanted a photo she was on the move. She is the hardest darn (or is that... darndest hard) cat to photograph!
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After a lovely autumn day, this was my Thursday sunset over the neighbour's house.
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Because the weather is getting nice and chilly, we've been enjoying some comfort food. This was spicy crumbed chicken breast with cauliflower & broccoli au gratin, baked potato bits and mixed veggies.
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Thursday night dinner was slow-cooked lamb shanks in a tomato sauce, mash and green beans. There are lots of recipes around for lamb shanks so I won't bore you with a full one for these.... er, okay I will! I just browned the 6 shanks in my Big Blue, sauteed onion, carrot & celery in olive oil (mirapoix), returned the shanks to the pan, added 2 tblspns plain flour, fried off again, then added 3 cans of chopped tomatoes, a good slug of red wine, 2 tblspns balsalmic vinegar, 6 anchovies, a good shake each of dried basil, thyme, oregano and mint (yes, use fresh if you have them, I didn't...), cracked black pepper, salt to your taste, a tblspn of sugar, a beef stock cube and a cup of water. Place in a 180C oven to start with. After an hour, give it a good stir and back off the heat to 150C. Continue to cook for another 2-3 hours - even slower temp if you've got the time. The meat should be very tender and falling off the bone. This could/should be an all day winter's Sunday dinner recipe - put it on at 2pm and enjoy at 6-7 pm! Serve with lots of creamy mashed potato and greens of your choice. Yummo!
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Friday night dinner is 'eat what you like'! Bri has had some chicken pies she made in Hospitality at school today. I am having a toased ham and cheese sandwich. There are leftover lamb shanks and mash also. No-one's going hungry here!
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Netball tomorrow is an away game but we should be home by 1.30pm so I hope to maybe get out in the garden, weather permitting and prune back some roses and do a small sewing project. Enjoy your weekend, won't you?
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Cheers - Joolz
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