Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cherry Shortbreads ...

I've had a few requests for the shortbread recipe.  You can find it HERE with a nice Monte Creams recipe too!
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Cheers - Joolz

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Pudding ...

(big pudding in saucepan and baby pudding ready for steaming (2 hours)
Every year at Christmas, I enjoy eating Mum's Christmas Pudding, with hot custard and a bit of cream.  Every year I wish I could have a bit more!  To remedy this and so I can enjoy little bits of pudding through January, February, March etc, I made my own.
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(click to enlarge)
 The recipe is on the box of Tandaco Suet Mix - the very recipe Mum has used for probably 60 years.  It is very easy to make but requires steaming for 5 hours on the stove.
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 And  et voila!  One perfect pudding - it smells soooo good ... now, will it come out of the basin?
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 Perfect! I popped it back in again, covered tightly with foil then replaced the snap on lid.  Now it is at the back of my fridge, until Christmas nears... I hope I can resist! The only variation to the recipe was that I mascerated the dried fruit (and I added a small bag of glace cherries too) in 1/2 a cup of brandy (not 1/4) for a week beforehand, stirring daily.  This really plumped up the fruit and it smelled divine.  It makes a big pudding and in this case, my basin was a tad small so I made a tiny one in a little spring form tin so that is an added bonus!  That wee one is tucked away in the freezer.
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Give this recipe a go - it's a never fail one!
Cheers - Joolz

Some baking accomplished ...

 Well, I just couldn't help but make those Sweet Potato Garlic Knot rolls.  I planned to make burgers for dinner on Friday night so I made one extra big roll for Gus and made the other dinner roll size.
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 I made beef burgers with mince, mixed herb, onion, an egg and dried stuffing mix, salt and pepper.  Gus declared it the best gourmet burger ever and loved the rolls.
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Saturday was a very lazy day for me.  I basically got up, pottered around, showered at about 10am then put on fresh pyjamas and just lazed the day away.  I think you need to do that every now and again.  I watched the last Harry Potter (Deathly Hallows Pt 2) movie and just stayed inside as it was quite a hot day out.
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 After saying that I needed to do some Christmas baking during this coming week, I decided that there is no time like the present.  I didn't really fancy working each day then coming home to bake.  So I got stuck in.
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First up, these super easy Christmas Puddings - I made a dozen in about 10 minutes flat!
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 Next up, Cherry Shortbreads with festive cherries.
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 Then I thought I'd make plain sugar dusted shortbreads.  The recipe requires rice flour (which I knew I had bought recently).  I found the packet, mixed up the dough then happened to look at the top of the pack.  Expiry December 2008!!  Now I know it probably would have been alright, but I just couldn't bring myself to use the dough so I tossed it in the bin.  Then I went hunting for the box of rice flour I knew I had bought only recently.  Found it further back in my pantry - phew!  So I began again...
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 The recipe was not the best, for some reason the dough wouldn't come together nicely and when I rolled it out between 2 sheets of Gladbake, it stuck and wouldn't come away from the paper.  Grrr!  I added more flour and kneaded it more then let it rest in the fridge... tried again and it was just not very co-operative.
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 I perservered and made snowflakes and christmas trees and ended up throwing about 1/3 of the dough out, I was just too stuffed to battle with it any longer.  I noted on the recipe (in a book) that is was "no good, do not use again"!
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 I finally finished and got tidied up just in time for Gus to start on dinner.  There was sugar and dough crumbs everywhere!  Yick!
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 I bagged everthing up in cello bags to keep them fresh - I'll show you when I put the gift bowls together, how they look. This extra bag is destined for Brianna as she loves these biscuits.
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Finally, Gus made the Tandoori Chicken and a delicious salad of tomato, cucumber, celery, onion with a lemon garlic dressing with croutons tossed in with it (both pictured in these books).  It was yummy!
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I also made my Christmas pudding, but that is another post entirely.
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Cheers - Joolz

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Some baking in the week ahead ...

(These are my version of Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies)
 Next week we are heading to the city to see Kirby for her birthday (and Brianna too). On the Sunday, we are having lunch with some friends then staying with another friend that night.  I want to take a gift of Christmas biscuits to them so I need to get busy with some baking...
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 (my Festiive Cherry Shortbreads)
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 (Chocolate Christmas Puddings)
Honestly, an 8 year old could make these.  Buy Arnott's Chocolate Royal biscuits, drizzle with melted white chocolate, top with a red smartie and spearmint leave lollies, chopped into small leaf shapes.  You are done!
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 This is what my Christmas baking looked like last year when I bagged everything up.  I did plain, sugar dusted shortbreads too and these looked so nice.
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 I won't do these Florentines until closer to Christmas, but they are a favourite as well.
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 I also need to make Kirby's Cappucino cake (Thursday night).  It has a marscapone cheese frosting but I may just put that on the inside layer and have a coffee frosting piped on the outside.  Wait and see.
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Another treat for the girls, mainly Brianna, will be some Tim Tam Balls.  So simple but I can guess, it will be a messy job!  I will roll them in Chocolate Sprinkles as Brianna isn't partial to coconut.
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 My roses have had a hard week with some hot weather earlier - most of them are full blown so I need to dead head and wait for the next flush.
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Another thing I will make for Christmas time is this White Christmas from Julie Goodwin's book, The Heart of  The Home.  It has mini marshmallows, rice bubbles, shredded coconut, pistachios, white chocolate, dried apricots, glace cherries and glace pineapple in it.  Can't wait to try that!
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Anyhoo, I'm having a very lazy day today.  It's a warm day so I have just stayed inside.  I watched the last Harry Potter film, Deathly Hallows Pt 2 then watched the bonus DVD with interviews and info into how the movies were made etc.  Quite interesting.
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Hopefully it will be a little bit cooler tomorrow so I can get out in the garden.  I'd better go water some tomato plants and my petunias.  Catchya!
Cheers - Joolz

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving salivations...

I've been looking at some blogs and salivating about their Thanksgiving menus.  The beautifully dressed turkey is from Kris at Simplify - her first cooking tutorial.  I may just have to try this method soon.
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The Pioneer Woman has her favourite Thanksgiving sides listed in a post - my goodness, how I'd love to have green bean casserole, whisky glazed carrots and brussels sprouts with balsamic and cranberries and lovely stuffing for the turkey!
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Then I found these on the Tasty Kitchen blog - Sweet Potato Knots
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Have a look and try not to drool!
Cheers - Joolz

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Camping at the beach ...

 Off we go again in Ruby, over the dunes, about 1 hour from home (but only 21 kms) ...
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 It took us a while to find a spot which would be safe for us to camp, we didn't want the tide to carry us away in the middle of the night.
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 Some driftwood with cockle shells clinging to it ...
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 This was the beach we chose (we camped at the other end) - although our mate got a bit stuck!  It took quite a while to winch him out ...
Driving on beaches like this should not be done lightheartedly - we had full recovery gear (snatch-em straps and a winch).  First rule is never to attempt a stretch of sand like this if you are travelling alone.  Many a vehicle have been lost to the sea because they get stuck and cannot be retrieved in time.  The sand may look hard but in fact it is like quick sand.
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Pete was lucky.   As it turned out, he didn't have the vehicle engaged in 4WD!  No wonder it was hard going!
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 When we finally made camp, I took a wander through the rocks - I was disappointed to see so much debris stewn all over the rocks.  This is nylon rope from fishing boats which has floated in on the tide and been washed up on the rocks.  Disgusting!
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 More rope, netting and plastic bubble wrap - imagine if sealife swallowed this?  This is vandalism on a huge scale!
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 A small part of the beach was covered in lovely broken shells and pebbles, I loved fossicking to see if I could find whole shells but there really weren't any.
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 Such a pretty view and the waves were crashing in loudly...
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 We set Ruby up on high ground (well we thought it was high enough!)...
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 Our friends were camping in a tent and in a swag under the stars...
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 Sunset, behind the clouds...
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 We had a good campfire and some bottles of red wine to keep us warm...
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 This was the view outside my tent on Sunday morning.  We got an early wake up call ...
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 "Come on kiddies, breakfast is ready!"  Yum!  Poached eggs, bacon and campfire toast!
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 We worked out that the sea had come quite close to our tent overnight.  That little blob of seaweed to the right of the tent door was washed up and you can see the sand is wet.  We might try and get higher up next time, just in case!
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 Gus is not an avid fisherman but took along his rod and reel just in case there was time for fishing ... he keeps it in good condition, heh?
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 Time to head home ...
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We had a couple of kangaroos bound across in front of us - this guy (and the lady hiding behind him) was huge!
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Cheers - Joolz
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