Sunday, June 30, 2013

Homemade crumpets ...

I have had this crumpet recipe in my folder for some time so I thought I'd give it a go this morning - I'm home alone so there was no pressure to get anything else done.
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The recipe came from Nature Witch's blog here but I see there hasn't been any activity for since July 2010.  Here we go ... and in hindsight, next time I will halve the mixture because 45 (!) crumpets is just a bit too many for this family of two!  They will freeze but that is still a lot to get through.
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Combine your warm water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl...
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Add in the flour, baking powder and salt gradually, making sure to get rid of lumps...
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This is the batter when all the flour has been incorporated.  I think it needed a bit more warm water added (1/4 cup) so the final batter is reasonable runny.
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Let the batter rest in a warm place for 20 minutes.  It should have bubbles rising to the surface.
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Spray egg rings with non-stick spray and place in your skillet (or like me, a griddle hotplate).  Fill each ring with good heaped tablespoon of batter.  It was trial and error with this quantity.  Less is better as it rises.
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These were my first attempts.  Not bad.  The recipe says to cover them for the last 2 minutes (to promote the holeyness) but I didn't have a big/high enough lid to do this on my skillet.  So I just flipped them over for a minute.
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See how the batter is getting more bubbly?
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Another batch ...
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Finally all cooked - yes, there are 45 crumpets!  Anyone know a hungry family of eight?
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I had mine with Golden Syrup and then one with Vegemite...
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So very good!
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I have frozen them in packs of 6 with kitchen paper between them.  Give them a try - if you can make pancakes, you can make these crumpets!
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Added: I got out a pack of frozen crumpets this morning and toasted them as normal and they were fantastic.  Missing the holey top so I stabbed it a few times with my knife so the margarine would go down into it a bit - naughty, I know!
Cheers - Joolz xx

Gus turns 50 !

 Last Saturday, we all piled on a bus and headed for Coonawarra to celebrate Gus' 50th Birthday.  His mum made this huge chocolate sponge cake.
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 He had his 40th Birthday at Upstairs and Hollick so thats what he wanted to do for his 50th also.  We had 64 guests.
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 Me and my beautiful girls!
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Family!
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 For lunch, there was a choice of crisp skinned local pork belly; cassoulet of upstairs pork, fennel & cider sausage, pancetta, tomato and cannellini beans...
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 or whole roasted scotch fillet of local beef; charred Kalangadoo onion; roasted field mushroom; green beans; horseradish butter and cabernet jus.  Salad of hillbilly farm lettuce, red onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and local olives.
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 Dessert was a fantastic vanilla bean panna cotta; raspberry sorbet; poached local rhubarb; rose geranium syrup; freeze dried raspberries.  Everyone raved about this!
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Soft centred dark chocolate pudding, house-made butterscotch icecream; hazelnut and almond praline; vanilla cream.
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It was a very long lunch and just what Gus wanted.
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Cheers - Joolz

Friday, June 28, 2013

Praying for Jane ...

My niece Jane is very ill, it is likely she has pneumonia.  She is being flown by air ambulance to Adelaide.  Jane was born with cerebral palsy and is 33 years old. If you are so inclined, please say a prayer for our precious girl.  Thank you xxx
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Update Saturday pm: Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers.  Jane remains in the ICU at Flinders and it seems its gastrointestinal trouble which has caused stress on her lungs and heart so she is being sedated to lessen that stress.  Her parents report that she is stable and comfortable, receiving excellent care and getting the royal treatment from the fantastic doctors and nurses so that is nice to hear.
 - Joolz xx

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Queen's Birthday Long Weekend... sorry it's late!

 Sorry, I have been absent so much from the blog - it's just been hectic at work (end of financial year stuff) and with my Mum.  This is a bit of a catch up post.
Both our girls came home for the Queen's Birthday Long weekend (8-9th June), which was lovely.  Bri was off to visit her friend Maddy and her family on Saturday so I made some scones and sent some strawberry jam and tomato chutney for them to enjoy too...
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 ... can't forget the cream!
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 I made garlic bread out of my last French Baguette...
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I also made these Muffins that taste like Donuts!  So good!
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Muffins
(that taste like doughnuts)
1 1/3 c flour
1 1/2 tsp b powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 c oil
3/4 c wht sugar
1 egg
3/4 c milk
Combine dry ingred, mix liquids, beat till well mixed. Add to dry ingred and mix till just blended. Put into muffin tin and bake at 350/F for 20-25 m min.
While muffins are hot dip into butter and roll in powdered sugar or sugar & cinnamon.
1/4 c wht sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

melted butter or marg. ~
I also filled them with strawberry jam!
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 Sunday we drove to Coonawarra and had lunch at Fodder...
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 Lemon Curd Syllabub - a close second for my favourite dessert (Creme Brulee being my first favourite!)
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At the bottom on the glass, there was the most buttery, crisp shortbread crumbly bits... 
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Wood fire baked apple crumble (Angus)...
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 Passionfruid Semifreddo wth cats tongue biscuits (Brianna) ...
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 Wicked chocolate tart with raspberry sorbet (Kirby) ...
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 Bri had the honour of driving us home in Gus' new GT Falcon - I still haven't had a drive!
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 Can't recall what meat we had for dinner but we had this pear, walnut, parmesan and rocket salad with this dressing ...
150 mls olive oil (or walnut oil)
50 mls balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
- Mix all ingredients in a jar and give a good shake!
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 Sunday morning I made pasties using veal mince (all I could get at the supermarket) and a packet of Continental Curried Mince flavouring together with diced carrot, potato and zucchini...
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and I made some Weekender Biscuits - they look a bit different each time - these were rolled in cornflakes whereas the linked ones don't look like they were...
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In other news, we had put Mum;'s name down at the local nursing home after she decided that if her health didn't improve that it would be for the best.  Since her fall at Christmas, she had had quite a few health issues and a couple of overnight hospital stays.  Anyway, 3 weeks after putting her name down, they rang to say she could have a bed the following Wednesday - one week away!  My two sisters moved her in on the 12th and so far she has had up days and down days.  It has been a big transition but we know she is safe there and getting very good care.  The facility is extremely well run with attention to cleanliness, friendly professional staff, exellent meals and lots of activities to keep minds active.  We hope she will settle in well over the coming few weeks.
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Cheers - Joolz

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June already ... that was quick!

We have a new addition to the family garage, it's big and blue and rather groovy!
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We took it for a spin last Sunday and had lunch while we were out.  We shared 2 small pizzas...
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We also shared a naughty delicious sticky date muffin...
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It was one of those sunny, cold, rainy days...
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When we got home, I made slow cooked lamb shanks from a recipe from Kim at Serendipity Cafe.  She posted it on Facebook for me so I have cut and pasted the recipe.
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KIM'S SLOW COOKED LAMB SHANKS IN RED WINE SAUCE

OK, you will need 250g of dried cannellini beans- left to soak overnight, 2 tablespoons sunflower oil (I used lite olive oil as that is what I prefer to use), 1 large brown onion thinly sliced, 4 carrots chopped, 2 long celery sticks thinly sliced, 1 clove of garlic finely sliced (1? Not in my house lol...more like 4 ha!), 4 large lamb shanks, 400g canned chopped tomatoes (I like the Italian La Gina ones), 300ml of red wine, finely pared zest and juice of 1 large orange, 2 bay leaves, 3 rosemary sprigs, 225ml of water, salt and pepper (I used ground black pepper and ground Himalayan crystal salt).

 Preheat your oven to 160C. Drain the soaked beans and rinse under cold running water. Put in a large pan of cold water, bring to the boil and skim off any scum, then boil rapidly for ten mins. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole, add the onion and cook until softened. Add the carrots and celery and cook for further 5 mins. Add the garlic and cook for a further 1 minute. Push veg to side of pan. Add the lamb shanks to the pan and cook for 5 mins, until browned on all sides. Add the beans to the pan with the tomatoes, wine, orange zest and juice and stir together. Add the bay leaves and rosemary. Pour in the liquid so that it comes half way up the shanks. Season with pepper but NOT salt as this will stop the beans from softening. Bring to the boil, then cover the pan and cook in the oven for approx 1 hr. Turn the shanks over in the stock then continue to cook for a further 1 1/2 hrs until the lamb and beans are tender. Remove bay leaves, then taste and add salt and more pepper if required. Serve hot.

They were beautiful and full of flavour!
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Monday morning, I hit the pavement walking at 6.40am - just a quick 25 minute walk, easing myself back into it.
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i have started another dish cloth - this one is really easy.
Cast on 39 stitches 
K2, P2, K2, P2 etc until last stitch then P1
Continue this same row until desired length is achieved.
Cast off.  It makes a lovely ribbed pattern.
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Another winter warmer - Shepherd's Pie - full of lots of veggies...
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Served with a bit of puffed pastry...
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Pioneer Woman's Bow Tie Chicken Alfredo  - I added bacon and mushrooms and hoooweee! Yummo!
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Still juicing each morning - this lot was just for me and it made around 600mls...
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Pure fruity goodness.
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I made rolls on Thursday night just so I'd have some for the weekend...
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They turned out really good, using Rhonda's recipe.
They have a really good crumb...
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My patio pots are giving a lovely show with the violas and pansies...
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This azalea is blooming with a beautiful crimson flower...
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My girls came home for the long weekend so last night we had Mexican Potato Casserole...
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It's a great Friday night food!
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And lastly, has anyone noticed lately how narrow toilet rolls are becoming - pretty soon, it will only be half the width it used to be!  Something to ponder, next time you are, um, sitting down...
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Cheers - Joolz
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