About Me

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year - Exercise, and Eat Pav!!

2013 has come and gone and so did our resolutions. I did stick to one last year and that was to start a blog and I did.  A first in many ways. 
This year I need to exercise. I had a year last year of doing very little always putting it off, thinking that the 17 stairs (so my youngest tells me) at home going up and down was enough but obviously not enough as my wobbly bits still wobble and are heading south! As we know exercise  has many benefits from improving cardiovascular health, sleep, mood and keeping that spark in your sex life, all in all creating a happier and healthier you! 
So my aim is at least 30 mins jogging or walking the dog each day. I'm off to a good start today, walking around the lake at Twin Waters. I do need to update my tunes on my iPhone after listening to John Mayers "Bigger than my Body" and Birdy's "Skinny Love" time and time over. 

With exercise in hand I have decided that if I keep it up and I will, that the good old Aussie/Kiwi Pavlova is a wonderful dessert to indulge over New Years and Summer holidays. It is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, heaven! My tips - beat really well, use clean dry bowl, eggs at room temperature and do not be tempted to peek in oven - keep door closed at all times.

Pavlova

6 egg whites
2 cups caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar 
1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
2 cups whipped cream
2 punnets sliced strawberries
4 sliced kiwi fruit
Pulp from 4 passionfruit

Turn oven on to 150 degrees Celsius. Draw 26 cm circle on baking paper and turn baking paper over and place on baking tray. 

Beat egg whites with electric beaters in large dry metal bowl until peaks form. Slowly add caster sugar beating well after each addition leaving 2 tablespoons of sugar in cup. Mix sugar, cornflour and vinegar to form a paste and add to mixture. Beat really well for 5 to 10 minutes until all sugar is dissolved and you have stiff peaks. I find it is better to beat for 10 minutes. 
Spread the mixture inside the circle with a flat metal spatula. Once fairly even run spatula up sides of meringue creating furrows. I go round twice doing this to strengthen the sides. Swirl on top and place in oven for 40 minutes. Turn temperature down to 120 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes then turn oven off and leave to cool in oven. When cool decorate with whipped cream, strawberries, kiwi fruit and drizzle with passionfruit.   Enjoy and Happy New Year!



Sunday, 22 December 2013

Xmas Cake

This weekend I am making our Christmas cake and as always I leave it to the last minute but there is nothing better than a piece Christmas cake with a cuppa on Christmas night. So here we go, back by popular demand, here is our family recipe.

A little late, but it is always still worth the wait. 

Xmas Cake

Ingredients


  • 1 Bag Fruit Mix (Approx 1 kg)
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1 395 gsm Tin Condensed Milk
  • 350 gsm butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of cold water
  • 1 Tablespoon of Plum Jam
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 1/2 cups of Plain Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons of Brandy (optional)
  • 1 Teaspoon Glycerin


Method


  • Line cake tin well with baking paper
  • Turn oven  to 180 degrees celcius
  • Place all ingredients in large saucepan except baking soda, flour and brandy.
  • Stir well and bring to boil.  Simmer for 5 minutes
  • Sift baking soda into cool mixture and stir well. 
  • Stir in sifted flour.
  • Bake 180 for  approximately 2-2 1/2 hours - check with skewer.
  • Optional - pour some brandy over cake when cold
This cake is great as is or topped with melt in your mouth butter icing.

To finish spread with plum jam all over cake,  roll out marzipan and mould over cake, trimming edges.  Place softened butter (approx 250 gsm in bowl) and beat until light and fluffy. Slowly add 3 cups of icing sugar and beat until mixture is pale and fluffy.  With palette knife spread icing roughly on cake. 
Enjoy and wishing you all a very merry xmas xx

(This recipe is for personal use only, please obtain permission from the author to use commercially)

Thursday, 12 December 2013

More Christmas Gifts and Rum Balls

Still looking for that ideal christmas gift...



www.redballoon.com.au  have some great gift ideas from gourmet to outdoor adventures and experiences.  There is something for everyone there and a wonderful idea for the hard to buy.

For a quick getaway or a great gift.  Jetstar have a "All I Want For Christmas Sale"  special going at the moment.  Check out their website www.jetstar.com/au/en/special-offers but  I know they go very quickly so  you had better be quick.

www.theiconic.com.au have an awesome range of gifts for everyone from clothes to shoes and accessories.  The "Holiday Gift List" has gifts from  $9.95. Great Staple Basic T's  for the males @ 2 for $25.00 are a great stocking stuffer.    And if you are still looking for that xmas party dress click on  Iconic Boutique.

At Big W I found a portable bbq, great for the  boat or picnic and just brilliant to cook those yummy Saffron Chicken Kebabs on.  It is the  Wiltshire folding portable charcoal BBQ, and comes with with the lot. Just make sure you get a bag of Redheads Natural Wood Charcoal at Bunnings to cook with and of course food!


Rum balls make a wonderful home made gift that is easy and loved by all and best of all - made with love!


Rum Balls  


Ingredients
.                        1/4 cup (50g) chopped sultanas
.                        
1/4 cup (60ml) dark rum
.                        
3/4 cup (65g) desiccated coconut

.                        
2 cups (about 300g) chocolate cake crumbs
.                        
1/4 cup (60ml) sweetened condensed milk
                       Coconut or chocolate sprinkles to coat
Method
.   Mix sultanas and and 1 tablespoon of the rum in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes.
.    Place the sultana mixture, remaining rum, coconut, cake crumbs and condensed milk in a medium bowl and stir until well combined.
.    Line an oven tray with baking paper. Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and place on the lined tray.
Place the coconut or chocolate sprinkles on a plate. Roll each rum ball in sprinkles or coconut to coat. Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge.  



Saturday, 7 December 2013

Melbourne, wear comfortable walking shoes!

I am sitting on the floor at the departure gate at Melbourne airport. Just my luck the departure gate was the most furtherest away to walk and just a handful of seats available. 

Just had a great three days with Mum and sisters, it was fabulous to see them and i do miss not seeing them as often as would like. Gone are the days when you can pop over and see your Mum or sister for a cuppa.  

So we had a wonderful 3 days raking up the miles and burning calories shopping at DFO, Queen Victoria Markets, visiting the zoo and taking a tram trip to St Kilda, only resting our very weary feet at night. 

My sisters had tickets to Bon Jovi which I am most envious. They had an awesome time and the belted out tunes of "Livin' on a Prayer" could be heard across at the wharf.  Lucky Mum and I! 

Melbourne is a fantastic city. It is alive with a mix of great people and culture. And they really have getting around the city sorted. I look  forward to visiting soon. 

Friday, 29 November 2013

Rain rain go away, a great day for xmas shopping!




It is wet, wet, wet here. It has rained heavily since early this morning and not about to let up.  My youngest had his footy final this morning and was going to cheer his team on but it is way too wet for him to navigate his crutches through the mud, grass and grandstand and as you can imagine he is incredibily disappointed.

So we are venturing into the shops today to do some xmas shopping.  I have more of an idea now of what to get who and started yesterday.  The man of the house is very keen which is unusual for him to want to go any where near shops but he does look forward to xmas. I do need to keep him away from shops with xmas decorations and lights as we have more than we need.    I left him to go to Bunnings, the hardware store this morning, which is not always a good idea.   He has already been gone an hour so who knows what he will come home with!

We are indeed looking forward to putting up the xmas tree tomorrow and if it still raining, baking the much anticipated and delicious  family christmas cake.

Here are a few Xmas gifts  I have found on my travels…

Kmart have some great stocking stuffers.  It has been a while since I have been in Kmart but I was incredibly surprised.  Visit www.kmart.com.au
·      Audiosonic Portable Speaker – great for iphone, ipad etc.  These come in pink and black and also make great Secret  Santa presents at $8.00
·      Jigsaws – my eldest used to do a lot of those in New Zealand, they are fantastic for rainy days.
·   Jackeroo Picnic Basket – wicker basket stocked with plates cups and utensils – great for those summer get togethers at the beach or park
·  Books – Matthew Reilly, The Tournament.  Fabulous Australian Author who writes great masterpieces.  Catching Fire,  the latest Hunger Games movie sequel by Suzanne Collins.
·       Magazine subscriptions   are a great gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. It is really nice to receive a magazine in the mail and sit down with a cuppa… There are a great range of magazines from Australian Womens Weekly to  Better Homes and Gardens to Fishing World.  As a lover of food I just love my Donna Hay Magazine at www.donnahay.com.au
·      Mandate Menswear stock  beautiful David Smith Shirts.  Gorgeous, uniquely designed  shirts for the man in your life who loves style and quality.  www.mandatemenswear.com.au
·      City Beach have a great range wallets, tees-hirts and boardshorts for the teenagers in your life or if you are not sure what they want, a gift card there is a fantastic idea.  www.citybeach.com.au
·      M&Ms never go amiss and there is a great range of M&M gadgets at Target.  I  love the M&M drummer!  Or for the more adult, the biggest  Toberone or Lindor chocolates, my favourite dark chocolate.

I will get out the Christmas Cake recipe and put it in my next blog.  Until next time, have a great one.    Angela 

Friday, 22 November 2013

The gift of giving

Christmas comes around all too soon and here I am yet again with the quandary of what gifts to get. I am frantically cutting out ideas from catalogues and writing a note on my phone of who wants what.

My youngest has made his list which keeps on chopping and changing unlike last year when he said he had everything he needed- god bless him, but this then left us with no idea what to get him and left a mad rush just before Xmas.

Our eldest, a typical teenager just wants money.  I have continued to tell him that Christmas is about giving and money does not come into it. The man of the house is easy to please with something for the boat or footy tickets to watch his beloved footy team.

I have put my request in to  Santa for a sat nav for our Jeep. Our previous cars had one and as much as I love the Jeep I am always getting lost and running up the Internet on my phone using the GPS! Santa, I have been a very good girl this year!

For wonderful moreish homemade  xmas gift  give this Coconut Rough recipe a try. The man of the house loves making this recipe and it does not last long at home.

Coconut Rough


½ cup self raising flour
½ cup plain flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter, melted

For the topping:
1 cup icing sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon softened butter
2/3 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup condensed milk



Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 20 x 30cm slice tin. Line with baking paper.

Sift flours and cocoa powder into a bowl and stir through sugar and coconut. Make a well in the centre and pour in melted butter. Press into prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Meanwhile, sift icing sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl. Stir through softened butter and then coconut and condensed milk. Spread over cooled base and refrigerate until set. Cut into pieces and enjoy.

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