Thursday, March 14, 2013

The woes of caramel slice

There is something incredibly funny/sad/wrong about my baking experience in the kitchen of Palazzo Josamina today.

Considering I spent last year and most of this year toiling away on a cookbook, today's chapter suggests /confirms I am a fraud.

If it wasn't so damn funny I wouldn't even write this - but even I can see the humour in the fails of today.  Fail. Fail. Fail.

So here's how it goes - I put my hand up to whip up some gf baking for Monty's sports day at his new school.

Three loads of caramel chocolate slice to be precise.

It started out ok - I didn't drop the pans getting them out of the cupboard.  Pretty much went to custard pretty soon later (!).  (And there was no call for custard in this recipe - it was all my own doing).

I decided to use my (newish) Thermomagic to weigh all the butter - we were talking about 50,000 grams for three slices - so I dug about in the fridge and got all the odds and ends of butter out.  Perfect, had just enough. I left it sitting there and got on with something else - involving a cup of tea and gossip with a gf if I recall.

Back to the slices. The base requires coconut.  Monty abhors coconut (so he says).  The fact he'll eat anything cooked with coconut cream etc makes his aversion in my eyes all a bit 'whatever, talk to the hand' if you ask me.  I got out the coconut.

I decided to be smart and whizz up the shredded coconut until it was so super duper fine he would not even detect it in the base - so with 'I am so smart arse' abandon, I threw it all in the thermie(not so)magic and hit whizz.

1 sec later (yup - they really are amazing machines)I  took off the lid and said hello to a strange gluggy sludge.

Shite - slap in the head -  I forgot to take out the butter.  The butter that was still wrapped in paper and foil.

Shite.  Shite.  Shite.

With the idea of walking down to the shops upon me, I decided to be whizzy myself, and melt it all down then sift out the paper.  (Ok desperation was kicking in - I know it wasn't a great idea).

Massive fail.  And massive stoopid idea.  Tipped the lot out.

Then, faced with melted butter all over the kitchen I reached for my trusty at the ready detol spray and gave the entire area a good old spray down with it.

Hmm - that's a funny smell.  Checked bottle - had used the puppy's 'pee inside eradicator spray' by mistake!!!  Nice one.

Cleaned kitchen again w detol spray.

Then headed out to the shops to acquire more butter - wilted but still determined for a tidy result.
Home.  Nice one - locked myself out with oven still on. (Hope Capt Security B is NOT reading this).

Thanks be to God (and that nice new Pope) for a neighbour being home.  I clambered over the gate to start afresh.  (Yes Cpt Security - I left the back doors open to the courtyard!!!).

Note to self - surprisingly those docile ditzy do-dah dogs do bark at intruders. (In a 'have you got a treat' sort of way I might add).   That's a good thing.  And a big 'whatever talk to the hand' to the cranky neighbour upstairs who loathes the poor cute as anything little pooches.  She's a nutter (and yes I do  hope you ARE reading this).

Feeling the need to get this thing done - I went to make the caramel.  Duh - forgot I needed butter for that too and no people I didn't think to buy enough of it.

Back off to the shops I dragged myself (with keys) this time.  (And dogs to appease nutter.)  Success.  It'a all done and looking fabulous.

I really hope that boy of mine appreciates the effort I have gone to, making his gf slice - wow betide if he detects coconut in it.

The good thing is I am also starting to like the aroma of the pee eradicator spray in the kitchen.
Could someone please tell me how on earth I survived the year of the cookbook?!!!!!!

Ohh - and once we sample it - if I have used salt instead of sugar I will simply re-name it salted caramel slice and NOT stay for sport on Saturday.


Friday, February 22, 2013

A labour of love

The fruit of last year's major labour has finally arrived!

Yes, that;'s her - Cuisine du Coeur - featuring nearly 400 pages of delicious recipes, photos and anecdotes.  Truth be told - after all that work, blood, sweat, tears and loud snorting laughs, it seems weird having a copy in my hands after all those hours.

Here's a cute pic of Monty tucking into some divine mango sorbet.  He had a ball on the photo shoot - as did Georgina's and Bree's kids. It was a good thing they are all so divine and got along so well - the six of them spent many hours together after school as we got closer to the wire and had to put in so many extra hours proofing, editing and re-designing the pages.

It was a pretty amazing project to work on.  We learnt a lot and each of us fell into our beds from sheer exhaustion at the end of most days.

(Another) truth be told, it took up many many, many more hours than I ever thought.  We all disappeared from life as we knew it for most of 2012 but it was also a lot of fun with great snorting laughs along the way.  The core group of us are a tight little team.  Battle weary sure but tight - and that says a lot - these projects can ruin friendships.

Here we are - Georgina, Bree and I with our gorgeous pressies at the launch - and we were even smiling (thanks to the bubbles before the photos...hic).

(Bizarre fact - it was not all plain sailing - we (actually our children) experienced the very weird Curse of CduC - with four injuries to four different children along the way.  (And no - I am very quick to say here it did not involve any mothers venting frustration in the wrong direction) Poor Poppy broke her leg, Monty sprained his ankle (twice) and Jackson then went and broke his foot, right before the Xmas hols. This year Julia has broken her foot.  Four different cookbook families, four injuries - how weird/funny is that?  Just waiting to see what happens to the Hancock clan - their time is nigh.  Sorry Heather - but it's fate).

And for the record,  Nope. Nada.  No way jose.  We have no intention of working on a sequel or on another cookbook for a very long time.  It's time to get back into the loves we had and maybe/actually start cooking again - and put those recipes through their paces!

Bon appetit!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Happy Australia Day

We had some fun today!!!  As we were up in the city and not down in paradise this weekend, Moo was up for the Havaiana Challenge at Bondi Beach (where you purchase a giant inflatable havaiana and take to the water to try and beat the record for the most bodies on floaties linked up out on the water.  Bondi missed out on the record by a few bodies but bet it's own record - so all was good in the beach world.)

Bondi was a sea of people, bands, and of course giant yellow and green inflatables - it was hysterical!

We stayed on the beach for a few hours with friends then wandered off to the obligatory mecca for all things frozen yoghurt - Twisted - Moo's favourite place in the world hand's-down (for the moment).

Salted caramel frozen yoghurt with baby M&Ms on top pretty much rocked his socks.  (Did it for me too when I begged for a taste).

Then we ventured home to sort out the doggies and to pretend we were staying to play (sorry dogs - we had a bbq to go to - at Scooby Doo's house).

Scooby was beyond excited to see us - she clearly remembered her weeks in paradise and wondered where the treats were?  Also her pint sized wrestling mates - she kept sniffing about to see if they had come as well.  Sorry Scooby - their dance card was full!!!!

(We will have to organise a play date for them all again sometime soon....maybe....they all go mad - i need to take some multi-vitamins to gear myself up for it!)

I have woken up to a very odd - and not often heard sound this summer - rain!  Thank you God - it is so much cooler and so incredibly divine to hear the pitter patter of big fat thirsty droplets falling outside.

I think I might potter about home today and then re-discover that old friend of ours down the road - the Verona Cinema.  We have a list an arm's length long of films we want to see - so might as well get stuck into crossing some of them off.  It'd be rude not to.

Enjoy the weekend - we plan to!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Doggie tales

Usually when I creep downstairs early to have that first words can't describe how good it is cup of tea for the day, Woody is right on my heels, following me down, only to collapse at my feet and snore off into some sort of doggie bliss.

Say goodbye to the lazy life, my friend.

A month on from that day we fell truly, madly, deeply for Miss Sooki (Soukeeee) life has changed as we knew it.

There is a whole lot more action around these parts. She completely 100% adores her big brother and her favourite thing to do is follow him about, copying his every action and she wrestles him to the moon and back.  (They're doing it now).  And the good news is he has had a change of faith.  In those early days he left the room or headed for the hills if she came near him.  Now he goes looking for her as soon as he is up and he appears to be rather fond of her - although - typical male - he plays his cards close to his chest most days.

(Note to self - so ironic for me that she stalks him so stealthily considering he stalks me 24/7.  Make that 25/8 - he stalks me in his sleep I reckon.  The flip side to Sooki being smitten is that as soon as I move - I now have my fluffy body guards on heel.  Nothing like coming out of the bathroom door and falling over them both!  Dang dogs.)

Back to doggie life - Woody's napping days are over - they wrestle the day away and then both collapse after their dinner - snoozing from sheer exhaustion.  It's hysterical.  It also means Woody no longer prowls around at night - he is one pooched pooch and snores a good eight hours.  She often sleeps with her paws over her eyes - perhaps she needs an eye mask as all princesses do?!

Our past month has been fairly low key - a lot of lazying about in paradise in the heat that soared beyond any temperature i can ever remember.  Keeping the dogs in check - and we had three as we were looking after Raffles who I am convinced was working under cover and really was Scooby Doo (the name sticks).  The three pooches had a ball - the trio wrestling was a sight to see considering Scooby was three times their size.  

We're back up in the city now as Moo has returned to school - and that's a whole new story - a new school so some big changes afoot but it all seems fine so far - he even plans on doing homework this am - and it's Sunday - wonder if he'll remember last's night's declaration when he stumbles down?!!!!!

As for me - today I plan on teaching Sooki how to walk like a real dog on leash.  She's pretty good as it is - but then has a hat trick of  grabbing Woody's one near his neck and pulling him up the street while he tries to put the brakes on.  She gets him in a neck lock and tugs her heart out.  And she doesn't let go without a fight.

Poor Woody - looks as if she is going to be a bossy one - he is so used to being loved and adored and now this tyrant has entered his realm.  Might have to build him a man cave - he's going to need it!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

It's that time of year again - how on earth did that happen?  It feels as if we just sat down to a table laden with food and surrounded by fab friends down in paradise this time last year.

I know I'm not the only one who feels as if the year has zipped past in a blur - it has been so crazily busy - I can hardly begin to work out just where all the time has gone. The blur definitely explains why I have been pretty ho-hum about posting regularly.  I just haven't had time in the past few months to sit down let alone write.

I'm looking forward to some relaxed weeks ahead down here in paradise again before we crank things up and get stuck right into 2013.

There are lots of changes coming up.  Moo starts a new school which will be a huge change - but a good one - he's ready for it. (Not sure if I am - it seems as if it was not so long ago he was that little bitty 4 yr old starting prep!).

And we have a new pooch added to the mix as of this week after a relentless pleading campaign from Moo for pretty much the past year about getting a puppy.

Meet Sooki (as in Suki)  - the most adorable little puppy ever.  Still very much in the super dman cute stage - and she does cute extremely well, let me tell you.  Not sure what it'll be like when she hits the 'naughty into everything stage' - I'm taking it one day at a time while giving Woo lots of love. As to be expected he's showing a healthy dis-interest in her after his sojourn as top dog around here.  We've managed to snap the odd pic of them together where it seems a happy marriage - let's hope we get to snap a whole lot more as he warms up to the idea of being a big brother!!!!

Merry Christmas everyone!


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sssssh - I'm hibernating

Ok, it's been pretty quiet around here lately - I know.  Since getting back from holiday (it was lovely thanks - we had a great time away) I have been head down buried in work and it has not let up one minute.

We finally signed off on a huge project that was eating up most of my time this week and I am shaking from sheer exhaustion. Literally.  

So, no surprises here, the plan for this weekend is pretty much spending as much time as possible lazying about.  Catching up on some sleep to start with.

Then maybe a bit of gentle swaying while reading something that doesn't involve work, of any sort, at all.  Nada.

I'll then wander on over to join Moo on the couch for a movie - he is laid up with another twisted ankle, poor love, so the couch is his friend, as is a packet of icy peas and some TLC from Nurse Budge.  Woo has had to move off from his favourite spot and is trying to be gracious about it but I can tell that pooch is none too happy and is trying to work out how to re-claim his territory.

Good luck old boy.

And this afternoon, if the mood takes me, I might just wander back upstairs to climb right on back into bed.  I am a big fan of the Nana Nap (siesta if you feel a tad European).  There is nothing better than curling up with a book and cuppa then having a good old snooze. Perfect (and probably compulsory) for a strung out insomniac such as myself!

zzzzzzz   xx

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Airport bound

Two of my favourite words - I love heading out to the airport - it generally means you're off some-where exciting - unless it's for work and that can be a whole different story.

Not this time thankfully. Just two more sleeps and this is where we'll be - Balmy Bali.  I cannot wait - we are so overdue for a decent break and the past few weeks/months really have been mad. 

Bali is the perfect place to just laze about and do nothing or something - whatever you like.  Moo plans on some surfing action and more than one visit to the water park. I plan on some yoga action, lying on the sun lounger action, every now and then turning the page of my book while considering whether it is cocktail hour.  And it's a jolly good thing I operate in different time zones -  NZ and Australian -- pretty much means it's cocktail hour whenever I want!  (Goodbye detox, hello life!!!).

(I suspect B will follow my lazy lead and do very little except put his feet up as well!).

Meanwhile, Woody is having a mini break with his Aunty Kelly - and has been to the groomer to look his best while at his sleep over.  he'll be spoilt rotten and probably resist returning to us, on our return.  Bet he'll be up on her couch before she even shuts the door - he does like the pampered life he receives over in Double Bay!!!

Ahhhh - namaste and all that!