Monday, 31 December 2012

New Years Eve: Tim Tam Tarts and Raspberry Friands

Scrolling the Internet and looking through my cookbooks this morning I became inspired to cook up something a little special for New Years Eve.  It seems there is a fair amount of competition between friends for the best baked goods: the best brownies (Megan), the best macaroons (Laura Love), the best hummus (Big Laura, although its technically not baking), the best slap it together biscuit with your 5 year old (Heidi).  Not to be outdone this New Years I decided to get the oven tins out and see what I could come up with.  Today I found Tim Tam Tarts courtesy of the gorgeous Fat Mum Slim blog and Friands courtesy of my well used Donna Hay Modern Classics cookbook.  Two appropriate yummy sweets for a very appropriate occasion, a wine and cheese themes party!!  Being pregnant I figure there won't be much in the way of cheese I can eat as the soft varieties are out (boo!) and I'm not sure how much Andrew or baby Spad will like me having a glass of McLaren Vale Shiraz.  Guess where I plan to go as soon as this little munchkin arrives?  Watch out Vale Ale, Echidna and Foggo!  You have 6 months to prepare for my coming.  Haha!

Anyhoo, I was all excited about sharing the cooking process but it seems a certain someone has changed my camera settings and now I can't upload my photos.  I guess that means that you get the end result!

Tim Tam Tarts

(Recipe by Fat Mum Slim)

100g Tim Tams {equal to half a pack, which is 5 and a half biscuits}
15g butter, melted
100ml cream
100g chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk

Process the biscuits until all nice and crumbly. Add butter and pulse until combined.
Grease 2 loose bottom 8cm tart tins (I used a cup patty pan tin as I wanted to make the mixture go further). Press the crumb mixtures into the tins, make sure you put it up the sides a little {about 1cm (or half a cm if you're doing it with the cup patty pan tin)} so it will hold the chocolate filling in later.
In a pan over low heat place the cream and bring it to almost boiling point. Remove from heat and toss in the chocolate. Mix until smooth. Cool slightly.
Add in egg yolk and vanilla. Mix until combined.
Pour into tart cases and chill for 15 minutes.
In the meantime preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Cook for 15 minutes or until chocolate is set.
Chill completely before serving. Serve with cream or ice cream. And raspberries if you like.


(Recipe by Donna Hay, Modern Classics, Book 2)

125g butter
1 cup almond meal
1 2/3 cups icing (confectioner's) sugar, sifted
3/4 cup plain (all purpose) flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5 egg whites
1/3 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, blueberries or sliced strawberries.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Place butter in a saucepan over low heat and cook until melted and a very light golden colour.  Set aside.
Place almond meal, icing sugar, flour and baking powder in a bowl and stir to combine.
Grease 10 x 1/2 cup capacity muffin tins.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of mixture into each tin and sprinkle the berries over top.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and springy to touch but moist in the centre.

T'was the night and the day of Christmas...

T'was the night before Christmas and all through the house,
The only creature that was stirring was Judy, as quiet as a mouse,
Her male side-kick Andrew in bed fast asleep,
As he waltzed in 4am that morning after drinks with his peeps!

Baking was finished, and Christmas paper lay across the floor,
Christmas carols playing not so quietly through open windows and doors.
She sang as she wrapped the last of the presents,
Soaking up all that she could of 2012 Christmas essence.

Andrew awoke from his slumber feeling a little more fresh,
And off they both went for the 11:30pm Christmas sesh.
After reflection on Christ, hope, joy, peace and love,
They wished all their friends love and peace from above.

The next morning Judy and Andrew awoke and sat by the tree,
Excited about their presents, what could they be?
A helmet for his bike Andrew unwrapped,
And some body butter for Judy, and boy was she wrapped!

It was off to the Lawrence house to catch up with bro Andy,
and to spend time with the family plus nephew Liam who to me is just dandy!
So much love and giggles, giving and sharing,
Before moving onto the Spads with more gifts we came bearing.
Brunch at the Spads was awfully nice,
Pancakes, muffins and a surprise chicken with tandoori spice!
Doing the dishes for 20 took over an hour,
Andrew's 83 year old Nonna proving she still has the power!

Tired and exhausted we slumped in a heap,
Before I declared ,'I need a rest or even a sleep.'
We drove back to my parents for an afternoon kip,
At 6pm to Aunty Marlene's we merrily skipped.

More eating and drinking and partying on,
More catch ups and jokes and carrying on.
Till Charlotte declared that she had something to show,
Some scooter tricks outside she has started to grow.

Charlotte entertained the crowd of uncles and aunts,
And of cousins and friends who looked on in giggles and trance.
Chasing a laser was the game for the night
before Charlotte went to bed all happy and bright.

T'was the end of Christmas and the families had fun,
Now we look forward to Christmas next year with our new daughter or son!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Rainy Day Maxi Skirt Project

I woke up this morning feeling less than well and decided that going out for any great length of time was probably not going to be an option.  With all this new found freedom I have since finishing Uni I really struggle sometimes with what to do with myself while at home.  I don't wanna be that person that knows all the day time telly shows back-to-front.  I always somehow manage to talk myself into going to the local shops, usually the local Foodland (I really quite enjoy food shopping), to buy that really important thing I didn't know I needed.  But today, it was wet outside and I was housebound and needed to do something with my boredom.
Hrmm... I know! I'll drag out that green jersey knit I have had stashed away and finally make that maxi skirt I found on pinterest! 
And so with a mix of day time telly (ok, so I gave in) and later, some Crowded House I got to work on this rainy Summers day while our chickens were enjoying splashing around in puddles outside.  Armed with scissors and a tape measure I began to mark out and cut through the yards of green fabric, carefully measuring up and stitching each piece together as per the instructions.  I am really impressed with the end result!  Easy to put together, easy to adjust as you go along, and best of all it is sooo comfy! 


Check out Crazy Little Projects website for this awesome maxi skirt pattern.

A little tip...
Because I am a newbie to the sewing gig I did a little research on working with stretch fabrics.  If anyone would like to attempt this I suggest you use a test piece of fabric and have a play around with the thread tension, and stitch width and length.  For this project I had my tension set to 2, my width set at 1.5 and my length set at 2.  All pulling and puckering was avoided.

So here's the end result.  My teeny little 14 week pregnant belly sticking out in this photo.  What have you attempted to make from scratch?  Have you any sewing or fabric tips?

Thursday, 13 December 2012

It all comes in 3s!

I promised there would be some exciting  blog posts to come.  And like everything seems to, it has all happened in threes!


Number 1.  
I've finally finished my uni degree! 5 years blood sweat and occasional tears, but I would not change a thing.  Studying a Bachelor of Social Sciences at Tabor Adelaide has helped me to grow personally, professionally and spiritually beyond belief.  I have met so many fantastic people within that time that have helped me to become who I am today.  It'll be different not walking the grounds of that old orphanage next February and sitting under the big shady tree next to the refectory waiting in anticipation for the academic year to begin.  I'll have to make an effort to pop on by to sit and chat with all the other youth workers.

Number 2.
After much anticipation, stress and a whole lot of help Andrew and I have finally moved into our very own home!  Many thanks must go to the myriad of friend and family who have offered their time, hands, strength and cooking abilities in helping us make the transition from the bottom to the top of the hill as seamless as possible. From walking in and not knowing where to begin cleaning, to our erratic power issues (not having power when it was supposed to be on and getting it switched off after we moved in), to finally getting some sort of working order, I must say the last 2 weeks have been quite an adventure!  An unwelcome tummy bug the following week after the move has meant that I really haven't had a lot of time just to sit and enjoy the place yet.  Being a hills girl originally I feel like we have moved back home.  I hope we can find some time soon to really enjoy each others presence in our new abode.  Poor Andrew has been working like a trooper each night from the moment he walks in the door until the late hours of the night putting up new towel rails, unpacking boxes, cleaning dishes and cooking dinner to look after his tired, sick and pregnant wife...  Yes, I'm pregnant!  That would take me to...

Number 3.
After what can only be described as a spiritual experience while casually washing dishes one afternoon when I was told in no uncertain terms 'you're pregnant,' followed by two weekends of crazy emotional carry on while away for our 2 year anniversary and again the next weekend for a 4WD drive trip with friends in Robe, I took the plunge on the Monday of the October long weekend and decided to do a pregnancy test.  Those two precious pink lines came up crystal clear!  'So, Andrew.  Looks like you're going to be a daddy!'  It was kind of funny.  We did what we usually do when we get excited about something, jump around the house making silly noises!  We celebrated that night with a giggly walk to the local petrol station, bought a chocolate bar and sat on the undercover seats at the back of the council chambers.  10 weeks on I am now 14 weeks pregnant.  The morning sickness is starting to eeze but the hormone induced mood swings have not.  But all is well and our little 'baby cino' is healthy; 2 arms, 2 legs, a head, body, bladder, stomach and a beating heart!  I'm not sure why I'm so surprised at this, after all it's a baby!  Ha ha!

So for our little family 2013 is going to look dramatically different.  Although scary, I am really looking forward to the challenges of home ownership and motherhood.  I love how everything happens in threes!

Much love to all who read this little blog.  Hope your day is wonderful.