Sunday, September 25, 2011

Presented without comment


Impossible Pies ... again ...

Well I've been cooking and modifying the recipies for a couple of attempts now and I think I've "nailed" the savoury one and almost there with the sweet one.

Savoury Impossible Pie
* 1 cup self raising flour
* 1.5 cups milk
* 3 eggs
* 60gms butter (melted)
* 1 cup grated cheese
* 1 cup (drained) canned peas & corn
* 1 cup (drained) canned tuna
* Black pepper
* Salt
* 1 tbsp chopped Spring Onion
* 1 tbsp chopped Parsley
* Spray oil

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Spray a pie dish lightly with oil.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined.

Pour mixture into greased pie dish and place in oven.

Cook for 30-40mins

NOTE: I use these for making a dozen muffin sized pies (using silicon pie cases) and a dozen mini-muffins. Cook the mini-muffins for about 17mins and the muffin sized ones for about 25-30.

Sweet Impossible Pie
* 2 cups self raising flour
* 1.5 cups milk
* 4 eggs
* 1 cup lemon juice
* 60gms butter (melted)
* 1 cup castor sugar
* 1 cup dessicated coconut
* Spray oil

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Spray a pie dish lightly with oil.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined.

Pour mixture into greased pie dish and place in oven.

Cook for 30-40mins

Not 100% sure that I've finalised the sweet one, we'll see.

Well I'm making that Ricotta again

We had some of the Ricotta that we drained for breakfast today (with a sprinkling of black pepper). I had to restrain Misses 8 & 10 from eating the whole thing.

It's very, very, very creamy and everyone (Hubby, Shooting Buddy & girls) said they preferred the drained version to the fresher version last night. I'm not so sure. I think they were both delicious.

It's a very similar process to the Paneer, but with a bit more care and attention and the leaving of the curds to rest before draining them. This seems to make it more creamy.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Artisan Cheese and other stuff

Thanks to Dr Grumpy I had problems last night with not shouting "bingo" each time the presenter said "Artisan".

Yes I was at a Cheese making demo (with Miss 10) for a company called Mad Millie. As part of the cost of the demo you got an "Italian Cheese Making Kit".

So today Miss 10 and I attempted the Fresh Milk Ricotta. Apart from the fact that it didn't separate initially (we forgot to increase the citric acid in line with the extra milk we used), however we ended up with a very, very, very creamy cheese. We put some in the ricotta basket to drain (which went perfectly with the fresh parsley bread rolls gifted to us by a neighbour), and since that was full, we also drained some in muslin. That's still draining so we'll see how that tastes later.

Apparently there's enough Cheese salt, rennet, citric acid in the kit to make 15 batches of cheese. So we're looking forward to more cheese making in the future.

Additionally, I used this recipe for a quick lunch:

Thai Chicken & Pineapple Fried Rice

1 cup pineapple, canned, cut into pieces
1 cup chicken, boneless, cubed
5 cups cooked rice
4 tbsp oil for stir-frying
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red chili
3 tbsp chicken or vegetable stock
3 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp curry powder

Start by preparing the rice. Add a little oil to the rice (up to 1 tbsp.) and work through with your fingers. You want to separate the grains of rice, so that they don't stick together.

Put 3 tbsp. oil around a wok over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and chili, stir-frying for one minute, or until fragrant. Add chicken and cook until it tender.

Mix together the chicken or vegetable stock, soy sauce and curry powder. Stir well, and then add to wok. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.

Now add the prepared rice to the wok. Stir-fry until all the rice has mixed with the sauce and is a uniform color. Break up any lumps with your utensil or a fork.

Stir-fry Tip: Continually lift/scoop up rice from the bottom of the pan, tossing rather than stirring it.

Add pineapple. Stir-fry to mix in. Continue stir frying until everything is integrated (1-2 more minutes).

I also make this slice (in my never-ending quest to find a nice peanut butter slice/cookie suitable for the girl's lunches);

2 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. butter
4 tbsp. cocoa
3 c. quick oats
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa and boil for 1 minute. Stir in oats, peanut butter, and vanilla. Spread onto greased jelly roll pan. Cool. Cut into squares.

We had a piece each to try it. The general consensus was that it was very rich but a bit dry.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Green jobs ....

green jobs (n.): A category of employment properly viewed as belonging to the realm of mythology or fantasy, like the chimera, leprechaun, or centaur; jobs not tangibly observable in the real world but existing in the dreams of ‘progressives’.

(Appropriated from Adaptive Curmudgeon)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Country Agricultural Show

My hubby grew up on a farm in the wheatbelt. I've been there once or twice but we've never taken the girls (it's 2hrs from home and seriously there's not much reason to go there). However, I discovered on Friday that yesterday was the town's Show Day.

So hoping that the rain will hold off we decided to head out.

Apart from quite a few "when will we get theres" it was a nice drive, with Miss 10 reading a book all the way and Miss 8 playing on a DS or counting horses.

What amazed me was how green it was. The rain we've had lately has really made a difference - most of the soaks were full and the crops were looking good.

Anyway, eventually we got to the show grounds and had a look around - some of the highlights:

We had a go of the defib machine at the St John's display. Apparently there are three defib machines around the town and they're trying to educate the local people in their use.

Miss 8 trying chest compressions:

The trick riding demonstration was pretty neat too:

And the little train ride was a hit:

The girls really liked the vintage farm machinery and car display. Miss 8 trying one of the tractors on for size:

Miss 10 enjoyed mainly walking around looking at all the different displays and crafts. The girls found a heap of second hand books they wanted at one of the bric brac stores. And we lunched on roo burgers (well Miss 10 and I did anyway, Miss 8 stuck to a normal sausage sizzle and hubby went for the kebabs). The kids free activity tent was also a hit - with the girls getting about 8 temporary tattoos each!

After wandering around and having a good look (we were there for about 5 hours), we decided not to stay for the fireworks but to have a drive around the town instead - here the girls are standing on a street named after hubby's family:

We then drove out to the old farm - it's still currently in the family, but is up for sale. Hubby's relative was home and he was happy to show us around magnificant house. I wish hubby had got a few more pictures of the place. I was amazed at the height of the ceilings (18ft). Here are the girls standing at the front door:

By now it was getting dark so we headed home after promising to get back in touch and visit again!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A quick trip away

I've just got back from a quick work-based trip to Melbourne.

I must saying flying domestic is so EASY these days. I did an online checkin and only had carry on luggage, so basically only had to get to the airport 20mins before my flight. Then you go through security - bags go on the conveyor for screening, you walk through the metal detector ... I did get stopped for the explosives check on the way over to Melb .. but that only took a min or so. Next thing you're boarding the plane for the flight.

On the flight over I had no one sitting next to me ... and it was only 3.5hrs. However, on the way back I did have someone next to me (harmless enough but couldn't spread out) and the flight was about 4.5hrs (headwinds).

This was my first trip to Melbourne for work with this company and I was pleased that one of the other guys from my office was travelling with me. We stayed at the Rydges on Bell along with another colleague from South Australia.

We met the other people who have been working on this project for dinner on the Tuesday night at the Waterfront restaurant. Stunning, absolutely stunning - in situation, food and company.

After a lovely evening we returned to the hotel for a "not-to-late-night" as we were starting work at 8.30am the next day.

After a day of meetings and workshops we headed back to Perth. In many ways it was a shame that the trip was so short. It seems however that for the next couple of months it will be a regular trip.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years on ...

I haven't checked out other blogs today, I guess there are a number who have commented on the 10th anniversary of "9/11".

For me it's an interesting anniversary. You see, Miss 10 was born at 10.31pm on Sept 10th 2001. Therefore my memories of 9/11 are viewed through the eyes of a very tired new-mum.

The overriding memories of that time are "disbelief". I saw a video of the plane hitting the first tower with the sound off on the TV. I had no idea of what I was watching and it wasn't until I saw one of our news reporters, sans makeup, come on that I turned the sound on.

Many people died that day, some basically just going about their normal days work. Others there trying to help. Others standing up against hijackers preventing probably more deaths. Some of those who died were the perpetrators of the horror.

Many also have died since - fighting the threat at the source so that their country can be safe.

Many are still fighting to preserve the safety of those "back home".

Let's hope that their fighting and sacrifice isn't in vain and that we never see another "9/11" ever again!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

$2000 and 2 years warranty

Went to a Thermomix demo last night.

For those who haven't had the pleasure, a Thermomix is a very versitile kitchen appliance.

It seems to do most things you'll want a kitchen appliance to do in a very short space of time (well except roasting or grilling).

During the demo we had berry ice-cream; pizza; chickpea soup (mmm that was nice); sundried tomato and capsicum dip; steamed chicken with couscous and lemon pudding! (All in under 2 hours).

The demo was interspersed between discussion on guns and hunting - no the demonstrator wasn't a gun nut, but one of the other participants was. I'm actually not sure what the demonstrator thought - but she was raving on about raw, natural, unprocessed foods so hopefully she wasn't too shocked!

Anyway getting back to the post title. The cost of this little machine was $1939 ... but they only give a 2 year warranty. This worries me. Seriously. I mean you can tell me as often as you like about the reliability of your product BUT if you're only offering a 2 year warranty with no possibility of extension, I do tend to be more than sceptical.

Anyway, as a comparison, I've booked spot of a demo of the Thermochef - it still only comes with a 2 year warranty - but at under $800 that is slightly less worrying.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thrill Seeker's Bucket List

While perusing CNN I came across an article (and some very nice pics) of 50 ways to kill yourself as you're crossing them off your bucket list.

Well actually most of the 50 probably won't end in death but I'm convinced there's a few that would.

The 50 are:
1. Be a jet fighter pilot for a day (sounds fun and I think it would be basically safe);
2. Go volcano boarding, Nicaragua (80kms on your butt down the side of a volcano - um, no thanks);
3. Enter the Cage of Death, Australia (that's swimming with crocodiles folks!);
4. Cling to a cliff, China (and I quote "At one point one kilometer above the ground, you have to traverse a slim wooden plank stuck to the face of a vertical cliff.", enough said)
5. Ride Insanity, United States (yep, sure off the side of the 350-meter Stratosphere Tower, however being the US I think this is safer than #4);
6. Go Zapcat powerboating, United Kingdom (mmm, UK could be okay);
7. Climb the outside of CN Tower, Canada (nope!);
8. Perform an Everest skydive, Nepal (I'm thinking I might like to try this - but never having skydived before could be an issue);
9. Jump the Nevis Bungy, New Zealand (no, just no!);
10. Free dive at Dean's Blue Hole, Bahamas;
11. Ride the world's steepest roller coaster, Japan ("The world’s steepest steel roller coaster opened at the Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park in Tamanash, Japan this year" - opened this year, not sure if that's good - as in it's all new - or bad - as in it's not had much time to iron out the wrinkles!);
12. Go Zorbing, worldwide (this one strikes me as inane rather than dangerous or thrilling);
13. Go water buffalo racing, Indonesia (as you're not allowed to race only watch, that sounds fine!);
14. Run with the bulls, Spain (don't see the appeal in this one);
15. Take part in an Office Chair Race, Germany (inane again);
16. Kayak over a waterfall, United States (nope!);
17. Take a motorcycle cab ride, Thailand (nope, again, nope!);
18. Run (or limp) the Marathon des Sables, Morocco (this one and the one above are two ways to quickly terminate progress on the bucket list);
19. Ride around the Nurburgring, Germany (this one sounds fun);
20. Go hot air ballooning, Turkey (again fun, but I'm not sure I'ld choose Turkey as the place to do it);
21. Go whitewater rafting, Zambia (I've heard that this is actually a lot of fun);
22. Dine in the sky, worldwide.. (Can't see the point of this one);
23. Climb Harbour Bridge, Australia (DONE this one - good fun, but it was windy up there);
24. Swim with great white sharks, South Africa (This is one I'ld like to try);
25. Ride the London Eye, United Kingdom (Another relatively safe one ... did a similar thing in Sydney);
26. Run the Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race, Chile (Sounds challenging and fun);
27. Wingsuit Fly, Switzerland (No thanks!);
28. Go ice swimming, Finland (Sounds fun!);
29. Run the Spoelana Naturist Race, Spain (no, just no);
30. Paraglide over Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany (mmm, could be fun - however when I was last there you couldn't see anything at all due to fog);
31. Play bossaball, worldwide (yer, sounds fun - bet it kills your legs);
32. Ride the world’s longest zip line, South Africa (NO, seriously NO);
33. Go cheese rolling, United Kingdom (hehehe, I'll watch thanks);
34. Hang glide, United States (#30 sounds more fun);
35. Take part in a Rickshaw Run, India (now as long as you don't have to pass through any of the major Indian cities this could be enjoyable);
36. Go sea kayaking, Antarctica (YES PLEASE ... this, I would like);
37. Go dog-sled racing, United States (this would be fun too);
38. Dive the Great Barrier Reef, Australia (probably should get around to this sometime);
39. Do the Death Drop, Zambia (NO, NO, NO, NO and DOUBLE NO!);
40. Swim in the Dead Sea, Israel (funnily enough this has never appealed to me, probably explains why in my four trips to Israel I never did it);
41. Rally drive, Sydney (sounds fun, not sure why you'ld do it in Sydney though);
42. Cycle the Death Road, Bolivia (this is another one that falls in the "no thanks" category);
43. Walk a wing, United Kingdom (I'ld give this a go);
44. Drive the Himalayas, India (Another one I'ld like to try);
45. Surf Shipstern Bluff, Australia (Surfing has never appealed to me either);
46. Go cliff diving, Mexico (NO, NO, NO, NO, NO and NO!!!);
47. Rescue a hostage, United Kingdom (this is probably my #1 to do from this list - sounds fun);
48. Go snowmobiling, Canada (could be okay);
49. Climb some ice, United States (mmm ... yer, I'ld do it);
50. Take part in a rodeo, United States (nope!);

Interesting reading through a list like this and thinking about which ones you'ld do, or not as the case may be.

So what about you? Done any? Want to do any?

The full article and photos can be found here,3&hpt=hp_bn10#ixzz1XFoIBL3F

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Impossible Pie - Take 2

Recently I blogged about an Impossible Pie that Miss 8 and I tried. Today, while working from home (with a sick daughter) I decided to whip up one for lunch.

I used the savoury recipe from the site that I found the sweet one at.

(We also made another sweet one - well I had lots of eggs that needed to be used and a couple of lemons AND some mini ones for school lunches at the request of Miss 9).

The main issue I have with these pies is that the base is extremely thin to the point of almost not being there. While reading a couple of other Impossible Pie recipes on the web and the associated comments I discovered that some people use Self Raising Flour (rather than Plain) AND butter.

So the recipe I ended up with (for the family to eat for dinner) was:

My Impossible Pie
* 1 cup self raising flour
* 1.5 cups milk
* 3 eggs
* 60gms butter
* 1 cup grated cheese
* 1 cup (drained) canned peas (they were in the fridge)
* 1 cup (drained) canned tuna
* Parsley
* Spray oil

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Spray a pie dish lightly with oil.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined. Don't worry too much if the butter doesn't mix in - it will be okay.

Pour mixture into greased pie dish and place in oven.

Cook for 30-40mins

The base seems much crispier ... here's what it looks like:

[UPDATE]I much preferred the crustiness of this version. I will use this as a base in the future.[/UPDATE]

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Birthday Month

Miss 7's birthday was today, so she's now Miss 8:

Yes, that is a FANTASTIC birthday cake made by Shooting Buddy!

She had a bowling party yesterday with 6 friends. It went well and lots of fun was had.

Miss 9's birthday is next Saturday. However she's already had her "party" - a camping trip with 5 of her friends. She received a very special pressent:

It was a really nice campsite - here's a picture of it in the morning mist:

We had her party early as she really wanted to go camping but the campsite was booked out in September. Luckily we did, because next weekend she's been invited to a Scout camp (she's a cub).