Sunday, 30 October 2011

Caramelised Chilli Sauce

Caramelised Chilli Sauce - the type of gifts I love....

Yesterday I had a lovely little surprise when I received this lovely gift from my daughter-in-law.

She had just returned from a weekend in Hobart, Tasmania with her mother where they had a wonderful time attending cooking classes at the Agrarian Kitchen Click here to view the site, it looks like an idyllic setting and a great venue to learn some new skills. Somewhere I would love to visit myself.

This rich red sauce smells sweet, deep and delicious, can't wait to try it.

My daughter-in-law Kylie

Hard at work in the Agrarian Kitchen
Quail eggs

Thank you Kylie I love this little foodie surprise. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Peggy's Apple Cake

 I eventually got around to making one of my mothers recipes that my sister revived and posted on L'heure du the click here for recipe -  I had a little series of mishaps none too terrible just a nuisance.

I didn't have enough apples so I added a pear or two which worked out quite well really.

As the recipe was in imperial measurements I had to dig out my old scales that mum had bought me more that 35 years ago! I have lost the l oz weight so that made things a little tricky.

My oven is fan forced which I put on to warm while I put the ingredients together which took me longer than I thought so by the time the cake was ready to go in the oven was very hot!

Too hot in fact cos even though I turned it down to lower than the advised temperature it got a little scorched on the top only half way through the cooking time.

Goodness this was not going well.

I juggled the time to allow the centre to cook and covered the top with some greaseproof or baking paper to stop it burning completely.

Amazingly it turned out fine - not as good as my sister (she is a cake queen) but good enough to present to the table.

Served with homemade custard it was woofed down in no time!

Next time will be better.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Happy Birthday Sandra

Today is my best friend's birthday. Three years ago was her last birthday. I can hardly believe it, the time goes by so quickly.  I still miss her terribly and she creeps into my thoughts on a weekly basis at the most obscure times. I hope she is somewhere lovely and without pain.  We were friends from childhood - about 12 years old joined at the hip and our friendship separated us only by death. We would visit each other as often as we could considering we lived our married years on opposite sides of the world.  In the old days we would write pages and pages of letters telling each  other about our lives, our children, our problems, our plans and of course our dreams.  With technology we progressed to writing emails which made it so much easier to stay in touch. Whenever we met it was like we had never been apart. We had no problem finding something to talk about or being silent together. A friendship that was as comfortable as an old pair of slippers.

I miss her terribly - sometimes disbelieving that she has actually left us and that I will never see her again. I hope she is in a lovely place, chilling out and watching over all of us that still love her.

Happy Birthday Sandra  -forever young.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Out and About

Face Painting
On Sunday morning St. Kilda and Balaclava Kindergarten was celebrating 100 years.  Established in 1911 it is a free community kinder that is at the moment attended by one of my granddaughters and her brother before her. 

They have an annual fete to raise funds.

There were a few showers but all in all  it was a lovely morning and there was a real buz as we gathered to mooch - not something I normally do on a Sunday morning.

Pre-loved purchases
There was all the usual fete type stands, face painting, pre-loved books, kids clothes, homemade gifts, homemade bags, aprons, Tutus and of course the cake stall - always a winner, and this one was no different the cakes were walking out the door literally.

sausage sizzle and egg and bacon rolls!
Gluten free biscuits

Popcorn by the cup
One of my special purchases was "The Kinder Cook Book" and at only $2.00 it was a bargain.  First published in 2004 it is a book of recipes generously contributed by the families, staff and friends of the Kindergarten.

 I have already picked out a couple of "must cook" recipes - the Easy-Peasy Apple Streusal Cake and the Tomatoe and Apple Chutney.

Ooooh might have to enter both of these in the October Apple Challenge run by  the pink whisk have a look at this site its great.   Better get cooking.

Play dough that looked good enough to eat!

The Cake Stall looked sooo inviting

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Memories of my Grandmother

Today is my Maternal Grandmother's birthday.  Known by family and friends as Bella. She died on 25th April 2003 at the ripe old age of 96.  I always believed she would live to be 100 however that was not to be.  She saw many changes in her long life and surprisingly adapted well.  (Although she disliked her microwave and took a long time to get around to using it). She remained in her own home until the end, how wonderful was that.

For many years she would cook for one - roasts, fresh fish and I particularly remember her bread pudding, which was always thick and soft just the way I like it. As a child we would visit her every Saturday and I was always intrigued that her milk tasted different to the milk mum would buy - it was sterilised in a tall skinny glass bottle and the cap had to be removed with a bottle opener.

On occasions when she would cook her version of scrambled eggs which turned out more like an omelette, I remember sitting in her kitchen, just watching and waiting quietly (children were seen and not heard),  her kitchen table always had a tablecloth, and felt grown up being at liberty to add salt and pepper to my eggs.  That was never allowed at home.

She would pickle her own onions and gherkins and red cabbage which I loved and mum would come home laden with jars.

She was very active at the church and for many years ran the old age pensioner's club attached to it. Organising afternoon teas, functions, activities, bus trips and holidays, and at Christmas time cooked all the turkeys to feed the club members for a Christmas lunch before they closed for a few days over Christmas holidays.

Made in England
Matching mugs purchased in Billericay Cook Shop on a trip to UK in 2008
One of her purchases for the club back in the 1950's was china in my favourite blue and white cornishware in the domino pattern.  I am fortunate to have some of that original old china to hand down to my children if they want it.  I also have in my cutlery drawer half dozen of her bone handled knives and forks made in Sheffield that I remember holding as a child and loving their smooth worn comfort in my hand.

She looked after herself and was fiercely independent - I hope my grandchildren remember me as fondly as I do my nan.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

October full of Celebrations and Memories

October is a very full month in my house for birthdays and anniversaries  and lots of baking happens because of it.  Both my daughters were married in the month of October one in 2006 one in 2008. One of my grandsons was 4 today. Tomorrow is my mother-in-law's birthday, she will be 80.  My maternal grandmother's birthday would also be tomorrow if she was still with us.  She died in 2003 aged 96. Hope I have inherited her genes.

My very best friend's birthday was also in October and her all too early death in 2008 and I miss her dearly.

A lovely post on reminded me so much of our special friendship.

This typifies the relationship I have with my sister who is my closest friend and confidant.

Thank you Clover I loved this.


But oh! the blessing it is to
 have a friend to whom one
 can speak fearlessly on any
 subject; with whom one's
 deepest as well as one's
most foolish thoughts come
 out simply and safely.  Oh,
 the comfort - the inexpressible
comfort of feeling safe with a
 person - having neither to
 weigh thoughts nor measure
 words, but pouring them all
right out, just as they are,
chaff and grain together;
certain that a faithful hand
 will take and sift them,
 keep what is worth keeping,
 and then with the breath
 of kindness blow the rest away. 

 ~Dinah Craik, A Life for a Life, 1859

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Hot Pies!

The balloons were blown, the streamers up, the food prepared, the cheer leader had her pom poms shaking, the black and white army was ready to do battle! 

We arrived early before the game to prepare and take sustenance.

Of course a day at the football would not be the same without an obligatory meat pies and sauce, but we also slow roasted a piece of scotch fillet, sliced pink and  stuffed into fresh bread rolls topped with mustard, horseradish or chilli relish and adorned with a rocket salad.

We were pumped! We shouted, we screamed, we clapped, we jumped for joy, we lost, we wept, we were physically drained!

We ate more food - pavlova dressed with kiwi and toasted coconut and a glass of champagne to drown our sorrows.

We packed up the decorations and look forward to following the Pies again Next Year!

Our cheer leader practices her steps.
Singing the song before the game!

Getting ready
Black and White Army
How come everyone congregates in the Kitchen

The pav looking very tempting - we were ready for a sugar hit.
Here's to next year - cheers.