Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ricotta and coconut flatcakes with banana and honey

Yum! For breakfast this morning I felt like ricotta flatcakes. I knew that I had a recipe somewhere and dug it up! The original recipe served four so I thought that I would halve it and keep any leftovers for snacks during the week.

It was not too difficult to do - except that I forgot to halve the milk and only realised while I was halfway through pouring it into the dry ingredients. What a dopey girl I am! I bulked the batter back out again with additional dry ingredients and they still tasted great.

I served mine up with some ricotta, banana slices and a drizzle of lovely White Gum honey.

I have nine leftovers now, and they should make a great morning tea snack during the week at work with some cream cheese or even ricotta.

Recipe here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Updating Austen

I love this take on the modern email Inbox of Miss Elizabeth Bennet. I am guessing that it is set after Elizabeth's trip to Huntsford to see the Collins' but before she has set off for Lambton to check out Pemberley.

I wonder what Emma would have had in her Inbox...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A slice of France

For weeks before Jean Pierre Sancho opened its doors, I would walk past and wonder at what tasty treats we would soon be able to eat! Since it opened, I have never quite organised myself to try those treats, until this weekend.

I have a few friends who love their food, and K is at the top of the list. Selecting a suitable venue for food is always fun! We get to try new places and sample different foods. It had been an aeon since we had properly caught up and after changing our minds about breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, we settled on afternoon tea at JPS.

There was a bit of miscommunication about our meeting time but thankfully I brought a book and had something to do to keep me occupied. There was only so long that I could wait however without ordering food so I started without K.

The food was delicate and tasty and I will definitely have to brave the crowds for a workday lunch!

The view while I waited...

I was ravenous and ordered myself salmon and spinach quiche. Yum! The quiche was lovely with flakes of salmon and the pastry light. It was larger than I had expected and the salad was a welcome touch.

Still hungry, so had the most gorgeous coffee eclair and a hot chocolate. The chocolat chaud was served European style, at a temperature to drink immediately rather than having to wait for it to cool down.

K also ordered a slice of quiche and coffee eclair. Great minds think alike... although she did mention that quiche is BabyA's choice...

BabyA picking up the sultanas that she had thoughtfully decorated the floor with.

WWotW: Pronunciation

One word that is often mispronounced is "pronunciation".

The word pronouce has "ou", and pronunciation has only a "u". Therein lies the confusion!

Pronunciation noun how words are pronounced =

Even Google knows the correct spelling. When I typed in "pronounciation" its response to the search request was:
Showing results for pronunciation. Search instead for pronounciation

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

19 slice pudding

My uni mate T is not often in Perth. He has been working overseas now for nearly four years and so when he comes back the uni crew have reason to celebrate! This time around was a fairly low key affair and he dusted off his culinary skills to impress us.

Impressed we were, first by a smooth and creamy chocolate mousse and then by his truly unique apple and currant bread and butter pudding. T was not content to follow the recipe in its recommended quantities. Six slices of bread was not generous enough! So nineteen slices later we had a pudding. Luckily he had bought two loaves of bread, otherwise he could have been in strife during the construction process.

You can see T proudly displaying his pudding. M is pointing out the fact that T bought THE WRONG BRAND OF CUSTARD!! Our friend P who also enjoyed mousse and pudding is employed by one of their rivals, and we really must support his employment.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Oh no! Not a puncture...

This morning I was all geared up to ride to work. As I made my way down the driveway I heard a noise. It sounded like paper was hitting my spokes. I looked behind me. I looked around. I looked down, and realised that my tyre was pancake status.

Oh dear. So back inside my bike and I went, and a quick change of outfit - no sexy lycra for the bus passengers - and I was out the door again on my trusty feet.


Quiz for a cause

On Saturday evening we caught up with some friends for a quiz! The money raised all went to a good cause, the Breast Cancer Network Australia. This group provides support for those affected by breast cancer and much more.

Back to the quiz. There were questions, and lots of pink, and cupcakes for sale and all things good! We were not a standout, coming in the middle of the pack - back to studying for us! - but a good night was had by all and it was great to catch up with friends for a bit of a laugh.

Thank you P for organising the table and let us know when the quiz rocks around next year. I promise to study up on my trashy teen and reality TV in preparation for the quiz.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

There is a pretty tree in my front courtyard. The scent is sweet and the flowers change from purple to white! It is lovely to be welcomed home during the spring.

I was told that the common name for this plant is Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow. The fact sheet tells me that it is a shrub, although mine is shaped like a tree with a thin trunk!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Three Red Letters

I was intrigued to see these gaily decorated letters in the foyer at work. On closer inspection I realised that they were works of art, decorated by some of Australia's designers. They were done for the Australian Red Cross to raise awareness for blood donations and blood types. For more information and to see more letters, click here.

Wayne Cooper and Akira Isogawa

Bettina Liano

Ken Done

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Girls Night In 2010

Last weekend saw our Girls Night In for 2010! The girls were trying to remember how long I have been doing it for, I think we have had five so far. The first one I am sure was a cheese night but the afternoon tea just seems a lot easier especially since a lot of my friends have children and I think that it is easier for them to drop in and eat cake!

In a contrast to last year, Sunday dawned as wet and windy. (Last year was very sunny and we had to keep moving the cakes on the table as the sunshine was melting the icing!)

Thank you to everyone who came and ate and also those who could not make it and donated. Our total raised for the Cancer Council so far is $545 with a couple of donations still to be received.

Mum pulled out lots of random pink sheets to adorn the tables, and one of her friends dropped around some lovely pink flowers to brighten up our tables.

This year there were seventeen of us to eat the yummy goodies! There were a few friends who baked for the occasion and we had the best spread ever this year.

Tasty treats included a P's pink pavlova, N's red velvet cake, Mum's spinach and ricotta rolls, M+S+M's mum's carrot cake, M's lemon slice, pink doughnuts, chocolate cupcakes with (pink!) white chocolate icing, lemon tart, cheese scones, musk sticks and salmon and cucumber sandwiches.

There cannot be a party without punch! This is a simple recipe, two litres of tropical punch juice, 1.25L each of lemonade and dry ginger ale and some strawberries. The ice block is actually half of the juice that mum froze.

I borrowed these poms from M, she made them for her daughter's first birthday and the colour was just right for us! Dad put them up for me before escaping the pink to go and visit his brother.

I think that Y was very optimistic in bringing her hat. Still, it made a pretty picture!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday Word of the Week: DEFINITELY

In the last week I have had at least three emails from people containing the word "definately". I eventually got to the point where I doubted my recollection of the correct spelling of the word and resorted to my favourite dictionary website, Cambridge Dictionaries Online.

The visit put my mind at ease and I have decided to try motivate myself to have a Wednesday Word of the Week to pick up on some of the quirks and inconsistencies of the English language. I will not pretend to be on a level with Kate Burridge (Can We Help, ABC TV) however I will do my best to clarify some common irritants!

Definitely adverb without any doubt =

Oh, and if you were curious about the other spelling:
Definately Idiot-speak for "definitely". One of the most common moronic misspellings found on the internet =

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Seven questions

The Lovely Lorta has put the challenge down, to answer seven questions. See here for her seven questions and answers. Thank you for the challenge Lovely Lorta!

1. What are you looking forward to doing this summer? To be honest I have not thought too much past the wedding. However... camping down at Peaceful Bay after Christmas will be great! N&D are joining us this time around and N and I can go trawling through cheese factories and wineries while the boys are catching fish.

2. What is the best live concert you've ever been to? There are so many that I have forgotten! Standouts though are:
Ash at the Lookout in Scarborough: I went not really knowing who they were and realised at the concert that they were the band my sister had been playing constantly in the car on our daily drive to uni!
Greenday at Burwsood Dome (2009): They rocked! They got the crowd on their feet during the first song and we bounced for the next two hours.
Ben Folds with WASO at King's Park: That man is a genius and the orchestra -with ducks! - took it to a new level.

3. What is your favourite type of chocolate? Currently it is dark chocolate coated orange. Yum! Chunks of real orange coated in beautiful dark chocolate. My first try was Delicaseys from the Paddington Markets in Sydney and I have recently discovered that Whistlers here in Perth make it as well. (Image from Delicaseys.)

4. Where is the most interesting place you've been on holiday? Climing Mount Sinai on the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. I think we started at about 1am. The idea was to climb to the top to watch the sunrise. The reality was that it snowed on our way up and the top was wreathed in cloud. We knew that the sun came up because it got lighter! It was the most amazing experience of my six month Europe adventure back in 2003.

5. What simple thing makes you the happiest? Good food and good company. Both at the same time and the pleasure is squared!

6. What do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas? Hmmm, a Kitchenaid Food Processor! I have been coveting one for a while now but have not been able to justify the cost to myself. I have Mum's old food processor that I regularly try to break however it is not really up to the modern demands.

7. Please give me a good book recommendation! The book that springs to mind is "Almost French" by Sarah Turnbull. An interesting and entertaining story of an Aussie girl who moves to Paris to live with a Frenchman. I found it easy to understand her story, and the isolation she felt in trying to understand and fit into the completely different culture.

Questions over! I believe that this is meant to be one of those chain type things, tag seven people and give them seven new questions. Here are seven questions if you would like to play the game!

1. What is your favourite baking recipe?
2. How do you relax?
3. Who was the last person you wrote a letter to? (personal, not business)
4. What is longest distance that you have run?
5. What is your favourite smell?
6. What is your favourite season and why?
7. Who would you most like to go on a holiday with and why?

Friday, October 8, 2010

LL: Growing tomato seedlings

Topic:Growing tomatoes from seed

Outcome:We had an indiffferent tomato crop last year. I attributed it to the fact that after we had germinated our tomato seedlings indoors, we kept them inside for too long, out of direct sunlight, and they were starved of light and fresh air. I went to the other extreme this year. I planted the seeds much later than last season and left the tray outside from the beginning.

Only two out of twenty seeds planted have germinated. That includes seven different types of tomatoes (I planted two seeds each), chilli and capsicum (total six seeds).

  • Be aware of the overnight temperatures outside. I believe that the seeds failed to germinate as it was too cold at night.

  • Germinate my seeds indoors, then sit them on a window sill to grow stronger before taking them outside to acclimatise. I think that this is the best option. It is how we did it the first time we grew tomatoes from seed!

Thankfully we have a long growing season and all is not lost. This weekend I will concede defeat on the seeds that I planted and will try again! I will nurture my plants through until they are strong enough to take outside.

PS How cute are those little eggshells? Coincidentally the gardener has used them to grow tomatoes!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Planning to build

There are many exciting events happening in our lives at the moment! Our wedding is fast approaching and this is much cause for angst and anticipation. We are also going to build a house, and the process so far has been quite protacted.

Today we received our final documents from our builder, and, barring a few minor corrections, fingers crossed we will soon be on our way!

The next step is to go and ask the bank (nicely) to lend us the money to build. I am a little worried as the reports around are that property prices have dropped and this will affect how much equity we have to play with.

We are both looking forward to having our own space! Chad will be especially happy to have his beloved boat parked out the front, instead of 35km away at his parents' house.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Master bedroom transformed

The transformation of our master bedroom was a subtle one. Nothing too dramatic that can be seen from these photos, just a change in paint colours! C had previously replaced the single light fitting and ceiling fan with four downlights, as well as adding two smaller downlights over my dressing table. Such a handy man.

I do like the darker brown though, it was selected to pick up the colour of the grain in the bedhead. The original brown I thought was closer to the colour of diarrhoea and I was very happy when it disappeared!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A breakfast afternoon snack

For the last week I have been enjoying my version of Nigella's Breakfast Bars. Yum! They make a great mid-morning snack in the office, and on the weekend I can enjoy them with a lovely pot of tea.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Aussie icon - the pavlova!

Last weekend my friends P&J had a "thank you party" for their friends who had been there for them through a rough patch. A fairly typical Aussie barbecue otherwise, with sausages and salads and yummy lasagne. The jewel in the crown, and what stood apart for me, was P's pavlova. I had heard that she is known for her pavs but I cannot remember tasting one previously. Yum. Crunchy crust, light and fluffy meringue, lots of cream and fresh fruit!

I was told that each pavlova had twelve egg whites (P made two!) and there were duck eggs somewhere in that equation, the special super ingredient.

P&J, any time that you want to thank someone then I will be there!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A show fit for royalty

Last Monday on the public holiday C, E and I went to the Perth Royal Show! Last time I went was the day that the Eagles lost the AFL grand final to the Swans (it was nice and quiet that day) and E hadn't been since uni so we were keen to check out the action.

We were a fairly sedate group. We wandered through most of the exhibitions, tried the free samples at the WA Pavilion and Dairy Pavilion. We ended up buying one showbag between the three of us and C and E went on a ride whilst I looked after the bags.

It was large dogs on show the day that we went. E and I were both slightly disappointed as we wanted to see the toy dogs! Still, we admired the Rottweilers, Samoyeds and Dobermanns that we saw.

Sleeping ducky. The poultry shed was quite loud with many roosters and it had its own distinct aroma.

Man making honeycomb at the Whistlers stall. Yum!

Croatia was the featured country. They imported this icecream from Croatia especially for the Royal Show!!

For some reason the animals all had their backs to the crowds. Maybe they were trying to tell us something.

High flying exploits. If you look really close the rider in mid-air is horizontal on his bike!

I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay...

The crowds in sideshow alley. Mad.

E and C on the ride. You have to zoom in closely but they are there. At the front.

A crafty crocheted farmyard. E pointed out that the scale was all wrong but I did not think that it mattered too much.

Tomorrow Ever After

My sister is a winner. That is, she enters competitions and wins! In this case it was a double pass to see the movie Tomorrow, When the War Began, courtesy of SixThousand. They advertise themselves as the "best cultural guide for things to do in Perth".

I have to confess to not being up to date with the latest book trends, and I had only recently heard of the John Marsden series that the movie is based on. I had not read the stories so was coming in with a fresh perspective. E had read the books but not recently enough to be able to pick complete holes in the differences.

It was a fun movie. Well, as fun as these things can be when your country has been invaded by a random local army wanting your resources. It did not take itself too seriously, the characters were interesting enough and only slightly cliched!

There was not too much violence and some cool explosions - obligatory for that style of movie - and you could appreciate that the situation of your home being invaded would be quite a thing to try to process and accept.

I would be happy to see more and to learn the fate of the characters. Oh, and of course it would be great if they could defeat the invaders however given how feeble our armed forces are implied in the movie it could be a long and bloody war.

It was refreshing to watch an invasion story that was not based in the US for a change. For some reason (in movies at least) all of the bad things happen to the Americans!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Senses of Austen

Today has been a day for watching Austen. Chad is safely at the pub for the AFL grand final (again) and I have the house to myself.

I have recently overcome my (perhaps irrational) aversion to Sense and Sensibility and watched the 1981 masterpiece. I also have added the novel to my collection and it kept me occupied on the bus this week.

I always enjoy the intricacies of the society in the Austen novels and I was trying to pinpoint what exactly it is that I enjoy so much about the BBC adaptations.

1. The beautiful crockery. I am generally envious of the pretty table settings enjoyed by the families. I love to see the table set for breakfast, or the teaset out for tea.

2. The dialogue. So formal and flowing. I especially like the contrast between the manners of the different characters, usually the women. Elinor who always acts and behaves correctly and Marianne who is somewhat careless of forms.

3. The obsession to marry, and marry wisely. As a general rule, Austen's heroines are not desperate for marriage, but there is usually at least one or two characters in each story with that object in mind.

Are you a fan of Jane Austen? What aspects do you especially enjoy?

1, 2, 3

Pink doughnuts

Chad and I wandered into our local Brumby's this morning and noticed that they are selling pink doughnuts! Ten cents from each doughnut goes to the McGrath Foundation. I thought that they would be very appropriate for my Girl's Night In and ordered a dozen to share with my girlfriends!

I also noted on the McGrath Foundation website that there are pink and white M&Ms out there, so I might have to visit my local IGA again and look for a packet or two!


Friday, October 1, 2010

LL: DIY Stationery

Topic: DIY Wedding Stationery

Outcome: The 100% recycled and unbleached envelopes, and the card that we used for RSVP postcards did not hold the ink from the laser printer that we used to print them with. Everything looked great when we posted the invitations. The ink rubbed off in transit and we ended up having several of the invitations returned to us by Australia Post, as the address and return address had been obliterated. I have since learned that a few of our friends did not receive their invitations and we now have to chase up our guests to confirm who has received theirs.

The RSVP cards have a similar issue and there is some doubt as to whether we will receive them when posted by our guests. The RSVPs that we have received are smudged and some friends have written our address on the cards to make sure that they find their way home.

  • Know your paper. We selected card with a matte finish for the RSVP cards as we thought that the ink would stick better than a gloss finish. Unfortunately it did not stick well enough.
  • Do a trial run. We would have picked it up if we had. I thought we were covered for the trial run - I checked that our postage was correct before we stuck the stamps down. That was the general concern that I have read on other sites.
  • Buy enough paper for mess ups. I did, so I can make the few that went missing without having to scurry around for more raw ingredients!
  • We bought sticky magnets for the invitations. I was worried that they wouldn't be magnet-y enough. They were. Unfortunately they were not sticky enough, but we figured that out before we posted, and restuck them all!

Above all, do not stress about it too much. I was disappointed as I like to tick boxes off and not have to revisit them. Our invitations however seem to be robust enough for the job and that is what matters - as long as they get there!

Lessons Learnt

One of the things we do at work is try to document any lessons we learn from projects and so forth to try and ensure that people do not make the same mistake again. Learning from other people's experience.

Following from my DIY efforts with our wedding stationery I was inspired to start up a Lessons Learnt segment for my blog. I will aim to post a new lesson from life every Friday. I do not know what direction these will head in but I think it will be fun to find out!

PS Maybe my first Lesson Learnt should be to make sure that the date is in the backwards MM/DD/YY format before I hit Publish.