Friday, 18 May 2018

Mocha Choc Chip Cookies

Choc Chip Cookies are always a good option.  This is more of an adult version, the mocha biscuit base balances out the sweetness of the choc chips.

I mostly use dark choc chips, however, these are a mixture of milk, dark and white  choc chips. Use up whatever you have in the pantry.

Add some chopped  walnuts for even more deliciousness. These are my favourite but as I am the only one who likes nuts I make half the batch plainchoc chip and then add in the walnuts.

Mocha Choc Chip Cookies

125 g butter (soft)
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon instant coffee

2 cups SR flour
2 tablespoons Dutch cocoa
2/3 cup choc chips/bits
1/2cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

Dissolve instant coffee in one tablespoon boiling water, cool.

Cream (beat) butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  This can be done in a food processor.

Beat in egg and cold coffee.

Stir in flour and mix until well combined.  If using the food processor use the pulse action.

Add choc chips and walnut pieces and mix thoroughly

Roll mixture into small balls. Place onto lightly greased trays approx 4cm apart. Flatten lightly with your fingers.

Bake at 170 deg C until light golden brown. Approximately 15 minutes.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

A Happy Mother’s Day

Celebrating Mother’s (Grandmothers) Day. 

Every year I speculate as to wether these will flower in time for Mother’s Day and they usually do. I took three bulbs from a house in 1983 and planted them. Over the years they have multiplied so much that I have to thin and remove. I adore the bright orange colour and the contrasting yellow throat. There are several clumps of these in the garden providing a splash of colour and setting the tone for a bright and cheerful day.

So blessed to have my family close by to celebrate. What more could Nanna want? Morning tea with my little prince, Oscar. 

And then a selfie ( I guess we both need to focus on ‘working’ the camera)

The first course of our shared dinner. A very quick and easily made starter. I used some char grilled panini bread but any bread, toast, crouton or cracker would work just as well. The cheese spread can be topped with just about any flavour combination but I like the combination of tomato and onion or some finely chopped cooked beetroot.

Cooked for me -  dukkah crusted chicken with a salad of roast pumpkin, beetroot, caramelised onion, spinach, goat cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds. So delicious!

A new book for my collection. I have the first of the Chin Chin books and have made just about everything in it. Really looking forward to using this one. 

Cheese Spread

250 g Cream cheese
150 g strong flavoured cheese. I used a combination of Parmesan and aged cheddar
1 clove garlic. I used 2 cloves of smoked garlic

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy.
Store in refrigerator.

To Assemble

Char grill or toast some bite sized pieces of bread/panini/ciabatta/breadstick

Prepare topping

I remove the middle (pulp and seeds) and then dice the flesh.

Spread each piece of bread with the cheese spread, be generous. Top with diced tomato flesh or topping of your choice. Scatter with finely sliced spring onion. Splash with a little olive oil or lemon olive oil and a some freshly ground black pepper.

Smoked garlic,

Use as a butter and cheese alternative. Spread a roll with the cheese spread and have it with soup.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

One of those Days

The weather has taken on a Wintery feel. It is just one of those days when the best thing to do is stay inside as much as possible.

Definitely no gardening today. The Autumn / Winter tidy up and garden make over will have to wait.

Cold wet days call for

Baking. Buns and biscuits, warming up the kitchen as well as providing a delicious treat.

These are a family favourite. I like them with cornflakes which makes them deliciously crunchy.

Ray likes them without.

Date & Choc Chip Cookies (Crunchy)
Can be made in food processor

185 g butter (soft)
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of bicarbonate of soda

1 3/4 cups SR flour
185 g chopped dates (1 cup )
100 g choc chips (1/2 cup)

1/2 packet Cornflakes


Cream (beat) butter, sugar, and vanilla essence until light and fluffy.  This can be done in a food processor.

Beat in egg and bicarbonate of soda

Stir in flour and mix until well combined.  If using the food processor use the pulse action.

Add chopped dates and choc chips, mix thoroughly. The mixture will be soft and a little sticky.

Version 1 Not Crunchy / No Cornflakes

Drop heaped teaspoons of mixture onto a tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate until firm.

Roll balls until smooth, place onto lined trays. Allow room for biscuits to spread.

Bake at 170 deg until light golden brown. Approximately 15 minutes.

Version 2 Crunchy / Cornflake Coating

Put1 cup of cornflakes onto a plate, slightly crushing as you go. You will need to add more.

Place heaped teaspoons of the dough in the cornflakes and roll the mixture into balls. Place onto lightly greased/ lined trays allow room to spread.

Bake at 170 deg C until light golden brown. Approximately 15 minutes.

Making soup, good old fashioned vegetable soup. Nothing fancy, just lots of grated vegetables, soup mix and vegetable stock.

And a day for darning in the ends on this cot quilt.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Malteser Hedgehog

Hedgehog and variations of Hedgehog are a staple in my repertoire of slices.  Maltesers are a favourite and a real weakness of mine and I was in need of a quick slice I thought a version that was made with Maltesers would be quite good. It also would use to use up a box that I have been given.  It was so delicious and well received that I just had to make it again and again. There is just enough choc malt filling to bind the broken malt biscuits and lightly crushed Maltesers.

This version (version 2) has finely crushed Maltesers pressed into the chocolate topping. I find it easier to slice.

Version 1, has whole Maltesers pressed into the topping.

The essential ingredients. I like to use malt biscuits, however, any plain sweet biscuit such as Marie will work.

Malteser Hedgehog
125 g butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
½ cup malt powder
1 egg
1 packet Malt biscuits (250g), broken into smallish pieces
1 lge box Maltesers (reserve half for topping)

Malteser Topping
60 g butter
1 large block dark chocolate (I use 200 g block dark chocolate)

Maltesers  to decorate

Melt butter and sugar over low heat or in microwave. Remove from heat
Roughly chop half the box of Maltesers.
Add cocoa and malt powder to melted butter. Stir thoroughly
Add egg, mix well.
Add broken biscuits, smashing any large pieces as your stir it and then mix in the chopped Maltesers
Press mixture into a greased and lined slice tin and refrigerate while making the topping.

 Version 1
Melt butter and chocolate together.
Pour the chocolate topping over the slice.
Quickly press the remaining Maltesers into the chocolate and refrigerate for several hours/overnight.
Cut into smallish squares and place in an airtight container. Store slice in the fridge.

Version 2
Crush the remaining Maltesers in a food processor.
 Melt butter and chocolate together.
Pour the chocolate topping over the slice.
Sprinkle the crushed Maltesers over the chocolate topping and gently press into the topping. Refrigerate for several hours/overnight.
Cut into smallish squares and place in an airtight container. Store slice in the fridge.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Mussels in a Tomato Broth with Rouille

One of my favourite seafood meals. Easy to prepare, light and delicious. Purchase clean mussels, there is a lot of waste so buy lots, they are relatively inexpensive. I usually allow five hundred grams per person. The rouille is also quickly made by using commercial mayonnaise, garlic and some hot smoked paprika. The broth and roiulle can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

Tomato Broth

1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 red capsicum, small dice
1 pinch saffron
1/2 - 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup water.
Salt and black pepper

Use a large wide pan that will take the mussels in a single layer if possible. Soften the onion in a little oil, add garlic and cook for another minute. Add tomatoes, capsicum, saffron, chilli flakes, white wine, water and a generous grind of black pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes.

To Cook Mussels

Place cleaned mussels into hot broth, bring to boil and then turn heat down.. Cover with a lid and simmer for a couple of minutes. Turn off heat and let the mussels steam for a few minutes. They should open up, however, some may not. Some prefer to discard unopened mussels but I am not bothered about this and open them. 

Rouille Toast

Crusty bread, sliced and toasted
1/4 cup good quality egg mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 or more teaspoons hot smoked paprika

Combine the mayonnaise, garlic and paprika, mix well. Adjust flavour to taste, add more paprika or garlic as desired. 
Spread roiled mixture ont toasted bread.

To Serve

Ladle mussels into a bowl , pour over some of the broth. Top with chopped parsley and a slice of Rouille toast.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Cloth and Memory - A class with Beverly Ayling Smith

I have been away at Fibre Arts, this time my class was with Beverly Ayling Smith, this is a link to her website
The first activities involved techniques for distressing fabrics and mending. 

I made many of my samples into a concertina book.

These are some of the samples prior to being made into the book. There were lots more made which I plan to use in other projects.

Each class makes something for the ‘Top’ Table. At the end of the week there is a fun auction with all the items on the table sold to the highest bidder. The proceeds go to charity, this year to supporting the development of wells in India. Usually, the items reflect the work that is undertaken in the class 

This is the piece that I made. Each class member made a piece and they were attached to each other and made into 

This winding scroll. 

This was my major piece. The title of the work, No Longer at my Table, reflects on the people who are no longer in my life and consequently at my table. I decided to honour them with a napkin wrap that reflects my memories of them. 

I liked that the backs also had a cross when the wrap was tied.

Each napkin was made from old and large or oversized damask serviettes, rolled and stitched together.

The wraps were all the same size and made from pieces of distressed and mended/darned fabrics. Cross stitches were also incorporated into each piece.

Beverly had many pieces of her work with her,  these two pieces are examples of  her work that I particularly liked.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Not New - A Fibre Arts Exhibition

Tonight was the opening of  the Not New Exhibition. This time last year I was invited to participate in a group exhibition to be held at the Fibre Arts - Autumn event. It was such an honour to be asked to exhibit work at this exhibition and for the past twelve months I have spent quite some time planning and constructing the work for the event. Each participant was asked to submit four pieces of work, each to be seventy centimetres wide and ninety centimetres long and to respond to the theme Not New.

Each of my pieces are stitched nudes and form a series that I called As Nature Intended. All of the fabrics are old/vintage and recycled. The threads mostly from a deceased estate or my stash. The fabrics have been naturally dyed (eco dyed or botanical contact print) using the bundling technique and rely on colour obtained from plant material and scrap metal. The concept of the nude is not new and the pieced/patchwork quilt style of hanging with the running stitch holding the layers together is heavily influenced by the traditional forms of patchwork, quilting and Kantha.

As Nature Intended - 1

And a close up to show the stitching, 1930’s fabrics were pieced together then overstitched and dyed before being attached to the background fabrics.

As Nature Intended - 2

Detailed views

As Nature Intended - 3

Detailed view.

As Nature Intended - 4

Detailed view.

At the opening

And this fun Artist’s impression of the exhibitors.

Some of the work from my co exhibitors.

Melanie Hill

Zoe Ferguson

Gaye Nieiwenhof 

Faye Roselt

Heather Barrett

Annette Packett

It was