Month: October 2009

Anzac Caramel Slice x 2

This is the cake I made for Miriam’s birthday, and bookclub.  I’m going to put two versions on here.  The one I made which is available at Ironic Cafe is the top recipe.  IMG_2243

250g flour, 300g sugar, 2.5 cps coconut, 2.5 cups rolled oats, 200g butter, 3tblsp golden syrup, 2tsp baking soda, 4tblsp boiling water.

Mix the first four ingredients and make a well in the centre.  Melt the golden syrup and butter, add the water and lastly baking soda and add to dry ing. (best to mix the water and the baking soda I think) add this to dry ingredients.  Mix lightly.  Add two-thirds of this mix to a 30 cm greased spring form round cake tin (or not).  Level it out in the bottom of the tin.  Bake at 180 degrees for 15 to 20 min.  While this is cooking make the caramel (or cheat and add 1.5 tins of Highlander caramel)

Caramel:  125g butter, 2tblsp butter, 2tblsp golden syrup, 1 can condensed milk.

Melt the butter and golden syrup in a pot and add the condensed milk, stirring all the time.  Take the base from the oven and pour the hot caramel over it, then gently sprinkle the other third of the base mix over the top like a crumble.

Put it back in the oven for a further 30 min till golden on the top.  Let it cool and slice it onto a serving plate.  Decorate with dark chocolate if you want.IMG_2244


The one below I found online and think it might be better – a bit less butter.

Caramel-600g condensed milk 50g butter 1 Tab golden syrup Put all ingreds in pot and stir over low heat until melted and thick. Set aside to cool
Oatie base-1 1/4cups 4cups “>wholemeal flour 3/4cup each:plain flour, desiccated coconut 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1 1/4cups each rolled oats,brown sugar 2 eggs lightly beaten 225g melted butter 2 tsp coffee essence(they used actual espresso shots)1tsp vanilla essence
Combine dry ingreds in bowl. Mix wet ingreds together and stir into dry ingreds, sticky mixture. Reserve 1/4 for use as topping press oatie mix into 26cm loose base cake pan,pour caramel over top, dot with remaining oatie mix so it forms crumble topping. Place in 180C oven with tinfoil draped loosely over top to stop browning too much After 40 mins remove from oven and leave to cool and set. Serve with thick yoghurt or whipped cream & berries, yum on its own as well, enjoy

Happening outside now!

Spring has sprung and the garden is coming along nicely.  The last couple of days have been really warm which means greening up, aphids and a big growth spurt.  I took some photos the other week and thought I’d stick them on because most of the things I photographed have now passed on, and are being replaced by other gorgeousness.



The pulsatilla is lovely, and lasted quite a long time, much longer than last year.  Next year I will divide it, which is my fave – two plants from one.  However, a quick check of wikipedia for some info about this plant have left me frightened.  Check this out: “Pasque flower is highly toxic, and produces cardiogenic toxins and oxytoxins which slow the heart in humans. Excess use can lead to diarrhoea, vomiting and convulsions,[1] hypotension and coma.[2] It has been used as a medicine by Native Americans for centuries. Blackfeet Indians used Pasque Flower to induce abortions and childbirth.[1] Pulsatilla should not be taken during pregnancy nor during lactation.[3]” ” That is just downright scary and that is only the half of it!  I was a little bit pleased with the photo I have to say.

The Swingy Man

The Swingy Man

The photo of the Swingy Man is for L.  I know how much she likes him!  He looks quite cute at the moment with the Peris behind him in full bloom.  I’m very keen on the peris, shame it doesn’t have a scent, but when it is out it really means it is spring I think, this one flowers really early.  It needs a bit of a haircut actually so will give her a trim when the flowers have finished which won’t be long away actually.

Mr Swingy Man is a creation of my Dad, he sells them should you be interested in purchasing.  They come as boys, girls or twins.  Girls even have hair, a bit ropy the hair, but very attractive in a certain light.  Want one?  Sure you do, contact me and I will give you his phone number.

Flowering CherryThe final photo is of the flowering cherry.  The blooms are nearly gone now and it is busy leafing up nicely.  This tree has been slightly problematic, it is an upright one, but was far too upright, like it only went straight up.  Looked terrible, so Dad and I have anchored down the side branches to the fence in an effort to make it spread out a bit.  Not sure that this will actually help in the long term, have been driving round looking at other peoples to see what they do when they are older and generally they just grow straight up, like a poplar.  Well we will see.  In the meantime it has nice blossom, attracts the bees and is growing nicely, albeit straight up!

The Topp Twins

movie_front_mediumTonight folks, I will be at the Regent Theatre along with the rest of the lesbian poplulation of Dunedin, and indeed a whole bunch of staight ladies and gentlemen to see The Topp Twins. Woot to that we say!

It will be fun, funny and frolicky and I can’t wait.  My ticket is an early birthday pressie which is pretty damn cool.  I have always wanted to learn to yodel, mostly cos I really in my heart always wanted to be a Topp Twin, sadly I’m a shy and retiring kind of a girl and the stage – and singing in public was not for me.  Sigh.  Looking forward to a night of lots of audience interraction and ridicule.  Last time I saw them was with my lovely sister at the Blossom Festival a long time ago, and woman o woman did we have fun!  So I imaging tonight will be a similar hoot.

Paeony time

It is with a large measure of excitement, that I can report the sighting of the first paeony in my garden.  If you live in Central Otago you will have had ye olde white paeony out for ages, but not me.  So, here are pictures of the first bloom in all it’s glory.  Probably should have weeded before photo – but no.

Paeony Number 1 2009

Paeony Number 1 2009


Cathedral Window Cake

Every day my friend Garry has a slice of this for lunch.  Every now and then he brings me a slice and it is so yummy and also so pretty.  When you hold the slices up to the light it looks kinda like stained glass.  This is a recipe for either microwave or conventional oven but read the whole thing first. Lots of people make this just for Xmas, but what is that about?  Make it anytime.

3 cups brazil nuts, 1 cup sultanas, 1 cup sticky raisins, 1 cup almonds, 1 cup cashew nuts. 1 cup red cherries, 1 cup mixed cherries, 2 cups glace fruit (eg. pineapple, mangoes) 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp baking pdr, 1/2 tsp salt, 4 small eggs, 1tsp vanilla.

Measure the nuts, furit and dry ing into a large bowl, save some for decoration. Chop up the large pieces of fruit, but keep some long pieces, especially if you use mango.  Mix eggs and vanilla until roughly combined and add to dry ingredients.  Line a microwave loaf pan or metal ring pan with baking paper.  Spray with oil.  Press mixture firmly into pan, lying long pieces of glace fruit in the middle of the mixture.  Decorate to with reserved fruit.  Microwave loaf at 30% power for 1 hr, until firm and cooked evenly or bake ring cake at 130 degrees for 2 1/2 – 3 hrs or til it feels firm.  If top browns too quickly cover loosly with baking paper.

This makes one 20cm ring cake 8cm high cooked in a conventional oven.

Use half recipe to make a loaf shaped cake to cook in microwave oven.

In The Loop

This is my movie of the year so far.  Hilarious, witty, clever in the extreme.  America and Britain’s conniving politicians talking their double talk and playing their games kind of accidently on purpose prepare to declare war on the Middle East.  The language is so spectacular and the use of swear words is almost unprecedented but I goddammed loved it!

The knife of never letting go by Patrick Ness

Imagine being able to hear the thoughts of everyone around you all the time.  You walk past a house and you can hear what the people inside are thinking! Welcome to the world of The knife of never letting go.

I’m delighted to see that this cool book is nominated for a silver Inky award.  This is the first book in the series and had me totally gripped from the first page.  Actually if I’m honest I had read so many online reviews of the book I just had to get hold of it.  It is doing the rounds with the boys at school at the moment and everyone who had read it is now desperately waiting for the next one.

It is set in Prentisstown, where there are no women, the young are bought up to believe that all the womenfolk were wiped out as the result of a disease that attacked them, Todd is the last boy, the youngest, bought up on the outskirts of town by two men, friends of his dead mother, entrusted with his care.  Todd is about to become a man, and when that happens he will be initiated into the ways of men and the secrets he wonders about will be shared with him.  This town is full of secrets, but in this place every thought you think can be heard, you can hear the thoughts of animals even of plants.  The thoughts of the people, often overrun by each others thoughts run all through the book, and are printed in such a way as you can graphically see them overrunning each other, layer upon layer.

Through a series of events Todd is on the run, he has met a girl called Viola and they must escape and save themselves.  They are accompanied by Todd’s not very bright but very loyal dog Mantee.  The action is full on, and this is a dark book.  It doesn’t read as science fiction but is.  If you have loved the Hunger Games you will love this one.  It is good, fast and leaves you hanging out for the next one.

Eye Candy

Via Neatorama one of my total fave perveyors of very cool stuff,  this is a really cool little gizmo.  You can change the pictures – kinda like a psychodelic, hippy vision.  Make the circles faster, slower, change the blurr, just have a wee bit of fun.  Go to this link.

Neatorama's eyecandy pic

Neatorama's eyecandy pic

But wait there’s more.  Now try the link below.  It takes you to a whole heap more crazy image tinkering with stuff.  These guys have some cool things to play with.

Hours of fun, especially for one such as me who is practising study avoidance.  Heading for an excellence in that at the moment.  Sigh!

Fever of the bone by Val McDermid

I have read almost every book Val McDermid has written.  She is reliable and readable.  I discovered her while lying by the pool in Hong Kong back in the day, when my kid’s swimming coach introduced me to her via The Wire in the Blood.  I was hooked and have patiently waited for every new book (not very patiently when she leaves a big cliff-hanger at the end of a book though) and bought most of them to keep on my shelves.images-3

The latest one is a doozy!  Loaned to me by for wonderful Senga.  Val has written a really gripping story that leaves the dreaded cliffhanger, not about the crime but about Carole and Tony her main characters.  Tony is a crime profiler and Carole is the D.I. who runs the team of police searching for the bad guy.  You come to know the team and follow their ups and downs as well as having the Carole and Tony storyline to keep you on tenterhooks as well.  Throw in nasty serial killers and poor sad victims and you have a bunch of very good books.  This particular book involves teenagers who are being preyed upon by someone stalking them on a social networking site called Rigmarole.  This is made up but fans have made a mock-up of the Rigmarole site and Val is communicating with her fans via this.

Here is the link to the Val McDermid site and this will take you to Rigmarole this is a Ning like a community who can all talk to each other and post stuff on the site.  It operates similar to Facebook but is for a special interest group. If you like a nice gritty murder you will love this and if you haven’t read any of the fabulous Val’s books – well why not?

What makes people happy?

A documentary by filmmaker Lisa Cypers Kamen and her daughter, Kayla Kamen.  Together Lisa and Kayla explore the hypothesis that every person, regardless of socioeconomic level, age, ethnicity, career, health, or life circumstances, possesses happiness or the means to feel happy. Their endeavor to discover possibly universal keys to human happiness leads the duo on an entertaining, deeply touching documentary adventure. Watch this:


Check out my trillium

Isn’t this gorgeous.  This darling came from Mum’s collection and it is in full bloom at the moment.  They are so gorgeous but so fleeting,  eventually this ends up buried by the big daisy beside it but for it’s moment of glory it is pretty damn cool!  While we might have miserable cold winters down here in the south, the fact that we can grow hardy cold climate things like this make up for a bit of nip in the air.



Riverstone Kitchen

On the way to conference Senga and I stopped at one of my fave places to eat, Riverstone Kitchen near Glenavy.  Yes it is in the middle of nowhere but every time I have eaten here (all three times) I’ve had something really yummy and simple and nice.  The chef is Bevan Smith and he writes in the ODT.

Their website has recipes including this month the yummy thing I had for lunch,

Poached Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Truffle Oil

they grow their own produce so everything is really fresh and their vege garden is a wonder to behold.  Check it out.  Driving from Dunedin it is quite a way past Oamaru, and beyond the airport.  If you reach the bridge over the Waitaki River you’ve passed it, just.