venetia_sassy: (Images // puppies! With Santa hats!)
Quiet day, good day. No migraine but I was very sleepy for a few hours due to the medication hangover. Woke up enough to make dinner fortunately!

Croissants for breakfast with the usual boysenberry jam plus some violet flower jam that I saw in the deli and was quite fascinated by. Mum put a jar in my stocking. *g* I prefer the boysenberry for croissants but I think the violet would be excellent on scones.

Went to Roz's place for a cup of tea and exchange of gifts, happiness all around.

Came home, started the duck, then we sat down for presents with a cup of tea and some Lafayette Gingerbread (which Mum says is the best gingerbread she's ever tasted so that's rather nice.) Had an alarming moment when Mum tried to reach over the sofa arm for a present and ended up sliding off the sofa, onto some presents and into the tree. Amazingly, she was fine, the presents were fine (one gift bag a bit smushed) and the tree was a bit mussed and dropped some ornaments but otherwise fine. She said there was just nothing to catch herself on - except the tree and that would have gone well.

So we took a minute and had some gingerbread before opening presents. We basically exchanged books, DVDs, CDs, clothes and earrings which amused me. The hounds had their Christmas bandanas but I don't know if those counted as presents for them ... so they have some 'iced' Christmas tree biscuits which seem to be going down very well.

The duck took four hours to cook, flipping every hour, so I spent intervals between cooking duties reading bits of my two new books (Bill Bryson and Nalini Singh.) Dinner was Festive Duck with Apple Cider Drizzle (but cooked the slow way), Mini Herbed Pommes Anna, and Orange Roasted Broccolini. Dessert was Mango and Brandy Christmas Pudding. No, I didn't make it. I don't usually like Christmas pudding but we tried a sample of this and it was delicious.

Mum's in bed, I'm about to go; we'll be seeing Brother and family tomorrow for lunch. Good food, good people, nice presents, lots of doggy cuddles, no migraine. Good Christmas.

Merry Christmas!!!

Last of the carols ...

An Aussie tradition.

And again, for fun ...

venetia_sassy: (Images // tea)
Woolworths is no longer selling Anathoth Farm Boysenberry Jam. They're no longer selling any boysenberry jam! How is one supposed to eat croissants without boysenberry jam, may I ask?

Fortunately, Coles is still selling the Anathoth Farm jam - for now. I had croissants for dinner. Heh.

Good food

Dec. 11th, 2013 11:44 pm
venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)
Cranberry, Orange and Goat Cheese Quinoa Salad

As of a couple of months ago, I eat goat's cheese! I also discovered that avocado makes a great sandwich spread (but I maintain that it does not belong in salads), beetroot is edible in at least two recipes - Warm Orzo Salad with Beets & Beet Greens (more goat's cheese! Lovely fetta from the markets) and Roasted Beetroot and Walnut Pesto with Pasta (the pasta turns hot pink! I can't find the recipe but this one looks good. Definitely roast the garlic.) Also, beet chips, if you can get them to cook evenly. Roasted broad beans make a good snack and cacao chia seed pudding is pretty good.

And I made this Fresh Ginger Cake with Candied Citrus Glaze for Mum's birthday (less sugar, more ginger, limes instead of kumquats) - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
venetia_sassy: (Images // puppies! With Santa hats!)
First trial of the spiralizer was successful! BLT zucchini noodles (I didn't roast the tomatoes, just chopped them and cooked them for a bit with the garlic.)

We put up the Christmas tree tonight. Or rather, Mum brought the various components up from the garage, then watched me figure out the new tree lights and decorate the tree, with occasional advice. (I remember when I was way too small to do any of these things! So weird.) We played the new Christmas CD I'd bought for this - Katherine Jenkins' This Is Christmas. Highly enjoyable.

Almost to the end of the Finding A New Dog Quest! )

It's not quite official yet but it's looking that way. We've got a new dog. And tomorrow I will tell you more about him and post some photos. Because he is really very cute!
venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)
Fried bacon and egg sandwich with strawberries.

I toasted the whole thing in the sandwich press and it was ridiculously tasty.
venetia_sassy: (MCR // Best smiles!)

Computer problems halfway solved and I was able to post pics of my finished projects to [community profile] imadeathing! Couldn't edit any of the photos though and the monitor is currently doing some weird things with stretching and resolution so I hope the pictures look okay to other people. I can't really be sure right now.

Project 1 - birthday cake for Mum with double meaning as a 'MCR coffee appreciation' cake!

Project 2 - cake pops inspired by MCR! (And this was the reason for my question about colours re: Mikey and Ray. Thank you!)

And now I have a mass of cake pops and no desire to eat them. But Nephew #2's birthday party is this weekend so I'm considering sticking them in the fridge until then. I don't think the kids will object to sickly sweetness.
venetia_sassy: (Images // tea)
*falls over*

[community profile] imadeathing  project finished!!! And on deadline too ... except I can't post any pictures until tomorrow at least, so much for deadline, since that's when the computer problems should be sorted.*fingers crossed* Don't know if this post will make it through.

My hands and upper arms are very tired and I would much rather bake than decorate. Whixh I will have to do tomorrow or Friday. Query to those with more knowledge of teenage boys than I:

Jars of mixed biscuits for two teenage boys

Chocolate thumbprints
Dark & white choc chip cookies
Honey & sultana drops (favourite of brother's as a teenager)

Suggestions for a fourth? Other suggestions?
venetia_sassy: (Images // tea)
Day 1 of Baking Project: run into various small problems, as one does when trying something new, but able to solve them. Things going pretty well.

Day 2 of Baking Project: things go more smoothly with practice, all going well ... but the edible ink pen is hopeless. Have to go to the shops tomorrow and find something else. Stick to baking for the rest of tonight.

Dee has asked me to make two boxes of mixed biscuits for her grandsons who are starting Year 11 this year, a 'good luck and good start to the year' gift, so I'll be doing that later this week. She's also asked if I would consider making some biscuits for Easter gifts because she's sick of giving people Easter eggs, especially when they're not that fond of them! And the good ones are so expensive ...

Mum asked me and I said happily, 'Baking excuse!'

We went to the osteopath on Thursday (my neck is, eh, a little better? And I did my ankle in with tendonitis. Fun.) He's out on the northern beaches. It was so hot and still and humid here; still very warm there but with a strong breeze blowing, it was rather nice. His office is literally a couple of minutes walk from the beach so we walked to the top of the dunes and looked out at the waves crashing in. The smell of salt was so strong. There was a stunning hibiscus in full flower nearby - creamy-white with a pink centre - very beautiful. It always startles me to see hibiscus and frangipani in Australian gardens; they always say Maui to me.

Then we came home and I managed to stay upright just long enough to strip off my clothes and makeup. Treatments are exhausting.

On Friday it was cold, pouring with rain and there was thunder most of the day. The fuck? And it was even colder on Saturday. Look, I have no objection to the colder weather, I am just very confused. And so are my clothes. And my bedcovers.

To our surprise, we were invited to join the informal family party for Nephew #2's 2nd birthday. We'd already received the invitation for the official party so I figured that was it but no, we went over and had pizza and cake and were included in photos and ... I don't get it.

Since we hadn't anticipated this, we went shopping beforehand (and the centre we went to had a cake art shop that I wanted to look at and will go back to tomorrow.) We found a cool colour matching game for Nephew #2 and Mum wanted to find a wise owl ornament or soft toy for Nephew #1 who just started school this week and is very excited by it. No luck at the toy store or newsagent and we were less than thrilled at the notion of going outside to get to another area (pouring rain) but we went into a dollar store to find a gift bag and thought we'd look in the ornament section. And amongst the usual animals who looked like they needed attention from a vet was a magnificent snowy owl with glitter dusted wings. Absolutely gorgeous. Nephew #1 has named her 'Heddie.'

(Also, fandom has Done Things to Me. Mum was dithering over a nice green gift bag. It was a softer shade of green and had some blue and pink on it. It wasn't obviously coded male or female and Mum thought it might not be 'boyish' enough. I started to say, 'Mum, don't encourage gender norms.' Which I don't think is something I've ever said to Mum. Or out loud. So I rephrased, 'Mum, don't make me start channeling one of my fanfic characters and start saying, don't encourage gender norms.' She laughed. We bought the bag. And Nephew #1's green gift bag had bright pink ribbons on it.)

We spent two hours listening to four sugar-hyped, over-stimulated, highly-excited children aged five and under shrieking delightedly (egged on by two teenage girls who could shriek just as loudly) then we came home and I passed out. I had a headache yesterday.

This computer is getting very twitchy. It's unnerving.


Jan. 29th, 2013 11:25 pm
venetia_sassy: (MCR // Best smiles!)

Cherry Tomato Sauce with Cheat's Fresh Pasta - delicious, but I just used linguine since that's what I had, and grape tomatoes because I like them more. Made it twice in the last few days!

Crunchy Garlic Chicken - baked the chicken and yum. So good! Mum is enjoying the leftovers in her lunch salads.

Zucchini and Mint Pasta - as usual, halved the pasta and I increased the lemon and parmesan a bit. Wonderfully easy.

Baking supplies for my second [community profile] imadeathing project arrived today - and the special decorations for the Mikey segment. I'm a bit sad that I didn't post about my first completed project already, because I don't think the overall symbolism is going quite to be as well-received over the few weeks. Or MCR stuff in general. Ah well. I'm still going to have fun with this.

As to why I'm only just starting it - well, it's baking, it can only take so long! I knew I wasn't going to try doing it before Christmas and the heat's been knocking me around too much since then. But I knew I had to get my act together and order supplies anyway. (Still took me awhile.) I'm just waiting on the special decorations for the Ray segment but I know they've been posted. 

Ooh, we went out to do some shopping on Sunday (I hadn't left the house in almost two weeks, since the dentist visit. I wanted out) and we stopped in at a different Woolworths to our usual and oh, the baking section!!! All the sparkles and decorations!!! I'm guessing because that Woolworths is in an area of new development, a lot of families with kids (ours not so much.) I was making happy squeaks over the various sprinkles and even Mum was joining in my enthusiasm. There was nothing like the range of the online baking supplies store and they didn't have anything I'd already ordered but it was so much fun to see the products right there. Future possibilities ... And I did find some chocolate star sprinkles to use instead the regular chocolate sprinkles for Ray, so that was good.

But while I do have my supplies, I'm not starting tonight, thanks to some amazing wooziness and a nasty headache. Thank you, menstruation. Kindly fuck off.



Jan. 23rd, 2013 11:42 pm
venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // woeful puppies)

More from Donna Hay's No Time to Cook: Pasta with Broccoli, Lemon and Almonds. Good but although I halved the pasta (and butter) I should have halved the broccolini I used as well. Oof. Neither of us finished!

I was thinking of washing the kitchen blinds today but an unexpected consequence of cleaning put me off; my left ankle has always been less flexible and prone to 'cracking' than my right but although I have mentioned this to several doctors, none have really bothered about it. And apart from when I was taking ballet classes (and strapping it) it hasn't mattered much. But it seems all the crouching and kneeling I was doing over the past couple of days upset things and my ankle really hurts. Crouching is a no right now. So is standing on a stepstool (which reminded me that I really have to clean the light fitting as well. When does it end?!) So I kept to dusting and polishing shelves and doing a thorough dust with soft brush and/or a wash of various ornaments. All those tricky little spots a duster just doesn't reach ...

Then I stuck a pin under one of my fingernails. Yeah, I'm coordinated. Ow.

On the doggy news front: there were two dogs on rescue sites that I've been staring at for the past few weeks. They just kept tugging at me and finally kicked me into having the, 'When do you think would be a good time to get another dog? I think now might be a good time', conversation with Mum. I showed her both of them and she agreed they were both gorgeous so I contacted the rescues to see if they thought either dog might be a good match for us.

Both dogs were adopted this week. *facepalm* One of them had been at a shelter for seven months. (Look at that face! How did people resist?) Clearly a reminder from the universe not to dally about. (Technically this girl hasn't been adopted, she's still on trial. But I think she'll be adopted.)

Further discussion this evening brought up an interesting difference - Mum thinks cattle dogs, border collies, kelpies (aka workings dogs, the kind she grew up with) are just the right size. Me, I think The Boyo is as small a dog as I'd like to have and he's on the large size for a cattle dog. I like medium-to-large dogs and I have a real hankering for a greyhound. I've developed a bit of an obsession since meeting one a few years ago. Mum is ... thinking about the idea. But as I've pointed out, we can't get a young working dog of any kind unless she's prepared to start daily hikes again.

Mum: Well, I really should ...
Me: But do you want to?
Mum: ...


venetia_sassy: (SH // Gladstone oh no! dead dog?)
Chicken baked with Lemon, Feta and Oregano. Easy, quick and very nice. I don't even like feta particularly but I put most of it on Mum's plate and the the remaining bits added a good texture. I only made half the recipe and it was quite enough for the two of us.

I have been continuing my obsessive clean out of my bedroom today but focusing on the window. How is this a day-long task? Well ...

I unhooked the curtains, took them outside, draped them over the clothesline and beat them with a broom. Then left them to air for a while (keeping a nervous eye on the sky and an ear out for thunder.) Then I took down the vertical blinds and dumped them in the bathtub to soak with some NapiSan.

I did not know there was such an easy way to clean vertical blinds! I thought I'd have to scrub each one individually. If I'd known, I might have cleaned them ... er, before they reached the state they were in.

I still had to wipe each one down with a green scratchie after soaking (instead of a nail brush) but the grot came right off, no scrubbing, no worries. Then rinsed, wiped them off with a towel and hung them up again with another towel over the windowsill to catch any stray drips. That was it. (Mum is Getting Ideas. Yeah, okay, the kitchen blinds really do need a wash.)

And while the soaking was happening I cleaned the tracks, the frame, the windowsill and the actual window (really the fastest, easiest part.)

Only part that didn't get cleaned was the flyscreen and the outside of the window. Maybe with a stepstool ... but honestly, we need to get the window cleaners out here again. Between my CFS, Mum's wrists, the height and awkwardness of various windows, the outsides just don't get cleaned by us. It's worth paying professionals.

Excuse me now, I need to hang the curtains up. Brought them in about five seconds before it started to rain. *pleased with self*
venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // woeful puppies)
43C tomorrow. Or 110F. That sounds even scarier. State-wide total fire ban. Extreme or Catastrophic Fire Danger across most of the state.

Mum's so concerned with how I'll cope with the heat, she actually bought a couple of bags of ice today in case I need an ice bath to cool down. We may wind up soaking the dog in iced water too, poor Boyo. Even with his new chill collar, he's still overheating and he gets quite distressed.

I've been checking out the latest Snowflake challenges and having thoughts about them but I don't think I'll have the brain to write them up for a few days.

On a good note - I made the Indian Carrot Salad again the other night, very good for a hot night, and tonight I made beef burgers, Jamie Oliver-style. I had Saladas in the cupboards so I used those, rather than Saos (cream crackers) and didn't add salt, lightly caramelised some onions, added some cheese, wilted spinach for Mum, iceberg lettuce for me, oh yeah.

I did demonstrate yet again why I shouldn't multitask unless I'm having a really good day - I put the burger rolls under the griller to toast a bit while I was cooking the burgers and forgot about them until they were thoroughly charred on top. Even then I thought then burning smell was coming from the meat at first. *facepalm* They were large rolls? I was able to slice the tops off without diminishing our dinner significantly.
venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // woeful puppies)

Weather forecast for the next seven days: Hot and sunny, 37, 34, 31, 41, 30, 32, 38C.

We were considering going to movies on Tuesday (41C) to escape the heat for a little while but Mum reconsidered, thinking that given the bushfire potential at least one of us should be home. Good point. It was over 40C in Hobart today. Hobart. If they're having spectacular bushfires already, I don't like to think what the rest of our summer will be like. At least the local land council has finally made a start on clearing a firebreak in the next door reserve.

To switch tracks, anyone seen The Life of Pi? I haven't read the book but Mum has and she'd like to see the movie. I want to see Les Miserables and The Hobbit (as does Mum), plus Star Trek when it comes out. I'll have to see if I can drag Pip away from her thesis for a couple of hours for that but she has warned all of us that she's in the tunnel vision, final stage countdown so I don't think I'll be seeing much of her this summer.

Asparagus Pancetta Hash with a Fried Egg

The sliced pancetta we bought was saltier than prosciutto. Huh? Otherwise, delicious and easy.

venetia_sassy: (Images // puppies! With Santa hats!)
Merry Christmas!!!

Whether you celebrate or not, I hope you had/are having/will have a lovely day.

I just woke up from a nap on the sofa to hear the dog snoring ferociously nearby (that might have been what woke me) and to find the cat curled against my chest. He has been determined to sit on me today but he finds it difficult if I'm lying on my side. He'll take 'plastered against me' as a second option.

I had trouble settling down to sleep last night - things to do and the weather was still quite warm and humid but I did fall asleep eventually. In the morning I didn't want to get up! I think all my pre-Christmas adrenaline disappeared once the day was here (I'm going, 'Wait, wait, not yet, not yet, let me enjoy it! And I have to make dinner!') plus the sudden change in weather (it dropped 20C in a few hours and it's been raining and stormy all day) combined to leave me feeling very tired and wanting naps.

Anyway, I woke up and opened my stocking gifts (we have new stockings this year! Mum has been complaining about the narrow, knitted ones she bought for years but we still used them. Not anymore! Mum is pleased) and we had croissants for a late brunch. Then I started the pork for our dinner before we sat down to open presents. The cat sat on my lap and refused to move.

Much spoiling occurred and I am relieved to say the various things I found seemed to be received very happily. The I had a little rest on the sofa for a while and the cat was reminded that really, there is nowhere to lie on me when I'm on my side.

After that, we headed across the road for an hour or so to say hello to the neighbours (the daughter had come over while we were having brunch to bring us chocolates and to ask if we would like to join their family lunch on Boxing Day. Very sweet of them but we're going out tomorrow.) Took them some of the Chocolate Saltine Toffee which I can now say is a success!

Came home again to cook. Originally I thought we'd have a late lunch but with my nap and the visit, it wound up being dinner.

And I don't usually say this about my own cooking but it was amazing. Try any of these recipes and enjoy.

Christmas Dinner 2012

Italian Red Wine Pork Roast
Pork Crackling
Roasted Italian Apples and Potatoes

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
Sauteed Green Beans with Walnuts and Cranberries
Apple Cider Pound Cake Bundt with Apple Cider Glaze

(I still don't understand the pork crackling thing but Mum loved it.)

We did not eat the cake straight away however. We sat in the living room and listened to carols and had our first cup of tea from the large Republic of Tea parcel I ordered last month (Mum was delighted.) I made some Holiday Spiced Plum in my new and gorgeous teapot and Mum had hers in the delicate glass tea cup I gave her and I had mine in the pretty blue and white cup Mum gave me for my birthday. Then we had cake before I could fall asleep (and ooh, the crispy top-becomes-base of that cake is so good. I mean, all of it's good but that bit is amazing. Especially hot, right of the oven. Ahem. Bits fell off, okay?)

Then I said goodnight and Merry Christmas to Mum, had a nap and now I am saying Merry Christmas to all of you. Have a lovely holiday.

venetia_sassy: (Images // puppies! With Santa hats!)

After the Shakespeare evening I was tired but wired and didn't fall asleep until dawn so I didn't wake up until late afternoon yesterday. I was going to get a bit of sleep between baking and going to the market in the morning but it was so warm and the weather report looked ominous so I decided to just keep baking, go to the market, then sleep. Which I did through the worst of the 37C day. Feh. Tomorrow is supposed to be 38C (Mum's indignant squawk of 'WHAT' when I told her that was splendid.*g*) but Christmas Day should be much cooler.

Made the Florentines, Cranberry, White Chocolate and Lemon Biscotti (fabulous!!! The lemon zest makes a big impact) and Rum and Raisin Shortbread (Mum tells me it's pretty good. Not my thing so I'll take her word for it.)

The Sunday market is one we've only been to a few times. Rather than heading towards suburbia the way we do for the Saturday market, for this one we turn towards the more rural suburb where we used to live when I was little (when my parents were married, we lived on acreage and they bred horses) then go further on to the suburb where our vet clinic is. They've been treating our pets (including the horses) for over thirty years now.

We first decided to try the market because I found out that the honey people who had stopped coming to Sunday market went to the other one and I really wanted more of the Butterscotch Honey that had persuaded me that honey could be good. So we went and there was honey but sadly no butterscotch. Apparently it didn't keep very well so they stopped making it. But they have creamed Vanilla Honey which tastes like a cross between the Butterscotch and the Vanilla I was making for myself. Also, a clear Lemon Honey which is wonderful in tea.

On our next visit, they didn't have any Lemon but Mum tried some Chili-infused (...not my thing) and I tried some creamed Ginger (yes, please!) This time, still no Lemon but I bought some Vanilla, Ginger and a new one - Rosemary. Haven't tried it yet.

On our first visit, they were set up behind the little shopping village and it was a fairly small market but a nice mix of stalls (a few from the Saturday market there as well.) Since then they've shifted across the road and more stalls have appeared but on our last trip it was hard to really take it in. It was so hot. Absolutely stinking and we were there later and there were more crowds than today. Ugh. I couldn't think. (One poor woman with a heart condition collapsed from the heat and an ambulance had to be called. Fortunately the RFS and possibly the St Johns people were there with display stalls so there were trained first aid people to help her.)

Today it was very warm but we were finished before it got too bad. Bought some nice green beans and asparagus for Tuesday, tried some samples from a stall selling Eastern European sauces and sausages, bought some Hibiscus Flowers in Rose Syrup (Mum loves them in champagne) and Mango and Boab Chutney from a stall selling jams, etc made from native produce (I've never tried Boab. I'm told it's a bit like water chestnut and very high in protein.) Hmm, what else. Some Chicken, Spinach and Cashew Ravioli for dinner and we tried a sample of fried beetroot ravioli. Huh. Not sure about frying but I liked the flavour. Good canape idea, maybe?

There might have been something else but I can't remember it right now. I do remember that we met some sweet dogs. I patted a lovely Koolie x Husky x who knows. She was fluffy and white with faint brown spots and speckles and very loving. And on our way out we met a young Finnish Lapphund who was still being persuaded that people would want to pat her of their own accord, she did not need to leap on them and love them to death. But she's getting there! She was gorgeous, first one I've met. Her owners said there are only about 400 of them in the country.

Then we bought a few last things at the supermarket, came home and I fell into bed and avoided the worst heat of the day.

Now, Chocolate Saltine Toffee is made ... what else do I need to do? Besides tidy up. Um.

Happy thing! I bought this album a few days ago. It's an odd mix but I rather like it. And when it comes to country singers and Christmas carols, the only one I've said that about before is Jo Dee Messina with A Joyful Noise.

venetia_sassy: (Images // puppies! With Santa hats!)

One of the posted-in-November parcels arrived today (Saturday! And there are deliveries tomorrow as well) and while I greatly appreciate the careful packaging of the thin glass coffee cup (I finally broke Mum's last one a few months ago while washing up and we've both failed at finding anything nice in the stores), it was quite the effort to get it unpacked.

Took off the outer layer, cut open the taped box, pulled out mass quantity of packaging ... that surrounded a smaller box which was taped shut. So I cut that open, tried to figure out how to open the box (it was tricky!), got it open, pulled out more wrapping ... and finally found the dainty little cup. Which was also holding a pretty little bag filled with a tea sample.

In the end I think the cup was about 1/8th the size of the original package. If that. But it was intact and it arrived before Christmas so yay!

Carols in the Domain was on television tonight. I haven't turned on the TV in weeks, possibly months (and we have two lovely TVs now!) but I watched Jamie at Home with Bells On a few days ago and drooled over the brussel sprouts and celeriac and turkey (but not the dessert.) Enjoyed that more than the Carols. The medley at the end with all the performers together is always fun and they sing Joyful, Joyful as well but I swear the presenters just get more inane and individual singers even worse every year. We gave up after a while and I put a CD on while I started the Florentines. Took a break to watch the final medley and read some fic but now I'd better get back to it.

Feh. Florentines.

Happy thing!

Song of Joy from A Carols in the Domain 2010

And the traditional Closing Medley from 2008 and why does DW hate me trying to post two vids or writing a bit about them?!?!?!?!)



venetia_sassy: (Images // puppies! With Santa hats!)
Thank you for the holiday card, [personal profile] turlough! And Lancecat, of course. :)

Still don't know what that weird nap was about but I don't seem to be getting the cold so yay! Not what I need right now. I have baking to plan/do and we're going to see a performance of A Comedy of ErrorsThe Tempest tomorrow night. This will be the third year we've gone to a performance by this company and I'm looking forward to it! We'll also be going to Twelfth Night just before New Year.

Sooo, Christmas baking. I made some of this fabulous Salted Honey and Lavender Shortbread for Mum to give to her hairdressers tomorrow. I probably need to make a batch of Florentines for Dee's family (they love the damn things. Be warned, this is what can happen when you make things for people - they will like them so much, they will keep asking for them.) If I have time, I should make some lemon curd since it's been a couple of months since I've managed any but I probably won't have time. I'm considering some Rum and Raisin Shortbread - Mum would like that, Roz and Dee probably would too ... maybe Cranberry and White Chocolate. Who knows with Brother and SiL, I don't think they've ever bothered to tell me if they liked anything I've made for them.

I've usually decided on recipes way before this. I think all my organisation with presents this year overran my baking organisation.

I do want to make this Chocolate Saltine Toffee. I really want to know what it tastes like.

Dug out the slow cooker that I bought a few years ago, used a few times, then stuck in the cupboard. I kept meaning to use it, I just ... didn't. But I want to make this on Christmas Day so I thought I'd better check that the cooker still worked. (The butcher was apparently quite confused as to why I wanted the crackling separately. Wasn't I going to roast them together? Wait, I was doing a pot roast for Christmas? ... Why? Well, why not?) Having made Sesame Chicken last night, I can say it works very well.

Nearly all the presents I've ordered have arrived except a couple of things that were apparently posted at the end of November (from China and England.) Nothing I can do about it though. Still, there's a couple of postal days to go!

Happy thing! Besides recipes. :)

venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)
Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup.

That turned out well. I'm not usually a fan of creamy soups (the smoother they are, the less of them I can eat) but I didn't process it into oblivion, the bacon garnish was excellent and I almost finished my bowl. I used low-fat milk and a mix of cheddar and parmesan and it made for a very rich flavour. I cannot imagine using cream in this. Oof.

The bacon I used was a strip of the honey and port cured bacon we buy from the farmer's market. Oh yeah. It's a good trick - there's a stall that sells freshly cooked bacon and egg rolls using the bacon sold at another stall. First time Mum tried one of the rolls? We bought some of the bacon.

We were supposed to have dinner at Brother's place tonight. Actually we were supposed to have dinner there last Thursday but there was a big contract in the offing and when Mum saw him at Nephew #1's Christmas Concert, Brother was practically twitching with tension which is ... not like him. So Tuesday? Mum said that was fine but when she went to put it in her diary later she went, 'Er...' and called Brother to ask if he realised Tuesday was the 13th and thus his wedding anniversary.

When she called him again today, he said yes, he'd realised the same thing and how about this Thursday? Mum laughed and said didn't he feel like celebrating his anniversary with his Mum and sister? Brother said he thought he should probably take SiL out to dinner instead.

*snickers* Yes, just possibly.

Which mean I am going to be absolutely flattened by Friday. We're off into town tomorrow to see the allergist again. At least a two-hour round trip, mostly by bus this time since car and train were a hassle last time. Hopefully not as much time spent in testing this time. I am looking forward to seeing the city Christmas decorations. I can't remember the last time I was in town in December.

Thursday is the osteopath, another two-hour round trip and I'm usually exhausted and have a headache after an appointment.  Then dinner with Brother and family in the evening. At least with the kids it won't be too late.

I was hoping to see the girls this weekend. Maybe not. Sunday? Maybe. We'll see.

Pretty sure I posted this last year but it's still fabulous.

venetia_sassy: (Images // puppies! With Santa hats!)
I don't like Christmas cake (or pudding) but Mum loves it so I just finished making my maternal aunt's Christmas/Celebration cake recipe and now it is in the oven and I am nursing a sore wrist. It's really a very simple recipe, there's just A LOT OF IT to be mixed together, mostly by hand. Seriously, a mass quanitity of dried and glace fruit goes into this thing and once I'd chopped it all up and set it to marinating in alcohol a few days ago, the idea it would all fit in a 20x20cm cake tin was laughable. But every year it does.

(And yes, I should have made it weeks ago, but Mum was saying 'Tell me how much fruit we need!', I'm saying, 'It's right there on the recipe!' and then she kept forgetting to buy it and then it was too hot ... you get the idea.)

Also cooked tonight was the marinated duck Maryland from market along with pan-roasted purple and orange carrots with crispy sage and some peas. Oh yeah. Reminder to self: do not order anything Maryland in a restaurant, there is no dignified way to get all the meat off.

(I kept my dress clean all the way through cooking the meal, sat down to eat and two minutes later was going, 'oh, this just not fair', while looking at grease spots on my bodice. That duck was tricky.)

Happy things?

Animal families photos

And check out the Great Dane being so gentle with a four-week-old kitten.

"I will climb this mountain! And give you a hug!"
venetia_sassy: (Images // puppies! With Santa hats!)
Rabbit and bacon ravioli with a bit of parmesan is niiice. Even better served with green peas tossed with mint, lemon juice and green onion.

We put the tree together tonight (yes, it's fake one, same one we've had all my life) and I was remembering how tall it seemed when I was a kid and how amazing it was that Mum and Brother could reach high enough to add the last branches to it. Tonight I was adding those branches with no reaching involved - and I'm short! So's Mum! Childhood perspective is funny, isn't it?

(We still need the stepstool to add the star though.)

As ever, we were wondering how on earth we'd fit all the ornaments on, since we only decorate the 1/2-2/3 of the tree we can see (it's in a corner) and we do have this habit of spotting at least one gorgeous new ornament every year and just needing to get it. It used to be that Mum would give me and Brother an ornament each year for when we had our own places but at this point I'm using most of mine here. And buying some myself. *g* I said to Mum at one point, 'Have you noticed how many four-legged and two-winged ornaments we have? We're developing a theme here ...'

We always do manage to fit them all on though!

The seven reindeer have been joined by yet another that I found a Christmas crafts market a couple of weeks ago. He has a delightfully winsome expression.

And the first Christmas carols were played - Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong which I bought last year. I still like The First Noel/Mary Mary the best.


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December 2016

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