Monday, 7 December 2009

Dessert Pizza

Dessert Pizza

Know what's a good idea?

Dessert Pizzas are a good idea. Especially if you have kids.
Maybe not such a good idea if you're concerned about your weight...
just go on a long walk (with kids!) afterwords, this is worth it.

Dessert Pizza

Mostly because of just how easy this is to throw together.
We (the nieces, friend of niece, and I) made pizzas for lunch yesterday and of course we had to have afternoon snacks (although usually our snacks aren't quite so... sugary) and we did have one left-over pizza base..

*Pizza base (or make your own dough, it's not hard! But for convenience sake, I used store-bought bases)
*Cream cheese for our base
*Chocolate (can be chips, we used a bar broke up into squares)
*Fresh fruit (or frozen; we had fresh raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. I LOVE SUMMER BERRY SEASON!!!!)
(or anything else really! go nuts experimenting, this is just what we had around)

Slide that baby into an oven (160 C) for fifteen minutes or so, then let it sit on the counter for another ten-fifteen minutes (DO NOT EAT RIGHT AWAY! Not only will it give the berries a chance to not be molten, but if you let it sit your chocolate will melt and go all ooey and gooey a bit more and that's a VERY GOOD THING)

Dessert Pizza

Enjoy the sugar rush!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Summertime Sunsets.


Summertime sunsets.
One of my favourite times of day.
I've been getting into a habit recently of eating my dinner out on the balcony to watch the sun duck behind the mountains; braving the mosquitoes and all.
It's worth it.


Goodness, I get more and more nervous every time I go out on this thing; it's only a matter of "when" my foot is going to go right through one of the boards now, rather then "if".

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Summer Rolls

Summer Rolls

Mostly to prove I cook things other then desserts as well. It's been.. hot.. here. And frankly when it gets to the "omg don't touch me" hot the last thing I want to do is cook over a hot stove or oven.  So the other day I decided to play around with the rice paper rolls I picked up a couple days ago!

Summer Rolls

The heat made me quite lazy so I just rustled around in the fridge and pulled out a couple of colours; cucumber, carrots and red capsicum.
Some basil and mint from the garden and a can of tuna is what I used. You could use noodles or rice too, but I didn't have any leftovers available and just couldn't raise the interest to cook some just for these. They were delicious without and just as filling, I promise.

So, first step is to fill up a bowl with warm water and soak a sheet of rice paper in it for about 30 seconds.. probably less. I discovered very quickly that you need to keep ontop of this bit  because there's a magic moment when it goes from fairly stiff papery-like object to limp as a noodle and as sticky as cling-wrap in the blink of an eye; fishing a limp, clingy noodle wrap out of the bowl is quite difficult without tearing holes in it... oh dear, that doesn't sound very appetizing does it?  I apologize, but you will understand if you try this out yourselves.

Summer Rolls

Anyways! Bang your rice paper down on the board and start with placing your stuffings at the bottom-most edge. Anything will do really, you probably should slice it up a bit more fine then I have but again.. it was hot, and I was lazy. The gumption just wasn't there.

Summer Rolls

Don't forget your protein! and I added some shredded mint leaves.

Summer Rolls

Then you begin to roll, working from the bottom up; I decorated halfway through with an attractive and tasty basil leaf on mine.
This is an art form that is difficult to master, and I am far from that point. But generally if you roll it up from bottom to top and then tuck in the sides, it looks good enough.

Summer Rolls

It's really tempting to just keep making these once you get going, but don't be fooled by their little packaging; these babies are quite filling.
As you can see I experimented with wrapping techniques, stuffing ratios and even adding in some of the sauce inside the roll.
I whipped up some dipping sauce to go with it, I'm pretty sure it's just soy sauce, some sushi rice vinegar and some crunchy peanut butter whisked together.

Summer Rolls

They were relatively easy and fun to make (I'm thinking this'll be another fun one to do with kids, just think of all the fun non-conventional stuffings you could make!!) and best of all; no heat (aside from warm water) was necessary for the makings.
They may not have been the prettiest summer rolls, but I am deeming them a big success; will make again for sure.. which is good, because I have TONS of rice paper left over!

Monday, 30 November 2009

National Music Month: Men At Work

Phew! Finished already? Where has this month gone...

I started off with a classic, so I feel like I should end with one as well.

What could be more Aussie then Men At Work? And although not my favourite, one of their most famous songs.

So there you have it! One month full of Australian bands; I hope you found something new you liked amongst them all.

Thirty Days

Or at least close enough; thanks to that little intermission from internets failure.
A whole month full of daily posts; the first time I've done -that- in a long time. Go me!


Something simple to round up this month, perhaps.
An update on those frangipani...

Entering in their final stage of glory and of course the best; the thick-petaled flowers are all uncurling...


Even the spectacular pink-lined variety...


And promptly falling off from the wind. Ah the perils of growing on the coast.

December is going to be a busy month, but in a good way. I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

National Music Month: Kid Sam

Beautiful Bokeh

The photography sensation that's gripping the... well, Me!!

Botanical Gardens

Bokeh is essentially all that beautiful blurry bits in the background that transforms a photograph into something that looks quite impressionistic.

Botanical Gardens

Playing around with my macro setting on my workhorse point-n-shoot camera is bound to get some impressive bokeh going on in the background.

Botanical Gardens

Couple that with a beautiful sunny day in a spectacular garden, and the results are good.

Botanical Gardens

VERY good.

Botanical Gardens

Try it out yourselves!!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

National Music Month: Spiderbait

Spiderbait! Some of my favourite rockers, who (in my humble opinion) does one of the best covers of Black Betty EVER!

Coolest Art Experiment Ever

As soon as I saw this experiment blogged about by the fantastic Susie Can Stitch, I KNEW this was something the nieces and I needed to do.
Not just because it's really -really- cool, but also because I had all the materials necessary to do it just lying around the house.

Sharpie Science!!

It was SUCH a big success. They LOVED it!

You can find instructions online for the experiment at Steve Spangler Science's website. But it's very simple; all you need is fabric, permanent markers (I had a bunch of colourful Sharpie markers), rubbing alcohol (we used nailpolish remover), some kind of dropper for the alcohol (we used plastic straws, just putting our fingers over the top to pick up the liquid), and something to stabilize the fabric (old plastic containers, plastic cups, toilet paper rolls and old glass jars were what we experimented with)

Oh, and a good, ventilated area to do this in, as alcohol and marker fumes are VERY smelly!

Step one is to pick which fabric you're going to dye, I have a wide range of various white/off-white fabric in my stash I'd been using as backing fabric; I specifically chose a variety of different blends and textures. There was some patterned fabric too.

Sharpie Science!!Sharpie Science!!

And then you draw in the centre of the fabric; roughly the size of a 20 cent piece Australian (American Quarter). All shapes and squiggles worked! Experiment with different colours; making dots or boxes or little portraits.

Sharpie Science!!

Then grab your straw-full of nail polish and start drop by drop, dropping it into the centre of the fabric and watch the magic bloom!! You can use as little or as much as you like. The goal was to experiment!

Hold onto your seats people!
Sharpie Science!!Sharpie Science!!Sharpie Science!!

WOOOOOOO!!! Magic!

Want to see it again? ME TOO!

Sharpie Science!!Sharpie Science!!
Sharpie Science!!Sharpie Science!!

We all loved it! The girls especially, and it's addicting; watching those colours spread and blend and change right before your very eyes.

Sharpie Science!!

In no time the sizeable pile of squares I had made; sure that they would lose interest before we got anywhere NEAR through it disappeared into beautiful colourful dots.
And we still weren't done! I graciously ran and looted some more of my fabric stash and we kept on going all morning.

A particular moment of joy with my nieces came after encouraging them to give a particular piece of fabric a try; I'm not quite sure what it was made out of, but it was very thin and a little bit.. spongey. Is had dismissed it at first, so sure that it wouldn't work, but after my nudging to give it a try it turned out to not only "work" perfectly, but by far had the most saturated colours out of all the fabrics and had a really interesting absorption patterns; not quite perfect circles like some of the others.
I think that one opened the doors to experimenting and from there they really got into the spirit for the art; trying to make different patterns other then circles and experimenting with fabric that wasn't white and beyond.

Sharpie Science!!

I really recommend this project if you have kids; it's so easy to put together, cheap ingredients and immensely satisfying results, and it'll keep your kids occupied for hours!

These do need to be heat-set though if you plan to wear or do something else with these, and you should be VERY careful with your iron or dryer since alcohol is flammable. I left our finished squares out in the garage over night to let them dry completely then spent the next day ironing them all.
We had a lot of fun trying to come up with different ideas on what to do with them too, Isobelle thinks I should sew them into a quilt and give them to someone who needs a warm blanket. Angela thinks I should make them into barrettes.

Maybe we'll see if there's something we can't do together the next time we get to hang out.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Turn-a-Square Hat!

I've been busy, busy crafting, sadly.. I still can't share any of it with you, Doh!
Which is a shame, because I'm pretty excited to share some, just a few more weeks now what is it, 27 sleeps until Chrissy?

Anyways.. something that I CAN show you is a bit of birthday knitting I did a couple weeks ago, modeled by the happy recipient:

Birthday Hat!

Pattern: Turn A Square Hat by Jared Flood (Ravelry link!)
Yarn: The last of my dark brown Lion Brand 100% wool and Noro
Needles: US 5 and US 6 circulars

Aside from going down a needle size, I didn't change anything about the pattern; it's so quick to make (I threw this sucker together in an afternoon when I realized I was running out of time to send the package in time to reach the recipient in time!) and what a satisfying result! I do love myself some Noro.

Birthday Hat!

He loves it too and my fears that it would be too big seem to be for naught, fits him just fine!
Happy Birthday to my favourite guy in Kosovo!

National Music Month: Dappled Cities

Okay, okay. Back on track with music that I actually enjoy!

Thursday, 26 November 2009


Bed Linen

Current linen on my bed; I'll just let you guess how stoked I was to find that tiger pillowcase.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you Americans out there.
Today I took some time to be mindfully thankful, I think it's a good exercise to do;

* I am thankful for my incredible parents who are so supportive of me.
* I am thankful for my friends, especially those who go out of their way to check up on me.
* I am thankful for my clever hands which allow me to express my creativity in many ways, all of which bring me joy.
* I am thankful for the beautiful place that I am living; beauty beyond words to describe.

"As we express out gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
- John F. Kennedy

National Music Month: Ben Lee

How about some sugary campfire pop to make up for yesterday's angst?
All together now...

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

National Music Month: Silverchair

Mmmm.. smell that? That's some teen angst right there.
Oh, Silverchair... there is a good percentage of music I keep around just because it reminds me of times past and events.
Oh highschool, you tried so hard to be gritty and hardcore, but really you're just plain silly.

Madam Redback

Not all of my various neighbors and house-guests play nicely.
I found this gorgeous redback spider while poking around in the garage, pulling the boogie boards out for the summer.
Looks like it's time for a good clean out!

Madam Redback

Gorgeous, ain't she? Pity she plays so mean otherwise I'd tolerate her hanging around a bit more.
Besides, it's far past time I got my first boogie-boarding in for the season and so she's got no choice but to give up the board (that big blue thing in the background)

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Signs of Summer

Botanical Gardens

Tis the season, again. Or at least, it was SUPPOSED to have been the season.
The jacarandas, the definitive signal that summer is here around this place, are all in bloom.
I decided last year that I would take a trip up to Grafton; about an hour's drive north of me, this year because it's a town known for its beautiful jacaranda trees.
The town loves these trees so much that they hold a festival in the trees honour every year.
I was expecting there to be more noise about it in the paper; but to my dismay when it occurred to me to check I learned that I had just MISSED this years festival by two days. :P
Also we had been hit by another week of horrible heavy rain causing flooding all along the coast in my area. So I decided to take a trip up north anyway to see how it was looking, but wasn't expecting anything truly breath-taking.


As expected, by the time I got up there; most of the blossoms had been knocked off the trees and washed away.



There was a couple trees stubbornly hanging onto their purple decorations, despite it all, but it was clear I had missed the peak of the seasonal blooms.

365 035
Taken on November 10, 2009 in Grafton, NSW.


Oh well, I suppose there's always next year... at least the trip wasn't a TOTAL bust:
Grafton Yarn

I found a yarn shop! But it's only open on Thursdays and Saturdays... bummer! I'll have to visit again sometime.


Also, I'm endlessly amused by the seemingly inability for trees in Australia to grow in straight lines.

National Music Month: Wolfmother

Woooooolfmother! You can't really go wrong with rock 'n roll.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Surprise Muffins!

Caramel Surprise Muffins

The cooking part of my lovely Sunday mostly involved this: baking muffins!
But these aren't your average chocolate chips!

Caramel Surprise Muffins

These babies have a jersey caramel in the middle!

I'm lucky enough to have two nieces who are at least some-what interested in cooking. They weren't into the prepping and measuring, but they were more then happy to mix up the ingredients and divvy the mixture up into the muffin tins, and of course hiding the jersey caramel in the middle!

Caramel Surprise Muffins

Chocolate- Caramel Surprise! Muffins

2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
100g dark chocolate, grated (I only had about 50g to grate, so I threw in a handful of dark chocolate chips)
2/3 cup milk (I used vanilla flavoured soy milk)
125g butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 jersey caramels, halved

To make!

1. Preheat oven to moderate (180 degrees, C). Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin pan.
2. Sift flour into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and chocolate.
3. In a jug, whisk together butter, milk and egg. Make a little well in the centre of flour mixture and at wet mixture in all at once. Mix lightly until just combined- don't over-mix!!
4. Spoon enough mixture into each recesss of muffin pan to half fill. Place half a jersey caramel in the centre of each one. Cover evenly with remaining muffin mixture so the caramels are now in the centre of the muffins!
5. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Caramel Surprise Muffins

These are definitely worth enjoying while they are still warm so the surprise inside is still melty and gooey; but don't eat them right away, especially if you are enjoying them with children as that caramel inside can get quite molten right out of the oven.

National Music Month: Philadelphia Grand Jury

Philly Jays! Another new-to-me band that I've really fallen in love with.

Oh, and I take back what I said about the Art vs Science music video, THIS is one of the best clips I've seen in a long time; just goes to show you don't need a big budget to make something awesome!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Sunday's View

Sunday's View

Today has been a wonderful Sunday.
Full of everything I love.
Crafting, Cooking, Beach, Games and two lovely little girls to share it all with.
I'll be sure to tell you all about it over the coming week (also that trip to Grafton I hinted at the other day!)