Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Last Day of Winter

Here is the last day of winter. It rained, the wind blew straight off the South Pole and the Sun didn't make an appearance at all. Lucky us. Our water catchments are nearly at 80% the fullest they've been for years. Tomorrow Spring will sprung, the grass will riz and the little birds are busy making more little birds. Perhaps a new season is a time for a new burst of enthusiasm.... I'll let you know

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Daring Bakers August Challenge

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alasa or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

Each month there is a challenge with recipes and you are supposed to make that.
Recipe Source: The brown butter pound cake recipe is adapted from the October 2009 edition of Gourmet (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Brown-Butter-Pound-Cake-355435). The vanilla ice cream is from ice cream genius David Lebovitz (http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2009/02/vanilla_ice_cream.html), adapted from The Perfect Scoop. The chocolate glaze for the petit fours is a larger adapted version of this ganache from Godiva Chocolate (http://www.godiva.com/recipes/recipe.aspx?id=482) and the meringue for the Baked Alaska is a larger version of this meringue from Gourmet, May 1995 (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Lemon-Meringue-Pie-10149).
I made the cake and the glaze to the recipes provided.
OK I didn't make vanilla ice cream I made caramel the vanilla recipe would have been easier but since when do I let that affect what I am doing. I can't call it Salted Caramel Icecream because I didn't put the salt in Greg is not a salt lover and I did make the ice cream for him. Currently the ice cream is churning the cake is cooling...Cake you ask yes, brown butter pound cake recipe courtesy of The Daring Bakers website.
So I websurfed my way through three caramel icecream recipes and came up with this mixture. My cream was only 23% not the 34% recommended in the recipes so I substituted a cup of cream for the milk. Erin's recipe didn't have butter but Cindy and Davids did so I put in 100 grams of butter.

Peta's Caramel Ice Cream
1 cup sugar
100 grams butter - chopped into small bits.
3 cups cream - seperated into 1 cup and 2 cups
3 eggs
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Firstly read the recipe through now this is not a read a bit do a bit recipe.

Put the sugar into a thick bottomed pan and place over low heat. Don't plan to go anywhere. You have to be right there not looking at the recipe (Like I did).
You need a fork to stir the sugar with as it toffees it doesn't matter if you get crystals this is for the sauce so don't panic. Stand there and watch it melt and give it a bit of a stir.
Let it colour until you can see a slight haze, it should be dark like it is about to burn. Take it off the heat and quickly stir in the butter and 1 cup of cream. Stir like mad and put it back on the low heat until it melts together nicely. Pour into a metal bowl and sit it in a sink of cold water (NO ice you are only cooling it.
Next I put the eggs and 1/4 cup caster sugar in the bowl of my mixer and beat them together. I also put the two cups of cream in the pot I made the caramel in and heated that until it was about to boil then tipped it slowly into the eggs with the mixer running as slow as I culd get it too.
Then I tipped the egg mixture back into the pot and stirred it like mad over low heat until it go to 150 degrees F on my sugar thermometer. Then I strained it back into the mixer bowl and back on low speed.
Next add the vanilla and then I slowly added the caramel mixture and let it whisk for a couple of minutes.

I strained all that into a metal bowl and sat it in the sink of cold water until it cooled and then I put it in the freezer until it was really cold. I did stir it a few times and Greg did a couple of taste tests to make sure it was alright...I think he likes it.
Then into the ice-cream churn, this was my first use of my new toy and I think next time I will let the mixture get colder and I am storing the bowl part in the freezer as I don't think it was cold enough the instructions said to put it in the freezer for 24 hours and it was barely that. But it had started to freeze when I took it out and put it in a container in the freezer to firm up.

I made cake and ice cream sandwiches and drizzled the chocolate sauce over them. The photos were terrible I must find my tripod.
These recipes were easy to use and tasted great I am really looking forward to tomorrow when the next challenge comes out.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Food - Ice Cream Maker part 2

Well I did go shopping this morning and on my way to the Farmers Market I stopped at Harvey Norman and browsed through the small appliances section. I nearly bought a rice cooker in a moment of shopping obsession but managed to get a grip on myself in time. I don't need a rice cooker for heavens sake. What I did want was an ice cream churn. The first one I looked at was a thing of beauty.... Own freezing motor, lots of bits and a good brand...and it cost over $330 dollars. Cripes I thought well I thought something else but it is a rude word so I won't bruise your ears with it. Right beside the gold plated one....OK I couldn't really see any gold but it should have been... anyway right beside the expensive one was a much cheaper one. It didn't have a freezer unit you put the bowl section in the freezer and then add the cold liquid to it and put the motor part ontop and mix away.

For under $60.00 it was a much better buy I will only be able to make a Litre at a time so hopefully I won't blow the diet. I am going to make a sugar free sorbet as well for those times when I just have to have something yummy.
I have been directed to another Salted Caramel Ice Cream at Figs Cheese and Lavender (thanks Cindy) and I am going to make it first thing tomorrow. I was going to do it today and put in the refrigerator overnight but I didn't get around to it. I'll show it to you after it is done.

Food - Pierogi and the Daring Kitchen

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

A couple of months ago I joined "The Daring Kitchen" and then went on the diet and drove into the Sunrise to Mount Gambier for months on end and deferred starting until things calmed down a bit.
Greg and I have dubbed Saturday "Anything goes" as far as food is concerned so this seemed the ideal time to throw myself into a Kitchen Challenge. The August Cooks Challenge is Pierogi
what better I thought for my low carb diet than dumplings stuffed with potato and other stuff.
So I thought I would halve the recipe and so I mixed
1 and 1/4 cups of wholemeal flour with half a beaten egg and 1/2 cup of water and a pinch of salt

Then I had to let that sit for at least 20 minutes it was more like half an hour. While it was sitting I cut enough potato for what was supposed to be 3/4 cup of potato and cooked that. I bought a bunch of fresh dill this morning at the Farmers Market in Mount Barker and so I chopped up a couple of tablespoons of that, a small onion finely diced, some fresh cream and butter and mixed that into the cooked potato and mashed it all together.
Then I let it get completely cold (Very important)

After the dough had sat I rolled it out to about 3 mm thick. This is a soft dough and still quite sticky so I needed too have plenty of flour on the mat while rolling it out. I cut it into 10 cm circles, I wet the edges and put a teaspoon of the potato in the center and folded it over and pressed the edges with a fork.

Then I put on a pot of water on let it boil and put the dumplings in. After they floated I let them boil for a few minutes and then pulled them out and drained them. Then I put some lemon infused olive oil and butter in a pan and fried them until they were crispy and golden brown

I drained them on some paper towel while the salmon and the beans I added for a token gesture towards healthy eating.

Topped with some natural yogurt mixed with a bit more dill and lemon juice. Greg gave it a big thumbs up. He doesn't like potato so that was good. Half the recipe gave me 15 large dumplings. We ate most of them and I froze 5 so we can see how they freeze. Everybody else who has made them says they freeze beautifully.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Food - Ice Cream Maker

I have decided to start giving a warning in the title of each of my blog posts. Food, textiles etc. I looove food as much as textiles so bear with me. I have been lurking around at Daring Bakers and Cooks and as the diet is relaxed now and Greg is getting a bit skinny I am going to make him something special so I am off tomorrow to buy an ice cream churn. I am going to make the Salted Caramel IceCream without the salt most likely as Greg isn't a salt lover. I am thinking a small one is the most useful for us. Also if I make Greg's favorite then he will eat most of it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tah Daa

Tah Daa - Two things of great interest. I have finished the jacket it took a lot longer than I thought but that is mostly because of my Aquarian nature. I haven't decided yet if I need to put some sort of closure on it or not so the jacket is hanging on the dressmakers dummy in the studio while I decide. I haven't quite finished running in the ends but that will come. I have started another in purples and blacks and I am going to run the ends in as I go.
Also It is raining...We live in the driest state in the driest country in the world so real winter rain is a usually a thing of memory. We used to get winter rain but haven't had much to speak of for some years. So this winter has been a real winter. It has rianed for the last week so our tanks are full and the ground is wet. It is cold and miserable outside and unfortunately I have to go to work which means getting out of the recliner and going to work. Darn... But I love the rain so yay for rainy weather, I was moaning not long ago about the lack of rain and now we have lots so thanks God.
This is the view from the window in our family room.

Real Food

Real food is a hot topic these days. Surely all the additives and preservatives can't be good for us. I am not giving up ice cream or any of those things I love but I am going to make my own. I made coconut icecream (no dairy or added sugar) and the grandkids loved it and so did I. I think I really need an icecream maker. My next venture into the land of icecream is caramel Greg loves caramel icecream and if I make his favorite he will eat most of it. Here's a great sounding recipe for Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Things We Do or Diet dessert

The things I have been doing lately are a bit humdrum but they had to be done. Firstly Greg and I pulled all the stuff out of my studio that was on the floor and I have put most of it away/back/somewhere else.

My work table is what Greg feels is a handy place to dump stuff and then he wants to know why I don't use it more.

But I shall tidy that too.
So I have put away/shifted/rearranged until it is starting to look a lot better. I shall show you when I am done.
Other things I have done. I have nearly finished my scumbled jacket just need to crochet some ties for the front. I win there, since I have taught my friends how to scumble they are working on their own and I felt I needed to prove I am not a total slacker and finish mine. It looks nothing like what I had in mind when I embarked on the journey but I like it. I shall show a photo when it is done.
In between work and sticking to the diet I am a busy bee.
The diet is still a success. I stuck to the three weeks of maintenence and I have lost a little bit more which is a big yay for me as I was worried that when I started to eat more I would put it back on.
Tonight Greg had chickpea and vegetable curry with rice and I had the curry with chicken and no rice.

I also made a sort of lemon delicious. I have cut down on dairy and had some coconut cream in the refrigerator which really needed to be used so I made it to be diet friendly and I really wanted something sweet other than fruit so I made this.

Diet Lemon Delicious
3 eggs seperated
2 tablespoons stevia
1 cup reduced fat coconut cream
1/2 cup wholemeal self raising flour
1/3 cup lemon juice and grated rind of 1 lemon

Beat egg yolks with 1 tablespoon sugar until ight and creamy. Beat in coconut cream, flour, lemon juice and rind.
Beat egg whites until stiff and beat in other tablespoon of stevia.
Fold into lemon mixture. Pour into greased 2 liter oven proof bowl and stand in shallow pan of hot water and place into 180 degree Celsius oven and bake for 50 - 60 minutes or until firm and golden. Serve with fat free yogurt or just some fresh passionfruit.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Diet

I have had several people ask for more details in regard to "The Diet" I am on. It is a bit of a story, anyway. some months ago I went to my Hormone doctor and she had lost a heap of weight. so as I had become in my own opinion FAT I said "WTFudge diet are you on and why am I not on it?". Turns out she was trialling a diet that is very popular in America and Europe. It is called "The HCG Diet" if you google it there is a lot of information on the WWW.
So what happens is you inject yourself with human growth hormone for 43 days. the first three days you pig out majorly and then go on 550 to 800 calories a day. No sugar, no starchy foods and no fat. Definitely no alcohol, chocolate etc. My doctor then gave me a list of web sites to go and get the info from and told me to have a good think about it and come back with questions. Now it is no use thinking I will cheat a little bit as you just can't. But if you stick to it then a woman can loose up to 15 kilo's in the 6 weeks. Once you loose the 15 kilos you stop the injections and if you need to loose more then you wait 6 weeks and then have another round of injections. I have finished the injections and I lost 14 kilos. After the injection phase you go onto phase 3 which is resetting your body clock so you must eat a certain number of calories a day which you work out using a BMI. You can also use that to work out what you should be eating to maintain your current weight and then reduce that amount by a couple of hundred calories a day to loose weight. I worked out that I should be eating 1550 calories a day and there is no way I was eating that much before. But my doctor told me that my old habit of eating less that I needed but a lot of those calories were starchy food and that is one of the reasons I was getting fatter. In fact when we were in Tasmania I warned Greg that i would be eating whatever I damn well wanted as I had decided to go on the diet when we got home and I lost 3 kilos and I was eating more.
After 3 weeks of phase 3 you go onto phase 4 which is for the rest of your life and you slowly reintroduce all foods but with the starchy foods grains potatoes etc you add in one a week and if you start to put weight on then you know that that is a food you should avoid.
Anyway. the injections are with an insulin needle and don't hurt and the hormone and diet stimulate your body to burn its own fat so you son't get ungry if you gorge properly on the three starting days. I don't know how many doctors know about this but it worked really well for me. Hope this is the info you wanted.


It is SALA Festival time here in South Australia, SALA stands for South Australian Living Artists. Lots of groups and artists have exhibitions on and The Embroiderers Guild of South Australia is one of them this year. Now for some shameless self back patting. If you go to the link (just click on Embroiderers Guild of South Australia) and scroll down the page to SALA and look at the card the guild printed for promotion and you shall see the photo on it is the same as the banner above. That photo is of my work. I tried to copy it and reprint it here but couldn't. I am going to go on Saturday and see the exhibition and shall bring a card home and scan it into my computer and I'l post it then.

Healthy Ceaser Salad

Low fat Ceaser Salad
Wash a baby Cos lettuce and pull it apart.
Cook 150 grams of chicken tenderloins in a cafe grill between bake paper.
Cook 50 grams of fat free bacon.
Skip the fried croutons unless you really want them try crumbling some fat free melba toasts instead.
Mix it all together with half the dressing below.
Favorite salad dressing - 1/4 cup fat free yogurt, juice of 1/2 a big lemon or a whole small one, tablespoon of pesto or the basil in a tube, two anchovies with the oil blotted off (or not), salt and pepper to taste. Mash it all together and if too thick just add a little water to thin it. If you must you can add a couple of drops of Stevia