I'm bored and in need of a new experiment...Okay I'm not bored, I'm just procrastinating life's important things like taxes and domestic chores ... So with the boys off doing MAN things, Miss T and I had candy plans.  This lolly pop recipe has been adapted from Gesine Bullock Prado's, SugarBaby Cookbook and is super easy... PS this is a fabulous cookbook if you love sugar and a kitchen experiment! PPS She is Sandra Bullock's equally talented sister!

Pantry Must Haves

2 cups of sugar
3/4 Cup of cornsyrup
1/2 a lemon (squeezed)
1/2 Cup of water (or Clear flavoured sparkling water)
2 Drops of Food Colouring per tray
1 1/2 Teaspoons of extracts of your choice per tray

Equipment

Pam NON-stick baking spray oil
Saucepan

Letter Cutters
Pop Sticks
Mini muffin tin
Baking paper or two silpats 

Candy thermometer
Small spatula
Step One- Make the Sugar Syrup
  1. In a large saucepan combine sugar, lemon juice, corn syrup and water (or sparkling flavoured water)
  2. Over a medium heat boil until the sugar dissolves
  3. Clip a candy thermometer to the pan
  4. Increase the heat to high 
  5. Heat sugar syrup to 300F or 149C 
Step Two- Setting the Candy (Candy will set fast so have your equipment ready and work quickly)
  1. Place Silpat or baking paper on two baking trays
  2. Pour sugar syrup onto each tray evenly
  3. Using a toothpick swirl in food colour, one colour per tray and then add extract for flavour (skip extract if you used flavoured water)
  4. Allow to set until hard
Step 3- Cracking the candy
  1. Using a mullet or your hand (be careful candy is sharp) break up candy
  2. Mix the two colours together into a mixing bowl (In a seperate bowl place a small handful aside to attached the stick with)
  3. Wipe down silpat
Step 4- Cooking the candy (preheat oven to 225F or 110C)
  1. Grease Mini Muffin Tray with Pam
  2. Place a single layer of candy shards into each muffin hole (Leaving no spaces)
  3. Cook for 10 minutes
  4. Then cool until candy is hard
  5. Once cool, tip candy circles on tray
  6. Repeat until all candy has been used
Step 5- Attaching the stick - WORK QUICKLY!
  1. Place spare candy shards onto a tray (Using baking paper or silpat)
  2. Place in oven for 5 minutes
  3. Using small spatula sprayed with non-stick spray pick up one of the shards 
  4. Place onto the top of the stick, then adhere to the candy
  5. Add more if needed
  6. IF YOUR CANDY HARDENS TOO FAST- PLACE INTO THE OVEN FOR ANOTHER 5 MINUTES

To create letter POPS:
USE LARGE LETTER CUTTER (washed Play dough cutters are brilliant)!

  1. Lay out letters needed and grease cutters
  2. After breaking candy into shards spread evenly onto a lined baking tray (with very little spacing).
  3. Melt in oven at the above temp for 10 minutes
  4. Remove from oven and place greased letters into candy (WORK FAST)
  5. Allow candy to rest for a moment
  6. Then wobble each letter to ensure that the cut has been made
  7. Remove the letter and wait for the candy to harden.
  8. Then remove with a small spatula
  9. Add stick following the above instructions 
  10. Remelt unused candy and repeat...
 
 
How do fathers bond with their daughters? Well playing Barbies wasn't my Dad's idea of fun, nor was dressing my Cabbage Patch Kids...My childhood was spent at Victoria Park (Home to Collingwood Football Club) or beside a cricket field...Every Saturday mum would pack us lunch, and decked out in black and white, we would drive to Victoria Park for the Footy...Hot jam doughnuts for half time and when there was a win, we got a player's badge for our duffle coats (now that was a fabulous 80's look)...
Footy was our thing - Dad, Leo (little Bro) and me...So as you imagine when I married a Brit, who decided to go against the family tradition and support another club, it didn't go down too well...Then when Grandson Number 1 stepped onto the scene in 2001, the battle of the footy code was on..."Who will this young lad support?  'The 'Pies' or 'the Lions'?" 2001 was also the year of the Collingwood v Brisbane Grand Final.  Disappointed by the loss and with a smug Brit rubbing it in, as promised, Dad brought this young man a jersey with the Lion on it and proudly took him to many Brissy games... PS No sandwiches for this young lad, he was fed HOT meat pies from a very young age. By the wa,y Grandchildren No's 2 & 3 wear the Black and White to honor their fabulous Grandfather who sadly they never meet!

HOT MEAT PIES....

Step 1. Cut and Roll Dough

Step 2- place large dough circle into greased Muffin tin

Step 3- Add mince mixture and lid

Step Four : Using a pastry brush- brush on some egg and sprinkle on sesame seeds ****REPEAT****

Step 5: Bake for 30 minutes in a Preheated oven at 400F...

Step 6: Leave to cool for a moment- add sauce and now you have an Aussie Meat PIE...Although the ones from the TUCK SHOP in NYC are less hassle and fabulous!

Pantry Must Haves for the Meat Filling xo

500g of Mince meat
salt
Pepper
Worcestershire Sauce (to taste)
4 tablespoons Tomato Puree
1 tablespoon of Tomato sauce 
1 tablespoon of HP Sauce (brown Sauce) 
3-5 tablespoons of Warm water or beef stock
1 tablespoon of Oil
3 cloves of Garlic
1 Onions (finely chopped)
Herbs if you like (I use Rosemary or a bay leaf)
1 tablespoon cornstarch to thicken.



To make the meat filling: 
  • Brown the onion, garlic, and herbs in a little oil.
  • Add meat and stir
  • Add Tomato Puree, tomato sauce, HP, Worcestershire sauce, (How much? Personal taste -above is a guideline). Stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add few tablespoons of warm water (one at a time) and stir in the cornstarch...(it should be stew consistency) and taste, often..."I like a kick to mine so I add more Worcestershire sauce."
  • Add Salt and pepper for taste and simmer on a low heat for an hour 
  • Continue to stir, adding more stock/water if it gets to dry!
  • While simmering, make your pastry...
Pastry (you can cheat and buy shortcrust store pastry) 
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 200g Butter (room temp)
  • 220g Sieved plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3-5 tablespoons of warm water (add one TBLS at a time)
  • Sesame seeds
  • A Greased muffin tin
  • 2 circle cutters (Pie Base and lid)
Directions for Pastry
  • Make Pastry 30 minutes before cooking
  • I make my dough in a Kitchen Aide, with the dough attachment...
  • Add flour, salt and butter cubes  bowl.  
  • Mix on a low speed 
  • Then add water, one tablespoon at time. 
  • At a medium speed, mix until the pastry comes together. 
  • Form pastry into a ball
  • Dust on a little extra flour and then wrap in Cling wrap
  • Place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes
  • Remove dough from fridge for 10 minutes
  • On a floured board roll out dough thinly.
  • Using a circle cutter- Cut the base (large cutter) and the lid (smaller cutter)..
  • Follow the photos to your RIGHT
  • Using a pastry brush- brush on some egg and sprinkle on sesame seeds ****REPEAT****

Dessert: Iced VOVO's

 
 

WHAT ARE YOU?
I'm the OX
Dependable
Honest
Hardworking
Patient
And bloody stubborn! ?

My Family 

Picture
Click here to tips on creating a Lantern
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Click here to find yours

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For step by step instruction- please click here!

A note from the wise Claire K
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life – Confucius.

He was a very wise man Confucius. If we all took heed of everything he said there would be a lot of happy, satisfied people out there. This quote is one of my very favourites and something I aim for.

Confucius has a lot of quotes and quite a few of them can be found in Fortune Cookies. 

Fortune Cookie Messages

There is a true and sincere friendship between you and your friends.

You find beauty in ordinary things, do not lose this ability.

Ideas are like children; there are none so wonderful as your own.

It takes more than good memory to have good memories.

Click on the below for more printable quotes from chinesefortunecookie.com
fortune-cookie-quotes.pdf
File Size: 12 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

Fortune cookies – recipe from Gifts from the Kitchen by Annie Rigg
makes about 15
  • 100g plain flour
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75g butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • strips of paper with messages
Pre-heat the oven to 150C fan-forced and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Use an electric mixer to whisk the egg whites until they are foamy. Add the icing sugar and continue to whisk until the sugar has dissolved into the egg.

Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and use a wooden spoon to stir them through.

Pour in the melted butter and stir it through too.

Set the bowl aside to rest for 10 minutes.

On the reverse-side of each piece of baking paper, draw 2 10cm circles.

Spread each circle with a very thin layer (less than 1tsp full) of batter.

Bake the rounds for 6-8 minutes or until they turn golden.

Working VERY quickly, flip the circle over, place the paper strip in the middle, fold the biscuit in half and then pinch the two points together backwards.

Set them in a muffin tin to hold their shape while they cool.

Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Fortune cookies will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

 
 


“Very often the children would be in Queens one day and next in the Bronx if an apartment was available." Homeless with Homework
I don't have the answers nor the solution...I'm not going to quote stats or play the blame game...I'm not an expert nor political player.  I'm just a mum who in 2007, when looking for a school for her beautiful 6 year old was numbed by a statistic listed by several NYC schools, highlighting the percentage of homeless children attending their school...

We can't change the world, nor save all these children but we can ponder this question - WHY? 
So tonight we fought about dinner and we worked through our homework in the comfort of home. We watched a little movie and chatted to Grandma in OZ.  Then I kissed my children goodnight and read them a story... Sometimes in the hassle of life we forget about just how lucky we are to have a place we call home! 
 
 
A bump and a kick.  A rounded belly that grows for 9 months not from too much cake but from a little person growing inside.  A magical time, a little surreal and a memory that you will never forget.  It's a moment you'll hold dear to your heart as you snuggle that baby for the very first time. That first little smile, that grows into a giggle. That warm fuzzy feeling that is ever so sweet...So, with a hug and kiss and breakfast for 8, we celebrate a bundle of joy about to enter a dear friend's life xo



Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche (From our beautiful host, Jen) xo

2 Tbspns olive oil
1/2 cup onions
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 cups favourite vegetables chopped (eg broccoli, asparagus etc)
4 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh parsley or oregano
1-4 once can of diced green chilies
2 cups grated cheddar cheese (or Havarti)
Black pepper

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil. Add onions, minced garlic and vegetables. Heat until softened (about 5 minutes). 
In a large bowl whisk  eggs and heavy cream. Stir in vegetable and onion mixture along with the herbs, grated cheese and pepper.  
Mix well, pour into a 9 inch pie pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
 
 
ICE hockey - love it!
Soccer- forced to love it...My preteen a mean goalie and half my week is spent at a soccer field!
Baseball - Also forced...Preteen loves it...Me, I refer to it as "watching paint dry". Although the sneaky bottle of wine and cheese with the mums always helps the time to fly by...
Basketball- it's okay...
NFL- I JUST DON"T GET IT...The advertising overkill, the stopping and starting and the gear, REALLY! Where I come from we put an A in front of FL (A for Awesome Australians. N, for Naff [only teasing yankie mates]). Our footy players wear tight shorts, tight jerseys and are covered in body oil - and half the stadium is filled with women (not sure why but we love our footy!).  Okay my hubby gets the cheerleader part, but where is our entertainment...Men wearing shoulder pads and big helmets, just doesn't cut it!  But I'm always willing to get involved in a Tailgate Party, once I work out what it is???

So, what is a Tailgate? I had no idea until yesterday morning when I recieved an invite from a mate on Sesame St...The invite titled 'Tebow with the XXX Family'. Tailgate - my house 5pm, the Broncos are playing!" then she attached a you tube video.  Firstly who, or what is Tebow? Second what is a tailgate?

TEBOW

TAILGATE...Wikipedia, saved the day...

While researching the net for this blog dribble that we so proudly write I came across- BUTCH BAKERY, 'Where butch meets buttercream'...Their menu- Beer Run, Rum and Coke, B-52, Mojito and Tailgate cupcakes...A quick email to Nikki, Mr H and Martha, "Ladies/gentlemen- Road Trip- NYC for Man Cakes..."

Fascinated by the Beer Rum Cupcake and now understanding what a tailgate was, I decided to experiment... First stop- a recipe, love google! Miss Make has a cute blog and an interesting recipe for Blue Moon beer cupcakes...No Blue Moon in the fridge, how about Newcastle Brown Ale- Britain's finest, so the label says!  So, as my daughter licked the mixing paddle covered in beer infused mixture repeating "Mumma -Yummy", I thought we better remove the paddle and make some...Ginger icing.  And so we gave birth to  a new cupcake- "The Ginger Beer Cupcake"!





In true kate style I also had to create my own version.Well it was cold outside, and I had plenty of domestic business to avoid! 

Following my cupcake recipe, I replaced the milk with BEER...
For this experiment I did 1/2 milk, 1/2 beer but added another 1/4 cup of beer for more flavour...


Next batch- skip the milk and add MORE Beer...

Ginger Icing:
A blogging mate,  "Cheetahs in my shoes" shared a fabulous recipe with me...

Otherwise- make a buttercream icing, grate in some fresh ginger, add some ground ginger and taste test along the way...



I
've been told that it's the man's JOB to purchase the keg and when this HOST purchased the keg I think he was planning for a college crowd not a bunch of 30-40 somethings, with small children in tow xo

So, what happened to the KEG? I'm still waiting to hear OR maybe they're still recovering...It's been very quiet on Sesame ST this morning...

As for the Score? 
Sorry, too busy chatting x

Plenty of Beer and plenty of fabulous FOOD...
But these Bacon Wrapped Dates made by a neighbour, were to die for!
Cut strips of bacon in half and par cook (cook half way...but leave so it's still pliable and can be wrapped around the date). While the bacon cools, Wrap the bacon around the date and secure with a toothpick.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 10 minutes & serve immediately.

Martha's Version:
Fill the pitted dates with gorgonzola cheese or almonds (or both).  
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Cheetahs in my Shoes
 
 
4 and 1/2 years ago we packed up our beachside house in Melbourne and moved to America... Like many foreigners moving abroad you think that you're prepared but you quickly come to realize that you're not even close...We searched the internet to get an understanding of schools, housing, insurance and the cost of living...We spoke with a relocation agent who we quickly realized was based in Texas and trying to give us advice about living in New York!!... Week One- the tears flowed, "What have we done?" -  our first reality check- Rental costs- out of this world (where were those cheap rental homes that I saw on the internet?) and then health insurance "WHAT!? HOW MUCH?!" My hubby's work pays for most of it, but still we pay a huge chunk...So that was Week One...Still excited and living in the heart of NYC, we sucked it up, "the good and the bad."  We were in NYC, that was pretty surreal! 

Then came the understanding of the schools, grading and the overwhelming amount of holidays that these children get...Let's just say that not a month goes by without a half day, or public holiday and we get the Jewish holidays, as well as the Christian...Life is good for the American student, not to mention a teacher! Not sure how both parents manage to work but I can understand why Nannies are so popular!

Then we found Seasame Street and a fabulous school for our preteen-with resources that I would dream about in OZ, and this was a state school!  But then we discovered: council taxes (Health insurance was bad, but what was this?!) Once again we sucked it up and breathed deeply with every increase, reminding ourselves that our children are getting a fabulous education...And we don't have to put out our garbage, they come around the back and kindly get it for you...Well there has to be some perks at a $10,000 plus tax cost per year.  We've had many American moments, some we question: check books, NFL (Shhh), work cards, grey immigrant offices, bread that is sweet, tipping and taxes (really?!)...and some fabulous: cheap petrol, cars, food and clothing is a huge perk to this foreigner's experience...Living 30 minutes from one of the most amazing cities in the World, NYC is the greatest perk! But the friends we have meet have made this experience truly amazing and the discovery of POTLUCK...Love it!
So on Monday I sent out an email to some mummy friends "POTLUCK ladies, I'll get some fabulous fresh bread and everyone bring a filling." Lunch on a budget- POTLUCK is your answer...We gossiped, we laughed, drank tea and we ate fabulous sandwiches- while the kids played and licked the icing off cupcakes! Life is complex, but time with great mates should be simple and sweet xo Our American journey continues with more road blocks to overcome but to my dear friends I thank you for making this journey such fun.  And for those who have returned home, I miss you. Life as a foreigner- there's always a goodbye and an airport run to be had and that's not fun. xo

A recipe for POTLUCK...
Hosting a lunch on a budget!

Send out an email inviting some great mates to pop over for brunch, lunch, dinner or a few drinks...

Give them a base to work with such as bread or a pizza and ask them to bring something to help create a great meal (Nothing specific, just something -POTLUCK)!

Put on the kettle, pour the champagne or grab a few beers...
Chat about nothing, everything and laugh!


PS: Are you enjoying the dribble we write,  The pizza poll is still open- what would you order?

 
 

As the saying goes, a picture tells a thousand words...
My kids have two inspiring Grandpas: 
Scottish Grandpa 
&
 Pa ( their guardian angel)

Scottish Grandpa's Recent Trip- We hate airports and farewells xo

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All we did was add fresh herbs, not dried xox

We loved Muma Giovanna's Lasagna 




and we added...

Goodbye Grandpa 
Garlic Bread
In a motar pestle, add garlic (at least 8 cloves), a little salt and mixed fresh herbs...CRUSH and then mix into real butter (at room temp)...

Cut your Baguette in slices, stopping before you get to the bottom.  Spread butter mixture between slices.
Wrap in foil and bake at 350F- for about 20 minutes

 
 

Need a little help when it comes to baking a cake?
Start with the basics 
Understand the difference between Dutch process cocoa and regular
(This a recent discovery for me)
& Invest in: Good Vanilla, a Sifter and Digital Scales. LOVE helps too xo

"In 1971 you could purchase me for 59 cents...Today, due to inflation, you can purchase me at an antique market for $14.00." 

Ingredients & mixing

  1. Use Pure Vanilla Extracts and don't be afraid to double it.
  2. Eggs need to be at room temp or you can soak them in warm water for 15 minutes.
  3. Always use unsalted butter.
  4. Always weigh with digital scales.
  5. Use a pinch of salt to bring out the favour in sweet baked goods.
  6. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to the butter and sugar.  Helps make the cake lighter.
  7. Take your time creaming the butter, for at least 5 minutes to get lots of air into the butter. Then add the sugar.
  8. Grease tin with soften butter and sprinkle on a little flour..
  9. Substitute oil in the recipe for unsweetened applesauce or plain yogurt. Your measure can be 1:1 or 50/50. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup oil, use 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce. Not only helps for moister cakes, also cuts fat. For other alternatives check out this Substitution chart or pop in and say hi to Bev at 'i bake without.'
  10. ALWAYS SIFT flours at least once but 3 times is better...

Cooking tips

  1. Always wait for the oven to reach the necessary temp
  2. Fill cake pans no more than 1/2 to 2/3 full to allow for even baking and rising.
  3. Once you’ve poured the batter in the pan, wobble the pan sideways a bit so the batter reaches up along each side (with the middle being slightly lower). 
  4. Use the middle rack of the oven
  5. Rotate cake after 20 minutes
  6. Use a toothpick or wooden skewer to test that the cake is baked. Never remove cake from the oven to do this
  7. Cool cake in pan for at least 15 minutes for turning it onto a cooling rack.
  8. To remove cake  from pan, place double thickness paper towel over wire rack. The towel prevents the wire bars from breaking the crust or leaving imprints on top of cake.
  9. Place a clean, thin cotton towel on top of the cake pan and using a hot steam iron, heat the bottom of the pan for a few minutes. The pan should lift off cleanly. (okay that's a lot effort- A warm damp towel works too)
  10. Cool your cake for at least an hour before decorating...

Too lazy to decorate- just sprinkle on some icing sugar...Taste's great and looks good, too xox

My HOTtips come from the below 

 
 
As a parent and an Early Childhood teacher I have read a lot of different theories on homework for young children. Some say it helps reinforce concepts taught at school and helps build responsibility.  Some feel that homework should be spared in early learning. Students should play more, worry about school less!
Mummy hat on, this is a personal piece and something dear to my heart. 
I'd like to share with you a moment in my child's life. How I remember his first day of school and that big smile that beamed across his face. Back then we had time to explore the world without a worksheet or fight...No tears or red slips...No heartache or complaints of 'I'm dumb'...Life was fun, silly and with everything we explored, there was something new to be learnt.  Life was simple!  And then homework made an appearance into our lives.  The struggles began, the play dates stopped and the after school activities reduced...Homework took over this peaceful house, from 3.30pm and beyond!

"Now don't get me wrong some kids crave homework, do it in a flash without a complaint or a fuss..."  Not in our house!  My gorgeous pre-teen is active and full of beans, therefore after 8 hours his little brain is fried and well done, overloaded and desperate for a little time to unwind!  These dramatic homework explosions resulted in a shake up, a re-look at our priorities for the wellbeing of our pre-teen, so I went into fight... "My child isn't a robot, nor a machine, he is creative, curious, active, nurturing and kind.  Unlike a worksheet which is bland, robotic, and not very kind."

My question to you - please tell me when belonging to soccer teams, chess clubs, swim teams, dance groups, book or science clubs wasn't an opportunity to learn?!  Let's give them a project or problems to solve, a novel to read or an art project to create or something to belong to.  Intellectual IQ, all high and mighty, but what about Social IQ (the new EQ?)? Isn't it just as vital to life and the big wide world that await them??  You may think I am a liberal with alternative views but I'm just a mum with a smart kid who has ADHD, a secret I've held so close to my heart... I want you to remember that children are different and sometimes we forget, and try to squash them all into boxes, the smart, the average and the not-so-bright...

So next time your child comes home in a grump, put the worksheet aside, grab a snack and head outside, or chat for a moment and read for a bit...Childhood is fast, so let's relax and make learning fun because hands on and practical is what makes it stick, not robotic and bland! xoxo

This article was featured

An After School Aussie/British Snack

Sausage Rolls

The essential ingredient
5 of your favourite sausages

Pantry Must have
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 180g Butter (room temp)
  • 240g Sieved plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3-5 tablespoons of warm water (add one TBLS at a time)
  • Sesame seeds

Directions for Pastry
  • Make Pastry 20 minutes before cooking
  • I make my dough in a Kitchen Aide, with the dough attachment...
  • Add flour, salt and butter cubes  bowl.  
  • Mix on a low speed 
  • Then add water, one tablespoon at time. 
  • At a medium speed, mix until the pastry comes together. 
  • Form pastry into a ball
  • Dust on a little extra flour and then wrap in Cling wrap
  • Place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes
  • Remove dough from fridge for 10 minutes
  • on a floured board roll out dough thinly.
  • Place sausage in the middle and wrap
  • Cut sausage roll into 4-5 pieces
  • Using a pastry brush- brush on some egg and sprinkle on sesame seeds ****REPEAT****
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes in a Preheated oven at 350F...




Spice up your pastry

Add half a cup sharp chedder cheese to dough mixture.
Or 
Sprinkle in a little paprika and half a cup of parmesan cheese to the dough mixture

Veggie Alternative
Replace sausage with a veggie burger