Image: Alan Shortall
Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Images: Booth Hansen
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
It's set in the burbs in Melbourne & in one of the scenes, poor Matt Day the husband & Dad in the film was looking at his woeful Christmas light display in their front garden & comparing it to the OTT job across the road at his snarky neighbours. So time for a quick reminder to start planning your extravaganza well in advance this year.
MOTH the Christmas Grump absolutely refuses to put up even one small twinkling light globe on the front of the house, but I've been thinking maybe this calls for a little conference with the boys. Knowing MOTH's loathing of all things Christmas, I'm sure the boys would embrace this concept enthusiastically. Some fast clandestine electrical work with lots of flashing lights, a neon angel or 3, strobing Star of Bethlehem & dancing disco Santa would be a great start. And as we don't have any street lights, which makes our country lane as black & dark as an underground coal mine, the effect would be truly awesome. I reckon the look on MOTH's face as he drove into our street the night we flicked the switch on this display would be worth every bit of work!!! Oh, and any Comments mentioning the word tacky or the very strange image credit sites listed at the end of this post will be Deleted immediately!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
No matter what the door, the experience is the same - MOTH & the 5 boys still won't shut them!! What is it about males, are they all programmed with the identical DO NOT SHUT THE DOOR gene!! Please tell me I'm not alone!
Image 1: Coastal Living Image 2: Katy Elliott Image 3: All Doing Image 4: Skeppsholmen Image 5: Israel-Kurd Image 6: Simpson Doors Image 7: kmh Image 8: Home Hints Image 9: Dream Kitchen Image 10: Jewell Joinery Image 11: Four Walls & A Roof Image 12: Achitectural Salvage Antique
Monday, July 27, 2009
After an afternoon of slaving away in the Bathroom-From-Hell, MOTH went & had a shower for the occasion, donned his favourite Rugby top which just 'happened' to come from his mate Jason's Company Unicorn Brewery & poured himself a beer to prepare himself for the draw.
Hamming it for the camera as usual, he made sure he wasn't peeking as he fossicked around in the 'barrel'.
Amanda from Small Acorns in New Zealand! Amanda is the owner and creative force behind Small Acorns - a boutique store in Wellington, New Zealand which specialises in homeware, interior design and gorgeous goodies from NZ and around the globe. If you haven't visited her blog, I can really recommend you do, you will receive a very warm welcome. Amanda please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org & let me know the address you would like me to send your prize, the lovely book Two Dogs & A Garden. Thanks to everyone who left such beautiful comments, I wish I could send you all a copy to enjoy.
Friday, July 24, 2009
2 tablespoons cornflour
1. Put cornflour in a bowl & add only 1/2 cup of the milk.
2 cups full cream milk
1. Over gentle heat, mix vanilla cream & milk with a hand whisk until the mixture almost comes to the boil.
2. Cover with frothy hot milk. When the milk is poured over the chocolate topping, you get three layers, dark on the bottom, slightly chocolatey in the middle and frothy milk on top.
4. Add some Valrhona chocolate shavings to your hot chocolate & stir well.
Gourmet Traveller's Heart-Stopping Hot Chocolate with Chocolate Marshmallows (Serves 6)
First make the Chocolate Marshmallows
20 gms. powered gelatine
330 gm (2 cups) white sugar
100 ml (2/3 cup) light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50 gm. Dutch-process cocoa (preferably Droste)
120 gm (¾ cup) pure icing sugar
70 gm (¼ cup) cornflour
1. Place gelatine in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add 1/3 cup cold water and stand for 10 minutes.
1. Combine 320 mls. of full cream milk and 320 mls. pouring cream in a heavy-based saucepan and 300 gms. dark chocolate (64% cocoa solids e.g. Valrhona) finely chopped
and bring to a simmer over low heat.
Jeffrey Steingarten's Hot Chocolate via Crispy Waffle's Adaptation (Serves 4)
1. In a saucepan, stir together the milk, water and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
2. Add the chocolate and cocoa, bring to a boil again, whisking until the chocolate and cocoa are dissolved and the mixture is thickened.
3. Serve in little cups - a little goes a long way with this hot chocolate!
Jamie Oliver's The Best Hot Chocolate Drink (Serves 2)
This takes around 3 or 4 minutes to make.
1. First put the milk into a pan.
2. Bring to a simmer – not a boil – and while it's heating, put a tablespoon of choccie powder and sugar to taste into each mug.
3. Add a little warmish milk from the pan to each mug – you just need enough to dissolve the chocolate powder.
4. At this point, plonk a few marshmallows into each mug.
5. When the milk is at a simmer, carefully pour it into a plastic jug or flask.
6. I normally do this over a sink as I always end up spilling a bit (the trick is to have a big enough jug or flask so the milk only half fills it – you need the extra space for shaking and frothing).
7. Screw the lid on tightly, place a cloth over the lid for safety, and shake hard for a minute. Remove the lid, minding the steam, and pour the milk into your mugs.
8. A little stir and you can slurp your way to heaven!
Martha's Hot Chocolate (Serves 8)
400 gms.best-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
600 mls. full cream milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Combine chocolate and milk in a large saucepan over medium heat.
2. Whisk until chocolate is melted and milk is very hot and frothy, about 20 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Add vanilla; pour into a blender, filling halfway.4. Blend, holding lid in place (the hot liquid will expand), until frothy.
Spicy Spanish Hot Chocolate (Serves 4)
This combination of hot chocolate and espresso is enjoyed in Spain and throughout Europe.
2/3 cup boiling water
150 gms. good-quality dark or bittersweet (60 to 70 percent cocoa) chocolate, finely chopped 1 1/3 cups low-fat milk
1 cup brewed espresso or strong coffee
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 2-inch piece orange rind strip
1/4 cup frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
Cocoa powder (optional)
1. Combine 2/3 cup boiling water and chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan, stirring until chocolate melts.
2. Add milk and next 4 ingredients (through rind); cook over medium-low heat, stirring with a whisk. Heat 5 minutes or until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan, stirring frequently (do not boil). Discard rind.
3. Pour 1 cup mixture into each of 4 mugs. Spoon 1 tablespoon whipped topping over each serving. Dust with cocoa powder, if desired.
Recchuiti's Decadent Hot Chocolate (Serves 2)
150 gms. dark chocolate pieces, coarsely chopped
100 mls. filtered water, boiling
Flavorings (choose one only)
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
or ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
or 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
or 1 teaspoon pasilla chile powder
Spirits (choose one only)
1 ½ nips single-malt Scotch Whiskey
or 1 ½ nips apple brandy
Garnishes (choose one only)
loosely whipped cream
or crème fraîche flavored with vanilla bean
or cinnamon sticks
or vanilla marshmallows
1. In a small saucepan, pour the boiling water over the chocolate pieces. Add any
flavorings or spirits to the mixture now.
2. Using an immersion blender, mix until the chocolate pieces have completely melted
and a foamy froth has developed. You may also use a whisk, but the hot chocolate will
not be as frothy.
3. Pour into serving cups, garnish and serve immediately.
White Hot Chocolate (Serves 4)
3 cups light cream
3/4 cup white chocolate, chopped
1 stick cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Ground cinnamon for dusting (optional)
1. Combine 1/4 cup of the cream, white chocolate,cinnamon stick and nutmeg in a medium saucepan, whisk over low heat until chocolate is melted. Remove stick cinnamon.
2. Add remaining cream. Whisk until heated through. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Serve warm in cups or mugs. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
*Tip: To create the foamy layer on top, blend some of the hot chocolate mixture in a blender container until frothy, and add to each serving.
Hot Chocolate Cake in a Cup
250 gms. unsalted butter, plus extra for coating
3 tablespoons plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for dusting
150 gms. semi-sweet dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Generously butter, flour, and sugar eight coffee cups or mugs made of ovenproof stoneware. Wipe the rims clean.
2. Place the 8 tablespoons of butter and the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and melt, stirring once or twice until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes.
3. Using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs, yolk, vanilla, salt, and 1/2 cup sugar at the highest speed until the volume doubles and the mixture becomes foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir the 3 tablespoons of flour into the chocolate, then gradually add it to the egg mixture, beating on low until it's fully incorporated.
4. Ladle the batter into each cup until it's about 1/2 inch from the rim. Bake until the cakes puff and begin to crack but the centers are still a bit runny, 13 to 17 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with marshmallows, then return to oven for 2 to 4 minutes, until the marshmallow tops begin to crisp. Remove from oven; let cool about 5 minutes. Sift the cocoa on top.
Image 1: Max Brenner Image 2: Totally Addicted To Taste Image 3: Gourmet Traveller Image 4: Crispy Waffle Image 5: Jamie Oliver Image 6: Martha Stewart Image 7: My Recipes Image 8: Recchuiti Image 9: Better Home & Garden Image 10: Real Simple
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
MOTH has a huge reputation amongst all his family & friends for never having his wallet on him if he can help it. Sometimes you read of couples proudly extolling the fact that they have never seen each other naked, well in my case, it's MOTH's wallet I've never seen! I always reckon his epitaph will read 'Hey Mills, ya wouldn't have 10 bucks on ya, I forgot my wallet'. So I guess, if nothing else, this pic is evidence that his wallet does exist albeit cleverly disguised as part of his bum!
If you would like to play along, please go ahead & take the tag. I've really enjoyed seeing what everyone else has posted, wish mine was as interesting!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Absolutely not! But I'm so impressed with the way in which a new wing has been linked to the original building, a pretty mid-Victorian cottage complete with eye-lash verandah in the gorgeous suburb of South Yarra in Melbourne. It's bold, modern & light-filled, & yet sits so comfortably with the main house. The land obviously slopes down at the rear, so the Architect was able to play with the different levels, incorporating a lap pool & interesting decks & entertaining levels as well as the new 2-storey addition with home theatre & gym. Bordered by the meandering Yarra River, in walking distance to the fabulous shopping precincts of Chapel St. & Toorak Rd. & a few minutes from the CBD, South Yarra has always been high on my list of Melbourne favourites.
Garden by Andrew Renn