Saturday, December 26, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
One other reason why he's starting to become chirpy again is frequent reminders from all of the sons of this - the 2009 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show which will be on telly Christmas Eve. Of course he'll be too busy wrapping presents, cleaning the silver, ironing the table linen, phoning the elderly aunts, making the creme anglaise, dressing the table, preparing the guest room & a few zillion other last minute things to sit with a beer or 5 & watch this facile display of frippery - NOT!!!!
Images:1, 2&3, 4
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
- Slice a thick cross-section of the cake. Soak it thoroughly in two eggs beaten with cream and a pinch of salt. Cook it over medium low heat in butter until golden brown on both sides.
- Dust with icing sugar (powdered sugar).
- Serve it with maple syrup &/or a dollop of mascarpone & slices of good quality crispy bacon. This cross-section of the Panettone can serve three or four people.
Bill's Panettone Pudding
1/2 large panettone (about 500gm.) sliced 1cm. thick
1/2 cup mixed dried fruit (such as sultanas & cranberries)
2 free-range eggs, plus 6 extra egg yolks
2 cups full cream milk
200mls. pure (unthickened) cream, plus extra to serve
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup caster sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for the topping
- Lightly grease a 2.5 litre baking dish. Slightly overlap the panettone in the dish & sprinkle each layer with the dried fruit.
- Whisk the eggs, yolks, milk, cream, vanilla & sugar in a bowl to combine. Pour over the panettone. Stand for 30 minutes, pressing down on the panettone every 10 minutes so it soaks up the liquid. Sprinkle with the extra sugar.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Bake pudding for 45-50 minutes until golden (cover with foil if it's browning too quickly). Stand for 10 minutes, then serve with the extra cream.
Panettone French Toast with Mixed Berries
1/3 cup (80ml) pure (unthickened) cream
1/3 cup (80ml) milk
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Two 1.5cm-thick rounds of panettone (cut across horizontally), quartered
250g frozen mixed berries, thawed
2 tablespoons icing sugar, plus extra to dust
40g unsalted butter
Thick cream or yoghurt, to serve
- In a wide, shallow bowl, beat eggs, cream, milk, sugar and vanilla. Add the panettone, turn to coat and leave to soak for 10 minutes, pressing down from time to time to ensure it soaks up the batter.
- Meanwhile, place half the berries in a blender with icing sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Blend until smooth. Combine with remaining berries and set aside.
- Heat half the butter in a non-stick frypan over medium heat. Drain excess egg mixture from half the panettone slices and cook for 1-2 minutes each side until golden. Keep warm while you repeat with remaining butter and panettone.
- To serve, place two slices on each plate, dust with icing sugar, and top with the berries and a dollop of cream.
8 x 1.5cm-thick slices of panettone
40g butter, softened
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup (250ml) milk
1/2 cup (125ml) thin cream
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
250g fresh cherries, stems removed
1 cup (250ml) rose wine
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
- Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease four 2/3-cup (160ml) capacity dariole moulds or ramekins. Use a 7cm round pastry cutter to cut 8 discs from the panettone slices. Spread discs with butter and marmalade and place two discs in each of the prepared moulds.
- Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, sugar and vanilla bean paste in a jug until well combined. Pour evenly over the panettone slices and set aside for 15 minutes to soak.
- Place in a roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the moulds. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and place in the fridge for 1 hour to chill.
- Meanwhile, to make the spiced cherries, place the cherries, wine, sugar, star anise and cinnamon in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and poach for 15 minutes or until syrup thickens and cherries are tender. Remove from heat and transfer to a heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill.
- Turn the puddings onto serving plates. Spoon the cherries and syrup around the puddings and serve immediately.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
250g carton mascarpone
8 x 1cm-thick slices panettone
300g fresh or frozen mixed berries
- Use a balloon whisk to whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Add 1 tablespoonful of the Frangelico and whisk until smooth. Add the mascarpone and use a metal spoon to gently fold until just combined.
- Use an 8cm. round pastry cutter to cut discs from the panettone slices. Brush four discs with a little of the remaining Frangelico. Place in the base of four 1-cup (250ml) capacity serving glasses. Spoon half the berries evenly among serving glasses. Top with half the mascarpone mixture.
- Continue layering with remaining berries, mascarpone mixture, panettone and Frangelico, finishing with a layer of mascarpone. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill before serving.
Ingredients for the Cake:
1 x 900 gm. panettone
600 gm. fresh ricotta cheese
50 gm. bitter dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
50 gm. glace orange, finely chopped
50 gm. blanched almonds, roasted & coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon icing sugar (powered sugar), plus extra for dusting
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
4 fresh nectarines halved, stoned & sliced into thin wedges
- Using a serrated knife, cut top off panettone to make a neat cylinder shape, then trim crust from cylinder and cut widthways into four 1cm-thick slices. Reserve trimmed panettone for another use.
- Push ricotta through a fine sieve into a bowl, then add chocolate, glacé orange, almonds, icing sugar and half the liqueur and combine well.
- Spread 1/3 cup ricotta mixture over bottom slice of panettone, press another slice over the top, then repeat spreading and layering, finishing with a layer of ricotta.
- Combine nectarines with remaining liqueur, then top panettone with one-third of the peaches.
- Serve cake cut into wedges, with remaining sliced nectarines passed separately. Cake is best served on day of making.
150g dried apricots, soaked in 1 1/2 cups water for several hours to soften
250gm. panettone, sliced
a piece of vanilla pod, split open with a sharp knife
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 egg yolk
50gm. blanched almonds, finely chopped
icing sugar (powered sugar)
- Put the apricots in a small saucepan, bring to a gentle boil, then cook gently for 5 minutes, or until very tender. Drain, reserving the juice. Mash the apricots to a puree.
- Spread most of the apricot puree over the panettone and arrange in a buttered ovenproof dish. Spread the remaining puree over the top, along with any juices.
- Put the milk, the split vanilla pod and sugar in a saucepan. Heat slowly until the milk is just boiling, then set it aside for 10 minutes.
- Beat the egg and egg yolk together in a bowl, then pour on the heated milk, stirring to make a custard.
- Pour the custard around the edges of the panettone (not over the top).
- Sprinkle on the almonds and dot the top with butter.
- Bake 30-40 minutes in an oven preheated to 170°C (regular bake, not fanbake), or until most of the custard has been absorbed and the pudding is golden on top.
- Remove from the oven and cool 10 minutes. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.
75gm. leftover sweet fruit mincemeat
Alcohol such as Baileys, Brandy, Whisky or Rum (optional)
1 panettone, sliced into small squares
375ml double cream
125gm. caster sugar
A few drops vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F).
- Put the leftover fruit mincemeat in a bowl and cover with your chosen alcohol. Leave to soak.
- Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the panettone slices for 2-3 minutes or until golden on both sides.
- Arrange the panettone slices with the fruit mincemeat, overlapping slightly into a baking dish.
- Pour the milk and cream into a pan and bring slowly up the boil.
- Whisk the eggs with the sugar until frothy and pale.
- Add the milk and cream mixture to the eggs and stirring continuously, add the vanilla extract.
- Pour the mixture over the panettone and set aside for 30 minutes to allow to soak in well.
Monday, December 21, 2009
because of this.......
This gentle Readers is referred to as a Project Car. We've had a number of these 'grace' us with their presence over the years. There is no clear cut definition for what constitutes a project car. Finding the perfect one takes a lot of time, a keen eye & many issues of The Trading Post. And the thrill of the chase is most times far more exciting than what follows after. Often they have found their way to my driveway, being delivered in the dead of night, so I'm blissfully unaware of their arrival until it's too late to protest. This particular 'beauty' is no longer at The Hedge. It was moved to another location very speedily recently after I gave the Owner an ultimatum. 'You have 2 hours to remove it or I call the Wreckers & get them to send around a Tow Truck pronto.'
This particular Owner had previously experienced something similar a number of years prior. Following many requests to remove a certain 2-tone brown rusted out Ford Cortina from the driveway of our previous house, the Owner found out that Mum wasn't joking. In his absence, the Tow Truck was called, the Cortina unceremoniously dragged onto it & the nice Driver gave me $110 for my trouble. So this time, when he could see his Mother was on the war path, he moved rapidly. He made urgent phone calls to all his brothers & mates, who appeared in the blink of an eye with a car trailer & the heaps of muscle & grunt needed to push the engineless thing onto the said trailer.
The boys have been working on the white Ford wagon for years. It's become the focal point for all of their mates to gather around in the garage & drink copious amounts of beer for hours at a time. All the while discussing the finer points of vehicle 'restoration' & getting their girlfriends to duck down to Mickie D's for more burgers. Although they assure me that its almost finished, it looks no different to me than when they started. However, they reckon with the couple of above gifts tucked into their Christmas Stockings, the Wagon will be able to compete in the Concourse D'Elegance at next year's Classic Adelaide Car Rally. I look forward to that moment boys with great anticipation. Would you care to make a small wager with your long-suffering Mother on that?
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The Scroll-Back (a replica of a French early 19th Century chair of the Napoleonic age - delicate and a little raffish)
If you haven't made your acquaintance with the gorgeous Carolyn over at Little Bear Studio, then stop reading this & head over pronto. A more caring, beautiful person you won't find. Yes, she's a Kiwi (I forgave her long ago!), but her delightful posts always leave you wanting more. Thank you dear Carolyn for my Gorgeous Award!
Rosa over at Un Peu Plus Jolie posts the loveliest images of her home & family. A gentle & spiritual soul, she uses her carefully crafted pieces to add beauty to her home in the most wonderful way. Thank you Rosa for my Ooh La La Award!
Chair images: Pimpernel & Partners
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Yes, MOTH has worked himself into an absolute frenzy & his morbid dislike of all things Christmas has hit an all-time high. So help me, after a massive blow-up last night, I just want to put him into suspended animation & get on with it without 'Ol Misery Guts. Interestingly, the only Festive things he's had to do is purchase one gift (which he did on-line in 2 mins.), attend 3 Christmas parties where it looked to me like he was having a pretty good time & be wined & dined for free by my Company. The rest of the Christmas To-Do list (all 250 + items) is up to me to do - busted foot, cast, working up until 5p.m. Christmas Eve & all!! Give me strength.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
- No feet up on the seat opposite.
- No flip-flops, make an effort & find a pair of shoes from somewhere & wear them.
- No stubbies on the table - as difficult as it may be, please pour your beer into a glass.
- No T-shirts with 'dubious' messages (particularly the 'I Competed in the XV World Cannabis Cup' designer Tee I've spoken to you about before) - a bit of decorum on the day will go far.
- Baseball caps off, yes off for the whole of lunch.
- Give the can of deodorant that I bought you 3 years ago a run - pleeeeease!
- Keep the loud raucous laughter to a gentle hum.
- No dissing the Security guards. (especially if # 2 wins.)
- No slipping Acca Dacca's Highway To Hell into the middle of the carefully selected Sacred Christmas music compilation that I like to play during lunch. The shock would be all too much for me
- Sorry, but as much as I like them, your mates Rizza, Jimbo, Markie-Mark, Damo, Little Mattie, Jace, Kymbo, C-Dog, Ango & Spadey need to find somewhere else to eat & drink this Christmas.
3. Winfield House
4. Leeds Castle
5. 10 Downing Street
Monday, December 14, 2009
Little white place-setting favour boxes that have been decorated with red sticky dots & gorgeous Christmas ribbon.
A little stocking whizzed up on the sewing machine & then attached to thick card stock with a hot glue gun. Tuck in a little sprig of cedar for an extra Festive touch. These would also make wonderful party invitations.
Friday, December 11, 2009
- Men - Make sure you're comfortable, there's a good chance you'll eat and drink a lot, and you don't want to split your pants.
- Ladies - Unless you're in the porn industry, a lot of skin is inappropriate at company Christmas parties. Ensure you're going to be warm enough, you don't want your lips turning blue and your nipples behaving like headlights. Bras should always be worn to parties, they tend to make the woman look more attractive.
How Much To Eat And Drink
- Wobbly legged is definitely not an option at the company Christmas party. Have a look at R U Pissed to see how much you might be able to drink.
- Sometimes, a little bit of alcohol and good food while sitting beside your office heart throb will get your pulses racing. If you feel things might get heated, find accommodation.
Meet & Mingle
- If you see the IT manager sitting on his own in a dark corner, help him out and go speak to him. The poor guy has problems fitting in.
- Stay away from the mistletoe! You will most likely pucker up with just about the ugliest person in the office.
- Don’t sing or show off your dance moves no matter how drunk you are.
How To Score At The Christmas Party
- If you are going to fish from the office pool that there will be consequences.
- Be advised that any reputation may actually help you.
- The more of a reputation that you have as a, um, good date, the more likely you will be sought out early, and by less desperate types.
- Stay away from married colleagues. Try to keep to the singles, they are not only safer, but the next-day consequences are limited in comparison.
- Try to feel out the crowd, and try to pick a target as soon as possible but don’t target more than one person at a time.
Know When Your Night Is Over
- Trust your instincts on this one. Better to jump in that cab & head home, than to disgrace yourself by suggesting everyone go on to a strip club and then you fall asleep in a toilet cubicle.
- You see these people nearly every day so be conscious of your actions. Keep your head held high and if you can remember even one of these tips on the night, you'll wake up the next morning with a smile on your face, instead of with that minger from Accounts.
Image: Daily Mail
Thursday, December 10, 2009
You just stumble along anyway you can. I'll be right with you, every step of the way.
Excuse me for one moment while I take off my hoodie.
'Cos I thought we could head off to the park for a bit of a slow shuffle. I'll pace myself to make sure you are OK.
Then we'll just toss the ball around for a bit. This will make sure you keep your upper body strong so you can still give that MOTH of yours a biff when he needs it.
Oh I'm so proud of you! You've done really, really well.
So well in fact, that if you give me a minute I'll slip into something a little smarter.
And take you out for a lovely, long lunch!