Saturday, December 26, 2009

That's Me Done!

I'm off to enjoy 3 weeks of Summer vacation fun & relaxation. I've got lots of things planned (especially for MOTH!) & another birthday to celebrate. And I will be cast-less in 2 weeks - HOORAY! It will be truly wonderful to renew my acquaintance with all my left shoes again. I'll be back mid-January, see you then.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Secret Santas

MOTH would go into total meltdown at the sight of so many Santas & even I have to admit a couple in this group do look decidedly dodgy! I let the in-house Christmas Grinch know that my threat to do a post on his seasonal grumpiness occurred & of all the resultant comments. I'm happy to report that he's been slightly better behaved this week (that may have something to do with being sent to another part of the house to sleep until he lost the grumps!), so thank you everyone, as usual your valuable input produced the desired results. He now openly admits that as a collective group, Hedgies are not to be messed with!

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

Bello Panettone!

Every Christmas we are given a beautiful boxed Panettone by elderly Italian friends. Other than sliced & chucked in the toaster, served with a drizzle of honey & a good dollop of yoghurt, I've always been at a loss for ideas beyond that. Then I saw a recipe from Bill Granger in this month's Delicious mag & I was inspired to do some further research. Who would have thought the humble Panettone offers such yummy treats! Although be warned - you'll not see any of the recipes using Lo-Fat anything!!
Panettone French Toast & Bacon (from the wonderful Lori Lyn @ Taste with the Eyes)
  • 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

3 eggs

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.
Chilled Panettone Puddings with Poached Spiced Cherries
Ingredients: (serves 4)
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
Spiced cherries
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.
Panettone, Berry and Mascarpone Trifle

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
Method :

  • 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.
Panettone, Ricotta and Nectarine Cake

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.
Apricot Panettone Pudding

150g dried apricots, soaked in 1 1/2 cups water for several hours to soften
250gm. panettone, sliced
300mls. milk
a piece of vanilla pod, split open with a sharp knife
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 egg
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.
Christmas Panettone and Mincemeat Pudding
75gm. leftover sweet fruit mincemeat
Alcohol such as Baileys, Brandy, Whisky or Rum (optional)
50gm. butter

1 panettone, sliced into small squares
100mls. milk

375ml double cream
4 eggs

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.
  • Bake in a bain-marie or roasting pan filled with hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until just set in the middle

    Image & recipe credits: 1. Perbellini 2,3. Taste with the Eyes 4,5,6,7. Taste 8. Gourmet Traveller 9. Cuisine 10. Love Food Hate Waste

Monday, December 21, 2009

Shopping For The Boys

The lovely Brooke from Velvet & Linen left me this comment on Friday. 'Millie, hope the shopping went well. I don't know how you get gifts for all of those boys.' Well I'd like to say dear Brooke that I shopped for them here
or here

or here

....beautiful chic & stylish homewares stores in Adelaide & the Hills, where I've been known to happily spend an hour or three. But no, I had to shop here

for this

and this

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

Pardon My Shopping

Wish me luck, as today I need to head into the City to start & finish all my Christmas shopping on my Friday off. 'She's mad!' I hear you all say, & yes, dragging this cast around I probably will be ready to be certified around 3p.m.!! MOTH would help (ha, ha!), but Heidi sprung me with this comment yesterday. 'The whole time I was reading this post I couldn't help thinking of MOTH out cold in the spare room on an I.V. drip until Christmas is over.' Yes, Heides, that's exactly where he is, a la James Caan/Kathy Bates in Misery! Must go, as he's making some funny sounds, he's due for a 'top-up'. I don't want him breaking free of his ropes, cos you know the first thing he'll say when he comes around is 'I hate Christmas!'. Now where's that Propofol vial?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chair Love + Thanks

I'm a shocker when it comes to pillows on chairs & sofas. Not only do I want them for the extra pizzaz they add to a room, I need them desperately for behind my back. I drive everyone mad as I flop down in the seat. At least a further 3-5 minutes of wriggling, plumping, fussing, arranging & finally sighing, goes on before I truly settle down. These beautiful chairs come from Pimpernel & Partners in London. Yes, they are a blank canvas sans pillows, but just imagine how they'd look with some beauties of your choice. Their shapes are gorgeous & each tells its own story - so do tell us which shape turns your head & what pillows you'd add to make it truly your own. P.S. Because I love a bedroom chair, the ever-so pretty Capucine has my vote.

The Malplaquet (a gentleman's armchair in the Georgian style)

The Pakefield Wingback (a replica from the first decade of the 20th century capturing a ‘no-nonsense’ simplicity)

The Capucine (named after the similarity of its shape to a nun’s veil)

The Combray (robust & roomy replica of a 19th century French chair, with a chapeau de gendarme shaped back)

The Percy (named after the Pimpernel himself, this 1940s French replica is a low, very comfortable, country chair)

The Scroll-Back (a replica of a French early 19th Century chair of the Napoleonic age - delicate and a little raffish)

One of the loveliest things about Blogging is that someone else thinks you worthy of a special treat. I was thrilled to receive these Awards recently - thank you so much to each of the Treaters, you really made this Treatee's day!

Marina at Iced Vo-Vo's is an Aussie girl living in London with her family. Her very stylish & fun posts are a must read. Her shopping gene is in excellent working order & we get to see the results. Thank you Marina for my 5 Diamonds Award!

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

You're Feeling Sleepy.....

Just breathe deeply now MOTH, you'll feel yourself drifting off to sleep very soon.

Now I'm just going to give you some of this.....

.....and a lot of this.
......and in 3 weeks time you'll wake up & not remember a thing about Christmas. What was that you said, you don't want to go to sleep? Well it's like this Buddy- YOU HAVE NO CHOICE!!!!

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

Cast Your Vote Boys

1. Buckingham Palace State Dining Room (your Mother's personal favourite)

OK boys here's the deal. I've done the maths & six dining chairs into fifteen of us won't go for Christmas lunch. MOTH suggested that we could play the old musical chairs game, & those without a chair at the end will just have to plonk anywhere & balance a plate & a drink as best as they can. I feel that is not appropriate, so I've been looking at alternatives. It would mean a little travel to get there on the day, but hey, it means that we all get a seat around the table & that's what really matters. I'm sure I can borrow one of these lovely venues, I do know that in the case of #1, the particular family involved will be having their Family Feud Day at one of their other castle's.

However, there would be a few rules to abide by first. Please read & agree to them before casting your vote.

  • 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.

2. White House Dining Room

3. Winfield House

4. Leeds Castle

5. 10 Downing Street

6. The Royal Yacht Britannia (this gets MOTH's vote)

So there you have it - 6 very nice places with dining settings big enough to accommodate the lot of us. Yes, I know you might say they lack a little of the ambience of our place, but I reckon it would only take a few minutes & we'd make it feel just like home. MOTH spilling the wine, Son #2 being reprimanded for his appalling eating habits, Son #3 texting under the table the entire meal, Son #4 reeling off his very 'colourful' jokes encouraged by MOTH & Son #5 constantly filling up my wine glass so I completely forget the entire lunch!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

So Sew

New Zealander Sandra Kaminski has long been one of my favourite Stylists & unlike hopeless me, Sandra can really sew. For those of you who I know are blessed with the sewing & crafting gene, here's some Festive lovelies for you to whip up this week in all your spare time!

Little white place-setting favour boxes that have been decorated with red sticky dots & gorgeous Christmas ribbon.

Lavender sachets made from the prettiest of fabrics, piped around the edges & tied together with matching ribbon. A little sprig of cedar completes the picture.

A small galvanised bucket lined with linen & trimmed with ribbon & then filled with games & treats. They can be used as place-settings or as a treat to keep the children occupied while they are sitting at the Christmas table.

Quilted fabric bottle bags complete with binding along the seams. Add some cute ribbon to tie on candy cane or cedar sprigs to complete the look.

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

Let's Party!!

It's that time of the year again - time to party courtesy of my Company! Tomorrow night my lovely work colleague Mr. D & the delightful Mrs. D, along with myself & MOTH, will hit the town to wind up a very big year at work. Mr. D & I have had more than our fair share of big nights over the years to celebrate surviving another year & despite my lower limb limitations, this year will be no exception! We are supposed to have one of the Senior Management team fly down from Sydney to join us, but strangely each year, our State knees-up always seems to fall on the same night as the Head Office shindig, so sadly, they can't make it. Takes some very 'creative' co-ordination on our part that does!!!

I love these little gems for Office Christmas Party Etiquette - not that we'll need to brush up ourselves, we'll all be perfect Angels. Enjoy a monstrous weekend everyone!

Office Christmas Party Etiquette

Christmas parties are a cultural tradition within companies and businesses.
They are supposed to be fun, frivolous, flirty, but not filthy.
We advise you to exercise great care and restraint so that your most embarrassing drunken occasion doesn't occur at the company Christmas Party.
Workers should avoid getting drunk, sleeping with workmates, crying, throwing up or chatting to superiors at the office Christmas party.

What To Wear
  • 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

Doctor's Orders

Hey Millie
Jonny here. Your Dr. tells me you're not too happy at the moment. You can't get out & exercise because you've busted your foot. Well would it help any if I gave you some gentle one-on-one rehab? We won't overdo it I promise. Remember when I did my knee a couple of years ago playing for England? I would never have made it through the operation without you, so it's only fair I return the favour.

I thought we could head to the beach first. Don't worry, I'll carry you down onto the sand. I know how weighty & uncomfortable that nasty old cast is.

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!

Image 1: OFM Image 2: The Mirror Image 3: The Times Image 4: The Age Image 5: Daily Mail Images 6,8: The Guardian Image 7: Sporting Life Image 9: Property Investing

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