Tuesday, June 30, 2009
My Dad is very pleased to say the least; they are his favourite fruit.
Monday, June 29, 2009
He knows me so well as he had another little gift carefully tucked away in his backpack.....
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
My sister off-handedly told me one day that she had sent them an email about me and lo and behold a few days later an email arrived for me from the station.
I took a few days to answer the email as I was a bit undecided about doing the interview. I studied Radio Journalism at University and failed the course as I did not have a 'radio voice' so I'm a bit nervous that not only will I securely place both feet in my mouth but that I will sound like fingernails on a blackboard to boot.
In the end I thought I might as well give it a go; surely I can't embarrass myself too much in ten minutes!
I will be prerecording the interview on Thursday 9th July (Guernsey time) and it will be on air on Friday 10th July. It will be on at 10.30am (Brisbane time). I won't be able to listen to it 'live' so they are kindly sending me a CD of the interview.
I just thought I'd let all my Aussie connections know now so they can listen if they would like to.
I hope I don't sound like a dork!
Friday, June 26, 2009
My morning coffee
I have two cups of coffee each and every morning with my husband before we get started on the hurdy gurdy that is our day. If he is leaving for business on the Guernsey Red-eye i.e. the 7.00am flight we get up earlier than usual just so we have a chat and coffee before he goes. We have a grinder so we use whole coffee beans and grind them daily for the freshest possible coffee. We do have a most beautiful coffee machine; my husband’s other woman, and she’s a scarlet one too, but sadly she is broken so we are making do with our trusty plunger at the moment. Our coffee percolator is far too noisy at 5.00am and we would end up with three little visitors so the serenely quite plunger does the job until I get around to fixing the beloved espresso beast. We were given the beast by my Uncle Jonny and Aunty Vicky. I believe that the story goes: my uncle was owed some money by a business that was in trouble so he was offered this machine, together with the fabulous coffee grinder, as part of the payment. It graced my uncle and aunt's bench top for many years and was much coveted by the extend family until one day he decided to upgrade to a bigger machine. I don't think you could truly imagine my surprise when it was offered to us, however my surprise was nothing compared to the wooops of joy coming from Mr Bee - he loves that machine.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
I love to make muffins with the kids; they are very easy, fast to mix up and equally fast to cook. I find muffins are a little more forgiving than some other 'cakes' recipes so long as you follow a few simple rules. So here they are for your baking pleasure:
* Always sieve the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix them around a bit with a fork as this adds a bit of air to the mixture and seems to make a lighter muffin. Basically it is very important that the dry ingredients are well combined.
* Mix all the wet/liquid ingredients together in a separate bowl before pouring them into the dry ingredients.
* This is the vital muffin tips so please take notice : FOLD THE WET AND DRY INGREDIENTS TOGETHER WITH AS LITTLE MIXING AS POSSIBLE. To mix a muffin scrap down the sides of your bowl and start to mix by bringing the spoon/spatula up through the mixture rather than in the normal round and round mixing motion as for other cakes. Repeat this process until there are no more dry pockets of flour. STOP MIXING NOW. Please oh please do not give it one more beat for good luck or you will destroy all your careful mixing work.
* Spoon the mixture into the prepared pans/patty cases and do not let it 'plop' off the spoon or you will knock some of your hard earned aeration out.
* Please do not smooth down the top of the muffin mixture or once again you run the risk of loss of the air in the mixture. A knobbly looking muffin is a light muffin.
Spiced Apple Muffins
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cups fine rolled oats
3/4 cup brown sugar (press it into the cup measure to be sure you add the full 3/4 cup amount)
2 teaspoons of mixed spice
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
75 grams butter, melted
1 cup raw grated apple (press it into the cup measure to be sure you add the full 1 cup )
3/4 to 1 cup of milk
Preheat the oven to 200*C. Sieve all the dry ingredients together, including the brown sugar (which I guarantee will be a pain in the backside, but it is worth doing) into a bowl. Here's a quick question, why do recipe books always ask you to place the ingredients into a 'mixing bowl' surely if you have chosen a bowl and place you ingredients in it to be mixed all bowls could be considered a mixing bowl by definition; I mean you are hardly going to place it on a plate, in a cup or in the toilet bowl for that matter are you! You do not need a 'special' bowl only used for mixing now do you; if you are anything like me I already have far too much junk in my house to be owning a specific bowl for mixing that is used for nothing else....sorry enough baking ranting, on with the recipe. Gently melt the butter and allow it to cool as you are going to mix it with all the other wet ingredients as this recipe does NOT call for scrambled eggs.
Mix all you wet ingredients together in a separate bowl, including the grated apple but hold 1/4 cup of milk back as if your apples were particularly juicy you may not wish to add the extra 1/4 cup of milk. You will only be able to work if you require the extra liquid once you start to mix. Now mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients together following the technique listed above. Place the mixture in your muffin tray (silicone is very good for muffins as they can be quite sticky and tricky to get out of a greased metal muffin tray) and bake for 12-15 minutes.
Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling and enjoy!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
I couldn't have wished for nicer free plants. Mr Bee has even admitted he is glad he didn't pull them out before he knew what they were.
There have been no strange lights in the sky and the Triffids have not developed large, lashing tongues so I imagine we are safe.....for now. As the buds started to split you could see the promise of the pink petals that were to come.
Fortunately these poppies, as that is what I think they are (however if you know their actual name please let me know), are pink which has worked out surprisingly well as they are in my Cherub garden where the colour scheme is pink, pale blue and white.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
WARNING: If you are easily offended by icing obscenities look away now.
I think she did a fabulous job. They certainly matched the vibe of the evening's events.
I managed to drink most of a bottle of champagne and one and a half serves of Peach Schnapps jelly and still felt fine enough to walk home. I was informed on Monday morning that I need up the anty and try some true Guern alcoholic consumption; most people drank one and a half to two bottles each during the course of the evening. I think I might have been ill before I reached my required quota; hardened Aussie drinkers could learn a thing or two over here!
I was not concerned about wandering the Guernsey streets at twelve o'clock at night as I was part of the PTA posse. This consisted of about nine loud and somewhat stumbly PTA Mum's who had not been out without children for sometime.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thankyou once again to Designs by Gollum for hosting Foodie Friday. I look forward to participating and checking out everybody's recipes.
2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of ground ginger (I like my gingernuts 'hot' so I always add one more teaspoon for good luck)
1 cup of caster sugar (I don't like these biscuits too sweet so I usually add 3/4 cup of sugar instead of the whole cup)
125g softened butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon golden syrup - I add 1 tablespoon as it gives the biscuits a more caramelly (is that even a word?) flavour
Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and then rub in the soft butter. If you leave the butter out overnight (provided you are not in a Queensland Summer or it will swiftly turn to a yellow puddle on your bench) it will make rubbing the butter in much faster. Stir in the egg and the golden syrup and mix well. I like to take the mix out of the bowl at this point and knead it. By kneading the dough the biscuit seem to cook better and 'crunch-up' well; I'm sure some cheffy type could tell you the why and how of this all I know is that it seems to work. Roll teaspoon of the mix into a ball in your hand and flatten slightly with a fork. Fifteen biscuits should fit comfortably on a large baking try i.e. the biggest one that will fit in your oven - I'm too lazy to go and find the tape measure and measure my tray :) Bake in a 160 *C/325 *F/ Gas Mark 3 for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Do set a timer as they tend to over brown quite quickly. Cool the gingernuts on the tray. This should make about 45-50 biscuits; they keep well in an airtight container.
I made a double batch on the last half term holidays and B1, B2 and B3 managed to eat the lot on three days; oh they would have disappeared faster had I not hidden them ;)
Monday, June 8, 2009
We picked up Clair at 4.30am and after we checked in at the White Heart pub in town we hit the road by 4.55am. I did take my camera but for the first two hours of the walk I couldn't stop to take a photo as the cliff path is only one person wide and there was a long winding snake of walkers in front and behind me and I couldn't hold up the traffic.
By our second check point at Petit Bot I left my bag with the bag van which transported walkers bags from checkpoint to checkpoint for them as I realised I needed to carry as little as possible. As a result the only photo I took was of the contents of my bag at 4.05am before we left.
This walk was THE hardest thing I have ever done in my life; it was harder than child birth (and I do not say that easily as I have had three children) as there was not any hard drugs on hand that could take away the pain. The largest flight of stairs during the walk was at Saint's Bay. Clair counted the steps, 293 in a row. She said she may have lost count somewhere in the middle but that only meant there were actually more steps that this! During the walk the flights of stairs vary, some are only a handful, some are a few hundred, all of them were extremely difficult as none of the stairs are even. Within the same flight of stairs some were a normal step apart while others were three or four steps apart, some were normal height whilst others required you to lift you knee up and push on the top of your leg with your hand to hoist yourself up them; so you never really got into a rhythm.
There were all types of walkers. The youngest I saw looked about twelve and Clair had been told of a friend's 73 year old Grandfather who has walked it every year. There were groups of teenagers with sweat bands and coloured zinc striped across their cheeks (I called them the 'Sweat Band Gang', hey it passed the time). There was some crazy person in a business suit and a truly massive black Afro wig. There was a group of guys with a backpack with speakers hanging off the sides who regaled us with the Star Wars theme as they passed; although one of the other walkers did request Chariots of Fire from them at one point. Then there were the super serious walkers with their Camelback water carriers, those springy walking sticks and a determined look in their eye. Some people were obviously using it as a training exercise for other things as there were quite a few walkers who sported enormous back packs which towered over their heads and reached down past their bottom cheeks; trekking in the Himalayas perhaps? It was a mixed bag but the people watching helped me forget about the pain in my legs for a while.
I had sprained my ankle quite badly two weeks before the walk and it was still a swollen around my ankle bone so I found myself favouring that leg during the walk as I was worried that it may make me trip down or up the stairs as it was still weak. As a result of my favouring that leg I did something very, very bad to the tendon in my opposite groin and knee. By the time we reached our third checkpoint at Portelet Slip in Pleinmont I couldn't swing my leg forward to take a step properly so I had to call it a day. I felt so dreadful as I was the one who had talked Clair into doing the walk in the first place and then I abandoned her half way through. Her brother was ahead of us and he waited for her and they finished the walk together, so I am relieved that at least she had a friendly face to walk the rest of the way with.
My amazing friend, Clair, managed to keep going to another six hours and finished the walk. WELL DONE CLAIR! She walk 40 miles in 13 hours and five minutes. Just Fabulous; of course I am very jealous ;)
I finished all the cliff section of the walk, 17.8 miles/28.4 kilometres, in 7 hours and 5 minutes. I feel very disappointed that I didn't finish and over the rest of the weekend I told Mr Bee that I would do the walk again next year but start at the Pleinmont checkpoint and walk the remaining 22.2 miles but now it's a bright and somewhat sunny Monday morning I am feeling far more optimistic and I think I'll give it another go from the start. I have recovered fairly speedily and my magic double skinned walking socks and the miraculous Compeed antiblister band aids have meant that my feet are in reasonably good condition. You only live once and I would really like to have achieved the challenge for myself during my life. I have twelve months to work on my flexibility, thighs and calves at the gym and I will certainly walk the cliffs a few more times during the year in training. Look out Itex 2010 here I come!