Saturday, July 14, 2018

Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding

After reading Meg's post about her recipe for Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding we made this for dessert the other night.  We make things from scratch however before the school holidays Green's had their Self Saucing Puddings for half price at $1.20 so I bought a couple of packets for the holidays.  We made two of them and then I decided to make a real one and it did not disappoint.  This recipe is Matt Preston's recipe and delicious and rich.  Here's a couple of pics I snapped before we devoured it up.  I can highly recommend giving this a go.

  • ·        1 cup (150g) Self-Raising flour
  • ·        1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • ·        1/2 cup (50g) cocoa powder, plus extra to dust
  • ·        60g unsalted butter, melted, cooled
  • ·        1/2 cup (125ml) milk
  • ·        1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ·        1 egg
  • ·        Vanilla ice cream, to serve

1.   Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease an 1.5L (6-cup) capacity ovenproof baking dish.
2.   Sift the flour, 1/2 cup (110g) sugar and 1/4 cup (25g) cocoa into a bowl and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre. In a separate bowl, whisk melted butter, milk, vanilla extract and egg. Gradually pour into the well, then fold to combine.
3.   Spread mixture evenly into prepared dish. Combine remaining 1/2 cup (110g) sugar and 1/4 cup (25g) cocoa and sprinkle over the top of the pudding. Carefully pour 2 cups (500ml) boiling water over the top of the pudding.
4.   Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is firm. Stand for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
5.   Dust the warm pudding with extra cocoa and serve immediately with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Holiday Activity

Last week we went to Surfers Paradise to go to "Skypoint" which is the 360 degree Observation Deck of Q1 Tower.  It was $58.50 for a family of 4 through RACQ and a bit of a treat for us.  I haven't been up that way for years and years and years as we usually visit our good friend who lives at Cooloongatta/Rainbow Bay.  There is airport scanner as you enter the building to keep everyone safe and then once in the lift, it takes 42.7 seconds to get to the 77th floor.  If you look up to the roof of the elevator there was clear glass so you could see the lift going up in the lift shaft.

Once at the top you can see the immediate views all around and they had huge glass windows from floor to ceiling all the way around.  They have a cafe and lots of lounge couches around the place for you to sit and enjoy the view.  It was really interesting seeing the canals from high up because it's not something I've ever really seen.  If staying in a Gold Coasts high rise building you are generally facing the ocean and beach so it was interesting seeing the canals and Gold Coast Race track from up high and the beautiful surrounding mountains.  They also have special climbs up to the spire which is a separate cost and activity sort of like a Bridge Climb Adventure.  Here's some interesting facts:-

The Q1 Spire

The Q1 Spire is one of the world's longest at 97.7m. It commences at level 75, is made up of 12 sections and weighs 87.2 tonnes. The oval shaped spire starts at level 76/225m high and extends 47m above the glass fin. Powerful arc lights illuminate the spire which can be seen from 200kms away.

The Q1 Building Gold Coast

  • The Q1 Building is taller than the Chrysler building in New York City.
  • Q1 is one of the tallest residential buildings in the world.
  • Q1 is 322.5 metres high.
  • SkyPoint has one of the World's fastest elevators taking you from ground to Level 77 in 42.7 seconds.
  • Australia's only beachside Observation Deck .
  • Offers stunning 360 degree views of the entire Gold Coast, from the surf to the hinterland and beyond.
  • SkyPoint is 230 metres above sea level.
  • There are 1331 steps from the ground to Level 77.
Here's some photos from Level 77.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Around here

Around here it's Queensland Winter school holidays and a perfect time for the beach.  No crowds, the days are 22 degrees and surprizingly the water was beautiful.  Here's a few pics from Rainbow Bay.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Around Here

Around here I haven't taken as many photos over the last few weeks and find after I do my "Week in the Life" photo project I tend to have a little break from taking photos.  My WITL 2018 photo book arrived from America and I love it.  I have to go back and complete 2013 and 2015 and turn the photos into a photo book but at least I have taken the photos.

I have recently joined "Old Brisbane Album" facebook page where people post old photos of Brisbane and if they can a current photo of the same thing.  I've seen lots of tram photos and old Brisbane City Council buses when they were orange back in the day and it reminds me how important my "Week in the Life" project is by documenting everyday life.  The clothing, the cars, the buildings you can really tell what era a photo is and while life today might not seem that interesting in 20 years time it will be.  It's been such a great page to join and a lot of it has been a trip down memory lane for me.

This Friday the kids are on school holidays so it will be nice to spend more time with them not having to rush out of the house each day for school.  It's hard to believe we are at the end of half way through 2018 already.

Here's a link to some recipes that might be of interest over the school holidays.

These are amazing Raspberry Lemon Muffins, more like a cake really but 100% delicious.

Best bread roll recipe ever and they are so light and fluffy.

Swedish Meatball recipe which is so tasty and 100% better than Ikea meatballs.

Our very famous Chicken & Leek pies that the kids love.

Five Seed Bread which the kids love and Sienna made this a couple of weeks ago and it's more of a "Toast" bread so yummy and healthy for them.

This is my Mother In Law's recipe and amazing...Apple Slice recipe.

Black & White portrait.

Our friend's dog will be visiting again over the holidays while his family are away.

Good old Aussie Kookaburra

My tween-ager.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Healthy Banana Bread Recipe

I've previously written about a fantastic Banana Cake Recipe here which is sweet and delicious but has lots of sugar and is a cake vs bread recipe.  We usually make this cake to take camping and it always goes down really well and is a 10/10 recipe.

Lately for school lunches I have been making this healthy Banana Bread recipe which has been great for using up those bananas that are at the bottom of the crisper.  I make this, then cut it into slices and freeze them in individual zip lock bags and then into the freezer.  On school mornings I can grab the packets out and pop them straight into the school lunch boxes.  The kids don't like butter with their Banana Bread however I love spreading some real butter on my slice with a coffee for morning tea.  I forgot to take a photo this afternoon before I cut it up and put it in the freezer so I'll settle for a coffee picture.  If you use the link below to the original recipe you can see a picture of the cooked Banana Bread.

HEALTHY BANANA BREAD RECIPE (posted on Cookie + Kate)

I like to type out the recipes on my blog because I've found over the years when blogs shut down I lose the recipe, so I have the link and also post it here for myself.

1/2 cup of melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of honey or maple syrup
2 eggs
1 cup of mashed ripe bananas (approx 2 large bananas)
1/4 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of baking soda (NOT baking powder, they aren't the same ie bi-carb soda)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sale
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 and 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
Optional - 1/2 cup of mix-ins like chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 165c or 325F.
2. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
3. In a large bowl, beat the oil and honey together with a whisk.
4. Add the eggs and beat well.
5. Mash the bananas and add to the bowl.
6. Add milk and whisk.
7. Add baking soda, vanilla, salt and cinnamon and whisk to blend.
8. Stir in flour until just combined.  Some lumps are okay.
9. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.
10. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
11. Let the banana bread cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes.
12. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

I can highly recommend this recipe and I have been making it as my go to recipe to use up the old bananas.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Around Here

Around here it's the end of May and that means Sienna and I take photos of the one Autumn tree in our neighbourhood which happens to be on the main road.  We've done this the last weekend in May for years and it's a little ritual of ours.  I gave her the point and shoot camera for her to take photos however the battery was flat so she couldn't use it.  I get very envious of those places that get a true Autumn and love seeing everyone's pictures however we make do and enjoy our one big tree nearby.

I recently found out about a company called Social Print Studio and I ordered a small magazine style photo book of our farm stay pictures from last July and also some fridge magnets.  The magnets are 2 inches square and are beautiful.  You get 10 magnets in a set for $14 (USD) and they come in a lovely little bag with a draw string tie.  With the conversion rate to AUD and postage from the States I ordered a few things to make it worth my while and got the photo book, some magnets and a small metal print.  Here's a picture of the magnets which are glossy and well made I was very impressed with them.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Week in the Life 2018

I've written about my Week in the Life (WITL) project recently and my book is ready to be uploaded to Blurb as they have a 35% discount at the moment.  It's a great way to save money on printing your photo books.  I only order them with a discount and if you are on the mailing list every week or two they have some form of discount.  My last book I got 40% off however I'm more than happy with 35% off as well.  I just need to add one more page to the book and then upload it.  My daughter does a drawing of our family every year which I do on a double page spread and this is the last page I need to include. I have been doing this project for 10 years now and I love looking back on our life from a few years ago.  Here's a look at my book from 2012.

This year I uploaded the photos each day and dropped them into my templates and then the following week I just need to do the writing.  It seemed really easy this year with the way I took photos by picking a story for the morning, midday, afternoon and evening which only required 4 photos each.  I took less photos however they were more purposeful.  This sets a record for me getting the book finished within two weeks of the project.  Sometimes it takes months for me to come back to it, other times I need to save up to get the book.  Here's a few finished pages for our Week in the Life book for 2018. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Eat Well for Less - Final

Last night was the final episode of  Eat Well for Less which I loved.  As I've mentioned before I've learnt a lot about these things over the last 10 years however there are so many people out there that would get an awakening from this show. 

There was a young family with a one year old and a share house with 3 single girls.  We all know about the $30 or $50 food challenge where you shop from your pantry or freezer first and only buy the necessities like milk, bread, fruit and maybe a small amount of meat.  If you are spending $250 a week and only spend $50 you can put that $200 towards the mortgage, credit card debt or a bills account.  The young family had approximately $2,000 worth of groceries in their pantry and the freezer was similar.  They had 8 bags of frozen berries of all different sorts.  A single friend of mine used to buy 2 tins of this and 2 tins of that which were her regular items only to look in her pantry and it could have 8 or 10 tins of any one item and living alone you don't need this much particularly when you are at the supermarket 2-3 times a week anyway.  We can all get into the trap of buying a few things when they are on special and that's okay but some of the tins in the pantry ended up having to be thrown out because of the expiry date because you use what's in front of you rather than at the back of the cupboard.  In the end you don't save yourself any money.

One of the single girls was buying a box of $50 T2 licorice and they swapped it for a $15 box and she thought it was the same tea.  As I don't drink tea I didn't know you can buy a $50 box of the but there you go.  She was shocked at the difference in price and was going to switch to the cheaper version.

One of the things about the "young people" these days everything is done through an app and the Uber Eats got a run for their money.  They ordered $28 burgers and had them delivered when they were 2 km from the shop.  Walking there and getting it would save $5 on each delivery.  They showed them how to make a chicken burger and chips at home for $4.50 and it looked great and the girls loved it and are going to cut back on the Uber Eats.  One girl was ordering the burger 4-5 times a week.  Oh to be young and carefree however when they explained how much money they were eating in take out in a year between the 3 of them they were shocked.

The young family would get take away chicken and chips a couple of times a week which as new parents and a busy first time Mum with a toddler you can't leave alone for a minute the exhaustion sets in and take away seems like it solves all the problems.  Take away is fine on occasions but not as the norm.  The host showed them how to butterfly a chicken with herbs and spices and cook it on the BBQ along with cobs of corn and they made a batch of home made coleslaw.

I think one of the biggest take things we need to do is only buy what we need to eat for the week or fortnight depending upon how regularly you shop.  When I was single I used to shop once a month for canned goods, meat and only buy milk and fruit and veggies weekly.  I had a pretty good system and I would always cook a meal for 4 and portion it out.  One meal that night and one for the next night and 2 for the freezer.  I always had fresh prepared portioned food in my freezer so when I came home from work I could eat take away from my freezer.  On the nights I would cook I would have my 10 rice crackers and a diet coke listen to the news and then start cooking.  I always shopped for food even living alone.

Apparently the cost of food in Australia is one of the highest in the world in front of New York, London and Hong Kong which is crazy when you think about it.  We have great growing conditions, lots of space and great soil.

I think there should be more educational shows like this as all the participants were shocked and delighted that they could reduce their food budget without going without too much just changing brands and giving some things up regularly like take away and soft drinks etc.