Cheese Crisps

As promised earlier, here is the recipe for Cheese Crisps:

Cheese-Crisps

1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
60g butter
2 teaspoons paprika

Filling:
1/2 cup grated havarti cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons cream
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil

Sift flour into bowl, stir in cheese.  Rub in butter, press mixture firmly together into a ball (or process all ingredients to form a ball, which is what I did).  Cover, refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll pastry between sheets of greaseproof paper until 3mm thick.  Cut 2 1/2 cm rounds from pastry, place onto lightly greased oven trays, sprinkle half the rounds with paprika.  Bake in moderately hot oven for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned; cool on trays.  Sandwich plain and paprika topped crisps with filling.

Filling: Stand cheese in bowl at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Beat in cream and basil, beat until smooth.  (In fact I blended my ingredients in a mini food processor, which ensured I got a nice smooth consistency with the basil flavour being distributed nice and evenly.)

Makes about 45

Orange Liqueur Chocolate Tartlets

As promised earlier, here is the recipe for these divine little morsels … a little bit fussy to make, but oh so worth it! 😀

Orange-Liqueur-Chocolate-Ta

1 1/4 cups (185g) plain flour
1/4 cup (25g) cocoa
125g cold butter, chopped
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon iced water, approx

Filling:
300ml thickened cream
1 2/3 cups (250g) White (chocolate) Melts
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon grated orange rind

Candied Rind:
1 medium (180g) orange
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) water

Sift flour and cocoa into bowl, rub in butter, add egg yolk and enough water to make ingredients cling together (or make pastry in processor, which is what I did).  Press dough into a ball, knead gently on lightly floured surface until smooth, cover; refrigerate 30 minutes.

Divide pastry in half.  Roll each half between sheets of baking paper until 1mm thick (mine were about 2mm thick ‘cos I’m obviously not an expert roller!!).  Cut pastry into 5cm fluted rounds, press rounds into 5 x 12 hole tiny tartlet trays (3 teaspoon capacity) (note I used mini muffin tins – so they didn’t sit as ‘flat’ as the recipe suggests, but they still held their shape well and held the filling beautifully).  Prick pastry bases with skewer; refrigerate 30 minutes.  Bake pastry cases in moderately hot oven (200-210C; 400-425F; Gas Mark 5) about 7 minutes or until crisp; cool.

Spoon filling into piping bag fitted with small star tube (which I couldn’t find, so I had to use a plain round piping nozzle).  Pipe filling into pastry cases; top with candied rind (which I didn’t bother with because a lot of people don’t like it).

Filling: Heat cream in small pan until boiling, pour over White chocolate Melts in bowl, stir until White Melts have melted.  Stir in liqueur and rind; refrigerate until firm.  Beat mixture with electric mixer until fluffy; do not over-beat (mixture should resemble whipped cream).

Candied Rind: Using a vegetable peeler, peel rind thinly from orange.  Cut rind into very thin strips.  Combine sugar and water in small pan, stir over heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves.  Add rind, simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until mixture is syrupy.  Remove rind from syrup, place on greased tray, separate strips of rind.

Makes about 60

(in my case because the pastry was rolled a little thicker, I managed to get 42 nicely, but then ran out of baking tins anyway!)

Quick drive-by posting

The last few weeks have been absolutely mental at work – another project that hasn’t gone as well as planned thanks to an unstable testing platform, code not delivered as planned, and another department totally not delivering their side of the requirements.  Testing is supposed to take 2 weeks, this time it took the entire month of February … and I’m sure I don’t need to say how much I was “over it” by the end!!  But thankfully March is now here, and testing is mostly behind me … except now I have to do more to help out the other department now they’re implementing their side of it … pfffft.

Alas that means there hasn’t been much motivation to do anything other than sleep in my spare time, and not much stitching.  Then when I did do some stitching both my camera batteries died … and I lost my Lumix charger.  The charger turned up a few days ago, then I lost my memory card … I decided to just buy a cheap replacement online (and found a store by doing so that offers really healthy discounts on top brand cards!!), then of course found the original one stuck in the front of the computer this morning … after I had checked there the other night!  Oh well, I needed a spare anyway, and now I have loads and loads of memory on the cards for my next holidays 😀

That also means I’ve managed to take a couple of quick snaps this morning – even if they’re not great quality in the overcast morning light, here is my current stitching update … one finish and one work in progress:

LHN-He's a Flake
“He’s a Flake” by Little House Needleworks
stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Belfast linen by Countrystitch ~ colour Kina
with recommended threads (Crescent Colours and DMC)

2605948540047689748pszEZV_fs
WIP – “Joyeux Noel” by The Drawn Thread
(I’m using DMC 3865 instead of 739 for the snow etc for more contrast on the fabric)

I would have done more stitching on Wednesday night, but at 7pm I remembered I was supposed to bake for morning tea the next day, so chose something I’d never done before that was a bit of a challenge (including making my own pastry, which I haven’t done for years!).  Alas it took me all night (literally) and 1 1/2 hours the next morning to get everything finished, but I was just ‘in the mood’ for kitchen time, and I enjoyed every minute of it.  If I get chance, I’ll post the recipes later – the Orange Liqueur Chocolate Tartlets went down an absolute treat!  Anyway, here are the results:

Cheese-Crisps
Cheese Crisps (with Havarti & Basil filling)
(these are only about 1.5cm in diameter … like little cheesy burgers
for Ken and Barbie! LOL – and for me very more-ish!!)

Orange-Liqueur-Chocolate-Ta
Orange Liqueur Chocolate Tartlets (simply divine!)

On a health side, I’ve been going to Physio twice a week since last week, and had my first hydrotherapy session on Wednesday – hopefully it will help to loosen up my lower back and stop the knee pains … when it gets really bad, unfortunately the pain keeps me awake at night – and it’s been the worst lately when spending long hours in the office 😦

And on that note I really should get my A into G and get my carcass into that office – today I have a meeting with our Occupational Health & Safety assessor to find out if my employer will cough up for a new chair for me … otherwise I’m going shopping to buy myself one.  Not quite the most exciting of shopping, but a very worthwhile investment if I do have to do it myself! 🙂

The week that was

Alas, it’s been a very loooong week workwise, so not much stitching at all has been done, and not much of anything else.  I had a couple of 9pm finishes at work, then got sick on Thursday and haven’t been firing on all cylinders since.  My leg has been giving me a lot of pain lately, but after 2 months being on a waiting list for physio, I FINALLY have an appointment tomorrow morning so I can start discussing some appropriate exercises for my back (I have some degeneration in the discs of my lower back which is causing swelling and therefore compression of the nerves … which is leading to me walking like an old lady when I get up and horrendous pains in my left knee).  Mind you, with the current heatwave back in Sydney, going to bed with an ice compress on my knee has been blissful 😉

What I did do yesterday, though, was to dust off the grime from the top of the breadmaker and threw in some flour and rolled oats into it … 4 hours later and I was able to sample the results – a very slight sweetness to it, which I’m not a huge fan of, it’s still quite a nice loaf, and it’s given me the urge to get some milk powder and other ingredients in to start sampling a few more recipes (and also therefore cleaning up another one of my 101 things in 1001 days items).  Anyway, here is the result of my Oatmeal Walnut Bread, which is one more recipe book that I can tick off the list of my 101 things (“The Bread Machine Book” by Marjie Lambert):

The only stitching I managed to do during the week was to put a few touches to Bittersweet Season – it’s really hard to pick up the metallics and beads, as my macro camera battery has died and I can’t find the charger so I’ve had to use my Nikon SLR whose Macro setting is crap … oh well, I’m halfway through adding the embellishments, which means I just have the remaining half of the pumpkin’s beads and metallics to stitch, then stitching the metallic half-moon at the top and the pumpkin stalk.

Last night I sat in the lounge and caught up on some taped TV and put a couple of stitches into this month’s ornament – this will eventually be “He’s a Flake” by LHN … sorry for the blurry picture, but there isnt’ too much to see really anway so I guess it doesn’t matter 😉

And on that note, I’m going to take a break from the PC and grab another slice of that bread to make a sandwich …

Christmas has arrived … finally

Ever since my flatmate made a comment about my Christmas tree being up when her Mum was here visiting I just haven’t felt like putting decorations up, and definitely had the “bah humbug” feeling. On Friday night, though, I decided to put a few things out and decorated the lounge – a lot more understated than normal, and I have to say I think I really like it!

Because my flatmate is away for Christmas (she flew out today), we had Christmas morning early on Friday night and I refused to swap gifts until we at least had some sort of Christmas decorations up. I’m usually cracking the decoration boxes open on 1 December (or the closest weekend afterwards), so it’s really really unusual for me this year! Even when I lived on my own, I still had my own little tree and made myself a Christmas stocking each year – it seems a little silly, but I still bought myself a little chocolate bar and some nuts in their shells and popped a little baby bottle of champers in there (and for the first time ever something I’ve neglected to do for myself this year yet). I’m tossing up whether to approach a LNS next year and see if they will bundle up some surprise goodies from my wish list and then get someone to wrap them up for me so I can have something of a surprise in there – I was originally going to do my own 12 days of Christmas and parcel up 12 little items early in the year so I may have forgotten about them by Christmastime, but it’s not really the same, is it? haha.

Last year Katie said she was going to buying a white Christmas tree with black balls to put up this year, with a skull instead of an angel/star … sigh 😉 Let’s just say it hasn’t happened yet, and if it does happen next year then I will sit my own tree up in a different corner to be a bit more traditional!! Anyhoo, earlier in the year I found the most PERFECT gift for her … I was going to stitch her this chart and frame it up for her – I had my heart set on it, because it is just so “her” haha.  As you can see, it was the Christmas tree that made it think it was so perfect!

Unfortunately I’ve had various items back-ordered for over 3 months, and the Belle Soie threads that were sent along with my other parcel goodies an exact month ago still haven’t arrived – not to mention I was really unhappy with the fabric I ordered from NZ for it, so I ended up placing an extra order for the recommended fabric listed on the chart, and that was also on back order for a while. The fabric finally left about 1 1/2 weeks ago, but the first parcel is still AWOL, and there was no insurance on the parcel {{sigh}}. I’ll wait for another few weeks, then I’ll have to save up and re-order everything again, I guess 😦 I was then in a quandary as to what to buy my flatmate, but my heart was still set on this chart, so I ended up wrapping just the chart up and saying the real version would be coming whenever I can get it together.

To say Katie was over the moon with it is an understatement! She loved it so much she’s been taking photos of the chart and showing all her friends and family and can’t stop talking about haha. The great thing now, I guess, is that I can actually stitch it in the lounge without having to hide away, so she can watch it grow each week once I finally manage to get it started 🙂  I also gave her two Jared Padalecki movies on DVD to fill her horror quota for the year (Friday the 13th and Cry Wolf).

As for what I got, I was truly spoilt – I knew in advance what I was getting, but it made it not less thrilling – I got a ticket to see Tap Dogs next month with Katie, and we’re only a few rows from the front so we can drool over Adam Garcia without squinting haha.  I’ve always loved him in the movie Bootmen, which is so similar to Tap Dogs – if you haven’t seen it yet, I can definitely recommend it as a great Aussie drama/romance (but make sure the tissue box is handy) … love, love, love it! 😀

Today I actually started one of my 101 Things in 1001 Days – I’ve been playing with this list for the last month or so, and have finally published it live.  Seeing as I’ve started feeling a bit more positive over the last 48 hours, I’ve started making a move to see some of the goals happen. Today’s effort was in relation to #23 in the list, which is to make something out of every recipe book I own in Sydney – considering there are 130+ books, that’ll keep me busy for longer than the 1001 days, but it’ll be fun anyway!  Today’s recipe was from “Simple Delights: Coffee & Tea” book – and the chosen recipe was “Bonoffee  Coffee”.  Perhaps not the ‘best’ thing I’ve ever tasted, I have certainly enjoyed slurping it down this afternoon while I’ve been pottering around – here’s the full recipe if you’re interested:

BONOFFEE COFFEE

3 teaspoons instant coffee granules
150ml (5fl oz or 2/3 cup) boiling water
450ml (16fl oz or 2 cups) vanilla ice cream
1 large banana
300ml (10fl oz or 1 1/4 cups) milk
Few drops vanilla essence
85ml (3fl oz or 1/3 cup) Tia Maria
2 teaspoons drinking chocolate
Chocolate flakes, to serve (optional)

Mix together coffee and water and set aside to cool.  Place all the ingredients, except the chocolate powder, in a blender or food processor and process them until completely smooth.  Pour into tall glasses and sprinkle the chocolate powder over the top.  Serve with chocolate flakes, if desired.
Serves 4-6.

Alas I couldn’t find any drinking chocolate in the cupboard, but I did find some Lindt chocolate shavings … score!!! haha.  I even broke out the super-duper expensive hand-blown glassware to drink it out of.  I was given a pair of these by my very best friend Vicki, and I’d hate to think what they’re worth today – they’re hand-blown by Hoglund Glass, and apparently are quite the collector’s item … I personally don’t care, because I adore them to death, and will never sell them, I love them too much! 😀

I really should show the results of my decorations, but I think this post is getting waaaay to long by now, so I’ll create a new post shortly 🙂

Photo Hunt – Half (15 May)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
|

The theme for 15 May was ”Half” and here are a couple of crayfish cut in half and baking in the oven.  The dreadful thing is that there were only three of us for dinner, so we got an extra half to share (and mostly for the chef, me – yummo! 😀  I think this is my favourite way to cook crayfish (lobsters to you, up north), however at $50 each crayfish it’s definitely a real “treat” once in a decade! 😛

Farewell Dinner 2

Farewell Dinner 3

Then of course there is the Half a pumpkin that I’m still working on in the lounge … it’s almost growing at the same rate as a real pumpkin, very very slowly. Fingers crossed my threads arrive this year so I can get it finished sooner rather than later!

Bittersweet Season 12Nov10