Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Whole Lot of Bits and Pieces- Family and Food

Well with the huge workload of things to do in the month before Christmas there hasn't been a lot of time for blogging. So this post is a whole lots of bits and pieces from all the stuff I have been up to lately with the family and, of course, in the kitchen. Hopefully this will make my friend Adelle at work happy as she keeps me on track to keep on making posts. Besides I could hardly sleep today because of the heat. We have finally lost the rain and are back to sunshine but the heat does make it hard to get any proper sleep. Therefore I have some time to blog...even though I'll pay for it tonight at work.

For Xmas this year I am making some homemade gifts. I won't post exactly what at this stage but I have also discovered some fantastic easy gifts to make. The first of these, which is not photographed as it is WAY too hot for it, is a Hot Cocoa Mix. THIS is a revelation I have seen it posted in a few blogs and have heard how delicious it is so thought I would whip some up. The blogs were right....this is amazing and puts bought hot chocolate mix to shame. I think I will really enjoy it when the weather gets colder.

The recipe is as follows:

Hot Cocoa Mix

1 1/2 c milk powder (I used low fat)
1 c icing sugar
3/4 c cocoa (Dutch processed would be good but I used garden variety Pams and it lovely too)
3/4 c white chocolate chips, drops or chopped white chocolate
1/8 tsp salt

Put it all into a food processor and whizz up. Store in jars. Mix in with hot milk for a divine hot chocolate.

For work last night I had really wanted to try a recipe I have seen for Caramel Crackers. There are a few different recipes out there, but I used the one from the latest Dish magazine to base mine on. I had heard how delicious these were but really DON'T make them if you don't have anyone else to share them with as they are moorish and extremely yummy. I kind of took a bit from here and there when making mine and ended up lightly sprinkling over some Fleur de Sel salt. 

Salted Caramel Crackers

225 gm butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Salada crackers
Chopped dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 190 C. Line a shallow dish measuring about 22x32 cm with baking paper. Line with a single layer of crackers.

Melt the butter and sugar together in a pot and stir until it comes to a boil and is mixed in. Pour evenly over the crackers and put in the oven for 8-10 mins until the caramel is beginning to darken and bubbling all over. Mine took about 10 ins.

Remove for the oven and sprinkle over the chocolate. Wait for it to melt then spread with a spatula. Now you could sprinkle over chopped pistachios and chopped dried cranberries (or whatever else you want), or sprinkle over Fleur de Sel salt. I love the salty caramel flavour but make sure you don't use normal salt as it will taste awful.

Cut when it has started to cool and whatever you do, try to stay away form eating too much of it!

Other things I have made lately are a heap of cupcakes for Harry's last day at school as it was his birthday on the same day. I thought the class and teachers might like them and by all accounts they did. I have also made a carrot cake with cream cheese icing for my sisters-in-law Jules and tarn who also have their birthdays in December, as well as these delicious mocha chocolate chip biscuits (recipe to follow once I find it), the obligatory Christmas cake  from an old Dish magazine and other bits and pieces. Because it has been so frantic I keep forgetting to photograph my baking BUT I promise to be a bit more onto it from now on. I have lots to do for Xmas day as well as for the gifts I have planned so will blog about those as I make them. 

Mocha Chocolate Chip Biscuits
Some photos from over the last month....

The trophy Harry won last year for ballet

His name engraved on

With the trophy and the medal his group won at the show this year (in his PJ's by the way)

Last ballet class for the year

Trying on his suit for his pageboy gig when Uncle Marc and Aunty Bex get married in March

Handsome, beautiful boys

Jesse and Reubs...before you wonder where the photos's are of Reubs, it can be notoriously hard to get a teenager to pose!
Our cat Louis

Our dog Archie

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