Friday, November 23, 2012

best. chocolate cake. EVER.

This cake is not diet friendly!!

Chocolate Coca Cola Cake

preheat oven to 180

mix together

2 cups plain flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon


bring to the boil

1 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup coca-cola
1/2 cup buttermilk

take off heat and add to flour mixture, whisk well.


1 tspn vanilla extract
2 eggs
, lightly beaten (add them slowly and keep whisking so they don't cook)

pour into a prepared sheet pan, and bake about 30 mins.

The cake should be fudgy and dense.

When the cake is done, bring to the boil

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup coca cola

remove from heat and add

4 cups icing sugar

and mix well.

Pour the hot glaze over the hot cake.
Allow it to set.
Serve warm or cold.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas salad on the tree

I've always felt slightly superior to other families at tree-decorating time -- because WE have a Christmas Carrot, and no-one else we know does. (actually, we have TWO, which makes me doubly smug.)

I bought those ornaments in a bag of other ornaments from a chain store years ago, and when the Princess was a baby, she kept pulling one off the tree, which distressed her Big Bother greatly.
"NO!" he kept saying. "Not the CHRISTMAS CARROT!"

Thus it was christened, and thus it has ever been.

It's a good thing there are two, because the kids greet them with huge excitement every year, and I know there would be a fight if we had only one.

I'm waiting for the year they ask, WHY do we have Christmas Carrots? but so far, so good.

Anyway, the other day I saw this thing on Pinterest (it's scary how many of my utterances begin that way..........)

.... which came from here

and I knew I had to have a Christmas pickle.
{If you can't be bothered following the link and reading the story, the gist is that the pickle is hidden on the tree on Christmas Eve, and the first child to find the pickle in the morning gets an extra present.}

I love creating or adapting bizarre or fun traditions, and I think my kids will love this (so will Daddy, who will be roped in to hide the pickle).

Anyway, rather than leave this post till closer to Christmas, I decided to publish it now, because if you want to get yourself a pickle (or, indeed, a carrot or two) you'll need to get busy. I could only source pickles from overseas, and don't even get me started on the postal 'service'.

BTW -- these are often described as a German tradition, but they're not. Pure US of A!

Monday, November 12, 2012


My two best cleaning tips (I feel so Martha Stewart!)

1. to clean a greasy pan (frying or roasting)

make a thick paste from bicarb (baking soda) and vinegar. Apply liberally over the whole pan and leave it a while. Go watch some tv or have a glass of wine.
When you're ready, rinse the pan with hot water and then wash normally. It should be squeaky clean.

2. to clean glass shower screens and doors

get yourself one of those dish washing wand thingys. You know, the one you fill with dish liquid and it has a foam pad scrubby dohickey on the end?

Well, fill it half and half with vinegar and dish liquid. Scrub it onto the glass and leave as long as possible before rinsing off. (have a glass of wine?)

You may need to do this a few times initially, if the build-up is bad, but it really does work. Then just once a week or so.
(the vinegar does the work. The dish liquid helps it stick to the glass)

Right. Time for wine.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I like cake. A lot.


That's me on the left. Eating birthday cake. Thanks Ross :)

So I have a few really good (tried and true) cake recipes, and I thought that I should have a go at making some (with my NEW RED KITCHENAID) and post a recipe from time to time.

And the one I picked to start with is Sand Cake.

I haven't made this in years, because of the very long beating time, and I only had a hand-held beater. But trust me when I say that if you have a proper mixer, this cake is a breeze to make.
It's not fancy, and you should have all the ingredients on hand -- this cake is kind of like a nana-cake -- very comforting.

Do try it?



1/4 cup milk
4 oz butter (NOT MARGARINE, please-for-the-love-of-God)(113gms, or 1 US stick, apparently)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup SR flour
1 tblspn cornflour
pinch of salt
lemon essence OR grated lemon rind (that's what I use)

place all ingredients in the bowl in the order listed, then beat for 10 minutes.

Pour into a greased tin and bake in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes. You'll need to pierce the centre with a straw or a bamboo skewer unless you're a very good judge of cakes, because this one is very light and might not feel firm to the touch.

You can top it as desired, or serve plain.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Oh, noes. The other day, I found myself morphing into one of 'THOSE' people .... you know, the ones who park their precious car across several bays in a carpark?

In my defence, (shut UP spell check. It is SO spelled DEFENCE in Australia)

Ummmm... so what was I saying? Oh yes, in my defenCe, the car I was driving is my husbands' honking big truck that I don't know where the corners of it are.
(thank God there's no grammar check, eh?)

And I really didn't want to scrape up the side of the nice car next to me.

And that is why I took up 4 parks at Bunnings. Yes, 4.

Shame on me!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


What IS it with kids and shoesandsocks?

I have never knowingly allowed my children to go to school without shoesandsocks.
Every morning, it's
"Oopsies, you haven't got your shoesandsocks."

"Don't forget your shoesandsocks."

"Get your shoesandsocks on!"

"WHERE are your shoesandsocks?"

And STILL they try to get into the car barefoot.

Once, in the middle of winter, my son make a gasping noise as we pulled into the school carpark.




"Well, it's just that I forgot my shoesandsocks."

Child holds up small, blue, wet-from-dew, naked foot.

HOW, for the love of God, do you cross a wet lawn and a gravel driveway, in winter, without noticing that you have no shoesandsocks?

We do karate twice a week. Well, the kids do karate, while I sit and read. Every time, I say to them,

"Get your bag, make sure you have your gloves and mouthguard, fill your waterbottle, and put on your shoesandsocks."

Then I repeat about the shoesandsocks until it's time to go.

Every time, they arrive and then whinge as they hop barefoot across the bindii infested lawn.
I don't care. (Well, I do, a little) -- but they KNOW the bindiis are there. And yet they refuse the shoesandsocks.

I just can't figure them out.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

No, you can't have my mobile number

Here are some pictures of people enjoying life.

Taking pleasure in the company of friends and loved ones, enjoying good food and good conversation:

Enriching their minds with art and culture:

Feeling the adrenaline rush of cheering for their team:

Taking a moment to enjoy the beauty of their surrounds and the wondrous world we live in:

"I fear the day when technology will surpass our humanity. The world will then be populated by a generation of idiots." -- Albert Einstein