Sunday, May 30, 2010

Experimental cooking - Fruit slice

I have a few favourite things I like in a slice so I decided to experiment and make up a recipe myself. Please be aware that this is a work in progress and don't try this at home. lol Well, not unless you like to eat experiments.

Fig and Apricot Slice

Chop up one pack of dried figs and one pack of dried apricots. I used HB apricots. Place in a saucepan with 400ml of apple juice. Boil until the figs have softened nicely. Remove a little juice and add 1 Tbsp of cornflour. Mix to dissolve cornflour then add back to saucepan and cook until juices thicken. Set aside to cool.

Melt 250g butter and remove from stove top. Add 1 1/2 cups SR flour, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and 1 cup rolled oats. Mix well. Pat this mixture down well in a 8x13 pan. Was about an inch thick. Then pour fruit mixture over the top and spread out.

Rub 60g butter into 4 Tbsp brown sugar, 6 Tbsp plain flour, 1/4 tsp (too much for my taste, will use less next time) nutmeg. Then add 1/4 cup of chopped pecans. Sprinkle over the top of the fruit.

Back in the oven at 180 C until the top is nicely browned and the bottom firm around the edges.

Result - Sweet and fruity, loved the topping except as noted the excessive nutmeg. The fruit made the bottom quite soft and gooey when it was warm. I refrigerated it and found the bottom firmed up well, all that butter I guess. It was hard to cut after refrigeration but still tasted nice.

I think next time I would try to halve the bottom mixture so it doesn't get so soggy from the fruit and I will cut it up straight away before refrigerating. I have also considered using only apricots and doing 2 packets of them as figs can be rather expensive.

Best wishes

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A new challenge

I like this website, Mom's No Chaos Zone. Does it help that her name is the same as mine? Maybe!

She has a challenge coming up that may be directed at the US but I think I could really do it here to prevent the winter blues kicking in by feeling productive when I usually feel blah. Join me if you like.

Best wishes

Monday, May 24, 2010

Using table linen at our house

I have always wanted to have nice linen for the table but have thought that having little ones would make that hard to do. Well, I bit the bullet and bought myself some lovely machine washable (and dryable) placemats, matching runners and napkins with a couple of neutral tableclothes.

So after washing them and ironing them we gave a runner and the placements their first use. It all looked good, until the baby spilt his drink. We then discovered a very interesting scientific fact. The placements absorbed water, sucked it up nicely, but the water on the runner beaded.

Instead of a nice formal dinner setting I had all my boys (even the biggest one) playing with the water, pushing the drops around so they merged then splitting them then playing more until they would run into a placement and be absorbed. Yup, so much for nice table linen. It was a science experiment instead.

This seems to be the way with boys. Everything, no matter how well planned, turns into something messy or gross. lol

Best wishes

Monday, May 10, 2010

Goals are a modern problem!

I was thinking this morning, as you do, about how I never seem to get caught up on the washing up and the washing in my household of 6 people. It tends to create a continual feeling of angst and resentment towards my family becauase I never reach my goal of finishing. I am not the sort of person who just enjoys the rhythms of life and goes with the flow, finding contentment not in completing a goal, but in doing what needs to be done in each moment.

I am wondering if this is a modern problem. We are taught to set goals, to work out how to achieve them, and to work on them in little steps until we reach them. The problem is that some things in life don't fit this type of thinking. Making a home, building a family, creating relationships... all of these do not sit well with the modern goal approach. Maybe I am missing out on the day to day peace of living in each moment, doing what needs to be done, and not trying to achieve some goal just because I am told I "must" set goals to be a success.

In fact I read recently that not everyone who is successful did set goals. In some cases it was more a case of the successful person enjoying what they did so much that they spent a lot of time doing it, learning to better, and by virtue of time they became successful in their area of life. Most of these type of successful people will keep working in their area of interest until they die, or find a new interest. They will never reach their goals, because they know how to enjoy what they are doing with their life. And really isn’t enjoyment of life a much better "goal" than a certain amount of money, or a certain size portfolio, or a certain amount of fame?

Maybe that is something I should consider in those areas of my life that do not fit well with the "goal setting" paradigm. Enjoy what I do, learn to do it better if I am interested, and just keep moving forward.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A winter bedding tip!

I have 2 wrigglers who always seem to wake up in the morning curled in a feotal position trying to be warm while all their blankets dangle off the side of the bed. As a kid I slept in a sleeping bag and thought this may solve the problem of the disappearing blankets. Well, a bedwetter and typically dirty boys if I don't manage to get them all bathed every night means that sleeping bags are out of the question. Just not washable or machine dryable like I need.

Funnily enough at the camping store the guy came up with a great tip. His mum was a foster mum and she had this trick. Bottom sheets are fitted single bed sheets and the top bedding is double bed sheets and blankets that tuck all the way under the mattress, creating a nice snug cocoon that doesn't unravel easily. I don't have double bed linen but for my littler guys I just tucked the single bed top sheet and a thinner blanket the normal way but then tucked a lovely thick single blanket across the top of the sleeping area.

Both boys slept well, and even though my bed wetter still wet his bed, he was happy with the snuggly cocoon bed. And still easy enough to do the washing as it was only my normal linen, just used differently.

Try it, it worked.

Best wishes
Jen in Oz