Monday, December 31, 2007

The NYE thing

I think I've probably said before that I'm not really into the whole big New Year's Eve night out thing - the high expectations are often a set up for disaster.


The best NYEs I've ever had have been simple - good food with a couple friends.


I'm talking about you Beauzo, watching fireworks from our balcony, kulfi (actually, I don't remember if we actually had kulfi that night, but it always makes me think of kulfi. mmmm).

And New Year in Danmark - Gitte's dad raising the Christmas tree up the neighbour's flag pole, and then bunding a bunch of fireworks together to set them all off at once (do not try this at home!)


I guess I told the same stories last year, but they are really two of my greatest New Year memories, so I'll probably tell them again next year, and every year! =D


This year we're inside at home hiding from the heat, although apparently it was hotter yesterday, and its not nearly as warm here as Melbourne or Adelaide.


We've made a delish dinner - strawberry and haloumi salad, home made ravioli, bocconcini tomato and basil salad, brie stuffed chicken (hey there's you again Beauzo - meat stuffed with cheese wrapped in meat mmmmmm), and New Year chocolate mousse.

We'll sit on the balcony and toast the New Year by candlelight (aah my new Georg Jensen candle holders =D ) - or fall asleep in front of the tv at 11:15!!

Wishing you the best for your NYE festivities!!

besos =)

please excuse the grainy pics - I'm still working on gettin the new camera to behave =s

Sunday, December 30, 2007

FO: Kitty McGritty

Besides working (a bit) on my gifty mitts (hey, its summer here anyway, right) over the past few days I've been working on a little friend for Sheep McGreep.

Meet Kitty McGritty!

From Angry T-Rex Roars



No mods this time, apart from felting - there's KM pre-felting



And post-, with Sheep McGreep for scale.

Like Sheep McGreep, this little guy was finished on the road, with stuffing and face added during the Christmas Road Trip (part II).

As you can see we couldn't resist another ice-cream stop and a stroll on the beach.




This guy is super cute, and I'll definitely be trying this pattern again - I think their little faces could use some work =)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

We're just takin' it easy

because there's not much else you can do in 38C heat.

cuppies made for minto's birthday afternoon-tea at work

Thursday, December 27, 2007

FO: Sheep McGreep


From the Australian Women's Weekly knitted nativity set.

Mods: body and head knit in one piece, felted after attaching ears and legs (but before stuffing).

Yarn: Lincraft cosy and feathers

Finished: Christmas road-trip (part I).
eyes and mouth were essential for carrying out navigational duties



Pictured at Lakes Entrance, where we took an ice-cream break - some of the best ice-cream you'll ever taste! =)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Making that list

I think this whole 'making a list, checking it twice' is probably the best Christmas advice Santa ever gave us.
Today is list checking day chez Kuka, before we set off on our roadtrip tomorrow morning.



Pressies are wrapped, goodies baked, dishes done and undies in the dryer.
I was a little nervous this morning on reading about the storms overnight ("road closure", "flash flooding", "wreak havoc" and "Christmas traffic" are phrases that I really don't want to see together, ok?)



I'll have about 8 hours in the car to work on the gifty mitts - there's a sneak peak of the inside =)

Safe travels to my fellow road-trippers!

besos xo

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Julehygge

The Boy and I hit the city to do the last of our Christmas shopping on Sunday, people are completely nuts!!

On arriving home I wanted to wind down with something festive but relaxing, and let me tell you, nothing says Christmas Spirit (well, julestemning, really), like the smell of fresh baked brunkager. Ok, well except maybe aebleskiver and gloegg, but I'm working on that! ;)

Brunkager are a kind of Danish ginger spice cookie, traditionally baked at Christmas time.

I took some of these along to Bells' crafternoon last week, and they were also the fave baked goody at J-Mo's bbq on Saturday.


Since I'm on a recipe share roll, here's how:


In a saucepan, melt together:
125g butter
200mL golden syrup
125g brown sugar

In a large bowl mix:
380g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder (actually, the original recipe uses baking potash, but I haven't been able to find it anywhere here?)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves (I like the danish word - nellike) =)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Combine the cooled butter/sugar mixture with the flour/spices, and add
25g of finely chopped blanched almonds

Mix to a dough, and then pop it in the fridge for at least an hour (overnight is good)

Roll out really thin - just 2 or 3mm or so, then cut out with Christmassy cutters.

Now these guys are really thin so they will cook quickly - about 5-6 minutes at 180C.

I made the little gingerbread man guys, and also the more traditionally Christmassy shapes. Brunkager are often decorated with a half blanched almost pressed into the top before baking.

Aah, just looking at brunkager, with the almond in the top makes me smile =D

besos =)


btw, those cute Christmas decorations (love love love love love them!) in the shot with the brunkager, they came from the giftshop at Kronborg castle - cool huh =)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

gifty mitts

Whilst the Christmas bakey has obviously had the lion's share of my homey time of late, here's some proof that the knitting continues - the gifty mitts.

I'm a bit further on from the cuff on the first one, and hoping to finish the first by next week =)

I have also started on another gifty something, which involves a bit of felting...

Hope your gifty knits are zooming along =)

besos

Friday, December 14, 2007

pud

I have very little to say this week - work and everything is busy at the moment.. - so instead here's another tasty Christmassy treat =)
- mini-Christmassy puds -

I adapted these from a recipe I've seen around a few places, since I know a number of people who aren't super keen on fruit cake.

I took some of these along to to Bells' crafternoon, and, though they look impressive, I promise they're very easy!

Crush one packet of plain biscuits (something like milk arrowroot or marie),
mix with one (eta 395g) can of condensed milk, half a cup of desicated coconut and 2 tablespoons of cocoa.
Roll into little balls and chill til firm.
Once firm, dip each ball into melted dark chocolate to coat.

Allow dark chocolate to set, then put a little bit of white chocolate on the top to look like custard.
Before the white chocolate sets decorate with red and green lollies to look like holly.
I used chopped up red and green frogs - I think miny M&ms would work really well too (ooh,I added peppermint essence too, since I do like to mint it up a bit =D )

They're delish with coffee!

besos

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Crafternoon

As you may have read in a number of places on the www, today the lovely Bells did a wonderful job of hosting us at a yarny Christmassy crafternoon!
Squeeeee check out those cuppies!

It was so nice to catch up with some of the Canberra girls who I haven't seen for a while, and also to meet some 'special guest stars'!!!

I've had a bit of project ADD lately - planning mittens, fondling sock yarn, searching for lace patterns, and working on two different sets of grannys, but I did finally get a start on the mittens.
They're a giftie knit, so I may not be able to say more about those yet...


Did I mention the prize?
A little while ago I won a prize (hurrah) over at SSoS, just for being a sock knitting newbie!
Checkout the loot - a cute little tin with two pretty pretty stitch-markers inside and a gorgeous yellow project bag (a la Rose Red =))

Thanks for an excellent crafternoon, guys =D

besos

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Winty knitty

Just in case I'm not the very last person to find out the new knitty is up... well, go on, check it out.
I think this is my fave... =)

besos =)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Pepernoten

In the Netherlands tonight, Saint Nicholas' eve, is the night that Sinterklaas comes with gifts for all the kiddies.

This is also the holiday with which one of my favourite Flemish baked goodies are associated - pepernoten.

Mmmm, let's make some now!!

Preheat your oven to 180C

In a bowl mix together:
125g self-raising flour
25g butter
50g brown sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp mixed spice

Now knead until you have a smooth ball of dough.



Roll dough into teaspoon-ish sized balls (if you make them small enough to be 'one-biters' then you can pop one in between rows!)

Now bake for about 15 minutes, or so.
Ok, I don't know, I guess it depends how big the balls are - just bake until kinda golden and crunchy

Taadaa!



Mmmmm speculaascious!

besos =)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

the ultimate travelling sock

Anyone who enjoys following the Yarn Harlot's travelling socks has to check this out.
Tracy at Stringativity actually got Barack Obama to hold her sock!!!

Sock high-fives!!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Oooh dear

Hmm now that I'm getting the camera sorted out it seems blogger doesnt want to co-operate with the photos =(
blah



This delish fig and fetta toast from last tuesday's crafternoon is a test...
mmmm and it was so delish!

see, when I click on the photo it tries to download, instead of opening in its own window with a url i can use??

and the pics of the stained glass have disappeared (at least when I view it) =(

help?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Stained glass

Wow, I've been having some issues with photos - mostly that I couldn't figure out how the frak to get the pictures from the camera to the computer.
To be honest, I'm still not entirely sure what I did diffently for it to work but I'm not going to complain.

So now that I do have some pics I thought I'd share the recipe for the stained glass window biscuits.

I'll start off by saying that mum has been making these for years - I'm sure she made them while I was at home, and that is approaching 10 years ago - and this is a different recipe to what we used to use then (I'll be looking that up over Christmas, I think).
Over the past couple of years I've seen the same idea pop-up more and more, different each time.
This recipe is from a food magazine (Super Food Ideas) a couple of years ago, and is a very plain biscuit, leaving the sweetness to the lollies in the middle.
There's also a recipe in the Essential Christmas Cookbook (you know how I love those essential cookbooks!), and (if you're in Australia) the current (December) Australian Table magazine.



So, you need (for about 20 biscuits):
125g softened butter
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup golden syrup
1 egg
2 1/2 cups plain flouor
1/4 teaspoon bicarb soda
clear boiled lollies - These can be tricky to find. Sometimes you can get fruit drops, and last year I used some sugar free ones which worked fine. This year I got Starburst lollypops, and they're perfect - the colours are gorgeous and they taste delish!

Ready? Ok

With an electric mixer beat butter, sugar and golden syrup untill pale and creamy.
Add egg and beat util combined.
Mix bicarb and flour, then add to the butter, stirring until a soft dough forms.
Knead until smooth, then wrap and refrigerate for 30min.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place lollies in ziplock bags (please remove yarn first!), a bag for each colour, wrap the bag in a tea towel and crush lollies with a rolling pin.

Split the dough in half, and roll out each piece between 2 sheets of baking paper to about 4mm thick, then cut out your Christmassy shapes and place on baking paper lined trays.



Cut little shapes out (little cutters are handy, but not essential - one year when I was in Denmark I managed passable freehand stars, and even basic circles/triangles/squares are going to look pretty) and spoon crushed lollies into the cutout area.

Bake biscuits for about 12 or 15 minutes, until the lollies are melted and bisuits are golden, then allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before moving to a tray to finish cooling.
They might look a bit bubbly when they come out of the oven, but will smooth out on standing.

Taadaa!



Now sit back, admire, be impressed with yourself and enjoy =D

besos =)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Outta here

We're off to Sydney, just about right now.
Lucky this arrived this week to keep me company in the car...



See you (on the flip side?)

besos =)