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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for August, 2010

My Inspiration!

The Virtual Quilting Bee is getting closer to the end! I’m nearly the last to send my fabric!sept2010

I finally had it all packaged up in preparation for sending out, when after sealing all the envelopes, I realised I hadn’t actually included any information about why I chose it:-)

I used to do bellydancing. During that time, I fell in love with the Moorish aesthetic found in places like the Alhambra, and the wrought iron work of some of the room dividers (I was also teaching metalwork at the time… so the work involved was really obvious!), and henna.

The two fabrics remind me of those images. The brown one particularly calls to mind henna designs, as well as Alhambran arches. The floral is reminiscent of some of the room dividers (sadly, I can’t find any images of the ones that particularly struck me!)

(Not that you need feel obliged to use this information! But given I was attracted to them for a particular reason, I did want to share:-) )

How To Vote

For those who haven’t seen it elsewhere:-) I found this site really useful when preparing to vote in the upcoming Federal election.

It allows you to view the preferences parties have selected, or make your own personalised How-To-Vote card to take along with you.

Even better, it has links to each party’s website and their wikipedia page (or whatever page can be found for those not in a party). In WA, they covered every group, with the exception of one ungrouped candidate. Took a while to go through each of the links, but it’s a great resource for checking out all those little or similar named parties, to be sure you’re voting for!

Cygnet Chatter

He now has definite (and independently used) names for his siblings! He’s been wandering around the house, calling for Puggle (2 syllables, just missing the middle consonant… “EEh-un!”).

Choco-Hoto Pots

A number of years ago now, Paddington and I had finished watching whatever we were watching, and as we switched off the TV, we caught siight of Nigella Lawson on Oprah… making some dessert. We detoured a bit, and kept watching. It looked fabulous, so we then searched online until we found this, which seemed to be the right recipe. We decided pretty quickly, that the quantity was excessive. Every time we made it, people extolled its virtues—but could only stomach about half (I think one person in the first half dozen times managed to finish a whole serve:-) ). Since then, we’ve halved the quantity, and made it go further:-)

I haven’t made it in an age, but I took them tonight to our (homeschooling) ‘Mum’s Coffee’ (our monthly “professional development”:-) ). We did dinner, so I volunteered for dessert, so I could do these again:-)

Choco-Hoto Pots by Nigella Lawson
Serving Size: 4

butter, for ramekins
3/4 cup chocolate chips, dark
113 grams butter, unsalted
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar, caster
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips, white

Place baking sheet in an oven preheated to 200°C. Butter four 2⁄3-cup ramekins and set aside.
Using a microwave oven or double boiler, melt together the semisweet chocolate and the butter. Set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs, sugar and flour. Add cooled chocolate mixture, and mix until blended. Fold in white chocolate chips.
Divide mixture evenly among ramekins and place on baking sheet. Bake until tops are shiny and cracked and chocolate beneath is hot and gooey, about 20 minutes. (12 minutes for smaller serves.) Place each ramekin on a small plate with a teaspoon and serve, reminding children (and adults) that the ramekins and chocolate are hot.

Notes: A half quantity, divided into 4/5 is actually a workable serving.

Hit With a Revelation!

Puggle was sad last night, when he realised he didn’t know how to play ‘From the shores of Montezuma’ (The Marines’ Hymn) on the piano, one of our folksongs from last term. It proved very popular (well, after Grandad sang it:-) ).

This morning, I was looking for sheet music to simplify the process:-) (He’s playing around with the piano… he’s worked out how to play a variety of his recorder songs on it, but only looking at the right hand:-) ) My ear is not great, and I’d rather he had a good example to keep coming back to:-) I did my search, and what did I find (or rather, be reminded of)?

The composer was Jacques Offenbach. My kids love their Offenbach:-) We listened to a number of his pieces a couple of years ago (including the Can-Can:-) ), and they were a real hit. And I can guarantee that if any of his pieces come on the radio, my kids will dance in their seats (even though they haven’t heard who it is:-) )

It’s no wonder the song was so popular:-)

Bilby Babble

“Outside our house must be a beach! Because I keep on finding beach shells!”

Taking Over the World

Puggle has had a plan for a while. He intends (with his friends, the oldest of whom is 8) to re-build the Roman Empire (he was very taken with our studies of Rome last year, Story of the World is wonderful:-) ).

Tonight, I asked him what he’d do when he had the Empire re-built. He told me, “Keep the Barbarians out, obviously… Of course, it might be rather hard, because it’s quite small.”

He then decided that it might be more sensible to take over the whole world. “But then people might try to kill me. I may need to ponder some more on this.”

(He’s also very taken with Asterix. He was asking earlier whether Julia Gillard would be carried around on a shield like Chief Vitalstatistix. When we said we didn’t really think so, he suggested Kevin Rudd probably would have… He seemed kind of disappointed that we didn’t think that was very likely either:-) )

ETA. Paddington has just told me the reason he intends to re-build the Roman Empire is so that Susan Wise Bauer [the author of the series] will write more books:-)

Parmesan Biscuits

A bit late for D, and no photos… but here they are:-)

A few years ago I did an afternoon tea course, and one of the recipes was this. It’s blissfully easy, is frozen as part of the process, and is unbelievably good (I don’t think I’ve ever made them without someone asking for the recipe:-) )

You need three ingredients. Parmesan cheese, butter and plain flour. You work on equal quantities by weight (I usually do 500 grams of each… because I try to always have some in the freezer).
Start by grating the parmesan directly into the food processor. Add the butter and plain flour. Pulse until it just comes together a bit. Lay out a piece of gladwrap, put some of the mixture on it, and form a sausage (the diameter will be the size of your biscuits). Fold the gladwrap over the sausage, and roll tightly. Hold the ends of the wrap and spin the sausage to sort of seal the ends. When you’ve done this to all the dough, place in the freezer.
When you want some biscuits, slice off as many as you need, lay on a tray and bake at 190˚C for 10 to 15 minutes. They should be golden brown, and they’ll smell great:-)
For variety, you can roll the sausage in chopped rosemary, cracked black pepper, or cayenne pepper.
I’ve included a couple of rolls of these along with a couple of similar rolls of sweet biscuits (I’ve made similar sausages of my usual biscuit recipes) as a baby shower gift. It means you can have a mixed plate of freshly cooked biscuits within 15 minutes of guests arriving:-) Delicious:-)

The Road to Gundagai

There’s sheet music and a collection of .mp3s here (although, it only seems to include the chorus… you can here the whole thing here and here.)

The Road To Gundagai
There’s a scene that lingers in my memory –
Of an old bush home and friends I long to see –
That’s why I am yearning
Just to be returning
Along the road to Gundagai –

There’s a track winding back
To an old-fashioned shack
Along the road to Gundagai –
Where the blue gums are growing
And the Murrumbidgee’s flowing
Beneath that sunny sky –
Where my daddy and mother
Are waiting for me
And the pals of my childhood
Once more I will see.
Then no more will I roam,
When I’m heading right for home
Along the road to Gundagai.

When I get back there I’ll be a kid again –
Oh! I’ll never have a thought of grief or pain –
Once more I’ll be playing
Where the gums are swaying
Along the road to Gundagai –