Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Christmas In July

I've always loved the idea of a white Christmas, with snow outside and a warm fire inside sipping on hot chocolate.

Well I'm never going actually have that experience or at least not in the near future so I thought I would have my own Christmas in July dinner.

But to make it a little different and to keep knocking down the 150 Nigella dishes on my list (see here) I thought I would throw a Nigella Christmas using her Christmas cookbook for myself and my husband.

First up - Entree

Title: Fully Loaded Potato Skins
Book/Page #: Nigella Christmas #40
Date Cooked: 19/07/14
Review out of 5: 4
Eat again: Yes
Notes: Little more cheese was needed - oh man was this awesome love crispy bacon

Next course - Main

A beautiful lamb roast served with Maple Roast Parsnips

Title: Maple-Roast Parsnips (see recipe online here)
Book/Page #: Nigella Christmas #130
Date Cooked: 19/07/14
Review out of 5: 2
Eat again: No
Notes: The maple syrup turned into a toffee and tasted too sweet plus the toffee got stuck in my teeth.

Now for the best part of all 3 course dinners - dessert

Title: Chocolate Pudding with Hot Chocolate Sauce (see recipe online here)
Book/Page #: Nigella Christmas #140
Date cooked: 19/07/14
Review out of 5: 5
Eat again: Yes please
Notes: None as it was completely awesome tasting. I think I might have overload on the chocolate sauce - actually no I take that back you can't overload on chocolate sauce.

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Friday, 18 July 2014


It's that time of the month again - cardmaking class!!!! Yeah!!!!

Here is what our talented teacher came up with this month. I love them, so pretty and magical.

Which one is your favourite?

My favourite 

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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Oven update

When we moved into this new place the existing oven, stovetop and rangehood were terrible.

The oven door didn't close properly and cooked from the bottom up so it burnt everything.

The rangehood was filthy and every time you turned it on the smell of the previous occupants food came out (yuck).

So I got to do something I've only dreamed about - buy a new oven!!!!!

Woo Hoo!!!!!

It was so much fun shopping around for good prices and looking up what are decent brands and reviews.

We took all the measurements correctly - or so we thought! The oven ended up being too small for the space and the stovetop was too short one side and too big the other way.

Thankfully I've got a very handy dad who was able to fix it up and you wouldn't even know there was a problem. It's awesome to have helpful parents.

After 6 years of living with rental ovens, its fantastic to finally have an oven that cooks correctly and doesn't burn the bottom. Here's to many happy baking moments.

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Saturday, 12 July 2014

Do we ever grow up?

Do we ever grow up? Do we ever grow out of childlike ways? Or do we just get worse as we age?

This week I was the subject of an email - not a good subject but a subject to laugh at and complain about. Worst of all the women sending the emails were all over 40 and some of them I thought were good friends.

It felt horrible hearing them all tapping away on their keyboards and laughing about me (if you ever send a email make sure your computer screen is covered up). It wasn't a very nice moment, it felt like I was back in high school being laughed at all over again.

But it did get me wondering about something - do we ever grow up? or do we just kid ourselves?

I'm not even sure if you'd call this behaviour childlike. To me it's petty, just a sad form of entertainment and another way to feel better about yourself while putting others down.

When will our society learn that putting others down doesn't make you feel better or look better. It does nothing of the sort. Building people up on the other hand does make not only you feel better but the other person feel better too.

I know we don't always get along with everyone and things that people do annoy us (sometimes a lot) but if someone does something to annoy you, don't complain about them behind their back (especially by email) just ignore them and get on with the job at hand or maybe talk to them and find out their motive behind the situation (you might just find out there is a very good reason for it).

Has something like this ever happened to you?

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Photo from here

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Hosting a 3 course dinner

I've always wanted to host a 3 course dinner (#13) and last Friday I finally did.

My parents loved it and I had so much fun cooking and preparing all the food. I even got to use another Nigella recipe (#74).

For Entree I found a really quick and easy recipe for Tomato Bruschetta on the Taste website (see here). I've never made bruschetta before but I love eating it and now that I know it's so easy to make I think I'll be having it more often.

Main course was Bang Bang Chicken from my 4 Ingredients Diabetes book (see here). Once again so easy to make and my parents really enjoyed it.

Of course dessert is always what you want the most and I whipped up an Instant Chocolate Mousse (recipe here). It was ok but I think I added a little too much vanilla as it had a little bit of an after taste but thankfully my parents didn't notice or they were just being polite.

I always love having a special drink with special dinners and this dinner called for sparkling apple juice served in wine class to add to the sophistication (I even made a little menu too).

My review for the Instant Chocolate Mousse:

Title: Instant Chocolate Mousse
Book/Page: Nigella Express #159
Date Cooked: 4/07/14
Review out of 5: 3.5
Eat again: Maybe
Notes: I think I added too much vanilla

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Sunday, 6 July 2014

732 down 269 to go

I thought it was time for a 101 things in 1001 days update, my last update was July last year.

I've achieved a few of items on my list but I've also reassessed a number of them too. I've realised over the past year that I as a person have both grown and changed, and my priorities are now different from when I first started back in 2012. Also I realised that I put a few too many items on there that required a lot of money.

So I've crossed a few items off the list that I will not be completing but I am happy with what I have achieved and I still have a few things to work towards over the next  9 - 10 months.

1. Purchase a new DSLR Camera (maybe as a combined birthday/Christmas present this year)

2. Purchase a Macro Lens (Cannot afford)

3. Purchase a Fish Eye Lens (Cannot afford)

4. Learn to Crochet (well I started this one at craft camp in Feb 2013 so I'm still on the learning process but I have started to learn).

5. Start/Finish throw from Crochet magazine - I have started well the first square at least

6. Crochet a baby rug

7. Crochet baby booties

8. Finish dolphin cross stitch (still working on)

9. Have a baby (hopefully soon)

10. Study Aromatherapy

11. Climb the Harbour Bridge (Cannot afford)

12. Try a pottery class (completed last year at a community college)

13. Cook a 3 course dinner for both sets of parents (completed 4th July - post to come)

14. Make a kimono

15. Read through the whole of The Old Testament

16. Collect at least 20 Kimmidolls (I think this might be too ambitious) (3 so far)  (do not need 20 of them)

17. Have a baby shower

18. Start a vege garden Started one last year but sadly it was all damaged in the move

19. Own my own sea monkeys

20. Buy or make a purple coat

21. Take my nephew to the aquarium (see post here)

22. Eat at Platform One (see post here)

23. Take a drawing class

24. Read the Anne of Green Gables Series

25. Do the Minnamurra Rainforest bushwalk (see post here)

26. Take mum to Nutcote (completed see post here)

27. Make a skirt out of Australian tartan 

28. Make my Suzie Snowflake muff (I had one of these for a ballet dance I did when I was 7 and I've always wanted it again).

29. Walk in the Mother's Day Breast Cancer Walk Was unable to do

30. Do a photoshoot of my mum (she's so pretty)

31. Photo a day of my tummy when pregnant (I've always like the idea)

32. Do a cupcake decorating course (did 2 classes actually - lots of fun)

33. Try cooking macarons (see how I went here)

34. Make a macaron tower

35. Help mum make a red coat  - She bought one

36. Have a go at tempering chocolate

37. Cook all 50 curries in my 50 curries book (started 8/12/12 - still going I've cooked 5 so far)

38. Visit Cockatoo Island  (see post here)

39. Try making cake pops (have a look here)

40. Cook a souffle I've cooked both sweet and savoury

41. Start learning German again

42. Make a quilt with mum (squares are cut out)

43. Build a mosaic jigsaw puzzle

44. Do a Sydney Skyline crosstich for my husband (unable to do now)

45. Learn to paint designs on my nails completed many times over love it

46. Host Christmas at our place (enjoy post here)

47. Attend an Anzac Dawn Service (see post  here)

48. Buy a lucky bamboo plant (22/07/12 my husband bought me one)

49. Collect all of Nigella Lawson's cookbooks (one to go now Nigella Bites)

50. Bush-walk in the Blue Mountains (see post here)

51. Go camping (not going to happen)

52. Once a month cook a meal from a different country or culture (completed/still doing)

53. Have a sleepover with a friend  (not going to happen)

54. Make a new dress for my childhood rag doll

55. Buy Stephanie Alexander's cookbook  Do not want it anymore

56. Write/Illustrate a children's storybook

57. Scrap my husband's baby photos

58. Make a pair of jeans

59. Make a yum cha lunch

60. Buy a Barbie Jumper

61. Buy a Barbie T-shirt

62. Throw a themed party My dad's 70th party was an Aussie As theme

63. Sleepover with my nephew was so much fun

64. Buy a really good mix-master (completed 08/01/2013 - see here)

65. Enter a crosstitch in the Easter Show

66. Host a World Cup Soccer Party (Rio 2014) (see post here)

67. Cook a Thanksgiving Dinner

68. Cook a Traditional Christmas in July meal (coming soon)

69. Get a hot stone massage

70. Have a milk and rose petal bath (completed)

71. Buy a puppy (not going to happen)

72. Complete more photo challenges (completed)

73. Buy a full set of derwent pencils (My good friend gave me a set of my birthday in 2012)

74. Cook at least 150 different Nigella recipes (I've started - 13 so far)

75. Sew a Christmas dress

76. Run/Walk in the City to Surf (unable to do)

77. Design/Create a set of fairy wings

78. Try acupuncture

79. Buy a good set of saucepans (see post here)

80. Read the Blossum Street book series (not interested in book series now)

81. Try jam making

82. Learn about weather patterns

83. Cook a rainbow layer cake (see post here)

84. Buy a good pair of ugg boots (two pair actually one from Rivers and Cotton On both on special)

85. Collect all Gilmore Girls DVDs (Not interested any more)

86. Watch every eposide of Gilmore Girls (Not interested any more)

87. Do a First Aid course

88. Create a fairy garden

89. Have a home spa treatment weekend

90. Get my nails professionally done

91. Learn to handstand

92. Buy my husband Lego Millennium Falcon (it's on order)

93. Throw dad a 70th birthday party (2014) Done 15/2/14

94. Throw my husband and I a combined 30th birthday party (happening in October)

95. Swim with dolphins for my 30th

96. Buy a bike

97. Visit the snow (unable to afford)

98. Sleep under the stars

99. Buy an eternity ring

100. Go horseback riding

101. Blog about my 101 list (well I've started this one)

Start Date: 1st July 2012

Finish Date: 29th March 2015

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Friday, 4 July 2014

DIY - Proud as a Peacock

I found this stunning peacock pendant over on Skip to My Lou blog last year and I knew straight away I wanted to make it for my mum for Mother's Day.

But alas since we were in the process of moving around Mother's Day this year I was unable to have it ready in time, so I spend the first night of craft camp completing this stunning piece.

My mum loved it and she can wear it either as a brochure or attach it to a long chain necklace.

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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Weekend of craft

Twice a year I'm lucky enough to be able to attend a craft camp with my mum. I've been going now for 11 years and I love it every time.

This weekend I had a few projects in mind that I wanted to complete: Peacock necklace (a post to follow in a few days), some washy tape projects and one crochet square (I'm trying to teach myself how to crochet).

I achieved them all - yeah. I'm so happy with my efforts, even after having to undo one row of crocheting 7 times, I got there.

Contact and washi tape - unique stickers 

This weekends theme was Wild West and it was so much fun to dress up as a cowboy, I didn't get any good photos of me dressed up sorry.

I also wanted to share this beautiful card my mother made over the weekend, she did make many other cards too.

Looking forward to my next camp in September.

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