Saturday, 28 December 2013

Kofta's on the Barbeque

Last week I asked the family over for a barbeque, nothing fancy just some chicken burgers and Lamb Koftas.  My mother and father-in-law were staying for a couple of nights, a stop over on their way to visit their son and I thought this would be an easy meal to cook with the rush of pre-Christmas planning and cooking.     I haven't made Koftas for awhile and not on the barbeque before.   I saw a chef on one of the television shows mold them around rosemary stems and then cook on the grill.  This looked easy so that is what I would do.  They were amazing, so yummy wrapped in a pita with salad and Tzatziki sauce.  Definatly a winner and I will do them again over the summer.

500gm lamb mince
2Tbls pine nuts
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper

Brown pine nuts in a dry pan, remove and chop.  Place other ingredients in a large bowl and mix until ingredients are combined.  I use six stalks of the hard wood of the rosemary plant, strip all but the top leaves and then mold the meat, about a large meatball size around the stalk.  Once you have formed all of them place in the fridge for about 30mins.   Heat the Bbque and cook. Once cooked remove the rosemary stems from the Kofta, these should just slide off.   Assemble with pitas, salad and Tzatziki sauce or just serve on a plate with salad.   Either way these are yummy.   I doubled the ingredients to feed my large family.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Birds of a feather

As I opened the garage to leave the house this morning, I noticed a large flock of Ibis in the parkland across the street from my house, these are large birds with long pointy beaks, not having seen them here before I grabbed my camera from the car and snapped a few hurried photos.  They didn't seem to mind me being quite close to them, although I didn't tempt fate and stayed as far back as I could.   By the time I returned they had gone.  It must have been a stop over on their way to where ever.             I have just been having a relaxing day today, apart from the shopping trip for fresh fruit and vegetables I'm staying in.       It is hot and very windy so I am inside with air-conditioner on, just doing a few clean up jobs.     My daughter and Deacon came over for lunch, a sandwich with some of the left over ham from Christmas day,  I think I will finish the ham tonight for dinner and then I can wrap the bone for the freezer.  When the weather becomes cooler will have it there to make up a pot of soup.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Glazed Christmas ham

Every year I glaze a ham, but this year we have a large butt, and I wasn't sure if I would glaze this one, whether it would look as good as a full leg.   Then while looking through magazines for things to make and bake for this Christmas,  I kept seeing glazed hams, ok I was won over, but which glaze will I do.    Then I came across a  fig glaze and decided this would be the one.    I think it looks really good and after a sample I think it tastes great as well, I have one very good looking ham for tomorrow's lunch.    I am now getting excited, my grandsons have just made the rocky road chocolate Christmas trees, these have become a bit of a Christmas tradition that I involve the Grandkids in.     The chocolate bowls have been licked as well as spoons and fingers, the leftover marshmallows, raspberry lollies and the pecans have been eaten.   I think we are ready for the big day.        I wish you all a Merry Christmas, have a happy and safe holiday.

Fig Glaze:

1/2 cup of water or apple juice
1 cup light brown sugar
5 tlbs fig conserve (jam)
good pinch of both mixed spice and cinnamon
2 tlbs sherry or brandy

Add all ingredients to a small pot, stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 10-15 mins. it should be syrupy.    In the mean time lift the skin from the ham and slash a diamond pattern over the fat, being carefull not to cut into the meat.  Stud with whole cloves and brush with some of the glaze.  Place into a hot oven for 15minutes, remove and brush with more glaze, repeat this a couple more times until it is burnished.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas craft with children

I've been caring for my four year old grandson the past two days, this has meant I've had to put my brain into action and think of things I used to do with my kids when they were young.     What craft things could I do with him, it was then I just decided to Google Christmas craft with children, hundreds of ideas popped up, after going through them we chose a Santa and a Christmas tree to make.    I then rummaged through my craft box to find the things we could use and was surprised to find more than I had thought I would.    This has been interesting and fun but  I have realised once again that four year olds DO NOT have very much patience.    We are both covered in glitter glue but  we have made something for Mummy and something for Shaun.    Packing things away he cannot wait to get into the next activity and I just want to sit with a coffee and relax for a few minutes.  Thankfully the sun has just come out and I can go outside with him.  We are having Summer here but this morning has been cool, it's now late morning and it's finally starting to warm up.  What craft activities have you done with your grandchildren?

Monday, 16 December 2013

Chocolate peppermint balls

As promised here are the chocolate peppermint balls.    I have to confess that this mix doesn't hold it's shape as well as the cherry ripe chocolate balls did, you can find the recipe for the cherry ripe choc balls here   I added another five crushed chocolate ripple biscuits to the mix and they still need to be kept in the fridge or they will go too soft.    On the good side they are dark, rich and full of peppermint flavour, very moorish. I do prefer the cherry ripe chocolate balls though, but, this is just a personal choice.

Chocolate peppermint balls:
1 pk. chocolate ripple biscuits (I added another 5)
5-6 chocolate peppermint bars
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 can condensed milk (395g)
coconut to coat
Place biscuits, peppermint bars and cocoa into the food processor and blitz till fine crumbs. Place into a large bowl and add the condensed milk and mix until combined, it was at this point I relised the mixture was too wet and added more biscuits.  Place the mix in the fridge for 30mins, then roll into small balls, about a teaspoon full, then roll in the coconut.  Store in the fridge.

Christmas mice

Something I made on our craft day that was successful is these little felt mice and a christmas tree.  These are so easy to make and just slip over a candy cane.  I found the original pattern of the mice in Australian Super Food Ideas in the christmas section.  I thought these would be fun for the kids.  If you cannot find the magazine just draw the outline on card, cut a couple of horizontal slits for the ears and the candy cane to slip through. Decorate with tiny eyes and a tiny pom pom, or you could use sequins. I liked the mice so much I decided to make some trees as well.  Have fun with these.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Precious pieces our kids have made

I was talking to a friend about all the little precious things our kids have made for us during the years they were in school,  the things that we cannot part with.    I have numerous ornaments and useful things my five children have made for me.  Some of them have been used on a daily basis, my second eldest son had a talent  for woodwork and metal work.    I have a chopping board, a metal scoop I use in my flour bin and a rack for my letters and he also made a magazine rack.     My eldest son who preffered reading,  science and all things space made something in pottery that I have loved ever since he presented it to me when he was in year seven.    It is, he said, a hobo with top hat, with newspapers spread over himself to stay warm, sleeping on a park bench,  I love the detail, colours and of course because he had not shown much talent for things arty before or since.    The son who does everything is the artist in the family, and he has been asked in the past to draw portraits for friends and family and more recently to design an advertising board for a friend.     I have framed artworks drawn by my then five and seven year old daughters that I look at almost everyday, along with poems that I have kept.   These along with the numerous Christmas decorations that I keep year to year mean so much to me because of the memories that are held within each and everyone of them.   Do you have some things that your children have made that you cannot part with?

A little Christmas tree

I think I have mentioned before that I have a wonderful new shopping complex in my town.    In the past I have had to drive out of town to do most of my shopping, not anymore.     It's amazing, I am so surprised to see so many people, I wonder where they have all come from, I didn't realise there were so many people in this area.      I'm really enjoying browsing through all these new shops, they really are so tempting,   I've been shopping for gifts,  but I really have to watch the budget.     That was until I found a variety shop, it is amazing, so many things to look at, and the prices are very good.     While having a look around this store I found a little Christmas tree,  I knew I would buy it as soon as I saw it,  budget forgotten, well,  it was not much, or so I told myself, and I'm sure you will agree it is just gorgeous and I had to have it.    It is a small glass tree on a mirror base with small baubles that hang from the branches.    I've kept the decorations in the house at a minimum this year, because we will be having Christmas lunch with the son who does everything.   My eldest son and his family will not be having Christmas here this year,  they alternate with my daughter-in-laws family, so, I  have reasoned that because the grandkids won't be here at my house I don't need to unpack everything,  but, to be perfectly honest  I'm just being very lazy.      Just the thought of dragging all the boxes out, unwrapping everything, sorting the lights and decorations and then a couple of weeks later having to pack  everything away has worn me out, let alone actually doing it.      I know,  bah humbug has come to mind, but I have pushed that thought to the furtherest corner of my mind.    It was different when my girls were still at home, everyone was eager to help,  but now I'm on my own it just seems like too much work.       My mother-in-law has phoned to tell me they will be staying overnight on the twentieth and twenty first, they are driving through my town on the way to have Christmas with their eldest son and his family.     I love them, but that means I actually have to make up beds and clean through the house and my garden.    Geez,  I really am sounding like the Grinch or is Ebenezer more appropriate.   Someone give me some Christmas spirit, preferably from a bottle.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Craft day 2013

This year has been so busy, and it seems like it has flown by so quickly.  First off, and still ongoing is my eledest sons illness, he has recently had another MRI and this is once again a good result,  he will continue with Chemo one week a month, but he is feeling more positive, this has eased my fears and I'm also looking to the future.     My daughter-in-law and her family were busy with wedding preparations for her sisters wedding, it was a beautiful day and a lovely wedding.      Then the son who does everything and my daughter-in-law bought their first house, followed by the packing and the move.      Along with the Easter holidays, all the birthday celebrations and the pre- Christmas parties we had been unable to set a date for a craft day this year, for the girls in the family.     We  thought we should organise one before Christmas, and so, Sunday was chosen, I would buy everything needed for us to attempt folded fabric balls.       It was a very slow start, everyone was tired,  but,  once the fabrics were chosen, then cut and pressed,  three of us made a start and then we realised we did'nt have enough fabric to finish.    I think the polystyrene balls I had purchased were a bit too large.    My daughter-in-law did finish her ball by using some folded fabric and then ribbon around the join.    I love the colours she chose, and it does look good.  I think I will pull mine apart and redo it, after all practice makes perfect.   My youngest daughter  hemmed her new drapes, my eldest daughter looked through some Christmas magazines for recipes.  Although not much was achieved we did enjoy each others company and had some fun oh, and of course it would not be a girls day with out yummy treats to eat.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Christmas sweet things

It's that time of the year when I want try a few of those Christmas sweet things that are appearing on Facebook, you know the ones that put on kilo's but taste so, so good.   To amuse Deacon for awhile this afternoon,  while my daughter was doing some Santa shopping,  I thought he could help me make some cherry ripe chocolate balls.    While he broke a packet of Marie biscuits into the food processor I measured the cocoa and then we got to the fun part, we both broke five packets of cherry ripe bars, put them in with the biscuits and blitzed the mix till fine crumbs.   We had a taste test of the cherry ripe bar, just to make sure it was yummy and  while I stirred  the condensed milk into the mixture I gave him a spoon to eat the remains of the condensed milk from the can.      All the while he was chattering on about what a good cook he was, and how mummy lets him help cook as well.     I had some fun watching him help me roll these into little balls, but with chocolate sticking to his hands he decided he had done enough after rolling two balls, and asked me to wash his hands and put a movie into the DVD player for him, Despicable Me 2 is currently his favourite.  The verdict on the cherry ripe chocolate balls, very yummy, but I like the balls I dipped in white chocolate more.

Cherry Ripe Balls:

5-6 cherry ripe bars
1pk. Nice biscuits (I had Marie biscuits)
2 Tbls. Cocoa
1 can Condensed Milk
 Coconut to coat or dip in melted chocolate

Break the biscuits, add to the food processor with the cocoa and cherry ripe bars, blitz till crumbly.
Place into a large bowl and add the condensed milk, mix well, then roll teaspoons of mix into balls then roll the balls in the coconut or dip into melted chocolate. Leave them overnight if you can, they are much better.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Christmas challenge

I can finally reveal to you the reason I have been absent for the past few weeks.  In between all the pre-christmas parties, my sons house warming party and shopping and lunchs,   I have been sewing a little quilt for my quilt groups christmas challenge.    The organiser of the challenge decided the quilt was to be A4 in size and contain a minimum of two log cabin blocks.    I have played with several different designs before deciding on the final one I would use.    To stretch my skills I also decided to use prarie points around the edge to finish it off,  I have never sewn prarie points before, so this was a lesson in small points.     Several times I had to unpick and restitch but in the end I was happy with what I produced, it is not perfect, but this is what a challenge is all about, trying new things.    Tonight was our Christmas party, the last time we had a meeting before our break over the christmas peroid.      Two of the members supplied a lovely table of finger foods and of course desserts.    With all the little quilts lined up and numbered so it would be an anonymous vote, everyone was given a slip of paper and were asked to vote for their favourite, the winner was decided and then to my surprise I received  second place.     I'm very happy with second and my prize, which is a $30 voucher for our local fabric store and a fat quarter bundle.     Sunday will be a christmas craft day with the girls in the family, I'm looking forward to this and so I've decided to make some yummy treats for us.     After checking to see what is popular this year, I have decided on cherry ripe chocolate balls and peppermint chocolate balls.     I'll show you what these look like, and also give you my verdict on what they taste like when I make these at the weekend.