Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sweet Eats :: "...and then we had a cup of tea. The End."

Lots of people ask me why I love to bake. I usually tell them I find it relaxing, it makes the house smell amazing and you usually (!?) end up with something good to share at the end of the whole process. Maybe it's cos my mum is an amazing baker and I feel it's my duty to carry on the tradition. Or maybe it's stemmed from my childhood creative writing, where every story ended happily with "...and then we had a cup of tea. The End."

Ok ok, I admit I have a sweet tooth but I actually do feel compelled to carry on some family recipes. And nothing quite did it for me when I was growing up then these biccies I made on Australia Day last week...cornflake boomerangs. I'm the third generation to make these, the recipe being passed down from a close friend of my grandparents. She was a legend with these biccies made with cornflakes, walnuts, cinnamon and icing sugar. Every year she'd whip up a batch for the church fete, but if you weren't quick enough they'd be snapped up before you knew it! My mum was always on the ball and would bring home a box and stash it in her special "sweet stuff" cupboard. Unbeknownst to her, a little mouse called Nicky knew about this secret stash and would help herself, rearranging the biccies so the box never looked depleted!

Over the years both mum, myself and several other family friends have attempted this recipe with disastrous results...many attempts ending up as one massive merged biccie! Conspiracy theories abounded as to how she managed to make these so perfectly shaped and melt-in-the-mouth...there must be something she's not telling us! I think we were all too scared to ask.

Nevertheless, I have persisted with trial & error over the years and while they'll never be like hers (the taste of the original is imprinted on my brain), I've decided this is as close to them as I'll ever get. And I think I'm happy with that. Now it's time for that cup of tea. N

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sweet Musings : Tagged

So the lovely "Justine" has tagged us.... and we are supposed to tell you 5 things about us that we haven't previously blogged about. As Nicky has used up all her bandwidth it is up to me to come up with some juicy facts. This sounds easier than it actually is! But here goes:

1. I love, love, love rice. I eat it with everything from a baked dinner to KFC to your bonafide Asian meal. The only meal when I am not boiling up a pot is when we are having pasta! And it tastes great with tomato sauce! Yum! Nicky on the other hand, the full blooded Chinese girl hardly eats rice. She only keeps it in her bowl to keep the other food warm!

2. Nicky always carries Tic Tacs, tissues and some band aids (plasters) in her bag. I think she is worried of being stranded with bad breath, a runny nose and a bleeding knee! I only carry the bare essentials... money, phone, keys and about 65 old receipts!

3. Nicky loathes with "a vengeance" oranges. But I think the vengeance might be waning as she has been known to eat cake with orange peel! I hate perfume... anything floral and my head just pounds.

4. Our husbands went to high school together in Sydney. They also both immigrated to Australia from Malaysia.

5. We both have Eurasian nieces.... part anglo-saxon and part Asian and both are part jabber jaw. The little drawing above is by my niece and it happens to be a face... if you couldn't tell!

Now we have to pass this on... so we choose "Soo" and we also choose "Josephine"Josephine... good luck guys and I hope to read some interesting things about you I didn't know! T

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sweet & Soft :: Highs & Lows

The week gone past has been filled with highs and lows. Funny how these things happen together... one great thing and one sad.

The High ::

Ari : Jerusha : Kelby
A high circulation magazine contacted us about our "Rescued softies". They would like to feature them in a Rock 'n' Roll kids section. We have been contacted by another magazine in the past and it didn't pan out... so fingers crossed that one of these little guys makes the cut!

The Low ::

After one & half years of Rugby living with our family, our most faithful friend past away. Mum, Dad, brothers, their wives & me gathered together to say goodbye... we hadn't even managed to catch up at Christmas. He was such a gentle soul. T

Friday, January 19, 2007

Sweet Eats :: Homemade

It has been a delectable summer... warm with a nice breeze, blue skys and beach walks in Sydney. And another advantage is a seemingly endless supply of reasonably priced fruit. Every time I go to the store I come back with a different berry, a mango or some stone fruit. So much so that we accumulated more than we can eat! It was time to get busy... and turn the fruit into some treats!

Bill Granger is the king of the breakfast scene in Sydney- oh yes there is a breakfast scene! Think oversized sunglasses, hot pants & skinny brown limbed folk clustered on sidewalks! So I thought I would give his Raspberry & Ricotta muffins ago. You can get hold of the recipe "here...." Not bad, but I like a bit more sugar... mind you I have given up on the concept of trying to wear hot pants!

I also indulged in jam making :: Vanilla Bean & Nectarine .

The other sweet homemade treat has been bite sized biccies...

I find it is nice to have something homemade rather than store bought every now and then... of course only if you have got the time! T

Friday, January 12, 2007

Sweet Inspiration :: There's more to Sweden than IKEA...

Until I left home, my entire bedroom was furnished with IKEA. In fact, my current home office desk is the very one that saw me through every year of schooling, uni & beyond....not to mention using it as a cubby hole as a wee youngster. You could say it is vintage IKEA!

But alas, it's time for that desk to move on...a baby's on the way & we need to magically turn our spare bedroom/office into a baby haven. I say "magically" cos right now it looks like a bomb blew up in it. So keeping me inspired is this lovely book, Children's Rooms "Stockholm" (ISBN 4072501395) which I picked up in Tokyo last year while pregnant (although not even knowing it!?) It's part of the Jeu de Paume series of books, showcasing interiors from around the world. The books are full of mouthwatering pictures...I would have brought them all back, but my baggage allowance was already maxed out!

Anyway, this little book features the kids' rooms of some very creative Swedes. And it is right up my alley cos I'm currently obsessed with that whole Scandinavian aesthetic. I love their use of colours and the simple yet contemporary lines of their designs, whether that be in home furnishings or fashion. Fresh and functional. Here's a snippet of what's inside:

This room just says a happy childhood to me...

Lots of goodies to fire up a little person's imagination...

Who says a little girl can't have a blue room....

And this is my current fav - clean and fresh with red as the highlight...

Thanks to this little book there are so many ideas swimming around in my head. And I'm sure IKEA will feature somewhere in our little one's room. But right now, I can't even walk in there without tripping...wonder what I'll be doing this Friday night?? N

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Sweet & Soft :: Meiko & other things

It is 10 days into 2007. I have thoroughly embraced the brand new year, full of possibilities...

I have been inspired by "Susan's" post, her beautiful photos reflected in her beautiful creations. My tummy has rumbled when I read "Ali" & "Tiel's" rediscovery of ingredients (great idea). And I love the concept of project numbering over at "Sadie & Lace."

This year I have called in the experts to help me with my resolutions. I have failed most other years! Here is the catergories:

Housekeeping :: "Shannon Lush's" Speed cleaning is my guide for this year's domestic responsibilities. Her chart is stuck on the fridge & the back of the bedroom door. A different day... a different chore.

Diet :: The "CSIRO diet" has swept this nation... I think because it isn't crazy, you can even have burgers for lunch. I found it really worked last year, so we are sticking to it. I was actually really excited to tuck into a healthy meal after all the feasting.

Budget :: We sat down & did the budget with the help of the taxation authority site- they should know, right?! Always a fun night in! ...I have to admit, I have already blown it!

Exercise :: Maybe to our peril we aren't getting any advice. I am mainly walking 2 hours a day... great way to spend a summer afternoon!

But can I tell you that all this resolution time tabling has left me exhausted! Crafting, baking & work still are yet to be factored in! The whole planning meals and then cleaning like crazy (does everyone dust their walls once a week??) and then coming home to count the pennies I spent that day has given me insomnia! You haven't even seen my pile of Japanese cute craft books that are inspiring all the things I want to make for Nicky's bub!

Today I am supposed to post about a softie called Renzo... but with all this frantic behaviour I deleted the photo! So instead we bring you Meiko...

She wants to be a rhythmic gymnast and loves strawberry jelly.

Gotta walk the dog, cook dinner and clean the bathroom now! T

Friday, January 05, 2007

Sweet News :: The pitter patter of little Vans....

Aren't these the coolest little kicks you've ever seen? No, they're not something I picked up for myself at the summer sales...given that I can only fit about 2 toes into them! They're actually for a pint-sized little person who will be arriving some time in April. If you haven't guessed....I'm gonna be a mum!!

Yes, I'm about 24 weeks pregnant...the belly's really out there now, so thought it's about time I shared the news with everyone out there in blogland! Everything's going well so far, little bubba's starting to move around & I'm getting excited for his/her arrival. The above little Vans were a Christmas gift from Tiff...how lucky is little bubba to be receiving gifts while still in the womb! I believe the story went that Tiff just couldn't resist them when she saw them in the shop - she had to get them! I don't blame her - I don't think I would have been able to resist them either if I saw them...so cool!

It's funny...I've been pretty good at resisting all that cute stuff out there & so far the hubbie & I have only lashed out on the big stuff like a cot, stroller etc. I've only just started trawling websites for cool baby stuff, so I guess it's only a matter of time before I get sucked into the abyss that is I-can't-resist-this-is-too-cute-I-need-to-have-it baby stuff! Be scared credit card, be scared!! N

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Sweet Inspiration :: Not green eggs or ham

"I am Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues"
The Lorax by Dr Seuss

We have Dr Seuss to thank for inspiring this print... Neither Nicky or I had ever read "The Lorax" when we were kids. We know all about "Green Eggs & Ham". Maybe because food is a universal love and protecting the environment is now only gathering momentum that I have only just discovered the wisdom of this book. Reading "Wikipedia" it seems it was banned in some schools & libraries.... the sign of a gem methinks!

It has been a bit of a best seller and now we only have these 2 left... we are stuck with whether to keep them for ourselves (sampling rights!) or sell them... Thanks Dr Seuss. T