Sunday, January 29, 2012

..on Lamingtons and a cake book

'lamington is a sponge cake of Australian origin in the shape of a cuboid'; this fabulous description of a lamington comes, of course, from Wikipedia, which also contains a brief history of this iconic Aussie munchie. Apparently the 'earliest identified mention of the lamington is a recipe for the lamington cake published in January 1902', which is pretty ancient history by Australian standards.

You can read all about it here.

When I was a young mum this book was considered the bible of cake and slice making. All of my friends had this book and we compared great recipes.

EVERY recipe is fabulous and faultless, well all of the ones that I have tried anyway :-)
A quick flick through reveals my fave recipes.

The 'quick mix' page is particularly well thumbed - anyone with four young children will appreciate why this is the case.

This sultana cake is just about the best fruit cake recipe ever. I briefly lived in a house with a wood fired oven and baked this cake in it. It was the most fabulous cake I have ever tasted. If I don't mind saying so myself. Maybe even better than the one baked in the legendary 'Women's Weekly Test Kitchen'.

 This is my signature dessert cake. If you haven't tasted it, come on over and I will make it for you :-) Best with a dollop of heavy cream.

The chocolate cake recipes have taken a bashing as you can see from these pics.

This 'Rich Fruit Cake' has been my Christmas Cake recipe for the last 25 years or so. The only time the recipe has not worked perfectly was when I used a bigger cake tin than recommended and overcooked the cake. It still tasted good though.

There is a whole chapter on Lamingtons. I made the basic 'Lamingtons' recipe for Australia Day this year. There is exactly this recipe on line here. Sorry about the bra adds :-o.

To fully appreciate a lamington you really need one of these to go with it.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

How does your garden grow?

Our garden is having a productive season this year, though the 'cool' summer has meant a late sort of tomato crop. I hope I get enough tomatoes to make some sauce and bottle it.

We have a big old nectarine tree in your back yard. It bears a lot of fruit but was badly affected by fruit fly last year so we didn't get to eat much off it :-(

This year however it has a good crop and there are not many fruit flies around so I decided to do some bottling of the fruit. I bought bottling jars and did the whole thing 'properly' and was mightily pleased with myself until it came to trying the preserved fruit. It tasted like crap unfortunately. Very bland and a mushy texture. I suggested to Danz that we cut down the tree and replace with a peach! He wasn't impressed.

Promising looking preserving!

Oh, and I made lamingtons on Australia Day :-)

Friday, January 27, 2012

I love summer holidays :-)

I feel that I have enjoyed an extra long summer holiday this year. I have been doing many of my favourite things; visiting and being visited by family, going to the beach, fishing, shmoozing around painting and reading.

I love water. The beach, lake, dam. I just love water.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A New Year and the Book of Days

January is almost two weeks in and I have been drifting along in a post Christmas haze resting and waiting for something to happen. Well plenty is happening, not all things I expected though.

I am participating in an online art journalling group called 'Book of Days' which is the brain child of a very creative and generous woman, Effy Wild. Effy is an artist, blogger and philosopher who I quote here;

'I see a lot of the people I love seeking validation everywhere but in the mirror. If I could offer one gift to everyone I care about it would be the understanding that no one’s belief in you is as important as your own. No one’s faith in you can move mountains in your life *but your own*. No one’s assessment of your worth is as powerful as your own.'

Effy offers a pathway to create a loving mirror, which is also a creative record and exploration of one's own daily life,  through the Book of Days project.
This project has taken on in a huge way and there are 465 members of the facebook group. I was attracted to the Book of Days project because I am seeking ways of extending my art practise and finding ways of using new materials and techniques, and also because I enjoy journalling and love to incorporate the visual with text in my journals. What I didn't expect was the wisdom, generosity and friendship being generated within the group, and all through the energy and kindness of one person. Quite amazing.

For anyone interested in a great, fun challenge which requires no 'artistic' ability in the classic sense of drawing or painting, and which is supported by excellent videos and heaps of supportive friendly others, I highly recommend BoD! Incidentally this a 'free' project.

Here is the cover and a couple of the pages from my Book of Days. I am 're-purposing' an old book, which is itself an interesting process.

So far I have found having a place to use a range of media from crayons to markers and acrylic paints, and to experiment with collage, great fun, though not always 'successful'. However it doesn't matter because this book is not a competition or an exhibit or anyone's but mine, and I am enjoying myself.