Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Book

Looking forward to reading this new book that arrived today from The Book Depository

Mid Week Meal Ideas: Creme Caramel

I've been wanting to try one of these for ages and finally got around to making sure I had the right ingredients. Thickened cream was the only thing I needed that wouldn't have been in my fridge/pantry already. The recipe I used is from Super Food Ideas magazine Sept 2006

Basic Creme Caramel
1 cup white sugar
600ml thickened cream
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup caster sugar

1. To make caramel place white sugar in a non stick frying pan over a medium heat. Cook, stirring with a metal spoon until sugar dissolves and turns a deep caramel colour. Tilt pan to allow sugar to caramelise evenly. Pour caramel into a 7cm deep oven proof dish with 16cm base. Tilt so caramel spreads evenly.
2. Combine cream, milk and vanilla in a pot. Stir over a medium heat until hot and small bubbles are appearing at the sides. Remove from heat.
3. Whisk eggs, egg yolks and caster sugar until creamy. Slowly add hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Strain this custard into a large jug.
4. Place a folded cloth in the base of a roasting pan. Place your dish on the cloth. Pour custard into dish. Pour boiling water into roasting pan so it comes half way up the dish.
5. Bake at 180 degrees for one hour or until firm.
6. Cool at room temperature, refrigerate overnight then run a knife around the edge of custard and invert onto a dessert plate to serve.
Not a pretty serving dish but perfectly fitted the shape of my creme caramel!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Girl Style Friday + What's been happening

Things have been busy around here the last few weeks. I got a sudden burst of enthusiasm and motivation which led to study, work and property purchase!
We run our own business which Paula set up on his own about 6 years ago. At the time I was teaching full time and told him that if he could do it on his own then it was a good idea and one day when I wasn't working and had time at home then I would get involved. So since I finished teaching to become a Mum to Sofia I have gradually become more involved and taken on more responsibilities in our company. Trouble is I am not a secretary (and never aspired to be one!) and I don't have much background knowledge on business management.
So with this burst of motivation I decided to enrol in a course through the Open Polytechnic to 'upskill' in business knowledge and management. It's pretty low key-just a few modules towards a certificate in Basic Small Business Management.
At the same time I decided to investigate returning to work. You see in my last year of teaching I was training to become a Reading Recovery teacher (a specialist teacher of remadial reading for 6 year olds). I trained up to 4 weeks into Term 4 then went on maternity leave. Sofia was born 2 days later, giving just 2 days off rather than the 10 I had planned!
Anyway I found out that I am able to complete my training in just 10 more weeks of part time teaching. I have taken the plunge and asked my old workplace to take me back which they were more than happy to do. Things are falling into place rather quickly. Only problem is now I need to find someone to care for the girls while I teach each morning.
I've decided to look for a home carer rather than daycare/preschool. I have met 2 people and wasn't 100% happy with either of them. It's such a hard decision when you've been at home with your children all their lives. I want to find just the right person but have realised it is going to be difficult to find someone who fits well with my parenting style, values and philosophy. I'm meeting a co-ordinator from another organisation on Monday so that will hopefully give me some more options.
During all of this we have spotted a property that is exactly what we have been hoping to find for a while now. Finding out if it is a viable option for us has involved meetings and phonecalls and emails with the real estate agent, accountant, lawyer and mortgage broker.

So yes things have been busy around here lately but it's fun and exciting and challenging.

Here's the girls today...posts are much more interesting with a photo don't you think?
Na'uli is such a little noodle, she purposely made this face for the photo...
And posed like this...
Sofia's cute shoes I scored on Trademe...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Blog In Print

I have recently published my blog posts into a book using blurb. The editing process took a while to get my head around and it took quite a bit of fiddling around to get my pages looking how I wanted them to. I only made use of some of the editing features (so as not to spend too much time on it!) so there's lots more you could do with fonts, layout, colours etc.
I was really pleased with the final product and I think it's pretty good value for money.
Front cover...
Some of the pages...
Back cover...
Sofia having a browse...
It's a good way to record some memories of what I was up to at this time in my life, some favourite recipes, milestones for the girls, special photos and fun times.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mid Week Meal: Bangers and Mash and Brussel Sprouts

Last night's dinner was a simple sausage casserole with potato and parsnip mash, carrots, and roasted brussel sprouts.
The casserole was simple as I used a Maggi packet (yea a bit lazy I know). I don't ususally go for those. The only other one I have ever used is Beef Stroganoff which is a real favourite in our house. So I just added onions, tomato sauce and sausages and I was actually quite impressed. Vinnie and the girls loved it as well.
Brussel sprouts! I think you either like them or hate them...or in my case you think you hate them but you actually like them! I drizzled mine with a little oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and added some crushed garlic. I roasted them uncovered for a while then covered with foil to prevent them burning. The girls weren't keen on these despite Sofia being the one that asked me to buy them-I think there was a "cute mini-cabbage" factor.
For those of you that don't know we have our nephew Vinnie living with us. He lived in Tonga until last year when he moved here to study. There's a lot of things he hadn't experienced (like snow up until last week) including brussel sprouts(yes there is a link here).
Last night as dinner was served...
He said "Oooh what are these?"
To which I replied "They're brussell sprouts. They are like tiny cabbages and they have an extra strong cabbagey taste".
He said " Ok so they're like a 'shot' of cabbage!" I thought that was pretty funny

I've made a few nice puddings in the last couple of weeks so I might share them next

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Nice Surprise

I was the winner of a giveaway hosted by Amy of Suburban Homemade. Today my parcel arrived. Such a nice surprise as I'm feeling pretty grotty with a bad cough plus I had forgotten that something would be coming my way.
Inside the beautiful bright wrapping was...
Some vintage fabric
Seeds collected from Amy's own garden (roll on Spring!)
A notebook, gift tag and a roll of snowflake sticky tape.

Such a lovely unique gift-Thanks Amy