Tuesday, September 15, 2009

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cakes.

The boys and I so had fun this evening, making these simple, yet delicious chocolate cakes in a mug. They are really self saucing puddings to tip out into a bowl, and are very simple to make , as the ingredients are common to every pantry.


4 tablespoons flour

4 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
a small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add the dry ingredients to the mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

Enjoy - we certainly did! This recipe is really simple, really tasty, and a fun activity for the kids, which is not too messy (which is really important at times!!) A handy hint though - mix it in a bowl, not in the cup.

Monday, September 14, 2009

In praise of the slow cooker

I must confess that I am so in love with my slow cooker. I love everything about it. I love doing all the work in the morning - not that there is too much work to do really, it's so simple to use. I love the results at the end of the day. I love the fact that the boys love the food made in the slow cooker and really eat well at those dinner times.

Yesterday I made a beef and red wine stew. I loaded it with onion, carrots and peas. What a miracle, eight hours later, and a perfect meal is served. The house was filled with the divine aroma, and we were all starving by the time it was dished up, just with plain rice and a matching red wine.

What I also like to do is to cook roast cuts (although definitely not pork with the crackling still on) in the slow cooker while I am at work in winter. By the time we all get home the house is just full of the aroma, and the meat falls off the bone and is so tender. It's a great invention, and I am thrilled to have one, couldn't recommend it higher.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Roy the Devon Rex - Master of the House.

Roy rules this house with a little (but lethal) iron furry fist. We do whatever he wants, and are grateful for the privilege. Even the dogs are terrified of him and he does terrorise them regularly. He seems to resent any time the dogs have with us, and he is known to chase the dogs (who are significantly bigger than him) away from his people to get all the attention going.

The boss cat.

He loves playing soccer with marbles, which is delightful to hear at 3 am on the kitchen slate. He hogs the bed, often jumping in and out several times, with never a care or concern in the world about the humans trying to sleep. He can catch mice well, but will only eat the head and then vomit the head up next to the body, next to our bed, for us to find at times when we least expect it.

Roy & Jeremy enjoying a sunny morning

He loves a good pat in the sun, we can slap his bum, shove him around and he thinks this all a universal decree to make is day bliss. And he is probably right about that in all honesty - we live to serve Roy.

Check him out at : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PMZWaODvbI

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lunch with the Aunts & Uncles.

A few weeks ago we all caught up at Mum & Dad's for a lunch with most of Dad's siblings. The family came out to Australia from Holland over 50 years ago, post WW2. They initially stayed at the Bonegilla Migrant camp (apparently the kids enjoyed in way more than my grandparents,) and then the family eventually settled in Creswick.

Aunty Anne, Uncle Peter, Aunty Wendy, Uncle Ken(standing), Aunty Jan, Dad(standing) & Uncle Matt

It is amazing what parents will do to ensure a better future for their children. I cannot imagine gathering the family, jumping on a boat and setting off into the great unknwon, to a place where there are no other relatives or friends. It is exceedingly brave. I wonder if I had to - would I be that brave. I hope so. I hope I never have to find out.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Briards at Point Addis.

Last weekend we met up with some of our dearest friends for a small briard outing at Point Addis dog beach, and we had a wonderful day. The weather was terrible leaving Ballarat, but as it got closer to the beach the sun turned up and it really was quite warm. I was very clever in taking gum boots and extra clothes for the boys, because, despite their assertions to the contrary, they manged to get quite sodden, and collected half the beach water in their boots.

Liana, Oscar, Tom, Coco, Tania, Iggy, Jack, Curtis, Annabelle, Rei, Matisse

There was absolutely no one else on the beach to be seen, so there were no concerns about dog brawls or having to watch out for other children near these large dogs. We had a BBQ (I managed to forget my sausages) but there was enough for all to share between us all. We have about 3 gatherings per year, with the next one being at the Royal Melbourne Show - where the briards will be stars of course. Coco & Iggy won't be showing, but Jem & I will be there as a support crew for all the others, as well as the official photographers (naturally).