Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I truly am the queen of procrastination.

Ask me when my essay is due.
Ask me how much I have done....

Its so not pretty!

So yesterday I decide to make piccallili. I hunted the web, as you do, and found this recipe which looked pretty good, genuine, and I am sure I remember watching this guy cook on some show.... Rick Stein's Piccalilli recipe

If you dont know what Piccalilli is, its a kinda cauliflower pickle chutney, seems to be an english foody thing and its served with things like ham off the bone.

Good recipe - I enjoyed making it. I only made a few changes to the recipe - fresh ginger and pickling mix with solid nutmeg and allspice etc. After 24hrs of soaking, simmering, bottling etc, here is the product.

Very yummy, I have soaked up the sauce with a garlic pita for lunch, and now the pickle gets to age for the next month or so, then we can crack it open :)

I shouldnt imagine we will eat all 8 jars, so I think we will have to gift some.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pay attention!!!

Do you want the best meat lasagne recipe around?

I am finally Ok with sharing my personal recipe....... So pay attention - I have been told its the best, and its by far my favourite!

So start with an onion and garlic. According to taste, but I do about 1 onion/500g of mince, and about 3 cloves of crushed garlic.

Put some oil (I use olive) in a pan, heat, and add the diced onion and crushed garlic. Also add 2 anchovy fillets or the equivalent amount of paste. Heat until the onions start going clear, and the anchovy is well mixed through the mix. Believe me, the anchovy is worth it!!

Add the mince. I usually try to add half pork, half beef, but it works OK with half beef.

Brown mince and ensure its all broken up well. Large chunks are not pretty.....

Add tomato. I usually add peeled whole tomatoes. For 500g of mince you probably need about 700g of tinned tomatoes and the juice. I like whole tomatoes as they are easier to pick the skin and core out. If you wish add a tub of tomato paste (50g or so) and some water, but if you haven't got paste, add another tin of tomatoes.

Add the following:

1-1.5 cup wine (white or red, but I think white is nicer)
About 1-2t of white sugar (helps with the acidity, especially with tinned pure tomatoes)
Concentrated Vege stock 1T or so. I love Vegeta if you can get it.
Dried herbs, try italian or mixed herbs
pepper and salt to taste (depends on what stock you use)

Cook for about an hour. If it starts looking dry, add more water, about 1/2 cup at a time. Stir whenever you walk past.

Ideally this sauce should cook for about 3 hours. Its worth it, I swear :) Add water to stop it drying out, and just keep the cycle going.

Thats my spag bol sauce but I mix it with a few other things to get this.....

So you have to do homemade pasta. Anything you buy is rubbish in comparison. I find my breadmaker does a great job of the dough. About 4 eggs, some salt and about 300g of flour is enough for a large lasagne.

Cheese/Bechamel sauce

Hmm - I am a bucket chef when it comes to this, but I generally do about this:

Heat 75g of butter, and about 2T of cornflour in a pot, stir until its a paste. Add about 100ml of milk, mix and then add about 5-600ml of milk.
On a steady heat (not too hot, not too cold) heat sauce until it thickens. It should be heavy, if that makes any sense at all...... If after about 15mins, its not thickening, try adding another t or so of cornflour in T of cold milk. Eventually you will get a lovely sauce.

Add cheese - lots of it. I usually doa mix of something easy like colby or tasty and then some fresh parmesan. For 500ml of milk you need about 3c of grated cheese.

Time to assemble!

Put a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of a ovenproof dish. Then the cheese sauce, just enough to cover it. Sometimes I add veges in now, like tonight I put a couple of layers of wilted spinach in. Then a layer of pasta sheets.

Meat, cheese sauce, pasta until you are at the top of your dish. Leave some space because the dish will rise in the oven.

After the last layer of pasta, put a small amount of cheese sauce, and a little grated cheese. Before the kids, I then used to sprinkle paprika, grated pepper and salt over
the top, but that has got the kybosh.....

Bake in an oven (180deg or so) until the sauce is bubbling and the top is a nice golden brown.

Leave for 10 minutes or so to settle, and then cut and serve. Everyone will enjoy!!!!

And the result is.....


I really mix this up, its one of those fluid things that changes texture and taste everytime I make it, but generally its awesome!

Sometimes when I am doign the onion stage I might add some grated carrot and celery which is apparently the true italian spag bol sauce. Its not bad, but tastes nicer when you have an equal pork/beef mince mix.

If I have them, I also use fresh basil, oregano and thyme towards the end of the dish. Lovely, jubbly :)

I don't know anyone else who sweats anchovy with their garlic and onion, so if you copy this, give me credit!

Everyone thinks their spag bol sauce is the best, but really, this one is pretty darned awesome!

Feathers in her hat

I am seriously happy I knitted this hat :)

I had coveted it for a very long time, and finally I got up the urge (or the procrastination) to cast it on.
Couldn't put it down, my kids and partner felt starved of attention all afternoon, but after about 6hrs, it was done.

I love it!!!!!!!!

I wore it all day, and then I said to DP "Hey, you try it on" and he wouldn't take it off!!! So now I have to knit him a new hat - he has chosen the pattern, and I just have to get it done if I want my hat back :)

Link is here

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Poor me :(

I am such a tragic old thing.

Today I am the excited recipient of a MOON BOOT!!! See picture for further clarification.

I have a veyr bad ankle, sprained numerous times over the years - usually attributed to alcohol or netball.

This time it was netball, and bugger it all within 4 goals in the game. We went on to lose, and I felt awful on the sideline :(

So me an my new moon boot will be firm friends for at least a week. I have a fracture clinic visit in a week which should clarify if the darkish area on my film is a fracture or nothing, but hopefully it is just a sprain, and I can take this monstrosity off in a week or so.

Still - makes it hard for uni for the next week!! I will be getting a lift with a friend that thankfully lives about 200m from me. But still, I feel pretty bad getting dropped off at the gates while she has to hunt for a car park :(

Saturday, June 14, 2008


This is a swap I put together for a woman in Aus for the Woolaholics Random Act of Kindness swap. Its a great idea, because when you sign up for the swap, all you know is sometime in the next 6m a parcel will arrive on your doorstep.

Courtney is a knitter, and budding crocheter, and is expecting a little girl very soon. I hope that the little girl gets alot of use out of this dress - its the little sister dress pattern which was great to knit.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Been a while...

Well it has been a while, and that could be cause I have been very busy on practicum!

Teacher training is taking its toll, and its alot of hours, when I really do feel that I dont have to plan every minute of my lesson!!

Anyway, it all finishes up tomorrow for this section, and I got my review today, and I am terribly, fantastically, amazingly proud that I got the best mark possible.

I am apparently a teacher "with flair". And that makes me feel pretty damned good.

I have had plenty of obstacles in my path. I got a 5th form class that was very disengaged, and even worse, I got stuck with them when their teacher went on "stress leave" cause they were SO damned naughty!!!

But here is a picture of my sweet and challenging year 12 physics class, bless their little socks (while I wish I was knitting them......)

I loved practicum, but I am ready to get back to uni for some more cruisy hours, and a bit of "geek" theoretical talk.