Friday, July 17, 2009

"In due season"

You may remember the music video based on a Barack Obama speech.

The Chaser created a spiffing version of their own, based on the (it has to be said) rather less inspiring rhetoric of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. 

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Trailer: Julie and Julia

I enjoyed the book and audiobook of this one, so it's on my list (but not out in Australia until October).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Scones. Easiest recipe ever.

I think these are called 'biscuits' in America; to me, biscuits are what Americans call cookies, and these are most definitely scones (uncooked, in the picture below, but keep reading...).

0907 scones - before

There is something very simple and delicious about a scone, warm from the oven, with raspberry jam and proper whipped cream (not the spray rubbish, which has no guts at all).

I was meeting some travelling family members today, so I made a batch of scones for them to take on their way.

You may have your simple scone recipe, and I respect that.  But if you want my simple scone recipe...I'm happy to share.  Three reasons I like it: the scones taste great, it's very quick and you don't have to rub any butter into flour (which I always found to be something I didn't much enjoy) as the fat is added more cleverly.  This also means a less handled dough, and softer/lighter scones.


Note: Australian cup measurements are used: mess around a tad with your own measures and you'll be able to get it right.  I don't have measures from other countries, so I can't do assorted versions of this.  But it's not a hard recipe to tweak.

2 cups self raising flour
pinch salt (best left in, it does add to the flavour)
1/2 cup thickened cream*
3/4 cup milk

Oven at 220degC. 

Put flour and salt in a bowl, mix, make a well.  Pour in the cream and milk, mix till it's a soft (still slightly sticky, not dry) dough.  Place the dough on a floured board, lightly flour it (and your hands) then knead very lightly, just turning the top in until the bottom is smooth and you can flip it over and pat it out. 

Line a lamington tin with baking paper and cut out about 12 scones (I like decently sized ones).  Place them touching in the tin (my theory being that they push each other up and have softer sides this way, rather than being individual bullets).  You can do the glaze thing if you want to, but I don't - wastes an egg and I prefer the floury look.

Bake for 12-20 minutes (depends on your oven).


*Thickened cream contains (in descending order): cream, skim milk, sugar, halal gelatine, thickener, emulsifier, dextrose and a minimum 35% milk fat.  The last item is the key, as this is the replacement for butter in the scones.  If you don't have thickened cream around, use 35% milk fat cream, not skinny.  Mind you, I usually use skinny milk for the milk, as it's what's most often in the fridge.

0907 scones - after


btw, if you use this recipe or put it on your blog, could you bing a link back here as your source?  My source for this recipe was a colleague, Margaret, twenty years ago.  And I'm still grateful.
You can of course play with this.  Savoury ones, cheese, or spinach and feta?  I worked out a spinach and feta version here.  And, on checking, I've blogged this recipe before.  But what the heck.  It was part of today, it still works, and maybe you weren't reading this blog back then.  Or you just want a scone recipe now.  (I was amused to read how I wrote it then - the same but different.  Also, it wasn't illustrated).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Finally, holidays.  My goodness, my Guinness as is the saying of an Irish aunt.  To arrive on a sunny winter's day, the neighbour's new puppy NOT yapping endlessly, one set of quilting instructions written (another one to go...), the day full of possibilities, is a Good Thing.

A while ago my digital camera went bung.  It was repaired under warranty, and now, although the other problem was fixed, it can't be connected by its lead to upload pictures.  You have to have a card reader to hand.  The intermittency of this blog over the last while is partly testament to this hurdle - another bit of equipment to find and fish out... still haven't worked out why Blogger won't let me upload pictures directly any more, so I have to detour through Flickr.  Between these two inconveniences - and a very very very busy time at work - well, hello, I'm here again at the moment. (And I just can't be bothered going through the whole warranty, gone for up to a month business to get this new glitch fixed).  Although don't assume I didn't keep up reading my Bloglines list - I did.  You've all been doing all sorts of interesting things.

It's Tuesday, of course, and it would be a lovely day to spend at the cinema on cheap tickets day.  That would, of course, be if there was anything on worth seeing.  Usually there's something, even if I do end up travelling a little bit to the larger megaplex with enough cinemas and a local demographic that leads it to assume it might want to screen something other than blockbusters for fourteen year old boys.  But no, no joy there either.  I'm looking forward to seeing Young Victoria (yes, Isabelle, it may undoubtedly be piffle, but watchable piffle I hope!), and have promised to take assorted dear and lovely kids to films coming out later this year (Where the Wild Things Are, and Twilight: New Moon - on its first weekend, that promise includes) and if Warner/Roadshow gets its act in gear and releases The Time Traveler's Wife more in line with the US release date (August) than, gods forbid, not until November....then I'll SO be there to see that... but casting my eye over the current cinema offerings, cinema will not be part of these holidays.  Unless I travel to the city in search of an arthouse.  I will see the new Harry Potter film, but assume that right now the cinemas will be crammed to bursting for that one.  So I'll wait.

On the to-read pile is a mix of lowbrow and higher brow and probably medium brow.  Assorted levels of brainpower/attention required, really.  Alicia Paulson over at Posy gets Cozy blogged about The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and Little, Big so I have both of those on hand to try thanks to her account of them.  A nascent book group to which I've been invited has set Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin as its first text (I use the words 'set' and 'text' with some precision there) and luckily the local second hand book shop had a nice copy at a good price.  From my teenlit sources, the prizewinning The Graveyard Book and the megapopular City of Bones have landed on the pile too.  On Sunday, between quilting, I spent time scooting for the umpteenth happy time through The Unknown Ajax and enjoyed Georgette Heyer's wit and characters just as much as I always do.

Quilting?  There are, not unexpectedly, a few items on the to-do pile.  I've just finished a top based on Saffron Craig's Fields range - pretty pinks and yellows - and am doing some perle cotton quilting on the S quiltlet, both for Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazine.  Some mad colours are waiting for the T quiltlet and there are plenty more fabric bundles and designs waiting for my sewing attention.

Lunches with friends, spring cleaning (it's not spring, but that's irrelevant), a niece wants to spend a day sewing a bag....oh, lots to stay busy with around here, let alone ventures and adventures elsewhere.  Went into work yesterday for a few hours, and will go another day, but apart from that, o joy it's HOLIDAYS!