Monday, December 31, 2012

Summer Fun Series Part 3 – Christmas Eve Dog Walk

We joined a Christmas Eve Dog Walk at the Kariotahi Beach (Blacksand Beach in Waiuku) with our local dog training club. The weather was quite nice in the evening, not too hot but warm enough to walk in shorts and get wet. The sand here is dark and heavy with minerals and on a hot day it can be too hot to walk on the beach with bare feet.

It’s fantastic to see a pack of 30+ well behaving dogs (including Bonnie) running and racing free in and out of the water and through the sand. They were wet and a bit smelly after an hour but they had good fun and so did we.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Season's Greetings

Have a very, very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year everyone. Talk to you again soon.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Summer Fun Series Part 2 – “Hello Ladies” : Stephen Merchant Live in Auckland

If you have ever watched The Office or Extras, you will know Stephen Merchant, the co-writer of both (with the more famous Ricky Gervais). He is touring New Zealand at the mo with his “Hello Ladies”  live on stage and we went to see him at the Auckland Town Hall on Wednesday night.

We had our reservation of course because when someone is a good writer does not always mean he or she will be brilliant performing live on stage. We have been quite disappointed with several music artists as their songs are super duper on CDs but their live shows were a bit flat. However, Stephen Merchant was hilarious and we are glad we went to his show. One hour fifteen minutes of side splitting experience-wonderful!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chocolate Chip Banana Cupcakes

This is just basic banana cake recipe with a little bit of chocolate chips – sure to please (almost) every one. You can decorate the cupcakes with some frosting or have them plain (just tart them up with colourful paper cases).

65 grams butter
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 very ripe banana, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon chocolate chips
1 cup plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon hot milk

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Line cupcake pan with paper cases (this recipe yields about 8).

Sift flour with baking powder and set aside.In the mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and beat to combine, add mashed banana and vanilla extract. Stir baking soda into the hot milk (I use microwave to heat the milk) then add to the creamed butter mixture. Stir in sifted flour. Beat well after each addition to combine.

Spoon the mixture into the cases to about half to the top, sprinkle with chocolate chips and then top with a little bit more cake batter to fill up to ¾ from the top.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minute or until nicely golden and cooked through.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Summer Fun Series Part 1 – Bonnie & Clyde (aka Bailey)

Like every summer, we have the paddling pool out for the dogs and cat. Dogs love playing in and around it but cat just wants to drink from it (although it is tempting to push her in – but I want to keep peace around here!) The first thing Bailey did when he saw the pool was jumping in it with glee. He is such a water baby. Bonnie does not love the water as much as he does but she will play in it when he is around.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Half Baked

I love lying in the sun as you might have knownbut sometimes it can get a little bit too hot for my liking and I don’t want to fry my brain – have to keep my head cool  and  clear so I can  manipulate my humans efficiently!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Good Old Jelly Whip or Cheat’s Bavarois

1 packet of Strawberry Jelly Crystals (85 gr / 3 oz)

1 cup boiling water

1 cup cream

1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 tablespoon sugar

It’s summer in the southern hemisphere so we have plenty of strawberries at the mo – but you can use any flavour for you jelly and frozen fruits instead of the fresh ones. Blueberries will also be nice.

In a jug, dissolve jelly crystals in boiling water– I even put the jug in the microwave for 40-50 seconds to make sure that the jelly is dissolved. Set aside to cool down and chill in the fridge for about an hour. When the jelly is chilled but not yet set – beat the jelly until foamy. Beat the cream in separate bowl until thick and fluffy – add jelly to the cream and beat until combined. Divide the jelly whip in 4-5 pretty bowls or glasses. Put them in the fridge until set.

Serve with strawberry goo (place strawberries with sugar in a jug and microwave for about a minute or two, stir half way through – leave to cool and then chill) and extra whipped cream (optional).

You can also stir some of the strawberry sauce into the jelly whip mixture and swirl a spoon to create beautiful red streaks in the jelly.