Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mel's Chocolate Slice

Decadent and Simple Chocolate Slice - what more could you want?

This slice is great for desserts, lunch boxes and especially kids parties....easy and so quick. For those cooks, like me that have no success melting chocolate.You can not stuff this one up if you buy the block cooking chocolate (do not use those useless chocolate buttons - they never work)

Mel's Chocolate Slice

1 cup Brown sugar
125 g unsalted butter
1 cup Plain flour, sifted
2 eggs, whisked
1 Block of dark cooking chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Preheat Oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a slice tray with baking paper.
Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low to medium heat. When close to melted, add the sugar and vanilla essence and stir until dissolved.
Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the whisked eggs 
(must stir quickly to prevent the eggs from cooking) 
Stir through the sifted flour until all mixed through.
Pour in to lined baking tray and cook for 20-25 minutes.

Might be nice dusted with Icing sugar to serve.

Something to ponder about whilst eating and savouring the chocolately decadent taste!!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Decorations, Food and Favours for a Girl's Birthday party

Preparing for 12 year olds to celebrate a birthday involves three main items:

 1. Decorations
- preferably  fancy do-it-yourself (unless you are a millionaire)

2. Youtube 
(or once again if you are wealthy, a Karaoke machine)
I set up a laptop and added extra speakers for volume and internet wi-fi connection to Youtube... cheap as chips!


3. Chocolate
- lots of it and all different varieties

Chocolate slice (recipe to follow) ***see post for 31st May 2012
Tim tams
Any chocolate covered lollie or biscuit
A Large Block of chocolate for chocolate eating contest and several more for prizes (Instructions to follow)

Party Favours/Bags

You can also make fun party bags/ favours with inexpensive noodle boxes filled with a few lollies decorated with flowers, patty cakes leftover from the party ( if there is any left ), and nail polish, lip gloss, stickers and other fun things for girls.

Chupa Chupa Flowers
Cut a small square of pretty paper about 10-15 cm and fold in half to form a triangle shape. Fold sides in and up to the opposite side, as shown in picture. Draw a petal shape over the centre and cut.  Cut a very tiny section off the point and open up to reveal a flower shape. Insert a chupa chup or lollipop on a stick and voila!!

Patty Cakes Party Cake
With some icing and simple decorations, a patty or cupcake can take on a whole new dimension. Supermarkets sell pre made flowers, and some icing and cachous/sprinkles really jazz it up to look good.

I must ponder about how much money I saved, not what I spent, but nevertheless this is so much better and less expensive than a McDonald's party..... and the Kids will have more fun...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Syttende mai. Hurra for Norge!!! Happy Birthday Norway

Ja vi elsker dette landet,
Som de stiger frem .... In fact Norway has had three national anthems. The first, written in 1772, by Joahn Nordahl Brun with talk of "blood on the teeth..." Bit scary! But then they are Vikings... Then in 1819, Henrik Hans Bjerregaard wrote Sons of Norway, and finalyy in 1864, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnsson wrote the words in the video which remain the anthem today.....

Not only was the anthem heard, but also "Mellom bakker og berg et med havet" was sung by the Scandinavian singers in the Thyme interactive Restaurant at the Sofitel Luxury hotel in Brisbane today. Why? Because it was a "fest" for Norway's birthday... 198 years old today, (since separation from Denmark) or if you prefer, 107 years since independence from Sweden.... So Gratulerer med dagen Norge. Hurra Hurra Hurra!

The celebration started officialy last thursday, when on syttende mai ( 17th May ) the Norwegian students from QUT university here organized the street march through Brisbane.  This really confuses the people of Brisbane who can't really recognize the flag. I love seeing their facesas all the Norwegians walk along singing at the top of their voices. And street marches are illegal in this state of Queensland, so I like the fact that one can legally stop the traffic in this way.

Thyme interactive Restaurant
And the celebrations really got up and going with the "Constitition Day" buffet at the Thyme restaurant at the Sofitel Luxury Hotel. The roll up each year just gets bigger and bigger!! Over 80 diners this year combined to eat, feast, sing and celebrate. Me included.

Chili Crab
King Prawns!!!
And the seafood on offer would make a Viking proud..... Chilli crab, Prawns the size of a large man's fist (scandinavians take note!) Whole baked snapper, Mussels, Oysters, Salmon, Scottish peppered mackerel, as well as several roasts, pappadums, curry, salads, veges and I won't begin to discuss the desserts. I will let the pictures tell the story...
Desserts to die for....

Now I am several kilos heavier, and that is something I don't want to ponder about for too long.... What I will ponder about is that England stuck its nose into Scandinavian affairs making Norway war spoils in return for Sweden backing England against Napoleon. In fact, forcing Norway to accept Swedish control or else they would blockade all imports to Norway in 1814. What bastardry was this? Forcing people to starve so that they could win economic and political advantage in the region? Abhorrent. And dare I say, typical of England self important ego.

So this is how Norway had to wait almost another 100 years until they gained full independence as a country.  Not a good day for Napoleon, Denmark or Norway. I guess a good day for Sweden!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Folk art flowers in a flash - Painting for school craft stalls for fete or Mother's day

Simple quick and fun designs to paint

These simplistic flowers are done freehand, in a flash using a # 3 or #4 round brush and some acrylic gouache. I used Brilliant violet, Magenta, Yello light and Pine Green. A basic " comma" stroke with some centre stippling is all the technique needed. ( see further instructions below)

All these items cost less than $1.00 as a raw material. Base paint was leftover house paint or acrylic gouache itself. Teenage and tween girls go ga-ga for them, so they could be equally useful as a inexpensive birthday gift (to be teamed with some pencils, erasers, or sweets), or as a $5.00 item in a school fundraiser/ Mother's day craft stall. The fridge magnet can be embellished with any number of sayings appropriate to the target audience: Mum's cafe: Open 24 hours, Girls only.... etc.

My second projects are just now cooking in the oven. I used glossies to paint white ceramic ovenware to create a Japanese/Scandinavian effect. Glossies need to be cooked in the oven to make them permanent. 

I hope this simple projects provide some inspiration for your fundraising efforts.

Comma strokes are created with a brush fully loaded in acrylic paint thinned to the consistency of cream with water.  
N.B.It is important to hold the brush straight up at a 90 angle to the project, not as you would a pencil.

  1.Press down on the brush to flatten the bristles, ( right down to the    ferrule if necessary for a wide stroke such as on on teapots shown here)

  2. Pause to allow the bristles to fan out...

3. Gradually lift the brush, (allowing the bristles to come together again) and direct the  brush tip away from you making a tear drop shaped comma stroke. The emphasis is on gradually. If you lift the brush too quickly, the end of the stroke will be blunt and not tapered nicely. 

So remember, press, pause and lift.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Birthday lunch on the Mountain

The week of celebrations continue as I enter my sixth decade.... 

Heading up to Mt Tamborine, for a beautiful leisurely day out, it seems we weren't alone. Hoards of old and vintage car enthusiasts joined us. Unperturbed, we sought out a little Dutch establishment to satiate our hungry appetites.
 The extent to which I am drawn to Scandinavian and Dutch culture, appears to suggest that I have Dutch blood / genes... but I have not. Well, none that I know of, at any rate!!! There is mystery grandfathers in my family.....

In fact generically, I could say it is the Hanseatic league's members states, are the culture that resonates with me. So I felt right at home here for lunch.

 The Dutch clog Barn includes a souvenir shop with clog making demostrations on weekends, sales of Dutch licorice and lollies, and a delightfully simple and nutritious Cafe menu, peppered with well known delicacies such as Kaffe waffles, ( Dutch style) and Poffertjes. I chose a Dutch pea soup with adornments of Cheese and Pumpernickel. Had to had something with cheese, as it was a Dutch cafe!! The rather tall waitress had all the hallmarks of a average height Dutch lady, so the cafe had an element of authenticity, embellished with the Dutch clogs, plates and knick knacks on the walls.
I had to wait quite a while for our meals, as did the other customers, but it really wasn't a problem for me. I was in no hurry and quite content to soak up the atmosphere. Prices were reasonable, with desserts around $6, mains around $10.00.Drinks, averagely priced but deliciously decadent, as you can see by the Iced chocolate.

Despite the wait, I can recommend the Dutch cafe. Just take your time!! Be relaxed and ponder about things that make you feel like you are in, a little bit of Holland....

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Catching up on craft


I have so many half finished craft projects lying about that it is starting to bug me. So I have UFO's in my sights... I have declared war. The items pictured have been lying around uncompleted for over 8 years!!! * 8* years!!!! So today, inspiration hit me and they were completed in just over a half an hour... Finally found the right combination of colours. 

Time restrictions mean painting has to be quick,easy and enjoyable.... and Daisies are a fun theme. The box was painted for my daughter, but she decided she did not like the green stripes so it sat idly by, gathering dust.

I intended this to be a birthday gift, but my daughter then decided the finished project was really quite nice.... so the birthday gift was merely the door hanger instead and some other items. This is a very simple beginner project. About six colours in total and requires a liner, stipple, and #3 brush. If anyone would like the pattern, I can email it to them. I am happ to share my patterns.

"Lavender daisies in spring"


Thursday, May 3, 2012

WORK, now that I am over the hill.....

Being now officially part of Club 50, it is time to pause occasionally for reflection....
I was at my desk today when I read a motivational quote on the internat that said:

"So you hate your job, well there's a suppport group for that: it is called EVERYBODY."

I beg to differ, I don't absolutely love my job but I do like it. And I know other people who also like, no even love their job. Of course, it is not for everyone ( no pun intended ) But is work really that bad? What would it be like to not have to work, at all? No housework, no hobbies, nothing....

Where would we be without work? No money, no challenge, no goals, no traffic snarls, nothing to get up in the morning for....

There was a heiress, whose name I have now forgotten, who never had to work....her family had too much money for her to have to do any work. But she was far from happy and occupied, in fact she was most unhappy.

She did not come in to contact with a diverse range of people, so her relationships were severely restricted, she had very little purpose and no goals. She was quoted as once saying: there is only so much shopping you can do.

Imagine that... shopping every day. Money to buy whatever she wanted. It sounds like  a dream, but it was her own private nightmare.

Missing out on the Paris Hilton type Celebrity reality show, meant there was nothing at all for her to do. And that probably meant also nowhere to go....and all the clothes in the world to wear to nothing...

Where did she end up?

suicide.Very very tragic and such a sad soul. There was nothing for her to live for, and the black dog took over and consumed her......
So although we hate it, work is definitely something we should do and perhaps ponder about.

 For where are we in our society without it?
Posted by Picasa