Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easy Peasy Apple Sour Cream Slice


A plain vanilla packet cake mix. The cheap ones work just fine, or you can substitute a gluten-free cake mix.

1 cup coconut

125g butter

1 egg

250g sour cream

440g can of pie apples 

Nutmeg to sprinkle on top


Set your oven to 180 degrees C.

Melt 125g butter and combine with the coconut and packet cake mix in a bowl.

Line a greased slice tray with Glad Bake and press the mixture evenly into the base. I use a cool, dry metal spoon for this.

In another bowl whisk an egg with the sour cream.

Add a 440g can of pie apples. If the apples are too chunky you might like to mash them first, but not too finely.

Mix gently to combine.

Pour this over the base in the slice tray, and sprinkle with nutmeg.

Bake for approximately half an hour.

This yummy slice can be enjoyed warm as a dessert, served with ice cream, or cold cut into smaller pieces to nibble with coffee. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Good food, friends, family, and a little fabrication

That was my Easter, a million times better than the last one.

Only in retrospect can I appreciate how truly wretched I was feeling at this time last year, still numb with shock from Boak's untimely death, surrounded by towers of removalist boxes, tearfully watching pieces of precious (to me) furniture leaving my home in the hands of eBay buyers, and rattling around in a large rectory with draughts, dust and overflowing drains, the collateral damage from major bathroom renovations.

As an unashamed non-cook these days, I can't believe how much food came from my kitchen over the course of the four days of Easter.

First was a crockpot of pumpkin soup, my contribution to our church's Maundy Thursday supper. With the help of Glad Wrap under the lid and my 'old lady trolley' I managed to wheel it down to the car and get it there without losing a drop in transit!

Easter Day's morning tea at church called for something sweet, and with Anzac Day approaching I baked a batch of our Aussie favourite, Anzac biscuits.

My sister and I have started a tradition of bringing afternoon tea to our mother on Easter Day, and this year our brother Phil, and sister-in-law Judy, joined us. My other brother, David, was unavoidably detained on Mount Everest :-)

The Easter Bunny even put in an appearance. 

Someone might have gone a little crazy with the yellow chickens - and there wasn't a child in sight!

More of my Anzac biscuits and an Apple Sour Cream Slice were my contributions to the fare. I just had to share this picture of one of my two pretty Prue Trollope oven mitts, a housewarming gift from Di B last year and pressed into service in a big way this weekend.

The Apple Sour Cream Slice is my easy, go-to recipe whenever something sweet is called for. Its crunchy biscuity base combines well with the soft, creamy apple topping and as it cooks the aroma of nutmeg wafts through the house in such a comforting way. 

On Monday I made it again, this time in a gluten free version to take to an informal dinner party. I'll post the recipe shortly.

In between all this cooking (and eating) I managed to put the finishing touches to my knitted Peppa Pig. Appropriate, eh?

To top it off the sun shone for an Indian summer, and the wonders of modern horticultural trickery gave us potted golden daffodils blooming in autumn.

How was your Easter?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Counting my blessings

To my great shame I've allowed two fantastic monthly workshops to pass by without a single word here about our St Mark's Quilters, so today's photos are condensed from both months, a glimpse of the fun times we have when we make quilts together for others.

The weather has been a tad too gloomy to photograph our latest quilts, but I'll do this soon.

Smiling Sue

Margaret the Queen of Quilt-as-you-go

Sophie and Susan, the 'S Team'

Our new-look Liz

Cath, our Purple Princess

Saucy Susie

Gail starting another gorgeous quilt

Amanda, a 'pink' lady like me😊

Michaela, our quiet achiever

Perdita with her latest quilt in delicious gelato shades ... Yum!

Our amazing Moo

Barb who drives a couple of hours to be with us!

The always-enthusiastic and hard working Di B

Gillian who thought she might avoid having her photo taken by slipping out early

...and Di C who had a special birthday last month, the perfect excuse for us to break out the champers and enjoy birthday cake!

Sometimes someone sneaky even photographs the photographer!

These women, and the couple of others not pictured here, make me laugh, inspire me, encourage and delight me with their creative gifts, and I feel blessed to work with them making quilts like these below. 

The staff at the KU Marcia Burgess kindy for autistic little ones recently sent us these beautiful photos of some of the children receiving their new quilts to keep.

Another, more personal, blessing in my life is my brother, David, who is currently on an adventure holiday walking to Everest Base Camp. 

Many of you will have heard the dreadful news yesterday that an avalanche on Mount Everest has killed 12 Sherpas and injured several more in the worst one day disaster in Everest's history.

When the story first broke the details were sketchy, and it wasn't until I was able to establish exactly where the avalanche took place, and where David and his group were, that I was able to feel more peaceful. 

They had left Base Camp before the avalanche that occurred about 2km away from there, and with the wonders of modern technology - even Mount Everest has wifi! - he was able to send through an SMS last night reassuring us all that they were quite safe. I'm thanking God for this blessing.

{this picture is here for no other reason than the fact it makes me feel happy 😊}

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Snippets 'n' Scraps

This is one of those posts where my blog lives up to its name, a sampling of this and that, completely random sights and happenings that have kept me sane smiling in the 5 weeks since I arrived home from my Botswana bash.

No gracefully spreading acacia tree canopies here in my local park, but these artfully planted eucalypts always lift my spirits when I see them in the morning sun casting shadows on the damp grass.

While I've been away our new Saturday Morning market in the park has grown into a great gathering place for our community, and I've started dropping by this stall and trying a Green Square smoothie (kale, banana, Fuji apple and mint). If you follow me on Instagram (@darlingdi) you'll know how I love my green smoothies😄.

The verdict? Yummmmmmmm........

More deliciousness, a surprise package of goodies from across the ocean in Florida! Linda found this tiny bracelet with my Word for the Year, "Courage" and knew I would love it (I do!). 

Not only that, she made me a simply beautiful little pouch which would be perfect for holding my precious bracelet - if I ever took it off!

Finally, Linda enclosed a card she designed and had printed with a photo of a quilt I regard as her best, Bloom, from a design by the marvelously talented Emma Jean Jansen. Who wouldn't be excited to receive such a gorgeous surprise bundle!

Sarah is back in the States, and last weekend she did some spring cleaning . She organized her sewing and craft supplies neatly into boxes and labelled them accordingly (as you do). But I had to laugh when we were Facetiming and I saw the third box on her shelf. Tell me, do any of you crafty types out there keep 'snake stuff' in your sewing room?

Of course the snake stuff belongs to her Californian King Snake, "King" who, Sarah assures me, has a lovely nature. Hmmmm 😟. 

Now that she knows where everything is she has picked up a Cathedral Windows hand stitching project we prepared together 18 months ago when she was home in Australia. I'm loving her first Cathedral Windows block, a tiger! 

More 'show and tell' from Di B who has just finished this fantastic quilt top in no time at all!  Maximum impact from quite a simple idea.

You don't have to be Hercule Poirot to spot the fact that I haven't shown you what I've been stitching. That's because I haven't done any since arriving home 😟. Instead I've been spending most days at my computer chipping away at the backlog of work that was waiting for me. 

I love my work. It's enjoyable, stimulating for the brain, and funds my fabric, but it does cut into my stitching time😄.

'Delayed gratification' is my middle name, and since December I've been savouring the anticipation of my very first Daniel O'Donnell concert, my Christmas gift from my sister. The big night finally came, three weeks ago, and it was wonderful! Spending it with two strong and inspiring women - my darling mother and my sister - made it even better.

Then the birthday season was upon us, with both Mr J and the Princess having birthdays in the same week.

Finally, for all those who've been asking for more photos of Chester, here's my beautiful boy in pensive mood. I love that handsome profile!

And I'm not the only one: I've been approached twice in the last week by professional photogtraphers asking permission to take young Chester's photo. What a boy😄.