Friday, January 29, 2010

Flash Game Friday

The Housewives Tarot

Filled with gorgeous, tongue-in-cheek retro artwork, and even a pretty luscious martini recipe tucked away in the back.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Giant Lamington Suprise

First of all, Happy Australia Day everyone (or Happy Hottest 100 day as we like to say). Also, Happy Birthday to my BIL. Mr P @ Delicious Delicious Delicious has asked us to reinvent the lamington. I'm not sure that a Welshman has the right to do such a thing, but any excuse for cooking and blog event, hey? He's done a quite awe inspiring 10 day series on the subject though, including Cherry Ripe and Pina Colada flavours. Aussies, we need to lift our game!

I was iffy to start with. I'm not much of a lamington fan myself, although I'll buy store made ones whenever they are marked down, because DP loves them. Desiccated coconut isn't really my thing. Especially not to cook with, as it gets extremely messy.

See? Messy

But as I was looking at the post, I saw a link in his sidebar for his Rocky Horror Cupcakes. That I had to see. Turns out he got the idea from Aleta @ Onomicon with her diet version of a rainbow cake. She, in turn, got the idea from Something Awful's Goons with Spoons thread on making rainbow cakes. Warning: after nineteen pages of photos of rainbow cakes, it is nigh impossible not to make one yourself.

I lost 5 hours of my life to that thread. I knew I had to make one, but when? Everyone in the thread makes much ado about the frosting being dull and boring, so it's a good contrast to the rainbow inside. And I thought, what better way to hide rainbow than with chocolate icing, and possible coconut. Rainbow lamingtons! It had to be done.

Now, I don't have the patience to make small rainbow squares, or cupcakes, so I made just one giant lamington, out of two cakes, layered together with Yellow Jam of Awesomeness. Also known as Mango, Passionfruit & Pineapple conserve. Everyone knows the best lamingtons have a thin layer of red (not strawberry or raspberry, just, red) jam in the centre, but no cream.

Did I mention this was a messy cake to make?

Obligatory rainbow dishes photo

It is relatively easy to do though. Start with a regular cake batter. We used an el cheapo vanilla cake mix, but you could use a from scratch recipe, in any flavour really. You could even use chocolate cake, ala red velvet, but the colours won't be as bright.

Split the batter into six bowls. The first colour (in our case red) needs to have more batter than the rest, to allow for the crust. I had 3 spoons of red batter, two each for orange, yellow, green and blue, and only one and a half for the purple.

Very colorful

The kids loved helping with this cake. Miss Four in particular liked mixing in the food dye once I'd dripped it in.

Master One wanted to play with the food dye too!
(You can't tell, but he's actually lying completely on the table)

Once you have your batter, add food colouring. I wanted to use Wilton gel dyes, like all the Americans, but I couldn't find them, so I used a heap of plain ol' liquid dye instead. I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons of red dye, and then between 10 and 15 drops for the other colours.

All it takes to make the cake is a careful eye, and steady hand. Pour the red batter into the very center of a greased cake pan. (Baking paper in the bottom helps with the cake not cracking when you remove it.) Then pour the orange batter into the same spot, which is now the center of the red. Then again with the yellow, and green, etc. It ends up looking like this.

Finished batter - pre bake

Cook as directed in the recipe. Make sure you use the lower temp if you have a fan forced oven.

I didn't - oops!

It really does affect how the cake cooks. If you know your oven, then you'll not need me to tell you that.

Second cake cooked better

Allow to cool, on an out of reach cake rack.

Why you don't leave the cake rack in reach of an 18 month old

To make this into a lamington, I leveled down the first cake.

Leveled piece - does not show how bright this was!

I then used the leveled piece to fix the hole, patched with a little help from Betty Crocker and her creamy chocolate frosting. I then thinned down the remaining frosting with some chocolate topping (Cottees, what else?). A traditional lamington is dipped in a rather bland mix of cocoa, icing sugar and water. Icing is much nicer. Somewhat easier to put on a slightly fragile cake too, because these aren't nice small handheld squares.

Pat, sprinkle, poke, cajole and smoosh the coconut onto the icing. Take a break to coat the top of the cake in a decently thick layer of jam. Then put the top cake on, and ice, before going through the hellish saga of the coconut again. Still, when all was said and done, it looked pretty good.

And then I took it to my BIL's annual birthday/Australia Day party, and it went down a treat. You should have heard the cry when everyone saw the first piece, and all the kids just had to have a slice. Many comments were made about how bright it was, so remember not to stint on the food dye!

I wasn't the only person who brought lamingtons either, my sister made green and gold Australia shaped ones.

Hers were glittery

Monday, January 25, 2010

Psst, want a sneak peek?

After mentioning last week about my desire to give this place a face lift, I've been scurrying here, there and everywhere all over the web to try and find something that suits me, and doesn't look like it belongs on myspace. If you'd like to be involved in the design process by way of feedback, or just want to get in some pointing and laughing, head over to my test blog to see changes as I try them out.

Menu Plan Monday



Vegetarian Noodle Stir fry


Cheesy Macaroni with steak


Chicken Parmagiana, Wedges and veg

Ham & Salad wraps

Homemade Pizza

Noodle Freezer Suprise

As usual, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and please come back here for Kids Cooking Thursday.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Flash Game Friday

Bloons Tower Defence

Combining two addictive flash games into one, in an effort to never let you work again...

Monday, January 18, 2010

New year, new blog!

Bit of a misleading title there really. I've been meaning to redesign the blog since October when I turned it pink, and then realised the post column was set too narrow for standard youtube embedding, and most of my photos.

The problem was I can't find many dragon templates that don't look like they've been transported straight from Myspace, and those I can find are either just a picture under the posts, or have narrow post columns, or both.

So I've decided to brush up on my coding skills and make my own layout, or at least find a nice simple thing to tweak. For that I need some creative commons or copyright free pictures of dragons, so if anyone has some, or has seen some nice ones, please link up!

Here are a bunch of dragons I've found today, none of which have the licensing permissions I need. But since they are so pretty, I thought I'd link them for you to see anyway.

Dragon of world life

Purple baby


A cross stitch one

Another cross stitch

A nice simple dragon moon motif


My favourite Twins picture. I have this as a large poster.


Dragon tile

Menu Plan Monday

Cold BBQ Chicken with salads, Butterscotch Pudding

Chicken, Spinach & Roast Capsicum Pizza


Lime & Coriander Lamb Burgers



Spaghetti Carbonara with Mushrooms


As usual, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and please come back here for Kids Cooking Thursday.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Flash Game Friday


It's Frogger... nuff said.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I'm trying out a new format with the menu plan, including photos, as I don't have enough computer access to be able to post every day yet. We have the internet on at our new house, but we don't have monitors for all of the computers, and the home network is not set up yet. So I have to get what I can done for now. I might keep this format when I get back to posting regularly anyway, because it makes the menu plan look more appetising ;)

Gnocchi al Sorentia


Devilled Sausages with Sugar Snap Peas, Mushrooms, & Risotto

Slow Cooked Lamb Casserole

Creamy Thai Chicken Noodle Stir Fry




Chicken, Mushroom & Capsicum Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

As usual, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and please come back here for Kids Cooking Thursday.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Flash Game Friday

Improbable Island A text based adventure, that takes you back... if they had Big Brother back in the heyday of Amega 64s and Dungeons and Dragons, I think this could have been it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Flash Game Friday

Happy New Year!
Paint Box (at least, that's what I call it, anyone out there want to enlighten me?)
No point, or points, or levels, at least that I can tell, but it's a little fun that won't tax your poor hungover brain this first morning of the year.

My monthly reads - November & December

Since I didn't really have internet access to post November's reads, I thought I'd just post the two months together. Plus, it looks more impressive this way ;)

The greatest blogger in the world - Andrew McDonald
What-The-Dickens - Gregory Maguire
Voyager - Jan Mark
Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging - Louise Rennison
Finnikin of the rock - Melina Marchetta
Monkey God - Wu Chengen
Fairy School Drop Out - Meredith Badger
Vibes - Amy Kathleen Ryan
Raising Dragons - Bryan Davis
City of Glass - Cassandra Clare
The Maze of Bones - Rick Riordan
Cat burglar black - Richard Sala
Hamlet - John Marsden
The Hero of Ages - Brandon Sanderson
One False Note - Gordon Korman
The Sword Thief - Peter Lerangis
The Dragons of Ordinary Farm - Tad Williams
Beyond the Grave - Jude Watson
Only you can save Mankind - Terry Prattchet
With my knife - Andrew Lansdown
Dragonfox - Andrew Lansdown
Reddragon - Andrew Lansdown
The Moth Diaries - Rachel Klein
The Well Between the Worlds - Sam Llewellyn