Tuesday, 30 August 2011

High Tea

I am launching a new organisation, the Bring Back High Tea Association (BBHTA).  I am the president, secretary, publicist and (so far) sole member of this illustrious society.

Hot Fudge High Tea

Two of our oldest and dearest friends arrived at our new home yesterday with a bottle of champagne to start off the proceedings.  Afternoon tea rather than lunch had been my girlfriend's idea, knowing that we were still in Unpacking Mode.  Rather than simply putting a cake on the table, I thought that high tea would be so much more elegant, and it was the perfect opportunity to give the new oven, Gertrude, space to strut her stuff.

Mini scones

I gave up making scones many years ago, when my dear father feigned a broken tooth while attempting to bite into one of my scones.  In my defence, I was a newly-wed and probably was a little heavy-handed in the mixing process. From then on my reputation as a scone maker was ruined, until yesterday.  They were a triumph.  My late father would have been proud of me.

Smoked Salmon & Dill Sandwiches

Pancetta & Leek Mini Quiches

Next came the finger sandwiches and mini quiches.

Mini Raspberry Melting Moments & Lemon Curd Tarts

As president of the BBHTA, I made the executive decision to use precious dishes which had been hidden out of harm's way over the years.  The two pink glass dishes were my late mother's wedding gifts and were part of my childhood. 

The event was such a roaring success, no doubt fired by the champagne, and we have decided to make this a regular event.  Why not join the fast-growing organisation (now numbering four) and hold your very own High Tea?  I can guarantee you will love it.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Is Spring just a few days away? One can only hope.

Shopping malls are not usually pretty places, but our local shopping centre was a feast for the eye this morning after several weeks of really cold weather.

Sanity is slowly returning to Apartment du Fudge as we gradually settle into our new life back in Sydney.  There were the usual glitches which come with moves - internet refusing to co-operate, discovering that the removalists managed to break both our printers beyond repair, etc, etc.  However, these painful experiences will soon fade and life will return to normal.

I have had a few sales this month on Etsy and MadeIt which is wonderful, but I am now running a little low on stock which means I must get back into sewing mode.  All I have to do is unpack the balance of my fabrics and find a place to put it all.  Then maybe I can access the Bernina which is currently skulking away in the built-in wardrobe, trying to stay out of mischief. 

This dress was featured in Staff Picks (staff member Tian) on MadeIt this week, which was a thrill to see.

It was my son-in-law's birthday on Saturday, so I decided it was the perfect opportunity to test out the new oven.  The lemon meringue pie is one of those recipes handed down over the generations and it was a relief to see it come out of the oven successfully.  Here's the recipe which you may want to try.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Pastry: (makes enough for a 25cm (10 in) base, rolled thinly
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain flour
90g butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons castor sugar
2 egg yolks
rind 1 lemon, grated
1 or 2 teaspoons lemon juice as needed

4 tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons cornflour
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
¾ cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1¼ cups water
90g butter or substitute
4 egg yolks

4 egg whites
2 tablespoons water
Pinch salt
¾ cup castor sugar

Sift flour into a bowl.  Add chopped butter to flour, rub in until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Place the egg yolks, lemon rind and 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice in the centra.  Extra lemon can be added as needed.  Gradually work the flour mixture in and then knead.  If it looks dry, sprinkle the extra lemon juice over the top.  Mix until it is smooth.  Form into a disk and refrigerate 30 minutes. Roll pastry on lightly floured surface to fit 25 cm pie plate.
Trim and decorate edges. Prick base and sides of pastry with fork. Line with baking paper and weigh down with pastry weights or uncooked rice.  Bake in moderately hot oven (200°) 10 to 15 minutes, remove the pastry weights and baking paper and bake until lightly browned. Allow to cool.
Combine sifted flours, lemon rind, lemon juice and sugar in saucepan. Add water, blend until smooth, stir over heat until mixture boils and thickens. This is important. The mixture must boil. Reduce heat, stir a further 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in butter and lightly beaten egg yolks; stir until butter has melted. Cool.
Spread cold lemon filling evenly into pastry case. Combine egg whites, water and salt in a small bowl or electric mixer. Beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beat well until sugar has dissolved. Spoon on top of lemon filling, spreading meringue to edges of pie, to seal; peak meringue decoratively with knife.
Bake in moderate oven (180°) 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool, then refrigerate.

Bon appetit!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Back where we began

It's been a long break since I last posted on my blog, partly due to our move from Brisbane to Sydney and partly due to the lack of interest on the part of Telstra to re-connect the Internet to our new telephone number.  However, sanity has prevailed and we are back on line.

After nearly 21 years of living in Brisbane, we have moved back to Sydney, the city of our birth.  It was a decision not taken lightly, as we have so many happy memories of our life in Brisbane.  Mixed in with those happy years were some traumatically painful and tough times, but that's what life is all about and nobody escapes it. 

The hardest part about leaving a city you have lived in for so long is the knowledge that you can't simply pick up family and friends and bring them along with you.  We have a son, daughter-in-law and four beautiful grandchildren in Brisbane and that was the heart-breaking part of leaving.  I also left behind many quilting and artisan friends through my association with Schoolhouse Quilters, Quilt Sitters and BrisStyle.  It has been my privilege to be part of a close group of friends - we eight Loose Threads - and next to farewelling our Brisbane branch of the family, that was the hardest goodbye for me.

However, here in Sydney we have two daughters, their spouses and three gorgeous grandchildren, my brother, and our oldest and dearest friends, some going back to school days. 

Bike racing in Centennial Park
A family reunion was first on the menu once we arrived in Sydney and we all gathered at Centennial Park, where my brother and I had spent many happy childhood hours when visiting our grandparents.  A bike race added to the excitement of the day and the grandchildren were amazed at the speed they were travelling.

It has been a real learning curve moving from a four bedroom house into a two bedroom apartment.  We had shed about 50% of our furniture and possessions before the move, but obviously about another 50% of what we brought down has to be culled.  A girl can only crawl over stacked packing boxes to get to the front door so many times before the penny drops that perhaps we have a tad too many possessions.

Our formal dining room setting took up a room all of its own and we had no luck selling it on eBay, so it came to Sydney with us. 

We knew there was no way it would fit into our new home and Mr Fudge contemplated roaming the streets wearing this hat made for him by our grandchildren.  Thankfully a solution was found and he was spared the humiliation.

I am very happy with my new sewing room ...

... particularly with a view like this.

I had forgotten how beautiful Sydney is towards the end of winter, with camellias, magnolias and spring blossoms in full bloom.

Local shopping centre
All in all we are very happy in our new accommodation, where we hope to remain until the kids decide it's time for us to go to the Home for Bewildered Gentlefolk.