Tuesday, May 31

Coconut slice

Since I have been inundated with recipe requests after the infamous Coconut Slice Incident (not really, but Deborah did ask me for it) here it is:

Best Ever Coconut Slice
(really, it’s called that in my Women’s Weekly cookbook)

90g butter
½ cup of castor sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup self raising flour
2/3 cup of plain flour
½ cup raspberry jam

2 eggs
1/3 cup of castor sugar
2 cups of coconut

Grease a 19 cm X 29 cm lamington tin (Swiss roll tin? A slice tin?)

Cream butter, sugar and egg in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in sifted flours in 2 batches. Spread mixture evenly over the base of prepared pan. Spread evenly with jam, then coconut topping.

Coconut topping

Beat eggs with a fork, beat in sugar and coconut.

Bake in moderate oven (190-200 c/375-400 f) for about 35 minutes. Cool in pan, cut when cold. Do not place on stove element to cool. Look for the proper cake rack.

I used raspberry and apple jam because that’s what was in the house, but I guess you can use any flavour you like. I don’t know how much 90grams of butter is in imperial weights.

It’s exam time so I am in full panic mode. First exam tomorrow, and the final one is on the 16th. I can’t wait for it to be over.

Thursday, May 26


Finally finished this dress - it took me four days to finish the embroidery, and I don't want to see another bullion rose for a while. The dress looks OK, but the silk dupion seems to be of dubious quality - I know the slubs are part of the fabric, but this stuff is very uneven, and on the front of the skirt there is a visible "thin" patch. I thought it was a crease mark but its not. The whole dress had been pre-cut before we got it to finish, so nothing can be done about it.

Bodice detail - not a bad result considering how the pleating looked to start with. I can see where the pleats bubbled and popped a bit, but no-one else will notice (or care, for that matter).

Culinary Catastrophes

In preparation for sewing tonight, I thought I would make a coconut slice to take for supper. All went well, it finished cooking and I took it out of the oven to cool. I couldn't find the trivet or a cooling rack, so I put the tin on the stove (off) to cool down. All good so far. I had a piece (from the other tin) for my lunch. Yummy.

Then Frances decided to cook some rice for her lunch, puts the saucepan on the stove and turns it on, and leaves the kitchen thinking she'll come back in 10 minutes or so when the rice is cooked.

She turned on the wrong hotplate.

When she returned to the kitchen, there was a lot of black smoke being generated and her rice was uncooked.

My lovely coconut jam slice was burnt to a crisp. Exhibit A:

Things learnt:

  • The smoke alarm, which has a hissy fit when you burn toast, did not activate. This may have something to do with it being whacked with a wooden spoon when having said hissy fit on Monday. We need a new smoke alarm.
  • Apparently we keep the cooling rack next to the oven.
  • My sense of smell = not so sharp. I was sitting in the next room and smelt nothing. This does not bode well if we ever have a real fire.

Do you think Smoky Barbecue Coconut Jam slice will catch on? No? Oh well.

Saturday, May 7

Cats and Dogs

I went to sewing on Thursday night, even though I didn’t really feel like it. But once I get there I’m fine – it’s just motivating myself enough to get out of the house in the first place. This group is not strictly a quilting group – more like a sewing/craft group that meets once a week. They celebrate everyone’s birthday, even though I have been a real slacker and not been very often this semester. Here are the flowers they gave me:

The cats, because they don’t go outside, are obsessed with plant material when it enters the house. I bring in grass for them to play with, and they fish for things out of the bird cage (millet sprays) so I knew that a floral arrangement would draw immediate interest. I was right. I put this on top of the TV cabinet – where they never go any other time – and found a cat sitting next to it the next morning. And evidence of mauling leaves in the kitchen.

We’re dog sitting this weekend. It is taking all four of us to look after one little dog.

This is Zack – the biggest miniature poodle in the world. Nicholas is enjoying having a dog in house – although I think the novelty wore off a bit when he had to let Zack outside at 4.30am. The cats are unimpressed with the interloper. We’ll have to bath Zack before his mother comes to collect him – muddy yard +white dog = grubby mess. He’s allowed downstairs with the boys, but we’re not letting him in the house. I brought him into the front yard with me when I was gardening this morning, because he was crying. No sooner had I turned my back than he was making an escape under the front gate. He took off up the street, with me in pursuit. He does not come when called, so I had to run – uphill – after him. I am too old (and unfit) for this crap. I had to carry him back. I left him in the back yard after that.

Until recently, I’d always had dogs. My dog Daisy died last year at the age of 16. Someone around here has a little dog that yaps and it sounds just like her – even now I’ll hear it and think it’s Daisy. Here she is in her Santa hat. She wouldn’t wear the little vest though. Her eyesight was pretty bad by this stage – every photo I took of her shows the white reflection in her eyes. In the end I had to take her to the vet –she stopped eating and drinking so I knew it was the end. It was still horrible. I have her ashes in an urn – not because I am really sentimental, but because we were in the middle of moving house at the time. I couldn’t bury her in the yard and leave her there, and we had no access to the new property either. God I’m sappy. Ignore me. (And I have the ashes of my other dog, Lucy, too.)

Change of topic

I love reading all the comments, and I try to respond but they usually bounce, so please don’t think I am ignoring you. Does putting an email address in the comments bit fix that?

Next Topic

At the guild meeting next week we are having a picnic. The day meeting will be at Rosewood – miles away, I can’t go anyway. For the night meeting, we are bringing food and recipes, I have to bring something sweet. Still thinking about that. Any suggestions?

As well as the food component of the evening, we have been asked to bring a dog of a quilt, so we can all snicker at each other and feel superior. I’m taking this:

I made this in 1990 (to the best of my recollection – I know Nicholas was a baby and not walking). Cardboard templates, cut with scissors, and no idea of what a ¼ inch seam looked like. It’s a miracle that it went together at all. I didn’t know about binding either, so I decided to sew the back on and turn it right side out. Hey!!! I think I invented the escape hatch finish! I am a genius, years ahead of my time!!

Anyhoo, as you can see, I ran out of enthusiasm and never really finished it, and it has never been used. Not even for the dog’s bed. I think I might let the cats sleep on it. They love quilts.

Let the snickering begin.

Monday, May 2


My friend Margaret – you know, the bracelet-napper, rang me this morning to confess. She got all the way home before she looked at her wrist and noticed what she had done. And apparently she is a serial offender, having appropriated bracelets on two other occasions. Only the other times they were more valuable pieces from shops where she was trying things on. She took the bracelets back as soon as she realised what she had done, she didn’t keep them. I will get my bracelet back on Thursday.

Quilters News Network

I have been watching this today – I’m hooked. And it’s free. I just have to work out the time difference to find out what’s on when. I think I minus 13-14 hours and that’s about right. Or use my sister’s complicated, brain ache inducing conversion which is – “Add 8 hours, only it’s yesterday”. I’m glad we have broadband, I don’t think dial up is fast enough to run the video. You probably all have quilting shows coming out your ears, but they are only available on pay TV here. Which I am too cheap to pay for.

Sunday, May 1

Happy birthday

I’m not really into birthdays. I don’t mind celebrating other peoples birthdays, but I’m not really into celebrating my own for long and convoluted reasons that I won’t bore you with here.

Anyway, today’s my birthday.

I don’t expect much and I am never disappointed.

Nicholas came upstairs this morning and wished me a happy birthday – voluntarily and without any reminders. It’s a first for him. So that was nice, and I appreciated it.

And then he tells me he wants to make me a birthday cake, because he didn’t buy me a present and he wanted to make up for it. Lucky I was sitting down when he said that. Nicholas is not renowned for his sensitivity to other’s feelings. Off he went to find a recipe, and he chose a complicated caramel mud cake. It looked nice, but I thought it was probably a little beyond his limited baking skills. Plus I would have had to buy ingredients to make it. So I steered him to the Women’s Weekly Quick Mix Cake Book, and told him to pick something from there instead. Much easier – measure the ingredients, chuck it all in a bowl and mix. Never fail cakes. He made a chocolate cake, and it was lovely.

My sister went of to the markets at the crack of dawn, and returned with her bargains at about 10. She gave me 2 punnets of pansies, which are already flowering. I’ll plant them out tomorrow. And she found a little petit point embroidery of a Dutch windmill scene – the stitches are miniscule. I haven’t got a picture of it yet – I’ll try tomorrow with natural light. Plus a gorgeous beaded bracelet.

My friend Margaret rang me at about 5 pm to wish me a happy birthday – she had made me a birthday cake and been ringing me all afternoon. I was sitting here and the phone never rang once – but it was dropped this morning, so I think it may be a little bit broken. Anyway, she raced over with the cake (ironically, a coconut cake) and I showed her my pressies – she loved the picture and the pansies, and gushed over my pretty bracelet, which she tried on to see how it looked on her. Nicholas gave her some of the cake he had made, and then she had to race home again for dinner.

A little while later, I’m sitting and thinking I’ll put my bracelet on again. Except it is not on my desk where I had it all day. Margaret “forgot” to take it off and wore it home. Hmmmm……. if I didn’t know better, I’d think she was a bracelet snitcher instead of forgetful. I’ll get it back on Thursday. If she remembers.


No quilting being done or contemplated. I took my sewing machine in for a service and repair. Even though I haven’t used it for weeks, as soon as it was not available to me I was itching to sew something.

I’ve started doing some smocking for a friend of a friend. Apparently, because I have made a silk dupion dress with a full smocked bodice I am an Expert in the field. I took pity and agreed to complete the dress – it is all prepared for sewing, and the pleating has been done by someone else. The pleats are a little bubbly, silk seems to do this when it is pleated. I know I can't pleat it any better, so I am not undoing it. I can smock for where the pleats should be, and when it is finished it will be fine. So we (me and Francois) are doing the smocking as a joint effort, and it won’t take long to make up. The thread is silk too – I love smocking with this thread, it is strong, and slides through the fabric so easily. And it's shiny. There will be bullion roses down the panels, and a few little beads to make it sparkle. The roses will be pale apricot. I know I will be cursing this dress before I am finished, and I will swear to never make another. Until the next time.

All in all, a pleasant birthday.