Fury and Calm

May 22, 2018 at 07:47 (Uncategorized)

Generally I’m not argumentative. I always say to myself look at the person you’re arguing with – are they listening, will they listen? Are you wasting your time?

Then something happened that made me furious. Much ranting and raving. I still think I am right but I’ve calmed enough to talk to myself, to look at the situation, to remind myself that society changes so slowly, and that I’m not going to see the changes people are talking about now.

Society can be so much better for everyone, but there are people in it.

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Ganache

May 17, 2018 at 14:16 (Bake, Uncategorized)

For icing, it’s great – it’s easy, tasty and looks very professional. And makes good truffles.

250ml cream

500g milk or dark chocolate

Heat the cream in a saucepan – do not let it boil. Turn the heat right down and add the chocolate in pieces. Once the chocolate starts to melt turn off the heat – do not forget, the ganache could burn. Stir until smooth.

Dark chocolate gives a slightly firmer ganache but both are equally tasty.

Ganache can be made with any leftover cream as the recipes works in ratios. XX ml + XXg x2 – 100ml cream + 200g chocolate, 300ml cream + 600g chocolate, 50ml cream + 100g chocolate etc.

White chocolate ganache requires less cream as the white chocolate has more milk in it.

Ganache can be used as icing and filling or for truffles.

Icing and filling –

The ganache will firm up as it cools – once firm it can be piped and spread easily. Gooey ganache can be poured on to warm cake or ice cream for a delicious treat. Bananas dipped in ganache won’t be passed up either.

TIP – spreading gooey ganache on warm cake will cause the ganache to melt into the cake making the cake moist. Once the cake is cool, additional ganache can be filled between the cake layers or spread over the top as icing for a single layer cake.

Truffles –

Truffles are made once the ganache is firm. They can be rolled by hand or piped. Nuts and liqueurs can be added to the ganache – remember to be sparing with liqueurs as they add extra liquid to the ganache and will affect the firmness of the truffles.

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Chunky Cheese Cake

May 7, 2018 at 14:48 (Bake, Uncategorized)

I love cheese cake but it’s often difficult to get cream cheese so years ago I started using creamed cottage cheese, and it’s delicious. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to get full cream anything so when I saw full cream chunky cottage cheese, I decided to try it. I thought I would smooth it out with a balloon whisk. It does a bit, but not really to a creamed consistency so I left it chunky. The texture and hints of cheesy flavour are fantastic.

500g full cream chunky cottage cheese

1 egg

60ml castor sugar

60ml fresh cream

2 tablespoons potato flour (or corn flour)

Vanilla extract/essence to taste

Mix everything together until creamy – it won’t really be smooth because of the chunky cottage cheese. Pour onto a base of your choice and bake for 30 – 35 minutes at 180 C.  Cheese cake is fairy wobbly while hot so the middle will not look cooked but if the edges are firm looking, the cake is done. Allow to cool completely before removing from the tin.

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Cat lamp

April 30, 2018 at 16:34 (Make, Uncategorized)

I’m very vocal about my dislike of DIY. I also tend to shy away from making over furniture because it’s too close to DIY.

But I did have an idea for my plain whitewashed lamp stand – it involved paint and cat toys. Behold:

cat lamp

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Convenience

April 27, 2018 at 16:24 (Move, Uncategorized)

My downscale and simplify lifestyle plan has certain requirements that are not negotiable. There were a number of things that were in mind while scouting potential areas to move to, such as wifi, certain shops and things like vets and bank branches.

The wish to simplify isn’t to become a hermit grubbing in the ground making soap out of worms (but if people want to do that, go ahead and grub). Reducing the stresses of commuting, city life and working life is the goal. There will be stresses in the new place, of course, there is no utopia. But here is a chance to do so.

In a way, I’m returning to living ways of my youth. We always lived along the coast in smaller towns, little shops and local crazies. I’m just adding wifi and convenience to the mix.

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Basic Cake

April 21, 2018 at 14:12 (Bake, Move, Uncategorized)

In efforts to simplify my life, I’ve decided to deduce my blogs and add catergories to my main blog. Bake, Make, Move and Travel have been added. Move is for the move to Jeffery’s Bay while the others are pretty self explantory.

First Bake post 🙂

Even my most exotic looking cakes start with plain cake of either vanilla or chocolate. Over the years I’ve refined a recipe that always works for me and always tastes good.

1.5 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup milk

100g butter/full fat marg

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder OR 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract/essence

Cream the butter/full fat marg and sugar until smooth and creamy, add eggs and milk [and vanilla extract/essence for vanilla cake] and mix with a whisk.  Add shifted flour and baking powder [and dark cocoa power for chocolate cake].  Do not over mix the batter.  I usually fold in the flour with a spatula. Bake at 180C – the baking time will depend of the size of the tin used.  A shallow tin will cook faster than a deep tin but usually it bakes for 30 – 45 minutes.

Ice as desired, or not.

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Plans!

April 18, 2018 at 15:23 (Move, Uncategorized)

I’m selling my city house, moving to Jeffery’s Bay (or there abouts) and starting an organic garden.

Ah, what a life changing decision. Those who know me will know that I don’t do stuff outside. And yet, here I am moving any from the concrete and tar to soil and spiders.

But why? A chance to start a much simpler life, more conscious of the environment and our impact on it, being more in touch with the community. Less city living stresses and pollution, etc.

The plan – one of many, in fact. All based on not actually seeing the properties in person nor experiencing the environment.

I’m also inspired by 李子柒 making a swing bench and cat shaped cob oven.  Her methods are traditional and her tastes are little rough for me but what I like about her is she has an idea and makes it. She doesn’t get bogged down with the ‘correct’ method and over analysing. I want to trying living a simpler way.

Of course, there is also the option that I find a lovely town house and buy that instead. Who knows.

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Improving your life

March 17, 2018 at 16:57 (Uncategorized)

I’ve always maintained that you make decisions based on the information you have at the time of making the decision. And after a recent conversation, I’m expanding that to you make decisions or changes in your life as you get new information. Or not – what ever it happens to be.

But making decisions or changes doesn’t mean that the current situation is bad or horrible. It may be perfectly pleasent but new information has shown you it could be better, or different. Just because your life is good, doesn’t mean you can’t make it better if the opportunity comes around.

And equally valid for me, is making changes because the current situation has run its course. It was good for the time but you’ve changed or changed your mind or just want to try something different. Again, it doesn’t mean the situation is or was bad.

On a lighter note – look at my girls sleeping in the garden!

Girls in the garden

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Not right now

February 27, 2018 at 19:45 (Make, Uncategorized)

I’ve stepped back from sewing.

The last couple of costumes I made were not great and they felt like hard work and I feel I didn’t invest any talent in them. I’m not sure when but some time ago the enjoyment I felt when sewing began to wane.

If I think back, it probably began when I started sewing again after my accident. The ease at which I made things wasn’t there, my eye for measurements and fitting had disappeared. The ache and tiredness in my hand, and eventually my arm and neck, was quick to come and slow to fade. I didn’t see joy when I looked at my planned projects – they looked like troublesome tasks that had to be done. Effort overshadowed enjoyment. And with stresses of work and limited energy and a general ‘meh’ attitude to sewing, I decided to change my hiatus to a definite stop for the time being. For the longest time, people have linked me with sewing and I had been sewing for a little over 20 years so there’s this idea that something dramatic or terrible happened that caused me to stop. But no, just not feeling into it right now.

Shortly after I got the girls, I got rid of all the sewing stuff I had collected over years. It was so freeing to see it go. I’ve kept my machines, needles and scissors. The machines are good and it would be silly to get rid of them, and they are handy if I need to fix or alter something. And maybe I take it up again. And I may post some of my older things and update bits here and there – who knows.

But I’m not sewing right now.

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Different beginnings…?

February 24, 2018 at 16:37 (Uncategorized)

Almost two years ago I blogged about a shiny new permanent position. At 35 it was my first ‘real job’ with a contract and paid leave and sick days and all the security things people say are essential for a good life. I was very excited to join the ‘grown up’ world, the novelty of paid leave and a steady income.

But over the last while I’ve come to realise these things don’t make me happy. I don’t hate my job, I don’t dread going into work but I do find it incredibly stressful. The pressure of keeping things running smoothly as my position has upgraded as well as the scope of my tasks added to my plate I find overwhelming. None of the individual tasks are difficult and I get through the weeks well enough and in a timely manner, but the stress I put on myself to maintain the standard is wearing me out.

Could I put less stress on myself? No – that is not how I am. Half hearted jobs are more stressful to me than the stress of keeping everything to a good standard. Just as I am tall with green eyes, I stress about keeping my work to my standard. And while it is appreciated by the staff around me, it’s not good for me. And the end position I thought I wanted, I don’t think it good for me. It’s a creeping realisation. At first I was all, well, the job got me to Japan but then I remembered I went to Finland with half half employment. Then I moved onto the regular income which gives me credit card debt as I have a salary coming in so… I’ll buy it anyway. I’ve become worse with money than I was before. And I’m tired all the time. I’ve never had a large amount of energy but level of tiredness I feel constantly, I don’t enjoy nor do I want.

But I also enjoy many aspects of my job and the people I work with are all lovely and understanding. Coming from office environments of snippy comments, ignoring low level staff and sneering at lifestyle choices, my current job is completely different – chill and accommodating. That is not to say there are no conflicts or differences of opinion, of course there are. Just as there are days or situations that are frustrating and days where I complain endless about all sorts of things. But that is life – some days are good, some are bad. Some are busy while others are productive or unproductive. Calm, crazy, stressy – take the day for what it is and roll with it.

So where does all this leave me? Accept it or make changes.

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