Monday, February 28, 2011

Cheery Chocolate Chiffon

My faithful laptop of four years plus just crashed on me, my life(or so it feels) is stored on that computer and needless to say it will cost just slightly short of a new laptop to repair it thus, to the scrapyard she goes.  I have been very down about the whole thing as finances are a bit short to be able to just drop the computer off at the shop and say "fix" or simply just purchase a replacement! So old "Gertrude" will have the stored information extracted from her and I will simply just have to load it all on the standard computer when that too is fixed! (Two computers crashing all in one day is a BIT MUCH!)

Thus to cheer myself up and not to get too depressed as I cannot think of a positive thing to say right now, I have decided to post my favourite and most spectacular Chocolate Chiffon Cake recipe, which by the way is an "Anjela Day" recipe - "Websites I like".  There is nothing better than cheering yourself up with a nice cup of filter coffee and;  yes ... a slice of Chocolate Chiffon Cake. 

120ml Cocoa
100ml Hot Water
375ml Cake Flour
10ml Baking Powder
190ml Castor Sugar (Now I'll let you in on a little secret here, I place my normal sugar in my coffee grinder and make my own castor sugar)
90ml Oil
50-60ml Cold Water
6 Eggs, separated (Room temperature eggs make the the cake rise better than ones taken out the fridge)
Extra 100ml Castor Sugar (For beating into the egg whites)

Chocolate Icing
200g Dark Chocolate (or a slab of milk chocolate)
150ml Cream
Strawberries to decorate

Combine cocoa and hot water, mix until smooth and then cool.
Sift the flour, baking powder and castor sugar into a bowl.  Make a well in the centre and add in the oil, egg yolks, cocoa and enough cold water to make a smooth batter. 
Beat egg whites until stiff and gradually beat in the extra sugar. 
Take a spoonful of the egg white mixture and mix it into the chocolate mixture to loosen the mixture.  Then carefully fold in the remaining egg white and blend well. 
Pour mixture into a 24cm chiffon pan (the big cake ring pan with a hole in the middle)and bake at 180°C for 45 - 50 minutes. 
Turn the pan upside down and leave to cool completely before removing from the pan.(do not be tempted to try bang the cake out before it has cooled or else it will tear)
Chocolate Icing:  Combine the chocolate and cream in a glass bowl.  Place over simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken.  Pour over cake and place in the fridge to set.  Decorate with strawberries.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Peace in your home

I spent so much time running around yesterday afternoon fetching my children from their extra mural activities that my feet barely touched the ground.  As a result I only got home at 6 o' clock and quickly whipped up a delicious cheesy haddock and pasta meal which we all "hoofed" down as we were all starving, each from our own individual activities of the day.  I thought there would be enough leftover supper to keep aside for lunch boxes today but alas, my family was hungry.  After all that I finally sat down and sewed some of my crocheted flowers onto 2 tea cosies.  I am building up a few completed tea cosies for my unveiling photograph so, please be patient you will see them very soon.

Eventually I was so tired that I decided to leave the crocheting and retire for the night.  Obviously in my tired state, I did not realise until now that I had actually read today's devotional message but perhaps it was meant for me for yesterday.  The title was "Peace in the midst of chaos", and yes despite my busy day and running up and down to fetch my children, sitting in rush hour traffic, I had peace.  One lovely section from my devotion said the following:  "Whatever your circumstances may be, remember that Jesus is always at your side to guide and help you.  Put your trust in Him as He leads you, and remember that He is busy guiding you towards God's eternal kingdom where there is only harmony and peace." - from New Beginnings, Solly Ozrovech
My day ended with a smile!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The tale of the Sunflower

I planted sunflower seeds with my youngest daughter Emma last year November so that we could have these happy big flowers in our garden.  Well to our surprise out of about five of the sunflower seeds that sprouted, we got a sunflower that just kept growing and growing and growing.  We estimate it to be about 4-5 meters tall and the stem is about 5cm's in diameter near the bottom.  It looked quite ridiculous when the head of the flower first appeared, as it was a long stem with a little flower head at the top.  Then it opened and revealed all its glory!  Well it is quite a joke, the sunflower which I  planted for Emma, stands at least 5-6 times her height.  Never mind Jack and the Beanstalk, we have Emma and the sunflower stalk! 

Sorry but I just can't seem to load the photo of the full sunflower stalk.... it's just too big!

Monday, February 21, 2011

All things Bright and Beautiful

I have been engrossed in making crochet flowers this weekend.  I have finally found a pattern I really like with a yellow centre and about 10 petals which results in a nice frilly flower.  I have also managed to crochet 4 rose buds and a whole bunch of leaves to sew underneath the buds. I am delighted at the result and am in the process of making a whole lot of different coloured flowers so that they are ready to sew on top of the tea cosies.  I promise to post a photograph soon of my little pet project which has given me much delight.

I then got thinking of God and how much pleasure He must have had creating all the amazing and beautiful flowers we have seen on earth, painting little stripes here, adding colour there, a petal here, a frill there and so on. 

The scriptures say that He created us for his pleasure; here is a profound scripture I found.

“Revelation 4:11   Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (King James Version)

WE were planned for God's pleasure.
The moment we were born into the world, God was there as an unseen witness, smiling at your birth. He wanted you alive; your arrival gave him great pleasure. God did not need to create you, but he chose to create you for his own enjoyment. WE exist for his benefit, his glory, his purpose, and his delight. Bringing enjoyment to God, living for his pleasure, is the first purpose of your life. When we fully understand this truth, we never again have a problem with feeling insignificant. It proves your worth. If you are that important to God, and he considers you valuable enough to keep with him for eternity, what greater significance could you have? You are a child of God, and bring pleasure to God like nothing else he has ever created.”

So then, if we take so much delight in what we enjoy, be it gardening, crocheting flowers, having a passion for this or that, maybe we could just get a small idea of how much pleasure God gets from us, we are part of His collection, we are His, we belong to Him..... Wow WHAT AN INCREDIBLE THOUGHT! I am going to use my crocheting as an example here, how often I go back and just look at all the flowers I have made so far, I lay them out, see how they fit together on a tea cosy, I sit and take delight in the different colour wools I have and then think of all the more I could make and all the more colours of wool I would like.  I think God is like this too with us!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Apple Crumble

A much loved recipe I received from a friend of the family, Aunty Lynne Baker,  the Bakers have been friends with my husbands parents since they were all children.  This is the most delicious Apple crumble I have ever had.  I just hate the ones bought from the shop, when you cut into them, the dough at the base is still raw.... not nice.  But this one will never disappoint.... ENJOY!
1. 125g Margarine, 1/2 Cup Castor sugar, 2 t Vanilla Essence, 1 Egg
2.  2 Cups Flour & 1 t Baking Powder or (2Cups Self Raking flour).
Mix ingredients of (1) together, then add ingredients of (2).
Place 1/3 of your stiff dough in freezer, and the other 2/3 dough in bottom and side of pie dish. Bake at 180 C for approx 5 min.
One big can Pie Apples: chop together with sugar and cinnamon to taste, place in pie dish and grate 1/3 of freezer dough on top.
Continue baking for approx 20 - 25 min.
Sprinkle Castor Sugar on top of pie and serve with cream or ice cream

Inspiration in a Cup

Inspiration can be found in many different, unexpected places, even in a tea cup.  Reading the Bible, I am encouraged and spurred on in this race of life.  In a rose garden I find a calm and beauty, a serenity.  In the smells of baking, I find happiness.  I find joy in making pretty items to put around my home or to give someone else for their pleasure.  I believe these are all gifts from God.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's all Rosy

Good morning, well it is Thursday today and I am glad for that means the weekend is closer and I can look forward to having some time to crochet some more hearts, or maybe a new tea cosy.  I am not so busy at the moment at the Grade 0 school where I work, so to keep myself busy, I think of my hobbies and loves.   Today I start the weekly newsletter that goes out every Friday to the parents.  I have added a picture of a rose,  I love roses and have many in my garden but with the excessive rains we have had this summer, it has been impossible to control the mildew and never mind get through the marshland of a garden to tend to the plants.  I don't own a pair of Wellingtons.  Anyway, tonight we (family) go out to the school to have a 4 course meal presented by the Grade 12's,  my daughter is our chef, she makes me laugh, I love her.  I promise, my post are going to get more exciting, I only started this week.  I am going to add a couple of recipes and more photographs of the tea cozies.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Morning Dew

I felt a little stressed at getting out the door this morning on time, all my own fault of course as I got up late, then faffed around trying to find my little black top to wear under the shirt I had chosen for the day (it would help a whole lot if I laid my clothes out the night before), wanted to load a preach on my MP3 Player faff, faff, faff.  In the rush, as I stepped out of the door.... the fresh glorious morning air greeted me, I was almost taken aback at the amazing fresh smell of it, it made it worth it having to leave so early.  No other time in the day do you experience, smell and enjoy the freshness of a new day as early in the morning.

As I said to my kids, despite the rush and stress of having to get out of the door, the shouts of "hurry up" and "we are going to be late"..... today was still going to be a lovely day.  Despite how your day starts, it's going to be a good day in the end.... so enjoy.  I'll chat to you later.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A new delight - Tea cozies

I have finally learnt how to crochet a delightful tea cozy.  Making crocheted hearts at the moment. Sew them on a tea cozy, attach them to a pressie, string them up.  They are a delight.  Will post a photo of them as soon as I have enough of them.  

Hello and welcome to my blog

I would like to use this blog as my diary to say and share whatever. I enjoy baking especially trying out new recipes, eating them of course too.  I love crafts and at the moment, my craze is crocheting cute tea cozies, hearts, flowers.  I love gardening but need a big of cash for that and it's a lot of work and it's hard to choose which hobby I want to do.

I have been married to the most amazing man for 20 years, going on 21 years on the 9th June this year.  He is a wonderful husband, friend and lover.  We have 3 amazing children, a daughter aged 18 who is doing her matric this year, a son who is 15 yrs and a "laat lammetjie" who is 5 yrs old.  We are super blessed and grateful to God for His provision, love and grace.

We have 3 dogs, an Airedale named Finnigan, he is 10 years old this year, a Jack Russel named Snippy, she is about 9 years old and a Boston Terrier name Jojo, he is about 2.  3 Cats, they all have girl names, Alice (in wonderland), Cloe and Amy.

I love the sea and the beach, I love walks and spending leisure time with my husband and children, they are loves of my life.  God is first in my life without Him I am Father, my redeemer, the one you makes me blossom and bear fruit!