Thursday, 29 April 2010

Introducing Lily Jade

Why, hello. It has been awhile hasn't it?

This is Lily Jade, the latest addition to our family. It seems surreal, I have to pinch myself. She is just perfect. She completes us.

Born 21st April 2010
She weighs 7lbs 3oz
Length 49cm

A tiny baby in comparison to her two big brothers. They're both besotted, showering her with kisses each day. Their precious little sister. Best Blogger Tips

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

April (And May) Babies

It's that time of the year again!

Birthday parties, cupcakes, more parties and more cakes! We have birthdays coming up back to back, and a very pregnant mother in her final nesting mode. She is making sure the presents are all wrapped and ready, the cornices and skirting boards are free of dust and cobwebs, her hospital bags all packed and she's ready to pop! She looks forward to all the birthday parties with glee, so she can kick her boys out and have the house all to herself.

So how about my Ben 10 Alien party mom? Says her almost 4 year old son. And he decided that this year, she will make him an Omnitrix birthday cake that could transform into 10 various alien forms. And he could invite all his kinder friends over for a party with green jelly, green spaghetti and green drinks. It would be aweeesommee says he, and baby could come too. Yep, his week old baby who undoubtedly will also be exploiting her services and be hanging off her boobies just like tassles! Wonderful.

And how about the second born child, who will soon turn 2, going about his usual business, oblivious to the hoo-haas of birthdays and parties (Because no one has told him so)? Should she just turn a blind eye and pretend oh it's really nothing, re-light the candles of the Omnitrix cake just minus two and sing him a birthday song. What cruelty would that be?

Oh bother.... two Panadols and I'm off to bed! Best Blogger Tips


Can you believe, this cot belonged to daddy?

Gary's mom kept it for over 30 years. Still in imaculate condition, even after being passed on from one child to another and then kept in the shed for a long, long time.

And now daddy's little princess will sleep...

And look! It's even got little counting beads on the side. How cute! Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Adventures of DonkeyDocs

With only 2 weeks to go before my date with the obstetrics and surgical team, I have been nesting. Cooking and cleaning are my priorities. The baby laundry are all done, neatly folded and colour coordinated in the chest of drawers. My days blurring into one, huge daze. I spend way too much time on the couch, surfing the net, shopping, reading, watching telly with the boys and basically just ordering them about.

But anyways, this post is not about hormones or me. I would just like to share with you, one of my favourite blogs of all time and point you over to DonkeyDocs. Daddy DonkeyDocs is a budding surgeon, his job is so admirable and honourable. His recent Halilulik Adventures so great and mighty, and yet downright humbling. I feel so proud to be a friend, it's like I'm telling everyone, see that guy in the photo over there? Yeaahh.... he's a mate. ;)

I went to uni with his wife, whose job equally as admirable, being a fantastic mum to one handsome little fella, as well as juggling fulltime work as a doctor in infectious diseases.

So guys, hop over to DonkeyDocs this week. I hope you will enjoy his adventures as much as I have.

Halilulik Adventures Part 1

Halilulik Adventures Part 2

Halillulik Adventures Part 3

Halilulik Adventures Part 4

Halilulik Adventures Part 5

Halilulik Adventures Part 6

Halilulik Adventures Part 7

And his adventures continue here... Best Blogger Tips

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Pigs In Blanket

I inherited this bread recipe from my mum some time ago. Actually I remember growing up munching on these little sweet buns after school, one after another because one is never enough. They are so very addictive!

So one day I rang mum (who lives in Malaysia), and asked her for the recipe over the phone. I've since made it quite a few times, and it has become one of the boys' favourite snacks.

Pigs in Blanket

500g High Protein Flour/Bread Flour
50g margerine or soft butter
80g castor sugar
1 tsp salt
11g instant dry yeast
1 egg and enough water to make 280ml

20 mini frankfurts or American style hotdogs cut into 15cm lengths

These are incredibly easy to make. I put all the dry ingredients in an electric mixer, and with a dough hook on low speed, drizzle in the liquid and margerine. Beat for about 10-15 minutes until you get a pliable soft dough.

Leave covered in a lightly oiled bowl for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.

Then on a lightly floured surface, hand knead lightly and divide dough into 20 equal size. They will be about 45-50g each. You can make them smaller or larger, depending on what you prefer. Smaller is good, because you can pop a few in your mouth once they're baked.

Roll each ball into a fat long strip, and wrap them around the sausage. Tuck both ends in. Leave them on a tray lined with baking paper, evenly spaced out, once again for about an hour until they double up in size.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees Celsius for 13 minutes until golden. Take them out of the oven and while they are still hot, brush with a little extra margerine of soft butter.

The bread is always moist and soft, without needing to use bread improver or softener. Although I remember mom's to be softer and fluffier, I wonder if it could be the type of flour? I substituted bread flour with just whole wheat flour. Or maybe it's just mom's special touch!

I made these yesterday for some friends who popped over for afternoon tea, and while the buns were sitting on the tray to proof, my darling Lachlan reached out in a split second, saying "Mom, I want to eat one of these"! Of course they haven't been baked, and the dough is still sticky and eeky. I reciprocated with a shriek that I think scared the daylights out of him! Sticky dough on his fingers, he cowered under a chair as if being caught red-handed stealing a cookie from the cookie jar! That sent me rolling in a ball of laughter! Anyways, that didn't stop him from scoffing down a couple of piggies in the end, once they're baked.

I can see them in a few years time, coming home from school and polishing off the entire tray. Best Blogger Tips

Bunny Business: Braided Fruit Loaf

So it's the Easter weekend again, and to be honest, Easter Bunny came a little earlier this year. Yes, we have been gorging ourselves silly with chocolate and hot cross buns since last week! And come this long weekend, more Easter Bunnies came, and now our house just look like a chocolate factory.

In case you were wondering, nope, we are not a religious bunch. Easter merely means chocolate business, sweet bread laced with fruit, chocolate chips and nuts and booze. We worship the altar of food and seize every opportunity to celebrate, whatever religious holiday it may be.

So yes, I do get a little excited every time Easter comes around. This year, I decided I wasn't going to make hot cross buns. Lachlan's kinder was doing a hot cross bun fundraising drive (and that explained our eating frenzy since last week!) and we bought a couple of dozen Baker's Delight buns. And oh my, can I say they were scrummy yummy. Love the Mocha flavoured buns, soft and full of choc chips.

Braided Fruit Loaf
Adapted from ABC delicious. magazine April 2010 (oh, they haven't stopped coming!)

120g salted butter, plus extra to serve
1/3 cup (80ml) milk
1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
2 2/3 cups (400g) plain flour
1 tbsp (7g) Instant dried yeast
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup (125g) raisins
1/2 cup (100g) cranberries*
(*or alternatively, you can use other glace fruits such as chopped dried apricots, cherries or citrus peel)
A handful of flaked almonds

The dough is quite sticky in the earlier stages of kneading, so I use a stand mixer.

Melt butter with milk and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cool until lukewarm.

Meanwhile, place flour and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, pulse a few times to combine. Add the beaten eggs, reserving 1 tablespoon to brush, and the milk mixture. Then beat for about 10 minutes until you have a soft, elastic dough.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly with hands, scattering the dried fruits as you go, folding the sides of dough into the centre and repeat until all the fruits are incorporated and distributed evenly.

Form dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl and covered in a lightly oiled plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for about 1 hour or until dough is doubled in size.

Once that's done, place dough on a floured surface and divide into 3 pieces, rolling each into a fat strand, slightly tapering at the ends. Place the three ends together, tucking them together and under and start plaiting as you would for a little girl's pigtails. (Oh I'm glad I still remembered how that's done, from my dolly years and also from practicing on my cousins!). Tuck the other ends under.

Once again, cover and stand for about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Brush the loaf with the reserved egg and top with flaked almonds. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden. Best served warm or on the day it's made, sliced with a slither of butter.

I made a loaf last weekend for a favourite aunt (we nicknamed A. Zoo), and to say the least she loved it. (She has the tendency to love every single thing we make anyways, even if it's the driest, tasteless piece of stale bread! Heh) I thought the first time round, it was a bit dry and hard, for it's been baked for a little too long and the temperature was too high the sides of the bread was slightly too dark.

The next day, I made another loaf and it made it out of the oven just in time for afternoon tea with my brother, Mark and his family. They devoured it, so I took it as a sign that it was good. So once again, this ABC delicious. recipe has made it to the "to keep and make again" list.

I hope you're enjoying your long weekend, and if you're around the area, please PLEASE feel free to drop by for some chocolate and sweet bread. Happy Easter! Best Blogger Tips