Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Pizza Cookie

On Sunday we made a Pizza Cookie. We found the recipe in '500 Cookies' by Philipa Vanstone

Pizza Cookie

for the cookie
115g (4 oz) unsalted butter
200g (7 oz) caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
225g (8oz) plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

for the topping
115g (4 oz) unsalted butter
250g (9 oz) icing sugar
115g (41/2 oz) cream cheese
150g (5 oz) sweets (m&ms, chocolate bits etc)
2 tbsp sugar strands (sprinkles)

Pre-heat the oven to 175oC (350oF) and line a 30cm (12 in) pizza tray or baking sheet with parchment.

Beat the butter and caster sugar together. Then add the egg and vanilla essence. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda and stir into the mixture. Spread the dough onto the pizza tray or baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before transferring to a wire rack.

Beat the butter and icing sugar together and then beat in the cream cheese. Spread over the cooled cookie and decorate with sweets and sugar strands.

Makes 1 large cookie

The kids had a ball making it and predictably sweets entered the mouth at the same rate as being put on the cookie! I thought it might be a great party activity with smaller individual 'pizzas'.

You can see the two different eating styles - one preferred to eat it whole, the other picked all the sweets off first!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Little Miss

A very happy second birthday to my beautiful little girl. Where did those last two years go? Here are the invitations to her birthday.

And the cake I made.
Happy birthday my darling XXX

Anyone for tea?

How divine is this dress? It is a Lord & Taylor hand-embroidered tea dress, c.1918. It is a new listing from Vintage Textile, here's how it is described.

With their elaborate handwork, tea dresses from the early 20th century are treasured by today's collector. The dress retains its winsome beauty from 90 years ago when first worn to a garden party.

Nothing can compare with the textural quality of high-relief hand embroidery. The abundance of fine handwork on the dress appeals to our nostalgia for a more genteel lifestyle. The dress came from the upscale New York store Lord & Taylor.

The dress is fashioned from sheer cotton voile lavishly hand embroidered with raised flowers of padded satin stitch and French knots. The lace panels on the sleeves, skirt, and bodice are machine embroidered mesh. All the elements combine to produce an harmonious whole, a superb monochromatic design—a treasure of early handwork!

A delightful touch: rose satin ribbons show through the outer layer from underneath. The dress is constructed in layers that attach at the waist to a petersham. It closes in back with hooks and snaps.

I love the soft oatmeal color, gratifying in itself and also as a canvas for some other element of style. Contrast is an important principle in fashion. Violet, Duchess of Rutland (1910) had three daughters. Lady Diana Manners, the youngest and most beautiful child, was quite blond.
When she made her debut, she did not wear the pink-and-white dress standard for debutantes of the time but rather an off shade, like our oatmeal hue, that made Diana’s opalescent complexion seem even more glowing.

The condition is excellent and wearable.
Generous size. It measures: 40" bust, 32" waist 48" hip, 15 1/2" from the shoulder to the waist, and 51" from the shoulder to the hem.

Pop on over to Vintage Textile and check out the other lastest listings.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I've worked out what is missing in my life... gumboots. Tamara Henriques William Morris Hunter Gumboots to be precise. I found them at DuckEgg Blue and apparently they are 'a must for everyone and are suitable for walking the dog, gardening, going to the opera or simply worn with jeans and a jumper!'. In that case, at $199 a pair, I'll take two!

Vale Jane McGrath

Photo: Craig Golding

I was saddened by the news that Jane McGrath had passed away. Jane was the wife of Australian cricketer Glen McGrath. She fought an 11 year battle with breast cancer that gave her secondary cancer in the hip and a brain tumor. She turned her illness into a campaign, establishing the McGrath Foundation which ensures that young women are encouraged to be breast aware and also raises the very valuable funds to support the placement of breast care nurses throughout rural and regional Australia to help women diagnosed with breast cancer.

I don't follow cricket but watched an episode of Andrew Denton's 'Enough Rope' and she was an inspiring interviewee. The following photo comes from that interview.

Don't you love the way he is looking at her? My thoughts and sympathy go out to Glenn, and their children James and Holly.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I have been tagged by Millie of The Laurel Hedge, a most beautiful blog. I don't think there is a picture on there that I don't sigh with pleasure when I see it.

The rules for this game are to link back to the person who tagged you, include the rules in your post, write six unimportant things about yourself then tag six other people at the end of your entry.

So, here goes:

1. I gave birth to my daughter in seven minutes with my husband playing the role of Obstetrician. Not the original plan, let me tell you!

2. I enjoy researching my family tree.

Image: Paul Duncan

3. My favourite person in history is Elizabeth I.

4. I collect vintage girls school novels

5. I would love to own/run a wedding reception venue in Australia that looks like this!

Image: Syon Park

6. If I won a large (and I mean really large) amount of money I would collect vintage clothing starting with this (priced at USD6,500!)

Image: Vintage Textile

I am passing on to:

Di @ The Cut Cloth

Gina @ Gingerbread

Katy @ Sycamore Stirrings

Anna @ Villa Anna

A-M @ The House that A-M Built

Megan @ Plum Pudding

Ladies, I do hope you play too but please don't feel any pressure to do so. I look forward to reading more about each of you.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Persephone Books

I was introduced to Persephone Books by a dear friend who gave me a copy of No. 21 "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day". The book is beautiful, both the words and the cover and end papers. All the Persephone book covers are a lovely grey with a cream label with the title wording. Inside the end papers are individually chosen for each title.

This is the end paper for "Miss PettigrewLives for a Day". Gorgeous isn't it?

The endpaper is a 1938 furnishing fabric by Marion Dorn; it is an elegant and light-hearted repeat patttern on a background of pale linen.

The complete list of books (and their end papers is found here. This is a little detail about the company.

Persephone prints mainly neglected fiction and non-fiction by women, for women and about women. The titles are chosen to appeal to busy women who rarely have time to spend in ever-larger bookshops and who would like to have access to a list of books designed to be neither too literary nor too commercial. The books are guaranteed to be readable, thought-provoking and impossible to forget.

The best thing is they are available on line through their site or can be ordered through your local bookstore. Also available through Book Depository in the UK who ship internationally for free!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Carrot and Banana Cake

Mmm... I found this recipe in the Women's Weekly "Bake" cookbook. I had some overripe bananas and I was looking for some recipes that had something healthy in them (trying to sneak an extra vegie into the kids). I'm hoping to try a zucchini loaf soon. This one jumped out as it had carrot as well as banana.
We all enjoyed it so much that I thought I would use it in the Recipe Swap Box by I Have To Say...

swap blogpost

Carrot and Banana Cake
from The Women's Weekly - "Bake"

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 1 hr 15 mins (+ cooling time)
Serves: 10

1 1/4 cups (185g) plain flour
1/2 cup (75g) self-raising flour
1 teaspon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (220g) firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (80g) coarsely chopped roasted walnuts
3 eggs
2 cups (480g) coarsely grated carrot
1 cup (460g) mashed banana
1 cup (250ml) vegetable oil

Cream Cheese Frosting
90g cream cheese
90g butter, softened
1 cup (160g) icing sugar

Preheat oven to 170oC/150oC fan-forced. Grease base and side of 24cm round springform tin, line base with baking paper.

Sift flours, soda, spices and sugar into large bowl. Stir in nuts, eggs, carrot, banana and oil. Pour into tin.

Bake cake about 1 1/4 hours. Cool cake in tin.

Meanwhile, make cream cheese frosting. Top cake with frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat cream cheese and butter in small bowl with electric mixer until as white as possible, gradually beat in sifted icing sugar.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Drive Bys: Around the World (The Inspired Room)

Melissa of The Inspired Room has encouraged us to do drive bys in our local neighbourhood. It has certainly made me look at my neighbours houses in a different light and I would like to apologise to any neighbours I have held up on the streets as I slowed the car right down looking at an element on a particular house. We live in a fairly new subdivision with many of the houses being duplicated several times around the streets. These didn't inspire me to take photos, instead I was attracted to the gardens and their individuality. I began to focus on climbers that were trained into an attractive pattern.

This one is trained on the side of the garage, the middle bush needs to get a move on! The pattern is repeated on the side wall of the house, see below.

This one is using a Star Jasmine plant to create it. I think it is, I'm no horticulturalist! It does look effective though.

It is actually growing on both sides of the window.

My favourite is this one training around the feature on the wall.

As I was putting this together, I noticed that all of them were being grown on garage walls. Perhaps that is where the biggest expanse of wall is on a house.

Doing this drive by has certainly opened my eyes to the houses and gardens in my area. I hope to participate in any others Melissa organises. She mentioned she would nominate certain elements we would have to capture. I look forward to it. Now all I have to do is work out how to have my post participate!

Weekend visitors

These were some of the lovely visitors to my garden over the weekend. These guys are Rainbow Lorikeets. Unfortunately I didn't manage to capture a photograph of the gorgeous Crimson rosellas like these
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