Unforgivable

The things people do to other people! Although this is about the US government it is not so different from the way our government plays border politics.

Red's Wrap

The kids in the orphanage in Nicaragua where we adopted three children didn’t cry. They’d already done their crying someplace else.

They might have looked concerned but they didn’t cry when passed from one person to the next like a bowl of mashed potatoes being passed at Thanksgiving dinner. In their tiny heads they had figured out the futility of complaint. There was no use crying, it wouldn’t change anything.

They had already lost everything.

Children cope with abandonment. They will appear to cope at least. And how they appear to cope is that they don’t cry. It won’t be long before the little children who have been separated from their parents by American immigration officials, who feel the same as if their parents had abandoned them on the side of the road, it won’t be long before they stop crying. Because crying won’t change anything.

In their minds, they…

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Things

I “know” the author through our mutual love of dolls though we have never met. What she says here about things is exactly how I feel. People dont’ seem to value things anymore and it makes me sad to see treasured family items being thrown out with no thought to what they meant to their owner. Several dolls in my collection were given to me by people I care about and that makes them special even if they are not valuable or special in any other way.

Good Woman Going to Waste

Today, I’m making a stand for things. Things as in things – objects, items, material possessions. This is partly because I’m in the very long process of cleaning out my things and those of people no longer here and partly because I’ve read a couple of those inspirational memes that do the rounds every so often. You’ve probably seen them, the ones that say things like ‘use things not people, love people not things’, and ‘the most beautiful things in life are not things, they’re people places, memories and pictures, feelings, moments, smiles and laughter.’

While I absolutely agree that one should not use people, I think that some things are worth loving, and while yes, people, places, memories, pictures, feelings, moments, smiles and laughter are beautiful, things can be too.

We certainly live in a society where far too many people place too much importance on material possessions, but…

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Mark Your Calendars: World Doll Day Toy Drive

I’m reblogging this here as well as on my doll blog in case people who are not familiar with World Doll Day would like to participate. I think it is a great idea. I like the idea that parents and grandparents can choose the children’s Christmas toys as who better would know what they would love.

Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter

It’s that time again! World Doll Day is Saturday, June 10th, 2017. Started by Mildred Seeley in 1986, the day is one of celebration for doll collectors. World Doll Day began with a letter, which is copied below. (Keep reading for information on our first ever World Doll Day Toy Drive!)

World Doll Day Logo

So, you have not heard of World Doll Day? This is not surprising as of an hour ago, I hadn’t conceived the idea. To make it happen. I need cooperation of every doll collector, every magazine editor, doll newsletter, doll shop, library, doll maker, mother, grand­mother, father, grandfather, and all the stray aunts and uncles. The first World Doll Day is the Second Saturday of June 1986. Give a doll to a grownup, child in the family or just a friend. If you don’t have a child to give a doll to – find one…

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In the footsteps of Charles Darwin

I like to read blogs by fellow Tasmanians and thought that you might enjoy this very informative one about the Charles Darwin Trail.

No Visible Means Marketing and Communications

A twelve kilometre stroll along beaches, riverfront, suburban streets and open scrub on Hobart’s Eastern Shore (locally reputed to be the sunnier of the Derwent’s banks and at least a jumper warmer than the city side of the river) allows walkers to retrace the footsteps of the young Charles Darwin. He visited Hobart for about a week during February 1836 during his global circumnavigation aboard the Beagle. During this time, he made observations that would profoundly influence his thinking and contribute to his theories on evolution.

His description of Hobart from the harbour is recognisable:

“The bay should rather be called an estuary, for it receives at its head the waters of the Derwent. Near the mouth there are some extensive basaltic platforms; but higher up the land becomes mountainous, and is covered by a light wood. The lower parts of the hills which skirt the bay are cleared…

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Christmas Cooking- My Favourite Recipes Reblogged – Mince Pies

I thought that I would re-run this post again as it is my favourite recipe for mince pies.

DISCLAIMER

I am not a professional cook. It’s not even really a hobby. The main time of the year that I bake is at Christmas because I love all the traditional British Christmas goodies and I get more pleasure out of making them than buying them as it brings back pleasant memories of past Christmases that I’ve shared with my family.

Mince Pies

I love mince pies and look forward to having them every Christmas. The shops usually start selling them months before Christmas but I like to make my own. I do remember mum teaching me to make these when I was in my early teens and I took charge of making them for our family when I was about fifteen. I don’t think I have ever missed a year. I’ve experimented with various recipes. I used to make them with sweet short crust pastry but I’ve never been a very good pastry cook. When I was first married mum gave me the first Margaret Fulton Cookbook and in it was a recipe for mince pies made with biscuit pastry. I liked it so much I have been using it ever since. Every year my battered old book comes out and I make two dozen mince pies which is enough for Hubby and me and for my sister to have a batch as well. They can be frozen if you want to make them ahead of Christmas.

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces (yes this is an old recipe) of butter. I sometimes use cooking margarine instead.
  • 2 ounces (1/3rd cup) castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 10 ounces (2 1/2 cups) plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder To my horror when I came to make these this morning I found I had no baking powder so as hubby was unavailable to go to the shop I substituted bi-carbonate of soda. Baking powder is basically bi-carb (baking soda) with some other salts in it so it will work the same way.
  • 1 jar fruit mince. (The book has a recipe for home-made fruit mince but I’m too lazy to make it.)
  • icing sugar

    image ingredients
    What you will need.

Method:

  • Cream butter and sugar well
  • Add  the egg and beat well
  • Sift flour with baking powder and stir into the mixture.

If you are lucky enough to have a food processor or mixer with a dough hook go ahead and use them. I don’t have either so I mix with my old Sunbeam hand mixer which I remember getting for my mum when I was about thirteen. There is a story to that but I’ll save it for another day. I mix the flour in with a knife and then with my fingers. This may be why I don’t make pastry too often. Still I’m better off than my grandmother. She did all her mixing with a wooden spoon or a fork. This Fork.

image bowl of butter and sugar
Cream butter and sugar
image creaming butter and sugar
creaming the butter and sugar
image adding flour to bowl
add the sifted flour and baking powder

After mixing the pastry you knead it lightly on a floured board. At this point Margaret Fulton says chill the pastry for one hour but I have to admit I skip this step. I used to do it but I found the pastry even harder to handle chilled so now I just get on with it. I should mention that Margaret Fulton is an Australian and the recipes in the book are probably designed for Australian conditions so maybe if you are in a cool climate the chilling is not so essential. As I said, I’m not a chef. So chill or don’t chill as you please. If my dough is crumbly I sometimes add a tablespoon of cold water  to the mixture too. I didn’t today though.

Roll out your pastry thinly and cut rounds to fit your patty pans. If you don’t have biscuit cutters a small glass is fine for this. Cut the same number of smaller circles for the tops. I digress from Margaret here and cut all mine the same size.

image pastry making
Roll thinly and cut rounds
  • Place your larger rounds, or just half of them if you made them all the same size, in greased patty tins and moisten the edges with beaten egg.
  • Fill each pie with 1 heaped teaspoon of fruit mince. I like the English-made Robertson’s Fruit Mince best. I’ve tried other brands but you can’t beat this one in my opinion. One jar of it will make 15-20 pies, that’s what the jar says and it is true. Of course if you don’t like them really fruity it  will go a lot further.
  • Make a small slit in each pastry top or cut centre with a small star-shaped cutter and put into place on top of the fruit mince. Press edges together to seal the pastry.
  • Brush with beaten egg to glaze.
image fill with fruit mince
Fill with fruit mince

Cook in a moderate oven, 350 Fahrenheit. I do them at about 175 Celsius for 20-25 minutes or until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and dust with icing sugar. Depending on how thinly you roll your pastry and the size of your patty tins you should get between 12-20 mince pies from this mixture. I tend to roll mine quite thick and I still usually get about 15.

image ready to bake mince pies
Glaze with beaten egg and bake
image mince pies
Mince Pies

Don’t forget to make a wish when you eat your first one for the year. We did a lot of wishing on things in our family.

 

More Mince Pies

 

 

Christmas Cooking – My Favourite Recipes Reblogged – Rich Fruit Cake

This is my favourite Christmas Cake recipe. I love rich fruit cake so I will probably make one this year. I’m not so good at cake decorating so I usually top mine with nuts but it is a very good cake to ice and decorate not just for Christmas but would probably work nicely as a wedding cake too as it keeps well.

Christmas Cake

This rich fruit cake is very easy to make and although I like to make it ahead you don’t really have to. It’s just as nice if you make it the night before Christmas, but do allow sufficient time for baking. I first found it in the Australian Women’s Weekly (published monthly) of November 2006 and I have been using it ever since. The measurements are in metric and I have included a couple of conversion charts as links for readers overseas.

Fruit Cake Recipe
Fruit Cake Recipe

Night Before Quick Mix Christmas Cake

Sizes:

The mixture will make either:

  • one large cake in a 22cm round or 19cm square deep cake tin
  • two smaller ones in either a 17cm round or 15cm square tins
  • four small cakes in 12.5cm round or 9.5 cm square tins

Ingredients:

image ingredients for Christmas Cake
Ingredients for Christmas Cake
  • 475 gram jar of fruit mince
  • 750 grams dried mixed fruit
  • 125 ml/  1/2 cup sweet sherry
  • 250 grams butter/cooking margarine, melted and cooled
  • 200 grams/ 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs beaten lightly
  • 300 grams/2 cups plain flour
  • 150 grams/ 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • blanched  whole almonds, pecans, Macadamia and walnuts to decorate

Note: If you don’t have sherry you  can use brandy or run or for a non alcoholic cake use 2 tablespoons of  brandy or run essence combined with 1/3 cup of orange juice.

Preparations:

Read the instructions before you go any further. One or two of these things need to cool before you can use them and planning ahead saves time.  Melt the butter and heat the fruit first. While you are waiting for them to cool you can prepare the baking tin as follows:

Line the tin with two layers of brown paper and two layers of baking paper. Extend the paper 5cm above the top of the tin. I have never seen brown paper being sold by the roll around here so getting brown paper is a bit of a problem. Usually my hoarding instinct saves me and if I get anything wrapped in brown paper during the course of the year I save it. A couple of years ago I was volunteering at our local radio station and one of the sponsors sent round some goods to be used as raffle prizes in brown paper bags. After the bags were no longer needed I asked if I could have them so  I have a good supply of brown paper for the next couple of years. If you really can’t get any brown paper just use extra baking paper instead.

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Celsius or if you have a fan forced oven 120 Celsius is fine.

Method:

image fruit soaking
Soaking the fruit

Combine the dried fruit, fruit mince and sherry in a large microwave safe bowl and heat it, covered, on HIGH (100%) for 4 minutes, stirring once. Cool, uncovered, for half an hour.

Stir in the cooled, melted butter and sugar until combined. By the way if you don’t have dark brown sugar I’ve done it with light and it turns out fine.

Stir in the eggs and the sifted dry ingredients.

Spread mixture into the cake tin and smooth the top.

image uncooked fruit cake
Cake about to go into the oven

In my recipe you can then decorate the top with nuts before putting it into the oven. If you prefer not to have nuts skip this step and you can ice the cake later.

Cooking Times:

This may vary according to your oven of course.

  • For 1 large cake 3 1/2 – 4 hours
  • For 2 medium-sized cakes 2 – 2 1/2 hours
  • For 4 small cakes 1 3/4 – 2 hours

Remove cake from the oven and brush it with more sherry. Cover the hot cake with foil and wrap it in a large towel. Leave it to cool in the tin overnight.

image fruit cake with nuts
Fruit cake decorated with nuts.
image fruit cake
After cooling overnight in the tin the cake is turned out.