Baking wins! Choc-coated mousse balls and strawberry soufflé

Thursday, September 27, 2012

No, mousse, not moose. (Weirdo.) And I'm not talking about the kind of velvety, light, fluffy mousse that would normally appear in this household on a whim of my Hubs. I'm talking about the kind of mousse that you ruin because you overcook the custard, and it becomes hard and thick and gluggy. Delicious, but not quite right. That kind of mousse. Hubs' solution? Well, Hubs' solution to most of life's problems: dip it in chocolate! (Life can get messy around here!)

This is probably the most unappealing photo I could have taken of these delightful treats, as I had just taken them out of the freezer, so sorry about that. I rolled them into balls (yes, that was the consistency) and put them in the freezer for a bit, then dipped them in melted 70% dark chocolate. The one at the front left, I dipped in whole and the chocolate set quickly and thickly around the mousse, so for the rest of them I just used a spoon to drizzle the chocolate liberally over them. They were super rich, but super delish! A fail made into a success I'd say!

My second baking venture for the week was in aid of using the up 5 egg whites (after only using the yokes for the mousse) and since strawberries are cheap as at the moment, a soufflé was on the cards. I served these babies up for dessert with friends on Thursday night, after serving a very tasty Guinness Stew for dinner. I'll let the photos tell you a bit more!

They looked SO impressive and were very light and fluffy and delicious. I actually forgot to put in half of the sugar, so they weren't too unhealthy (only 1/4 cup of sugar in the whole recipe) and it really didn't need it to be honest. They were a real hit!

And for the trifecta, I've just pulled a dozen scones out of the oven to take to mums group this arvo. Hubs had a hankering the other day, so you know, 2 birds. Luckily they look amazing, so I won't need to dip anything in chocolate :-) The recipe I use is super quick and easy (3 cups SR Flour, 1 cup lemonade, 1 cup cream; stir with a knife, add fruit bits if you like, cook in hot oven - about 220C for 12 minutes) and are great for when people pop in to say hi. Or when I pop out to say hi! Which I'm about to do. Laters!

My baby Baloo

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I've just named #2, Baloo. I'm not sure why - I have no real attachment to The Jungle Book, but it just felt right when it popped into my head today. We call Chanbe "Boo" a lot, so now I have a Boo and a Baloo.

Some things just feel right, you know?

See you soon little one.

You hang up, no YOU hang up...

Monday, September 24, 2012

I used to really love talking on the phone. Then I became an adult, and now 80% of my talk time is with people I'd rather not be talking to. These people are not my family, or my friends. They are customer service (I use the term loosely) representatives and I'm sick of them. I know I can do most of my business on line, which I do, but there are some things that need to be discussed, and it leaves me reeling.

I've just spent an hour and a half of my precious "Chanbe asleep time" on the phone to 4 different organisations for various reasons, and now I'm feeling like nothing has been achieved. Yeuch. I sometimes get sick of being an adult, and all the responsibilities that come with it. I'm sick of dealing with Centrelink and credit card companies and and and...

And I'm very lucky that I am able to make a phone call and sort something out so "easily" most of the time. Hmph. Must be Monday.

On a different note, I tried to take Chanbe swimming at the local pool (indoor) this morning, and he would not have a bar of it! He got as far as ankle-deep with me right by his side, and just stood there, crying, saying "no? no? no?" in the very cute way he does. No amount of splashing or encouragement would change his mind. You know what this means? I'm going to have to go in with him. Time to psych myself up for t-o-g-s!

We must be doing something right

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The only food that Chanbe ever really asks us for is good stuff.

Agogo (avocado)
Jrrbrr (strawberries)
Ap (apple)
Brit (bread - that he helps himself to from the freezer, and eats it frozen)
Banana (banana) (duh)

My friend gave him a Malteser the other day (she asked if she could which I appreciated, but I really don't mind since he never gets to eat that sort of thing normally.) He bit half of it off, ate that bit, and gave the other half to me. That felt pretty good actually. If only I had the same willpower :-)

I don't mean to sound self-righteous, or as if I'm a brilliant parent, I just like the fact that our son likes good food. It also really motivates me to eat healthy foods in front of him, to set a good example. There's plenty of time for him to get stuck into the sweeter things in the cupboard!

The week that was

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Today is Sunday, the start of a new week. Thank goodness. We've had a bit of a rough time with Chanbe this week, with 8 sleepless nights in a row, a trip to emergency on Tuesday, and a general out-of-routine feeling for all. Each night from Thursday week ago, I kept thinking "this has to be the worst of it. Tomorrow he'll feel better and tomorrow night we will sleep." This didn't happen until the following Thursday - his (and our) first full night sleep in a week. Every other night, he spent a solid 3 hours coughing, and the rest of the night thrashing around in our bed. It's so hard to see your child unwell and not be able to do anything about it. I had taken him to the doctor twice, and was told that it was just "post-viral". I'm not doubting the diagnosis, but that cough was just so horrible, and by Tuesday, I felt like something needed to be done, so we went off to the hospital in the hopes of seeing a pediatrician.

We were given some medication to hopefully help, and sent home with a bit of hope. The next 2 days and nights were still no good, but by Thursday afternoon, he had started to settle down a bit (which probably would have happened without the meds, really). Thursday night was bliss, and Friday he had a great day at childcare while I raced around to appointments I had postponed from Tuesday, including my 20week scan for baby number 2. I know, a really original name. Any suggestions? Hubs just suggested "second Chance" :-) Anyway, that scan went wonderfully well and (insert cute baby nick-name here) is growing beautifully. I'm glad I didn't wear mascara as I got rather teary watching this little person on the screen for an hour. So amazing how much you can see in those scans. (And no, we are not finding out the sex.)

And yesterday ended our rough week beautifully, as we had a dozen people over for a BBQ and it was fantastic. The weather was BRILLIANT!!!!!! Friday? 13 degrees max, windy, overcast and miserable? Today? Overcast but warm. But yesterday? Absolute bliss - up to 22 degrees and sunny with no clouds and no wind. T-shirts and boardies weather my friends. Hubs gave me a big sleep in today (he's the best) and a cooked brekky when I dragged myself out of bed at 9am (again, the best) and we are now just lazing around, doing a bit of tidying up, and just enjoying a quiet Sunday at home.

I feel it's going to be a gooooood week!

Holding on too tight

Saturday, September 8, 2012

It took quite a while for us to get Chanbe into some semblance of a routine around his sleeping habits. As I've mentioned before, the first year of Chanbe's life was filled with constant battles around bedtime, and 2-3 hourly wake-ups every night until he was just over 1 year old. We worked very hard to make his bedtime a more enjoyable experience, and by March this year, we were at the stage where we could say "ni-night" or "nap time", give him a kiss and cuddle, put him in his cot, and walk out of the room. We would hear noises sometimes but they were joyful noises of our son being content, talking himself to sleep.

It was bliss. Correction. It is bliss. For the last week, the little guy has not been 100%, with temperatures and general crankiness around the clock. And the last 3 nights, he has not wanted to go to sleep in his own bed. No matter what we did, no amount of encouragement would persuade him otherwise. So he has been sleeping with us. And I use the term "sleeping" very loosely. He's been sleeping okay, but we haven't. And I don't want this to continue. I don't want this to become a habit. I don't want all of our hard work to go down the drain. I don't want to go back to the nightly battles.

I know that when he is unwell, we have to make some allowances, but when you're in the moment - when he's been crying screaming for half an hour every time you leave him in his cot; when I'm in tears because I feel like he's never going to sleep again; when Hubs has to take him for an hour long walk to get him to sleep just a little bit (which we haven't done in I don't know how long) - it's hard to get perspective. I know that he's out of his routine, but I also know that it's not the end of the world. I know that once he starts to feel better, he'll be happier in his own cot. I just don't know how long that will take him. And I have to be okay with that. I need to let go just a little bit. Deeeeeeep breaths Wifey, deep breaths.

Chanbe in a happier mood. Actually, this was at lunch time today. It's not all bad :-)

I don't like yoga

Friday, September 7, 2012

There. I said it. You know what I do like? The idea of yoga. I love the thought of stretching and feeling calm, relaxed and focussed, which are three things I rarely allow myself to feel, particularly all at once. Hubs and I did a 10 week yoga course 2 years ago, when I was pregnant with Chanbe, and we actually quite liked it. I liked the instructor - she wasn't too hippy - and I really felt my flexibility improving, even though each week the moves would become a little more awkward.

But my friend invited me along to a yoga class the other night and I thought "why not!?" Why not? Where to do I start? The class went from 6:15-8:00pm, which you might think is great! I really got my money's worth, right? Wellllllllll. Not exactly. The first 45 minutes we did 3 different yoga "sequences", 2 of which the instructor didn't want me doing because I'm pregnant. There are 2 of us in the class who are pregnant, and she didn't offer any real alternative, other than "stand up and breathe while lifting your arms up and down." In my class 2 years ago, the instructor would always have an "alternative routine" for me, and anyone who wanted, to do, which I really appreciated. It made me feel like I was still a part of the class instead of "the big pregnant lady who can't do downward facing dog."

So that was the first 45 minutes. And what did we do for the next hour? We breathed. We sensed the air flowing through our nostrils and into our lungs. The 2 pregnant ladies were told to "feel the air make its way down to your womb, where your baby is growing." For an hour. Some of you may think this sounds amazing, but all I could think about was "I paid money for someone to talk to me about my nostrils??" Clearly, I missed the point of it all. Or rather, I get the point (dedicating time in your life to be still and present and focussed) but I just don't enjoy it.

I've gotten to a stage in my life where I don't feel like I have to pretend to like something because it's good for me, or it's cultural (like arthouse movies - BORING!) so I'm sticking with I don't like yoga. At least for now.

Broken baken

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Thank you for your suggestions for my baker's block last week! There are a few recipes that I will be trying, maybe even today! I ended up going with this chocolate sponge cake recipe. I had never made a sponge cake before, and apparently duck eggs are the bees knees for sponges. Something simple that I could jazz up. The idea was to make a "slab" and cut squares and put cream and strawberries on top. Which I did.  So I went to work, starting off with these beauties.

I had to beat until soft peaks formed. I don't know if it's baby brain, or the fact that it's been quite a long time since I've baked, but I used the mixing attachment instead of the whisking attachment on my Kenwood. It took almost 20 minutes for those soft peaks to form. Oops.

I also didn't have any caster sugar - I only ever buy brown sugar - so I blitzed that in the food processor to make it nice and fine. I then had to sift the dry ingredients 3 times and then add them to the egg mixture. The problem was, the corn flour made the dry ingredients sticky and clumpy, and when you add the dry to the wet, you're not supposed to overmix it. But it was really hard to get it all mixed through!

I chucked it in my pan and into the oven, and played the waiting game. It looked a bit lumpy, but I hoped for the best.

And I got it! So it seemed... When I took it out of the oven it looked like this:

As my Nanny would say, "ooh la la!" It had risen and was soft and bouncy and just lovely. I left it to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and when I turned back around, someone had burst my balloon :-(

Oh well. I turned it onto a cooling rack, and cut it into squares. This is when I had my first taste-test. Hmmmm.... I couldn't quite put my finger on the taste. It was somewhat... feathery. It tasted like farm. The duck eggs. I've read they have quite a strong flavour, but I really didn't think I'd be able to taste it in a cake! It didn't taste bad, just different. And it may have been my pregnancy related heightened senses playing tricks on me, because everyone who had it said it was yummy. But maybe they were just being nice, as not to make the pregnant lady cry.

They sure did look good! And they were light as a feather! (And tasted light as a feather too...)

So anyway, it was kind of a success and kind of a failure at the same time. We are having people over 2 more nights this week, and one of them is gluten-free so I think I'll try this jaffa cake that my friend suggested, and use it as part of a trifle since Hubs LOVES trifle and you know, I love Hubs.