On the weekend, I spend 6 hours learning how to make eclairs. I'm a big fan of the classic cream filled chocolate éclair, but I've never tried to make them. I'm glad I had a professional teacher for learning to make choux pastry - there's definitely an element of 'feel' to it that you couldn't get from a book.
Choc Hazelnut, Chocolate and Lemon
The fillings were easier, basically being flavoured custards and lemon butter, but there's an art to the glazing too, and to decoration.
Vanilla filled Profiteroles
They're all pretty tasty though, regardless of what they look like!
For the last few years, on and off, Andrew and I have been looking for a house of our own. There have been some places that have been nice, but usually out of our budget, and some that have been terrible. But in May, we found The House. I organised an inspection as soon as I saw it online, and by the time we walked out, we knew it had to be ours. We put in an offer a week later, and less than 24 hours after that, it had been accepted. Settlement was set for far off August - it was a rental property and the tenants did not move out until then.
A rather bad photo of us unlocking the door for the first time
Finally, August 13th arrived, and we claimed the keys of our very own house. We hauled a trestle table and chairs in, and had a family dinner of pizza here that night. However, we'd already decided to knock out the wall between the kitchen/dining room and the lounge so we didn't move in right away. Three long weeks later, on August 31st, with help from Jill and SIL#2 with nieces #2, #3 and #4, we moved in most of our stuff.
There's still a lot to do. Most of my craft stuff, and all our animals are still at Mum and Dad's. The kitchen will be ripped out sooner rather than later - we already have the new appliances stacked in the living room. The bare floorboards will be covered with better ones. Painting. And then there's the long term plans. But we combined our birthdays with housewarming and had our friends and family over. We're looking forward to a happy life here.
Photos from the real estate site:
Our view - it's a flood plain down there, so it should never get built on!
I didn't mean to go missing. I had a fight with the computer/Blogger about posting some photos of Yule, so I put it off. Then we had internet problems. Then Andrew and I moved into our own place, and it's taken me this long to get back to my blog.
I'll try to do better. I promise.
One of the advantages of reading cozy mysteries is that they come with little bonuses, like recipes. And sooner or later, you have to test those recipes. This Chocolate Stout Brownie Recipe comes from Death by the Dozen by Jenn McKinlay, the third in her Cupcake Bakery Mysteries series.
It's rather more cakey than I like my brownies, but it's a good rich cake. Being that it contains stout (a dark kind of beer) it may be best served to adults only. Possibly with cream, and maybe berries for those who like them.
I got this recipe from a friend in the Ankh-Morpork Knitter's [sic] Guild. Challah (basically don't pronounce the 'c') is a traditionally Jewish, eggy bread. I'm told to officially be Challah it must be an egg rich dough, braided/plaited, with an egg glaze.
And with inspiration from the same group, I used some scraps to make these cute little Demon Buns.
This is the first time I've made bread that has been eaten before going stale.
This is the hairbrush I've used for about 15 years. It's rather worse for wear at this point, but I've never been able to bring myself to replace it. As of the 15th of last month however, I don't need it. The 15th was the date Andrew and I took part in the World's Greatest Shave, so I no longer have hair long enough to need a brush!
I've received many compliments on my new look, but I don't love it. I'm looking forward to it being long enough to have an actual style. I did raise almost $2000 for the Leukaemia Foundation though, so I think that counts as a fair trade off.
These ones hatched in the incubator. Baby is the one who looks like s/he is wearing eyeliner. Bee is almost totally black. Cee is black on top and white underneathe and Dee is the other white one, last hatched but biggest of all.
My hair is one of my best features, but I've signed up for World's Greatest Shave to help people with leukaemia. Please sponsor me!
(Yes, I know I posted about this a couple of weeks ago. I'll do it again before the Shave comes up in mid-March)
The chicks are now one week old. They're getting bigger and braver and have tiny feathers on their wings already. Two and Four are in the picture above, One and Three are below.
(Apologies for the poor quality of the photos. Something is wrong with my camera)