27 June 2010

June 2010 Daring Bakers Challenge - Chocolate Pavlovas with Mascarpone Mousse

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

I was quite confident about this challenge, as I'm pretty good with pavs, being a particularly special dish to Kiwi and Aussie bakers alike. I didn't think it would take me so long to make though! I started the challenge on Friday night by making the mascarpone cheese myself instead of buying it. That part was so easy I was quite pleased with myself. But yesterday I made the pavlovas and then the crème anglaise but decided to wait until today to assemble it all together so I wasn't the one who ended up eating it all!
A minor hiccup of adding too much cream to the chocolate was easily fixed and I was so pleased with the result.

And the result? A DELICIOUS quite decadent, VERY fattening and rich dessert. And for some reason I have heaps of mascarpone cream still left over which might make a lovely icecream topping....

The recipe is here on the Daring Kitchen site.

And if you want to make your own mascarpone cheese its really easy. Here's how:

500ml cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat water in pan till boiling, pour cream into heatproof bowl and place in pan. Heat cream and stir constantly until you see bubbles trying to make their way to the top. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Stir until cream curdles and thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Leave to cool. When cool pour the mixture into a sieve lined with 4 layers of cheesecloth. Let it set overnight in the fridge so it can firm up then wrap in clingfilm. It will keep for 3 days or so in the fridge.

25 June 2010

My week away.

So I haven't posted anything this week due to being away with Owen on his block course out at the airport.
I spent most of my week tucked up in bed with books and Sky movies channel. So many crap movies they play during the day. What's worse is I found myself sobbing to far too many of them. Between that and Oprah's Best Life week I was sooo ready to get home and see my noisy family today. Mum did pop over a couple of times but mostly it was nice to get some catch up sleep in time for next week's third installment of chemotherapy.

I am so grateful to my parents for being surrogate mum and dad this week, putting with the tummy bugs and nasty colds my kids were sharing around. I love you heaps!!

The view from our room...

At the pub for lunch

tee hee...

Birthday Weekend

My little man turned 3 last weekend. He loves trains (and anything with an engine or wheels) so we took him to MOTAT. He was in heaven!!
He even got two cakes as his wonderful teachers at daycare even put on a train themed party for him! What a lucky boy...

MOTAT happened to be having a military theme day and ran the steam train and tank, along with a jeep and and lots of men walking around with rifles. Johnny cried at that bit and I felt like we were on a set of Hogans Heroes meets Dads Army.
They run this every 3rd Sunday of the month and its good fun, especially for boys. It's worth a visit and it looks like they are working hard to restore a lot of the old airplanes, as well as renovating that whole aviation part of MOTAT. Take your boots as it's also very muddy!

I know noTHING!

Owen and I made this cake. Team effort as my patience doesn't extend very far for cakes these days. He's denying everything but I have to give him most of the credit!

16 June 2010

Look Good Feel Better

Wow what a gorgeous day it was in Auckland today! Cloudless, yes freezing for us softie Aucklanders and everyone was in a good mood thanks to the All Whites drawing with Slovakia in the 92nd minute!

I went off to a workshop with my gorgeous sister in law Sani today. It was the Look Good Feel Better workshop which was developed by The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CETA) in the US and introduced in NZ 19 years ago. Basically all the cosmetic companies provide a range of products for women undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment and teach us how to look good, and therefore feel better. A brilliant idea and brought a smile to all our faces. Especially me as my main aim was to learn how to draw on my eyebrows should the need arise!!

Here's my haul from today.

So exciting. Not sure about spray on foundation yet but I'll give it a go!

15 June 2010

Day 7, Round 2

So I've been hibernating at home since Friday when the shit really hit the fan. If I thought that last time was hard, this was worse. Cumulative pain, exhaustion etc is perhaps the word?

So anyway, I spent a good part of Friday and all of Saturday revolving between the bed and the couch trying to get comfortable. My body was on fire, my mind was in the clouds, my stomach was...wanting food all the time? What gives? Oh yeah...steroids.

I'm much better than that now thank goodness but my stomach has decided food is no longer a friend and is purging as fast as I can eat. Damn.

I hope it improves next week as I am spending an entire week at an airport hotel with Owen which includes a free continental buffet breakfast every morning. AND I LOVE BUFFET BREAKFASTS (almost as much as I love Owen)! The reason for this is his training to become a sports turf manager includes a annual block course for a week. Usually down in Palmerston North, but this year is being held out at the Auckland Aviation Golf Course near the airport. So I'm going with him for some well needed peace and quiet and a stack of books and a bed all to myself all day. Bliss.

being me I'll get bored the second day into it and need some company.
Lucky for me I will! In the form of my BUB (big ugly brother) who is coming out this very minute from the airport from Santiago for two whole weeks. I'm so excited!! I love my brothers nearly as much as buffet breakfasts...

Me and Alex circa 1981

1983. Love the sandals Alex.

This is us pretending we loved each other. He probably gave me a dead leg after this pic was taken.
Much older and wiser, with Eddie our BLB (best little brother) next to me. Aren't they gorgeous?

08 June 2010

Chemo Round Two

Today I went in for my second dose of chemo. I think I did relatively well on the first dose. In terms of side effects they weren't as bad as I was expecting. No nausea and vomiting, just extreme tiredness which to be honest hasn't really improved an awful lot!
But I was a bit nervous going in today, despite the fact my blood levels were good, my liver function was good (after showing signs of change during the first chemo, so that needed to be monitored. I don't want liver failure!)
Today's dose of Herceptin only took 1/2 hour instead of an hour and a half so I was out of there just after 1pm after going in at 10.30am, so it wasn't ages. Just very busy after a long weekend break. But I am very tired and a bit pale so its going to be an early night for me tonight.

While I was in my gorgeous Auntie Ruth came up from her ward to visit me. She has gone through the ringer herself recently after suffering a stroke from a brain tumour. She is so amazing and we had a good laugh at ourselves today!

Here's the nurse I had today, Georgia, who was so lovely. All the staff are so amazing and easy to chat and laugh with. They certainly know how to make it easy.

Then afterwards Owen and I took a walk in the Domain, going through the Winter Botanical Garden. I may or may not confirm that Owen might have pinched a chilli pepper that claimed to be the worlds hottest chilli (Owen said yum!) which is the size of a pea.

Now its time for drugs and bed! Look at this lineup.

This why my gag reflex kicks in.