Sunday, 27 January 2008

Baked doughnuts

Ha, Ha, Ha. You and I know that it's not really Doug & Fifi's Garden at all. We ALL know it's Doug's Garden and that I just wander about with a cup of tea in my hand from time to time inspecting the plants. Occasionally with a snicker doodle in my hand if Doug has made some. So here's a recipe for back to school mums & (obviously) Dads. Nigella's Snicker doodles. 250g plain flour; 1/2 teaspn ground nutmeg; 3/4 teaspn baking powder; 1/2 teaspn salt; 125g butter; 100g caster sugar; 1 egg; 1 teaspn vanilla extract (or if frugal, essence) ; 1 tablspn cinnamon. Heat oven 180c. Cream butter & sugar. In another bowl, combine flour, nutmeg, baking powder, salt. Beat the egg & vanilla into the 'creamed' butter & stir dry ingredients into the butter mix, until smooth. Roll out into little balls between your hands (20 cent piece size). Mix 2 tblspoons of caster sugar with the cinnamon and roll each little ball in before placing on baking tray. 15 minutes at 180`c. Cool on rack. Delicious for school snacks / afternoon snacks. There is no point in messing with this recipe.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008


We have survived the flood of '08. Nearly as big as the '54 flood, in which, our neighbours all solemnly told us while the water was rising, our house went under. Thankfully that didn't happen this time, but what a lovely discovery to make in the middle of a flood - that ours is the lowest house in the street. What a great way to get to know the people who live in your street though - as we trotted up to the river at regular intervals throughout the day and night to check on the rising river's progress. Needless to say, Dougie and Fifi's garden has not been short of water. After 135mm of rain in just one night, we had more of a swamp than a garden, and in the 2 weeks since it hasn't stopped raining for long. The poor old guinea pigs have certainly discovered the downside of being the lowest to the ground of the garden residents but they are taking it all very philosophically. They've had to move to the higher ground of the back garden, which is less boggy but involves having at least one dog on top of their hutch all day long. They've perfected the nonchalant shrug as a Jack Russell does it's best Big Bad Wolf impression only centimetres away. Ive decided the beans did so well this spring they deserved a second run for summer and the new plants are looking every bit as happy as their predecessors. The tomatoes unfortunately have been a casualty of the humid weather. The conditions were just too good for fruit flies and tomato rot, So they've all been pulled out bar one lonely outcrop which is still just hanging in there. The pumpkins have also run their course for this year. A little disappointed to yield only 6 pumpkins from what seemed like acres of vines, but then again, we didn't even plant them so that's not bad for a bit of self-seeding from the compost. My latest crop is cucumbers, which are just starting to bear fruit. My next door neighbour is seemingly the worlds foremost expert on backyard cucumber production so there is really no need for me to grow any at all because he arrives at the gate almost weekly with an armful of assorted cucumbers, but I just couldn't help having a go myself. Of course I had no desire to offend anyone so my cucumber vines are suitably scrawny compared to his and that's the way things should be between neighbours. The biggest fans of the wet weather have been our bamboo plants. They have grown a fabulous number of new shoots and are looking really bushy and bold. Before you ask - no they're not spreading bamboos - just clumpers. One, called Timor Black, has grown to a massive height and has really transformed the look of that part of the garden very quickly. One neighbour's house is fast disappearing from view. I also have two new residents of Dougie's garden to report. They are cold blooded but without any mean streaks. We have a young blue tongue lizard, which was a very exciting discovery. Rupert rather shockingly killed the old blue tongue about two years ago and we thought that would have been the end of it, but somehow another has turned up, and it has made the very sensible choice of residing in the fenced off veggie garden away from any Big Bad Poodle-wolves. The other lizard resident made me jump a slight height as I was digging over the compost heap recently. Thought it was a snake, but on semi-close inspection it turned out to be a legless lizard. Not the sort that can be found outside the pub at 1:00am, but rather the sort that must like a nice warm compost heap to live in. It's not actually legless but the legs it does have are tiny and obviously don't serve much purpose. It definitely gets around just like a snake. Before I go I have to report one other - equally rare - sighting in Dougie's back yard. Fifi was spotted only days ago mowing the lawn. I hope the receipt of this news is as exciting for you as the reporting of it is for me. Apologies to any readers who may have noticed the lack of posts from myself. I will endeavour to pick up my game from now on. Hooroo.