Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Wordless Wednesday. The morning after the big storm!

This one is not my photo but I had to add it to show just how huge the waves were!  Taken yesterday by Surf photos of you

How could you resist eating a Mojito?

Last Saturday was Australia Day - A wonderful day to celebrate all things Aussie.  We've only been living in Sydney for just under two years and have been blown away by how welcoming the Aussies have been, and of course how beautiful their country is.  So Happy Australia Day everyone and thanks for having us!

We were were invited to a BBQ and I was asked to do the dessert.  I decided to go against tradition and do a non-Aussie desert.  I'm really not a fan of lamingtons (sorry!) and we've only just had pavlova at Christmas time.

Santa brought me a beautiful book for christmas called "In The Mix, Great thermomix recipes" and there is one particular recipe that I have been dying to try out.  (I haven't been able to make it yet as there is far too much risk that I will just eat it all)

The Mojito Cheesecake

Picture taken from my 'In The Mix' Cook book.

I LOVE mojito's - every version of them!  They are my all time favourite cocktail and they always bring back lots of fabulous and hilarious memories of nights out with the girls (yeah - those old days!!).  

So this Australia Day BBQ seemed like the perfect time to test it out.  And it was just so DELICIOUS that I just had to share it with you!!!  It really really tasted just like a Mojito.  The flavours were so intense and every now and again you get a surge of delicious Mount Gay Rum in your mouth!  If you closed your eyes you could quite easily be on a beach in Barbados!

So here is the recipe..........

I had to sneak the rum from Mr D's secret stash!

35g Butter
150g Digestive biscuites
100g light muscovado sugar (although I used the dark kind as it was all I could find)
10g mint leaves (plus a few extra to decorate)
80g of golden rum (I used Dark Mount Gay)
zest and juice of 3 limes
250g cream cheese
250g mascarpone

Start buy zesting the limes.  Place all the peel into the thermomix and whizz on speed 9 for 3-5 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and press the turbo button just once for added effect.  Set the zest aside in a separate bowl, and give the thermomix a quick rinse out (no need to wash it, a rinse will be fine).

The Base:  
Put the butter in the TM bowl and melt for 1.5mins at 80 degrees on speed 1.  Add the biscuites and chop them for 5 seconds on speed 6.  Scrape down the sides and chop for another 2 seconds on speed 6.  Empty the biscuit mix into either a flan dish or individual glasses.  Then flatten and compress it with the palm of your hand (clean of course).  Set it aside until the  cheesecake mixture is ready.

I've used a flan dish but you could use individual glasses

Cheesecake mixture:
Place the sugar and mint leaves into the TM bowl with 40g of water.  I found it quite difficult to weigh out 10g of mint leaves as they are so light, so I just threw in a handful of leaves.

 Heat them for 2 minutes at 80 degrees on speed 2.

With the TM lid open, add the rum, lime zest (except for a small handful which you will need to save for decorating), cream cheese and mascarpone into the TM bowl.  Close the lid and place the MC into the top.  Now squeeze all the juice from the limes onto the lid so that it can drip down without any pips or pulp falling through.  Then whizz it all together for 20 seconds on speed 6.

 Pour the mixture onto your biscuit base.

Decorate with a couple of mint leaves and the remaining lime zest.    Pop it into the fridge to set for a minimum of 2 hours.  It's best if you leave it overnight.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and you will be in heaven.  I wonder if I could turn all my favourite cocktails into desserts??????

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Third week of January. Love Instagram!

This week has been the last week of the school holidays, so we've tried to pack in as much as possible before the new school year starts.  It's quite sad that the holidays are coming to an end but at the same time I am starting to crave some routine (and a break from the non-stop little voices).

Little dudes
Baby with a view

These photos were taken the other day in Manly.  Miss H was at Kindy and I had promised Master J I'd take him to the Water Works.  However it was a scorcher of a day, and we got there a little late (getting out of the house on time in the mornings is not always my strong point!) The queue was HUGE and there was no way I was standing there for an hour in plus 30 degree temperatures   So I braced myself for the whinge of all whinges and gently suggested to Mater J that we "go to the beach and cool down instead, and try again later......................"  "YEAH" he said and raced down to the water.  Well!....... I honestly didn't see that one coming - I was sure there would be tears!!  We met up with some friends and sat and chatted under a shady tree with the babies and a speculator view, whilst the boys played in the water for hours!  Don't you love how unplanned, impromptu days turn out to be the best sometimes?

This week also saw the launch of my New blog "Mrs D plus 3".  Well, it's the same blog really but I just decided that I wanted to separate my personal blog from "Candy Bows Australia".  I really wanted something that would be "me" and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.   I hope you like it too.  You can also find me at my new Facebook page Mrs D plus 3

UH OH!!  Sh'e almost on the move!
My days are numbered ........
A very rare moment!  School holiday fun taking it's toll
Twinkle Toes
Mr D came from a business trip to Las Vegas and brought back these very sparkly boots for Miss H.  She was in heaven!  Pink, sequence, sparkles and shoes!!!  You can't get better than than in her books.  Even though they are a size too big (so she can wear them in the Winter) and the weather at the moment has been in the mid to high 30's, she has not taken them off for a minute!  They have been worn to the beach - and to bed!!

This is what summer is all about!
School holiday play-dates are the BEST!
She is the perfect 'dolly' for Miss H to dress up!
Swimming the Bold and Beautiful from Manly to Shelley Beach and back
My preparation for the "Big Swim" was to swim the bold and Beautiful from Manly to Shelley Beach and back.  A lovely friend volunteered to do it with me and we had a great morning.  It was so refreshing swimming in the Ocean and a great way to start the day.  We'll definitely be doing it again!  Anyone keen to join us??

The Big Swim
With very little preparation I managed to swim "The big swim" from Palm beach to Whale Beach in truly horrible weather conditions!!  Vey proud of myself.

My "plus 3", just chilling on the beach enjoying the last few days of the holidays
Watching a movie with dad (dad is the sofa!)
Never thought I'd day it but it's quite nice having a rainy, pyjama day every now and again!!

Next week is "back to school!!!!  Is everyone ready??

Thursday, 24 January 2013

A little practise and a jelly sting!

With just two days to go until I do the BIG SWIM from Palm Beach to Whale Beach (approx 2.5km) I thought I had better do a little practice.  I have swum in the ocean pool a couple of times this week (although only about 1- 1.5km at a time) but have yet to actually get in the Ocean!!!  Something that might be important - maybe????  

Last night after the kids finished their dinner we all walked down to the beach for mummy to test out the water and have a little practice.  As it was early evening I needed Mr D to come and keep an eye on me.  For two reasons really - firstly, the lifeguards had finished their shift and gone home and secondly, we all know that sharks come out to play at dusk and dawn!!  (Not sure how entirely true that is - but I wasn't taking any chances!!  Not that Mr D would have been any help either under those circumstances  because he is more scared than me - but you know, safety in numbers and all that!!)

It was the most stunning evening and the water looked AMAZING!  The waves were perfect and it actually looked really inviting.  Lets just hope the conditions are like this on Sunday morning!!  Fingers crossed everyone please.

heading down to the water
I didn't really have a 'plan' as such as I really just wanted to overcome the unknown of 'getting in and getting out".  There were only a couple of little waves to jump over so I was out over the break in no time at all!!  I powered out for a few seconds, then popped up to have a look at how far from the shore I was.  It was probably only about 50m or so but I suddenly felt VERY deep.  I'm not scared of the ocean but being out there on my my own (except for a couple of surfers), surrounded by blue, I suddenly felt a tiny bit panicked!!  "Don't be ridiculous I told myself" and I put my head down and started to swim (parallel to the beach of course - I wasn't going any further out than I needed to).  

My eyes were still tightly shut and I realised that I needed to open them if I wanted to see where I was going!!! For some reason I just couldn't do it!  It was like that feeling you have when you are home alone and you hear a noise downstairs.  You're too scared to look in case you see something..........you don't even know what, but you start picturing all sorts!  I couldn't help having that same feeling - like I was going to open my eyes and have some big sea creature staring back at me!!

Good job I'm doing this practise run - I don't want to be too much of a nervous nelly on the day!!  Although I have decided that swimming with a huge group of people can't be as scary as swimming on your own!!

Once I relaxed, I actually started to enjoy the swim, although it's totally different to being in the ocean pool.  I was close enough to the shore to get the swell before it broke into a wave, so on every other breath I was met by a huge wall of blue that lifted me up..........and then down...........up .......... and then down.  I also kept lifting my head right up to check where I was and that I was still swimming in a straight line.

Watching mummy in the water
It was much harder than being in pool, so this is definitely going to be a challenge!  I kept going for about 200m or so and then felt a sudden sting on my leg.  I stopped in my tracks and spun around to see what had got me.........!  Then I felt all those tiny needle like pricks start to tingle at the back of my knee and knew it was a jellyfish (of some sort).

Ok, time to get out I thought!!!  Not much of a training session really, but at least I have managed to get in and and open my eyes in the sea!!  Now to get back to the beach - challenge number 3!!  I swam towards the shore and just prayed that I wouldn't get dumped by a wave (especially with those few surfers watching........now that could be embarrassing!!).

Luckily for me the tide was really low and calm, so I only needed one wave before I was able to put my feet on the ground.  As soon as I felt the sand I started to run - trying to avoid getting knocked down and face planting by the next wave that was coming in fast behind me!!!


PHEW!!!!  I made it!!  I can tick that one off the list.  Now all I have to do is swim the Bold and Beautiful tomorrow morning (a lovely swim, I believe, from Manly Beach to Shelley Beach) and it'll be D-day!!

For anyone out there thinking of doing an Ocean Swim - this really is a guide of 'how not to train'!

Miss H stole my beach dress, so I had to walk home wrapped in my towel!
(For those of you that didn't read my previous 'swimming post' you can find out about my crazy challenge HERE)

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Ice-cream cup cakes

I saw an idea on Pinterest to bake cupcakes inside ice-cream cones!  As baking cupcakes is Miss H's MOST favourite thing to do, I thought we could give these as go - as something a little different!!  Master J (who is not normally interested in baking) also thought they were a great idea

Now I'm sure you could get these little ice-creams looking far more professional and perfect if you used an icing bag and piped it on properly (and then stuck a sneaky chocolate flake in the side).  However, my kiddies though these were the bomb!!  They tasted pretty good too (not that I broke my diet to sample one *wink wink*).

I used a really easy peasy chocolate cake recipe with buttercream icing.  The recipe has been Thermomixed as I'm a hopeless cook without it.


120g butter
2 eggs
100g milk
1 tsp of vanilla essence
120g sugar
120g plain flour
30g coco powder (Cocoa)
2 tsp baking powder

First pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (in bold because I ALWAYS forget this part)

  • Melt the butter in the thermomix for 3 minutes at 60 degrees on speed 1.
  • Place all other ingredients into the thermomix bowl and mix for 30 seconds on speed 5.
You see.......  I told you it was easy!

yummy chocolate cake mix in less than 5 minutes

Very important to taste test

Next, pour the cake mix evenly into ice-cream cones.  (Obviously don't use the pointy ones).  Don't fill them all the way to the top - only about 3/4 as the cakes will rise in the oven.  This recipe will make about 12 ice-cream cones.

Place the cakes into the oven for approximately 20 minutes.  Give the thermomix a quick rinse by placing about 300g water into the bowl and mixing it on speed 10 for 20 seconds.  Now you're ready for the icing.


150g butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbs milk
300g icing sugar (pre-made in the thermomix).

To make the icing sugar, place 300g of raw sugar into the Thermomix bowl and mill for 20 seconds on speed 10.  Scrape down the sides and mill again for another 10 seconds on speed 10.  *(When using thermo-made icing sugar it is not as white in colour as shop bought icing sugar - but it is much purer and better for you (if you can call sugar good for you).*

Add all other ingredients and blend for 20 seconds on speed 8.

I have made vanilla buttercream to make it look like ice-cream, but you could of course add a drop or two of any food colour to change the look!

All ready to decorate
The next bit is the fun bit and if you like things to be perfect (and like me, have a tiny bit of OCD), then I advise you now to step out of the kitchen and leave the kids to it!!

Make sure the cakes have cooled down completely before attempting the icing.  Buttercream will just melt if it is put on something too hot!

Such concentration

And there you have it!  Cup cake ice-creams!!  They really were delicious...

Monday, 21 January 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Waiting for a wave

Take two!  I posted this up yesterday before realising that it was in fact Tuesday and not Wednesday!!  The school holidays have taken over my brain.........I don't even know what day I'm on.  So here is is again "Wordless Wednesday" The real Wednesday.

If you'd like to join up with wordless Wednesday then pop over and visit 

Am I brave? Crazy? Or just shark bait?

A great friend of mine, Debbie Solms,  has been training really hard over the last few weeks to complete the "BIG SWIM".  It's the biggest Ocean Swim that Sydney has to offer and it is right here on our beautiful Northern Beaches.  The swim is approximately a 2.5km-3.km distance from Palm Beach to Whale Beach!  Debbie is an incredible athletic and a fantastic runner (you can follow her at Beauty of Exercise), but is a little more nervous of Ocean swims (Oh you know - swimming with the sharks and rips etc could be a little daunting for the best of us!).  This is no easy challenge and in true Debbie style she has thrown herself in and is ready to go for it.  Unfortunately, a few days ago Debbie had to pull out of the swim due to personal reasons (but she'll be back to swim Bondi in Feb).  

The swim is NEXT WEEKEND (27th January) and Debs has offered me her place in the BIG SWIM!!  EEEEKKK!!!

It has been a VERY long time since I did any kind of Ocean swimming (apart from paddling with the kids to cool down on a hot summer's day) - 17 years to be precise!!  And the only kind of fitness training I have done recently has been on dry land!!!!
It looks really far............

At first I thought - "NO WAY!!" I've done no training, there is no way I'll make!!  But this teeny little voice in my head keeps saying "Go on - just give it a go!!"

When I was about 8 or 9 years old my brother I trained to swim the "dairymaid 1000"!  It was a challenge to swim 1000m in an outdoor swimming pool (so 40 lengths of a 25m pool) to win a badge and a voucher to get a Dairymaid soft serve ice-cream!  Don't you just love the lure of an ice-cream!!!!  On the day of the swim my cousin LCJ (who is a year younger than me) arrived to stay with us for the school holidays and she was ABSOLUTELY ADAMANT that she was also going to do the swim (what did I tell you about the lure of an ice-cream).  She did not want to be left out even though she had done no swimming training at all.  My dad told her "not to be so ridiculous" but she went on and on and on and on unti he eventually let her swim it.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  She was so exhausted and yet so determined to finished she was actually swimming upright for the last couple of laps!!!  Everyone was standing on the pool edge cheering and literally willing her to the end.  And she did it!!

"Fish are friends NOT food!  Bruce - are you listening???"

So if she can then I can too!!  Now that I've made up my mind to do it - with just one week to prepare, I have started to think about all the things that may be a challenge (while trying not to psyche myself out in the process).  

These are my top 5:

Sharks!!  They are the most obvious thing to fear when swimming deep in the Ocean!  Especially when there have been several sightings over the last few weeks.  Statistics say that you have more chance being hit by a car then eaten by a shark - so really...... what am I worried about??  I'm not actually that scared, well not enough to stop me getting into the Ocean, but if I see anything thing big and dark underneath me during the swim, I can't guarantee I won't freak out!!

Getting in and getting out!!  Sounds simple enough right??  In order for me to swim from one beach to the other I have to get out over the wave breaks and into the big wide Ocean.  It's probably not as hard as I'm imaging it to be (especially if you're a surfer) but I'm still a little nervous.  I've been given lots of advice, like diving under the big waves just before they're about to crash, taking a big deep breath and swimming as fast as I can under each wave.  I've also done a little bit of googling too and one trick is to dive under the wave to the bottom and use my hands on the ocean floor to pull myself forward.  I'm not so sure about that one!! I just hope the weather is good and the waves are little baby ones.  Keep your fingers crossed for me please!  My next problem - (after all that swimming) will be getting back in to the shore.  Now I'm no surfer but I think my only way is going to be body surfing the waves.  I am so grateful that there will be lots of people all coming in together as I can assure you my beach entrance is not going to be a graceful one!!!

Rips!!  I can just about recognise a rip in the ocean from standing on the shore, but I have absolutely NO idea how to recognise one once I'm in the ocean!!!!  My trusty friend google says to just let the rip take you ......... but what if it's in the wrong direction???  With only 1 week to train, I can't afford to swim for any longer than I have to!!!  

Exhaustion!!  This one speaks for itself!  I have only got 1 week to train for the Big Swim, so the chances of me hitting exhaustion are pretty real.  However, I WILL DO IT!!  Even if I end up swimming upright doggy paddle like LCJ all those year ago!!  I have been down to the pool twice since I decided to do the swim and have managed to do half the distance - which is about 25 lengths of a 50m pool.  A couple more of those and fingers crossed I'll be ok on the day.

Sea Sickness!!  Sea swimming is totally different to pool swimming as you have to contend with the swell.  I can only hope that its a nice calm day otherwise that notion of the going up.....and down.......and up........and down.........and up.............and down with the swell could have my tummy feeling a little queazy!!

Master J showing me how it's done

Mummie's first 'laps' swim in 17 years!!

So in 6 days time I will literally be throwing myself into the Ocean!  I got some advice from someone I met on twitter and he said "swim slow, swim wide and enjoy the view".  Great advice and that's exactly what I will (try) to do.  Otherwise I'll just do what Dorie says "just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming...........!!

Wish me luck!

Debbie was doing this swim as part of the Can Too Team to raise money for Cancer Research.  I'm sure you'll all agree that it is a truly worthy cause.  If you would like to sponsor her (aka ME) and help the Can Too team reach their target then you can do so by clicking HERE.  If you'd like to know more about the The Big Swim, then you can find all the information HERE.