The Best Biscuits

I've heard from Thurston, Robbie's butler that they've arrived safely in Perth and their about to get onto the last flight to Adelaide.

This gives me a few good hours to bake some biscuits ready for their arrival.

The poor souls must be dreadfully tired, it's such a long journey.

I think I'll be making my best biscuits, which are just small Melting Moments. I've been shipping a batch over to Thurston for his birthday for years now - and he loves them.

Thurston's been a god-send for the family over the years. Such a gentle man, and great with Rainbow. I'm glad it's him that brought her over to me. I'm not sure I could talk to her mother at the moment.

All is ready for her arrival. I've made up Jenny's old room. The bed has fresh linen, the drawers are empty, there is paper at the desk and a new school uniform for her first day at Trevor High School is sitting in the cupboard. Thurston was good enough to send over her measurements and sizings. Jenny would never think of doing such a thing.

I hate to say it, but I'm nervous about young Rainbow's arrival. I haven't seen her in over ten years.

She's my grand-daughter. I shouldn't be feeling like this.,

Best get baking. As this is my grandmother's recipe, I've translated the old measurements.

Melting Moments

You will need:

6 oz (180 gms) Plain Flour
6 oz (180 gms) Real butter - and real butter, not margarine or "I can't believe it's not butter" and make sure it's cold.
2 oz (60 gms) Icing Sugar (Again, not the fake stuff)
2 oz (60 gms) Custard Powder - and don't scrimp and use the cheap home brand supermarket issue stuff as it makes the biscuits look strange. Try and find a more expensive brand with fewer chemicals in it.
1 tsp of Vanilla Essence (again, use the real stuff - don't scrimp)

Almond Icing

Half a cup of real icing sugar.
A few drops of Almond essence
Milk to mix.

1) Warm the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

2) Rub the flour and butter together until they make a fine crumb.

3) Sift in the icing sugar and custard powder with the butter and flour mix and add the vanilla essence.

4)  Form the mixture into a large ball.

5) Line a baking tray with grease proof paper.

6) Break off the dough and roll teaspoon sized amounts into balls.

7) Place the balls equal distance apart in the baking tray.

8) Squash the balls lightly with a fork to make an impression in them. It makes around 24 biscuts.

9) Bake for about 20  minutes until the colour just starts to turn.

10) When the biscuits are cool, mix up some almond icing to the consistency of thickened cream and stick the biscuits together.

Be prepared to have orders for these. You'll get repeat orders.

Posh Cheese on Toast

Rainbow is arriving tomorrow and I'm starting to panic.

The poor child has spent very few days with me in her twelve years of life. I'm not sure what I'm going to find. I'm sure she's going to feel the same way.

I think about what her mother has suggested and I cringe. Part of me thinks they should have shipped her off to some boarding school where all of the responsibility of this wayward tween could be handled through third parties like proper rich people do.

But no, my darling daughter thinks that her reprobate mother is the person to take her wayward daughter under her wing.

On paper, I can see what she means. There's not many places she can run to around here - there's just the swamp and the big tree around here for her to entertain herself. I'll be changing the WIFI password daily - don't you worry about that.

Maybe she can befriend the kids next door, The Dubbers.

They're lovely kids really, but they get a lot of stick from the neighbours around here. Seen as tearaways. Always up for trouble. Parents have gone wild. You can hear the wowsers from the local CWA berating them.

Really, John and Jane, the parents, are a bit alternative and they let the kids run wild. However, I find them to be lovely children. Darren, the second son, with his Germanic white hair and pale blue eyes is a great kid. He comes over here to do odd jobs to get a bit of money. He and Rainbow are about the same age.

He likes when I feed him Posh Cheese on Toast after he's done his jobs. Says that they don't get cheese very often - which is more the pity. I believe the family are vegetarian. Oh well. I've seen Darren gobble down a tray of these delights.

Darren loves his bacon.

We won't tell his mum, will we.

Posh Cheese on Toast

This recipe is great when served with tinned tomato soup on a cold winter's night.

One and a half cups of grated tasty cheese

20 grams of melted butter

1-2 dessertspoons of Worcetershire Sauce

1 egg, well beaten

A pinch of salt and cayenne pepper

1-2 rashers of streaky bacon.

Non-virtuous buttered white bread, a day old is better.

What to do:

Heat the oven to 180 degrees in the new temperatures.

Mix all ingredients (except the bacon) and spread thickly on the white bread.

If you don't have any rabid vegetarians coming, cut the bread into soldiers and  place a strip of bacon on top.

Place the cheesy bread on an oven tray and back for 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy. This posh cheese on toast is legendary.

And never mention to my darling next door neighbours that I called them rabid vegetarians. But a bit more cheese and a bit of meat never hurt anybody.

Dried Apricot Jam

So, here it goes. My first blog post, and what a timely entry this will be.

My grand-daughter, Rainbow is coming to stay with me - something that I'm looking forward to and worried about in equal parts. You see, the last time I saw Rainbow, it was about eight years ago. This was when her father, Robbie Robertson took the family on tour with him. Of course my daughter, Jenni was with them.  They haven't been back to South Australia since.The spend a lot of time on the road.

You might have heard of Rob - he's with the band, Medulla Oblongata. You've heard of them? Thought so. I can't stand their early stuff, but the lastest album should be okay. It appears the band have discovered that they are mortal.

So Rob, Jenni and Rainbow have been all over the world since then, living a life I can hardly imagine. She's had tutors, been living out of suitcases and probably having an amazing time.

Anyway, last week, my daughter Jenni called. We haven't really talked much over the last few years. She was distraught. Had no idea what to do. Rainbow has not been behaving well. Running away in foreign cities, mucking up for her mother, not doing her studies (and doing all of the things that a twelve-year-old girl will do sometimes, just like her mother did at the same age)

She asked if I could take Rainbow for the next six months. Have her come live with me, here in Yourponga, South Australia. She reckons being away from the high life will be good for her.

There aren't many places to run to here at Hippy Corner. The nearest neighbours, the Dubbers, are a two kilometres away. 

I'm not sure if I want a twelve-year-year old with me. I have things to do. There's the local council to picket. Letters to politicians to write. There's a rally I want to go to about saving the waterways. For heaven's sake, I'm retired. Raising a child is a full time job.

Anyway, when I get worried, I make jam - and as it's not stone fruit season yet, dried apricot jam it will have to be. There is something very calming in the stirring.

This is my grandmother's recipe, passed down from numerous Cornish housewives.

Bits needed:

Very large stock pot
Sterilised jam jars, preferably recycled and re-purposed to hold 1.5 kgs of jam in total.
A clean wooden spoon - if you don't have a designated jam spoon, buy a new one. You don't want your jam tasting like onions or chilli or whatever else your wooden spoon may have been used for before it hits the jam.

1 kilogram of good quality dried apricots (Not the cheap ones from the supermarket - splurge a bit)
1 kilogram of jam sugar or general purpose white sugar
If you're a bit cheeky, half a packet of jam setter
16 glasses of water.

What you do:

1)  Soak the dried apricots overnight in the sixteen cups of water.

2)  Clear a few hours in your day.

3)  On the stove top, bring the jam to a fast boil and boil for one hour.

4) Add the sugar.

5)  Keep stirring - this jam catches on the bottom of the pan really easily, so you can't really leave the kitchen. Just keep stirring.

6)  After about an hour of boiling, the jam will change to a golden colour.

7) Test the jam has set by placing a small amount on a cold plate. Once it sets, remove the jam from the heat.

8)  While it's still warm, bottle the jam in the sterilised jars.

This will keep in the cupboard for years if the jars remain airtight, unopened and they are left in a cool, dark place.

I can see myself making a bit of jam over the next few months.

Never to mind, it will keep the Greenpeace Trading Table at the local market in stock.

I'd better go. It's a bit wet and windy outside. I should tie down the caravan before it gets blown away. They've said it's the first time a cyclone has hit South Australia. I'll just call it global warming and be done with it.