2017 Australian Van Nationals at Port Fairy

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The 2017 Australian Van Nationals Show ‘n Shine were held at Port Fairy at Easter. As He Who Eats All of Leftovers and I were passing through town on Easter Sunday, we decided to stop and have a look.

NRMA Service van ‘Before’ and ‘After’ below.

Everybody loves Scooby Doo and The Mystery Machine.

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There was an array of iconic Holden Sandmans, Escorts, Bedfords, Ford Sundowners, Holden EH’s…

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Quite a few entrants presented their vehicles with a theme for the Show ‘n Shine.

Come inside….

Quite a few of the vans had amazing artwork. The car below had a movie theme.

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Before we arrived at Port Fairy, He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers was telling me about a radio bumper sticker competition held during his childhood where the prizes were Bedford vans – the Freedom Machine and the Easy Roller. We looked everywhere for them hoping they would be there, but sadly they were not.

Hopefully they will turn up again in the future.

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Ham and Macaroni Bake

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Ham and Macaroni Bake is an easy Sunday night meal. I usually have freeze the leftovers for an even easier meal at a later date.

250gm macaroni

sliver of butter

1 onion – chopped

ham – chopped (a few slices are enough, but put in whatever you have)

375ml tin of evaporated milk

1/2 Cup water

1 Tblspn cornflour

grated cheese (about a cup, give or take)

tomatoes – thinly sliced (again, the amount is up to you)

1/2 Cup breadcrumbs

extra butter

Cook the macaroni and drain.

Heat the butter in a big pot and cook the onions. Add the ham and combined evaporated milk, water and cornflour and bring to the boil while stirring. Add half of the cheese and all of the pasta and mix well.

Pour the mixture into a deep tray (I line the tray with my favourite invention, baking paper). Top the mixture with the sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with breadcrumbs, then put dobs of butter on top and grill until golden brown.

Chryslers by the Bay 2017

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Chryslers by the Bay is an annual show held at Geelong Grammar School every March.

Prince Charles attended school at Geelong Grammar while he was in the Colonies. I doubt he ever spent a Saturday night in a Drifter panel van sneaking into the drive-in, but you never know.

The show is open to Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, Desoto, Valiant, AMC powered or bodied vehicles.

 

The colour-change paint on the vehicle below looked different from every angle.

The bright colours of the muscle cars really stood out against the lush, green grass on the oval.

There was a time in Australia when every young man needed a fox tail hanging from his car’s antenna to have credibility with his mates.

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The day was a fundraiser for The Cottage by the Sea at Queenscliff.

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Country Women’s Association Biscuits and Slices Recipe Book

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The Country Women’s Association are probably best known in Australia for providing afternoon teas at shows, both in the country and for the city shows. Their members always exhibit their cooking at the shows and they usually win plenty of prizes too.

The CWA Biscuits and Slices recipe book is my favourite sort of cook book.

To begin with, there is a photo of every single recipe in the book, so you know what you are aiming forwhen you start cooking.

The next great thing is that the biscuits and slices photographed are presented simply and don’t look chocolate-box perfect, so you know you have a good chance of getting your efforts to turn out like the photo.

The third thing is, the recipes from the CWA are absolutely fool proof. Simple methods and simple instructions.

Lastly, you never have to chase around trying to find some ridiculously exotic ingredient or other to make one of the CWA recipes, in fact chances are that even if you’re not really a cook, you will still have all of the ingredients right there in your cupboards (possibly with weevils, but you can sift them out – joke).

The book contains old favourites like Rock Cakes, Yo-Yo Biscuits, Jam Slice and Afternoon Tea Fingers. There are recipes for Greek Shortbread and three different Apricot Slices. I’ve put markers on a few pages with the intention of giving these recipes a whirl sometime.

Happy Australia Day everyone.

 

Vol au Vents

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I was waiting in the check out queue at the supermarket recently and talking to the woman in front of me, (as you do, when the queue is long), when I noticed she had ready-made vol au vent cases in her trolley. I asked her what she filled them with and she said, “cut-up a chicken and pour in a tin of soup, then top the lot with cheese and bake them in the oven”. Inspired, I asked her to watch my trolley while I ran back to the bread aisle and grabbed a packet of vol au vent cases for myself.

When it came to the crunch, I made up my own recipe for a filling. I knew Miss S would never eat anything which she knew had cheese in it, so I had to be creative.

4 large, ready-made vol au vent cases

Leftover cut up chicken

1 egg

2 Tablespoons cream cheese (I know, I know, how sneaky is that?)

2 Tablespoons frozen peas and corn

Place the vol au vent cases on an oven tray and mix all of the other ingredients together. Spoon into the vol au vent cases and bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. Easy-peasy.

 

 

Christmas Tree

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Two packets of 3 metre tinsel

One packet of bows

One packet of blu-tack

= One happy Rose. I’m never putting our old Christmas Tree up ever again!

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Lady Marlene’s Shortbread

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In the lead-up to Christmas last year, I made my tried and true Shortbread recipe and took some to work for my colleagues. They said all of the right things, but one of my colleagues, whose mother is from Scotland, brought me some of her mother’s shortbread to try. Yum.

I burned the first batch, (you can see in the photo that the Eiffel Tower biscuit is a bit too brown), but the next three batches were better.

125gm butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 Cup icing sugar

2 1/4 Cups plain flour

1/2 Cup cornflour

Mix the butter and vanilla extract until soft, then gradually beat in the sugar.

Fold in the sifted flours, then split into four and roll into balls. Press into circles and cut into eight (pizza-style). Otherwise, this is a good mixture for cutting out shapes.

Bake for 15 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius.

Pikelets

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This recipe came from my mother-in-law, who makes lovely Pikelets.

When I was conned into making Pikelets for my workmates, I asked my mother-in-law for her recipe*. She told me, and I wrote down her instructions, word for word. Then she told me, that was the recipe, but this is what I do, and proceeded to tell me a whole different set of ingredients and methods. So I wrote down her version.

When I made Pikelets, I did what my mother-in-law did, not what the recipe said. The Pikelets worked out perfectly.

1 Cup Self-Raising flour

pinch salt

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 egg

1/2 Cup milk

Beat all ingredients together, then cook in butter in a hot frypan. Serve with jam and cream.

*Here is the recipe my mother-in-law doesn’t use. if you ever make it, let me know what it tastes like.

1 Cup Self-Raising flour

pinch salt

1/4 teaspoon Bi-carb soda

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 egg

1/2 Cup sour milk, or milk with 1 teaspoon of vinegar mixed in.

1 Dessert spoon of melted butter.

Beat all ingredients, then cook in butter in a hot frypan.

Melbourne Aces at Melbourne Ballpark

 

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He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers and I live near Melbourne Ballpark, and have regularly said to each other over the past fifteen years that we must go to a baseball game sometime to see what all the fuss is about. As we get around to most things eventually, we went to see the Melbourne Aces play Perth Heat last weekend.

First things first, the netting around the stadium was invaluable. Each time the batter hit a foul ball and the ball came straight into the crowd at us, I ducked. He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers laughed at me, and swore he would have caught at least three of the balls, but thanks to the netting he was never put to the test.

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The game itself was just as exciting as the prospect of being hit by a foul ball, but much more enjoyable. There were nine innings (I admit to being ready for bed by about the eighth), but the ‘rah rah’ of the music which accompanied each batter’s preparations and the sound effects of breaking glass when the ball was hit out of the stadium was fun and kept us entertained.

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There was loads of activities for children, bouncing castles and a hilarious chase across the ground after the mascot, Ace, which would have ended in tears for Ace had they caught him and piled on, as I had expected when the mascot set off.

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Someone hit a home run, there were several double-plays where two people went out at once, we all got up for the traditional seventh innings stretch and a small child sung Take Me Out to the Ball Game, to the delight of the crowd. Perth Heat won the game, which left the Melbourne Aces two up in the series with another two games to play the following day.

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Healthy Chocolate (Epic Fail)

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I’ve been on a sugar-free kick, however I still crave sweet food, especially chocolate. So, in my quest to have my chocolate (and eat it too) I found and made this recipe for healthy chocolate. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend it. The chocolate turned out waxy and yucky. After tasting it I threw away my bottle of coconut oil and went straight to the supermarket to buy some proper chocolate*.

Anyway, if you ever get the urge, here’s what not to do.

1/2 Cup coconut oil (an ingredient which is best avoided, in my opinion).

1/2 Cup cocoa

3 Tblspns honey (this was a waste of perfectly good honey. Did you know that it takes 48 bees a lifetime to make two tablespoons of honey? I feel terribly guilty about having wasted the lives of 72 bees to make this recipe).

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Gently melt the coconut oil, then whisk in the cocoa, honey and vanilla before pouring into a tin lined with baking paper. I believe you can also add peanut butter, nuts cinnamon or dried fruit to this recipe, but really, I don’t know why anyone would bother.

*Cadbury Dairy Milk, a family size block. And in case you’re wondering, I didn’t share it with the family. What they don’t know won’t hurt them.