Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Caramel Dumpling Recipe

This is a recipe which we discovered a little while back and has now become one of our firm favourites. Be extra careful making these as it's easy to burn yourself when adding the water.

Caramel Dumplings

Dumpling Batter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp melted butter

Caramel Sauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp butter

Mix all dumpling ingredients - set aside.

Put the sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat.

Stir constantly until sugar has melted and turns a light brown. Carefully stir in boiling water - take extra-special care at this stage as steam will be created and it will hiss and spit. You may find that the sugar and water go clumpy - carry on stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add butter and vanilla, bring to the boil and boil for two minutes.

Drop spoonfuls of the dumpling mixture into the sauce (I make 4 large dumplings with the quantities listed above).

Lower heat, cover tightly and cook for 15 minutes.

These are best served warm with cream or ice cream. If you would like to make less dumplings you can half the dumpling quantities but it's best to make the same amount of sauce - lots of sauce is yum!

For those in the northern hemisphere this is a great winter warmer dessert recipe. Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The warmth of spring is here!

As anyone who lives here in Wellington will tell you, the title of this post is untrue. We did have a brief period of spring-like weather quickly followed by an extended wintry blast (included snow in the central North Island).

Lucky old me escaped from Wellington's weather to experience some lovely spring weather when I travelled to Australia a week or so ago.

It was wonderful to have some respite and be able to laze in the sun on the beach. My parents were on holiday and staying in a 2-bedroom apartment on the Gold Coast in Queensland - at a little place called Kirra. Our days started early (5am!) with a cup of tea and a walk of an hour or so on the beach. This was followed with breakfast and any chores before heading to the beach for a spot of sunbathing. We visited several surf clubs, sports clubs and RSLs (Returned and Services League) for drinks, meals and a little play on the pokie machines. The following picture is of the high-rise apartments of Surfers Paradise at about 5:45am as the sun was coming up on one of our beach walks.

We did have one day of wet weather but had planned to do a trip inland to see a natural formation called the Natural Arch (a very original name!). The picture below shows where the stream enters the arch having eroded a hole in the rock over the years.

While I was only away for 6 days it was a nice break and great to see and feel the sun. Spending time with my parents was fun and it was sad when I had to head for home (and back to the rain and wind!).

Maybe spring in Wellington will arrive soon! Sure hope so.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Another step in my master plan of reducing my outgoings is to downsize my house (and subsequently my mortgage).

In the next little while I will have an empty nest and this house is too big for one person and three cats. It's not like it is a mansion by any stretch of the imagination but it is a typical suburban family home . I still have a hefty mortgage outstanding and it makes sense to me to buy a smaller, cheaper property.

Of course I will still need a reasonably-sized section so I can still have my chooks and vegetable garden but there are definitely properties around which would fit my requirements. I can envisage a 2-bedroomed cottage with a decent size backyard.

Before I can sell my current house there are a few projects that need to be finished off - my bathroom renovation for one. Plus my lounge and hallway needs some re-plastering and painting. Finally the carpet right through the house really needs to be replaced. So my focus is to channel all spare cash into completing these projects so that the house is ready to sell some time next year. That No-spend month is coming up soon so that should help.