Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American followers. We don’t celebrate it out here in Australia, but it was a perfect excuse to make apple pie for dessert (after having the equally American dish of meatloaf for dinner).Yum yum.

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And all that baking was just too much for Pip!
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Banana slice

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I thought it was about time to try out my new camera on some food pics, and, with the weather being so unseasonally cold, this spiced banana slice were a perfect choice (plus we had one over-ripe banana – perfect!).

The recipe and orginal post can be found here.

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Profile on Pippa

Pippa has been a very good model for me to try out my new camera. After years of using my little point-and-shoot Panasonic Lumix (which has been very good) and my iPhone to take my pictures, I’ve finally bought a Canon EOS M Compact System Camera, partly for my New Zealand trip (so it better take good scenery shots!), parlty because I just wanted a proper, good camera. I used a DSLR at uni for one of my subjects, so I know a bit about ISO, shutter speeds and the like, but realise that I still have a lot to learn! These photos were taken while playing around with different settings and have not been edited.

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What a little model

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Pippa was doing her cutest little facial expression, while just sitting so nice and neatly underneath the coffee table. Those big yellow-rimmed green eyes, the little smile, the shiney silver furr – you’d hardly recognise her from the scared little thing we adopted back in May. I know one shouldn’t really gush on about one’s own little cat – but Pip’s just too cute!

Pip in the sun

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Though it’s been a bit cooler this week (and quite cold today!), Pippa has been enjoying the sunshine. Though she’s still too scared to go outside, she loves lying in an open doorway or on an open window sill, letting the breeze in, not to mention all the smells and noises.

Also, Pip turned 1 last week (according to her RSPCA records), so happy first birthday Pippa! You can be assured, she was most spoilt on the occasion – much as she is every day.

An Unusual POV: Weekly Photo Challenge – Pippa

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Standing at only about a foot high, Pippa is very little thing. It is easy to forget how big we must seem to her, so when playing with her this morning, I lay down and took this photo from ground level, looking up on our little cat. As children, we spend much more time down low, playing on the floor, sitting on the floor in class, etc, but as we grow up, we don’t get down that low nearly as often, so photos from this angle look quite particular to us.

What’s Pip looking at so intently, I hear you ask?

Maggie the chicken, who was taking herself for a walk around the yard (no particularly special POV, just a rather funny picture of Mags!).

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Find the weekly photo challenge here.

Daily Prompt: There’s no place like home

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Another very cold day (it’s currently around 7°C, Weatherzone says it feels like 4.9°C), with a bit of an Antartic breeze blowing in, well, home is the best place to be! I relocated from my room to the lounge, tobe in front of the roaring fire, attempting to get washing dry, Pip lying next to her bed (!), Proms playing through my laptop, the smell of tonight’s dinner (pea and ham soup) wafting around, having been in the slow cooker since 10 this morning, Game of Thrones A Dance with Dragons 1:Dreams and Dust to read. Warm in, cold out. There’s no place like home.

Daily promt.

Lemon Curd Marble Muffins

On a very wet Friday night, baking muffins can sometimes be the best option, and this is just what I did tonight. I had planned to make these muffins over the weekend, using some of the lemon curd I made last week. The recipe (which I have been eyeing off for as long as we’ve had the book), comes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Everyday. The muffins are very easy to make, and are delicous fresh out of the oven.

Makes 12.

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Put 12 large paper cases into a muffin tray. Put the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar in a large bowl and whisk lightly to aerate and combine.

Mix the egg, yoghurt, milk and melted butter together in a jug. Pour them into the dry ingredients and mix lightly, stopping as soon as everything is combined – it’s essential not to over-mix or you’ll get dense, cakey muffins.

Spoon a some mixture into each muffin case and top with a generous ½ teaspoonful of lemon curd. Add a final spoonful of muffin mixture to encase the lemon curd and three-quarters fill the cases.

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Bake in an oven preheated to 180°C/gas mark 4 for about 30 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Eat on the day you bake them, ideally while still slightly warm.

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PS: When I’m cooking, Pippa always sits on the stool next to the bench and watches/supervises, and is usually extremely well behaved. However, tonight she just couldn’t resist the temptation of a bright yellow patty pan case, and stole one from the muffin tin! Oh, Pippa, you do make us laugh

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Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

This recipe is heavily based on the ‘Pear and Ground Ginger Muffins’ from Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Express cookbook. Since we had leftover apple sauce, I thought this variation would be a good way to use some of it up. The smell of these freshly-cooked, lightly spiced muffins wafting through the house is fantastic.

Make approximately 12.

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Pippa checking out the ingredients

250g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
150g caster sugar
75g light brown sugar, plus ½ teaspoon per muffin for sprinkling (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 x 142ml pot sour cream
125ml vegetable or Rice Bran oil
1x 15ml tablespoon honey
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup chunky apple sauce

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6, and line a 12-bun muffin tin with muffin papers. Measure into a bowl the flour baking powder, caster sugar, 75g of brown sugar and the ground cinnamon and nutmeg.

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In a large measuring jug, whisk together the sour cream, oil, honey and eggs and then fold into the dry ingredients.IMG_1205

Lastly, mix in the apple sauce, and divide the batter evenly between the muffin cases.IMG_1208

Sprinkle each one with ½ teaspoon of brown sugar and bake for 20 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack. These are best eaten while still a little warm.

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