Friday, April 1, 2011

Weekly Roundup - Birthday Celebrations, Water Pumps And A Stroke

Around The Home
Thought I should tell you about what has been happening around here in last few days.

Birthday celebrations were held this week for Alf.  As he is a man he probably won't mind me telling you he turned 47.

Just as an aside, Alf is a very busy man at the moment.  He is putting in 12 to 14 hour days working on our battered city's water supply.  As an engineer with many talents, he has a specific history of working on the pumps for our wastewater plant for some 24 years, before sadly being made redundant.  However, in the city's hour of need, they have seconded Alf (via the new job at the drilling company) to work on the water pumps.  He has so far this week worked 9 days in a row ,and for very long hours. So, it has been an equally long week for us at home, so sorry not much blogging has been done.

Alf's job at the moment is to treat our (previously untouched) water with chlorine because of contamination from the sewerage pipes.  Through his working with the water system staff, we are able to see council-only lab results for the city water.  These emails clearly show the pumping stations around the city that have tested positive for ecoli.  There are masses of positive results, so it's still very important to boil the water after all this time.  As I recently experienced the symptoms of food poisoning, I am extra vigilant on this front.  Alf has kindly brought home some boxes of bottled water from his work, allowing me a small break from the jug.

Busy at work in one of the pumping stations

A container of chlorine being readied for our water

A map our our city, the dark green bit is the only part of the city where sewerage is working.  That's where we live, the rest of the city are using long drops, chemical toilets and porta loos.

Amazing to think contraptions like this are stopping nearly half a million residents from getting very sick.  Alf has the ability to "think outside the square" to find solutions to unusual problems

Let Them Eat Cake
The mere mention of celebrating with food sent Georgia and I into the kitchen to create yummy decadent fare.  Over the last year I have twigged my quick chocolate recipe, adding a slight coffee edge to it.  The combination of chocolate and coffee taste, mocha I suppose you could call it, gets me really excited.  To my chocolate cake recipe I added cooled coffee where the recipe called for just water. Here is my easy chocolate cake recipe.  I will often delete the cocoa, adding extra flour turning these into amazing little quick cupcakes.  I used this recipe a while back for Alf's leaving morning tea, making chocolate cupcakes.

How To Make A Big Chocolate Cake In A Hurry 

2 cups self-raising flour
pinch of baking soda (bi-carbonate of soda)
4 tablespoons cocoa
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup water
150g melted butter

Put all ingredients into a large mixing bowl 
Beat with an electric mixer for 3 minutes
Pour mixture into large greased tin (approx. 25x30cm)
Bake at 190 deg C fan bake for 35 minutes, or for 50-69 minutes normal oven

Butter Icing

100gm butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essense
1-2 tablespoons hot water

Cream butter until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla.  Gradually beat in icing sugar, beating until smooth.  Add sufficient water to give a spreading consistency.

Butter icing with coffee added for extra taste

Ready for icing by Georgia

Handy Icing for when time is short, thoroughly recommend this product

With a little help from mum, Georgia got the cake decorated

Butterfly Cakes
Using the 3 minute sponge from the iconic Edmond's Cookbook, I placed small spoonfuls of sponge mixture into pretty little patty cases.  Once they had cooled, I cut out a cone in the centre, cutting that in half.
Cream was piped into the centre (at this point some lemon curd could be added) and the butterfly wings placed into the cream.  Icing sugar dusted on top. Serve.

These dainty cakes were made in less than an hour

On My Mind
Lastly, my lovely Dad, Jim, suffered an unexpected stroke early this week.  He is a  fit and healthy man, so this has totally come out of the blue for my mother and two other sisters.  They are calling it a min-stroke, luckily the symptoms lasted only about 24 hours. He blacked out while reading the morning paper at the dining table, falling from his chair and hitting the wall.  The only indication something was not quite right was the partial paralysis on one side of his face.  None this less,  it has been upsetting for us all.  Dad came out of hospital yesterday afternoon, and is resting at home.  The stroke has meant he cannot drive for quite some time, and is now taking quite a few medications to prevent any more strokes happening.  We are all cautiously hopeful that everything is behind us, but the doctors did call it a warning sign.  So I am praying that his health remains as good as it is at the moment.


1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear about your father. I do hope this warning is all that comes of it. Your husband certainly does have an important job. It would be very hard to be without a sewer. And your goodies look delightful!



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