Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Sherlock by Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and Jay

Mark Gatiss
Steven Moffat

An adaptation of the BBC re-imagining of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series, Sherlock, which aired in 2010 (season 1) and 2012 (season 2), with season 3 currently in the works.

Alternative names
シャーロック ピンク色の研究
神探夏洛克 粉色的研究
Sherlock - A study in pink
SHERLOCK ピンク色の研究
(more coming for Blind Watchmaker)



Manga reader sites
Manga Reader, Manga Fox 

Rosy's scrawlings on Sherlock
I ran across this manga by chance as I'd missed all the advertising for it (my head has been securely buried in the teach-my-kid-to-crawl-downstairs-backwards-so-he-doesn't-fall stage of life and all the stages before it). Curious, I started reading and found it to be an almost exact replica of the tv shows currently starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. There are a few oddities though, that might interest you to go and read it instead of re-watching the shows whenever you need a bit more Sherlock in your life (these things happen, I know. Its all right.). Mostly these take the form of Watson's thoughts and the drawings of emotional reactions being a little more of a manga style than a pure replication of the show's characters. There's the old 'budump' for the heavy heart beat and the shaded top of the face for crestfallen or shocked and such like. This adds a little more life to the already fast-paced and bubbling show and I couldn't help but want a little more again. Actually, I've been left wondering what a full conversion with alterations to the stories would be like. I can only start imagining the likes of strange Black Butler relationships mixed bubbly almost-but-too-shy-to-go-there yaoi: all flashing coats and strange crimes and forbidden love. A full mangarisation of Sherlock would definitely be fun to read. But I digress...
I assume you are all pretty familiar with the tv show Sherlock so I won't bother going into storyline and plot. The lines are pretty much word for word and the action spot on, down to most of the facial expressions. The artist Jay has done a fantastic job reproducing the show by hand. The panels exclude unnecessary backgrounds, which are replaced with shading for mood, focus largely on the people and have an appropriate level of grittiness. But what I personally love are Benedict's more exaggerated expressions are priceless. 

See? Brilliant. Just, brilliant. Its worth reading just for the funny expressions alone.

I'd recommend this manga to: anyone who likes the tv show Sherlock or anyone who'd prefer to read rather than watch it.

Notes on manga reader sites
The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Book Recommendation: Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar

Lonely Werewolf Girl
Martin Millar

As teenage werewolf Kalix MacRinnalch is pursued through the streets of London by murderous hunters, her sister, the Werewolf Enchantress, is busy designing clothes for the Fire Queen. Meanwhile, in the Scottish Highlands, the MacRinnalch Clan is plotting and feuding after the head of the clan suddenly dies intestate.
As the court intrigue threatens to explode in all-out civil war, the competing factions determine that Kalix is the swing vote necessary to assume leadership of the clan. Unfortunately, Kalix isn't really into clan politics - laudanum s more her thing. But what s even more unfortunate is that Kalix is the reason the head of the clan ended up dead, which is why she s now on the run in London...



Rosy's scrawlings on Lonely Werewolf Girl
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book as so many werewolf stories portray a male lead or at least a male werewolf (or male only werewolves). There have been some stories I've read with female werewolves but they are usually either outnumbered or not the lead. So here's one of the few stories I have run across that lets me explore the world of a female werewolf and I have to say I'm not at all disappointed with the find. Not only are there more than one female werewolves, all leads, but they are powerful, possess hobbies, talents and careers. They also have clear motivations that are quite political within the werewolf world and (in some ways best of all, as it is such an easy trap to fall into) their romantic lives are absolutely abysmal in a rather realistic way (minus the random deaths, power plays and family troubles - well, some of the family troubles, anyway). This I found interesting as rough and mostly unsuccessful relationships are a rarer read.
Lonely Werewolf Girl follows the two sisters, two brothers and a female cousin of the predominant werewolf family of Scotland, all of whom are now acting out a succession battle in London. The elder brother wishes to take over the Thane position (the ruler of the family and other werewolves) and goes about his campaign in the traditional manner expected of him. He is as traditional as any of the werewolves, except the dead Thane who was his father. Otherwise, his competition is his beautiful brother who is more into the arts and cross dresses in secret (some of his girl-friends know and accept but he's reluctant to let the wider werewolf community know. Wielding all the power in the decision making are some of the most unruly and interesting werewolves of the entire clan, including the fashion designer and

sorceress werewolf Thrix, the coolly intellectual Dominil and Kalix, the most battle-crazed of them all who also cuts herself, is addicting to laudanum and struggles to get along with anyone at all. Supporting them is the Queen of the fire elementals and fashionista extraordinaire Malveria, her almost adopted, overexcited and anti-fashion niece and the pair of humans who've decided to drag Kalix in from the cold and look after her whether she wants to be or not. The characters are really interesting to follow and the politics, while slow paced at times, is rather violent at others. Far more is within the story than is given away by the blurb and in fact I pity the person trying to sum up the story so succinctly.
The writing of Lonely Werewolf Girl is steady and attentive to detail. There's much included and many points of view covered, making the story both long and full of inter-character intrigue. The length of the book is one that would make you pause given that the topic is werewolves, as most that touch on them are shorter for lack of an original storyline or for the werewolf aspect being secondary to, say, romance or quick bloody horror. But trust me when I say that it isn't a book with a lot of waffling filler and the length of the story is rather appropriate to the subject. Lonely Werewolf Girl is not at all what I would have guessed and will probably surprise you still, even after reading this.

I'd recommend this book to: anyone who likes werewolf stories, quirky characters, political intrigue, large-scale battles and complex stories. This book would appeal to male and female readers alike, as long as they like out-of-the-box thinking.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Allergy free chunky or creamy celery soup recipe

  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1L hot chicken stock made from a vegetarian chicken Massel ultracube
  • Approx. ½ cup lactose free milk
  • Pepper, to taste

  • Heat the olive oil in a saucepan.
  • Saute the garlic, onion and celery over a low heat for five minutes until softened.
  • Pour in the chicken stock and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
  • Either transfer the soup to a blender and liquidize or leave chunky.
  • Just before serving, pour a dash of milk into each bowl and stir through.
  • Season to taste with pepper.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Allergy free maple pumpkin hot cross scones recipe

  • ½ butternut pumpkin, peeled, boiled and mashed
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 cups Orgran self-raising flour
  • ⅓ cup Orgran gluten free gluten
  • 125g Nuttlex, melted
Cross mixture
  • 2 tsps Orgran plain flour
  • 2 tsps caster sugar
  • 3-4 tbsps water
Glaze mixture (optional)
  • 3 tbsps maple syrup
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar

  • In a large bowl, combine the mashed pumpkin, maple syrup and vanilla essence.
  • Stir through the melted Nuttlex.
  • Fold through the flour and gluten free gluten.
  • Gently mix into dough, using your hands.
  • Hand roll handfuls of dough to make the scones.
  • Place them on a foiled and greased baking tray.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the plain four and sugar with water until smooth.
  • Spoon into a zip-lock back and cut off a corner.
  • Squeeze out flour mixture to create the crosses.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 210°C for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through (cook time may vary according to how big you rolled the scones).
  • To make the glaze, whisk the maple syrup and confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl until combined. Drizzle over the scones. Allow to set then serve.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Rosy's scrawled book recommendation: The Business Of Death by Trent Jamieson

The Business Of Death: The Death Works Trilogy
Trent Jamieson

Death Most Definite
Managing Death
The Business Of Death

(of the first book only so there are no spoilers)
Steven de Selby has a hangover. Bright lights, loud noise, and lots of exercise are the last thing he wants. But that's exactly what he gets when someone starts shooting at him.
Steven is no stranger to death-Mr. D's his boss after all-but when a dead girl saves him from sharing her fate, he finds himself on the wrong end of the barrel. His job is to guide the restless dead to the underworld but now his clients are his own colleagues, friends, and family.
Mr. D's gone missing and with no one in charge, the dead start to rise, the living are hunted, and the whole city teeters on the brink of a regional apocalypse-unless Steven can shake his hangover, not fall for the dead girl, and find out what happened to his boss- that is, Death himself.



Rosy's scrawlings on The Business Of Death: The Death Works Trilogy
This series is quite addictive (of note, this trilogy now has a 4th book). The first book is a little rough at times but as the author's first book it reads very well. The ones that follow are only more skilled and I suspect The Memory Of Death, which I haven't yet got my hands on, will be a great follow up. The Death Works Trilogy begins with a shooting in the middle of Brisbane city and descends into chaos and carnage from there. There are two rather unusual things about this. One is that the setting is Brisbane, Australia for a fantasy horror story (Australia isn't the first pick usually for being so sunny and open and lacking in an abundance of haunted houses). The other is that there's a shooting as those have become rather a lot rarer in Australia. So, right from the outset there's enough to have me, an Aussie, interested in seeing how it will all turn out. And this particular read turned out to be fun.
This trilogy is about Steven's rise within the industry of Death, starting from lazy and head in the sand Grim Reaper. Steven is an odd hero, neither the anti-hero or the proactive hero we're used to. He's a man who'd rather live with his feet up than act but yet is propelled by circumstance to get his veritable shit together and fight the good fight. Which he does, after his other options are cut off. Still, he remains a simple character without much ambition other than to protect those he cares about and do what he must to survive. Unfortunately for him, what he must do is rather demanding of him. Along the way he finds the love of his life, which only adds to his troubles as she's rather out of his grasp to begin with and in danger as much as he (if not more so).
The writing of this trilogy starts out good, a little rough at times but nothing to break the flow, and gets better as the author gains experience and confidence. Just as the plot becomes established and increasingly complex, the writing settles in style. I found the first book the sparsest for detail and character but the subsequent ones fully realised. That said, the story is addictive from the very beginning and a lot of fun to read. 

I'd recommend this series to: those who like stories of a personified Death, grim reapers, apocalypses, ghosts and zombies. I'd also suggest it to those used to their stories being based in America or England as it makes a refreshing change.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler) by Yana Toboso

Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)
Yana Toboso

To what extent must a housekeeper do things to be acceptable? One of the noble families of England: Phantomhive's butler: Sebastian Michaels has got unquestionably perfect knowledge, manners, talent with materials, martial arts, et cetera: but is also able to serve a 12 year old master. Wearing a grey tailcoat, gracefully brewing the worlds strongest red tea, please read on to see how such a perfect butler copes with such a master...

Alternative names

Black Butler
Dark Butler
Kuro Shitsuji



Manga reader sites

Manga Reader, Manga Fox, Kuroshitsuji Manga

Rosy's scrawlings on Kuroshitsuji

I watched the anime for this manga a year or so ago and recently decided it was time for a revisit. This time though, I chose to read the manga from the beginning. As far as I can tell there are some differences but not enough to distort the characters or general plot. Now, for the sake of my brain, I'm going to call this story Black Butler as that's how I'd remembered it. Black Butler is one of those mangas that draws on cuteness, style and horror. The blend is always interesting as while style and horror have become part of what most consider classic horror, the cuteness is almost never present. In Black Butler, both Ceil and Sebastian have their cute sides (mainly in looks but sometimes attitudes) and their harsh and murderous sides (Sebastian only slightly more so that Ceil but he's mostly kept in check). The result is that Black Butler isn't quite all horror as the comedic and the cutesy make their appearance in every episode. In this way, Black Butler really is what you'd expect from a manga and delightfully so even though there's a hint of the horror losing too much its edge at times. To be honest, I can't wait for the build up to finally reach a point where both Sebastian and Ceil go just plain vicious.
As with most mangas led by two males, especially with one rather cute one, there's a hint of yoai but nothing much happens except that you begin to suspect Sebastian might actually sot of like Ceil as a person rather than look at him as an interesting project/alien being/annoying brat/tasty meal (and I mean that in the I'm going to consume your soul sense even though at times it reads a little different in the manga). The dynamics between the two leads is what propels the story forward as although Ceil and Sebastian continually delve into the underworld of the British Empire (but mainly London-based horrors) these adventures ultimately serve to distort and corrupt Ceils soul all the more, making it a tastier treat for Sebastian when Ceil finally dies. The adventures though, are quite fun as they include techy versions of zombies, witches and werewolves as well as drug lords, Jack The Ripper, grim reapers, devils, an Indian prince, school rules and murders, circus kids with strange powers and satanic rituals. Not to mention the odd cooking competition, as one expects from any manga or anime story involving someone who's duties include cooking.
The art of Black Butler is neat and accents eyes and the roundness of faces. Occasionally the less featured characters appear sketchy or if fast action is required on their part they appear blurred. But mostly the drawing is highly detailed, darkened for horror or lightened for comedy. Sebastian is always a figure of class and sophistication, even while bloodied and demonic while Ceil is always endearing in his harsh cuteness even while mad and calling for other peoples' deaths. But most important all, Sebastian is always dressed in black.

I'd recommend this manga to: Anyone aged teens and up who likes a bit of silly horror, the classic horror characters, cutesy manga and yaoi.

Notes on manga reader sites

The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Rosy's scrawled book recommendation: The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Princess Bride
William Goldman

Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts - who never leaves survivors - her heart is broken. But her charms draw the attention of the relentless Prince Humperdinck who wants a wife and will go to any lengths to have Buttercup. So starts a fairytale like no other, of fencing, fighting, torture, poison, true love, hate, revenge, giants, hunters, bad men, good men, beautifulest ladies, snakes, spiders, beasts, chases, escapes, lies, truths, passion and miracles.

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


Rosy's scrawlings on The Princess Bride
This book was mostly read during a variety of midnight and 3am bub feeding runs, with the occasionally read to bub on the front porch thrown in for variety. Once upon a time I watched the movie The Princess Bride and liked the helter-skelter feel of it well enough. From it I got the feeling it was less about the bride than the pirate and the chase and all that. I was vaguely keen on collecting the movie now as something for my bub to grow up with but now I've completely changed my mind and have done so with great certainty and enthusiasm. Nope, what he should grow up with is the book The Princess Bride. It is, by far and away, the better artwork of the two. In this case, the book is way better than the movie.
The book started in a way I wasn't expecting, delving into the narrators life and explaining how he'd come by the fantastic tale of the Princess Bride Buttercup. This story encompasses how he first encountered the tale, his motivations in finding it again and also why he chose to rework it. This story is almost completely lost behind the tale of the Princess Bride in both the movie and the book blurbs and pretty much any advertising for the book, but the story does take up a fair amount of the book and does explain some jumps and skips in Buttercup's tale. I think it is rather important for setting the mood and building suspense so don't skip through it, even if you feel tempted.
The tale of adventure woven through the book is one far more focused on Buttercup than the movie portrays, making the title appropriate rather than one that highlights her fought over status only. The tale of adventure is one of Buttercup's love and loss, kidnapping, the re-discovery of her love, their foiled escape, her wait, marriage and escape. In between, we occasionally read of her love's plight and the machinations of the royals. Buttercup is central to the story, as is her character. Where the movie centralises on her beauty and nothing much else, you find Buttercup of the book to be a far different creature. She's wilful and a little dim on the romantic side of things. She's also very stubborn, faces down death and a Prince/King, not at all afraid of adventure and rather practical. In short, she's a great character to read of and view the fantastic world through.
The writing of The Princess Bride is very much like that of a child hyped up on Coca Cola and chocolate. There's many an aside, scattered thought process and the sentences jump about like jumping beans. Instead of making the book impossible to read though, it becomes a blast that can be appreciated for its high energy and exuberance. Even the sections you'd normally consider to be boring on unimportant, mostly to be found in the narrator's tale, become extremely amusing as you read his of thoughts on his fat son, the actress tempting him, those answering the phones and finally Stephen King. The language is over the top to match the energy but for a lengthier read you'll be surprised how quickly you whisk through it.

I'd recommend this book to: those who loved the movie The Princess Bride, who read high fantasy or historical fantasy, as well as those who like pirate stories, romance, stories within stories and fantasy/reality blends.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Allergy free Jamaican sweet potato and coconut pudding recipe

Mine will look different to yours as I used a bundt pan, sprinkled the topping over the cake after baking and put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes to toast the top. Just for fun.

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsps rum
  • 1 cup Orgran self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 500g large sweet potato, peeled, cooked
  • 5 tsps Orgran No Egg whisked with 240ms water until thick
  • 400mls coconut milk
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsps lactose free butter or Nuttlex, melted
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsps brown sugar
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Grease a cake pan with Nuttlex.
  • Toss the raisins and rum in a small bowl and then set the bowl aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, nutmeg and salt.
  • Mash the sweet potato in a separate large bowl.
  • Add the No Egg mixture and stir until combined.
  • Add the coconut milk, brown sugar and butter or Nuttlex and stir until combined.
  • Stir in the flour mixture until evenly combined.
  • Stir in the raisins and any remaining rum.
  • Spoon the batter in the prepared cake pan and level the top.
  • Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Sprinkle the topping over the cake.
  • Bake the cake for 75 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Let the pudding cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it.
  • Let cool at room temperature for 1 hour, then refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rosy's scrawled book recommendation: Chomped by Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen

Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he's grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, and snappers in his backyard. The critters, he can handle. His father is the unpredictable one.
When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called Expedition Survival!, Wahoo figures he'll have to do a bit of wrangling himself—to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show's inept and egotistical star, before the shoot is over. But the job keeps getting more complicated. Derek Badger foolishly believes his own PR and insists on using wild animals for his stunts. And Wahoo's acquired a shadow named Tuna—a girl who's sporting a shiner courtesy of her father and needs a place to hide out.
They've only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then Tuna's dad shows up with a gun . . .
It's anyone's guess who will actually survive Expedition Survival. . .

Knopf Books for Young Readers


Rosy's scrawlings on Chomped
Now here's where I have failed. I have other books by Carl Hiaasen stashed and ready for reading but they've somehow sunk beyond sight into the void at the back of my double stack and top stacked and layered bookshelf (one of them anyway - yes, I need more and I'm hoping one day to create a home library of sorts but the odds of that happening...). So I saw this book for sale recently, recognised the author's name and bought it for the unusual blurb. This one I did manage to read fairly immediately as it was just there and I didn't need to search for a prequel or sequel or behind, on top or under other books. And my hunch about Carl Hiaasen's writing proved correct. He writes a zinger of a book.
Chomped is a young adults book but mostly in lieu of the humour, the more serious issues addressed and the age of Wahoo and Tuna, the two protagonists. Wahoo is a happy go lucky sort of a lot of experience with animals and determined father's whose main friends include Alice the alligator and his mother. Wahoo seems to have a time of it handling his harebrained father and making sure he acts in the family's best interests and pulls them all out of debt but his issues, which tend to lead to humorous situations more than anything, pale in comparison to those of Tuna who's alcoholic gun-toting dad has decided to hunt her down, gun blazing. Tuna, for her part, is a studious girl who works hard to remember all the scientific names for the flora and fauna she sees as a method of mentally escaping the scary life she's leading. Wahoo and Tuna take the helm of the story and their lives as they are increasingly placed at risk by a cast  of out-of-control characters like Link the ex-abused son now grown up criminal and fraudster, Derek Badger the fake survivalist and spoilt TV star, Tuna's abusive father Jared Gordon and Derek's manager, servant, carer, 'mother' and general dogs-body Raven Stark. No-one has their life in order so in the chaos that surrounds them Wahoo and Tuna are spot of true survivalist sanity.
The writing style of Chomped is light and easy to read, both aloud and silently, despite the heavy issues included and the odd naming of characters. The main writing element that makes this book young adult is that there aren't too many overly-complicated words. I don't mean to say that there aren't such references as the scientific names for things or explanations of how these names are constructed but that you won't be running to the dictionary as everything is spelt out or of a level a high-schooler of any age should understand rather well. Chomped definitely doesn't read as dumbed down. In fact, I'd have to say that this is a well written book suitable for a wide audience but the marketing and cover targets it to young adults more than the writing.

I'd recommend this book to: both boys and girls, those who enjoy reading books with believable youths as protagonists, readers wanting more depth to their teen fiction than obsessive teen romance, and those looking for a fun and quirky romp of a story.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Allergy free honey chai pumpkin pie recipe

  • 1 cup Orgran all purpose flour
  • ½ cup Orgran self-raising flour
  • ½ cup cornflour
  • ⅓ cup Orgran gluten free gluten
  • 125g Nuttlex
  • 2 tbsps caster sugar (optional)
  • 1 tsp Orgran No Egg whisked with 40mls water until thick
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • Pumpkin, cooked (approx. ½ a large pumpkin, 1 medium, 1 ½ small)
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1 star anise, ground
  • 1 cup lactose free cow’s milk or goat’s milk or, for a treat, lactose free cream
  • 6 tsp Orgran No Egg whisked with 120mls water until frothy and firm

  • Peel, seed, and dice pumpkin to fairly uniform sized pieces.
  • Bring the pumpkin to boil in a large pot and simmer until cooked through (soft).
  • Drain the pumpkin and then replace into large pot.
  • Allow pumpkin to cool while you make the pastry.
  • Grease your pie dish.
  • Combine the pastry flours, gluten free gluten, Nuttlex and ¼ cup sugar in a large bowl and rub the Nuttlex through until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add the No egg mixture and ¼ cup cold water.
  • Combine until the pastry just comes together.
  • Roll and press the pastry together until smooth.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.
  • Place remaining pastry between 2 sheets of cling wrap or baking paper.
  • Roll out until large enough to fit the pie dish.
  • Peel away one piece of cling wrap, flip the pastry into the pie dish, shape and cut away any excess.
  • Set aside to rest.
  • Mash or puree the pumpkin until smooth.
  • Add the honey and spices, mixing until smooth.
  • Slowly and carefully fold the Orgran No Egg mixture into the pumpkin mix until evenly combined. Do not over stir, you want lots of tiny bubbles to remain in the mixture.
  • Pour the pumpkin mix into the pastry, level with a spoon if necessary.
  • Cook until the top begins to crack: approximately ¾ hour-1 hour at 180°C.
  • The spice level in this pie is moderate so if you like a strong chai, add half again of the ingredients.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Laser disc clock

My latest project: A laser disc clock.

The hubby, see Explosive Action, has a huge movie collection that includes some odd and rare laser discs. One of which got cracked for one reason or another. On a whim he decided he wanted it made into a clock but he really has no idea how to do such a thing so he handed it onto me. So, with a spare piece of masonite from the blackboard project, I made a circular backing board, painted it black, cut out a section for the mechanism to sit in as the clock was too thick to just whack it on the back and fix the hands in place, created a hanger to balance the mechanism, glued and nailed it all together, got the mechanism running and polished it up. Here's the finished project. It was a bit fiddly in parts and I have to admit to using the sink as a stand and dust catcher while drilling because the hubby's movie collection has taken over the garage, including my work bench. Half a dozen random objects also had to be moved out of the way to reach my drill bits too... Hmm... Can you tell I miss having a workshop? Oh well, this was fun to make. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Allergy free creamy mixed berry ice cream recipe

  • 300-500g berries, fresh or frozen, to taste
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 250mls lactose free milk
  • ¼-½ cup sugar, to taste (optional)
  • 2 tsps guar gum
  • 2 tbsps glucose syrup, warmed over hot water
  • 500mls lactose free cream, chilled

  • Put the berries, vanilla, sugar, guar gum and milk into a food processor and mix for 40-50 seconds until smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into a pan and stir in the cream and glucose syrup.
  • Open the ice cream machine and pour in mixture.
  • Turn on the machine and allow it to stir until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Spoon the ice cream from the machine into an air tight container and freeze.
  • If you don’t have a machine, blend until smooth and freeze. While freezing whip the mixture every hour to break up any large crystals until the mixture is nearly frozen through. Then leave to freeze completely.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Allergy free brandy, fruit and chocolate Christmas pudding recipe (baked like a cake)

This is a very large heavy pudding cake so if you don't think you'd be able to eat so much halve the ingredients below. Alternatively, use the previous pudding cake recipe for one the size of your average bundt cake.

  • 375g sultanas
  • 375g raisins, chopped
  • 300g currants
  • 50g prunes, chopped
  • 100g dried figs, chopped
  • 50g dried apricots, chopped
  • 50g glace cherries, chopped
  • 250ml brandy
  • 250g Nuttlex or lactose free butter, chopped
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange marmalade
  • ½ cup cooked apple
  • 2 tsps No Egg, whisked with 60mls water until thick
  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped and melted
  • 2 cups Orgran plain flour
  • 1 cup Orgran self-raising flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder, extra

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C fan forced.
  • Grease and line a large cake pan with Nuttlex or olive oil spray and grease proof paper.
  • Combine the sultanas, raisins, currants, prunes, figs, apricot and cherries in a large ceramic bowl.
  • Pour over the brandy.
  • Cover with cling wrap and set the fruit aside overnight, stirring occasionally. If you’re making the pudding in a rush then set it aside for an hour at least.
  • Use an electric mixer to beat the Nuttlex or lactose free butter, sugar and marmalade in large bowl until pale and creamy.
  • Add the No Egg mixture, beating well to combine.
  • Add the apple and beat until blended.
  • Add the fruit mixture and stir until just combined.
  • Add the melted chocolate, flours and cocoa and stir until combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into the bundt pan and use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface.
  • Decorate with glace cherries or nuts as desired.
  • Cook for 110-120 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the pudding comes out clean.
  • Remove the pudding from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Set the pudding on a plate.
  • While still hot, drizzle extra brandy over the top of the pudding.
  • Cover with aluminium foil and allow to cool completely.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Allergy free gingerbread biscuits recipe

  • 1¾ cups Orgran plain flour
  • ¼ cup Orgran gluten free gluten
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarb soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • 1½ tsps ground ginger
  • ⅛ tsp allspice
  • 2 tsps Orgran No Egg whisked with 80mls water until thick, or 1 large egg (if possible)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsps molasses
  • 2 tbsps maple syrup
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1½ - 2 tbsps lactose free milk or water
  • 3 drops vanilla essence

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Line two baking trays with grease-proof paper or aluminium foil.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and allspice.
  • In a separate bowl, blend the No Egg mixture or egg, sugar, molasses and maple syrup, beating until creamy.
  • Add the dry mixture about bit at a time, beating gently until just blended.
  • Using a rubber spatula, continue stirring until the dough comes together and separates cleanly from the inside of the mixing bowl.
  • Squeeze and press the dough until firm and smoothly textured and stop immediately once the dough is smooth. Do not knead as there is no real gluten.
  • Place the dough on a single sheet or cling wrap.
  • Roll out the dough until it is about a ½cm thick, keeping the rolling pin as clean as possible throughout to prevent the dough from sticking (a marble rolling pin is best).
  • Once rolled, use cookie cutters to cut the dough into shapes.
  • Space the cookies at least 2cms or so apart on the baking trays.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them cool on the pan for 5 minutes.
  • In a bowl, mix the sugar with the milk or water, adding a bit at a time, until very smooth. Stop adding milk once the desired consistency is achieved (soft enough to pipe).
  • Decorate the cookies by piping using icing piping equipment or a plastic bag with a corner snipped off.
  • Allow the icing to dry on the cookies before serving.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Rosy's scrawled book recommendation: If Only They Could Talk by James Herriot

If Only They Could Talk
James Herriot

Fresh out of Veterinary College, and shoulder-deep in an uncooperative cow, James Herriot's first job is not panning out exactly as expected ...To a Glaswegian like James, 1930s Yorkshire appears to offer an idyllic pocket of rural life in a rapidly changing world. But even life in the sleepy village of Darrowby has its challenges. On the one hand there are his new colleagues, Siegfried and Tristan Farnon, two brothers who attract a constant stream of local girls to whom James is strangely invisible. On the other he must contend with herds of semi-feral cattle, gruff farmers with incomprehensible accents and an overweight Pekingese called Tricki Woo...

Pan Books Ltd


Rosy's scrawlings on If Only They Could Talk
This book is the first of the series of James Herriot books that was later converted into the TV show All Things Bright And Beautiful. Whether or not you've seen the show you'll be familiar with the tune at least. The books and show were so popular they've entered our culture much like Dr Doolittle, another veterinary tale. Like many recent great stories that haven't hit the cannon list yet the books seem to have dropped from the popular reading list all while becoming a bit of or shared consciousness. This is quite a shame as If Only They Could Talk is not only an interesting read for all the veterinary information but also for its odd structure. It is also full of quirky and comedic situations and shines a light on the life of a rural vet.
If Only They Could Talk is the story of a year in the life of a newly graduated rural vet at a time when cars have just taken over from horses as the main mode of transportation. James is employed rather quickly by a vet named Siegfried Farnon in a little village made up mostly of farms and a pub or two, as far as I can tell. His employer is extremely odd, rather charismatic and has the memory of a fish. He also has a brother who's as lazy as they come but he puts so much effort into being lazy that his aptitude for intellectual activities is proven. From here the cast of quirky characters, including an overly fat and joyous Pekingese, expands. These characters, whether farm owners, high society ladies or pub guests are the centre of a very long series of short stories that reveal the life of James Herriot the vet's assistant. Each little story is only a few pages long, woven together with the next to create a meandering tale without real aim that seems to mirror the country in which James practices.
The writing style is a little jagged at times and there's many a veterinary term and medical condition included that can make you squeamish. There's also one reference to a gay man in very out dated and offensive terms but this doesn't seem to come from any ingrained reaction in the writer. Otherwise, the story rolls along like the hills, gently taking you into places and situations you're never likely to be in nowadays, unless you're a farmer. Veterinary science and practice has come a long, long way, as has farming, mortuary and abattoir work. Reading of how it once was is extremely interesting as there aren't that many sources readily available for looking into this past lifestyle.

I'd recommend this book to: Animal lovers, vets and those interested in becoming a vet, historical and comedy novel enthusiasts. I'd also recommend this book to anyone except those a little too young to read about more realistic animal birth scenes.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My blackboard making project: not fiction or food but definitely for fun

Today's project was an odd one. I took an old and very beaten up frame that had no straight pieces to it and two broken corners, glued, nailed and cleaned it until it was reasonably respectable. Then I cut up a piece of masonite, sanded it back and gave it two coats of blackboard paint. I had to fix the masonite into the frame rather permanently in order to make the frame's parts straight. Then I attached loops on all four sides so that it can be hung however it is needed (kids don't consider upsidedown and rightsideup in the beginning). This is my space saver blackboard. Draw on it and hang after.

Now for the clock... I have to wait for the mechanism before I can really work on it.