Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sweet Honeycomb - but lose the honey!

My all-time yummy best-in-the-world treat has got to be the Cadbury chocolate called Crunchie. Not because of the chocolate, oh no, but because of that crunchy heavenly goodness inside. I love that stuff.

So imagine my delight when, looking for a tutorial for honeycomb tucks (a sewing technique), I discovered that the delightful Crunchie crunchiness actually IS a candy with its own name and recipes? OOOOOOOH GOOOOODY!

 There were a bunch of recipes on the web, but I searched for something relatively simple and idiot-proof. Also, ADHD proof, as if it takes too long and my attention wanders, we could have burnt pots and no candy. Finally, I selected this recipe as having only 4 ingredients and 4 steps - fairly simple, right?

Er.. sure....

Well, it was edible, at least. Not exactly Crunchie quality, but a good low-cost alternative. And minus the chocolate, which is great, because it saves me having to ask Himself to eat it off first! :)

Lessons Learned:
1. The recipe says you can use honey or golden syrup. Lose the honey. It gives a weird taste that is not as sweet or as pleasant.
2. There is no cooking time given, but I've experimented and 10-15 minutes is the minimum. I made the mistake of stopping the cooking too soon because I was concerned that the sugar was burning, but it definitely has to cook for a while. There is a smell, akin to burning, but I think it's the sugar caramelizing. Just pay attention and you should be okay.
3. SLOW cooking and LOW heat. I definitely got a better mixture when I took more time and cooked on a lower temperature. 
4. Stir the mixture slowly while you're bringing it to the boil to make sure all the sugar dissolves, but once it is actually boiling, don't stir it again until you're stirring in the baking soda.
5. On that note, don't beat in the baking soda. Stir it in real quick! If you stir too long, you'll lose all the bubbles and your honeycomb comes out flat. I lost half of my "lift" - most disappointing.

Lessons aside, it's a quick and easy sweet treat to make when you're in the mood for a nibble and, although one batch came out virtually inedible, it does seem to be relatively indestructible. 


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Our new home is gorgeous. A climate controlled apartment, dust free, with all the mod cons. More of a bachelor pad than a family home (which is fine for us.) And six floors. 

Yup. Six floors, separated by stairs averaging 8 steps each. Yes, of course I counted. Wouldn't you? My knees are killing me! And how am I going to clean this thing?

The staff compound consists of six apartments: two groups of three on either side of a swimming pool; backed by a parking lot and snuggled onto the side of a mountain. The north side is the entrance, with paved walkways leading from the small driveway and parking area to each apartment.

Them two big "eyes" on the top are floor 6, and the large "mouth" window is the kitchen. The "moustaches" are glass bricks in the kitchen, as are the "gills" on the sides of the building. I have no idea what the "goatee" is. The entrance is on ground level, which is actually the 2nd floor, invisible behind the stone flower beds.

Now, didn't I just make you look at that picture differently? Heheheheheheh

Our apartment is the one on the very right, partially hidden behind the tree on the very right. However, if I moved the camera so that you could see it, you just got a crappy photo of a yucky parking spot. Instead you get this nice, tropical view of apartments half-of-1; 2; and 3, and the swimming pool area. Apartments 4, 5, and 6 are mirror images on the left of the tree on the very left. Got it? Good.

Here is the entrance lounge, or receiving salon, also known as “wasted space”. At least, until I figure out what to do with it and drive Himself crazy with MORE furniture arranging.

Downstairs is the first floor, or “basement” as I was introduced to it, with a bathroom followed by the laundry room. Somebody decided the apartments were too small and an extension was built onto the south side of each apartment, creating an office after the laundry which Himself has designated the Man Cave. (Basement – Cave, hmmmm….) You can just see the entrance to it, down on the right under the lampshades. See? Very cave-like. Good for my Troglodyte.

Upstairs the family room takes up the whole of the 3rd floor. The aforementioned extension was continued onto this floor, making it a very long warehouse style room, with huge picture windows at the far end.

The kitchen is on the 4th floor. Small, cozy.

Translation: cramped.

Ugh. I'm going to have to fix that! There's a lot of furniture crammed in here. There must be a way to... sorry, I digress...

One entire wall of the Master bedroom is glass, containing a large sliding door to allow access onto the deck, which is the “roof” of the extension. It has fabulous views over the ocean to the southeast, and the harbor over the southwest. The deck, master bedroom and a bathroom comprise the 5th floor.

Finally, on the top floor is the boiler room, which holds the boiler (gee, really?) and a funny shelf thing which is currently stacked with half a dozen dining room chairs. Next to that is the guest bedroom, which has twin beds and access to the fire escape. Although it had better be a really big fire before I even consider trying to use it!

Rather odd little home, but cute and clean and cool. I like it here!

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Challenges

Along with our new home, new country and, therefore, new lifestyle, I've decided to add to my generally accepted levels of lunacy and take on some new challenges as well. Apart from those already discussed, such as learning to iron etc. that is.

No, no, these are FUN challenges. Mary Poppins was quite of the opinion that a little fun is part of the joys of housework. I haven't quite worked that out yet, but I'm giving myself some fun downtime challenges, for when the fun housework challenges are over. If you're looking confused, you should see my face!

Firstly, I'd like to read 100 books this year. At only 1 book every 3.65 days, that's not really such a challenge, is it?

Well, considering that Himself managed a whopping 2 books last year, and I think I did about 10, it's quite a jump! I used to read a book a day (2*..cough... years ago), but with the advent of technology, aka internet, and work, and Himself's habit of watching Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs despite it being its fifth iteration, I don't get to read that much any more. While I have the (short-lived) privilege of being unemployed, I shall try to rack up a few titles.

Next, I'm going to write reviews on the books I read, and on any low-review count Amazon pages for that book. This will have the triple benefit of raising my Amazon review scores, getting a blog post, and shutting up those annoying, nagging loveys who have been on my neck about getting back to writing. Of course, the fact that I'm writing about other people's books and not actually writing finishing my own book is not likely to quell the rumblings entirely, but it's a movement in the right direction.

According to Amazon, I've bought nearly 300 Kindle books, so I should have no difficulty achieving either goal. Well, maybe the 2nd will be a bit of a stretch. Most of the books I have are showing over 300 reviews already! ;)  Ooh ooh, wait, here's one with only 2 reviews...

...Rushes off to read the book...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

We Moved

On the insistence of my two girls/assistants/advisors/pains-in-the-ass, I would like to advise you all that we have moved.

They reckon two lines at the end of the previous post are insufficient.

...Sighs resignedly...