Monthly Archives: March 2015

Green Thumb Dag

One thing I can’t do is gardening.
My idea of gardening is to plant something every 5 years in my front garden and hope it will grow. With no water. In full sun.
Over the years, friends have given me plants. They died…The plants that is, not the friends. Although they could have committed hara kiri just looking at the results (the friends). I have killed hardy plants with too much water or a zero interest. And I refuse to “talk” to flowers or trees. Add to this my lack of affection for pets, I’m that close to be a sociopath…
BUT! I love taking pictures of flowers, trees and nature in general. I do appreciate looking at a lovely garden.
So I have decided to start a new theme for my blog, Green Thumb Dag. There will be lots of photos of gorgeous flowers, parks, trees and everything chlorophyllic.
And I may even document a revival of my front garden, just to impress overseas visitors this year!

Tuesday Lifelines

From “Løst in Tränšlatioπ” by Charlie Croker.
About swimming pools…

Hotel pool, Istanbul, Turkey:
No diving. No nakedness. No ruining.

Swimming is forbidden in the absence of the savior.

Plantation Bay resort, Philippines:
Swimming pool suggestions: Open 24 hours. Lifeguard on duty 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Drowning absolutely prohibited.

Sri Lanka:
Do not use the diving board when the swimming pool is empty.


Lamingtons are typically Australian: a cake (like a sponge), cut in squares and covered with chocolate icing and dipped in coconut.
I have wanted to try making them for ages. But it’s always hot on Australia Day and who wants to have the oven going then?
So I gave it a shot yesterday. This recipe is from The Australia Women’s Weekly “Comfort Food” cookbook. And it’s a bit different from your normal lamingtons: the base is a marble cake mix.
I have to say, I was happy with the cake itself , but the icing was a bit of a let down.
I think it’s because I’m not used to eating icing (too sweet for me), but also because I stuffed it up! A bit of a disaster story really! I melted the butter in a plastic bowl over boiling water, ended up melting the plastic bowl too… So I transferred the butter in another bowl with the rest of the ingredients, including cold milk. The end result was grainy and not special. I’m trying to flog it to my neighbours, but no bite yet…and probably even less after reading this!
I will have to try again and maybe go on a lamington quest…

125g butter, softened
1 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 ¾ cups (260g) self-raising flour
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups (160g) desiccated coconut

15g butter, chopped
4 cups (640g) icing (confectioners’) sugar
1/2 cup (50g) cocoa powder
3/4 cup (180ml) milk


    1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 23cm square cake pan; line base and sides with baking paper, extending the paper 5cm over long sides.
    2. Beat butter, sugar and extract in a small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
    3. Stir in sifted flour and milk, in two batches. Spoon half the mixture into a medium bowl; stir in sifted cocoa (leave remaining mixture plain). Spoon mixtures alternatively into pan; using skewer, gently swirl mixtures together to create a marbled effect.
    4. Bake cake about 35 minutes. Stand cake in pan 10 minutes before turning, top-side up, onto a baking-paper-covered wire rack to cool.
    5. Make chocolate icing: melt butter in medium heatproof bowl over medium saucepan of simmering water. Sift icing sugar and cocoa into melted butter; stir in milk. Stir until icing is of a coating consistency.
    6. Cut cake into 25 squares; dip each square into chocolate icing, drain off excess. Toss squares in coconut. Place lamingtons on a wire rack to set.
    7. Eat!

Tips: To keep the coconut free of chocolate drips, spread out half the coconut in a tray and coat half the lamingtons before using the remaining coconut for the remaining lamingtons. This gives the lamingtons a clean look. Lamingtons can be frozen for up to 3 months.

My advice is to use a giant non-plastic bowl so all the ingredients will fit in (there is a huge amount of icing sugar) and keep the icing warm over simmering water. Or melt the butter, add to the dry ingredients and add boiling milk (or water like I have seen since in other recipes). Or better still, make a ganache (melt cream, add dark chocolate) for extra taste and flavour.