Look - My Friend's on YouTube

The hoops are steel, wrapped in tape.

Bit of trivia: the studios in the video are the ones I dance in.

Latin Time

We took a taxi to meet some friends for dinner.

We're American, so we made 8:30 p.m. reservations.
Nobody in Buenos Aires eats that early except Americans.

The restaurants open for dinner around 8-9 p.m.

Ah, look over there, we're not alone anymore.

At the end of dinner, we had this delish and pretty passionfruit mousse.
By the time we left, the place was packed. Should've gotten a pic, sorry!

Puff Pastry!!

Puff Pastry! Sausage Rolls!!!

Hey Everyone!! This weekend I made Sausage rolls...

It is a fairly lengthy process..but well worth the effort when done properly.  I started with my home made extra lean sausage meat..and I made puff Pastry. Now, Puff Pastry is a very simple process..but it takes Patience and MUSCLE...so before you get all excited..make SURE you have a GOOD SOLID rolling pin..OK?

Start by setting aside 3 pounds of FRESH   never FROZEN sausage meat in fridge. ( Home made is the best.. store bought has to high a fat content...I have blogged my lean sausage meat recipe)

Ingrediants for Puff Pastry:

1 LB unsalted..or half salt, CHILLED BUTTER...( In brick form..not whipped)
1 tsp salt
1 TBS lemon juice or white vinegar
4 cups All Purpose Flour
1& 1/3 cup water ( As cold as it can be without being frozen)

In a bowl mix sifted flour and salt pour lemon juice in water...making a well in the flour start mixing in the water and lemon juice mixture...you are going to mix and knead this basic dough until it is SMOOTH and firm...Using your hands roll into a log and mark into six equal sections..

Then cut into 6 equal portions...
Then do the same with the butter.

Believe me when I say..dividing it into 6 portions makes it MUCH easier to work..And WORK you WILL!!
Now comes the muscle part...
Using the rolling pin, roll out one portion of the dough..roll it out enough that it can enfold a portion of butter.

Wrap the dough around the butter...

Now PLEASE follow these instructions carefully..the next step may be easier if the butter was softer,,BUT..you will not get proper puff pstry with soft butter...I used to work at a bakery that used something called " hard fat" instead of butter..it looked like yellow tinted hard vaseline...When I asked why did they not use Butter, (as I assumed that ALL puff pastry was made with butter..) I was told that butter would not stay hard enough to we worked properly...After leaving the bakery..I set out to debunk that bit of miguided information...and so I have...
Gently but FIRMLY roll out the dough..This will be a trial and error process for you..all I can say is..you DON'T want the butter breaking THROUGH the dough...

This is about the size you want it to be...you can see the butter colour THROUGH the dough..but it IS covered...(Sorry about the darkness of the shot..(
Now you fold the dough in what is called a pocket book fold.

Do this to all six portions..When each portion has been folded..gently wrap in waxed paper and chill in fridge FOR AT LEAST ONE HOUR!! This is very important...the butter has to REFIRM..it will have softened somewhat during the working. I suggest wrapping them indiviually so they chill quicker.
THis is the patience part...Once the folded dough has chilled for the minimum of one hour..you take it out of the fridge...leaving the dough folded..you gently but firmly roll it out again! This process needs to be repeated until it has been folded and rolled out FOUR TIMES...with an hour chill in between each rolling. There are NO SHORTCUTS...What this proccess does...is with each fold and roll out..you are layering the butter in BETWEEN the layers of dough...and when you bake it..the butter melts and leaves hollows between the dough..making the pastry puff up and flake...done properly it is to DIE FOR!!
Once You have rolled it out for the final time..you will find your dough is in perfect sized sections for making the sausage rolls.

Take your sausage meat from the fridge...flatten it out on a piece of butcher paper or waxed paper..to about 3/4 of an inch thick.

Have a small bowl of cold water and a basting brush ready..the with a knife..cut a 3/4 inch strip from the edge of the meat patty.

Carefully lay the strip of sausage meat on your prepared strip of puff pastry.

Bringing the meat to the edge of the pastry..gently roll the pastry around the meat..leaving a flap of about a half inch..Then dipping the basting brush in the water..paint the edge with a bit of water..

This helps to seal the edge..roll closed.

Cut into two inch sections.

Now place them seam side down on a parchment covered cookie sheet..bake at 360 DF . Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden and puffed.  The rest can be placed seam side down in a sealable container and frozen.  When cooking frozen..do not thaw..but place on the cookie sheet frozen and bake right away. This recipe Make approx 60-70 sausage rolls!!
True these are alot of work..Enough that I only make them for special occaisions..BUT..well worth the effort!! The ooooos and ahhhhhs you will recieve when presenting this to company at a Christmas party..or just your hubby not being able to wait for them to cool..

Makes it All WORTH WHILE!!
 Please leave your comments and ideas at the bottom of the article..you need not have a web ID...just put it under ANONYMOUS!!

Merry Christmas!!

Extra Lean Pork Sausage Meat

Extra Lean Pork Sausage Meat

Extra lean ground FRESH pork was on sale this week!!! I Use this recipe in my sausage rolls...It has been revised from my earlier recipe which has ground turkey in it..This is VERY lean..lean enough that you can substitute ground poultry if you wish.


10 pounds EXTRA lean ground FRESH (never Frozen) pork
A 2 lb bag of onions..peeled minced fine and lightly sauteed ( set aside to cool)
3 TBS Ground black pepper
5 TBS Sea Salt
6 TBS Ground Sage
6 TBS Parsley

Combine all ingredients and a BIG bowl ..be sure hands are clinically clean...and get them in there and mix it up..MIX WELL...you don't want pockets of spice..you want it evenly blended and the best way is to dig in with your hands!!
Divide into one pound packets wrap and freeze...If you are making sauasage rolls...set aside 3 pounds wrapped in the FRidge...the sausage meat must NOT be frozen ontil AFTER its in the rolls...Pork CANNOT be frozen..thawed then refrozen. So the sausage meat must be fresh made for making sausage rolls!

Impromptu Armchair

When you're one of a family of eight it can sometimes be hard to find a seat when your favourite TV show is on. Possum likes laying on the floor like this but Teddy prefers to sit on something. So when the sofa is already occupied to full capacity why not sit on your big sister's nice comfy tush?But sister-seats take some getting used to, apparently, as they can be a bit wobbly or parts of them can unexpectedly collapse.You have to master the correct technique or you may find yourself flat on your back, laying in a leg trap.
You have to get the balance just right, and make sure those smelly sister feet are in the correct position.....
.... yes, you want them supporting your back, just like this. (I'm not sure if Teddy is stroking Possum's hair in this photo, or threatening to pull the ponytail out by it's roots if Possum bucked her off.)
Once they both got comfortable they stayed like that for quite a while and watched the TV show which, by the way, I can't even remember what it was. Watching children interact and trying to sneak photos of them is more interesting than TV anyway.

Coffee Roasting Possum

During the spring school holidays we stayed at Nano and Grandpap's house for a week. One afternoon Aunty J asked Possum if she wanted to help out at the Ethica Coffee warehouse. Possum was happy to escape the mayhem of Half-dozen family life help and this is how we found her a few hours later - getting ready to release the beans from the roasting oven.First she had to wait until the oven hit the right temperature (Uncle M had explained it to her very carefully). Four little sisters and Aunty J waited for the coffee to be released - those big bags of coffee beans make a comfy seat.
Finally it's time to let the perfectly roasted beans out of the oven.
Mousie and Aunty J keep an eye on the cooling tray. It was rather mesmerising to see the mixing arm go round and round, turning the beans over and cooling them down.
Then the beans have to be taken to the sorting room. Let out just a few first .....
.... then let them all flow out into the stainless steel bucket.
Tip them out onto the bench to cool completely, and then do some quality control (Occasionally a bean gets over-roasted and has to be removed.)
Smile Aunty L and Possum!! Now get back to work .... Mum-me wants some of that coffee.
This is my favourite coffee and I find it tastes best percolated for the smoothest texture, but it's also great brewed in a plunger or drip filter. What makes it even more delicious is knowing that this coffee is bought directly from the native farmers in Papua New Guinea, and they are paid an excellent price. This is truly 'ethical' coffee - more 'fair' than Fair Trade.

Do you feel like having a nice, freshly roasted cup of delicious Ethica Coffee? Click on this link to find your way to the coffee shop. Don't forget to have a look around the site - there's even a forum for dedicated coffee snobs!

(Okay Aunty J, this blog post should keep me supplied with coffee for a while shouldn't it? .... Aunty J? .... are you there? .... got any spare coffee laying around?.... Aunty J? ...)

P.S. I hope I got all the steps in order, Possum. You'll have to correct me if I haven't.

Earth to Table

Erudite Mondays at HalfSoledBoots
Volume 10, Number 3

Earth to Table
by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann

Okay, let me give it to you straight. This book is

***amazing. ***

If you love food, or if you love the earth, or if you're concerned about health, or if you are curious about what makes a restaurant tick, or if you'd like a little glimpse into an organic farm, or if you like good, personable unpretentious writing.....or if you are buying for someone who is any of these things, you cannot go wrong with Earth to Table.

The concept is simple - how to eat in season, locally.

It would be easy enough to describe the philosophy and method of eating seasonally - there are convincing arguments ranging from your health to your tastebuds to your carbon footprint - but these authors have done more than that. They have plumbed the depths of growing your own produce, mixing your own compost, and foraging in ditches for ramps (wild leeks). In the process, reading this book, you feel galvanized by their knowledge and enthusiasm.

They have embraced the local, seasonal concept in their own restaurant (both are members of the Slow Food Movement), and have teamed up with an organic farm on which they actually grow their own wheat (Red Fife, a Canadian heritage strain), for the 70 loaves they bake at the restaurant daily.

I could go on, and on, and on about this beautiful book. But I did promise to make these pre-Christmas reviews shorter, so I'll just say:

- only tried one recipe so far (pizza dough), loved it
- so well-written and nicely photographed
- totally worth the cover price


Who's looking for a half lease?

Is anyone out there looking for a dressage half lease in the Eugene area?

I've decided it's time to tighten my belt, financially speaking, so I've decided to seek out someone to half lease Willow. She's boarded at an excellent dressage facility a couple miles south of Creswell. I'm looking for someone who would like to ride three days a week and would be fairly religious about it. The prospective leaser needs to be an experienced, confident rider with a balanced seat.

Interested? Contact me at courtney [dot] burkholder [at] gmail [dot] com

Hanging Around

Some random photos which all roughly fit into the 'Hanging Around' theme.

First, the beautiful Spring sign Mousie's Kindergarten class made to hang in their classroom. It's huge - each flower is the size of a saucer.
This one is from late winter - "We helped you with the washing, Mum!" chorused Mousie, Teddy and Kitcat. (Just a few of the pairs of shoes which live in our pergola .... a friend of mine often comments, when she sees all these shoes lined up by the door, "So, this is where the centipede lives is it?")
All four girls decided to do this again in early spring, only this time they used the proper clothesline. It kept them busy for a good 45 minutes. Why buy expensive toys when they will be happy hanging shoes on the line?
This is Teddy's teddy bear Barnabas and his baby. Barnabas wears a vest, and Teddy invented a new style of baby-wearing. Now that Barnabas has his paws free he can get on with doing .... um .... whatever teddy bears have to do, I guess.
Later, Barnabas was stripped of his vest and it was used to hang Pinky-Fluff from the underside of the bunk bed. Teddy must not have been feeling very sleepy at bedtime.
Yep, this is a sure sign that Teddy is suffering from insomnia.

Back to Hawaii for a minute

A few pics I didn't post before.

We went to the Honolulu Academy of Arts, one of my favorite places, just in time to see the opening of "Hokusai's Summit: Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji," the 36 (actually 42) Japanese block prints of Mt. Fuji by Katsushika Hokusai, including the famous "Great Wave Off Kanagawa" (pictured in the poster below).

The show was A-MA-ZING. And the gardens and courtyards on the grounds of the museum are spectacular as well.