Animals Australia: the voice for animals

Animals Australia: the voice for animals
Love life? Love all of life

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Deluxe and desperate dessert - yoghurt, pears, and chocolate hazelnut sauce

Last night was a cold bleak July night in Ballarat.  I had been out for most of the day and it was too late to do the Apple Crumble I had planned for dessert. This should happen to-night.  So it was time to think outside the square or there would be no dessert at all ... and there is someone in the house who asks for it.

I have taken to the pear this winter since I substituted one night pears for apples in the Butternut, Apple & Cinnamon Soup.

What I rustled up - perhaps even invented - was a stunning close-yoour-eyes-in-rapture delight!

I had two pears and I fried them in a mixture of butter (yes, real butter!) and brown sugar. I sliced and chopped the pears into small pieces.  The butter and brown sugar melted together so I was effectively cooking the small pieces of pear in the butter & sugar mix to make a sauce.  I used Nestle's Ski Divine Vanilla Creme Yoghurt and spooned it over individual dessert bowls.  Onto this I spooned the pear, butter & sugar sauce.  Now this alone would have made a sufficient taste sensation - but there is nothing like luxury in one's desserts. 

I had in the store cupboard a bottle of Alice Langon's Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce.  It had been there for years unused.  I think I had purchased it at Simon Johnson's in Toorak.  I poured this around the circle of pear sauce.

Scrumptious! More-ish!  And the left-over of the dessert was wonderful for a Sunday morning breakfast as well.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Baking Our Blues Away - an exercise in neighbourliness and caring about and for others.


THINK of a time where life wasn't going so great.
A time where perhaps someone brought you something to take your mind off things. Perhaps that someone baked you a cake.
And maybe that offer of something to eat, with a cup of tea, promoted a conversation between you and that person.
On Monday, July 15, everyone is encouraged to take a moment and give someone they know, or a stranger, "a bit of baked or handmade love", for Baking Our Blues Away.
The event is an annual day of goodwill, now in its second year.
It does not aim to raise funds, but simply, raise the general wellbeing of others.
Daylesford baker and event founder, Michelle Symes, believes conversation has the power to change the way a person feels.
According to Beyond Blue, anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia.
On average, one in four (one in three women and one in five men) will experience anxiety at some stage in their life.
In a 12-month period, more than two million Australians experience anxiety.
"It makes people feel special because somebody's taken the time to hand-bake something."
For Michelle, the issue is close to home, having friends and family who have suffered anxiety and depression.
"My husband was diagnosed with cancer a couple years ago and developed anxiety, triggered by the news he had the illness," she said.
"We'd never been exposed to it before, so it was a bit of an eye opener."
Last year, she started the initiative to raise awareness.
"I'm a big fan of feeding others and nourishing people ... when I know someone's not happy or well, I always cook for them, so it made sense to me to bake and make that part of the initiative," she said.
More than 5600 people took part last year, all over the world.
In Indonesia, one woman had an orphanage at the end of her street.
She took chocolate cupcakes to the children in the orphanage, who had never eaten cakes before.
She then posted a photo of the children eating cake for the first time.
Children at the Indonesian orphanage
"That smile and that elation that comes from the first taste of something sweet ... it was the most special photo and was lovely to have that impact on kids who had not experienced that kind of stuff," Michelle said.
Another participant posted a photo of her husband, who was terminally ill.
"He'd had four hours of chemo that day and she'd spent the day making a sponge cake," Michelle said.
"She put a photo of him holding the sponge cake, on our Facebook feed.
"We had other people take (the initiative) to their local schools, to their teachers, and do activities with kids."
A woman left these on her neighbour's doorstep
This year, she's hoping to get 10,000 people involved.
It has taken social media by storm, being supported on Twitter by Dannii Minogue, Shane Jacobson and blue Wiggle Anthony Field, who himself suffered depression.
Michelle maintains the initiative is not about whether someone has depression or anxiety, but primarily is about goodwill.
"Sit down, have a cuppa and let people chat about how their life's going," she said.
"People don't always get that opportunity and sometimes they need to be given that before they talk.
"It makes people feel special because somebody's taken the time to hand-bake something and I think it just makes people feel valued."