Monday, April 30, 2007

One Pot?

Posted by MANDI at 12:32 PM 5 comments

I made this yesterday and we had it with some thick cream for dessert last night. It's really good - quite moist, almost fudgy in the centre - and according to the authors of the cookbook the flavours develop and it gets goo-ier the longer you leave it. The title is somewhat deceiving though - you need a saucepan, a mixing bowl and the cake tin. To my mind that's three pots, not one!

One-Pot Chocolate Cake
Everyday Cooking

250g soft butter
150g dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup strong coffee
1 cup plain flour
2/3 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 180˚C.
Butter a 22cm springform cake tin, line the sides and bottom with greaseproof paper and butter lightly.
Place the butter, chocolate, caster sugar and coffee in a large saucepan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until everything melts. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Sift the flours and cocoa together and add to the cooled chocolate mixture, along with the eggs. Beat well until all ingredients are combined.
Spoon into the prepared cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Test the cake by inserting a skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready; if it doesn’t, cook for a further 5 minutes and test again. Serves 6 – 8

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Let The Games Begin

Posted by MANDI at 8:38 PM 2 comments

Offspring #1 had his first soccer game today.

I love how his sock and shorts meet in the middle. And yes, it was very bright out there.

It was a hoot to watch. The kids all stuck together in one pack, the other team scored an own goal (but then kicked a bunch of proper ones), everyone got to have a kick and all the mum's and dad's were busy snapping photos of their future sportstar LOL.

Awww... look how little he is (he's the kid on the far right)

#1 did well - he is fairly timid by nature and tends to hang back but he had a few kicks and gave it a good go. He took a hard tumble and banged his head but he was far from the only kid on the pitch to run crying to his mum. And the best bit is that he is already looking forward to training and next week's game.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Lest We Forget

Posted by MANDI at 1:13 PM 6 comments

Hubby attended the ANZAC Day dawn service alone this morning but next year we'll be dragging both kids out of bed so we can all go. I love that even while our government worries that the stories and sacrifices of WWI will be forgotten, attendance at ANZAC Day services around the country continues to grow. I think it's really important that our kids know what is ANZAC Day about and why we commemorate it. We should remember the original ANZACS and teach them about these brave men. Our kids had great-grandfathers and great-great uncles who fought in various campaigns and countries during World War II and we should teach them about what these brave men did and how their lives were changed forever by being involved in war. We shoud teach them so that they can be proud and so that when they grow up they will remember and they can help to change the world in other ways.

Of course we couldn't bake anything else today but Anzac Biscuits. There are a few different versions of how these biscuits came to be. My cookbook says, "these famous biscuits were developed at the time of the First World War and sent in food parcels to the ANZAC tropps (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps). They are an economical, crisp, long-lasting biscuit made without eggs (which were in short supply at that time). The recipe is still popular, having been handed down through the generations."

This is slightly different to my regular version but just as delicious - maybe even a little better!

ANZAC Biscuits
The Essential Baking Cookbook

1 cup plain flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
125g unsalted butter, cubed
¼ cup golden syrup
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1. Preheat oven to moderate 180˚C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
2. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add the sugar, oats and coconut and make a well in the centre.
3. Put the butter and golden syrup together in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until butter has melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in 1 tablespoon of boiling water and add immediately to the butter mixture. It will foam up instantly. Pour into the well in the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
4. Drop level tablespoons of mixture onto the trays allowing room for spreading. Gently flatten each biscuit with your fingertips (I used the back of a fork instead!). Bake for 20 minutes, or until just browned, leave on the tray to cool slightly. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

If you pull them out of the oven when they are just done the edges will crisp up beautifully leaving the inside lovely and chewy – yum.

PS I have spent more than 30 minutes trying to link to a site that explains ANZAC Day but am having no luck. I will try again later.

Update: still no luck posting the link but if you cut and paste this URL it will take you to the Australian War Memorial site that explain it all.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

We Have A Visitor!

Posted by MANDI at 1:10 PM 5 comments
Grandma got jealous when Grandpa got to see us all last week so... guess who arrived on the afternoon plane yesterday? She's here for a week and we're gonna have fun, fun, fun.
We once again managed to surprise Offspring #1 and this time his face was beyond priceless. We told him we had to go to the airport to pick up a package and that we'd have a look at the planes while we were there. When I found Grandma I told #1 that I could see the package and then she stopped in front of us. He looked up and his eyes got bigger and bigger, then the grin started and then he clutched my hand really tight and kind of whispered, "Mum, that's my Grandma." The poor kid ws a little overwhelmed but as it finally sank in that Grandma was here for a holiday she got the hugging of her life. It was so gorgeous to watch. He has dragged her off to see a thousand things and every sentence so far has started with, "Guess what, Grandma?"
No recipes today because our visitor arrived with a special delivery for dinner - KFC, all wrapped up and carefully carried on the plane. YUMMO!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Out Of The Comfort Zone

Posted by MANDI at 1:12 PM 0 comments

Baked Chorizo and Polenta
Meals From The Freezer

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium brown onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x 400g cans tomatoes
¼ cup tomato paste
1 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
500g chorizo sausages
2 cups vegetable stock
1¼ cups milk
1 cup polenta
½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
30g butter
150g mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced.

1. Heat oil in large saucepan; cook onion and garlic, stirring, until onion is soft. Add undrained crushed tomatoes and paste; bring to boil. Simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until thickened slightly; stir in basil. [Can be frozen, covered, at this stage].
2. Cook chorizo, in batches, in medium heated dry frying pan, until browned all over; drain on absorbent paper. Slice chorizo coarsely.
3. Preheat oven to hot. Oil a 2-litre (8 cup) shallow baking dish.
4. Bring combined stock and milk to the boil in large saucepan; gradually stir in polenta. Simmer, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the polenta thickens slightly. Stir in parmesan and butter.
5. Spoon polenta into prepared dish; smoothing with a palette knige. Top with sliced chorizo then tomato sauce [Can be frozen, covered, at this stage].
6. Bake, covered, in hot oven for 30 minutes. Top with mozzarella; bake, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until cheese melts and browns.

Finally, a recipe! Last week I decided that I needed to branch out with some new and different recipes. I do try lots of new recipes, I aim for about six each week, but realised that they tend to fall into the same categories/main ingredients fairly often. I guess it's a fairly easy trap to fall into when trying to plan a healthy menu for a family with little kids. Anyway, I saw this recipe and decided to give it a try. It's the kind of dish I might order if we were eating out but it's not something I would ever make at home. I'd never cooked polenta before and while this first attempt wasn't entirely successfull I'm at least willing to have another go (and I have a better idea of what I'm aiming for) and, although I had eaten chorizo before, I hadn't cooked with it. So, two new ingredients and a pleasing if not entirely photogenic recipe! My understanding is that, if the polenta was properly prepared, this should be able to be served in a wedge or slice (kind of like lasagna), mine however had other ideas and oozed everywhere!

As it got closer to the serving of this I conceded that the kids would probably not cope with the chorizo and that #2 would definitely find the tomato layer a little too much so whipped them up a quick tuna and vegie mornay. They were very happy with the substitution. We offered #1 a taste-test of our meal after explaining why I had made something else for his dinner and, to his credit, he gave it a try. Then he asked for a glass of water LOL. He did say that he liked "the white stuff" (polenta), the tomato was "yummy" and the cheese on top was "good". I'll make a critic of him yet.
The original recipe was twice this size. The version I have presented would provide four, quite generous, adult servings.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I've Been A'scrappin'

Posted by MANDI at 10:26 PM 0 comments

I got to do some good scrapbooking sessions last week and managed to get a few pages and projects done. The most important part was that I planned it all out so when it came down to actually doing the pages I knew what I wanted to do and had all the bits at hand - it makes a massive difference to the end product! I have pulled so many pages apart because I didn't plan them properly and then ended up hating them.

I promise I will post some recipes very soon but, in the meantime here are two pages I created for framing.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

You May Have Noticed...

Posted by MANDI at 9:20 PM 7 comments
that I have been playing again. A blog is kind of like a room. It gets a bit boring when it looks the same for too long! If you have been through here in the last little bit you may have seen a few different versions. I think this is the one I'll stick with for now, although there may be some tweaking of colours, etc. Let me know what you think. Does it look okay? Is anything too hard to read, too little, too big?

Hey! Maybe someone who has never commented could let me know what they think? Pretty pretty pretty please?????

Using Up The Eggs

Posted by MANDI at 8:35 PM 2 comments
Easter Eggs that is! I learnt a neat trick from one of our old neighbours - let the kids go crazy on their chocolate eggs for a set period of time, maybe 3 or 4 days, then collect whatever is left and use the leftovers in your baking during the next couple of weeks. Being the mean kind of mum that I am, #2 didn't even get to taste a chocolate egg while #1 had his doled out over the space of one week. Considering that the kids didn't get eggs from anyone but us, the Easter Bunny and one set of friends up here there weren't too many left over but we still managed to find some to use in this different kind of chocolate chip cookie recipe. Don't worry, I wasn't totally horrible. The Easter Bunny bought colouring stuff along with a couple of little eggs for each of the offspring and #2 got some gorgeous stuffed toys which she was more than happy with. Since she hasn't ever tasted chocolate she didn't have a clue what she was missing out on and she happily snacked on some sultanas instead.

Chocolate Crispy Biscuits
in Australian Table, April 2007

125g butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups rice bubbles
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup milk chocolate chips
½ cup shedded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 180˚C. Line 3 biscuit trays with baking paper.
2. Place butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Stir well until combined.
3. Place heaped tablespoons of mixture on trays, allowing room to spread. Press down gently. Bake 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Store in an airtight container.

These biscuits were a resounding success in the House of Red Dirt. I think that smashing up some easter eggs (put them in a ziplock bag then let small children attack with a rolling pin!) for the chocolate chips made them a bit more special in #1's eyes LOL.

Monday, April 16, 2007

More Red Dirt

Posted by MANDI at 5:44 PM 1 comments
First off I have to say that I'm being tactful when I say that the terms "aesthetically pleasing" and "Port Hedland" should not be ever be in the same sentence. But, I am told by several reliable sources, the people who live there are lovely and it has a real sense of community which I'm sure you will agree is a quality sadly lacking in many areas these days.

Here are some pics of the industy in the town.

A big (okay, HUGE) pile of crushed iron ore, ready to be loaded and transported.

A bigger picture of the vastness of what is being mined.

Very unattractive fuel tanks, or so we believe (that they are fuel tanks that is - I think you'll all agree with the 'unattractive' bit.)

An ore carrier waiting to be loaded. It is loaded until all the bottom part of the ship, the red bit, is in the water.

And some pics of the country side between here and Port Hedland.

The view for two-and-a-half hours. Mostly flat, with some green scrub and the odd set of hills.

Some cows on one of the cattle stations between the towns.

Hope you like the photos of some the area surrounding our patch of Red Dirt.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Posted by MANDI at 10:53 AM 2 comments
We arranged our mini-holiday to coincide with Hubby's Dad flying in to Port Hedland to do some contract work for a couple of days. We didn't tell the kids - yeah, I know, only #1 would have totally understood - both so it could be a surprise and just in case something happened and it all fell through. Happily, we all made it there and managed to spring a great treat on the kids. #2 seemed to remember Grandpa from 3 or so months ago when we last saw him (although we do have his photo on the fridge and we look at all the family every day on the fridge door) and went to him happily for cuddles and playing. #1's expression was beautiful, he was so happy and so excited to see Grandpa and it was just gorgeous to watch him.

The Offspring with Grandpa - big smiles all round!

Hubby was thrilled to see his Dad too, and it worked out beautifully that it was only a day after Hubby's birthday. I was pretty darn pleased to see him too. For the record Grandpa is a wonderful, generous and loving Dad, Dad-in-law and Grandpa. Added to that of course, a visitor from home is always cause for excitement!

We also caught up with friends who live up in Port Hedland - for regular readers, the same friends who we were concerned about during the recent cyclones. #1's favourite kindy friend from last year now lives up there so the two boys played and played and played and had a wonderful time together. We spent one morning in the pool where kindy friend and his sister and cousin swam like fish while #1 stayed in the shallow end and clung to the edge but they all had a fun time together.

#1 with kindy friend, slowly getting waterlogged.

Offspring #2. She'd just dropped her hat in a puddle and was saying, "Uh ohhhh"

Tomorrow I'll have some pics of the town as well as some of the scenery on the drive back to Red Dirt Central.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

There's A Skink...

Posted by MANDI at 7:32 PM 3 comments

In my sink!

These tiny little geckoes are really common around here. We usually see them on the outside of the windows at night while they are chasing mosquitoes and bugs. But this adventurous little soul found his way into my kitchen sink and then couldn't get himself out again. I'm sure that if we had left him to it he would have sorted himself out but I had rice to drain and I didn't really want him in there any more. I do admit to yelping in suprise (okay, possibly shrieking like a great big girl!) when I moved a cup and found him at the bottom of the sink but Hubby rescued him and returned him to the garden so all was well with the world again.

This little guy looks pretty well fed!

Timid, woosy Offspring #1 freaked out and was convinced that the gecko was going to attack me. "Look out Mum, the animal will eat you" he yelled, cowering on the other side of the room! To help alleviate his fears we took photos until Hubby arrived on his white horse!
Yes, as you may have noticed, we are back from our quick holiday (AKA the big journey, as it was christened by the aforementioned overly-dramatic offspring). We had a great time and also managed to spring a terrific surprise on the kids. I'll be back with stories and pics tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Hubby

Posted by MANDI at 12:37 PM 6 comments

Yay, my husband is now officially as old as me! LOL. There might only be three months between us but, my goodness, he gets in a years worth of cracks about me being the older woman.

Offsping #1 and I made a cupcake birthday cake this morning and then we quickly sang happy birthday and blew out the candles before #2 went for her nap.

The birthday cake, alight with candles.

Offspring #1 'helping' blow out the candles.

Offspring #2, attempting to shove an entire cupcake into her not-so-dainty gob!

As Hubby will be out tonight (well it is Wednesday, so there's golf!) we had a birthday lunch and made pizza. I used a new dough recipe from I Think I Have A Recipe For That. I decided to tempt fate and throw it all in the breadmaker on the dough setting and it turned out really well. I will definitely be making it again! And no, you can't taste the beer.

I'll be away for a few days from tomorrow. We're heading up the coast a bit to visit friends so I'll be back next week with photos of even more red dirt!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hope You Had A Lovely Easter

Posted by MANDI at 8:38 PM 2 comments
We socialised more that we have in ages, I cooked lots of dishes, we all ate way more than we needed (and that was before we got to the chocolate!) and Hubby and #2 ended up with a rotten cold that is currently doing the rounds of town.

The socialising - we hosted an orphan's Easter dinner on Good Friday for Hubby's work. Basically, whoever was in town arrived for a potluck dinner. A couple of other friends, who are connected to Hubby through work, also joined us. It was a really nice evening with lots of food and a lovely atmosphere. The kids all played - Hubby set up the playstation on the data projector in the backyard so they had a ball, the adults all ate and drank and chatted and we all just relaxed. I made a tuna version of the recipe I'm sharing today, a zucchini and pumpkin frittata, and a really yummy dessert I'll be sharing later and Hubby got busy on the bbq cooking up some fish he had caught. Among the other goodies brought to the table were homemade pizza, potato bake and a crunchy garden salad. On Sunday we joined some friends for a bbq lunch and had a terrific day relaxing and just hanging out. They have a pool so #1 spent most of the day getting waterlogged while I spent most of the day with a very firm grip on #2!

I cooked heaps of stuff over the Easter weekend but most of it was stuff I'd made before, or the photo's turned out so badly that I'm going to have to make the dish again before I can share it with you! Nevertheless, we ate our way through the weekend and a little bit of exercise wouldn't really go astray right about now LOL.

More illness in the house! Yep, #2's sick again - this time it's just a rotten cold but she has a horrible cough and has been miserable for the last few days. Once she's sick she turns into a terrible sleeper so Mummy doesn't end up with much sleep either. As she is starting to improve slightly I'm keeping my finger's crossed for tonight. Poor Hubby has the bug too though I don't think he was hit quite as hard (although he will tell you he was deathly ill!) and he seems to have improved somewhat today.

And onto the food...

Cheese, Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Grill
From Australian Table, April 2007

250g penne
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
60g butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 cups milk
300g cooked chicken, shredded
½ cup grated tasty cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan
¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs

1 Cook penne in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water according to packet direction. Add broccoli for last 4 minutes of cooking. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, melt half of butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Add flour and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in milk and cook for 4 minutes, stirring, until sauce thickens and is starting to boil.
3. Combine penne, broccoli, white sauce, chicken and tasty cheese and season to taste. Spoon into a 10-cup ovenproof dish. Melt remaining butter and combine with parmesan and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over pasta mixture. Place dish under a preheated hot grill for 2 – 3 minutes, until top is golden and crisp. Serve hot or warm.

Tip: Prepare this dish ahead with grilling, then reheat for 15 minutes in a preheated oven set at 190˚C. To finish pop in under a hot grill so the top becomes golden and crisp.

To be honest, this is something I could make, and do quite regularly, without a recipe but this one already had the measurments and instructions so I decided to do it properly. Also I saw it in Australian Table and knew that my lot would love it, and they did! Of course, I could put cheese in just about anything and my kids would eat it! I made this on shopping day so I grabbed a cooked chook (um… rotisserie chicken for the Americans) and used that. I prepared the whole thing a couple of hours ahead of time and then popped it in the oven to heat through when we wanted it. It browned up nicely in the oven so I didn't bother with the grill.

Simple, quick and tasty. What more could you want after dragging two kids through the fortnightly grocery shop?

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Easter Presents Have Arrived

Posted by MANDI at 12:33 PM 4 comments
Do you ever type a lovely lengthy post then decide that it's actually rubbish and delete the lot? Yep, I just did that.

Anyway, here are pics of the kids with their Easter presents from Nan and Pop. #1 received a t-shirt and #2 got pj's.

#1 in his pirate t-shirt, specially chosen by Pop.

#2 attempting to wear her new pj's RIGHT NOW!

Now the pj's are inside out but she's still trying! #1 was trying to help but got yelled at for his troubles.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Busy, busy, busy.

Posted by MANDI at 11:12 AM 2 comments
Mondays and Tuesdays in our house are a bit crazy. They are the days I tutor and lecture and involve amazingly quick handovers of the offspring to Hubby in the early afternoon. Yesterday was worse than normal. I rang him 8 minutes before I was due at someone's house for a tutoring session to enquire as to his whereabouts. He told me he was driving out of work right then. Ha! When he didn't get home for another 9 minutes I knew he'd still been in his office. Luckily our town is small so it doesn't take long to get anywhere and life up here is pretty casual so the the Mum didn't mind me being a couple of minutes late. I know that in my real life I'm late for just about everything (only since the offspring joined us!) but in my work life I pride myself of being punctual. Let's see how we go tonight.
You might have noticed that I have added a few blogs to my lists. Amongst them are a couple from Perth (the capital city of our great state for those who are unfamiliar with it, and of course where we really live) that I have been enjoying. I've also got rid of a few, I sure hope that wasn't a massive breach of blog-etiquette.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Real Chicken? In a Nugget?

Posted by MANDI at 8:08 PM 3 comments
I hate chicken nuggets.

Yes, I understand that this may seem like a somewhat extreme statement but it's true. I hate chicken nuggets. Mostly I hate them because they don't taste like chicken. That could be because the amount of chicken in them is negligible, just watch any early evening commercial television current affairs show. They said so, so it must be true. Also, it's kind of scary that the nuggets with the most chicken in them are supposedly the one's sold by a multi-national chain starting with a Mc.

Unfortunately my kids love chicken nuggets. They don't get them very often but when they do they fall upon them like kids growing up in a drought (oh hang on, they are!) or as if the nuggets were possessed by the spirit of the Wiggles! So I decided to bite the bullet and give in to this need for nuggets. Not by buying them from that 'restaurant chain' or from the supermarket freezer section but by making my own. The kids loved them, Hubby raved over them and I thought they were a vast improvement on anything you can buy. I had avoided this recipe because I thought it would be fiddly and time consuming. I was so very wrong. These were easy. Super easy. Easier than easy. In fact, I reckon I made these in the time it would have taken to find the keys, drive down to the local nugget place and buy them! Now that's easy.

Chicken and Vegetable Nuggets
From Woman's Day Magazine (but I don't know when)

2 chicken breast fillets, coarsley chopped
1 small carrot, grated
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce (this was perfect for little kids, add more if you wish)
3 spring (green) onions, coarsely chopped
1 cup stale breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
half cup olive oil
extra sweet chilli sauce to serve

1. Place chicken, carrot, sauce, spring onions and half the breadcrumbs in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Process until finely chopped and well combined.
2. Shape level tablespoons of mixture into oval patties. Coat in remaining breadcrumbs.
3. Heat oil in a large pan over a medium heat., Cook nuggets in batches, until golden brown all over and cooked through. Drain on absorbent paper.
4. Serve nuggets with sweet chilli sauce. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired. (We had salad with the nuggets and the kids dunked them in good old tomato sauce)

Sunday, April 1, 2007

A Sweet Morsel

Posted by MANDI at 8:03 PM 2 comments

We made some tiny little sweet treats today. Personally I found them really fiddley and not entirely worth the effort but they are quite nice and the rapidly depleting cookie jar is evidence that some members of our household are enjoying them very much. Funnily the thing that makes them fiddley - rolling a heap of cookie dough into teaspoonfulls - is the same thing I like about the end product. These cookies are seriously tiny so you can enjoy one without feeling at all guilty or, like me, you can eat a bunch and convince yourself they were only tiny so couldn't be that bad LOL!

Vanilla Custard Kisses
From Family Circle Biscuits and Slices

Makes about 40 kisses

125g unsalted butter
½ cup caster sugar
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1/3 cup custard powder
¾ cup plain flour
¾ cup self raising flour

Vanilla Cream
40g unsalted butter
2/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla esseance
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to moderate 180˚C. Brush two 32 x 28cm biscuit trays with melted butter or oil. Line base with paper; grease paper
(Honestly? There’s a heap of butter in these cookies – they aren’t sticking to anything. I just lined the trays with baking paper and was done).

Using electric beaters, beat butter and sugar in a small mixing bowl until mixture is light and creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla essence; beat until combined.

Transfer mixture to large mixing bowl. Using a metal spoon, fold in sifted custard powder and flours. Stir until ingredients are just combined and the mixture is almost smooth. Press mixture together with fingertips to form a soft dough.

Roll 1 level teaspoon of mixture at a time into balls. Arrange on prepared trays about 5cm apart. Flatten lightly with the base of a glass to 2.5cm rounds. Bake 12 minutes or until biscuits are golden.

To make Vanilla Cream: Beat the butter and essence in small bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add icing sugar and milk gradually; stir until well combined and mixture is smooth. Stand biscuits on trays 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool. Spread half the biscuits with filling and sandwich together with remaining biscuits.

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