Sunday, 27 January 2013

Burns Night, Magic Slice and A Busy Week

Life is still hurtling along at break-neck speed.  At least last week brought some fun.  It started with a new car and a picnic and ended with a Burns Night Supper.  I mostly stuck to tried and true recipes.  They are best when racing to prepare dinner.  Perhaps my most disappointing recipe was a new recipes: experiments with a Caramel Gingersnap Slice.

Let me start with a week of dinners:
We are still getting used to our new car.  I miss our old one that was written off after the accident.  At least we were able to pick up the new car in time to go to see Romeo and Juliet in the Botanic Gardens.  The set was great and looks quite spooky in the above photo with the trees lit up at interval.  I love outdoor theatre.

The first time I went to Shakespeare in the Botanic Gardens (A Midsummer Night's Dream), I walked from North Carlton, arrived with a blister, a bag of cheezels and a bottle of champagne.  Since then I have seen Macbeth in the closes of Edinburgh, the story of the Bloomsbury Group in the grounds of Ripponlea Mansion and As You Like It (I think) at Collingwood Children's Farm.

One of the best things about outdoor theatre is the opportunity to take along a picnic.  I didn't have much energy for anything extravagant this week so I made pumpkin damper and tofu nut balls.  With a tub of hummus, vegie sticks, swiss cheese and corn chips, we had quite a feast.  E brought doughnuts and chocolate to eat with fruit for dessert.  And we loved the play too.  Mercutio stole the show but the balcony scene was still full of sweet sorrow.

I love preparing a picnic but it is a lot of work.  Luckily, I always pack too much and have lots of leftovers.  The next day I had a salad sandwich with the leftover damper.  I had baked it in wedges because I was running late and thought it would help it cook quicker.  I also cooked the tofu nut balls in tomato sauce to serve with pasta and parmesan.
We also had a lunch at work.  I took along these Caramel Gingersnap Squares.  The recipe I followed - Pumpkin Gingersnap Magic Bars - was full of my favourite things it seemed too good to be true.  Pumpkin, condensed milk, coconut, walnuts, choc chips and caramel chips.  Yet the sum of all these was disappointing.  Perhaps due to high expectations. 

The slice was rich and indulgent.  Just as well most of it went to work.  It seemed to be based on what I know as Magic Slice but using gingersnaps instead of marie biscuits, and adding pumpkin and spices.  I was not a fan of the gingersnaps and spices, found the pumpkin didn't make enough impact unless it was to make the condensed milk less gooey.  It used a lot more mixing bowls than magic slice too, as E will attest after doing the dishes.  However it was still full of yummy things and was very addictive. 

I made it on a day that was 37 C and after eating rich slice for lunch I was glad to have a simple nibbly tea of dips, vegie sticks and crackers for dinner.  It had to be quick because we went to a singing circle after dinner.  I really enjoyed going to the singing circle which was very casual and lots of fun.  Quite different to choirs I have been in. 

I made haggis after the singing circle so that we could have haggis for dinner the next day because it was Burns Night.  As it is a celebration of Scottish Baird, Robert Burns, birthday, E read out To a Haggis before dinner.  I managed to set the table and even dust off one of my candle holders.  It hasn't been used for quite some time.

I roasted some potates and turnips because it is traditional to have haggis, neeps and tatties.  Sylvia wanted chips so I cut them in that shape.  They still took ages to cook in our oven.  We also served tomato sauce and broccoli with haggis.  I know it is more traditional to have mashed neeps and tatties but I find it a colourless meal.  E drank Crabbies Ginger Beer and Sylvia and I drank Irn Bru.  (No one drank whisky - the bottle was just in the photo because even after our recent trip to Scotland we were short on Scottish props.)

I almost finished the dinner with Cranachan (either Jacqueline's or Nigel's) but there were no fresh raspberries in our supermarket.  Probably best that we finished the meal with fresh cherries instead.  And then watched Scottish player Andy Murray get through to the final of the Australian Open.

It is quite a lot to celebrate Burns Night on 25 January and Australia Day on 26 January but we did celebrate Australia Day the next day too.  More about that later.

I also managed some work on Sylvia's dolls house last weekend.  We got up the wallpaper.  Here is a work in progress.  I still have more painting and decorating to do.  My favourite room is the green loungeroom.  Now I wish our own loungeroom looked that green.  Ah well, at least we have a green car now.  That is some comfort!

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: A tale of three water bottles
Two years ago:  Australia Day Poffertjes and Cars
Three years ago: Muffins at the tennis
Four years ago: Birthday chocolate cake and crazy computers
Five years ago: Raspberry Vinegar for Dummies

Caramel Gingersnap Slice
Adapted from Culinary Creations by Peabody

250g packet gingernut biscuits, processed to crumbs
110g butter, melted
400g can condensed milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (I used 1/2 cup)
scant 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup caramel chips
1 cup dark choc chips
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup coconut flakes, chopped (or shredded coconut)

Preheat oven to 180 C (350F).  Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.

Mix the gingernut biscuits and butter.  Press into the base of the cake tin.  Mix condensed milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon and grated nutmeg.  Pour into tin.  Sprinkle layers of caramel chips, chop chips, walnuts and coconut on top.

Bake for 25-35 minutes.  I baked mine til the coconut was a deep golden brown.  Cool in the tin.  (I did this overnight).  Cut into squares and keep in the fridge.

On the Stereo:
Scotland The Brave: Various Artists


  1. Vegetarian Haggis! Very cool. I love how many twists you have done on meaty vegetarian. You certainly have been busy. I'm so glad I found your blog! I hope you had a very happy Australia day :)

    1. Thanks Cass - welcome to GGG - it has been busy but glad to squeeze in the haggis

  2. All looks great and the dolls house is looking really good too :) That slice looks amazing!

    1. Thanks Veganopoulous - thanks lots more plans for the dolls house but I think I have convinced Sylvia that the garage doesn't have wallpaper :-)

  3. What a week you have had - and exciting about the new car, even if it would have been nicer and easier if the old one hadn't had to be retired. I love the sound of your picnic at the theatre too, and Romeo and Juliet is the only play I've seen performed in our Kings Park gardens. They have Shakespeare in the park each year but I am not always organised with going!

    It is a pity this slice didn't deliver on expectations as it does sound like it should. I'm glad it was enjoyable regardless though, and your Burns night celebrations sounds fun as always.

    1. Thanks Kari - more relief than excitement on the new car. I was trying to remember if I have seen romeo and juliet at the theatre before - I think I might but I just can't remember where. Was glad I got organised for Shakespeare in the park and Burns Night - january is meant to be a quiet month!!!!

  4. Wow, you've been so busy! And I do the same and always overpack for picnics! :D And hehe I don't think I have any Scottish props! :P

    1. Thanks Lorraine - I figure it is not so bad overpacking for picnics if there is lots of vegies and fruit - so long as they aren't the main things that we didn't eat :-) I wished I could whip back to scotland and buy lots of scottish props on burns night!

  5. Hmm, even after rereading your post I can't quite decide if you're giving the slice the thumbs up or not! I still think it sounds lovely. :)

    1. Thanks Hannah - I enjoyed eating it but I think it just wasn't what I expected - more gingernut than pumpkin and I think I would prefer magic slice with plain old marie biscuits

  6. Yummo - the slice looks and sounds delicious, even if it didn't quite live up to its hype. The dolls house is coming along nicely.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I think I was so excited at the idea of the slice but it was delicious if not exactly as I expected

  7. Oh that slice looks delicious. I'm usually far too lazy/impatient to make slices, because of the layers, and the chilling, etc, but for this one, I might have to give it a go!

    1. Thanks Matt - I think the original style magic slice is even easier - and if you buy soy condensed milk it is quite easy to make vegan - enjoy!

  8. What a wonderful sweet dollhouse! Lucky girl! I am making your haggis w tomato/cinnamon sauce for a potluck Burns' Night on Saturday. Thank you so much for the recipes. Cheers!

    1. Thanks Wizardess - a Burns Night potluck sounds fun - I have thought of it but it happens at such a busy time - hope you have fun and enjoy the haggis


Thanks for dropping by. I love hearing from you. Please share your thoughts and questions. Annoyingly the spammers are bombarding me so I have turned on the pesky captcha code (refresh to find an easy one if you don't like the first one)