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Dutchess' Italian Style Rabbit Stew


Friday, December 22, 2006



Last Friday, my husband won 4 legs of rabbit and 2 bottles of wine at a card game my father in law took him along to.

Don't ask. Just know that everything was above the board and no police were present.

"Make a rabbit stew," he urged while I was examining the spoils.

Yes, and why don't I spin some gold fabric while I'm at it. I've never done such a stew before and I was somewhat daunted. Especially since I had a predecessor to live up to. In a form of this swank fusion restaurant we normally frequent. On our last visit, my dear husband had their rabbit stew and he was smitten with it, gravy and all.

So, being the dutiful wife, I search the internet for a recipe which bear some semblence to the ingredients used by the restaurant. I managed to find one and went about it. Along the way, I readjusted, changed and tweaked the proportions and method so much so it looks nothing like the original recipe. I guess I can call this version mine.

Here is the recipe:

Dutchess' Italian Style Rabbit Stew

What you need:

4 leg of rabbit
3 medium sized carrots, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp sage
salt and pepper to taste ( I use sea salt)
1 tsp allspice
3 bay leaves
1 cup red wine
1 can of peeled tomatoes
400 ml of tomato paste
1 cup water
vegetable stock
olive oil

How to:

1. Place rabbit in a large bowl. Add in rosemary, sage, salt, pepper, allspice, bay leaves and red wine. Mix well and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. Every now and then, give the mixture a stir.

2. Remove rabbit from marinade. Set marinade aside for later use.

3. Using a heavy bottom pot, brown rabbit in olive oil. Add in carrots, celery, onions, parsley, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, vegetable stock and marinade. Give the whole lot a stir and let simmer for the next 2 hours or until gravy thickens and rabbit is tender. Stir regularly to prevent burning.

4. Serve hot with bread. I had ciabatta on the table that evening.

Note: This stew is even better overnight, when all the flavours have had a chance to really meld together. As a variation, I added some pasta to the sauce and that was delicious too. Well, the truth was, I ran out of bread so we had to make do with pasta but let's just keep it to ourselves, okay?

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A New Chapter


Wednesday, December 20, 2006


His Royal Highness, circa 5 months


Today my son turns 7 and I close the chapter of his early childhood. On the one hand I'm relieved and happy - all of us made it through, on the other hand, I'm sad because the 'baby' years are well and truly gone. My son's growing up.

I'm glad I chose to be a stay at home mom and was there for all the major milestones in his development. These memories are very precious to me.

And now it's time to look ahead to the next chapter. His needs are going to be different but I'm sure we'll all manage together.

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This year's party was fun, albeit slightly nerve-racking. You see, my husband and I have been spoilt by only having one child to deal with and to suddenly have 6 other extremely boisterious kids to manage was erm, rather challenging (I'm trying to be politcally correct here).

Thank goodness for grandmothers! My mother in law, who raised 4 boys on her own, was a godsend.

So after the cake cutting and present opening at our place, we rounded off the kids into 2 cars because the main party event was a visit to an indoor amusement park. The place is huge - the poster boasted over 100 000 sq m of rides and attractions. Perfect for 7 kids to expel all that energy! There were carousels, bumper cars, aircushion castles, trampolines and water rides etc. It was all fun.

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The Best Laid Plans...


Tuesday, December 19, 2006


... don't always go the way you want them to.

I've had to shelve all my baking plans, save for the cake for next week's party. My son's been sick (thank goodness he's better now) and as a result, I'm stressed and have lost my baking mojo. I don't know about you, but I need to be in a good mood to bake or else my bakes will flop, no matter if I've done the recipe a million times. It's as if my sponge cake absorbs all my bad aura.

Besides, I'm so exhausted now I can't tell a spatula from a whisk so I'm not even going to try. Luckily there are still enough shopping days left this week.

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'Tis The Season To Be Silly


Monday, December 18, 2006


Here's the version of 'Jingle Bells' I've been teaching my son. *haha!*

Jingle Bells, Batman smells,
Robin laid an egg.
Batmobile, lost its wheels,
And Joker got away - hey!

And our tree is up too:



Yes, more shoes. My tree is infested with the stuff.

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Presents!




Now that Karen and I have both received each other's presents, I can write about it here. :)

This is what I got her:


Earlier this year, we were both oogling at some kitchen equipment on an Australian website. The graters caught our eyes but it's just one of those things you wouldn't actually splurge on yourself. Well, I would but that's a different story...

I found them by accident at the Bijenkorf on one of my sourjourns to Maastricht and grabbed one. It just had K-A-R-E-N all over it. She received them last week and was both surprised and very pleased. I gently reminded her to use it. Actually, my exact words were,"Oy, you have to use it okay?!"

And last Friday, the postman delivered her gift to me:


How precious is that?????!!!! Barbie shoes on a revolving - yes, it actually rotates - shoe stand. Somebody pinch me! Here are more close-ups:




I'm going to put this up every Christmas! Here is its new home, presiding over my cross stitched stockings:



As a fellow cross-stitcher, she also made me this. I am overwhelmed. Truly I am.

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The Tooth Fairy - Again!


Saturday, December 16, 2006


This entry is rather late but I thought I'd better shoo it in before my son's permanent pearly whites start to grow.

A week after the tooth fairy's first visit, the boy lost another tooth - the one next to its fallen comrade. Talk about the domino effect!

This time, my worldly wise son had only ONE burning question:

How much is the tooth fairy leaving me, Mummy?

The Tooth Fairy had a chat with her boss and it seems that all teeth following the first one is at 3 Euros a pop.

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So Many Posts, So Little Time




Things have been crazy in Cookalot lately on account of the festive season.

I've got a whole bunch of entries for this blog which haven't made their way out yet. They are still words and phrases floating inside this brain of mine. I also have photos loaded up, raring to make their debut here. My problem is: I just can't find the time! How annoying.

Then there is this little problem of the computer and the modem thingamajig. It's been acting up like a spoilt brat. There are days when I lose internet connection or it's so slow, I lose interest altogether. And I know we pay our bills on time. Double annoying.

My husband, the resident IT whiz in Cookalot is looking into the problem. He's got vested interests here too, being a bit of an online gaming addict. Whatever the solution, I hope it comes in 2 boxes, one that says disk drive, the other, modem.

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Lemon Meringue Pie


Thursday, December 14, 2006


Here's Lemon Meringue, the doll of my sister's childhood (I had a Strawberry Shortcake):



And here's Lemon Meringue, the pie of last Friday's pottering about the kitchen:


I went to bed on Thursday night thinking how nice it would be to have a slice of lemon meringue pie. I woke up the next morning still hankering for it and decided this was serious, something had to be done. One cannot be craving like this. I will have my cake, in this case, pie and eat it too.

So I trawled through a couple of recipes and found this at Allrecipes. This baby took home the first prize at a county fair in Ohio. I figured if it was good enough for the judges in Bradford, it's good enough for me. A quick check confirmed I had all the ingredients at hand. I could hardly believe my luck and took it as a good omen. Surely I was meant to have this! I made up the pastry dough and whilst waiting for it to rest in the fridge, went ahead with the rest of the prep work. I put on a cd by Shakira and off I went, squeezing and grating the lemons for juice and zest.

Two hours later, I was rewarded with this:


Fresh out of the oven, it had a lovely golden brown crust. After the requisite cooling and chilling, I made a cup of tea and cut myself a slice of pice. I braced myself for The Moment. And what a moment it was! The lemon aroma hits you first followed by the tangy, citrusy filling which leaves a fresh aftertaste. No wonder it won first prize.

Verdict: Lekker with a capital 'L'.

Oh, and I learnt something new about my husband too: I found out he was quite mad for Lemon Meringue pie and he raved about this particular filling. This, coming from a man who's idea of dessert is a cigar after his meal. Needless to say, I was very chuffed. Then I had a light bulb moment: Maybe it's not the case of my husband hating cakes and desserts in general but it's because I haven't been making the right ones.

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Edited to add: The next time I do this, I'm going to try piping the meringue or at least make the peaks higher, just for asthetics. And also for some reason, the meringue lost its golden crust the next day. Maybe it should spend more time in the oven during the initial baking?

Ahh... life's important questions...

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C is also for Clumsy


Thursday, December 07, 2006


I made a hit and run trip to the supermarket earlier this morning to pick up some stuff for tonight's dinner. In my haste to beat the bad weather, I raced about the aisles gathering the neccesary supplies. At the condiments section, I made a sharp right turn and didn't see the display at the side. My loaded basket hit it. Of course. And of course the display had to comprise of six-pack beers stacked from here to Mount Everest. My heart just about stopped when the beer cans started swaying. I stood there breathless and transfixed. After what seemed like the longest time, the cans stabilized and my pulse went back to normal.

Or so I thought.

My pulse shot sky high again on the way home. Against better judgement, I decided to cycle to the supermarket. Never mind if the wind was on the gusty side. As long as it doesn't rain, I said to myself....

Well, it did stay dry but the wind - the wind! It was so strong it started making swooshing sounds. As I was cycling home, I thought I was going to do an ET. You know the memorable part in the movie (of the same name) where ET cycles up into the sky? Yup, just like that. And without the help of movie magic and special effects too. That was when the wind was behind me, pushing me along. However, at the last leg of my ride, the wind went against me and to put it mildly, I had a good cardio workout. Thank goodness I exercise regularly so my heart and lungs didn't explode on the way home.

And how was your morning?

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Getting Crafty






My son and I worked on these yesterday afternoon. It came in a kit so all we had to do was push out the precut shapes, assemble and glue the various bits and pieces together and voila, cute, festive (and noisy) door hangers!

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I Am The Empress





You are The Empress


Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury, dissipation.


The Empress is associated with Venus, the feminine planet, so it represents,
beauty, charm, pleasure, luxury, and delight. You may be good at home
decorating, art or anything to do with making things beautiful.


The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born. This is why her symbol is Venus, goddess of beautiful things as well as love. Even so, the Empress is more Demeter, goddess of abundance, then sensual Venus. She is the giver of Earthly gifts, yet at the same time, she can, in anger withhold, as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped. In fury and grief, she kept the Earth barren till her child was returned to her.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

I understood the first bit but got lost in the last paragraph. I think in English it means that I'm always making or starting something, that I'm generous until you cross me, which at this point you should run far, far, away and hope I don't catch you.

I'm not arguing with any of the above.

Thanks, Agnes, for the link.

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