Australia’s Tasty Treat | Lamington Day

Food and drink are two of our favourite things in the world. I wish we could seem all cultured; saying we could taste the differences of two wine regions, or appreciate michelin-star dining. Sadly, that’s not the case.

I became a little obsessed with drinking coffee in New York, despite D adamantly protesting that it’s not proper coffee. Our favourite food in Brazil was pizza. And lastly, the thing we bought whenever we went to a shop in Australia – Lamingtons.

Lamingtons are a light a fluffy sponge cake, covered in chocolate icing and then smothered in chopped coconut. Fun fact: They are named after the British Governor of Queensland, Lord Lamington. It is rumoured that his cook was asked to prepare something for some unexpected visitors, and this is all he had left in the cupboard.

Friday 21st July 2017 is National Lamington Day in Australia. To celebrate that and the crazy hot weather we’ve been having in the UK for the past few weeks, we decided to recreate our favourite Australian treat.

And actually, it’s really easy.

We adapted the recipe from Taste.com.au and they turned out to be soft and yummy and absolutely perfect – especially with a cup of English Breakfast. If you’d like to have a go at making them yourself, all you need is this handy-dandy recipe.

Lamingtons
  • 125g soft butter
  • 220g caster sugar
  •  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour
  •  130ml milk
  •  A bag of desiccated coconut (ours was 200g)
  •  500g icing sugar
  •  30g cocoa powder
  •  120ml boiling water
  1. Put the oven on to 180°C. Grease a square tin.
  2. Mix together the butter, sugar and vanilla essence.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each one.
  4. Sift the flour into the bowl and then pour in the milk.
  5. Fill the pan with the mixture and put in the oven for 30 minutes.
  6. Eat the remaining cake mixture while you wait*
  7. Take the cake out of the oven when a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Wait for 10 minutes and then take the cake out of the tin.
  9. Let the cake 100% cool down.
  10. Sift the icing sugar a cocoa into a different bowl.
  11. Add the butter and boiling water.
  12. Stir until there are no lumps left.
  13. Cut the cake into as many pieces as youwant. We chose 16, but I think 25 would have worked too.
  14. Set out your conveyor belt of cake, then the icing, then some coconut in a shallow dish, and then a wire rack over a baking tray.
  15. For each cake piece, dip it in the icing and wait for the excess to drip off.
  16. Using a spoon, cover every side in coconut.
  17. Place on the wire rack.
  18. Leave to stand until set (around 2 hours)
  19. Eat the rest of the icing**
  20. Persuade someone else to clear up the horrendous mess you’ve made.

* There is definitely a health risk with eating anything with raw eggs, please use your own judgement.
** This is almost pure sugar, and will leave you feeling pretty horrendous if you eat all of it. But, it does taste great mixed in with greek yoghurt.

What’s your favourite international food? Do you celebrate any weird holidays? Let us know in the comments below!

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Are You Taking Just Hand Luggage?!?

Yes, we are each taking one big bag for our year long trip. One bag each. For a whole year. Around the whole world. Yikes!

The luggage carriers

D is taking a Karrimor Trail 35 and I am taking a Quechua Forclaz 30 Air backpack. We’re trying not to stuff them TOO full, so that they don’t split all over the floor at Heathrow Airport. Here they are, completely packed. Mine (the purple one) weighs around 6kg, and D’s weighs about 7kg.

LUGGAGE - BAGS

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The Puzzle of Puzzle

Most of you will have heard about this adorable puddle of fluff. We found Puzzle at a shelter in August 2014 and she meowed her way into our hearts.

image

She’s not very good at being a shelter kitty because she really hates other cats! She likes pretending she’s a tiger when she sees other cats in the neighbourhood, but she’s a kitten at heart and ends up running off if they ever get too close.

I think if it weren’t for her, we would have had this travelling thing planned ages ago. But the first question we asked whenever we talked about it was, ‘What do we do with Puzzle?’

I think shelters do a great job, but we didn’t want her to be put back in the system. Also, to be truthful, we want to see her again at the end of the 12 months, and hopefully have her back living with us as ‘our cat’ (although you never can really ‘own’ a cat).

Luckily, we both come from a long line of cat lovers – and ours is particularly lovable. So we have four options;

My parents – They live a couple hours drive away which isn’t great and they already have two cats. But they have a huge garden and both cats pretty much keep to themselves.

D’s parents – They live quite near, but have two cats already who are sisters. One of them is a particular bully to all the other cats in the area.

My brother – Who lives in London. He’s not a cat person, but his girlfriend has just moved in, and she might appreciate a ‘trial cat’.

D’s brother – Who lives near their parents. They’ve just had a baby (our gorgeous niece), but I know they’ve been missing the cat they lost about a year ago.

Update

Puzzle is going to live with my Uncle. My cousins seemed not to hear the word ‘might’ in the sentence, “We might get a cat”, so they are borrowing her for a year to see how everyone gets on with a new fuzzy friend.

The Art of Camera Buying

Today, I bought a new camera for our trip. I am very excited and have been snapping my way through the day, photographing everything I can see from the sofa.

Puzzle

Puzzle is never far away.

 

The old has gone

Our old camera, a Nikon Coolpix, was over three years old! It served us well in those three years, but the technology in it was fading fast and the pictures it takes in the dark are awful! The Nikon was a great purchase at the time, and felt extravagant at nearly £100. It was a rushed grab on Buchanan Street after I dropped the previous one on a bus in Glasgow.

I needed a camera that worked well in low light and, as we were upgrading, Wi-Fi would be a great feature.

To begin, I started looking at bridge cameras – somewhere between a ‘point and shoot’ and a DSLR. I spent a long time cuddling them in Currys before D very gently informed me that there wouldn’t be space in my bag if I also wanted to take clothes!

Maybe it was time for a rethink.

The new has come

Some days later, we found an independent camera shop in town. The guy in there was knowledgeable and lovely, and talked me through all the cameras I might like. We decided that a ‘tough’ camera would be great for me, and the one I preferred was an Olympus TG860.

The Olympus is waterproof, drop-proof, crush-proof and with an adjustable screen that allows easy selfie-taking. It takes 16MP photos with a huge range of settings and uploads them wirelessly using a handy mobile app. I’ll let you know how I get on with it.

Now I just need to not break it before we leave….

What camera do you use for your travels? It is invincible, or do you need to take care of it? Let me know in the comments below.

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Dear Mum

Thank you for being excited about me ditching everything and running away for a year. It never occurred to me that this would be the kind of thing you support! I’m looking forward to Skyping you across the world, and sharing some great times when you come out and visit us. The more time I spend with my family, the more it shocks me that you all had a life before me. Without realising it, I’m planning to follow in some pretty epic footsteps, both figuratively and literally.

Blogging is not as scary as you think, and it means you can show everyone where I am and what I’m doing. Even that hairdresser that keeps asking if I’ve got a job yet. You can even take me with you on your snazzy new phone. I can show you the top four photos of that little town we visit in Laos, instead of the 856 that I took while we were there. In fact, you can comment on my posts, asking how I’m doing and if I’m eating enough (btw I totally am).

In the coming months I’m sure you will have helped me with boxes, given me lifts and maybe taken on a fluffball just so I can do a Forrest Gump. You will have chastised me, advised me and asked about the possibility of me dying more times that I can count.

But thanks.

Love C. X