Burnt ANZAC biscuits


I’ve been having some difficulties with the temperature settings on my oven when baking, which lead to the bottoms of my cookies getting a slight singe… don’t do the same thing!

This recipe came in the post just before ANZAC day this year…


  • 1 cup each of flour, sugar, rolled oats and coconut (as usual, I used wholemeal)
  • 115g butter
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup/treacle
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

Grease your tray and preheat oven to 180°C. Mix the dry ingredients. Melt the butter with the golden syrup. Combine the water and bicarb, and then add to the butter mix. Mix the dry and butter mixtures together. Once that’s done, you can drop teaspoons of the mixture onto the tray. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. Then allow it to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring them to cooling racks.

I think the idea of “golden” was where i went wrong… and in the process of waiting for the gold, the bottoms overcooked. But they didn’t go to waste. I recently saw a kitchen hack on Facebook which said to use a cheese grater to grate off the burnt bits, saving the rest of the biscuit.. and it worked well enough (as you can see in the pictures below)

This is a more authentic ANZAC recipe in that the biscuits come out very hard and crisp… which my mother is not a fan of. I had previously baked a batch that were a lot softer. I’ll be sure to post that recipe the next time I get to baking… Ciao for now!

Suspension Saga continued (finally)

After patiently waiting for my brother’s arrival with the much-needed Torx bits… I continued where I left off. With the Torx bits, I managed to get the bottom of the hub carrier off… and it was at that point I hit another wall. I was supposed to remove the top mount but needed an angled spanner to get in and loosen the nut… something which I didn’t have at hand. I hit up another friend who I recently learned was also working on a car at home and needed to wait another day for the tool. My patience has become well practised at this point… another day was considered a cake walk.

Something that I hadn’t considered was the age of the parts in question and how difficult they would be to remove…. and I’m almost positive that in the 16 years of this car’s existence, it had never had the suspension struts changed. The metal connections were now like a happily married couple… it was going to take unmerciful and relentless force to separate them. And that force was to come from a rubber mallet with assistance from some WD40 to help loosen it. I made countless hits in an effort to remove the strut… it seemed to take hours! And right when I was about to submit, the first strut finally came loose. Angels were singing in a delightful harmony (in my mind) as I held the assembly high over my head like the trophy it now was. By the time this happened, the sun was going down and I would need to continue on the next day. At least I was able to rest with a minor victory in mind.


The Trophy Strut

Once the day started up, I got back into preparing the strut. The first thing that needed to get done was transferring the support bracket from the old strut to the new. The support bracket is a piece of plastic that’s task is to hold the brake line in place… kind of important. I found a Torx bit that had a hollowed out centre to place over the pin holding the bracket in place, and with a couple of hits with a hammer it popped out and was then placed onto the new strut.


In preparation for changing the struts, I ordered a spring compression tool off eBay well in advance. The tool is necessary to relieve the tension of the springs so you are able to remove the strut. Once that was done, the old strut was swapped with the new one and then I worked in reverse to put it all back together.



If I thought it was rough getting the strut out in the first place, getting it back into the hub carrier was just as harrowing of an experience…. requiring countless mallet hits and curse words.



The strut finally as it should be

With the strut now in place…. I realised I was only halfway done. Being able to learn from the difficulties of the first strut, the second strut was replaced with a little more ease… but not much more. The service manual advised having an axle stand holding the driveshaft so it wouldn’t accidentally get overextended causing more damage… and this is something that I was sure to have in place. But while working on strut number 2, something I didn’t expect happened. The driveshaft came right off exposing what looked like the transmission.



My immediate reaction


In a quick response to this, I managed to pop the driveshaft back into place and everything seems to be fine. The main problem with this was that the CV boot was now loose and would need to be retightened…. with a tool I don’t have in my possession. It’s something that I will have to deal with down the track, but it is fine for now since it’s not leaking any grease.



Loose CV Boot

The whole process of DIY for me can be frustrating, but always enlightening as I’m not only learning how to get these things done, but also the processes that will help me improve in the future. And I definitely need to get a Torque wrench if I’m to do any future work on the car… it’s already been ordered.



Don’t Throw it, Fix it! School Pants


Even though winter has just started, it has felt like we were already a good month into it here in Australia. During this transition, my son made the switch from shorts to pants. Then I began to notice that on the daily, he was going to school with holes in the knees. Once I gathered his pants to investigate, I found that all 6 of his pairs of pants had holes. Owen has a habit of rubbing his knees on the ground when he’s got a little bit of residual energy to release.

I never had much luck with the iron on patches (although looking back, I was probably using them incorrectly).. and was looking for another solution. Since Google is my friend, I went surfing on the web for a solution and came across something I’d never known existed…. fusible webbing! This allows you to fuse 2 bits of material to each other. Since I’m not a fan of throwing things out unnecessarily. I have been holding onto a pair of school pants that Owen had outgrown with the intention of creating patches for his other pants.


After making a trip for the fusible webbing (spent ~$14AUD for 100cm x 50cm), I grabbed the pants with the largest hole. Since the hole was far too large, and not wanting the materials to fuse at the knee (and not allowing a leg to get in) a small patch was cut for the inside and a large diamond for the outside. A portion of the webbing was cut to match the large patch then placed over the hole. Using a steam iron for about 10 seconds to melt the webbing, the hole was now sealed and Owen took this prototype to wear to school the next day.

When I went to pick him up from school, my first task was to inspect the patch. One of the corners of the patch was coming loose… probably why most iron on patches are rounded (D’oh!). And since the material is a little thick and will fray, the patch will still need to be stitched. My second attempt is below… and hoping to work on my stitching skills very soon.


拍黄瓜 – Smashed Cucumbers


This is one of my favourite veggie side-dishes, and it was one I would consistently order when dining at most restaurants in China. Pai Huang Gua literally translates to Smashed Cucumbers… but as I learned while trying to prepare this dish, if there’s too much smashing involved you will end up with most of the cucumber going everywhere.

Ready 1 cucumber (I’m using a continental cucumber for this) and a utensil that will be appropriate for smashing. I usually use the end of my knife as pictured, but you could we a rolling pin or meat tenderiser. Anything with a bit of weight will do. With your tool, you carefully bang on one end of the cucumber until you see it crack open slightly. Once that happens, you continue to smash with the same amount of force along the rest of the cucumber… spreading the cracks down to the end. It should look similar to the picture below once it’s done. Then I cut it in half lengthwise and chop into small pieces. Then throw it all into a bowl. Mince 2-3 garlic cloves and throw that into the bowl… I just use a garlic crusher. Add 1 tablespoon of brown vinegar (malt vinegar or Chinese dumpling vinegar) and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, followed by a generous drizzle of sesame oil. Since my son usually eats this with me, I don’t add any chilli oil to it… but I find this is a nice touch. I really enjoy the garlic/vinegar/soy/sesame oil combination and will generally use this as a salad dressing. Feel free to add onions, tomatoes or lettuce to it.

Coconut Milk Ice Cream


It’s been a while since I’ve had the freezer space to whip this together… but managed to make some room recently. As you can see in the photo, I poured the ingredients into a recycled 2-litre ice cream tub and just mixed it in there… previously I would use a large mixing bowl, but always found it got messy. Although this doesn’t require much effort on your end, you will need to be hanging around the kitchen for at least 4 hours to complete this recipe.

All you need is:

3 cans of coconut cream

1 can of sweetened condensed coconut milk (which I wasn’t able to get this time… so just used a bog standard sweetened condensed milk)

I popped 2 cans of cream into the fridge the day before… I could have popped all 3 in, but at that time I was still deciding whether the 3rd can would be cream or milk… I ended up going with the cream with the intention of making it creamier. I then dumped the contents of all the cans into the tub and, using a hand mixer, blended the ingredients for about 5 minutes. Once time was up, the tub was covered and placed in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then you need to go through and repeat this process for the next 3 hours…. mix for 1 minute and freeze for 30 minutes (initial mix once, then 6 more mixes for 1 minute). Once you’ve completed the 3-hour cycle… allow the mix to freeze for an additional hour before you dig into it.


I went by memory to whip this up, and it turned out quite well… although after finding the original recipe online, I realised I used an extra can of cream. It worked out for us though because A) it made enough to fill the tub to the top and B) we don’t like it too sweet. I needed extra time to freeze this batch though… and realised my freezer wasn’t set cold enough! Next time it’ll work out.

Suspension Struts Change… TBC


Today I had my second attempt at changing the front suspension shock absorbers and it’s something that has been well overdue. The first attempt was aborted since I needed to drive my son to an unexpected play date. But I made sure that today there would be no need to drive anywhere and get an early start so there would be more time available if needed.

Got the front of the car jacked up and placed on jack stands. Removed both the front tyres. Disconnected the anti-roll bar link from the strut and carefully released the brake hose. Removed the brake caliper mounting bracket and placed it on a stool.

And then I got stuck. I wasn’t able to take the next step since I didn’t have the tools available. It’s a problem I couldn’t see coming since my service manual only describes what I need to do and doesn’t tell me what tools are needed to do it.

After a phone conversation with my brother, I put the car back together. He’ll have some torx attachments for me later in the week… hopefully then I will be able to finish this job off.


The Right Glove FAIL


Whenever I have a pair of gloves for dishwashing… I seem to have a habit of quickly creating holes in the right one. I began setting these aside with the hope that I could one day reuse them. Trying to find a fix on Google proved unhelpful… it was time to problem solve.

My initial idea was to make use of the caulking gun and patch the gloves up with a bit of silicone and off cuts from one of the worn rubber gloves. I typically create holes on either the thumb or index finger of the glove, so I cut a matching finger thinking that should do the trick! But after allowing the appropriate amount of time to dry, what should have stuck together… did not.

Despite being sure it would work out, the silicone and rubber weren’t bonding like I’d hoped. My next thought was to use some rubber cement from a bike repair kit… but I was having the same issue. It just wasn’t going to bond. It was during this that I realised I was going about this the wrong way. The outside of the glove was clearly rubber, but the inside was lined with a different material.

I went back to the silicone, flipped the patch and applied enough to cover the hole. After drying, it seemed much more stable than previously and after washing a load of dishes, my hand remained dry. Success at last!

EDIT: …. or so I thought. It has partially peeled away a few days later. What can be done? Leave a comment if you have an idea



Masterpiece Pizza Vol. IV


Trying something different on this occasion. We went with BBQ on the base, onions, cheese, 2 eggs (beaten and poured on top), and bacon on top…. Kind of like a Carbonara pizza. It was OK… but need to remember to add some herbs or spices. Could have also cooked a bit longer, since the bacon hadn’t gotten to the crispy stage and the top could have goldened a bit more.. but the base was definitely ready to go. Might need to place the pizza on a higher shelf in the oven!

My Pizza Base


This is the pizza base method that is now ingrained into my memory since this is the way we like it…. maybe it’ll be to your liking as well. When it comes to pizza, we have been a fan of thin crusts with more focus on the toppings. My dough has this in mind. An added bonus is there’s no need to wait for it to rise… you can use it immediately.

First, fill 3/4 cup of room temperature water, and drop 1 teaspoon of yeast into it. Leave that to work it’s magic for 10-15 minutes (you can stir it if you’re impatient). While you’re waiting for that, pop 2 cups of flour into a large mixing bowl (I usually use wholemeal… but the choice is yours) and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mix it around. Create a well in the middle of the flour and, once the water is ready, drop the yeasty water into the newly created well. From there, you can start folding the flour into the water until the dough starts coming together. Then knead the dough until the flour has combined fully and the dough has a smooth appearance.

IMG_7898This recipe creates 2 decent sized pizzas…. So you want to divide the dough in half. Leave one-half in the bowl, and place the other onto a surface for rolling. You can flour the surface, but on this occasion, there wasn’t a need to do so. I roll it out to close to the size I want, then place it on a greased pizza tray. From there I push the pizza out to the edges of the pan. Once that’s done, you can begin adding your sauce and toppings.


As for the other base, I will roll it out like the previous one. Then pop it into a large freezer bag, push out the air, zip lock it, fold it (to save space) and then place it in my freezer for the future. When that time comes, I’ll just take the bag out of the freezer and allow it to thaw for 10-15 minutes. Once it has properly thawed, you can unfold it without it snapping. Pop it onto a greased tray and you’re ready to sauce and add toppings.