Yo. So it's 2.19am and I can't sleep.

It's been a kinda long weekend. On Saturday night I returned to the world of functions waitressing, for the big wigs at the NRL. This gig was hard yakka. I used to do this type of thing all the time back in my undergrad days, and i suspect that's why I was a good 5kg's lighter. Owie owie owie my poor arms carrying all those heavy plates! My poor feet, standing for six hours straight, bolting round fetching things all afternoon for boozy football people.

It was a fun atmosphere, actually, with a direct view over the field, getting swept up in all the hoo-har (spelling? who cares) on the field. Before I left for work Lindsay gave me instructions: "No giving your number out to football players". Course not - not to Dragons players, silly.

I saw Mario Fenech. All I could think of was that sing-song bit from the Footy Show, "Mario's a wanker! [clap clap clap clap clap!]". Fun times. Then Wendell Sailor, bless his cotton socks, asked me for a plastic cup so he could drink his little beer outside. I didn't write my number on the cup, because I'm a great girlfriend, and also, St George. Towards the drunker portion of the evening one of the older patrons waved me over to his table so I showed up and I asked what I could get for him, but he was like, "No, no, just saying hello, how's your afternoon Alexandra, do you like your job?" ... So then I had to lie and pretend like waitressing was my dream vocation? Yeah it's just GREAT! I love being the servant and this is precisely where I hoped my studies would lead me.

Hmmm... yes so that was Saturday. Today I spent most of the day putting material caps and labels and bows on two jam orders for Little Bow Thief. I had a cup of tea around 4pm so maybe that's why I can't sleep. Off the rails, caffeine junkie.

I came here to tell you about this fake cheesecake recipe...

Bit slow, but last Friday was Valentine's Day in case you didn't notice. If you didn't notice you probably didn't want me to remind you, hey? Cool. So last Friday was Valentines and Lindsay and I decided to go on an early evening picnic on the grassy knoll by the ocean. I packed us a Ploughman's 'lunch' and a few beers and made these cheesecakes from Sarah Wilson's I Quit Sugar book. The texture of the base was a little too coconutty for me, but the filling was quite nice. Maybe I'd make it again but just leave the coconut out. The recipe called for Rice Bran Oil as its sugar substitute; unfortunately I couldn't find any at Woolworths but apparently they stock it at Coles. I used glucose syrup instead.

You can find the recipe here.

Now I have to gloat about my V day present! At the end of the year I posted a fairly hinty blog about a certain Flower Drum shirt that I had my eyes on and the smart cookie got it for me for the 14th! So I have my very own PEONY baseball shirt yaaaaaaaaaaay. And: confetti!


We have a winner! This is the first recipe in my Sugarfree14 (sugar-free baking in 2014) quest that I am actually happy with. A couple of weeks ago my family came down to Wollongong to see Lindsay and I and to check out my new address. We went down to the Twilight Markets and then back to our place for some dessert. This is the first recipe that I have made from David Gillespie's Sweet Poison Quit Plan Cook Book.

Handy hint: the pie was much tastier the day after baking, after it had been refrigerated. It doesn't taste very sweet, just subtly so. You can tell, when you're eating it, that the sugar has been stripped back, but you still feel like you're eating a dessert. That's a good thing. My gripe with a lot of sugar-free recipes is that you don't feel like you're having a treat, and that's the whole point of dessert, is it not?

Various sugar-free recipe writers use different substitutes in their recipes. Gillespie uses glucose to replace fructose. The purpose of fructose-free recipes is to have options that are not as damaging, when you want to have a treat. Aint nobody eating dry oats and broccoli for dessert.


3/4 cup dextrose

1/2 cup glucose syrup (find in the baking section of the supermarket)

40g unsalted butter

3 eggs

1/4 cup thickened cream

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

125g pecan halves

thickened cream, to serve (optional


1 2/3 cup plain flour, sifted

2 tablespoons dextrose (find in the beer brewing section of Big W)

1/4 teaspoon baking powder, sifted

180g cold unsalted butter, chopped

1/4-1/3 cup iced water

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence 

To make the pastry, process the flour, dextrose and baking powder in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. With the motor running, gradually add the water and vanilla and process until the mixture comes together to form a smooth dough. Shape into a disc, then wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Lightly grease a 34cm x 11cm rectangular tart tin (I used a round pie dish). Roll the pastry out between 2 sheets of baking paper until 3mm thick. Line the prepared tin with the pastry. Trim the edges using a small, sharp knife. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (150 degrees for fan-forced).

Put the dextrose, glucose syrup and butter into a saucepan and stir over low heat for 2-3 minutes or until melted and combined. Transfer to a bowl, then add the eggs, cream and vanilla and whisk to combine. Pour into the tin and top with the pecans. Place the tin on a baking tray.  Bake the tart for 1 hour or until golden and set. Cool completely (I recommend you refrigerate before serving). Serve with cream, if desired. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Serves 6.


Life is a little crazy at the moment, being back at uni and what-not. It's funny how you take for granted the serenity of having a routine, even if that routine is a long commute and sometimes boring work days. When your routine is blown to smitherines and you're jumping all over the show, it really rattles you. Well, it rattles me. I feel disconnected. I don't like not working... I miss the security of it. Being back at uni is odd. The first week was the hardest because I felt like I'd rewound the clock ten years. Freak out: what the hell am I doing here?! The coursework (Primary Teaching) is interesting but demanding. Some days I love it and feel really enthused about teaching. Other days I feel like I'm heading into crazytown. They are constantly reminding us how draining it is to be a teacher. I don't appreciate these sentiments. They put doubts in my head. I like hard work... I like being busy and having a purpose and I don't like heavy repetition in a job. In that way, teaching should be a good fit. But I could do without being told, five weeks into my course when I'm up to my eyeballs in textbooks and the assignments are piling up, this pearl of wisdom: "teaching is a mentally and emotionally draining 24/7 job; you'll probably be working 6 days out of 7". Soo... that'd be 24/6?

Whatever. I am looking forward to our first two weeks of professional experience (prac) in a month's time. Looking forward to, with a significant dose of fear. Because it's the prac that will really show what's what. Sort the men from the boys. I am scared that I will want to run for the hills and have a textbook bonfire after prac. I *hope* not. But we shall see.

At the end of the day I am eternally grateful that this course has an end-date of 14 November 2014. Nine months from now. I don't think I could handle any more than that. On campus as a 30 year-old (although yesterday my lecture buddy said she thought I was 21... great) I feel disconnected from the real world and I'd really like to join again. Nine months. My pregnant pals tell me that nine months is an eternity. But unlike them I can still have wine and brie.

Well, I came here this morning to actually share a recipe with you but had a little rant and rave instead. I'll come back and share that soon. Happy Tuesday. x



I made these biscuits as part of my resolution to bake sugar-free this year. I can't remember why I am doing this. The recipe has no ADDED sugar but they still contain honey. They are butter-free (I don't have a butter vendetta though, so...) and they are made with wholemeal flour (that's good... more sawdust-like filling).

The recipe is by Emily Rose from her book Have Your Cake. I made them as a lively lunch box treat to break up the monotony of apples, carrots and nuts (the monotony that occurred after eating 3 nuts and half an apple). Anyway, when I did the obligatory raw mixture gobble before baking, let's just say I was not filled with confidence. I was filled with an edible packing material substance. So I added some stuff. And they were nice enough, for a health biscuit.

For all the dieters out there - I crunched some numbers and if you follow the original recipe, each biscuit contains 127 calories. If you add my extras they bump up to 141. Fun fact: one double-coated Tim Tam has 116 calories.

So, there's that... o_0

Ingredients (the stuff that is supposed to be in there)
1 cup wholemeal SR flour
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup rice brain oil
1/3 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/3 cup chopped dried figs

Plus the stuff I added to diminish health but add taste
pinch of salt
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
tablespoon golden syrup (...oopy. this was actually a boo-boo... golden syrup is just liquid cane sugar. I kinda had already poured it in before I realised the "mistake"...too bad, so sad)

Preheat oven to 170 celcuis fan forced. Mix flour, coconut and oats together. In another bowl, mix oil, honey, rind and juice. Incorporate the dry ingredients and add the figs. Taste the mixture and then add your optional extras as required. Roll into 16 balls. Bake for about 20 minutes or til golden brown. Cool on trays. Go eat a Tim Tam.