Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mom's Penoka Squares

Like I said in my last post - this is a real fav in our family. And any time I make it and take it anywhere it is a big hit. A story that I have heard from some Canadians is that 35 years ago a woman from Nanaimo, which is on Vancouver Island, entered this recipe in a magazine contest and won. Now the town of Nanaimo claims the recipe and uses it as a real tourist thing - printed on tea towels and aprons, etc. When the mayor of Nanaimo held a Nanaimo Bar contest in the 80's there were over 100 versions of the bar recipe entered.

Now, in New York they call it New York Slice, in Australia I have heard it called Continental Slice. But in our house they are called Penoka Squares.

My parents moved to Seattle in 1952 where my Dad had a job with Boeing - he had just graduated from University of Colorado with degrees in Engineering and Management. He had scoped out the city a few months before my Mom joined him, and he found a little house in West Seattle to rent while they looked for a place to buy. Across the alley was where Lynn lived. She and my Mom have been friends for 56 years, but now Lynn has alzheimer's disease and doesn't know who my mother is - it's very sad. Anyway, she gave my mother her secret recipe for Penoka Squares, well before a woman from Nanaimo won any contest so... I'm sticking with Penoka Squares as the original name for this desert.

I'm pretty sure there is town called Penoka in Alberta - and I know there is an apple called a Penoka?

As I said before, it was always my older brother's birthday cake. Bytheway, my younger brother always gets Boston Cream Pie for his, and my fav is my mom's pumpkin pie - no one wants cake!

Mom uses bitter chocolate in the topping and now - thanks to Lindt so can I!! Bitter Chocolate is just 70% or more.

Penoka Squares
Melt : 185g or butter and 100g of dark chocolate over hot water. When just melted stir in one lightly beaten egg stirring constantly till mixture starts to thicken. Take off heat and cool for 5 mins. Stir in 2c crushed biscuits (I use wheatmeal or granitas)(graham crackers if you are in the states), 1c coconut, and 2/3c chopped pecans.
Press into a 8x8 pan and put in the fridge till cold.
Middle filling : Cream 60g softened butter and 1teas vanilla. Slowly add 2c powdered (icing) sugar, 2Tbls custard powder (Bird's Eye is best) and 1/4c milk.
Put into the fridge till cold.
Topping : Melt 60g dark chocolate and 15g butter over hot water. Drizzle over the custard layer and smooth out with a knife.
Put it back into the fridge till cold.
It goes soft if it is out of the fridge for too long so make sure if you are taking it somewhere that it is not hot.

I hope you love this as much as I do - and everyone I have ever made it for.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Proud Day!

Dreams really do come true!

Thank you Prime Minister Rudd. This is the first step to healing for the original people.

I don't think I can say it better than some of my fellow Australian Knitters: Olivia and Bells. I hope it's OK with you that I link your names to this blog!

But, now for something a little lighter and not even of any importance but I promised so....look mom, what I made.

Penoka Squares (known to most Pacific Northwesters as Nanaimo Bars) - a family staple in my growing-up house. My older brother's birthday cake of choice and a fav of everyone I've ever made it for as well. Thanks Mom! I love you!

Friday, February 8, 2008

I know it's too hot for one - well maybe not!

I have a bunch of Aquarian friends so I have a bunch of birthday presents to deliver this month. So I bought wool, I dyed wool and I knit hot water bottle covers. I know it's still to warm for some of you to have a hottie in your bed (some, I know, already have them in their beds!) but who doesn't want a beautiful hottie bottie cover for when Winter does make us pull our doonas out of the hall closet and snuggle up at night?

And they are good knitting for DVD nights - don't take much paying attention too. Knit in the round and self covering buttons. Lots of fun to make. So all my friends will get these this year.
Next year I'll have to come up with a new February knit - I look forward to it.

PS - I didn't dye the one in the middle - but you knew that!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Nantucket Jacket

This is the third time I have started the Nantucket Jacket from Interweave Winter 2006. Yikes!

I found the yarn at the Cassidy's sales - not for me, mind, but perfect Cath colours and she loves it. I let her pick the pattern that she wanted from all of my books and magazines. She liked this one because it had no 'basque'!! I have never heard of ribbing being called basque before but we looked it up and - yup, it's a word for the bit below the waist.

So I swatched like a good girl - went down a needle size. OK, all is well. Knit three inches - too big by miles. What the? Frogged.

Swatched again - went down another needle size 'cause I could. OK - knit three inches - still too darned big. Nantucket was beginning to rhyme with a word I said out loud several times. Frogged.

Swatched again and did some math! No way does that gauge match the cast on number of stitches. I checked Ravelry to see if others found the same thing. Some did, some didn't. I got confused.

So I ammended the pattern and Cast on 100 instead of 120 and I've knit three inches - so far so good.

I like the pattern a lot. It is the perfect pattern to listen to a audio book - you don't need to look at the pattern all the time but for me, it needs more concentration than a movie will allow me. I need to look at the knitting. Listening to Four Spirits by Sena Jeter Naslund - so far both are great!