Australia and New Zealand Anipal Secret Santa

Hi everyone!! It’s been a really long time between posts.  We apologise for the tardiness of our staff.  All we can say is that she is on notice!

On 15 December, the opening pawty for the Australia and New Zealand animal Secret Santa took place.  I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was at the prospect.  More than a week earlier, a strange looking wonderful smelling parcel arrived at our house.

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Look how Santa signed the box! He even put whiskers on the face! We counted down the days to 15 December.  Gemma organised our #oznzmas pawty including some delicious food but I was so excited I couldn’t eat.  When the box was opened there was an amazing red sack inside and it smelled even more wonderful than the box.

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And because it smelled so wonderful, it attracted some unwelcome attention and I had to defend my own secret santa parcel!!

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And as the excitement built, I could hardly contain myself.

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Well us cats are highly strung you know.  Finally the time came when I was allowed to open the bag and look what I found?

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I decided that there might be more where that came from. And I was right!

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I was overcome by the whole thing!

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Now that I am in recovery, I would love to thank my Secret Santa for his/her generosity.  There was enough things to share amongst all the kitties in our house. Well, there will be when I have finished playing with everything…..

THANKYOU SECRET SANTA!!!

And thank you to the pawsome Gemma for organising this years fun and to JJ who, as always keeps us Aussie and Kiwi anipals organised.

 

2013 ACF National Show

Hi everyone. It’s been a long time since I (Dugal) have been able to convince staff to help me.  Since our Junior staff is away at the moment, there should be plenty of time. Well, today was a very special day for me because I was at the 2013 ACF National Show in Adelaide.  Lots of my buddies on twitter want to know what it’s like to be in a cat show, so I thought I would explain a few things and show you some pics.

First of all, the alarm goes off REALLY early on a Sunday morning and everyone dives out of bed at a million miles an hour which is really funny (especially in our house where there are 4 cats and 2 humans on the same bed).  Everyone glares at me with that look…. “not another show…. again”.

After they have groomed themselves and fed us some breakfast, it’s my turn. Fur powder, furminator, comb, ear trim, nose and face clean, claw trim…. My cage is already prepared and waiting and then it’s everyone in the car. So much stuff for one kitty!

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Staff stop and chat to the little French man’s shop on the way and come out with some pastries for themselves and coffee. Today we arrived at 7.15am for vetting in.  Because it was the National Show, there were lots of vets and the queue moved very quickly… just as well, it was only 11C.

Then my cage is put in the right spot (with the Group 3 neuters today – normally it is Group 4).  And there’s more fussing. Another comb, face check and settle in. This is me settling in today.

IMG_4301Then the judging starts.  Today the rules were a little different and I was competing in Group 3 which not only includes the kitties that I am normally grouped with… British Shorthairs, Selkirk Rexes and Scottish Folds, but also Somalis, Bengals, Abyssinians,  Cornish and Devon Rexes and more. This meant that there were 50 kitties in my group.

The first judge was a local judge and she gave me a Best of Breed ribbon. She is no nonsense and I like her. I wasn’t placed anywhere in my group.  The second judge was from interstate (Alice Springs).  Each judge does things a little differently. This judge asks the steward to present the cat to him, he judges and then returns us. These are some pics

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Steward straining under my 6kg weight to present me

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The judge’s first look

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on the bench

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checking my head proportions

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Man, this bloke is heavy!

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Watch out or I’ll bite your nose ;)

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All done

I didn’t receive any awards from that judge. And then came the nice lady (ring 1) from New Zealand. Here are some pics from that ring.

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The judge getting me out of my cage

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Putting me on the bench. I’m not big, she’s just little

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Looking at my head shape

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Checking my coat

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Feeling my weight and checking body

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Do you think they are happy with me?

And that was that. The lady from New Zealand said that I was Best in Breed and that I was also 5th out of 52 kitties in my group, so I won a prize.  I donate my food prizes to homeless kitties and it was a huge 5kg bag today. I also won a frisbee….. well if you turn it upside down you could eat out of it, a coffee mug (I guess they think that our staff need it to turn up to shows so early on a Sunday morning) and a mouse mat…… but no mouse.

Here is a pic of me with my ribbons

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So after all that, I have enough points for my next title which is Double Grand Premier. Next show I will start working towards my Bronze Double Grand Premier title.

Thankyou to all my twitter friends who followed me today and wished me well. xxx

 

#Pavbake Results

Well, who knew cooking with pals on twitter could be sooooo much fun.  It’s amazing how many of us love cooking and cooking shows as well as eating.

For those of you who missed the #pavbake, Marble did an amazing job.  Our human’s first attempt wasn’t even recognisable, but Marble’s looked like a real Aussie (or Kiwi – depending on your views) pavlova.

Here are some pics, first of making the pav and then the end results

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Dugal checking ingredients

After beating the sugar in

After beating the sugar in

The mound ready for the oven

The mound ready for the oven

After baking

After baking

 The two pavlovas

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Marble’s Pav

Our pav

Our pav

Want a slice?

Marble's yummy slice

Marble’s yummy slice

IMG_4023We know that many of you missed the bakeoff but have asked for another one.  Sooo, by popular request, we will do the #pavbake again.

Pavlova Bakeoff

This weekend, Sunday 7 April at 9.30am Australian Eastern Standard Time (7pm Saturday night in Dallas), we are having a pavlova bakeoff with our friend @Marblesays who lives in America.  Anyone is welcome to join in the commentary on twitter.  For those who wish to join in, let us know so we can include you.

Here is the recipe that our staff uses:

Ingredients:

4 egg whites at room temperature (very important that they are not cold)

250 g caster sugar

2 teaspoons cornflour

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Few drops of pure vanilla extract (don’t use vanilla paste)

300 ml runny or whipping cream (whipped until firm)

Fruit for topping (I usually use 1 mango, 1 banana and 4 passionfruit but you can use strawberries or raspberries instead of mango if not in season.  Passionfruit makes it amazing so try and use that)

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Line a tray with baking paper (I use a pizza tray because it is already round and easier to get the shape correct).

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until peaks form (use an electric beater, preferably one on a stand because this takes a little while) but not too firm – should be firm enough to hold the shape of the peaks.  Start adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time.  Keep beating until the meringue is shiny and stiff (tip:  when you feel the mixture between two fingers, you shouldn’t feel any sugar.  If you do, keep beating until you don’t). Sprinkle over the cornflour while still beating, then the vinegar and vanilla.

Mound the mixture on the baking paper so that it is about 20cm in diameter.  Smooth the top and sides with a spatula.  Place in the oven.  IMMEDIATELY reduce the heat to 150 degrees Celsius and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova to cool completely (don’t disturb it).

It should be dry and crispy on the outside (it may crack but this is OK – in fact completely normal) and marshmallowy on the inside.  If syrup leaks out of it, you haven’t completely beaten in the sugar and it may be chewy instead of crispy and marshmallowy.

You can leave the pavlova in the fridge for a couple of days until you are ready to serve.  Don’t decorate until you are ready to serve (I make a ceremony out of it and do it at the table).  Put the pavlova on a serving platter (be careful peeling the paper off as the pavlova is fragile).  Pile on the cream (I sweeten my cream with 2 teaspoons of sugar and some more vanilla) and put lots of fruit on the top.

Serve carefully and enjoy!!

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