Danielle's Cabin Crew Blog
Danielle's Cabin Crew Blog
Ingredients (serves 4)
250g punnet strawberries
75g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g caster sugar
1 egg, whisked
100ml milk
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to brush
Sweetheart butter*
250g unsalted butter, softened
2 tbs good-quality strawberry jam

To make the sweetheart butter, place the butter and jam in a bowl and mix until well combined (alternatively process in a food processor). On a clean flat surface, roll the butter into a sausage shape, then wrap in plastic wrap, twisting the ends to seal. Freeze for at least 1 hour until very firm. Just before serving the pikelets, take the butter out of the freezer and use a sharp knife to slice the butter into 1cm rounds (you can keep the plastic wrap on, then peel it once sliced). Use a heart-shaped cutter* to cut each round into a heart shape. (This recipe will make more butter than you need, so just slice what you need, then place the remainder back in the freezer. It will keep for up to 2-3 months.)

Halve the strawberries lengthways, then set aside.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a medium bowl. Stir in the sugar, then egg. Whisk in the milk, making sure there are no lumps, then stir in the melted butter. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat (to test the heat, sprinkle pan with a little flour; if it browns straight away it is too hot). Brush the pan with a little butter and drop 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan spaced slightly apart. Cook for about 1-2 minutes until bubbles appear on the surface, then flip over and cook the other side. Repeat with remaining mixture. Serve warm with the sweetheart butter and strawberries.

Notes & tips
* The sweetheart butter works just as well with different flavoured jams or finely chopped fresh fruit.

* Heart-shaped cutters are available from good kitchenware stores.
Danielle's Cabin Crew Blog
Danielle's Cabin Crew Blog
Dubai is the most populous city of the United Arab Emirates. It has 41 buildings that stand taller than 180 meters (591 ft). The tallest building in Dubai is the 68-storey Almas Tower, which rises 363 meters (1,191 ft) in height. It is currently topped out, and is scheduled to be completed in late 2008. The tallest completed building in Dubai is the Emirates Office Tower, which rises 54 stories and 355 meters (1,163 ft) along Sheikh Zayed Road. It is currently the 15th-tallest building in the world. Another notable Dubai skyscraper is the Burj Al Arab, which stands as the fourth-tallest building in the city and the tallest all-hotel building in the world. The skyscrapers of Dubai are, for the most part, clustered in two different locations. The land along Sheikh Zayed Road was the first to develop, followed by the Dubai Marina neighborhood.

The history of skyscrapers in Dubai began with the construction of the 149-metre (489 ft) Dubai World Trade Centre in 1979, which is regarded to be the first skyscraper in the city. At the time of its completion, it also stood as the tallest building in the Middle East. Since 1999, and especially from 2005 onwards, Dubai has been on an extremely large skyscraper building boom, with all 28 of its buildings over 200 meters (656 ft) tall completed after 1999. Dubai currently has 390 completed high-rises, but that number will increase greatly in the near future. With 313 high-rises currently under construction, and 445 approved high-rises, Dubai's skyline is rapidly growing. In addition, Dubai is expected to be the site of more buildings with 100 floors or more than any other city in the world by 2015.

The largest and most famous construction project currently taking place in Dubai is the Burj Dubai, which began construction in 2004. The building, set to rise at least 162 stories and 818 meters (2,684 ft), became the tallest free-standing structure on land in the world in September 2007, surpassing the 553-metre (1,815 ft) CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. The building also surpassed the height of Taipei 101, the current tallest building in the world, in July 2007. However, as only completed structures are measured as buildings, Burj Dubai will not officially gain the title of tallest building in the world until its completion in 2009. In April 2008, Burj Dubai became the tallest man-made structure in the world, surpassing the KVLY-TV mast in Blanchard, North Dakota, United States. On May 19, 2008 it surpassed the height of the now-destroyed Warsaw radio mast in Konstantynów, Gąbin, Poland, becoming the tallest man-made structure in history at 649.7 meters (2,131 ft). The proposed Nakheel Tower is another extremely tall development planned for construction in Dubai. Set to rise at least 1,400 meters (4,593 ft) in height, this building would surpass the Burj Dubai to become the tallest structure in the world if constructed.

My favorite building that is currently under construction is the Dubai Towers Dubai. Dubai Towers Dubai is a four tower complex proposed in the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The developer, Sama Dubai, intends this to form the centerpiece of The Lagoons, a megaproject located on Dubai Creek which will consist of seven islands. The towers have between 57 to 94 stories and although the heights are not known, it is believed the tallest will top 400 meters (1,310 ft) while two others will rise beyond 300 meters (980 ft).

Danielle's Cabin Crew Blog

In honour of Valentines Day I made a collage of photo's that contain something red. Enjoy!

Danielle's Cabin Crew Blog
Preparation Time
5 minutes

Ingredients (serves 6)
Angostura Aromatic Bitters, to taste
6 sugar cubes
1 x 750ml btl chilled sparkling wine
2 passionfruit, halved, pulp removed

Place 5 drops of bitters, or to taste, in bases of 6 glasses. Place a sugar cube in each glass and pour over the sparkling wine. Add the passionfruit pulp and serve.
Danielle's Cabin Crew Blog
Preparation Time
30 minutes
Cooking Time
15 minutes


300g (2 cups) plain flour
100g (1 cup) hazelnut meal
80g (1/2 cup) icing sugar mixture
175g butter, chilled, cubed
80ml (1/3 cup) iced water
240g (2 punnets) raspberries
1 egg white, lightly whisked
2 tsp caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C. Place flour, hazelnut meal, icing sugar mixture and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add iced water and process briefly until mixture just comes together. Add more water if required.

Turn pastry onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until smooth. Shape into a disc and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

Divide pastry into 4 equal portions. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll 1 portion until about 3mm thick. Use a 7cm-diameter pastry cutter to cut 12 discs from the pastry. Line 12 non-stick patty pans with the discs. Repeat with second pastry portion to line 12 more patty pans. Divide raspberries evenly among pastry cases.

Roll third pastry portion until about 3mm thick. Use a 6.5cm-diameter pastry cutter to cut 12 discs. Use a 2.5cm heart-shaped pastry cutter to cut a hole in the centre of each disc. Repeat with remaining pastry portion to make 12 more discs. Place a disc on each pie and press edges to seal. Brush tops with a little whisked egg white. Place sugar in a fine sieve and sprinkle over tarts.

Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes & tips
To thaw stand at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, for 2 hours. To freeze wrap individual tarts in plastic wrap or place in single layers between sheets of non-stick baking paper in an airtight container. Label, date and freeze.
Danielle's Cabin Crew Blog
Danielle's Cabin Crew Blog
I know I’ve mentioned Wikipedia quite a few times in my previous posts. So I thought I’d do a post dedicated to Wikipedia to try and increase their donations to keep running for free in 2010.
Whenever I need information on a specific subject or I’m curious to learn something new, I always use Wikipedia. It’s one of the best resource sites available.

Wikipedia is a multilingual, Web-based, free-content encyclopedia project. The name "Wikipedia" is a portmanteau (a combination of portions of two words and their meanings) of the words wiki (a type of collaborative Web site) and encyclopedia. Wikipedia's articles provide links to guide the user to related pages with additional information.

Wikipedia is written collaboratively by volunteers from all around the world; anyone can edit it. Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia has grown rapidly into one of the largest reference Web sites, attracting at least 684 million visitors yearly by 2008. There are more than 75,000 active contributors working on more than 10,000,000 articles in more than 260 languages. As of today, there are 2,685,303 articles in English. Every day, hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world collectively make tens of thousands of edits and create thousands of new articles to augment the knowledge held by the Wikipedia encyclopedia.

Visitors do not need specialized qualifications to contribute, since their primary role is to write articles that cover existing knowledge. This means that people of all ages and cultural and social backgrounds can write Wikipedia articles. Most of the articles can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet, simply by clicking the edit this page link. Anyone is welcome to add information, cross-references, or citations, as long as they do so within Wikipedia's editing policies and to an appropriate standard. Substandard or disputed information is subject to removal. Users need not worry about accidentally damaging Wikipedia when adding or improving information, as other editors are always around to advise or correct obvious errors, and Wikipedia's software is carefully designed to allow easy reversal of editorial mistakes.
Because Wikipedia is an ongoing work to which, in principle, anybody can contribute, it differs from a paper-based reference source in important ways. In particular, older articles tend to be more comprehensive and balanced, while newer articles more frequently contain significant misinformation, unencyclopedic content, or vandalism. Users need to be aware of this to obtain valid information and avoid misinformation that has been recently added and not yet removed. However, unlike a paper reference source, Wikipedia is continually updated, with the creation or updating of articles on topical events within seconds, minutes, or hours, rather than months or years for printed encyclopedias.
Danielle's Cabin Crew Blog

Ingredients (serves 6)
300g good-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
200g unsalted butter
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
1/4 cup (60g) almond meal
3 tbs plain flour, sifted
1 tbs cocoa powder, sifted
100g white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (125ml) strong espresso coffee

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease six 1-cup (250ml) dariole moulds and line a tray with baking paper.

Place 200g of the dark chocolate and the butter in a saucepan and stir over low heat until melted. Cool slightly.

Use an electric mixer to beat the egg yolks and 1/2 cup (110g) sugar until light and fluffy. Add melted chocolate mixture, almond meal, flour and cocoa, and fold with a metal spoon until combined.

In a separate bowl, use a clean electric mixer to beat eggwhites to soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup (55g) sugar, beating until firm peaks form. Fold a little of the eggwhite through the chocolate mixture to lighten, then gently fold through the remaining eggwhite until combined.

Divide mixture among the prepared moulds, place in a baking dish and pour enough boiling water into the dish to reach halfway up the sides of the moulds. Bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean.

Meanwhile, melt white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure bowl doesn't touch the water). Using a palette knife, spread chocolate thinly (about 2mm) over prepared tray, then chill for 10 minutes or until firm. Use a small heart-shaped cutter to cut six shapes from chocolate. Chill until ready to serve.

Place remaining dark chocolate and coffee in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (ensure bowl doesn't touch water). Stir until chocolate is melted and sauce is well combined.
Invert puddings onto plates. Pour over sauce and top with chocolate hearts, which will melt onto the hot puddings.
Danielle's Cabin Crew Blog

The Fishing Cat has changed category from Vulnerable to Endangered because of the severe decline throughout much of its Asian range over the last decade. It is a medium sized cat and a skilful swimmer, found mainly in wetland habitats such as swamps, oxbow lakes, reed beds, tidal creeks and mangrove areas. Over 45 per cent of protected wetlands in Southeast Asia are considered threatened, including those that are home to this species.

The Caspian Seal has moved from Vulnerable to Endangered. It occurs throughout the Caspian Sea, using the winter ice sheets as a surface on which to give birth and nurse pups. Its population has declined by 90 percent over the last 100 years due to unsustainable levels of commercial hunting, habitat degradation and pollution; it is still decreasing. Since 2005 the number of pups born has plummeted by a catastrophic 60 percent to just 6,000-7,000.

The Black-footed Ferret from North America is no longer Extinct in the Wild after a massive effort to reintroduce captive animals back to parts of its range. The species is highly dependent on prairie dogs as its food-source; the widespread extermination of prairie dogs throughout the 20th century, and the spread of disease, caused massive declines in the Black-footed Ferret population.

The African Elephant occurs in some 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and are found in dense forest, open and closed savannah, grassland and, at considerably lower densities, even in the arid deserts of Namibia and Mali. Poaching for ivory and meat has traditionally been the major threat to the species. Across the continent, the total population is believed to have suffered a decline of approximately 25% between 1979 and 2007, which falls short of the 30% threshold required for a Vulnerable listing. As such, the African Elephant has been down-listed from the Vulnerable category to Near Threatened.

The Grey-Faced Sengi is a newly discovered species of elephant-shrew from Tanzania. The species is listed as Vulnerable because it is known from only two areas, which are prone to fires caused by drought and by humans from the expanding settlements nearby. It belongs to a group of mammals called Afrotheria that evolved in Africa over 100 million years ago and whose relatives include elephants, sea cows, and the Aardvark.

The Fergusson Island Striped Possum is found on only one of the D'Entrecasteaux Islands (Fergusson Island), Papua New Guinea. The species is not well known, but it is thought to be restricted to primary tropical moist forest areas between 600 and 1,000 m altitude. Its presumed restricted range and reliance on a habitat that is under threat from expanding agriculture has resulted in this possum being assessed as Endangered.

The Indri is an endangered primate from Madagascar. It is threatened by the ongoing loss of rainforest habitat to supply fuel and timber and to make way for slash-and-burn agriculture. Hunting of the Indri was considered taboo by many local people (and still is in some areas), but such beliefs are breaking down in many regions and hunting pressure (for skins, which were worn as clothing, and meat) is now quite significant in some areas. It is estimated that the population has declined by more than 50% over the last 36 years.

The Tasmanian Devil is now a threatened species, moving from Least Concern to Endangered. The size of a small dog and found only on the Australian island state of Tasmania, the devil is the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world. The global population of this species has declined by more than 60 percent over the last 10 years due to a fatal infectious cancer. Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), is spread amongst Tasmanian Devils through biting and from sharing the same food. Once infected, the animal develops tumours around the mouth, which interferes with feeding and eventually leads to death by starvation.

The Iberian Lynx has a total population of only 84–143 adults, restricted to areas of Spain and Portugal, qualifying the species as Critically Endangered. The continued decline in the Lynx's population is due in part to the severe depletion of its primary prey, the European Rabbit.

Pere David's Deer is Extinct in the Wild. Known in Chinese as Milu, their English name is derived from the French missionary Father Armand David. The last wild population is thought to have been eaten by troops during the Boxer Revolution at the turn of the 19th century.

The Mallee Emuwren is an Endangered Australian species that is undergoing a very rapid population decline.

Kirtland's Warbler is a species that currently is showing improvement in its Red List status. This species has very specific breeding habitat requirements, which restricts its breeding range to a small area in Michigan's Lower Peninsula, United States. Between 1961 and 1971, counts of singing male warblers declined by over 50%, and this prompted a suite of conservation measures to be put in place to stabilize the population.

The Slender-billed Vulture was once a common species, but in Southeast Asia it declined through the latter half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century; it is now listed as Critically Endangered.

The Cuban Crocodile is a freshwater crocodile renowned for its leaping ability, which allows it to prey on forest dwelling mammals. Relatively small in size, it is also thought to be one of the more intelligent crocodiles. It has changed status from Endangered to Critically Endangered because of population declines caused by illicit hunting. Its meat is used in restaurants and its skin for clothing.

The Radiated Tortoise is endemic to Madagascar and in 2008 its Red List status moved from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered. Historically this species has been quite abundant, often being found along roadways and has served as symbol of Madagascar's south.

The Ploughshare Tortoise was uplisted from Endangered to Critically Endangered in 2008. This species has a very small range, occurring only around Baly Bay in northwestern Madagascar. The total wild population is estimated at about 600 individuals and is declining

Holdridge's Toad is a rainforest amphibian species from Costa Rica that was declared Extinct in 2008.

The Black-eared Mantella occurs in several fragmented localities in east-central Madagascar covering a small area south of Fierenana.

The European Eel has suffered serious population declines and in 2008 it was declared a Critically Endangered species. Since the early 1980s, there has been a decline of 90% in the recruitment of juvenile eels, and in 2001 recruitment was only 1-2% of the pre-1980 level.

The Rameshwaram Parachute Spider is a species of Indian tarantula assessed for the first time in 2008 and listed as Critically Endangered. Found only on the island of Rameshwaram and nearby mainland, the spider occurs in an area less than 100 km2, of which perhaps 6 km2 are occupied by this species.

The Peacock Parachute Tarantula is a very rare, Critically Endangered spider known from a single location in the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh, India.

The Purple Marsh Crab from upper Guinea, West Africa was almost completely unknown to science until recently. Despite a single specimen discovered in 1947, the first living crabs were only collected in 2005 from a small group living in holes in waterlogged farmland.

The Tree Hole Crab was originally known from a single specimen collected in Liberia in 1898, and was not collected again for 90 years until it was rediscovered in 1988.
Danielle's Cabin Crew Blog
Cooking Time
10 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)
2 tbs milk
2 tbs mascarpone
100g good-quality milk cooking chocolate, finely chopped
6 figs, halved

Combine the milk and mascarpone in a small saucepan over low heat and cook for 1 minute or until heated through and combined. Add the chocolate and cook, stirring with a metal spoon, for 1 minute or until the chocolate melts (see microwave tip). Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes to cool.

Divide figs among serving bowls and drizzle with the chocolate sauce. Serve immediately.
Notes & tips

Microwave tip: Place the milk, mascarpone and chocolate in a small heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Heat, uncovered, on Medium/500watts/50%, stirring every minute, for 2-3 minutes or until melted and smooth.

Leftovers: use the marscapone in ham, cheese & chive pasta bakes and sweet polenta cakes with mascapone. use the chocolate in cakes and puddings.

Prep: 10 mins (+10 mins cooling time)
Danielle's Cabin Crew Blog
Preparation Time
20 - 85 minutes

Cooking Time
40 minutes

Ingredients (serves 2)
2 large pears, peeled
500ml (2 cups) red wine (such as merlot)
250ml (1 cup) water
60ml (1/4 cup) creme de cassis (see note)
2 tbs caster sugar
1 x 7cm cinnamon stick
2 (175g each) duck breast fillets, skin on, excess fat trimmed
Sea salt flakes
125ml (1/2 cup) chicken stock
1 tbs balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 160°C. Use a small knife to remove the base of each pear so they sit upright.
Combine the wine, water, cassis, sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Add pears and cook, turning occasionally, for 20 minutes or until tender. Set aside for 1 hour to cool.

Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to score the skin of each duck breast at 1cm intervals. Rub the duck with sea salt flakes and set aside for 15 minutes to develop flavours. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the duck, skin-side down, and cook for 5 minutes each side or until golden. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and cover with foil. Bake in oven for 10 minutes for medium or until cooked to your liking.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pears to a bowl, reserving 125ml (1/2 cup) of the poaching liquid. Place 2 teaspoons of liquid from the dish used to cook the duck in a saucepan. Add the stock, vinegar and reserved poaching liquid. Bring to the boil over high heat. Boil for 3-5 minutes or until reduced by half. Add pears and cook for 5 minutes or until heated through.

Thickly slice the duck across the grain and divide among serving plates. Serve with the pears and sauce.

Notes & tips
You can prepare this recipe to the end of step 2 up to 1 day ahead. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Continue from step 3 up to 1 hour before serving.

Note: Creme de cassis is a blackcurrant liqueur.