Friday, February 26, 2010


I am on a self imposed cook book ban. I love cookbooks. Flicking through them, admiring the photos etc. But- I have enough. Particularly because these days when I want a recipe, unless it's an old favourite, I often head off to google. So while I was carrying a copy of a Marie Claire 'Fresh and seasonal' (or something like that) book around the op shop yesterday, I was having stern conversations with myself
"Cookbook ban",
"But this one is lovely"
"They are all lovely"
"Particularly lovely. And Cheap"
"No where to put it"  It went on.

I won (well, I was always going to, one way or the other, wasnt' I!).
I put the cookbook back where I found it. And just look what I found when I did so-
The great thing is, I don't class this as a cook book, I think of it more as a history book. My history- so the ban didn't even enter my head (hmm, shady ethics?!). 
What a treasure (a $1.99 treasure too, and in great nick). Yes, I have very happy memories with this book. My mum still has her copy but her pages are all stuck together through years of use and spilt eggs, milk, flour and I shudder to think what else. You see, this was the first cake I learnt to cook by myself
I still use it (but have changed the method, now I melt the butter and whisk it into the milk, eggs and vanilla and add it to all the dry ingredients and beat it with a wooden spoon. It takes a while to cook but not to make. Melt and mix as they say. And if I want a coconut cake? Omit the cocoa, add custard powder in its place and a swag of coconut, Great. Berry cake? Same deal. Versatile I am telling you.
So I have been looking happliy through this book and remembering. My parents 80's dinner parties where I always wanted to be able to waitress, mum would spend a day cooking and a day cleaning I reckon. There was laughter and much hilarity from the adults. They sat in the dining room and had the 'good' dinner set (which isn't as posh as it might sound!). On a good night mum had made this (or her variation there of) and there were leftovers

She never made pancakes and deep fried them (batter dipped in batter and deep friend is weird, don't you think?). She made the pancakes and stuffed them with that filling, heated them up and then poured over that sauce. Mmmm, mmm.
We have a disappointingly small (that is being positive!) space for dinner party hospitality, and it's not really part of my peers' culture as it was for mum and dad - but gee, now  I feel the need to instigate a return to bombe alaska and devils on horseback!

Some curiosities about this book
many many recipes feature alcohol- cointreau, grande marnier, rum, brandy, creme de menthe- whatever- but more than contempary cookbooks I'd say.
I wonder if it was published at the dawn of emerging wholemeal flour awareness- because there are also a fair number of recipes that include that partiular ingredient.
It had sections on 'recipes for slimmers, cooking for a crowd (funny massive casseroles), how to carve 'the Christmas turkey', beverages (includes a few cocktails), confectionary- ahh, what an all rounder.
Other ingredients that I have noticed popping up abit 'instant coffee powder', 'solid white vegetable shortening' and lots of cream.

Ahhhh, what's to complain about the 80's (okay- point taken, the fashion wasn't a highlight!)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Round the grounds

I assume it's not good manners to complain that I had written an extremely witty and engaging post that blogger refused to publish because of something to to with 'meta' and lots of characters all in a row. So, now I am over the witty-ness and you'll just get the same stuff I usually serve up here! I will even try and hold back the frustrated tone.
I wanted to follow up with some things I have mentioned before-
the 3 little piggies continue to grow and be funny and cute (despite their unnerving ability to detect my close proximity and give a mightly muddy head shake at about the same time

The zucchini situation has slowed and now look what we have a glut of
My friend Tan faces a similar situation and she has directed me over here.
That will be handy because it doesn't take much to get sick of my eggplant, potato and chickpea curry (no matter how fantastic) or Cam's current 'signature dish' eggplant parma.

My herb garden- remember I promised it would eventually look better- well, I haven't even done the bulk of my planting, that will happen in Autumn but I had to show you the lemongrass which is 'totally' going gangbusters (yes, I 'totally' live with a 7 year old). The lemongrass is at the back. I have to think of a good way to protect it in case winter ever comes.
The preserves cupboard is looking healthier, to come to our aid during leaner times in the garden
top shelf- tomatoes (more to do on the weekend), bottom shelf-grape juice, beetroot, sweet chilli sauce, red wine jelly, wholegrain mustard (didn't grow the seeds), honey, apricot jam, tomato relish.

And the dog. I still love having a dog. I never knew it would be so good. Pippi the superstar

I have finshed my cuppa, finished this post, now I am off to enjoy the rest of the day. Hope you enjoy yours too.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The buzz

It's good, isn't it, when you get to tick something off your list, project completed. You (well, I, in this case) get the happy and proud buzz. I got it last night. I have been working on this quilt for a while. 

I decided it would be my project for Carolyn's January challenge 'Something for me' (which, I guess was meant to be finished in January). It had a few new challenges in it for me- making 'real bias' bias binding and sewing a curvy border. Okay for a first go, I reckon. Would have been better if the curve was symmetrical- I might have those perfectionists of you out there cringing (sorry about that). 

A lot of the fabrics are from the Urban Chicks '1974' range- I like that bright colours but muted sort of look. I also loved working with super Ric Rac for the first time. I spent ages quilting it. I like a bit of a scrunchy quilted look, so knew I would have to do a fair bit of quilting for that, I think I ended up over quilting the squares and under quilting the circle blocks. 

The pattern was inspired by one out of Homespun magazine sometime last year.
The other thing I did was finally send off my January swap for Crafty Mamas- the theme was 'a kit'. So I sent my lovely swap partner some stuff to make a couple of sock puppets, a panel for a shirred top/ dress or skirt and an oven mitt. She's moving soon, so will be looking for something to do (yeah, right!). It was good to get that posted, I had been procrastinating for ages.
I finished these napkins- not that we really use napkins but I like the idea of this fabric being a constant presence on my table. I think it's an echino (wonder if that's right) fabric in double gauze. So very soft and lovely.

So those are some of the things I have been up to. I haven't taken a photo of the tomatoes yet, but we like to do at least 52 fowlers bottles each year, allowing for 1 a week. So fare we have 34- I think we will be doing a bit more tomato processing on the weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


"Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity"- okay, so that's what i have been doing lately as I read others blogs happily whilst not draggng my sewing machine out (STILL organising cupboards and craft space). Getting inspriration! (that would be stimulating the feelings rather than being spurred into activity).

I was trying to explain blogs to my friend this morning and I found myself becoming all passionate and animated- like that feeling when you have two friends that you think would like each other but they haven't met. There's this one and this one, and she's really friendly (funny, clever-whatever) oh, and I think you would really like her! Then my friend said 'but how do you know about them', which I was thinking about and laughed and said, well, often word of mouth really- someone will link to someone elses blog and of course the 'blog roll' thing. So- I just wanted to say thanks to you bloggers who I read for introducing me to your friends. I do like lots of them!
I have got things to 'show and tell' but just no photos yet, there's the 'something for me' January challenge from Carolyn (okay, punctuality isn't my strong point), my quilt for Cheryl's 40th, and a ridiculous amount of cut out projects which don't require much time to finish... so come back again, wont you!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The energy crisis

 I have been feeling like this.

Doing abit of this

Hopefully working up to abit of this.

Okay, not 'the' energy crisis. My energy crisis. I don't have as much energy as I would like. Gee, it frustrates me, I have lots and lots of ideas about the things I want to do and achieve and then I find myself heading off for a nap and end up  just dreaming about them.

It's been that way for quite a few years now, and some times are worse than others. My health is effected by the weather changes, I seem to get sore and fatigued with changeable weather- which has been this week (no, really, I am not complaining about the rain- it was fantastic). Often, (largely I would hope) I am okay at managing it and working with it, but every now and then I get thrown- like the past few weeks- so now I am playing catch up and chasing my tail and (thankfully) settling back into routine.

Some friends are great at 'getting' this - they are the no pressure, no expectations supportive types, like the newly 40 year old who, when I had to leave birthday lunch with her today because I felt myself 'hitting the wall' said, when I apologised later, 'no worries, you have to do what you have to do'. How encouraging for me to continue to be 'real' with her.

I have had guilt trips ('you really should', 'just push through it', 'come on, just get over it') sort of thing- that's less helpful (I would if I could, I promise)! It's just that I am abit like Snoopy.

(the back and white Snoopy pictures are from here)

My idea this year is to get into a bit of a bloggy routine and blog on Tuesdays and Fridays. I haven't got a great track record for 'routine' but change is possible! It's Saturday night, so obviously that plan is off to a great start.
Hopefully it wont be so long next time...