I made Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Bacon pie

I have a new American-style cook book. It includes mostly delicious-looking, “normal” recipes for cakes and pies and stuff, which is why I bought it, but then I got it home and had a better look at it and found it included crazy stuff like tomato soup cupcakes.

They do not look like they’d be nice.

However, I found myself intrigued by the Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Bacon pie. The preamble assured that though unusual, it was delicious.

And, it transpired, it was.

It was a pie crust, then a layer of chopped banana, then some chocolate mixed with peanut butter and finely chopped grilled bacon, then custard. You decorated the top with another banana and some more bacon.

PeanutButterChocolateBananaBaconPie

It was pretty great. Though I will probably leave out the bacon next time. Let’s not go crazy, now.

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Almost a year later…

You might remember this post, when I complained about not having enough time in between work, the small child, and dying from various illnesses, to get everything done that I’ve been wanting to. Well, since I’ve stopped being permanently sick (thanks, sinus surgery!), I’ve actually had the energy to do things like go to work, clean the house a bit, and fun stuff, such as most of the things I mentioned in that post.

So, almost a year later — I bring you, the paper fan/pom pom corner!

Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 2.37.40 PM

I was going for something like this, to inject some joy to a boring corner of the lounge room.

If you’re looking to make your own paper fans, they’re ridiculously easy and there are a million tutorials online — for instance.

Pom poms are also stupidly quick and simply to make — I don’t now why people bother buying kits, particularly since I just used the years of tissue paper that have been hanging around in my house waiting to be utilised. This tutorial here is good and the Martha Stewart one here isn’t bad either. Mostly whenever I’m learning to do anything crafty, though, I tend read multiple sets of instructions to make sure I know what I’m doing so don’t ask me which one I learnt from, it was about seven of them.

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Next, the Dandelyne embroidery hoop brooch! It turned out you had to supply your own backing fabric so I used some raw silk I’ve had sitting around for years. My aunt gave it to me when I was a teenager; she was making costumes for The Australian Ballet at the time and it was left over. I used some of it for an art project I was doing and the rest has sat pleasantly on the fabric pile ever since. It was quite nice to embroider into.

The above is actually my second embroidery attempt; I made the design too big the first time around for the decorative hoop (my own fault, I should’ve marked it on the fabric). I’ll have to think of something to do with that one.

The next step was to hot glue the fabric to the centre piece:

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Then, you just glue the backing piece on. My hot glue gun failed me, however, in between these two steps and I ended up having to super glue the backing on. It refused to sit flat after gluing so I had to use the vice:

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Finished! And yes, of course it was bunting. I may have a bunting issue.

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 10.04.05 PMMy child is obsessed with the brooch, btw. “It soft, mummy! It very beautiful! It rolls!” she says, twisting it around and around until she threatens to tear a hole in my cardigan. Ah well.

Finally, kokedama making! Which, like arm knitting, is harder and more annoying than it appears.

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 10.00.19 PMYou need to wrap the roots in moss, then you wrap the whole thing in special soil, then in more moss, and finally the string:

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I want to make a whole bunch of them but it’s been so freaking cold in Melbourne, going outside is kind of horrid. I’ll post a pic of them all once they’re hanging happily from my massive pear tree.

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Surprisingly well-known actors in kids shows

I spotted Emilia Fox (AKA Georgina Darcy) playing a minor character in the re-boot of Grandpa in My Pocket the other day. She was only on for about two seconds but they have her in all the ads. This show is not exactly the best one on telly. So that bit of casting startled me because Fox has been in all sorts of things since appearing in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice and I really would have thought she could have done better than six lines in a bad children’s show. But then, I am often startled by who turns up in children’s shows. All sorts of celebrities do cameos on Sesame Street, from Ice Cube to Nicole Kidman to Michelle Obama to Paul Rudd. But then, who wouldn’t want to be on Sesame Street? I mean, Sir Ian McKellen was on with Cookie Monster, just the other day, looking very awkward: SirIanWithCookieMonster But it’s ditto for the also-awkward Bookaboo, only the guest stars are slightly less likely to be America’s first lady. It’s more Meatloaf and Keith Allen, for instance. Oh, and Sporty Spice. But the recurring roles get me the most. David Tennant, for instance, voices a weird fairy creature in Tree Fu Tom (Grandpa in My Pocket is nothing compared to the badness that is Tree Fu Tom, which has me running to turn the TV off if I so much as hear the opening music. Worst. Show. Ever): The right honourable Stephen Fry narrates (some of) the English version of Pokoyo (fine, I don’t really like this show either, but then, I’m not its target audience): And then, of course, there’s Sir Derek Jacobi and In The Night Garden. In case you’re wondering what a Shakespearean actor sounds like speaking gibberish for the amusement of children, it’s wonderful, that’s what it is: They even used his voice for the toys. I know, because my daughter’s Makapaka doll has magnificently round vowels while it sings “Makka Pakka, Akka Wakka, Mikka Makka moo! Makka Pakka, Appa yakka, Ikka akka, oooh. Hum dum, Agga pang, Ing, ang, oooh. Makka Pakka, Akka wakka, Mikka Makka moo!” Here is a hilarious article I found on the 25 questions you will ask yourself while watching in the night garden. Because you will. Or you might do what I do, which is amuse yourself imagining that the actor inside the Iggle Piggle costume is Jacobi.  Speaking of awesome people who narrate things, Julian Clary narrates Little Princess. I have a tender spot for this ludicrous show. My partner has a theory that it isn’t actually about the inhabitants of a castle at all; the “castle” is a mental institution and everyone there is either a lunatic who believes they are royalty, or an orderly just playing along. This is all part of the show’s charm as far as I’m concerned. And, best for last, Brian Blessed plays Grampy Rabbit in the odd episode of Peppa Pig. I love that show and thank god I do, since it’s my child’s favourite. UPDATE: A friend has just berated me for forgetting all about all the local actors who have appeared on Play SchoolJustine Clarke, Alex Papps, Eddie Perfect, Georgie Parker, Deborah Mailman, Essie Davis (who I mentioned in just my last post), Brooke Satchwell, John Waters, Philip Quast. He forgot about Rhys Muldoon and Jay Laga’aia and of COURSE Noni Hazelhurst but I’ll forgive him just this once… With that I will leave you with Noni reading us all a bedtime story…

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Random sick musings

I am sick again. I’m not super super sick — just some sort of cold I optimistically insist will not move into my sinuses — but it’s the sort that makes your brain all fuzzy, which is not that useful.

I do not have the brain power to finish the six or so half-done blog posts I have lined up in my drafts.

Instead, here are some random sick musings relating to things I have been doing or thinking about.

Anniversaries
First and foremost, today is the second anniversary of the birth and death of one of my cousins. He has a baby brother now. It seems so strange that his baby brother is so much bigger than his older brother ever was, but the death of a child is a bit like that.

Reading
I have been trying to read Church of Marvels but have decided, a third of the way in, to give it up as a bad job. I just don’t care about any of the characters. Also, it’s written in this suspenseful way where time jumps around and backstory is revealed but you’re not sure whose backstory it is; except, because the writing is kind of dreamy, it isn’t building suspense so it’s just annoying me, rather than keeping me on the edge of my seat to find out whose secrets these are.

Watching
person_220x293_essiedavisB
I’ve been catching up on the new Miss Fisher while I’ve been ill. I’ve read every one of the books and thoroughly enjoyed them and the TV series is a lovely sort of supplement to them, even if it’s not quite them. Something that did occur to me the other day, though, which I was very pleased about, was that the Phryne of the books is in her mid/late 20s, while Essie Davis (who plays her in the show), is in her mid-40s. It just makes me happy that they made her older in the TV series as it’s so often the other way around.

I also love the Melbourne locations. Aunt Prudence’s house is blatantly and unapologetically Ripponlea, which I both find distracting but also wonderful. It reminds me of watching Love and other Catastrophes, which anyone who went to Melbourne uni in the 90s spent going “ooh, that’s the south lawn! That’s the law quad! That’s Elizabeth Street!” etc etc

Mysterious
Apparently they made a sequel series to The Mysterious Cities of Gold a couple of years ago. But learning that didn’t quite blow me away as much as finding out that they gave the original series a different soundtrack for the western version. It seems so strange that that iconic score was not the score that Japanese children listened to. While I couldn’t find it anywhere online to listen to, here’s the Japanese version of the opening sequence that someone kindly posted on YouTube.

Wow. Wrongtown.

Go home now
I have been listening to a new band I found, Sparrow and the Workshop, a lot. Their song “Soft Sound of Your Voice” was the first one I heard and it reminded me a bit of Fleetwood Mac and Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”. Here is a fantastic acoustic live version of it that they did for a radio station:

L@tDBL – Sparrow and the Workshop – The Soft Sound of your Voice from Precious Productions on Vimeo.

I might go have a nap now…

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Gin tourism

I’ve decided that I need to go to the Shetland islands. I spent a week running around the Orkneys during a trip to the UK in my younger days, but I didn’t have time to go any higher and I’ve always felt wistful about it. I mean, they have a viking fire festival every January where they dress up like vikings in the day and then burn a viking boat that night, and dance and drink until dawn: Burning (image courtesy of a bloke named Martin Deutsch who kindly shares his images under a creative commons licence and apparently goes to cool stuff) But even more importantly, they have a gin distillery there, Shetland Reel Gin, where you do a two-day course learning all about how they make gin. They collect you from Shetland’s capital and then have to take you via multiple ferries, from what I could see, right up to the most northern island, where they are. You stay overnight at some fancy resort and it all sounds extremely appealing to me. I was telling my cousin-in-law about this the other day, while we were taking out kids to a wildlife sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula that isn’t that far from our place. I told her about my current desperation to go to cold, windswept Scottish islands, and the festival and the many ferry rides it would take to get to the distillery and she pointed out that I can take a damned gin-making course at the Bass and Flinders distillery without having to fly half-way across the world and take fourteen ferries. It’s just not the same. If the gin were the point, I could just buy a make-your-own gin kit and do it at home (I was going to write “or even set up my own still” but I just googled and making your own spirits from scratch all seems a bit fiddly for me. Like the time I made mozzarella). Perhaps I could stay slightly closer to home and go to the one at the McHenry Distillery in Tasmania. Which is also on my list of distilleries to possibly visit on islands. Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 8.52.22 PMIn the meantime, I think I’ll just drink this bottle of gin that my cousins bought me. Night night.

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Japanese poetry in honour of my various aches

I think I’m heading into the whingey part of being poorly after my sinus surgery. Here is a haiku in three parts, in honour of all the places that I ache.

SickBentoSakurakoKitsaBoth of my eyebrows
My right cheekbone and temple
My jaw and my teeth

My hair kind of hurts
And my nose, obviously
My neck isn’t great

Sometimes my eyes hurt
And the roof of my mouth, too
Ah well, could be worse

(“Sick bento” pic by Sakurako Kitsa on flickr. Thought it was fitting)

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Antonio D’Agostini

I pulled some of my old storybooks out of storage a few weeks ago, since my child has embraced Disney with open arms but hasn’t actually been given any traditional fairytales (we’ve been reading her a lot of Dr Seuss and Hairy Maclary).

Luckily I have at least four copies of each story in my possession, someway or other (well, and a bunch of academic titles on the subject since I did my honours thesis on children’s literature, but she can’t have them).

I always loved these two — the most ginormous versions of The Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. The illustrations, by Antonio D’Agostini, were just fantastic — enormously 70s, but just fantastic.

I’ve been having trouble finding out much about the artist, so he clearly wasn’t a big deal, but he left an impression on me. Hopefully these will help somebody somewhere googling him (or somebody somewhere googling him who knows more will be kind enough to leave a comment).

The Sleeping Beauty Antonio DagostiniThe Sleeping Beauty Antonio Dagostini the fairiesThe Sleeping Beauty Antonio Dagostini Aurora

The Sleeping Beauty Antonio Dagostini i shall save you

I AM SUCH A HERO LOOK AT MY WHITE HORSE ALSO I DON’T LOOK AT ALL LIKE THE VILLAIN FROM HIGHLANDER

The Sleeping Beauty Antonio Dagostini married

LOOK I SAVED HER AND NOW I LOOK A BIT LIKE KEANU REEVES

Snow White Antonio Dagostini

Snow White Antonio Dagostini Queen

The Evil Queen always has the best outfits ever. It’s in her contract.

Snow White Antonio Dagostini Here lies a kings daughter

“Ooh, what an attractive corpse, can I have it?” “Sure thing, mate.”

Snow White Antonio Dagostini I found a girl

“She woke up, yay! Now she’ll be much easier to carry! Bye, little men!”


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