Thursday, February 27, 2014

Recipie for Disaster

I am the most atrocious cook. I am severely culinarily challenged. I could burn ice cubes. This is a simple fact of my life that has turned me into a complete Food-Preparation-Phobic.

I swear I get cold sweats contemplating making sandwiches.

I don’t like to watch either; I never tune in to cooking like shows My Kitchen Rules. I mean, what on earth is the point of watching other people cook stuff if you don’t get to enjoy the taste? It’s no different to watching other people shop. Why, bother when you don’t get to try the clothes on or wear the shoes?

But I am an awful cook. I hate spending longer making something than it takes to eat it. And double the preparation time cleaning up the mess. I don’t do mess. I have a six-year-old to do that for me.

My biggest culinary catastrophe was years ago. I decided to make Rock Cakes. Well I guess on one level I was quite successful; as I bit into one I broke a filling. They were rocks all right.

So I did what people used to do with food that’s not up to par, I gave one to the dog. My lovely German Shepherd sniffed it, poked it, decided it was not food and preceded to play football with it. He picked it up and tossed it around, chasing it, chipping paint as he went along and eventually he took it out to the yard and buried it.  Yes my stillborn cookies needed a swift burial. After my flat-mate, who ironically happened to be a chef, threw one across the room and nearly broke a window, all the rest went in the bin.

I remember one other spectacular disaster, when I ruined something I’d made successfully many many times – Pizza. I used my Nanna’s scone dough recipe, for the base, which had always worked beautifully in the past. 
It was my first invite-for-a-casual-dinner, with a guy I really liked. I was so confident in my tried and true recipe; I even bragged to him how good my pizza was.

Now there’s a word.

To this day I don’t know what the hell went wrong, but I created the most incredible pizza-flavoured slop ever. It was like a casserole that had been squashed flat by some enormous anvil dropped from the top of a skyscraper. I can’t remember what happened to that guy, if he didn’t die of a stomach ulcer, he probably found himself a nice little Nigella Lawson type and never looked back.

Fortunately my Mr Frenchie is all gourmet and he enjoys cooking enormously. I still can’t figure out why anyone would spend two hours making a sauce then tip most of it on the garden. But last time he made an authentic French reduction sauce, it was so incredible the poor dog licked the dirt till his tongue was coated in tan bark. 

But after all my heinous history with cooking I still try and I have found some recipes (if you could call them that) that even I can’t botch.

Fool proof (and I have proven myself a fool around food.) meals that on a good day can impress guests:

Check out my new page CULINARILY CHALLENGED COOK or even my old page: LUNCHBOX LUXE

I can't believe I'm posting recipes now, it's like I'm turning into some Salvador Dali surreal version of Martha Stewart.

Another linky with Multitasking Mummy: a woman who's cookies never break windows!

Another Confessional Linky

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Coming Unstuck

For a Valentine’s Day, this one definitely lacked Hallmark moments:

I'm kneeling in the carport holding strips of dowel onto a timber board while She-Who-Worships-Pink (and screams a lot apparently) is throwing the mother, father and fairy godmother of all tantrums.

I have Araldite on my hands and I'm pretty sure my fingertips (or at least my finger prints) will become part of the disabled ramp that I'm trying to throw together between school pick up and swimming lessons.

Pinkster is screaming at me from inside the house; 'COME HERE!!!!' and I'm screaming back; "I TOLD YOU. I .CANT. RIGHT. NOW!!!"

The neighbours must be about to come outside and check on us, I'm sure - except for Evil Mrs Bates next door (now there's a woman you don't want to put a shower curtain between you).

Miss Pink, my screaming banshee, is in a mood. She wants me to come and admire some outfit in a Barbie catalogue but I told her the ramp is a priority and we can look through the catalogue together later. I am SO unreasonable at times.

I explained to her on the way home from school; "Buddy is coming out of hospital tonight and he needs a ramp to get into the car because mummy can't pick him up."  Speaking of 'Picking up' it would be handy in crises such as these if Mr Frenchie could pick up his phone.

So the deal is this; if I can't get the dog in the car without breaking my back and popping his sutures, he can't come home. And that would break everyone's heart.

Pinkster's sobbing; "you don't love me anymore" and in a fit of rage she takes my Valentines card she just made at school and throws it in the kitchen bin. I don't see this little drama till later because, you guessed it, I'm still bent double on the carport floor waiting for the glue to stick and finish the damned ramp.

In the end we got to swimming lessons, got the ramp finished, tears dried, the Valentine card retrieved from the bin and Mr Frenchie on his way.

Ramped up and ready to go
 Between two of us, we managed to get Pinkster out of the pool in time to collect poor Buddy from the Vet, where he’d had three lumps (all benign) and two abscessed molars removed.

Buddy (now the most miserable dog in the world) and I have both enjoyed better Valentines Days, I have to tell you.

I’m really starting to think though, that I need a daily dose of epoxy resin myself because I just cannot believe how my days can become so badly unglued.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

She's not wearing THAT!

I find it terribly uninspiring to be creative with the sewing machine when I have a house load of builders, plumbers (WHY CANT THEY GET PANTS THAT FIT???) and stonemasons.

Being a bit of a D.I.Y junkie, I just want to get in the mix and start drilling, painting, scraping at stuff. Last night after I bathed She-Who-Worships-Pink, in the almost assembled bathroom, I let Mr Frenchie put her to bed and ten minutes later he found me on my knees with a file digging at the old grout around the tub.

So up until now, my end of week finishes (aside from my tax), have been to hang two venetian blinds, cut down and fit some pelmets and clear out Pinkster's craft/homework desk (that was an hour right there). Oh yeah and rig up a small mirror on the back of her DVD player shelf (so she can use the remote control from the front of the screen).

Message to designers of Portable DVD players around the world (well China mostly); if you're going to be all clever pants about designing a flip around screen, make it so you don't have hold the remote at the back to have it be of any use at all. PLEASE.

By the way, if you have this problem, a small mirror pulled out of  an old compact and some Blu Tack will sort you out in a jiffy!

But necessity (for sewing) struck when a note from school announced this year there will be two sport uniform days. We have only one and I made it so I needed to make another.

My first visit to the uniform shop confirmed the necessity to tailor Pinkster's sport shorts; the tops are fine but-the-bottoms...

They are wider than they are long - each leg is like it's own lampshade and the waistband is more crushing than a Boa Constrictor even on the skinniest child.

My other problem is that they are indeed shorts and poor Pinkster with her eczema inflicted knees, needs more cover.  So I took my old faithful pyjama bottom pattern, tapered the legs and made these cute little stretch Capri Pants. I used cotton-rich heavy jersey fabric. Breathable enough for summer but thick enough to protect those knees.

I love this pattern block because there are no side seams which makes it super-fast to sew together. I cut the latest size mid last year but I need to grade it up again and make the next pair a bit bigger all round . This girl is growing fast and no child of mine is going to have her rear-end poking out over her waistband.

The bathroom's being finished on Monday which means I'll have the plumber trundling through at 7am. Maybe I should ask the him if he'd like me to sew him some comfy work pants, ones that cover his decolletage des fesses.

Oh and speaking of unsightly cracks, :0) does anyone out there know of a good product for mending cracked porcelain tiles? The stone mason did a whoopsie.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Stinky Pact - a retro post

Pinkster and I have made a pact; she cannot kiss any boy on the lips until her feet stink. And she has to go wash them first while she has a good think about it...

I would say 'not to kiss any boy at all - period' but she is half French so there's the double cheek kissing stuff going on and she has male cousins. She also takes this stuff SO literally.

So during one of those meandering discussions that I get roped into (like the petrol thing) ; Pinkster contorted herself into some sort of advanced Yoga stretch, sniffed her feet, and then asked me why only grown-ups have smelly feet. I told her that when you grow up your feet and your armpits get smelly.

It was bath-time and we'd just been watching Cinderella that ended, as all Disney Princess movies do, with 'the kiss' and 'the wedding'.  
The kissing and marrying thing has become another minor obsession, thanks to Walt Disney. (And to think we'd been concerned about Barbie movies).  

So she's in the bath chattering away about when she gets 'maaa-ried' and does kissing and I tell her;
"Not until you're grown up, my darling."
"Not until my feet stink?" she asks.
I have to laugh,"And your armpits too," I say.

She giggles and splashes around hunting for the sponge. "I'd better wash my stinky feet first.." she chuckles.
Sometimes we are so in sync with each others thoughts it's scary and both using our 'silly voices' we say pretty much the same thing at the same time:

"No one wants to kiss someone with stinky feet!"

"Or smelly armpits" I add, holding my nose.

Then she cracks up - laughing that laugh that comes right up from her belly and gives her hiccups.

Bath-time is often a kind of hostage negotiation. Nights like this it's a total riot.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tooth Fairy's brush with Inflation

We have another Oral Obstacle. When did wobbling and lost teeth turn into some kind of weird competitive sport?

I swear, a kid at school will lose a tooth then strut around the asphalt, with an entourage, like they've just won the spelling-bee. Crowds gather and they regale them with stories of how long it wobbled, how it finally came out and how much the tooth fairy thought it was worth.

Yes apparently there is also stiff competition over what the Tooth Fairy decides the teeth are worth too. According to this article ,by Joseph Pisanti, it's not only inflating Tooth Fairy payouts, but it poses a  self-esteem risk as well.

One of our school-mums (excuse me - tooth fairy representatives) left $10 under the pillow of her child. I wanted to thump her, when she told me, for the idiotically inflated precedent she's set.  

But that's nothing; according to Reuters, Tooth Fairy inflation has ‘gone wild’.
In the US the national average, as of August last year, was $3.70 per tooth, up 23 percent in a single year and 42 percent in just two years with younger parents often giving $5 to $20 a tooth.

Any wonder Miss Pink's been so impatient for her teeth to fall out.  Since her first kindy friend lost a tooth last year, it seems like most of her class started this year with mouths full of new teeth and pockets full of money.

Pinkster asked me just yesterday if the Tooth Fairy is strong enough to carry a Barbie Doll. I guess she can since Joseph Pisani's article above mentions a child who got an antique typewriter! Begs the question 'why?' but clearly the Tooth Fairy may be be small enough to creep under children's pillows but she's clearly no slouch when it comes to the heavy lifting.

During our recent trip to Kyoto, our scheming little girl spent one day wandering around the temples and bonsai gardens gnawing on a toffee apple, inspecting it after each bite.
We didn't get what she was doing until she gave a very loud, exaggerated sigh and complained;

"I STILL don't have a wobbly tooth."

It will happen when it happens but when it does, rest assured, our tooth Fairy will not be leaving tenners (or typewriters) under Pinkster's pillow.

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