Thursday, April 10, 2014

zombie gnocchi

In Dusty Cookbook Number 4 the gnocchi looked like this ...

After having that Masterchef moment of "crap, not enough time to get this finished properly and get kids washed and into bed before we all turn into hysterical monsters" - I'm sure that was on an episode somewhere….

I added buckets of extra flour, swore and wished I had a back-up plan.
I didn't.
So I dropped spoonfuls of the incredibly sticky, pumpkin goo into boiling water and crossed my fingers.

We ate this
It is now known as "Zombie Gnocchi".

Everyone said it was nice - in a "screwed up nose, don't offend the crazy lady" kind of way.
No-one has requested a repeat performance.
Perhaps some recipe books get dusty for a reason.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sweet Dreams

A few months ago, after having less than sweet dreams, our smallest suggested that she needed a dream catcher. I like how she thinks.

We looked at some amazing ones on Pinterest and decided that we could make our own.

Prior to this activity I hadn't really considered that when we do craft it is usually an all in affair.  Generally all 3 kids are in on the act for craft.  Whilst this is great, I hadn't really noticed the absence of one on one craft time - especially with the smallest kidlet.
The older two weren't interested in making dream catchers so this became a smallest child and Mum only event.  I realised that we don't do this very often.  Miss small doesn't often get Mum (or Dad for that matter) to herself.
The dream catcher experience was great for both of us and is something I will consciously do more often with each of them.

I love that we had lots of discussions about materials and ideas as we wandered around Spotlight together.  I let her choose all the components that she felt would suit her dream catcher - although I did suggest that the large, expensive and quite heavy crystal beads might be better for someone else's project.
I love that we discussed the options of using an embroidery hoop or a cane ring - she decided on the cane ring.
I love that she considered different colours, textures and all sorts of additions … some of which after purchase didn't make the final cut.  She creates like her mum and will probably have cupboards full of project "extra stuff" when she is older … just like her mum.

There was a lot of winding and making it up as we went along.

She is very happy with her creation which, if you look in the centre, includes her version of a volcano - just in case any nasty dreams try and sneak through.

It is now hanging over her bed and she tells me she is having sweet dreams…. in her own bed all night.

We're all happy.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dusty Cookbook Number 4

Ok so the wheels may have fallen off ever so slightly…
I did say I would do a new Dusty Cookbook every 2 weeks.
This is book number 4 and we are in April - so not quite going to plan.
Ah well, never mind.
We'll just plough on, shall we?

This is our "Dusty" number 4, complete with dirty sticky marks on the front cover which means that at some point it was loved and used … that would be before babies when cooking was a fun adventure!

Now I tend to cook dishes that:

  • feed the majority of tastes at the table, 
  • provide minimal groaning and tantrums, 
  • take the least amount of time,
  • can be created with whatever is left in the fridge that is still edible.
(maybe I should be meal planning ????)

This lovely birthday present was from a beautiful girlfriend when we both lived in Melbourne in 1999.  Now I'm in Perth and she is in New Zealand - Em, I miss you xxx

The book is by Donna Hay and has some good, quick recipes together with a couple that just don't work.
Sorry Donna but it is true.
Even my Mother In-Law who is a genius in the kitchen agrees that the Baked Raspberry Cheesecake on page 174 is a dud.  She has tried it twice and I've tried it once and neither of us could get it to set.  Just a friendly heads up for you in case you want to try it.

As winter sport gets into full swing here and the Mum's Taxi service hits peak load, I need quick and easy so I'm hoping this book may give me some new options to throw into the mix.

Have you dusted off an old cookbook for inspiration lately??
Are you a "Mum's taxi" driver too??
Jenny x

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cath's Little Brown Book

One of my fellow Blog With Pip girls, Rachael from The Bowerbird Girl, did a fabulous blog post on a  photography book she made through Blurb, which has prompted me to share with you my little Blurb book.

Last year after googling how to make my own cook book I discovered Blurb - I had never heard of it before.  (Oh by the way this is not a sponsored post - good lordy I'm sure they don't even know that I exist!)

My Mum had a cookbook that she wrote some of her favourite recipes in.
She'd had this book ever since she was a very young lady.
Now that Mum is gone, this recipe book is very special to all of us.
How do you share a book between five siblings who would all love to have it?

Last September I borrowed the book for a couple of weeks and scanned every page, every hand written note and every splat and stain.
And I smiled, laughed and cried … and cried some more.

I found recipes tucked in the back in my grandmother's hand writing - a lovely lady who died when my own mother was only 19.  Such neat, delicate twirly letters that probably gave Mum comfort as they were placed carefully in the back of her book.

I gathered together lots of other recipes that were distinctively Mum - the desserts and cakes that we have grown up with.  The family food traditions that we loved and now share with our own families.
We found photos - lots and lots of them - that showed all the different phases of our lives with Mum and they were all scanned too.

All of these images, scans and recipes were loaded into the Blurb software to create "Cath's Little Brown Book".
A beautiful hard covered copy was printed for each of my siblings and given to them at Christmas on what would have been Mum's 70th birthday.  A very personal memento of life with a lovely woman.

If you have a special person in your life with a special cookbook I strongly recommend doing the same - it was simple, only as time consuming as you want to make it and the quality of the end product is beautiful.

I only wish that I had thought to do it when Mum was still with us so that she could share in the process and tell us the history behind some of the recipes.

And here is what is left from yesterday's batch of (great) Aunty Melva's Afgans (recipe above - bake for about 10 mins).  I'm trying very hard to leave them for the kids after school … but they keep calling me … and they're sooo yummy …


Friday, March 21, 2014

being kind

The other day I read Kate's post (at Foxs Lane) and I have been thinking about "kindness" ever since.
Being nice and being kind does make people feel good.
If you do it you feel great.
If someone is kind to you, you also feel great.
There needs to be more of it - just little random acts of kindness, every day.
Sometimes we all just need a little reminder - a little push in the right direction.
Thanks Kate.
Have a lovely weekend people and may it be full of acts of kindness and good things.
Jenny x

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A quirky little bag

This quirky little bag now lives at my house.
It is one of MANY quirky little bags that used to live with my Mum.
I was voted "sibling most likely" and was given this quirky little bag - Mum's cotton crochet bag.
Have I mentioned that I really struggle with crochet ?????

There are some half finished projects in here that are begging to be completed.
They will be waiting for a while as my clumsy stitches aren't yet worthy of the teeny tiny cotton and the smallest crochet hooks I've ever seen.
So small that I need my nana glasses on to even see the hook.

There are also many pattern books.
(This quirky little bag is like the Tardis!)
Some books I remember from the 1980's.
I also found this lovely little surprise.  I think it was my grandmother's.

I love that it was published in 1931!

This quirky little bag makes me sad, happy, proud and warm on the inside.
This quirky little bag is a very special thing.
I am in awe of her skills.

Why am I sharing this quirky little bag with you?
Today the last of all the things that happen when someone's life ends, happened.
The files and folders were closed and it is now over.
To my beautiful brothers who were executors, thank you for doing such a brave and fabulous job for a brave and fabulous woman.

Love your people, people.
I'm off to try a bit more crochet…
Jenny x

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tea Time With Pip

Today we're playing with Pip.

It is Tea Time.

Grab a cup of your favourite (mine today is T2 Creme Brûlée - it is really good!), take a seat, I'll pass around the banana bread and we can get to know each other.

I'm Jenny.

Wife, Mum, Friend, Sister, Maker, Cleaner, Driver, CEO of all matters relating to the house & family.

I grew up in a big family (I love them all to bits!!) on a farm in southern NSW.
I married a lovely city boy that I pashed at uni.  Who would have thought that a gazillion years later we would have a family and be living on the other side of the country???
Last year we moved from Melbourne to Perth for the Mr's work and are slowly finding our feet here in this sunny (and sometimes ridiculously hot) city.
I chase 3 kids and a smelly old dog.
Favourite Craft?  That question is way too hard. How do people choose a favourite anything?
(Can you tell I'm not a great decision maker?!?!)
I sew aprons and kitchen bits and pieces for my little Ohjoh shop.
I started quilting a couple of years ago and have made 7 quilts to date.  I need to start another. It is quite addictive and therapeutic.
I knit a little and I'm slowly trying to learn how to crochet.
I try different things from time to time and have lots of "crafty stuff" hidden in a cupboard.  If my husband is reading this ..."This is not the cupboard you are looking for"… (insert Jedi type hand wave here)
I blog because I like it.
The ohjoh blog has become a little record of what I've made over the last couple of years - and I think that is quite nice.
There are heaps of blogs that I love to check out.
Some are creatively inspiring, some are motivating and some are just fun.
There are some amazing people out there doing fabulous things.
If you don't know these guys already why don't you try:
Meet me at mikes
Foxes Lane
V and Co
Patch Andi (our kids did swimming lessons together some years back and Andi introduced me to the world of blogs.  I didn't even know what a blog was - Thanks Andi, you are a very clever cookie! xxx)
The Design Files

This list could go on and on but I will stop here.

How about you? I've done all the talking and haven't let you get a word in.
Tell me about yourself …

If you would like to get to know some other Blog With Pip people check them out here with their cups of tea.  They're a really lovely, friendly bunch of clever ladies.
Some of them even have cake.

Jenny x

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mum, I think I really need a pillowcase ...

It gets hot in Perth.
Our doonas (or "duvets" if you live a long way from us) have been packed away for months.
Most nights you don't even need a sheet.
So my kids have just sheets on their beds.  Their quilts sit on the end of their beds purely for decoration at this time of year.
The second child said "Mum, I think I really need a pillow case to match my quilt so that when I make my bed…" I did snort at this point in disbelief.  I didn't think she understood the concept of making her bed.  She continued, "... I want it to look nice and match my quilt."
Fair call and ooh, another project.
Fortunately I am a terrible over purchaser of fabric and we had enough in the stash left over from her quilt to make a matching pillowcase.   Double sided of course so that it matches both sides of her quilt.
She is happy but I doubt she will make her bed.
The pillow will look nice on the floor surrounded by or most probably buried under 10 year old girl "stuff".
The same 'stuff' that was discretely shoved sideways so as not to be in the photos.
It almost looks neat and tidy doesn't it ??
Smoke & mirrors ladies, smoke & mirrors ….

I'm now off to make one for the other girl-kid so she feels loved too.

Jenny x

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dusty Cookbook Number 3

At last … a week late, oops … here is the next cookbook in the Year of the Dusty Cookbook.
This is a lovely book that was a gift from a sister many years ago.
I have only used it a few times but everything was delicious.

It has such lovely photos, such a great philosophy … 
Kid no. 2 (also known as the carnivore) may not be very thrilled as she has a bit of an aversion to fruits and vegetables.  Ah well … tough …

Have you chosen your next book yet?