Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Seriously, a week!

I got some big balloons the other day, with big sturdy rubber bands on them. I thought the boys would like them. I didn't realise just how much...

This smart 14 year old has been playing with his balloon for a week. A week! I won't tell you who he is, to protect him from embarrassment. Let's just call him T Laing.

Friday, 17 February 2012

I can Herve That!

Want to see an awesome chocolate mousse? Sure you do!

This is a recipe from Herve This, a molecular gastronomy maven (he's mates with Heston Blumental). The mousse is made of chocolate, water, and ... that's it! It's all in the method.

Here's the recipe - very easy to do.

The recipe asks for fancy schmancy 70% chocolate, but I used this unpretentious but servicable 33% milk chocolate - came out exactly as moussy. VERY super sweet though. Quite a rush to the head. Definitely worth thinking about the darker chocolate for next time.

Now we must move on to the presentation. The little pots - well, I bought them in Paris. With yoghurt in them! Yes, the nicest yoghurt in France comes in gorgeous earthenware pots. We brought six home!

Then there's the teeny little chocolate bar. Oh, I do love a nice chocolate mould.  I saw these in Paris too, but didn't buy one at the time. They are made by Silikomart.Thought about it some more, and bought one just this week in Melbourne.

So there you are, probably enough showing off about a nice pudding for one night.

Monday, 13 February 2012

How to make a monocle (but not why)

Following the success of the fabulous magnifying glass, I made a pair of monocles for the boys. Yes, monocles. What of it?

I used cardboard, painted streaky brown, a wood grain stamp, various circle punches, and acetate for the "lens". And an eyelet. Neat, huh?

Lord Jonathan considers.

And Lord Thomas ponders.

Spot the Narwhal

Thomas and Jonathan had a birthday the other day. They made a list of treats they would like for dinner that night. I endeavoured to provide some of them. One item, though, was asterisked* and noted as essential! It was "Narwhal-based entertainment".

I had to think long and hard about that, but finally the idea came to me. A special game of "Spot the Narwhal!". This birthday card featured a number of perfectly ordinary whales, and only one narwhal. It came with a magnifying glass (magnification x1) to do the spotting with. It was a great success. In fact, the magnifying glass got detached later in the day and used as a monocle!

There it is!

* like this

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Go see the Strandbeest!

It's loose in Fed Square! The Strandbeest is on display, and intermittently walking. Better still, there's a smaller Beest that you can push along. These fabulous works are on display all this month, so don't miss them!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Planet of the Apes - the undiscovered sequel

Fans will be excited to know that the already-crowded Planet of the Apes universe has another element. For Jeff's recent birthday, one of the presents was a DVD set of all the early Apes movies. As I wrapped it, I read the blurbs to the boys, and they were excited! When I suggested we do something creative (like nice birthday cards) they were already creating a stop-motion animated film. No, epic!

It took most of the day. There were story boards, stop motion shoots, special effects, dialogue recordings, sound effects recordings and of course a fancy cover! There is a montage too.

There's even a blurb:

"Totally a real movie"
"What makes a Planet of the Apes film better? A HUGE EXPLOSION!!! WOOOOO!!!"
"A dramatic and unexpected climactic finale to the Planet of the Apes saga"
"It's definitely a legit end."

Viewers may find some aspects of this film challenging, particularly the appearance for no reason of monkey pirates, the ninja, and the fact that the main human character is a mime. We can put much of this down to the fact that Lego is such darn'd fun to play with.

Happy Birthday Jeff, enjoy your movie.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The royal cupcake fleet

We also made cupcakes. The goal was, they should be Pirate Cupcakes. I found an idea for cakes with sails, and let the kids loose on sail decorating. We ended up with The Royal Elephant, the Less Royal Rhinoceros, some Pokemon characters, some Portal scenes... It was quite inspiring.

Easter Island Birthday Cake!

This is the birthday cake I made today - those excellent Easter Island statues are, of course, chocolate (filled with ganache), and the ocean is made of two shades of blue jelly. The one spanner in the works was... Thomas took one look at blue jelly and didn't fancy the idea. So we kept the ocean on one side of the island only, and employed a Lego minifig to help set the scene. Pretty nice. Stay tuned for the next installment - we also made an armada of boats. Or is that flotilla?

Monday, 6 February 2012

Somebody's been googling on MY computer...

... and I can tell, 'cos they've used a different browser.

Ah, teenagers. It could be worse.

Round and round they go!

Tiny kids better stay off, cos my big kids are on the roundabout! We went to Riversdale park, one of the few playground destinations we are still up for.

Oh, and there were some tiny kids there, and we gave them lots of turns too!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

This year's tomatoes

This year I'm growing Tigerella tomatoes (check the link to see what Diggers Club says about them).

I bought eight healthy seedlings at a school fete in October, and planted them in big pots on Melbourne Cup Day (that's when Melbournite have to plant tomatoes, you know).

They survived us going away, and being watered by our lovely neighbour. They've been watered by the kids a few times (trying to get them into the habit - it's not a hard chore). And now each day I'm picking a few more of these gorgeous stripy tomatoes. Total cost of project, now that I have tall the pots and trellisses - about $4.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Steeped in Steampunk

Steam what? Steam-punk? What is that? Oh, it's an artistic and lifestyle movement that's been going on for yonks, but it's so hot right now. Catriona and I just got the bug. We've smashed up some clocks looking for cogs and stuff. We went to see Hugo (that is WAY steampunk, and a top flick too). But mainly, I sorted through the Lego for a Steampunk Kit. With it, I made this - the Steampunk Pizza Drivethrough!

Here we see Lord Fotheringale in his steam driven Navigator-Mobile 3002. But inventing all day is very hungry work, so he's arriving at ...

Master Percy's Esteemed Pizza to the Gentry, (serving the Steampunk community since 2012) where even the chefs wear goggles.

And let's just get one more look at Lord Fotheringale's vehicle - yes, that all seems to be in order. Damn fine. He was in the military, you know.