Saturday, November 28, 2009

Australian roast and Mayonnaise

I love old recipes and making things that people of previous generations make. When I make one, I feel connected to the past and the people that have gone before. I feel that, even thou I might not have known them personally, or know their name, in a way making their recipes ensures that they arn't forgotten, and that their work continues on.

In a way, things like cooking and knitting connect me with the past and with hundreds of generations of women who's lives were sort of like mine. If you strip away the specifics, most people live very similar lives, searching for happiness, working to put food on the table and a roof over their heads, having family and friends and all taking the journey of life together.

Using old recipes and patterns, old skills and techniques, ensures that there is another generation keeping the torch alive and passing it on. Just like before.

In the spirit of this, I'm going to share two recipes, one my grandmothers (Australian Roast) and one my great grandmothers (Mayonnaise). A few years before she died, my grandmother sat down and wrote out as many vegetarian recipes as she had handy, most were either her recipes or one handed down from her mother and grandmother. This tiny, spiral bound book is where I'm getting today's recipes from. I'm sorry to say however, there are no photos for this post, my camera batteries have died.

Australian Roast
(I'm not sure why this is an "australian roast" but that's what it's called in my book)
1 cup of haricot beans (can use lentils or other beans)
1/4 lb grated cheese
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1 grated carrot
1 egg

soak beans overnight. Next day pressure cook beans 1/2 hour (if you don't have a pressure cooker, you can boil then simmer them until tender) Strain and mash well, add all the other ingrediants. Mix with egg. Shape into a roll, bake in a moderatly hot oven 1/2 hour.
X Good. (my grandmother always rater her recipes so she could remember her favorites. I've seen it range from no note, through Good, X Good and XX Good, so this one's pretty high on the rating scale. At least one of my sisters has continued this tradition in her own recipe books.)

My mother's Mayonnaise, keeps 12 months or more
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons mustard
2 teaspoons flour
salt and pepper

mix all together

add 1 cup of water and 1 egg.

Beat all together well. Gradually add 1 cup of vinigar, heat until nearly boiling, stirring constantly. DONT LET IT BOIL

That's where the recipe ends, but to finish off, let cool a little then pour into sterilized jars.

There's so much good stuff in that little cook book, I'd love to make them all at once. Reading the writing and thinking about the food she used to make puts me straight back into her kitchen with the dark brown wood paneling on the cupboards and the drawer she used to open to tell us how she used to keep this drawer full of plain flour and this drawer full of self raising flour because that was the amount of baking she used to do. Her kitchen was mostly brown and orange and was filled with little trinkets of who she was and where she'd been and I loved it there. She was one awesome old lady.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

how awesome is this?

found down an alley
in the CBD

There's something so sweet about it!

I've been making a bunch of props for next year's Halloween show, and I wanted to share a couple with you...

One dark night, the moon got tangled in a tree...

A wizard with his bubbling cauldron. I love the use of stuffing as the steam!


We're not sure if this is The Devil or just a little devil minion from Hell. But I'm sure we'll figure it out or he'll let us know.

I'm such a fan of these guys... And each new one I make becomes my new favourite, so I chop and change all the time. There's currently 13 of them, which is a perfect time to stop and share a couple!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Little Owls

I've suddenly found I have an obsession for owls. It's a strange way to find out. I suddenly look around at the little guys I've got and what I love looking at and find that many of them are owls.

Damnit! I don't need another obsession, I've got quite enough, thank you!

However, having said that, I just finished my practicum at a primary school that had, as it's little mascot, an owl. I discovered this on the first day and took it as a Good Sign.

So I wanted to thank the two teachers that mentored me over the past month, so I made them both, you guessed it, little owls.

I wanted them both to be different, so I started with the one on the left, cutting out the individual feathers. It has wings too, you can see the wing on the right best, sticking out a little. Although I was happy with it, I felt I could do an owl a totally different way to see what happened. Thus the guy on the right. He looks a little like a tree is growing out the top of his head, but it's part tree and part feathers and I like the fact he has both. Bird and Habitat in one.

Side view, including tail!

The cool thing is that the second guy, the Tree Owl (ahaha, how great is that) sparked the next play! So I've been sewing like a whirlwind, and I'll put a couple of guys up as I go, to show you all. I'm really proud of the guys I"m making, they're ace!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Quick Draw McGraw

When you're 20 minutes away from doing a lesson on shadows and you suddenly realise it's the perfect time for a puppet, you race around the classroom collecting various supplies. Thin card, a ruler, some split pins and some sticky tape. Some creative cutting and about 2 minutes and voila, you have a perfect illustration of the lesson you're about to give!

It went over really well, the kids loved it! Thinking maybe I should do a lesson on shadow puppets at the end.

Since the kids know I make puppets they've taken to bringing in puppets they have at home, both store bought and hand made. I've seen a sugar glider hand puppet, koala and emu finger puppets and the hand made sock puppet. Since they didn't have any glue, this displays awesome use of sticky tape to hold the yarn hair on:
Out of all the puppets they bought in, this one was my favourite. Also a good use of a single sock when it's pair goes missing in the wash...