Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mini Pancake Stack with Caramelized Fruit #pimpyourpikelet

My friends call me the Pikelet Queen. Partly because I'm fabulous at making pikelets, and partly because sometimes it's the only name I'll answer to.

I make pikelets all the time. I think they are a supremely underrated snack and I'm going to do my best to remove the stigma that pikelets are plain. I'm creating the #pimpyourpikelet series. Hold on to your seats, folks, this shit is about to get delicious (and just a little bit wanky).

The other week I wanted to make a dessert that was easy but pikelets just didn't seem desserty enough... so I figured if I pimped them up by chucking a bit of fruit on top, layered those buggers up and called them mini pancakes they'd be perfect. As if by magic, they became 300% tastier and when dusted with icing sugar the wank factor went through the roof. But we all still know they're pikelets!

Mini Pancake Stack with Caramelized Fruit aka Pimped Pikelets!

1 cup SR flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 egg
3/4 cup of milk (though you might like more if you like thinner batter)
Fruit in season, sliced thinly
Brown sugar (optional)
Icing sugar for dusting
Salted butter for greasing the pan before each batch

  • Place a pan over a medium heat to warm up - this ensures you don't have the dreaded dodgy first batch!!
  • Sift your flour and baking powder together in to a bowl, whisk in egg and milk until a smooth-ish batter forms.
  • Melt a small amount of butter in the (now perfect temperature) pan then use a teaspoon to gently drop dollops of batter in to the pan. If you can make the dollops the size of the fruit slices you'll get bonus points.
  • The perfect time to place the slices of fruit on the pikelet is between the sheen on the batter starting to dull and bubbles forming. Too shiney and it loses shape, too bubbly and all the air has escaped and they'll be heavy. You want light and fluffy. Practice makes perfect and I'm more than happy to come over and test the results to let you know for sure that you got it right. Ahem.
  • Sprinkle the tiniest amount of brown sugar on the fruit if you want. I did on half of mine and found that with the fruit I was using (plums) that it really wasn't needed.
  • Flip that sucker over and let the heat go to work on the fruit, making it all melty and caramel-y. Keep an eye on it and when cooked, probably between 20-60 seconds depending on how thick your batter is, whip it out on to a plate.
  • Stack those suckers up, dust with icing sugar and BOOYAH!

The salt from the butter mixes with the sweet from the caramel to create the fabulous sensation that is salted caramel. The burst of soft fruit flesh and the cushion of dough? Droolworthy, people. Droolworthy.

Go forth and flip those suckers and let me know how you go! Tag #pimpyourpikelet if you want to help me raise awareness of this very serious issue. Go the dough!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Les Miserables Perth Review

This is a C2 post
For full details please see my disclosure policy

Look dooooooooooooooown, look doooooooooooown. Oh. My. Theatre. Gods.

I went to a preview of Les Miserables with Aunty Penny last week and we were absolutely blown away. I'm still listening to the soundtrack on repeat in my car every day, fantasizing that I'm in the chorus. A lot of people pretend they're the leading roles, but not me. The chorus has such ripper songs in Les Mis.

If you've always thought about going to a musical, stop thinking and book tickets to this now. NOW!

This is one of those shows where it is definitely worth reading a synopsis first because it makes it a lot easier to follow. So what happens?

There's criminals, breaking parole, fake identities, illegitimate children, prostitution, arrests, death, abuse, street gangs, love triangles and more death. That's just act one. Act two has insurgents, spies, a huge battle, a suicide, an estrangement, a wedding, blackmail, a reunion and more death.

It is riveting stuff and I was mesmerized by absolutely everything. For starters, the sets were amazing. After being part of my school's crew for the Rock Eisteddfod in the early 90s and painting about three pieces of canvas, I have a real appreciation for set work. *cough* In all honesty though, I do check out sets and love how multifaceted they can be.

This version of Les Mis used projection on to the back of the set to change locations and to show movement, and many of the images were actually paintings by the main man himself, Victor Hugo. I think the projection could have easily been over done, but it was understated and I really loved the extra dimension it created. The march? Oooooh. The suicide? Woah.

The entire cast was outstanding, but the Thenardiers stole the show. And I'm pretty sure they, um, simulated oral sex at one stage! I KNOW! I was so surprised, as were quite a few people who saw it judging by the laughs and squeals. Such hilarious characters that you love and hate at the same time. Aunty Penny is a huge fan of Lara Mulcahy who played Madame Thenardier, and almost fainted when woman herself tweeted her.

Towards the end of act one the singing gave me goosebumps and I very nearly cried. Yes, I'm one of those people who get so emotional during momentous musical numbers that I blubber. The score is just so moving, so not gonna apologize for that.

If you get the chance to see it, you absolutely must. It's showing in Perth until the end of March and then moves on to Sydney. I'm seriously considering going again because I loved it so much. You can find more information here.

Have you seen Les Mis? Are you a musical theatre fan?

Friday, January 16, 2015

"Mum, what does motherfucker mean?"

I try reeeaaaalllly hard not to swear in front of my kids. It does happen though, because I'm human. A very sweary, quickly frustrated human who says fuck a lot. But I try really, really hard. 

When talking to friends with any kiddies within earshot I will drop out the swear sounds but still mouth the words or spell it out, but at home I say things like fuuu...dge and other such completely un-fucking-satisfying words.

After 7pm, when my babes are (usually) asleep, all the suppressed curses come bubbling to the surface. Every bloody second fucking word is a shitty swear. See? It's as if my body has a natural quota of swearing that must be completed by the end of the day or I'll turn in to a pumpkin or something.  

I grew up with my Dad making up huge sentences of just swear words when he was angry, but after getting a smack for saying fuck when I was three, I didn't swear again in front of my parents until I was an adult. Now they are subject to my foul mouth as much as anyone else because I figure they taught me, they gotta hear it. 

I used to swear a bit in front of Tricky when he was little, and because he was speech delayed and wouldn't say boo, it went on for quite a while. One day he piped up from the back seat with "bitch" and it put an end to the 24/7 trash talk pretty quickly.

Bobbin, on the other hand, is a parrot. She has been talking our ears off for months; we lost count of her words somewhere around the hundred mark. She will repeat everything she hears. EVERYTHING. Though not always 100% correct, so when she grabs your hand and pulls you to floor and says "sit"... well, yeah. She's constantly telling people to shit and I'm hovering around saying "SHE MEANS SIT!" 

Tricks is very in to words now; how they're spelled and what letters make what sound, and is always quick to ask what different words mean if he hasn't heard them before. It's led to some interesting conversations, "Mum, what does motherfucker mean?", being the one that has stuck in my mind the most (and never got an answer other than the ol' it's not a nice thing to say cop out), but other than that, he's not generally a swearer. Plus he is a bit of a tattle tale when he hears other people swear, and tells me or takes it upon himself to tell them off. "Nanna, that's not a nice word!". 

When you combine these two with a mother who was sleep deprived from looking after sick kiddies all night, the following happens:

Me: *dropping carton of milk * "Fuuuuuck!"
Bobbin: "Fuck!" 
Tricky: "Mum, Bobbin said fuck!!! Bobbin, fuck isn't a nice word, you shouldn't say fuck."

Great. We've all dropped the F bomb in the space of three seconds. 

We have adopted a variant of @emmasbrain's rules of swearing with him. Our rule is he can swear in our car, singing along to songs if it just us there. It's worked pretty well and I try to have songs without swear words whenever possible, but he is really in to anything Macklemore ("I rock that motherfucker") and his favourite song is Uptown Funk right now ("I'm too hot, hot damn!"). Though damn isn't really a swear word, it still sounds a bit wrong coming out of his mouth, so I count it as one now.  

I put the call out on Facebook for sweary stories and laughed my ass off last night reading them all. Here are some of my faves:

So my kids are not the only ones who swear sometimes. PHEW. And 60% of my readers are called Emma. Wait, what?

Tell me your sweary stories!

Monday, January 5, 2015

An Open Letter to Nine News Perth

Dear Nine News Perth,

Today was an absolute STINKER of a day. But you know that, right?

It got up to mind melting 44.4 degrees. But you know that, too, right?

I know you know because in the ad breaks of this afternoons movie you kept telling me. Funnily enough, I actually worked out that it was hot all by myself. Being covered in sweat despite sitting under a fan was a useful clue.

My issue, and the catalyst behind this open letter, is not to just faff on about the weather or even the triumphant return of Liam Bartlett whose sultry tones can talk to me about anything and I'd still enjoy it, but rather to complain. Because what good is an open letter if you don't whinge, amiright?

You see, my kids were watching the 1pm movie. Well sorta. The big one was, the little one was running in and out of the lounge, asking for food and, at one point, trying to sit on the dog. But I digress.

It was too hot to let the kids go outside past 7:30am (I know this because that's the time we left the park) so I let my four year old watch a movie on the couch after lunch.

We flicked through the channels to see what was on, and the straight to DVD classic, Free Willy: Escape from Pirate's Cove, caught the preschooler's eye.

Brilliant! He can enjoy the mish mash of CGI and green screen with the "acting" of Bindi Irwin and I can feel smug in the fact that I can almost chalk this up as educational TV time. Orcas and conservation FTW!

Then your ad came on.

Immediately, horrid images filled the screen. Houses on fire and smashed cars. We heard that many houses had been destroyed; the car crash was fatal.

I get you want to advertise, and that's just dandy, but because you placed these awful images in the ad breaks of a CHILDREN'S MOVIE during the SCHOOL HOLIDAYS I'm now having to explain to my petrified four year old that (fingers crossed) our house isn't about to burn down and we won't die in a pile of twisted metal on the way to pick up his Dad in the afternoon.

Did you know a lot of preschoolers can be a bit obsessed with death? So it's not that I've got some morbid little freak here that is on his way to becoming a psychopath, it's a stage of development and they want to know what happens. Usually I can field his questions with age appropriate responses, but it makes it hard when you're showing everything but a dead body.

I figured that maybe it had been put on in error, but the ad kept coming on. Three times that I'm aware of - after that I managed to get there in time to flick channels during the ad breaks in an attempt to not further traumatize the kid who insisted on finding out whether Willy was freed. I kept watching to be chief channel flicker and to find out if Willy ate Beau Bridges. One of us was right, but I don't want to spoil it for you, so I won't say any more.

I don't let my kids watch the news because they don't need to see or hear about the horror in the world. They know bad things happen, but right now the most horrific thing in my four year old's life is not getting a new dinky car at the shops. He's little and I want him to retain that wide eyed innocence for a while longer before full time school, or rather recess and lunch, helps whisk it away. So pretty please, Nine News, if you're going to put on ads during a movie aimed at children, please consider that children might actually be watching.

Yours sincerely,


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Make a personalized Christmas card, they said...

It'll be fun, they said.

It'll be cute, they said.

You can even do it yourself, they said.

Yeah, right.

See, "they" forgot to mention a few things:

  • one year olds don't take direction very well
  • four year olds get bored when the one year old is mucking around
  • baubles can and will be used as projectiles
  • someone will cry (it might be you)
  • props will be knocked over and broken
  • you will bribe them to stay still
  • at least one of them will have closed eyes in about a quarter of the photos you take
  • their young ears may be subject to a few muttered swear words
  • they'll do something cute but because you're just using your phone, it will be blurry
  • when one is looking adorable the other will be mid-sneeze or have a finger up their nose
  • out of 4,382 photos, only three will look somewhat acceptable
  • you will need a stiff drink after

Cameo from our Colzart Duxzart Christmas Duck.
Merry Christmas, gorgeous people of the Internet. Those are my three somewhat acceptable photos. You're welcome.

Note to self: start saving for a photographer for next year's card.


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