What does the last of the housewives do?

Month: April, 2013

Raisin Bread in the Thermomix

I know you were all dying to hear about how the Verdi went. I’m feeling a bit conflicted about it. On one hand the orchestra and choir were superb, apart from that bit where my friend and I came in two beats early. Hopefully only the tenors in front of us noticed, but they’ve assured us they’ll never let us forget it. On the other hand the tenor soloist may need surgery. So I’m going to tell you about raisin bread instead.

I’ve just got the third loaf of raisin bread this week out of the oven. My kids have only started eating my bread since I’ve been making it in the Thermomix. I think it does a much better job of kneading, as I get bored very quickly, which means that it rises properly. I’ve also invested fourteen bucks in a high sided loaf pan as it sometimes droops over the sides of the smaller one, giving a slice that doesn’t quite fit in the toaster.

I’m weighing the yeast on a conventional scale because I don’t really trust the Thermomix scale for twenty grams. It’s a bit blasé down that end. So weigh out twenty grams of fresh yeast and bung it in the jug. Add a quarter of a cup of sugar, half a cup (or 130 grams) of buttermilk (my new favourite bread making ingredient) and a cup (or 250 grams) of water. I like to give it a five second zap at this point to mix all that together. Add two teaspoons of mixed spice and six hundred grams of flour. Zap it for about thirty seconds on speed four or until it looks like it’s trying to escape through the lid. Then you put it on closed lid position and press the interval setting and have it go for three minutes.

Pull it out of the jug and place it in an oiled bowl. Cover it with a tea towel and stick it in the oven with the light on. When it’s doubled in size, knead in half a cup of currants and half a cup of sultanas. Place the dough in a lined loaf tin.

I’m actually using golden raisins until I can get back to Honest to Goodness and get some of their delicious sultanas. Poke those suckers in, they try to escape. Put it back in the oven with the light on until you can see the loaf rising over the top of the tin.

Brush the top with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for ten minutes at 220 degrees, then turn the oven down to 180 degrees for another thirty minutes or until it’s all brown and delicious looking.

That’s breakfast sorted.


Back on my Feet

Many of you will know I have just gone through the fairly minor, in the scheme of things, inconvenience of having my foot in plaster for six weeks and therefore having to get about on crutches. Goodness me it’s been an interesting six weeks. Here are some of my observations.

The first is that I must have heard from every single person in the Inner West that has ever injured themselves on the lower leg. Or knows someone who has. If I ever see anyone on crutches, no matter how curious I am, I shall just mutter “tough luck” at them and move on. I have in the past had a giant neck wound, jaw to collarbone, and had no one say a word, just a horrified flick of the eyes. But someone on crutches seems to be just holding a sign saying “I’m not moving fast, so tell me all about how much better European crutches are, how long it is since your knee reconstruction, what a dangerous sport rugby seems to be, how terrific online supermarket shopping is these days (it isn’t), and how exactly your grandmother fell down the stairs”. It didn’t bother me too much, besides the unwanted human contact (character building), but I found it to be a fascinating insight into sociology. I guess because it doesn’t look life threatening and in general people want to connect, so that’s nice. I just wish the explanation of my injury could fit into one sentence, or could be printed on a small card.

My blog has come up as a suggestion for someone asking the question “how do you shower with your leg in plaster?” and the answer is that you do it on one leg. Try it some time, it’s a lot harder than it sounds. It’s also the answer to “how do you cook dinner”, “how do you use stairs”, “how do you feed the cat” and “how do you get the kids out of bed” with your foot in plaster. Actually, stairs are the worst. I can now hop down them, but the only way to get up them with your foot in plaster is on your hands and knees. It’s quite a spectacle. Also, feeding the cat on one leg results in a cat with rather a lot of kangaroo meat on his head. He didn’t seem to mind. I’m sure the kids will be relieved to be woken up with the traditional pat on the head rather than crutches to the solar plexus from now on.

The thing I have missed the most this last six weeks is being able to carry things. Any good housewife will tell you that you don’t walk anywhere in the house without something in your hand, clothes to put in the wash, rubbish, a bottle of water to tip on the head of your barking dog. There has been none of that. Anytime I wanted to fetch something I’d have to do it with a handbag around my neck, which doesn’t work for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, let me tell you. The biggest impact was that I wasn’t able to put on a wash. So I’ve had to put up with no separated washes and everything going in the dryer – it seemed to be enough of a strain on everybody to have to deal with this daily task without me shouting at them that they weren’t doing it right. The first thing I did when I tottered home from the sports doctor with my freed foot was to get myself a takeaway coffee and put on a dark wash, which is now hanging in the sunlight. I may even go soak some tea towels in Napisan in a moment.

It is going to be a bit of an effort not to get out and rejoice in the return of my foot, but I’ve used up my physio on my health insurance for the year, so I’d better take it easy. There is a noticeable difference in the sizes of my calves, but the doctor assures me that will return to normal fairly quickly, especially as I won’t be hopping any more. I think I shall go and hunt for all of my right shoes, that shouldn’t be too taxing.


Neil Perry’s Prawn Wontons in the Thermomix

Just so you don’t roll your eyes, this one can also be done in a blender. No matter what you think of his ghastly hairdo, Neil Perry can certainly give you a fair indication of what should go into a wonton wrapper and he shared a tasty looking recipe in this week’s Good Living which I immediately sucked into my recipe app. I don’t really have my Asian palate going yet, so I’m still taking fairly careful direction on ingredients.

First you collect your ingredients. I put the following in the Thermomix, two cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of dark soy sauce, a teaspoon of sesame oil, a centimetre of sliced ginger root, an ice cube of coriander chopped, a green onion chopped, about ten centimetres off the end of a stale bread roll and a pinch of salt. I zapped it to form a paste. Then it was suggested I add a one hundred gram tin of water chestnuts. I had a two hundred and thirty gram tin (which I actually had to open with a can opener!), but when I weighed the chestnuts they came to about a hundred and twenty grams, so put all of that in. Also put in three hundred grams of frozen green prawns, I really must thank Daniela for making me buy a kilo bag of frozen prawns, it has been so handy. The Thermomix made short work of that, but unless you’d like your blender to take a short holiday back to the land of warranty you may wish to defrost the prawns first. I only put it on speed five for about twenty seconds, I didn’t want a mush.

I happened to have a packet of Double Merino wonton wrappers in the fridge. I wonder what they mean by double merino? Twice the sheep? Anyway, despite the packet saying contains forty wrappers, only thirty two transpired, meaning either I’m not very good at peeling them off, or they’re selling them by weight. Thirty two was the perfect amount for a heaped teaspoon of filling each.

Neil Perry suggests moistening the edges of the wrappers with egg whites before pressing them together. I think this means that he has a kitchen full of slaveys, so I just went with fingers dipped in water. I got a kind of technique going in the end.

It only took about twenty minutes to fill them all, maybe less, I had a phone call from my in laws in the middle of my production line. Now the question is how to cook them?
I’ve only got two options open to me at the moment, as I’ve run out of spray olive oil. I tried frying them first in peanut oil. I generally don’t do this because I never know what to do with the excess oil afterwards. I shall try pouring it on the annoying weeds that infest the side of the house.

They kept their shape and were cooked through and pleasingly crunchy. I thought that the filling was a little delicate for this kind of treatment, so I had a go at boiling them.

They’re not terribly visually appealing this way, but I like them better. I think the best way would be to spray them with oil and bake them, so I’m storing most of them in ziplock bags for another time. I feel like it could have done with a little more prawn, so next time I might increase it to five hundred grams (and make sure I have enough wrappers), or reduce everything else. The biggest surprise was that they didn’t fall apart with either method of cooking, they really make those wrappers tough and are clearly made for people who don’t have kitchens full of slaveys, but can only dream about it.

In Defence of Classical Music

The Moose is studying electronic music at school which has resulted in not so much a discussion about music, rather just me giving him a diatribe about how very very much I loathe and detest and abhor that garbage.  “But Mum”, he said.  “Electronic music was a revolution.  It meant that people with no musical training or skill were able to make music”.  He may have touched the heart of why it’s so crap.

My testiness has increased because the greasy young man that lives next door is rather fond of electronic music,  which has enabled me to pinpoint exactly what it is about it that irritates me so much.  It’s the repetition.  Doof doof doof derdoof, doof doof doof derdoof, for four, eight, sometimes sixteen bars with only minor variations over the top.  Some may find that soothing or hypnotic, especially if they’ve suffered a traumatic injury to the brain stem or are on a certain class of drugs.  It affects me like a tiny flying chainsaw trying to very rhythmically escape my skull from the inside.  It makes me want to smash things.  Like next door’s sound system.

I will agree that classical music can be a little inaccessible, and there is a reason for that.  The kind that you go and hear in a big venue is very complicated.  It has been written by men (generally, there’s a whole other discussion) who have studied music for years and been immersed in a classical music culture often since birth.  It can only be performed by musicians who have dedicated much of their lives to training on their instrument.  Listening to it takes commitment.  If you are planning to go to a classical music concert, and like all music (except electronic) it’s better live, listen to the pieces first a few times.  The first listen will be a big blah of louds and softs and you won’t like it a lot.  Gradually the patterns and the shape of the piece will become apparent.  Then every time you hear it performed you’ll find something new in it and it will totally capture you.

My theory is that the kind of music most people listen to needs to be turned up loud because that’s the only way you’re going to be able respond to it – if it’s actually making your head vibrate.  If you’re listening to classical music your brain will be so busy following the melodies and counterpoints and dissonances and filigree that you can be engaged with it without having to annoy the neighbours.  Most popular music is like junk food.  Easily consumed, easily forgotten.  There’s a place for it in your diet, but if that’s all you’re eating you are missing out on those ten course banquets that are the classical canon.  Yes, you’ll need to educate yourself a bit to appreciate it, but it is so very much worth it.

My favourite way to interact with classical music is to be involved in a performance of it.  My choir (Sydney University Graduate Choir, click here) is performing Verdi’s Requiem next Sunday at the Sydney Town Hall at 3pm.  Google it, you definitely will have heard the second movement.  We’ve been practising it for months, and we’re now in my favourite bit where I know the piece so well that it is swirling within me all the time, not so much an earworm as an entire worm farm.  I can’t imagine how my conductor must be feeling, he has to get to that point before we start rehearsing, then spend a few months extracting from us what he’s already hearing in his head.  On Sunday I’ll be one of a three hundred strong choir, contributing my voice to a piece that is sometimes sung in eight different parts, sometimes in a gentle intense unison, sometimes screaming hellfire, sometimes a delicate lullaby.  I can’t wait.  If you can get there, book a ticket now (Ticketek and Seymour Centre), there are a few seats left.   It will be an amazing experience for the audience, but even more so for the musicians.

Buttermilk Bread in the Thermomix

I have finally made a bread that the children will eat. I’m pretty good at making a worthy bread, all dense and full of seeds and activated currants and what have you. But my white bread also has traditionally come out a bit worthy, dense with a very crunchy crust. The kids just refuse to eat it. Even if it’s the only bread on offer they’ll eat almost anything else, corn crackers, cucumbers, expiring grapes, seaweed. But this bread came out light and fluffy and everything they’ve ever wanted in a bread. I’m not sure where they acquired this bourgeois taste in bread, but I may have to cull their friend lists.

It’s a recipe straight out of the Thermomix cookbook and I didn’t even tweak it much. Place in the Thermomix 180 grams of buttermilk, 200 grams of water, 20 grams of fresh yeast, a couple of turns of the sea salt grinder, 500 grams of flour and 10 grams of oil. I think the reason they put buttermilk in a few of their recipes is because you can actually make your own butter in the Thermomix, and you have buttermilk left over. You’d better believe it’s on my to do list.

Put the lid on and mix for five seconds on speed 7. Yes, it does sound a little arbitrary, doesn’t it. Set the dial to the closed lid position and knead for three minutes on Interval speed. And that’s one of the many annoying things about this recipe book, the basic white bread recipe calls for half that kneading time. A focaccia recipe (seriously, is anyone making focaccia? Where’s the Turkish bread recipe?) gives a two minute knead time. Inconsistent.

The dough is very sticky, I floured my hands before scraping it out. Place it in an oiled bowl and leave it in the oven covered with a damp tea towel with the light on for about half an hour, until it has doubled in size. Sling it into a lined loaf tin and back in the oven with the light on. I don’t cover it at this point, because I like to hop past and see how it’s going. This loaf rose a lot more than my white bread usually does. I baked it at 180 degrees for about forty minutes, you tap on it when it looks brown and it should sound hollow when done. Just look at that crumb.

I baked it yesterday afternoon and it is still soft and delightful today, another win over my usual recipe which goes stale almost immediately. It makes an excellent piece of toast.

One of the many things the kids have against home made bread is that they have to cut it themselves. It’s almost like living in the salt mines of Siberia, such a heartbreaking amount of manual labour. It’s got to be a good sign that even the Horror from Outer Space is chopping off chunks of it and eating it unadorned. “How is it?” I ask him. “I guess it’s OK”, he said, spraying me with crumbs. Praise indeed.

Thermomix Caramel Icecream

“You know,” I said to the Horror from Outer Space as we sat companionably at our local, The Hungry Grasshopper. “I can make ice cream in the Thermomix”. “You should make caramel,” he said, looking up from his caramel milkshake. “Not long ago you could only get strawberry, vanilla and chocolate milk shakes. Caramel is making a comeback”.

Well, it is one of my favourite flavours too. I like to do my research first, and there seems to be a canonical caramel ice cream recipe for the Thermomix, the Salted Caramel Maple Syrup ice cream recipe. I had a big lurk in the forums, and there were opinions on the saltiness, the sweetness, the richness of this recipe. I took all of these into consideration and came up with the following.

First, you make the caramel. Put 250 grams of brown sugar into the Thermomix and zap it on speed 9 for thirty seconds. The recipe actually said raw sugar, but I didn’t have any. The forums also suggested rapadura, but I don’t know what the hell that is, but filed it away with aged rice as something to investigate for the future. Add 50 grams of maple syrup, 50 grams of unsalted sweet butter and two teaspoons of vanilla extract. I checked back to very original recipe and it said two teaspoons of vanilla bean paste, which is a bit more intense and I did happen to have it, so that went in. Put the Thermomix on Varoma temperature, whatever that is, and cook it on speed 1 for fifteen minutes.

Then you add either two teaspoons of sea salt if you do actually want it salty, or a couple of grinds of the salt grinder if you don’t really, or you don’t have an over salted palate. Have a guess which way I went. The recipe also suggests 500 grams of cream and 100 grams of milk. Looking at the number of forum comments suggesting it was a very rich recipe, and looking at the vanilla ice cream recipe in the included recipe book, I went 210 grams of cream and the rest full cream milk (ie 390 grams). Beat on speed five for thirty seconds.

With the beater still going, reduce it to speed four, then crack into the hole in the lid four eggs, one at a time. Once again taking the advice of the forums, cook at speed four at ninety degrees for six minutes. That’s your custard, pour it into a metal bowl and bung it into the freezer.

Apparently after about four hours it should be firming up. Mine is just going frosty about the outside, but once it’s relatively firm you spoon it back into the Thermomix and zap it on speed 9 for thirty seconds. The idea is to break up any ice crystals that are forming, a smooth mouth feel is caused by very tiny ice cream particles. I think you could probably repeat this step until you get a desirable consistency, but from what I can see once should be enough. Everyone has had a taste and it does seem that it may all be gone by breakfast time. The complexity of the flavour can be demonstrated by the husband’s question which was “does it have coffee in it?”. It doesn’t taste burnt, but the flavours have blended so that you can’t pick one out. I wouldn’t have picked that it had quite a bit of vanilla in it.

I am somewhat tempted to spoon it into the iceblock moulds while it’s still sludgy, but for this experimental run I may desist. It is taking longer to freeze than suggested, but the numerous tastes that have been taken have reduced the volume somewhat so that should speed it up. I like the adjustments I’ve made to the canonical recipe, my family’s palates aren’t ready for the extra salt and I think the full complement of cream would have been too rich. I am rather excited by the plethora of possibilities opening up now that I can make ice cream. Not that I eat ice cream, oh no.


Roasted bits of Goat

I’m taking advantage of the absence of the Muffet to cook one of the many species she objects to us eating. Actually, I’m not sure how she’d feel about this one, having a bit of a hate hate relationship with the goat that resides at pony camp where she spends as much of her holidays as she can. He’s one of those narrow eyed goats that likes to sneak up on horse mad girls and butt them in the butt, then retires to snigger into his beard. Eating him may be taking revenge too far for her.

My favourite butcher stocks goat, and not only that, it’s all chopped up into manageable sized pieces and lavishly marinated. Actually, hacked up may be more accurate, in the kilo bag I bought today there were all varieties of rib, a chunk of thigh and what may have been a bit of rump. Perhaps they’re training their apprentices on the goat. I’ve been trying to pick what’s in the marinade, I could see dates and dried apricots and pine nuts and I’m guessing olive oil and a Moroccan spice paste. Half the price of the lamb, so I’m not complaining.

They suggested slow cooking the goat, and it’s getting to be that kind of weather. I packed the pieces into a frying pan and browned them first.

Then I put then in a roasting pan and covered it with foil. That went into the oven on 140 degrees for two hours, then I turned off the oven and let it sit for an hour.

You have to know your audience. This will be consumed by a man who has just come in from an hour and a half of coaching soccer to twelve little boys who haven’t seen each other for days in the dark and cold with the wind coming straight off the bay. He doesn’t want to muck around picking fragments of meat off bits of bone and sinew, he want to shovel it in while it’s hot, preferably accompanied by a large glass of red. So I picked the meat off the bones, and there was more than I expected.

It’s only by an iron exercise of will and a handful of cooking chocolate that I can stop myself from a fairly large scoff of this stuff, it’s delicious. Dark, tender, flavoursome. Not gamey, more like a beef shank or cheek than anything I can think of. I was planning to serve it with couscous, spinach and feta, as being culinarily related, but it’s too salty to put with feta, so I’ll leave that for another day. Not that I usually mess with presentation, but I think if I cook the couscous, then stir through some baby spinach and diced red capsicum at the last minute with the reheated goat on top it will look rather appetising.


Furry Waistcoats will Never go out of Fashion

Some years ago I was out shopping with my sister and we noticed that many shops were stocking furry waistcoats. I love a waistcoat and love a bit of tactile stimulation, so tried some on. One I particularly liked had a price tag of $150. “One hundred and fifty smackers!” I cried. “For that I’d make my own!”. And with the sunny reliance on my competence that characterises my family, my sister replied “As if you would”.

I’ll show her, I thought. I got myself up to Spotlight and bought some of their finest fake fur, a waistcoat pattern and even some interfacing, just in case. And then I was rather inconveniently diagnosed with cancer and rather lost concentration for a bit. A couple of years later I started thinking about that waistcoat again. They still hadn’t gone out of fashion. I got out the pattern. I boggled quite a bit at the amount of tissue paper involved and all the numbers. I put it away again. Then last year, you may recall, I was coerced into making Roman Soldier costumes for the school play from a pattern and after the initial two weeks of migraines it really wasn’t too difficult. Today I found myself with a whole afternoon with no one in the house to demand stuff of me. It was time.

The pattern looked a lot less intimidating this time around. I got out the fur, dug out some left over satiny material from making the Muffet’s swimming carnival cape, laid it all out and started cutting. Of course a project of this type needs some helpers to stop the material from flying away.

The fur proved surprisingly easy to sew. I’d pinned and sewed together the eight pieces in less time than it took to cut them out. Of course unpicking the back two sections to sew them on the right way up took a bit of time, but we got there in the end. I could actually wear it just like this.

But I’m going to do it properly with lining, here it is in pieces:

I’ve put that together too. You then put the shiny side of the lining to the furry side of the waistcoat and pin it together. I’ve just started sewing that up and after bamboozling myself over whether I’m going to be able to turn it the right way out or not I’ve decided to finish it in the morning. And then I shall go over to my sister’s place and swan around in my furry waistcoat and she will no doubt ask me whether I shouldn’t have just plonked down the bucks and I could have had it five years ago. But that, of course, would be missing the point entirely.

Chocolate Raspberry Pudding Cake in the Thermomix

I don’t usually make cakes, they don’t survive lunch boxes and inevitably require the use of a napkin. But a special birthday requires a special cake and so it was that yesterday I found the perfect cake recipe for a brother in law who is refusing to turn fifty and it seemed like a recipe written specifically for a Thermomix.

It’s a recipe from Nigella’s How to Eat and I first made it back when my sister was editing a minor newsletter for one of those tiny companies that seem to splinter off fund managers from time to time and it had a recipe section. She would source the recipe and I would make it and photograph it for the newsletter and in this case take the finished product in to the kids’ school’s staffroom where it was gratefully demolished.

To make it in a Thermomix, you bung in the jug 250 grams of dark chocolate, 250 grams of sweet butter, one hundred grams of caster sugar, ninety grams of muscovado sugar (or some sugar that isn’t white), two tablespoons of framboise liqueur (shout yourself, you can always put it in champagne at a later date when you want to feel fancy), and 350 ml of water into which two teaspoons of instant coffee have been dissolved. Nigella suggested 370ml, which is a cup and a half, but I did that last time and found the resulting cake a bit too wet. It is supposed to be puddingy, but I don’t want it falling apart. I may have actually used 340 ml, I just took about half a centimetre off the top of the cup and half cup measures. It was much better. I also used 70% cocoa chocolate this time as opposed to the supermarket variety 55%, and it could have stood a touch more sugar. It was rich and authoritative however, and I’d probably leave it alone. Have it with ice cream if you want more sweetness.

Having put all of this gluttony in the jug, put it on 50 degrees for eight minutes on speed two. I’ve tried melting chocolate at higher speeds but it just chucks it up the walls of the jug. That should get everything melted together. If you’re groaning under the absence of a Thermomix you can melt it all together in a heavy based saucepan or a double boiler, and you’ll even have to stir it yourself. When it’s melted put in the butterfly attachment and beat in two eggs for one minute on speed three. Add thirty grams of cocoa powder, one hundred and eighty grams of plain flour (a cup and a half) and three teaspoons of baking powder. Beat again for one minute at speed three. Take off the lid and have a poke around with the spatula to make sure there aren’t any lumps. It should be a runny mixture looking, as the Moose commented, like melted chocolate. Are you sure you’re making a cake, Mum, not just a giant chocolate?

Grease a 22cm round springform cake tin. I usually line things with baking paper, but this one you want greased. I do it by rubbing it over with a cold stick of butter, get right into the edges. Or as you please. Pour half the mix into the cake tin, making sure you’ve got the spring bit closed and the bottom sitting snugly. Sprinkle over 250 grams of raspberries, you’d be mad not to use frozen ones from Serbia. If you want to use fresh ones, use them as decoration on top where they’ll be appreciated. Pour over the rest of the mix, making sure no cheeky raspberries are poking out. Bake at 180 degrees for about forty five minutes. The top should stay flat and develop cracks when it’s cooked, thus:

It looks rather nice sprinkled with icing sugar. It is very rich, so I served it with whipped cream. Having only ever made whipped cream with a bowl and a whisk and plenty of wrist action I was very surprised to see how quickly cream thickens in the Thermomix. Honestly, don’t let it go more than about twenty seconds, you’ll get butter, which will be entertaining, but of no use to you as an accompaniment.

I’ve still got three pieces left. I do wonder whether I should find out if gets better with age as some chocolate cakes do, or just have them for lunch?

Rainbow Jelly Shots and What Happened to the Dorcas Squares

The things we do. The boys’ school normally just asks for cash, which is easy. Although the Horror’s mate told his mum that his class wanted to win the competition to buy goats for a village somewhere that was short of goats and could he have $250? She did beat him down to $5, but someone, somewhere is setting the bar too high. The girl’s school, on the other hand, seems to prefer your blood and sweat. Or perhaps that’s just how it filters through the Muffet.

Do you remember the Dorcas squares? Every girl in Year 7 was supposed to knit a couple to be later arranged into blankets for the deserving and frosty. Except that I knitted some for the Muffet because hers were a bit more Art Nouveau than a square. I assumed at the time that most squares had actually been composed by adults. Well, they asked for volunteers to assemble the blankets and guess who’s childlike faith in her mother’s abilities stuck me with a pile of ill-assorted squares? Go on, guess.

It turns out that some girls did knit the squares themselves. They were given a template to make it easy on the assemblers, but some were more free spirited than others. Muffet brought me home eighteen assorted “squares” to sew together and if you think about it for a bit, eighteen is not a square number. So I laid them out on the bed and eventually got them into a pattern that would give something with three straight sides anyway. I also invented a fabulous way to thread a wool needle that I’m sure has never ever been thought of before. You get a bit of cotton and loop it around the wool. Then you feed both ends of the cotton through the needle hole, then pull the doubled over wool up through the hole after it.

So working sometimes with the ends that had been thoughtfully left on the squares and sometimes with a purple wool that clashed with all the other colours I managed to whipstitch it all together. I think it’s called whipstitch, it sounds good. It’s quite a small creation in the end.
It has come out nice and flat (in that picture it wasn’t all stitched together yet) but it’s still a pretty rough looking thing. I’m not sure even the dogs would bother with it.
I could be wrong. I wonder what it’s eventual fate will be?

And also due tomorrow is jelly for the jelly stall. Apparently the girls in each house run stalls from time to time and the Muffet and buddies have been assigned the jelly stall. Some show offs are doing jelly in orange halves. I resisted the urge to just hoik some gelatine leaves into a five litre tin of apple juice and laid in some plastic cups and a rainbow of Aeroplane Jelly packets.

It’s like feeding a baby, you do it every four hours. You lay out your twenty plastic cups. Put the packet of jelly crystals in a coffee plunger sitting on a scale. Weigh in 250 grams of boiling water. Stir. Weigh in 200 grams of cold water. Stir. Pour small amounts into plastic cups. Place cups on the shelf you’ve just cleaned off in the fridge. Repeat next time with a different colour. Sometimes the colours will blend into each other, but it gives a nice lava lamp effect.
I’m just off to do the last layer and try to work out how she’s going to carry them safely to school. Lots of plastic bags I rather think. They’re going to sell them for a dollar each and while it didn’t actually cost me twenty dollars in goods and being a housewife my hourly labour rate is zero, it feels like they’re getting it cheap. Although from the Horror’s reaction upon eating a test sample, they will be very very enjoyable. And nobody forced me to do rainbow jelly, I just can’t help myself.