Friday, April 30, 2010

Fred's cake

White chocolate mud cake recipe here. This has become my default kid's cake recipe. Most kids like it, and it's a lovely texture. I did it tired, pregnant and in a rush, dumping all the ingredients in together, and it was still fine.

The technique for the chocolate bird is from here and Astrid's instructions are better illustrated than mine (what with Astrid being a visual explainer and all). Basically I traced the bird from this illustration:
from the remarkable picture book Fox by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Ron Brooks.

I then laid baking paper over my tracing and drew the outline again in dark chocolate with a piping bag and small nozzle. I filled in the gaps with melted pink chocolate (the pink chocolate came from a specialty chocolate shop and was pink flavour (strawberry I guess). Then I reinforced it with more dark chocolate, put it in the fridge and freaked out for half an hour or so that everything was going to go horribly wrong. Then when it was set and hard I flipped it over and put it on the cake (slightly askew and quickly realised that it was there to stay). It was surprisingly easy, amazingly effective and tasted great. Tara - bless her - said, in the clear, truthful tone of a guileless six year old: 'That is the best cake I have ever seen.'

Friday, April 23, 2010

Oh and, in case you didn't get the memo...

I'm pregnant.
10 weeks today.

We had been planning on waiting until 12 to announce but I am looking so pregnant kind ladies are standing up for me on the tram, and Una asked the other day if I have a baby in my tummy. Face it, it was just going to get awkward.

Una would like us to get the baby out and show her. Empiricist.

Fred could not be more excited. She got the stethoscope, she pressed her head on my tummy, she wants to start a list of names.

Martin and I are thrilled. I posted a while ago about my crazy cycles, well, the truth is we've been trying on and off for years. In February I told Martin it wasn't going to happen for us. I told Martin I was okay with that. A few weeks later we got the most definitive pregnancy result ever. I didn't even look at it. I weed on the stick (you know that's how it works, right?) and left it in the bathroom (with the very sanitary lid on thank you) and said to Martin 'Can you check it when you get out of the shower?' He looked at it and saw no lines. He was looking at the wrong side. Then he brought it in* and showed me two very dark no doubt about it lines. And my face pretty much looked like Fred's does in the photo above, taken the exact moment this evening when we told her about the baby.

Due in November. First scan in two weeks.

*yes, he picked up the wee-wee stick. Good lord, you do know how babies are made don't you? There's all sorts of unholy juices involved, what's a bit of wee between married people? I'm sure he washed his hands afterwards.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Tale of Two Book Launches

I have a confession. I have never launched one of my own books. I am just not a party-organising type person, even though I enjoy them during and after the fact, the before part kills me: is there enough food? Drinks? Places to sit? Will people have fun? Will they come? Will all my people mix? Will there be tears? And that's just for a four year old's birthday party. (You may think organising launches is the kind of thing your publicist does, between driving you around in limousines and topping up your champagne glass. Sorry to say this is not the case.) I often intend to have a launch. Kate and I planned to do something for Swoosie, but it came out in January and she was in Sorrento, then we were in Tassie, and January dissolved into February and the kids went back to school all got hard.

But this week I am involved in two launches.


See that? To be launched by ME! I am the famous person. I do hope Karen doesn't question her choice of launchers when she finds out how uninitiated I am in the ways of launching. Luckily I loved the book, and many things about it reminded me of Undine, Breathe and Drift. It has a wonderful magic system, looping around pimarily Maori mythology (embedded as it is in the New Zealand islandscape), but also interested in the base similarities between many different myths, basically arguing that people structure themselves through stories, and because we are made of stories, stories are true (through our investment in them, we make them true). Okay, you probably need to read the whole novel to get what I am saying here. It is a poetic idea, and it resonated deeply with me. Come on down on Tuesday and buy it for yourself, and see me say things and Karen will also say things and then there will be drinkings and you can say things to us and each other and to the shopkeepers like 'I'll take two Guardians, and by the way, do you have a copy of Penni Russon's Little Bird, which I hear was named a CBCA Notable book this year'. (See what I did there with the subtle self-promotion? Seamless.)

I have a piece in this new collection edited and published by Karen Andrews from Miscellaneous Mum. It has already received attention in The Australian, an article which was further discussed here and here. The collection is diverse, some 'writerly' reflective pieces, some cultural commentary, some literary criticism, pieces that straddle the borders of the personal, political, public, private, ephemeral, but strangely permanent - as is the nature of the blog. Laurie Steed is launching it on Wednesday 14 April at 6.30pm. The launch is at Readings Carlton, just like Karen's so I will be sleeping in the little picture book room at the back of the shop on Tuesday night of course, since it would be silly for me to drive all the way home.

I hear that sometimes people drink wine at these things. I of course will not be doing that because I am on my Ps, and an arrested adolescent (who does not want to be actually arrested). But you should feel free to drink wine.

Perhaps all this launching will inspire me to do one of my own. My next book isn't out till July 2011. So that gives me plenty of time to plan.