Monday, July 27, 2009

pressed bread & other flat things

Found whilst trawling the Internets:
"We also mix up pancake batter, fill the wells halfway, then stick in a ready cooked sausage link. Then put a little more batter on top. The kids like to dip these in syrup." - Fancy
They do this in their sandwich maker. I know. Is that genius or what? Though I am not sure what a link is when it pertains to a sausage. Do they mean...a sausage?

The reason I was coming across such culinary wizardry was because when Martin picked up Fred from After School Care tonight, the carer was making biscuits (that's cookies to y'all in America, not those scone-type things you call biscuits) in a sandwich press! Fred didn't want to come home and who could blame her because Jade is obviously much smarter than us.

Can I just interrupt myself now to tell you, there are a lot of people out there putting up 'recipes' for making toasted spaghetti sandwiches or mashed potato toasted sandwiches and a lot of people responding to these posts saying 'well, now, I don't know about that, I like a plain toasted cheese sandwich'.


There are also various chocolate bar and marshmallow type sandwiches (do you really need a recipe? If you've got to that point, you're just seeing what else will melt, and you'll eat anything and we know what you've been smoking. That'd be like putting a 'recipe' up for the thing we used to do with milo in the microwave - oh Americans, you DO know what milo is, you MUST. Milo sponsors your soccor team. Yes. You have a soccor team. *is still not quite over milo being edited out of Breathe and replaced with ovaltine*)

I do remember seeing Geoff Jansz using a toasted sandwich maker to make some kind of turnover thing with sheets of supermarket-bought puffy pastry, much like the following suggestion*:
"Use pop-up type pastry, flatten and place on pie iron. Add a chocolate kiss or two and one or two small caramel squares, flattened, and a couple of mini marshmallows. Top with more pastry, seal edges and cook over campfire. Yum." From here.
By the way, I think a chocolate kiss sounds very friendly. And this artful genius makes her curry puffs in the jaffle iron too.

We use our sandwich press for toast too fat to go in the toaster, toasted sangers, quesadillas (with savoury mince or ham and cheese), turkish bread, reheating pizza (not that there's ever much leftover pizza in our house), felafels, and various other pressed bread meals. We probably eat a sandwich or variation on a theme at least once a week for dinner. The kids will eat suprising things when it is encased in cooked dough.

Still, I feel there is limitless potential in the humble jaffle/sandwich/toastie iron/press/maker. (that reminds me of this very shallow boy I met once who told me that he always had really deep philosophical when on drugs, like - is it a milkshake mixer? Or a milkshake maker? That'd keep Socrates and Plato going for weeks).

Anyway the upshot of this is, I can't find a biscuit or a cookie recipe for the sandwich maker. Any ideas?
*(This is for the kind of jaffle iron you stick in a campfires but I'm guessing you could do it in ye olde sandwich press.)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

First Line Meme

This is doing the rounds, I saw it on Steph's blog and then again on Lili's and I thought I'd play too. I think it's pretty apparent what this meme is all about. Not included below is my current work in process because I am scrapping half of it (weak laughter) and rewriting the beginning. This is a good thing. No really.

Underneath the sound of the sea, the regular sigh of waves advancing and withdrawing, she is there.

The first time, it is late summer.

On the beach Jasper and Olivia dug deeper and deeper in the sand, until the bottom of their hole filled with seawater.

I sat on my unmade bed clutching a shoebox to my chest, looking around the unfamiliar room.

I spent the whole long drive to Indigo plugged into my ipod and texting Sooz.

6. THE HAUNTED LUNCHBOX (unpublished languishing WIP)
No one knew where it came from.

And finally LITTLE BIRD, for which I am going to cheat and put in a whole paragraph because it's new in the shops and I want to lure you all in and make you desperate to buy it:
I sat in the seat by the window looking out at the street. A little bird bounced along the pavement, pecking up invisible crumbs. It didn’t seem to care about the world around it – the street and buildings and people dashing by. It just hopped out of the way and kept pecking, as if it didn’t even know how small and crushable it was. The more I watched it, the more sure I became that someone would tread on it. A small child raced along the road, a big red-faced woman laden down with shopping bags lumbered after him. Suited men in heavy shoes and suited women in dangerous high heels hurried past the window. Two women walked side by side, pushing prams, and the bird looked a goner for sure under one of the wheels. A young guy loped, his head titled upwards, as if waiting for something to fall out of the sky. None of the passers-by seemed aware in the least of the little bird’s existence.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Swimming carnival

When I was in grade seven and my sister was in grade ten and it was the last year we were at school together my sister was in the swimming carnival she jumped in and she started swimming and they blew the whistle again for a false start and my sister didn’t hear she just kept swimming and finally someone jumped in the pool to tell her to stop and I can’t remember who but I think his surname was Latham and I thought he was her hero but he said ‘stop swimming you fucking idiot’ or something along those lines and what is sad about this story is my sister thought she was swimming the race of her life she thought I am going to win and I just remembered that.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Big Issue: A Winter's Tale

Isn't it pretty?

I haven't seen a copy yet, but I am very excited about this and not just because it's my adult fiction debut. It's a great list of established and upcoming writers, including my mate George Dunford (who I've never actually met, but we go way back) and Louise Swinn who studied at RMIT with me, and Andy Griffiths who I did a talk with at the VWC last year and Terry Denton (I once sat at the same table as him for dinner, but it was a big table and we were very far away from each other, so even mentioning this occasion counts as utterly gratuitous name-dropping). I don't know Cate Kennedy at all, but I have a collection of her short stories out of the library at the moment. Oh and lots of other clever people, you can go and look at their names here. Or better still, buy a copy of the magazine from a street vendor near you.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Haircut Day

I have a memory of going to get my haircut, I don't know if it was one particular time or an aggregate memory. But a grey gloomy Saturday, trudging around Magnet Court in Sandy Bay to the hairdressers. I remember what it was like to sit on a board, get swamped by the big ugly cloak thing and have my head yanked around. I remember the sensation of sharp scissors poking my ears. I don't think in all the years I was a kid that I had a haircut I loved, in fact I pretty much always hated the short 'sensible' haircuts I ended up with.

Today Martin and I finally got ourselves organised and took the kids off for a haircut, after some cnsultation with the kids (Una wanted hers cut very short like Finn at creche - over Martin's dead body, but I was thrilled by the idea - and Fred was saying short at the front and sides and long at the, you mean, like a mullet?). We made a last minute appointment at Doncaster Shopping Centre, but when we got there we quickly realised that there was no way we were going to get a park, cars were streaming in to each section and the only ones coming out were people like us, who'd done a few laps and were driving onto the next carpark. Having already driven through a deserted looking Main St Eltham we decided to go back and try our luck. And I'm so glad we did. This place was great. It was a big groovy proper grown up hairdressers with two seats at the front that I think is especially for kids (without any kid crap). Although it was busy, they took us in straight away. The girls had a hairdresser each and sat side by side on cool leather chairs that winched up and down. They loved it. And both were very happy with the results. This is really Una's first haircut. It's Fred's third or so, but the first time we've had such an attentive hairdresser who seemed to really understand Fred's hair.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

I'm a Bargain

Readings is selling Girlfriends for $9.99, including the freshly hatched Little Bird. And the great thing about Readings is that if you buy two books they post them for free! We love free postage.

"I will destroy you"

More than meets the eye...
(That's Una in there by the way)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


I am currently conducting workshops at the State Library for 16 or so 13-17 year olds who are coming to the library in their school holidays to write. I love them all, for that fact alone. I so would have done it as a teenager.

Anyway, today I tried a new exercise with them, and took these photos of the results with my (ahem) new iphone. This last picture is of my two examples, and the middle one is Fred's*. They were a precursor to a storywriting exercise but the wordboys and wordgirls were often stories in their own right, conveying so much through an economy of language and a rich engagement with character. They were quite arresting laid out on the table together so we could all look over what other people had done.

Also I got my hands on Lili Wilkinson's book PINK. It was so pink. And so these things: smart, funny, embarrassing, sweet, funny, oh and did I mention embarrassing? I wanted to climb under the train seat at times (and I think that's where they raise the hell-beasts, made of human hair, so that's saying something).

*It says: 'Jack leaned forward at the gazing sun. Then he went home...(turn over) and built a robot.' I am so jealous of Fred's writing.