Monday, February 16, 2009


I haven't felt able to commit to a blog post about any one thing but I thought I would record some of the stuff happening round here.

1. I made jam for the first time ever, and it has turned out well. The lady across the road gave us a big bag each of peaches and yellow plums, under the mistaken impression that a household with 2 young children in it would have no trouble knocking off a grand supply of stone fruit. Ha! Welcome to Chez Fixit where fruit is viewed with suspicion by the younger generation. However, I did my best. I offered it to the household at large and told them how delicious it was whilst eating as much as I could... but, in the end, I had to do something quickly before the absolutely fantastic produce rotted. Cue some research for lazy ways to make jam.

The jam-making was very simple, I didn't even de-stone the fruit or peel it first. I just tossed it all in with sugar and some lemon juice and pips (I've been told not to use the pips next time as allegedly they give jam an almond flavour) and when it all broke down I just skimmed the stones and the skins out as I stirred. Then I cooked it till it set. The ease of the operation made me question why it has taken me so long to have a crack at jam-making, particularly given that my mother is an accomplished jam maker. I think maybe a dominant memory of her quince-jelly-making-procedure, involving inverted kitchen chairs and a big muslin strainer, had my sub-conscious bamboozled into assuming jam making was complicated. My four jars of peach and plum jam were outrageously simple to concoct and the result was good enough that I felt able to give one jar to my fruity benefactor over the road.

2. Our school had a dress-up day to raise funds for the bushfire appeal. They raised over $3,200. Here's my two in costumes. The suggested theme was uniforms (sporting, professional etc) but as soon as dressing up was mentioned Cherub set his heart on his Transformer costume and therefore here he is, my little Optimus Pwime.. err Prime.

3. A long-time tap student and friend asked me last week if I'd been to see Billy Elliott (the stage show) yet, and when I replied flippantly but truthfully that I couldn't afford musical theatre, she got straight on the phone to a contact in the biz and procured me a free ticket. So on Friday night I had the pleasure of A Night At The Theatre. It was very good and I'm so happy I got to see it. Highlights for me were seeing the little boy wobble -oh so discreetly- from dizziness as he came down from a prolonged aerial spin on a wire, and the way the little girls danced so dreadfully when actually they were all very competent little movers. The fun they were having with their terrible ballet delighted me.

If I'm ruthlessly honest I would say that the tap choreography didn't thrill me, and the big angry tap routine was not a patch on the magnificent one done by Jamie Bell in the film. Genevieve Lemon as Mrs Wilkinson was fantastic, even if I didn't believe for a minute that she could dance. And let's face it, I'm probably looking at that stuff from a different perspective than most of the audience.

4. Cherub has really settled in now, and the glimpses I've caught of him in the school grounds have shown me a completely happy little boy who is enjoying himself. He and I are still missing each other, but we're getting used to it. He had his first Assembly this morning. He'd been slightly concerned about this because he didn't think he'd be able to sing the Australia Song due to his not knowing the words, and was relieved to hear that the Preps were not expected to join in for that bit yet.


  1. Oh well done! Making jam can be very deeply satisfying. As for making jelly I don't know where you can buy jelly bags any more.
    You can inherit all my jam cookery books.
    I am now waiting for the local cumquats to ripen so I can do another batch of marmalade.
    so glad to hear Cherub is happy at school.

  2. Regarding point 3: YAY for you!! How fabulous to get a free ticket to something, in particular Billy Elliot (although reading your description, I think I would have been disappointed with it, as I really LOVE the film) I love the Optimus get-up! It looks like a little Optimus apron. In fact, it looks perfect for jam-making.

  3. Grrr. The comments box and I are not good friends. It has bizarre technological ways to make me squirm.

    I especially loved this sentence of yours: "The fun they were having with their terrible ballet delighted me."

  4. There is NOTHING like home made jam. My sister gave me some the other day......I love it.

    Well done.

  5. My girls are now quite proficient at the Natural Anthem.

    I am missing the joke about the ostriches.

    Oh I just got it. We all ring Joyce.


  6. Making Jam? I think you could do a guest post for Before Our Time.

    I loved Billy Elliot but I wished I'd primed Blossom on the Thatcher Years before we went...

  7. yeah, well, quince is by far the most complex of the jellies to make, so I'm not surprised you thought it was hard.

    It's not, is it? Better still, everyone will think you're a culinary genius.

    And....don't use the pips. They're toxic, and not a Good Idea.

  8. That was Crafty who told me to use lemon pips for pectin. I think she might be trying to poison me.

  9. All my boys, you have to include my husband, would have been fighting over those peaches and plums... never would have made it to jam.

  10. J.T. would have chosen a costume "uniform" too. Love that last little picture of the Cherub! So glad he is settling in. He was breaking my heart with those teary faces!

    I adore home-made jam. Rob's granny made the best strawberry jam. So much better than store-bought. I'm surprised at how easy it seems. I've always thought of jam-making as terribly hot and difficult.

  11. So jam is easy to make? My 88 year old grandmother has been making jam for me and I can't eat the store bought kind anymore because hers is so fantastic. Maybe I should try to have a go at it.

    Glad Cherub is settling in nicely. Next year is our big year in first grade which is all day. :(

    Much love from NJ,

  12. Stomper, a few lemon pips are not going to kill you. The almond flavour is pleasant IMHO, if you are able to detect it at all. The toxins found in lemon pips, are in very small quantities, (plus you don't eat them, take them out as you find them, and it's like two or three) unless you collect an effing sh@tload and eat them all at once, don't worry about it. I'm sure it's no more harmful then the trace amounts of pesticides and other additives we eat everyday.

    If I was trying to poison you I'd think of something better than that! (I know you are joking)

    And good work on the jam. Aldi had really cheap strwberries a few weeks ago, so I made some strwberry jam, (which is apparently the easiest re setting, may be because of all the little seeds?...) I tell you it makes me feel SO good when the kids actually -ask- for the homemade stuff! And I didn't burn it either!

    I'm so glad Cherub is feeling much happier and settled now. My little preppy is starting to get a bit tired I think, but still doing well.

  13. I must try some strawberry jam, as I'm currently on a no-high-fructose-corn-syrup rampage and the only jam without it is very, very expensive.

    I'm glad to hear Cherub is doing well.

  14. You are becoming quite the little clever clogs, aren't you?

    And it's true, we DO all love Ostriches!

  15. You use the lemon pips to give pectin. Put the pips in a cup and cover them with boiling water, and leave for some hours. Then strain the liquid into your jam mix. Chuck away the pips. Most jams can stand a little additional pectin and some fruits are very low in pectin. Very ripe blackberries need pectin from the lemon pips, or from using some under-ripe berries. Lots of recipes include lemon juice too.

  16. I love the way you've obscured Cherub's cherub-mates in the photo... very impressive! Oh, and kudos on the jam. I'm really hot at the moment so the thought of jam exhausts me. But yours looks yum...

  17. I use lemon pips to help with setting. When I get around to making jam, that is. Mostly I badger Shula into giving me a jar.

    (We ring Joyce too. Not heard the ostriches version before. Nice).

  18. Ostriches and jam and transformers. Love them all!

  19. Making jam can be very satisfying. I dont eat jam these days, but occasionally have it with scones. Or another way, which I wont mention.
    Glad Cherub is so happy at school.

  20. wow, where to begin-- I love jam, especially when it's easy to make-- yum. I had to giggle at your review, of course the rest of the audience had a different perspective. I imagine I'd be staring at the costumes or makeup while you're focused on the feet :-)
    Cherub looks very pleased, I love seeing his little face and wondering what this whole new world feels like for these little guys (I have a year one that I still watch and marvel at). Love what you did with that last photo, very clever.

  21. I need to make me some jam. I have been fearful to make it too.

    Aunty is right - we all do love ostriches.

    I have an album of Genevieve Lemon's - I love her - but have never seen her live (except on Spicks and Specks once).

  22. I love the way we all notice things to do with our specialities. You notice dancing, my second (architect) daughter notices "nice concrete" (?) - I always think that dentists must look at one's teeth at parties...

  23. Cherub seems to be a little confused at being surrounded by hundreds of cartoon characters. (KIDDING!)

    Jammmmmmm, need to make some. I've stawberries in the freezer ready to go.


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