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Toffee apples at the fair

August 22, 2011

An apple a day

August 11, 2011

Those of you who read my Frank blog might recognise this one…

Blog envy

August 10, 2011

I found a seriously good-looking food blog in my aimless facebook and twitter-directed internet surfing. Are you as distracted as me these days? Anyway, they had a recipe for some beautiful apple and raisin crumble custard tarts which looked heart-attack-go-to-heaven in a mouthful. They also made a little movie about the apple tarts, with an apple-themed song to match. I should give them my job.

Talking of aimless trawling, I was inspired by this link, and made some spiced apple porridge for breakfast. I skipped the milk and the pecans, and substituted dried apricots for cherries, but it was still super delicious. Of course I have philistines for children, and they rejected the sullied porridge and insisted on cornflakes instead. The fools.

Thank you cards

August 9, 2011

Last night I made some thank you cards for Violet’s creche teachers. No – in case you were wondering – I am not one of those super mums who can work while her children happily knead bread and net butterflies in the garden. Violet goes to creche three days a week, and she has just graduated from the under-two section to the preschool section.

I called upon crafters’ favourite collage material, origami paper, and with some scissors, glue and a few strokes of India ink, I had a batch of cards.

The lost apple book

August 8, 2011

Have you noticed how apples are the official fruit of children’s literature? Sure, pears, peaches and strawberries sometimes slip in, but A is for Apple and that’s where it all starts.

When I was a child  I had a favourite apple book. It’s gone now. It was about a family whose apple tree bore too much fruit. They stored it in boxes, in cupboards, under their beds, in their wardrobes. They filled bedrooms up with apples. Apples rolled between their feet wherever they walked. They made apple sauces and apple crumbles, waldorf salads and toffee apples. The family had to give away trucks full of apples to people, to animals, to fish. I can’t remember its title, but I do remember the joy I felt in reading the book. The world was so bright and full of plenty. The family was so joyful. I asked my mother to read it over and over, and she obliged, loving the book almost as much as I did. Do you know what book I’m talking about? I wish I could find it again.

What Gogol ate

August 4, 2011
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Recently I saw this lovely graphic in the New York Times (here is a snippet of it).

It’s, of course, the favourite snacks of great writers. Which reminded me of something I’d drawn in my journal last year: all the food I found in Gogol’s short stories. There were apples. Actually, the food sounds delicious – I think there ought to be a Gogol recipe book.

Etsy apple round-up

August 3, 2011
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I used to make lots of crafty things, but I don’t have so much time now that I have three children, literary ambitions and numerous jobs. I still get out the sewing kit to mend my clothes and sew on buttons, and I also supervise the children’s glue-gun and recycling-bin creations. But I haven’t had a moment to sew a librarian doll or a quilted bionicle in ages.

Luckily there are thousands of people who do make stuff and sell them on the internet. One of New Zealand’s own crafty websites is felt, but the international mecca of craftiness must be Etsy. I did a bit of a trawl yesterday and found barrels of apple-covered cuteness.

How cute is this? I love the apple print; it’s a skirt by The Mommafish.

These nursery prints by justbunch are gorgeous too. It seems that apples are stalwarts of early childhood education. A is for apple – we can’t move past that.

Here is another excellent apple print skirt. For babies – babies don’t complain if the A-line doesn’t fit perfectly, or the skirt isn’t lined. Just two seams and some elastic. I could do it. Now why don’t I?

And a cotton re-usable sandwich bag with an apple print. Can one’s life be too dinky?

Garden report

August 2, 2011

It’s very temperate here in Auckland, New Zealand, and so even though it’s technically winter, my garden is getting all springy. I’ve been neglecting it terribly but thankfully it’s just kept on doing its own thing. On occasions I go through a pique of planting and then a few months later I return to find that some of my plantings have flourished; others have been devoured by tiger slugs.

I got into kale when I was living in the States. It’s not really common here even though it grows abundantly. It’s just so robustly green and when you eat it you feel like you are being iron-lined. One of my favourite ways of eating it is first blanching it in salted boiling water, then sautéeing it in olive oil with crushed fennel seeds and garlic.

I always keep flowers in a pot by my door because they cheer me up. And I have rogue irises in my veggie garden. Every year I think I’ve dug out all the bulbs but every year they spring up in greater profusion. Perhaps they like being culled. They are the iris resistance movement. Of course I’m not complaining.
This is my magnolia tree. I love magnolias. I like their furry little buds that might turn into Totoros. This variety is one of my favourites – pink on the outside, white on the inside.

My apple tree is still doing what it’s meant to be doing: forming buds for spring. We planted this tree a few years ago, shortly after we moved here. It was only a single stick; it had no branches. But now it’s got lots, sprouting all over the place.

Oranges are not the only fruit, part 2

August 2, 2011

If you missed the first part of this Ruth Manning-Sanders collected folk tale, read it here.

Oranges are not the only fruit

August 1, 2011

This is an adaption of another Ruth Manning-Sanders collected folk story: Selim and the Snake Queen. Read other adaptations I’ve done here and here.

Tune in tomorrow for part 2!