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Monday, April 11, 2016

Insect Invasion

I is for Insect Invasion.
April A-Z Challenge
We went to the mountain markets yesterday and bought a large metallic insect, artistically engineered out of butter knives. It’s very nice and I love it. It was a bargain. Scotto had to precariously man-handle the behemoth of an iron grasshopper out of the showgrounds while I nagged him not to drop it because it cost a bit, being art and all.

We’re calling it Barry, because we sold our water feature called Barry in the garage sale back in Townsville and we missed having a Barry in the family.

Dave and friends

We have a ceramic turtle called ‘Dave’ on our lounge room coffee table. I even bought him some starfish to keep him company but I can’t be arsed naming the starfish because echinoderms are so lacking in personality they don’t warrant a name really, do they?

Dad comments wryly every time he comes over, “Oh, I see you have another animal, Pinky.”

I can’t go out shopping these days without coming home with the clay/ceramic/butter knife model of an animal or insect. Almost every corner and nook in our house is adorned with farmyard livestock.

I’ve bought a possum, a dog, two lizards, a turtle, some echinoderms, cows, a rooster and a pig so far.

Is it the mountain air infiltrating my brain enticing me to spend my money on earthenware novelty creatures? Whatever it is, it MUST stop. Soon I’ll be able to open my own crap model animal gift shop.

Nevertheless, Barry has been installed on top of a rock in the recently cleared, “snake pit’. We’re wondering what else we can do to landscape the area. We’ve tossed up the idea of an octagonal wooden seat bench around the rock and a few native trees to attract birds. Any ideas?

We also bought a barbeque on Saturday. It’s the second barbeque Scotto and I have bought together so I suppose that means we’re definitely married now.

Thanks for all your suggestions the other day but the barbie solved my problem about what to cook for my visitors yesterday even though it cost us almost $1000 so it was an expensive lunch to cater for.

Mum, Dad, Sister, Nephews and Niece.

Dad turned up with a homemade tiramisu for dessert.

He’s a very good cook. We turned up randomly to his house recently and the next minute he was pulling freshly made Madeleine biscuits from the oven to accompany our cups of tea. Delicious, buttery, melt in your mouth things they were.

I’d like to say I inherited his culinary talent, but no. I was the ineffectual apple who fell off the tree, rolled down the hill and was squished by a passing tractor.

My friend, Nettie was with us at the time he performed the Madeleine miracle. “I wish I could meet a man like your Dad,” Nettie sighed when we left. “I need someone to make me Madeleine biscuits on a whim.”

Later on, I told my mother what Nettie had said. “She can have him,” Mum sniffed indignantly. “He drives me nuts with his pots and pans and bloody mess.”

I remember, as a kid, doing the washing up after Dad had cooked an experimental but elaborate and sumptuous Sunday lunch and she has a point. Men in kitchens tend to use every implement not welded to the counter.

The other day, Dad gave me the recipe for the Madeleines but as it’s unlikely I will ever sully a spatula or wet a whisk, I thought some of you might like his quick recipe.

Stuff You Need

A stick of butter (120 grams) and a few extra tablespoons for later.

A cup of plain flour and an extra tablespoon for later

Two free-range eggs

A teaspoon of vanilla

150 grams of white sugar

A tablespoon of lemon zest and one of lemon juice

A little pinch of salt


Six small saucepans

Six small bowls

Twelve medium sized mixing bowls

As many measuring cups and spoons you can find in the kitchen drawers

Six whisks

Six Spatulas

12 Madeleine pans

Six pastry brushes

Six small sieves for dusting extra sugar on the top

# If the amount of equipment seems daunting just divide the quantity by six, I’m just passing on Dad’s recipe.


1. Melt butter in sauce pans until it starts to bubble and colour then pour it in to another container, or six. Allow it to cool slightly. Take three tablespoons and set aside in as many containers as you want.

2. Mix the flour and sugar together. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, vanilla, salt, lemon juice and zest until mixture is frothy. Make sure you spill an adequate amount of mixture on the counter so as to annoy your wife.

3. Combine the egg mixture with the flour and sugar, add the butter stirring with gusto but don’t over mix it. Spill with abandon.

4. Mix that extra bit of butter and flour together and use all your pastry brushes to prepare the Madeline pans. Fling brushes against wall when finished.

5. Preheat the oven to 175 C and fill the pans with the batter. Slosh around wildly on way to oven.

6. Bake for about thirteen minutes checking half way through. When they spring back to the touch they’re ready.

7. Cool slightly and powder with lots of messy icing sugar making sure it’s flicked well into the tile grouting on the floor.

I can assure you they're delicious!

Know any messy cooks? Or are you one?

Random Pig