Sunday, 27 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Yes, I know it's already happened. Ours was relaxed and involved lots of presents, needless to say the boys were delighted.
Every year before Chrissie I like to take the boys for a Santa photo. Strange really as I was PETRIFIED of department store Santas when I was little.However, it does provide an interesting record of the boys at this time of year every year and the boys don't seem to be too alarmed by either Santa or clowns. This year I toyed with the idea of heading into Perth to Santaland because they have a train and you can book your time with Santa. But that didn't happen. So only a week before the big day we went to our local mall. S thought I had taken leave of my senses and that it would be crazy busy. It was a little busy but not insane. Sam, who decided he wanted to be dressed as a pirate went from pumped to trepidatious to the point where he tried to jump the rope and make a break for it.
Not even the sight of hipsters getting an ironic Santa photo and trying desperately not to smile could entice him.
So he sat on my lap but refused to acknowledge Santa. Santa was having a nice chat to Jack about Star Wars, so he didn't seem fussed.  I had a feeling that the photo would be a disaster and then we got what might be one of my favourite santa photos ever. Which is a big call I admit, but I like that I'm laughing, that Sam seems so joyful to be in the photo and that Jack looks so handsome (last year's photo of him was weird and didn't look like him). Santa, well, I think he's meditating, but who could blame him?
Oh and the little guy Sam is holding is Augie from my friend Caro's picture book called Spring.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


 On Sunday I paid money so that Jack, Sam and Scarlett could pat a sheep and was flabbergasted. It wasn't about the money or the animals. It's just, you know we lived on and near farms for the last decade and did they ever want to pat sheep? Sigh.
Don't even talk to me about rabbits...


When S and I looked at our house I noticed signs in the street announcing the upcoming 17th Annual Lasagne Bakeoff. S commented that we wouldn't be buying the house just because it was on a street that had a Lasagne Bakeoff. I scoffed 'As if!' and then we did buy it.


Ever since we moved here the thought of the bakeoff was there buzzing around in the back of my brain along with obscure facts about Hollywood movie stars and Abba lyrics. I got tips from neighbours and complete strangers offered me recipes. I thought about practising but somehow didn't get around to it. I pondered why I would need an erection for the day and as S was away where would I get one from and how would I decorate it? I heard that garnishing was important as was making sure the ragu had no lumps.

Frank's butcher shop
Frank's - a local legend
The Lasagne Loaf

the Beast

In the end I went with my usual recipe but tweaked it. On the advice of Frank the butcher I went with a veal/pork mince mix which is not what I normally use. As I made it I just had a feeling that it was not quite up to scratch, but I assembled the beast and put it in the fridge.

Not judges for the Bakeoff
 On the day the excitement was palpable as the street was closed off. People were up early claiming their spots and setting up their erections. At ten we collected our shirts and competition containers and I returned home to put the beast in the oven. We had to submit our entries by 12.30. You know how the first slice is always a bit wonky, well this time was no different so I tried again and sent Jack down the road to hand it in. There was a warming oven for Street entries and out of the street entries. There was also another category for outside the square entries and I submitted a lasagne loaf (because you know bread is my thing).

The day was very hot (not optimum Lasagne eating weather) so the boys played under a sprinkler while we waited for the verdict.
And the winner was no. 14. I didn't get to see it or taste it so I have no idea why except they started at midnight the day before the bakeoff. And the out of the square was a Banoffee Lasagne. I have no idea what that was like but I'm hoping it was cold or room temp. I'm not a fan of a hot banana (is it me or is this post very Are you being served?).
And then, even after giving half of the beast away, we still ate it for days. In fact I probably won't want to eat lasagne for another 12 months.