Today is officially Dad-on-his-own-Day! Phenom-A-Mum headed away this morning on her business trip, leaving yours truly in charge of her baby boy’s once-in-a-lifetime second birthday party. It’s just me against the world.
Well, almost. My folks are staying with us, in readiness to celebrate with Little E this weekend. So I actually have a retired slave workforce at my disposal. And today they were abused thoroughly.
First thing this morning I headed out with my man-troop (Little E, Grandad and Me) to hit the city’s greatest food hub – Dandenong Market! Phenom-A-Mum has sabotaged my plans to go there for the past two weeks, so I was extra excited… one spinach and halloumi pastry please, lovely lady from the turkish bakery! Oh why not? A charcoal roasted kransky sounds lovely. You think so? I should try a deep-fried ice-cream dumpling as well? Perhaps I’ll sneakily slide that over to Little E while his Mum’s not looking.
Clearly I have a bit of a food-horny going on for Dandenong Market. It’s the best. I’ll have to remember to do a post about it, because I’m just filling up lines here.
Where was I? That’s right, the three men stormed the market in true masculine military precision. Bang, the fruit and veg stalls. Zap, the meat section. Quick R&R at the bakery (it’s just too good!) and then, Boom! There goes the deli.
If only that was how it had gone. I spiralled circles around the veggie stalls, lost in the tornado of different prices and quality. Little E became entranced by the toy vending machines and kept trying to run back to them. And I kept getting distracted by different amazing food to eat (the diet looks the other way on market day). If it wasn’t for my personal porter (aka Grandad) I would never have managed the shopping. He lugged a trolley full of groceries for a few kilometres, whilst I held Little E in check. Literally. I carried him. No running away from Daddy’s vice-like teddy-bear hug.
With our fresh food mission accomplished, we returned to face the double jelly challenge. Two jellies, one afternoon.
Using some Aussie classic Aeroplane jelly (raspberry flavour) I struggled to put together the life-like jelly worm recipe. You can find this cool recipe on instructables.com by clicking here.
Nowhere in the recipe do they mention how hard it is to jam a hundred straws into a milk carton on your own. They need to specify that it is a two-person task. And because I don’t like anything to go according to plan, I decided to make shorter worms as they will be eaten by shorter people. This meant that I had to cut every straw in half. With rather blunt scissors. Anyway, I clearly made some mistakes because their photos look different to mine.
Theirs doesn’t look like brown vomit. I may have been played. We’ll find out tomorrow when the worms are set and I attempt to release them from their plastic straw cocoons with a rolling-pin (seriously, that’s the advice in the recipe. I imagine it’s not going to end well).
One task screwed up and onto the next.
I’m making the old Australian birthday party classic dish – Frog in a Pond (here’s a recipe… not that you need it). It couldn’t be simpler. Melt jelly crystals with hot water, add chocolate Freddo Frog. Done.
Except that I got fancy by attempting to hark back to Little E’s pommie heritage by buying real imported British jelly (thanks again NQR!). It turns out that the British don’t use jelly crystals. They have these jelly squares that look like you should just eat them as is (in fact, Granny did. Strange people those Poms). The measurements on the instructions are all in pints and I ended up with a lot more than expected. A lot.
So I’m now making twenty frogs in ponds instead of ten. Half of the attending adults can have one. I fear there may be fisticuffs. Not joking.
So far I’ve poured the liquid jelly into twenty x 100ml dipping sauce containers. Now it’s just a matter of sticking in the Freddo Frogs when the jelly has set enough, but not too late or they won’t go in nicely.
I can tell you from the last three attempts that it isn’t set enough yet. Three adults are going to find their Freddos have given up on life and are face down in the jelly. What a way to bring down the vibe of a party.
Lastly, I’ve managed to get Granny set up in a sweatshop-style manner, churning out elephant ear headbands.
I spent a number of hours last night outlining and cutting-out elephant ear shapes from some corrugated cardboard. Twenty-four all together.
Granny has now been chained to the dining table for over eight hours as she attempts to stitch each pair of ears onto a headband. It’s very lucky that Granny and Phenom-A-Mum were in the house this morning when I realised that I have no idea how to attach all of these pain-stakingly-carved ears onto the headbands. In the magical realm of my mind, the cardboard had some sort of magnetic property and the whole concept just ‘worked’.
I’m expecting to have an armful of elephant ear costume headbands waiting for me to inspect in the morning. Poor Granny may just have to work through the night. I don’t actually need them until Sunday but I heard somewhere that for best results you need to drive your slaves hard. Wonder if I still have that random bull-whip in the garage?
Two days to go and I’m starting to tick a few boxes on the ol’ to-do-list. You never know. Maybe I won’t fail spectacularly. Perhaps it’ll just be a regular old unspectacular fail.
I’m signing off from typing today and hitting the recycling box. It’s time to find some newspaper and build a Pass-the-Parcel!
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