Yesterday the critters went on an outing to see the Archibald portrait prize exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW. They were so inspired by the portraits, especially the winning portrait of their good friend Hugo Weaving ('good friend' might be an exaggeration but they did meet him on one occasion and he thought they were pretty great and they told him that he was pretty great too), that they decided they would become portrait artists.
They gathered all the art books they could find and did some light reading.
Then it was agreed that Patrick the yak would draw Sebastian the turtle, and Xavier the zebra would draw Mavis the red panda.
Sebastian and Mavis waited with bated breath to see what their portraits would look like.
First to finish was Patrick. Sebastian was a little confused about all the lines and angles because he's actually quite round. Patrick patiently explained that the work was a cubist inspired piece. Sebastian found this very impressive and said it definitely captured the inner Sebastian.
Xavier took considerably longer to finish his portrait but he got there in the end. He said it was the special cross-hatching technique which took so long and Mavis said it was quite excellent. Xavier told her that the drawing is a portrait of Mavis winning gold in the olympics for table tennis - this pleased Mavis to no end. Everyone agreed that their portrait artist careers were well under way!
Some of you might remember that Clifford, Ruben and Patrick planted some snow pea seeds about a month ago (you can read more about it here). Everyday these three critters head out to check on their little seedling and see how they're progressing. They usually have a little chat to the plants, and sometimes they even sing the seedlings a song (yesterday they sang Here Comes the Sun). So far Clifford, Ruben and Patrick are mightily impressed with the plants and wanted to share their progress.
The Herbert house is frantically preparing for the Bowerbird Bazaar Market this weekend! Everyone is extremely excited because it's been a year since our last trip to Adelaide. If you're in the lovely city of Adelaide come down and say hi over the weekend!
Today is housemate Hadas' birthday! The most important thing about celebrating a birthday (apart from having excellent friends around) is having a fabulous cake! Vortimer the sloth, Myrtle the squirrel and Brian the bear decided they would make a lemon sour cream cake in the shape of a record player, because they have it on good authority that Hadas really likes record players. The critters agreed this mission would be difficult, but definitely (hopefully) achievable!
They discussed the construction of their masterpiece before starting and decided they would need three cakes to build their magnificent cake sculpture.
Tripling the recipe meant a lot of juicing and grating lemon zest for Vortimer, but he didn't mind becasue lemons are his favourite fruit. Brian, on the other hand, got quite stressed about the masses of ingredients he had to mix.
Myrtle saw Brian was getting a tad panicky so she stepped in to give him a hand with the eggs.
Once Brian was finished with the electric beater, Vortimer volunteered to take over and mix in the dry ingredients into the cake mixture.
Then together they spooned the mixture into the cake tins/roasting trays.
When the cakes were in the oven, Myrtle started on the best part - the icing!
Next it was food-colouring time! They all mixed and coloured until their mixtures reached vibrant perfection. They agreed that food-colouring takes cake-making to a whole new level of greatness!
Then it was time to cut the shapes and ice the cake. Their vision was coming together!
Et voilà! Their masterpiece was complete! The critters were very proud to present their cake to housemate Hadas who seemed pleased as punch to receive such a spectacular cake on her birthday.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY HADAS!
Patrick the Yak and Kevin the Koala decided they would cook something amazing this weekend. They agreed muffins are pretty amazing, but then they remembered that for some reason many of their friends have sworn off sugar for the month, so they decided to make savoury muffins.
Patrick suggested feta and semi-dried tomatos as the main ingredients because together they're a taste sensation! Kevin agreed and said he thought zucchini would go excellently as well, and they'd add some green-ness to the mix which would seriously impress their sugar-free friends. Excitedly they assembled the ingredients and started their culinary adventure.
Patrick begun by grating the zucchini on what can only be described as a super impressive fancy grater, and Kevin admitted he was indeed very impressed.
Then they started on the muffin mixture. Cracking the eggs,
and mixing in the self-raising flour, milk, butter, salt and pepper.
Patrick chopped the semi-dried tomatos while Kevin had the marginally funner job of chopping the feta into cubes.
Then it was time to mix in the most exciting and important ingredients. They folded the zucchini, semi-dried tomatos and feta into the mixture, being very careful not to stir too much (they weren't sure exactly why they weren't allowed to stir the mixture very much, but it seemed important).
When the mixture was ready, Patrick volunteered to grate the parmesan because he felt his grating skills were quite exceptional after the practice he'd had earlier.
Kevin started spooning the mixture into the muffin trays and Patrick joined him after the grating was finished. They sprinkled the parmesan onto the muffins,
Then into the oven!
20 mins later their sensational savoury muffins were ready! They were quite sure their sugar-free friends would be mightily impressed!
We're super excited to be part of the upcoming Sydney Finders Keepers! It's in a new venue at Australian Technology Park, Friday 31st May and Saturday 1st June. Save the date!
Over the weekend Rosa and Angus had such a craving for homemade baked goods that there was nothing for it but to get to work and start baking!
They looked through the cupboards and found they had just the right ingredients to make cinnamon buns (they even had Swedish pearl sugar which is ideal, some would say essential, for sprinkling on the top of cinnamon buns).
Rosa, who definitely isn't a novice when it comes to cinnamon buns, took charge and gave Angus instructions on measurements and technique.
She then took on the job of egg cracking, she was unsure how much egg-cracking experience Angus had and the worst possible outcome would be egg shells in the buns!
They then stirred in the flour, eggs and the remaining ingredients and left the dough to rise.
Meanwhile, Angus very competently prepared the bun filling.
Rolling out the dough was a two critter job and they tried a few different rolling techniques.
They decided the roller handle method was the most effective and energy conserving (they still had a little way to go before the buns were oven ready).
Rosa spooned out the filling which smelt amazing! And Angus spread it out quite expertly (he has extensive spreading experience, he eats at least one peanut butter sandwich a day).
Then together they rolled the dough.
And cut it into nice bun size pieces.
Rosa covered the buns with their best pink tea towel to let the buns sit for a while.
Finally it was time to add the finishing touches, this is where the Swedish pearl sugar comes in handy.
Then just 15 mins in the oven and they were done! Time for tea and some extremely tasty homemade cinnamon buns!
As the critters woke up this morning the sun was shining and the birds were singing, it was positively a glorious day to be in the great outdoors.
When Clifford the Yeti, Ruben the Fox and Patrick the Yak ventured outside, they looked at the garden and saw there was something missing. The pots where their slightly-less-than-successful zucchinis had been growing were still sitting empty. This definitely needed to be rectified!
They pondered and discussed their options. Patrick suggested they plant an apple tree, and while they're all very fond of apples they decided there wasn't quite enough space. Clifford suggested a lolly tree, but Ruben said that wasn't really an option because they don't actually exist (Clifford insisted they do exist because he'd seen one but conceded it could have been made by someone rather than grown).
In the end they consulted The Vegie Guide and decided snow peas were just the thing!
Ruben started preparing the soil while Clifford removed some rogue mushrooms.
Then Patrick added some potting mix. He started by shovelling it in bit by bit but decided it was taking too long so he wrestled with the potting mix bag until he could pour it on speedily.
Watering was a team effort considering the watering can was the size of the three of them combined!
Finally it was time for the best, most exciting part - planting the seeds! They took turns digging a little hole for the seeds and each time they made sure the hole was exactly 5cm deep (Clifford's arm just happens to be exactly 5cm long - very handy).
They put the supports back into the pots and then they were finished! According to the packet they'd be eating homegrown snow peas in just 10 weeks! They checked their calendar and marked the 20th June as snow pea eating day.
The Herbert House is busily getting ready for the Melbourne Finders Keepers!
The owls are perched on the shelf trying to contain their excitement! They've heard numerous accounts of how great Melbourne is, and are eager to experience the arty-laneway-hipster-cafe vibe for themselves. If you're a Melbourne dweller, come by this weekend and say hi!