More pricks (and my famous beef cheeks)

I’m a bit delirious … My body has gone all reverse daylight savings on me. The darker it gets in the mornings, the earlier I wake up.

What’s THAT all about?

It’s not good preparation for the festival of the birthdays that kicks off tomorrow for myself and the youngest. (I am soooo looking forward to that celebratory bottle of duty-free Tattinger that DD has popped in my fridge.)

What I really feel like doing is lying on the couch and watching back-to-back chick flicks, but I’m on sausage pricking duty again for the school’s family fun night. We’re not even going to the actual fun night because the kids are heading up north to see their cousins. But my guilt gene runs deep, so I’m fronting up to do my duty.

The guilt gene doesn’t run deep in all school parents. My kids go to one of the biggest schools in the state, but geez I seem to prick a lot of sausages.

And then, in two weeks time, I’m on cake stall duty at the election booth as a school band fundraiser.

I’ll also be baking for the cake stall. I’m giving myself a break from elaborate decorating, but I’ve come up with a new strawberry cupcake recipe that I’m desperate to try, so I’ll probably be irresistibly drawn to give that a whirl.

In between, I’ll be attempting to replicate the pool cake from the Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book – except with blue jelly – for the youngest’s birthday.


And I’m introducing DD to my famous beef cheeks (oh, ok, they’re Women’s Weekly’s too. Dammit.)

And I’m sure I’ll get commenters telling me I don’t have to do any of it. But that’s not who I am. And that’s not how I roll.

I volunteer (not nearly enough, I’ve completely dropped the ball on both the kids’ netball teams … so to speak), I lovingly tend, I entertain.

I’m very good at saying yes and very bad at saying no.

I probably need to talk to a paid “friend” about why, but for now I’ll just focus on all the fun bits next week will hold … if I can just get some bloody sleep.

RECIPE: Braised Beef Cheeks in Red Wine


2 tablespoons olive oil

1.6kg beef cheeks

1 medium brown onion, sliced

1 tsp chilli flakes

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 medium carrot, roughly chopped

3 cups dry red wine

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

800g can crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves

1 large fennel bulb, sliced

400g spring onions, trimmed, halved

200 grams swiss brown mushrooms, quartered

METHOD: Preheat oven to 140C. Heat half the oil in a flameproof casserole and the stove top. Cook beef, in batches until browned all over. Remove from dish. Heat remaining oil in same dish, saute onions, garlic, chilli and carrot until onion softens. Return beef to the dish with wine, vinegar, undrained tomatoes, sugar, rosemary, oregano and fennel. Bring to the boil. Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for two hours. Stir in spring onions and mushrooms. Cook, uncovered, in oven for about 45 minutes or until beef is tender.

Song of the day: Yello “Oh yeah”

6 thoughts on “More pricks (and my famous beef cheeks)

  1. Yes happy birthday celebrations to you Alana. Don’t change, who you are is just right. I think its good for kids to see their parents pitching in and you’d be surprised how many people do notice that you do more than your share. Love the pool cake – wasn’t that old Womens Weekly birthday book so much better than the recent trendy one where you do everything with fondant? Too fancy for me. Give me cakes using chocolate biscuits, jelly and plastic toys any day!

    • I am sooooo not a fondant queen. And I don’t really do more than my share, I recoiled in horror when it was suggested I should be class mum. But I feel sorry for the people I see every single time working their butts off, year after year. They must REALLY be annoyed that more people don’t volunteer.

  2. Happy Birthday to you too. I have not commented in ages..but I have read every day. Your blog keeps me entertained. Write a book! Great to see those beef cheeks (again). That pool cake is fantastic too. The best of the book I reckon and I have studied it since I was a little girl.

    • Lovely to hear from you Jess, and so nice to think you read the blog every day. Thank you for the birthday wishes and I will be sure to blog my Pinterest fail version of the pool cake.

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