Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Operation: Secret Squirrel

I don't think my Dad will ever forgive me for moving away. Most times when I speak to him on the phone he reminds me that I am not around for family events or even just random Sunday barbeques. I was feeling a bit homesick a few months ago so I hatched a plan with Mum to fly to Brisbane as a surprise combined Fathers Day/Birthday present for my Dad and so began Operation: Secret Squirrel.

Astoundingly she managed to keep it a secret, only trusting my brother and sister-in-law (SIL) with the plan after they had booked in their pup to be speyed on Dad's birthday. That was rearranged and everything went according to plan. The surprise was low-key, a couple of days before his birthday Mum picked me up from the airport and I walked in while he was watching TV. Dad was pretty chilled (which is good because the last thing I wanted to do was surprise him into a second heart attack) but had a huge smile on his face.

I spent the next few days just hanging with my folks and catching up with just a couple of friends. I also met Fluffball, my only niece of any description (fur or otherwise). When I was a teenager some of my favourite memories are of my Dad and I taking the family dog for a walk and listening to Dad tell me his theories about finance, politics, careers and the world. We replicated that by walking to my bro's, collecting Fluffball while they were at work and walking her back to Mum and Dad's..

I am reasonably certain that Fluffball shares genetic material with a teddy bear. Completely content to sit tucked into one arm, she is exceptionally cute and seems to ooze cute. Whilst Ted galumphs after a throw- toy like some kind of gammy-legged pony, knocking everything flying in his wake; Flufball scurries along like a little house elf, fluff rippling in the breeze, she pounces on her toy like a kitten and then half drags it back to you because she is so little. When she runs she looks like a fluffy white version of Sonic the Hedgehog (does anyone remember him?)- a little ball of speedy fluff.

Centre of attention
Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

No, it's Fluffer...girl

Did I mention how cute she is?

I cooked dinner for Dad for his birthday. He loves Greek so I did Keftedes (Greek meatballs), Spanakopita (spinach and cheese pie), a huge greek salad, lemon potatoes and...Roti. I wanted Greek pita but couldn't find any and my folks have a huge freezer stacked with bulk budget buys- one of which was a jumbo pack of roti which warmed up very nicely on the barbeque. You can never really go wrong with flakey pastry bread right?

My SIL has a food blog so she always takes pictures, then my mum didn't want to be left out so she took pictures too

Family shot

Yes, I think Fluffball was in my arms the whole time, except when eating. Here's another one.

Dad likes a plain old chocolate cake, not too moist, definitely not mudcake or anything fancy so I made him this one- using olive oil from here . I did reduce the sugar slightly and added 2 tablespoons of cornflour to make it slightly less moist (to please Dad) and also it helps give a fluffy texture. Topped with a glace chocolate icing and prettied up a bit with his favourite sweets

It's all good, she didn't catch fire
And don't worry, Aunty looked after Fluffball's cake needs too.

Brought all the way from Melbourne from the wonderful little shop Zac's pet supplies

I think she liked it

It's tough work being a super hero


  1. oh my gosh Fluffball is soooo cute!! I love the name too.
    It is so nice that you surprised your dad - how did you ever leave sunny Brisbane for Melbourne? I love hot, humid weather - not sure why I dont live there actually.
    Roti is soo yummy, you can never go wrong with carbs :P Is your SIL's food blog public? would love to check it out.

    1. Here 'tis
      Lots of restaurant reviews if you find yourself in stinking hot, humid, sun-too-bright-it-hurts-my-eyes Brisbane:)

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