Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.

While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.


Friday, December 9, 2011

On my mind.....Jumping Johnny's

Many thanks to Rhonda at Down to Earth for this concept.
This is a Friday photo feature that anyone with a blog can join. To take part, post a photo on your own blog, write a short caption explaining it, and link it back to here from your blog by saying you're part of "On my mind". Please write a new post, don't link to an older one. When you've done that, come back here and add a comment below, with  a link to your blog. 

Bendigo gold fields

In my family we have a traditional dessert recipe that has been passed down through the generations...and it is called Jumping Johnnies.

I've often wondered where the recipe originated.........

My Nan told my mum that she got it off her mother and hers before her.... It was a great recipe to have on a farm, as, if company arrived unannounced...there were always the staple food items to make a supper of Jumping Johnnies....after all, many a farm had chooks and a lemon tree too. (see the recipe below)......

After turning to Google on and off since its invention with no luck.....I have finally found a few leads.....vague, but leads none the less.

I first found the recipe mentioned here...Source: First Catch a Kangaroo....

So with that lead, I discovered that First Catch your Kangaroo is actually the name given to a letter written by William Howitt to cookery author Eliza Acton in 1853, thanking her for her lovely wisdom within her cookbook. 

William goes on to explain the horrors of working and living in the fields in Bendigo while looking for Gold. William also writes that if it was not for her cookbook, he would be eating very meagre meals like the thousands of people around him. 

But alas, as shown above in a sample only....I have a full transcript copy of the letter from the library, and I regret to say that the recipe is not mentioned in it at all. 
full copy from the Canberra Library

So, I now need to find the cookery book written by Eliza Acton to search for a recipe for which I'm not sure is even included.......I've also looked up the books held at the larger libraries in Canberra, but haven't looked at the NSW State Library here in Sydney.......

How lovely it would be to be able to share the story behind the recipe with the family members who make these Jumping Johnnies.   If only a photocopy of the page......

The recipe 

Jumping Johnnies (Australian) 
*(Hmmm I wonder if it is in fact an Australian Recipe)
Source: First Catch a Kangaroo 
3 eggs
4 tablespoons of sugar 
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups Self Raising Flour 

Whisk well together eggs and sugar, add grated lemon rind, milk, and flour. Mix well. Fry by teaspoonsful in boiling fat, roll in confectioners sugar, and eat hot or cold. The Johnnies will "jump" (turn themselves) when cooked on one side if there is enough fat.

(They do sometimes need a little help though...lol)

Imagine...only two references to the recipe on the entire World Wide Web. How hard can it be to track down a recipe....? 


I found her book ...."Modern Cookery, for private families" online...by Eliza Acton.....and have not found the recipe in this book......

I also found her other book..... "Modern cookery in all its branches: reduced to a system of easy practice" ... By Eliza Acton..........this was also online....and no luck :(

Having one last search before writing this post...I found her bread book online as well; 
going by the index in the front of this book....she knew an awful lot about bread and all its forms....I'm going to have a good read of this...It reminds me of when I got stuck reading it at the library in Canberra....Couldn't get my eyes out of the book. 

I absolutely adore the way she writes.....and could spend
many hours reading her many receipts....(recipes)

Jumping Johnny's are the yummiest, light deep fried donut you will ever taste...with just a hint of lemon. Traditionally they are rolled in icing sugar...but when my boys were little I rolled them in cinnamon sugar and called them Mummy's special donut's.

If I don't find the recipe in any of her books..I'm really not sure where to go from here, but I'm learning a lot of interesting history along the way............In the meantime...come back after Christmas, and I will publish a photo of them after I make them.

*I'm starting to think that maybe, just maybe....it could be an Australian recipe.....
Have you heard of Jumping Johnny's?


  1. No that's a newie on me. sounds delish tho.

  2. O my that sounds yummy. I love the title of the book - First Catch Your Kangaroo... I'm sitting here wondering how I would do that!

  3. This looks terrific and a bit like something I make that we simply call "fried bread." I am intrigued that they flip themselves over. I'll have to give this a try over here in the USA.

    I really enjoyed your post.

  4. What a great story and what an adventure you have been on.

  5. I would love to find the source at the end of this adventure. Possibly a new clue as emerged from Mum though.....She said that she remembers being told (by who, she can't recall), that Chinese cooks used to make them on outback farms, when unexpected people arrived to help 'stretch' a meal....This is the first time I have heard mention of Chinese cooks in the story....hmmmmmmm
    Now what?

  6. They kind of sound familiar Narelle but I definitely haven't tried them. I'm so keen to try them though. What an interesting story.

    Anne xx

  7. I'd suggest writing to the CWA. They might be able to put something in their newsletter - there's bound to be at least one member who has more information! The CWA ladies do seem to enjoy tracking down stuff like this.

    @Mooberry Farmwife: Of course, if you try this recipe in the northern hemisphere they'll flip the opposite way :-).

  8. Nice, This Post is very much relevant and Informatics. I was in search of such kind a stuff. So, I like this, what You have shared. Thanks a lot

  9. This is 4 years late! I inherited my grandmother's cok books and funilly enough inside the cover of one of the books my grandmother had written Jumping Johnnies page 46. There was no recipe for doughnuts in her books, so I am thinking perhaps it is an Australian recipe. If not definitely an Australian name. I am going to try to do a bit more research on the name. My grandmother used these books during the depression years.

    1. This recipe has also been in my family for generations. They were Irish and I was told as a child that the "Johnnies" were the English soldiers and they were being burnt in hot oil........


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