my-speck

i'm pregnant and it's going to be a rollercoaster

Cheddar Cheese Bread August 12, 2013

Filed under: cooking,eating,Raising a Child — rakster @ 7:09 am
Tags: ,

I went on a cooking spree yesterday afternoon and finally cooked a few loaves from the Rose Levy Beranbaum Bread Bible that I bought for C for Christmas 4 years ago!

I give you: Cheddar Cheese Bread..

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My kitchen smells amazing, the bread cuts beautifully, and tastes just the right cheesy…

Mmmmm..

 

Pink Dinner is a winner April 9, 2013

Filed under: activities for kids,cooking,eating,family — rakster @ 7:45 pm

You just never know what will happen at dinner time…

Most nights little O picks at his food and has to be coaxed into even tasting most new things. We try to just relax about the whole thing, and not wheedle or cajole, but some nights we resort to it in frustration.

Generally we do try to eat around the kids too: by that I mean making meals that they like or are not as spiced as we might otherwise eat.

But tonight I decided to just cook something I felt like cooking. Actually a bit of experimentation.

So beetroot and yoghurt sauce + lentil pilaf.

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And for once I has a son who ate without complaint, telling me that it “tastes great when I put all of it in my mouth at once!”

Who didn’t look like he was loving it, but for some reason tonight just decided to soldier through.

And gleefully declared at the end of the meal that he is looking forward to purple poo tomorrow.

 

Swallows and Dinosaurs January 30, 2013

Filed under: activities for kids,cooking,imitation,playing — rakster @ 6:51 pm

Tonight was cookie baking: using beautiful new cookie cutters I found on my recent trip to Melbourne.

Both O and L joined in.

Dinner went down quickly then O chose to eat a swallow and a dinosaur.

Yum!

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Another birthday and a robot cake adventure June 26, 2012

It’s been a crazy week of birthdays… A quick post to share a photo or two.

We celebrated O’s 3rd Birthday in the park on the weekend with a robot and rocket party.

What does that look like? Lots of big refrigerator boxes all joined up to make a robot spaceship, decorated with stickers and stick-ons. Filled with small children popping their heads up through the funny windows and openings. And crawling between all the adjoining boxes like crazy.

In the spaceship

Lots of fruit for morning tea.

the spaceship has landed in the park

And, of course, a robot cake. Which the smallest one managed to swipe icing off while I was trying to light the candles!

Robot Cake!

Happy Robot Birthday my beautiful boy!

 

Eating : a balancing act May 22, 2012

Filed under: cooking,eating,family,Parenting,Raising a Child — rakster @ 9:46 pm

I had to take a photo tonight at dinner to remind myself and record the fact that my son will eat dinner.

On occassion.

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If in a restaurant.

Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Grrrrrrrr.

I have made the same meal at home (pad thai) plenty of times and he won’t even try it.

And here he is not only serving himself a whole plateful, but eating it too!

I’m happy and frustrated simultaneously :)

 

Love Mum

P.S. The 11 month old weighs the same as the 2yr 11 month old in our house.

 

Angel Food Cake – recipe March 31, 2012

Filed under: cooking — rakster @ 10:19 am
Tags: , ,

angel food cake

it’s essentially a big fluffy sweet sponge cake held up with a LOT of egg white.  Apparently Betty Crocker did one in the 70s/80s in Canada that my lovely other half was partial to eating when his mom made it.  I’m a bit of a packet cake snob, and when a cake is as easy as this, who wouldn’t be.  I think if you wanted to play around with it and cut this cake up to make a shaped kid’s birthday cake, it would work pretty well too – it is tough enough / not too crumbly at all while still being pretty light.  And because it’s so light (and sweet) it’s one of the only cakes I’ve ever made where my two year old has actually eaten the whole piece of cake and not just the icing!

angel food cake! yum

ingredients

1 cup (240g) cake flour (*see note)
¾ cup + ¾ cup white sugar (177g + 177g)
12 egg whites (room temp for best whipping – but they are easier to separate when cold.  Also as even the smallest speck of yolk will make them not whip up well, suggest you separate them one by one into a second bowl before adding to the rest of the whites in the main bowl – it would be a shame to get to the 12th egg and get some yolk in!)
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (and optionally ½ teaspoon almond extract)
1 ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon salt

equipment

25 cm (10 inch) angel food cake tin OR ring tin OR bundt tin.  A tin with a hold in the middle!
stand mixer / hand-held beaters
a bottle or something to invert the cake tin onto so it ‘hangs’ upside down

method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Make sure that your 25cm (10 inch) ring tin (or special angel food cake tin if you have one!) or bundt tin is clean and dry.   Basically you need a tin with a hold in the middle so the cake cooks evenly and isn’t gooey in the middle!  Do not grease the tin.  The ungreased tin allows full rising as the cake sticks to the sides on baking and the tin then holds the cake ‘out’ to stop it collapsing.
  2. Sift together the cake flour and ¾ cup of the sugar, set aside.
  3. In a very large very clean bowl (any amount of oil, dishwashing liquid or residue could deflate the egg whites), beat the egg whites along with the vanilla, cream of tartar and salt, to medium stiff peaks.  You could try this by hand but there is quite a bit of mixing, so a stand mixer works best, but you could do it with a hand-held if needed.
  4. Gradually add the remaining sugar while continuing to whip to stiff peaks.
  5. When the egg white mixture has reached its maximum volume, fold in the sifted ingredients gradually, one third at a time. Do not over-mix.
  6. Put the batter into the ring pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake springs back when touched.
  7. Balance the tube pan upside down on the top of a bottle, to prevent decompression while cooling. Yes, this sounds strange, but the cake is so light it won’t ‘fall’ out of the pan while cooling even though it is inverted.
  8. When completely cool, run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert onto a plate.
  9. Serve with fresh or poached fruit in season and whipped cream or a strawberry or passionfruit style syrup-sauce.  Or for kids with whipped cream and sprinkles!  We served with fresh whipped cream (with a small amount of icing (confectioner’s) sugar and vanilla extract added).

notes

  • to make ‘cake flour’ – measure 2 tablespoons corn flour then add plain (all-purpose) flour to make up one cup (240g) total.  Sift 4 or 5 times until very well combined.  The cake flour has a lower protein content than normal flour and should be a lot lighter.
  • there is a lot of mixture – it overfills my 23 cm bundt cake tin
  • apparently (according to someone in my house) you also need to add a small amount of sprinkles to the cake mixture (as you mix in the flour) so that the cake is flecked with little colourful bits.  I’d say about 2 tablespoons would do it.
  • This cake is super-sweet.   Hence the decoration / serving with poached fruit.   No need for icing on this baby.
  • Egg yolks? Got a few left over after making this cake?  How convenient that this cake goes so well with ice cream!  Make a batch or two.  Or some home made custard.  Or a creme pattisserie to fill a fresh lovely custard tart.  Or a batch of choux pastry nuns filled with custard.   Mmmm.  So many options!

source

Modified from a recipe on www.food.com (12591) 29 March 2012

 

Made for our daddy’s birthday this week!

 

Things to do while the baby is sleeping… (or things I have done while the baby has been sleeping) March 22, 2012

Some days the babe sleeps for but 45 minutes at a stretch before for some reason or other we need to get in the car and go somewhere or gets woken by something (or someone)…  Not like the first lucky child who had a bit of a routine and actually two good-length daytime sleeps until he was over 1.

 

But some days I do get a bit of a break when the older one is at daycare, and the younger one actually goes to sleep for a bit.  It’s hard to plan anything, because you just never know what is going to happen, but sometimes it’s just fun to pretend the sleep will a bit and just get stuck into doing something that it would be impossible to contemplate getting done with a baby underfoot.

 

This week I had two days where sleep happened.

 

The first day, I did the tax.  Well, when I say, “did the tax”, what I actually mean is get all the bits of paper and emails and other nasty things that need to be gathered to complete “the tax”, write a letter to the accountant explaining what I couldn’t find, put it in an envelope and label it “Urgent”.  Because of course I’ve left it so long that it is now somewhat urgent (oops, sorry).

 

The second day, I made a pie.  Yes, a pure escapism from reality PIE.  Lime marshmallow pie. And totally forgot to take a photo, so all you’ll get is the last-remaining wedge photo from the day after (we had people over people, we didn’t consume the whole thing ourselves – just in case you were wondering).

Lime Marshmallow Pie

 

Yum.

 

Lime Marshmallow Pie. Recipe courtesy David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert.

 

Yum.  Did I say that already.

 

I know which task I enjoyed more!

 

Have you baked anything good recently?? What do you do if you kid’s are asleep and you’ve a few minutes to yourself?? What would you LIKE to do?

Lime Marshmallow Pie slice

ooops. It seems to be getting smaller...

 

Christmas cooking (with kids): gingerman bread December 22, 2011

Yep, that is how we say it around our house: Gingerman Bread.

It’s very funny to watch kids try to wrap their tongues and heads around funny phrases and words. Especially when they are your own kids and you can just laugh out loud…

Last year when we went to Canada to celebrate Christmas with our Canadian family in the snow, we visited some friends in Vancouver on the way through who had the MOST amazing gingerbread house and scene ever made. Let me tell you. It was amazing. (Note I’m having to tell you rather than show you as I’m such a numpty I forgot to take a photo of the wonderful creation.)

They make one each year, and keep it up on display without snacking or nibbling for a few weeks over Christmas, and when the kids go back to school in early Jan they take it in as a treat for all the kids to eat together. And I was inspired – I’ve always wanted to do one.

So last week I emailed them and got the recipe for the gingerbread and icing, and started to think about making it… Then realised that although it would be fun for me, the two year old in our family would LOVE to help and the house construction and decoration is just a little bit beyond his decorating ability, patience-level and possibly balancing skills. I could forsee typhoon-struck ginger-house with icing dripping from gables aligned with the floor… (I’ve also been wondering about how a gingerbread house would ‘hold up’ here in humid Brisbane… In Canada the humidity is so low you have to have a humidifier on. Here you can almost drink the air some days. I’m not sure that any gingerbread house would have a long-life without ‘growing’ some of it’s own extra-special green decorations.. Anyone have experience with this is Australia??)

So I embraced the idea of just having fun with it and opted for gingerbread christmas shapes.

We invited O’s little cousins and grandma from Canada over and away we cooked. There was lots of mixing, measuring and then cutting.

rolling out the dough. Lots of helpers..

Then baking.

Then decorating. I put a sheet of baking paper out for each child, in front of them at the kitchen table, and three bowls each for the toppings: smarties, sprinkles and heart decorations. Then a big smear of royal icing on their baking paper and a small palette knife each, and they were off.

gathered around the table...

Little Miss L's lady..

little miss p's star

We were planning on gifting some that O had decorated himself to O’s teachers and a few other people. On reflection, after witnessing the licking of palette knife, fingers and smarties that went into putting his together, I decorated a few myself to give on his behalf…

But I still love the creations, licks and all!

mmm. a reindeer!

O's creations. Lots of licking when into these beauties....

….

love mum

P.S. Oh, I forgot. They are absolutely DELICIOUS… Thank-you Mickey for the recipe! Yum Yum Yum…..

P.P.S. I am now planning on making the making of these (and a gingerbread house when the kids are bigger) a Christmas tradition in our house.

P.P.P.S. And you may ask – where was the little baby during all of this? Alternately happily rolling around on the floor, breastfeeding and sleeping. She really is a dream child…. !

luna-baby watching the gingerbread-making process

 

And she has started eating…. We are going baby-lead-feeding.. December 20, 2011

In other developments around our house, the littlest member of the family has started on her food adventure. I don’t know if I managed to get a photo of her first food (cucumber), but since then we’ve introduced a range of vegetables, a little fruit, and a bit of meat (cooked by her daddy), bread and crackers. Did I mention that you got your first tooth about 2 months ago at 3 months old?? Well, regardless of teeth, you are into food.

I remember when little O first had food like it was yesterday. Avocado. You haven’t tried that yet. Will have to add it in.

Dear Little L:
So far, your favourites have been: steamed / fresh snow peas (preferably from the garden) and turkey. Yes, your Dad cooked a Christmas turkey on the weekend and you are very much into it. We are giving you only whole food: the baby-led feeding approach (read this brochure if you want a quick summary on it). So your sit in your bumbo or on our laps, and get whole bits of veges and other stuff to play with and eat as much as you can of. And since starting, your hand-eye co-ordination has improved out of sight and you have no trouble getting the food from your plate to your mouth. And there is definitely some going down, as is evidenced by the seeds and other bits and pieces I can see in your poo. mmmmm… All good fun. We spoon-fed your brother a bit at the beginning but he really wasn’t into it at all so soon changed to the baby-lead feeding approach. For him it didn’t make much difference – he is just a little skinny thing. You seem a lot more into food so far in general. Thankfully. It is nice to have a little robust baby after the skinny minny your brother turned into at around six months (and still remains).

love mum

So around here mealtimes are a family affair.  It’s fun to see:

munching on some cheese: baby-led feeding

a family meal

Love and kisses :)

mum

 

getting ready for Christmas – cherry pie December 18, 2011

Filed under: cooking — rakster @ 4:10 pm

Also in the spirit of Christmas and the festive season, I’ve been busy cook, cook, cooking.

Mostly for fun (i.e. not so inspired on the family dinners)…

I’ve been putting together my version of a cherry pie.

Inspired by a sour cherry pie (a tart really) made by the welsh lady here in Brisbane. I’m not even sure she still makes them: I haven’t been into the store in years (it’s on the other side of town and really only totally loved the sour cherry pies). This particular pie was something I hankered after when I returned to Brisbane after living overseas for years: an individually-sized open-faced sour cherry tart with a custard base… mmmm.

When Chris and I first started going out, I talked about these pies and promised to get him one (food has always been a common love). But it took us about two years to actually get our hands on one. She didn’t make them all the time, they sell quickly and we didn’t get to the shop that often. One morning we turned up early, asking for the pies, and recognising that I’d been in a few times over the space of a year looking for them, she promised to cook some right away and for us to come back in a few hours. We did. The pies didn’t make it out of the carpark….

Anyway. I’ve been wanting to make my own version. But with fresh rather than bottled sour cherries. I got myself a wonderful cherry pitter for Christmas (a bit early) from my mother-in-law, and have been pitting cherries like mad ever since. The pie has been practiced so it will be ready for Christmas day (of course, just because you need to practice, we wouldn’t eat a cherry pie for no reason other than liking it!..).

cooked cherry filling

 

mmm.

open-faced cherry tart

One big fat fresh-cherry pie made with a custard filling from our lovely garden-fresh eggs… Yum…

open-faced cherry tart: fresh cherries

P.S. And thanks to my wonderful husband for cooking the fresh cherries. It was a joint effort… :)