Thursday, May 30, 2013
My big boy turned 4 last month! Such a cliche but he is growing up so quickly.
Although he had been asking for a party we decided to keep it low key and do a family outing instead, especially as his birthday fell on a Saturday this year.
Oscar has always loved animals and nature so we decided to head off to Australia Zoo for the day. This is the zoo that Steve Irwin founded on the Sunshine Coast and is a brilliant place to visit with kids. There is heaps to see so I would recommend getting there as soon as they open if you are to have any chance of seeing it all in one day!
We were a little late getting there (having a few toilet stops on the way for the kids) and I had also stupidly invited more family over for birthday cake at home at 4pm. What I hadn't figured on was getting home by 4 actually meant rounding everyone up to leave the zoo about 2.30. Not surprisingly we didn't see everything we wanted to. Oh well, live and learn.
Anyway, we all had a great time. The kids loved seeing all the animals, the giant tortoises, the bird show and of course the crocodiles were big hits. And we still had birthday cake at home to look forward to.
Oscar had been asking for a dinosaur cake for at least 6 months so I had plenty of time to research. I pretty much just googled 'dinosaur cake', looked through all the images and chose one something that looked easy (I found this one here). And it turned out pretty well if I do say so myself!
The body of the dinosaur is an 8 inch round cake split in half and sandwiched together with icing to form a semi-circle shape. As we are trying to stay sugar-free I chose to bake the vanilla cake from David Gillespie's Sweet Poison Quit Plan Cookbook, and then used a normal sugar icing.
The head, tail, legs and spots were made from ready-made fondant icing that I tinted myself using mostly Wilton gel colours. I was really happy with how the colours turned out, they were just what I was hoping for. It was a lot of fun making the shapes too, a bit like playing with play dough!
So another year, another birthday cake. Stay tuned for Charlie's birthday in November!
Monday, May 27, 2013
Well it's reveal day for Group D of the Secret Recipe Club! This month I was delighted to be given Natural Noshings by Nora. I came across Nora's blog quite a few months ago and had already flagged a number of recipes to make.
We have been making a real effort over the past 6 months or so to cut out processed foods and remove refined sugar from our diet. We have a pantry full of oats, coconut oil, chia seeds, natural nut butters and raw cacao. Natural Noshings has some amazing recipes that are gluten free and use real whole ingredients with nothing artificial or processed in sight.
I have bookmarked some of the sweet treats to make like the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Bites (which will be the perfect after kindy snack for my 4 year old) and the Healthy Nutella (which my peanut butter loving 2 year old will go nuts for - pun intended!).
Yet again though I have chosen to make a main because quite simply I couldn't go past these. Nora calls them spring rolls but in Australia spring rolls use a different wrapper and are baked or fried. We call these rice paper rolls. But really whatever you call them they are little parcels of deliciousness!
Adding the apple was a stroke of genius. The sweetness of red apple paired with the chicken and peanut sauce was fantastic. My kids adored these. Well actually Charlie my 2 year old couldn't be convinced that the rice paper wrappers were actually edible so he just ate the fillings and lots of sauce.
The original recipe had apple and cabbage but as usual I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get some extra veges into the kids. All the colours of the rainbow crammed into something they can roll up and dip in a yummy sauce (my version of the sauce has a few extra flavours added). All in all a healthy and delicious dinner!
Apple and Chicken Rice Paper Rolls with Peanut Sauce
Adapted from Spring Rolls on Natural Noshings
For the rolls:
12 rice paper wrappers
4 small chicken thighs (marinated in a little soy sauce and sesame oil then baked and cut into strips
1 medium red apple, sliced into matchsticks
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 medium avocado, sliced thinly
1 small red capsicum, thinly sliced
½ bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped
For the peanut sauce:
3 tablespoons hot water
3 tablespoons peanut butter (mine was smooth, all natural)
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice malt syrup
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon sesame oil
To prepare the sauce, place all the ingredients in a small jug and whisk to combine.
To prepare the rice paper rolls, fill a large shallow bowl with just warm water. Working with one wrapper at a time, submerge it in the water and allow to soften (about 30 seconds) turning once or twice. Carefully remove from water and lay flat on a damp tea towel.
Half way between the centre of the wrapper and the edge closest to you, layer on some carrot, capsicum, avocado, chicken, apple and chopped coriander, leaving a gap of about an inch on each side.
Take the edge closest to you and fold it over the filling. Roll it once more and then fold the shorter left and right sides inward, like you would a burrito. Then continue wrapping and rolling until sealed. Place on serving platter, leaving a little room between them as they will stick together.
Repeat with remaining wrappers and serve with the peanut sauce!
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I had a bit of a brain freeze and totally forgot that this was BWJ week. Luckily without a mixer I have perfected a brioche dough made in the breadmaker and whipped these beauties out in about 2.5 hours!
They are called Savoury Brioche Pockets, and just as the name suggest, they are a brioche dough wrapped around a savoury filling. As I had forgotten about the recipe I didn't have any goat's cheese or chives on hand but I did happen to have leftover steamed potato in the fridge.
To make my filling I sauteed some onion, garlic and spinach in butter until soft then added it to cold mashed potato along with a handful of grated cheddar cheese, some salt and pepper. Basically it made the yummiest mashed potato you can imagine!
The taste test ...
They didn't blow my socks off but it was pretty tasty. The filling was delicious and you can't go past brioche. I'm just not a huge pan of potatoes in bread. It just seemed a bit too heavy even though the filling was lightened up with veg. I think my brioche discs were a bit too thick so the ratio of bread to filling was a bit off. Still a success overall though.
Carrie of Loaves and Stitches will have the recipe up today and to see what the other bakers thought of this one, check out the LYL section.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
I made 12 little cakes using a large hole muffin tray. I put a little blob of butter in the base of each and topped it with a slice of gala apple then spooned the batter on top.
I ate 1 (ok, 2!) warm from the oven and they were absolutely divine. The creme fraiche (or greek yoghurt in my case) made for a lovely moist and slightly tangy cake which paired beautifully with the sweet apple. They may have made out of a mistake but they were a definite winner!
To see the real recipe for Fresh Rhubarb Upside Down Baby Cakes make sure you visit out host Erin of When in Doubt.