Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Our Easter Round-up

This year our Easter was the closest to 100% homemade as we've gotten!

For the first time ever we didn't buy a single hot cross bun from the shops, instead I baked up a storm for nearly the whole of March, trying and refining hot cross bun recipes to find the one that we love. Which we did - using white spelt flour, rice malt syrup, loads of spice and a good handful of organic sultanas. Delicious!

spelt low sugar hot cross buns from

If you've ever looked at the ingredients on supermarket hot cross buns you were likely as horrified as I was - vegetable oil, loads of sugar, emuslifiers and preservatives. Let me tell you it does not have to be that way! Making your own hot cross buns is easier than you might think and a great activity to get the kids involved with (my recipe is scrawled in a notebook but I will get it on the blog when I can, hopefully sometime before next Easter!).

The Easter Bunny brought our boys some lovely winter pyjamas and a single dark chocolate Lindt Bunny. This was the only commercial chocolate the boys received as we had requested non-choc gifts from relatives. Everyone awesomely obliged and boys were gifted board games, books and some rabbit ornaments. We also did an Easter Egg hunt this morning with the boys searching for plastic eggs with little chickens inside and I love that they loved the experience of the hunt so much they didn't notice there was no chocolate involved!

Our junk food philosophy can be summed up as 'party food is for parties' (borrowed from Sweet Poison by David Gillespie) meaning we don't stop the boys eating anything but we clearly treat it as sometimes food and we don't have it in the pantry.

The boys all wanted to eat their chocolate for breakfast but unlike the other two, Mr 5 scoffed the lot before 7am and then felt so sick for most of the day that he has refused all other chocolate and can't even stand the smell of it. He usually doesn't have an off-switch when it comes to sweets so perhaps this has been an effective lesson for him! I'm interested to see how long the aversion will last and whether it will affect how much chocolate he eats on other occasions.

We also didn't purchase any chocolates for each other or for family but instead experimented with some homemade treats. Our homemade chocolates were made using Quirky Jo's dairy-free raw chocolate, Alexx Stuart's real marshmallow and Against All Grain's mandarin truffles. This was my first time using cacao butter to make real wholefood chocolate and I was so impressed with how easy it was to use and how delicious the results were. The marshmallow was out of this world and although obviously it contains sugar (rice malt syrup) it's so much cleaner than the bought stuff. I will be playing around with different flavours and ingredients for Christmas gifts too.

I have such fond memories of making chocolates with praline, nougat, marshmallow and cream fillings for Easter and Christmas with my mum. I still have all these moulds and loved digging them out to use with my boys. Making memories and delicious food like this really is at the heart of what My Wholefood Family is all about.

I hope you and your family have enjoyed a wonderful Easter. What are your traditions - do you go camping? enjoy a seafood feast? what special treats did you bake, make or create? Let me know below ...

Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Favourite Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake ©

I know not everyone is a fan of fruitcake but in this house we love it! I think it depends on what you have grown up with. I vividly remember my mum making a Christmas cake every year - the ritual of lining the tin with layers of brown paper, the special big bowl that was only ever used at Christmas time and licking the sweet and spicy leftovers from the spatula.  

If you've spent any time here you will know that we eat low sugar these and this cake definitely does NOT fall into that category. But this is one of our special Christmas traditions and I hope my boys have similar fond memories to me.

I have been making my Christmas cake from the same recipe for at least the past 8 years and it is tried and true. I make one for my Dad every year and have been asked to make one for friends of his as well which is a good indication just how good this cake is!

It is a traditional boiled fruitcake laced with brandy and beautiful fragrant spices. I usually try to put the fruit on to steep with brandy in November but I was a few weeks late this year. The fruit soaked for only 3 days and will have only 3 weeks to mature before Christmas. Like most fruitcakes it gets better with age so the earlier you can make it the better, although it would still be absolutely fantastic straight from the oven.

If you've never made your own Christmas cake before I encourage you to give this one a go.

My Favourite Christmas Cake
Adapted from Lyndey's Boiled Fruit Cake

975g mixed dried fruit
125ml (1/2 cup) brandy
250g butter
250ml (1 cup) water
100g (1/2 cup) packed dark brown sugar
110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1/2 ts bicarb soda
4 eggs, lightly beaten
185g (1 1/4 cups) self raising flour
185g ( 1 1/4 cups) plain flour
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tbs mixed spice
125g (1 cup) pecans
100g (3/4 cup) macadamias
60ml (1/4 cup) brandy, extra

Combine the dried fruit and brandy in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to soak overnight or for a week or more.

Line the base and sides of a deep 23cm round or 19cm square baking tin with 2 layers of brown paper and 2 layers of baking paper, bringing the paper 5cm above the edge of the tin.

In a large saucepan, place the soaked fruit, butter, water, sugars and bicarb soda and bring to the boil over medium heat. Once boiling, give it a good stir, remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Celsius / 120 degrees fan-forced.

Stir the eggs into the fruit mixture the fold through the sifted flours and spices. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Decorate the top with the pecans and macadamias. Bake for 3 hours.

Brush the hot cake with extra brandy. Cover the cake with a layer of baking paper then a layer of foil. Wrap the whole tin in a towel and leave to cool completely (overnight is good).

Once cool, remove all the wrappings, brush the cake with extra brandy and re-wrap with fresh baking paper and foil and leave in a cool, dark place for at least a few weeks if you can before serving.

Suitable to freeze.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oscar's 1st Birthday Roundup

Hard to believe but my baby is 1 today! The past 12 months have been amazing but it's all gone by so quickly. He's going to be starting school before I know it.

To celebrate we had a party on Sunday down at the waterfront at Manly. We thought the weather was going to spoil it but it turned into a gorgeous day.

38 adults, 7 kids, 1 dog and a ton of food. Sounds like a party to me!

Where's Oscar? Nath worked hard to blow up all these balloons but they didn't last long in the wind

Not too sure about the hat!

Yay, cake!

Hmmm, do I like icing?

Fingerprints in the icing

Who cares about presents when there's bark to play with!

Mummy and Oscar looking a little worse for wear

The car's loaded up with presents. Time for a nap

After spending most of the weekend cooking and baking I didn't even get a photo of the food!

We decided to keep it simple and just have a sausage sizzle, potato salad, pasta salad, green salad, bread and cake.

What you didn't see in the photos are the 48 cupcakes I made. This is one of the 3 leftover that we took home:

I used Nigella's basic cupcake recipe which always works for me. You can find the recipe here. I made a test batch a few weeks ago so felt really confident making 4 doz for the party. But this time I used foil cupcake wrappers and they seemed to cook a lot faster than normal. Mine were done in 13 minutes, not the 15-20 Nigella suggests in the recipe.

I also made a very simple buttercream icing and decorated each one with a freckle.

Buttercream Icing

125g soft butter (I always use salted butter)
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 ts vanilla extra

Using the paddle attachment in your mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Turn the speed to low and add the icing sugar in one go. Beat until combined. Add the vanilla then turn up the speed and beat for about 3 minutes. The icing will be thick, white and shiny. Yum!

Oscar's cake was a giant cupcake made using the Wilton pan. I bought this probably 8 months ago and always planned to use it for his first birthday. I was a little worried how it would turn out (there are lots of horror stories of it sticking etc online). I used a packet cake mix for this, figuring it would be easier. I had just 1/2 cup mixture left from 2 boxes. The tin was greased and floured well, the cake baked for 45 minutes and after a 10 minute rest, out popped 2 perfect cupcake halves. Success!

All in all it was a wonderful day and totally worth all the hard work. A big thanks to Nath's mum Di for her help babysitting and cooking on Saturday :-)
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