Friday, February 29, 2008

Comfort cooking

The men folk flew out this morning to test out a new discount airline and explore the vast unconquered wilderness that is Melbourne. I was missing them so much, that a dear friend offered to come and bake with me. She brought blueberries and bananas so we baked blueberry muffins and, seeing as the oven was already on, a yoghurt cake.

Blueberry muffins (torn out from an old 1994 Parenting magazine)
1 mashed banana
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup honey
3/4 cup milk (I used yoghurt)
1 cup wholemeal self raising flour (I used plain with 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda and a splash of salt)
1 cup SR flour
3/4 cup frozen blueberries

1. Mix wet and dry ingredients separately
2. Combine quickly
3. Spoon into muffin cases and bake at 180 for 20 minutes.

They were deliciously and very light, but next time I'll add some cinnamon for extra flavour.

I steamed and pureed some organic grey pumpkin for the Little Prince's first vegetable meal. It was very colourful but not a huge hit, probably because he was a little overtired.
And today's bread was a wholemeal blend, that was a little sticky in the middle but scrumptious with cream cheese, homegrown tomato and shaved Jarlsberg.
Posted by Picasa

Pear-ginger quickbread

I was still trying to work my way through the bag of pears, and wanted to use up some crystallised ginger lurking in the pantry cupboard. Sadly, when it came time to chop and toss in the ginger I discovered it was missing, so added a hasty shake of ground ginger instead. It was very light, fluffy and sweet - and there was nothing left of the two loaves to freeze.

The following recipe was a variation from the Barmy Baker's blog:

1/4 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
healthy dash of ground ginger
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
zest of one orange, minced
1/3 cup yoghurt
1 1/2 cups pears, peeled and diced

1. Preheat oven to 160 and grease and flour a couple of loaf tins
2. Cream butter, sugar and minced orange zest until fluffy
3. Add eggs and vanilla
4. Add yogurt
5. Sift dry ingredients together then mix quickly into wet ingredients
6. Fold in pears
7. Bake until set (about 40 minutes), cool in tins then turn out to cool.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 25, 2008

Who could resist those baby blues?

The Little Prince has been taking a keen interest in food, and liquid nourishment just doesn't seem to be cutting it. He's not yet 5 months old, which makes him our youngest solids eater yet...
Today was his third solid meal - we've had pureed pears, pureed apples, and returned to pureed pears today.

Despite appearances, he was a keen participant and very happy to chomp on the spoon, though it took a few attempts to get the pear to the swallowing stage.
He seems to be enjoying his new culinary experience. And seriously - are those eyes just gorgeous, or am I just biased?!
Posted by Picasa

Where do the days go?

My wonderful friend, The Crone, fills her blog with creations, and I thought I'd try to include some finished objects - but there just haven't been that many! Pictured above is the second edition beanie to match the Little Prince's side buttoning cardigan.
And some healthy banana loaf - organic wholemeal and spelt flour, organic raw sugar - and waaaaay too many chocolate chips to be remotely healthy. I also baked wholemeal spelt bread, made yoghurt and pureed steamed pears. But forgot to take photos... perhaps next time I'll be more organised!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Market day

We were tempted by the seafood platter at the local markets this week, especially since our table came with white paper, crayons and easy access to the playground!

I particularly liked the fish island effect as Ginger Rose carefully ate from the outside in... The fish was delicious and eventually disappeared completely.
Posted by Picasa

Happy birthday!

Ginger Rose's best friend turned four recently, and we baked a cake to celebrate (chocolate mud with a chocolate ganache icing). It was a great evening - and isn't it nifty that to have a birthday party with nine children you only need to catch up with one other family!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Apple Buttermilk Loaves

Yummy beaters!

We had some apples that weren't going to be eaten in time, so I googled for a suitable apple bread recipe, and found the following recipe. I substituted 1c wholemeal flour, used yoghurt instead of buttermilk, added a hint of cinnamon, and spread the mixture over three loaf tins to help it fit into lunchboxes better.

Apple Buttermilk Loaves

Category: Apple Bread
Serves/Makes: 2 loaves | Difficulty Level: 3 | Ready In: > 5 hrs


3 cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Butter or Margarine
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Brown sugar, packed
3 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
3/4 cup Buttermilk
1 1/2 cup Apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup Nuts, optional
1 teaspoon Grated orange zest

Combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugars; beat in eggs one at a time; add vanilla. Stir in buttermilk alternately with flour mixture. Fold in apples, nuts and orange peel.

Pour into two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 5/8 inch greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees 50-60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean.

Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. Wrap and let stand overnight to allow flavors to blend.

Recipe Location:
Recipe ID: 45556

Friday, February 15, 2008


Ginger Rose is incredibly enthusiastic about playschool. After three days, we've got a comfortable routine happening. We unpack the bag into her cubbyhole, I identify the missing or duplicate items, we move into the classroom and Ginger Rose sits at the puzzle table doing each puzzle in turn.
We finish in the book corner, where we read one or two books before saying our goodbyes.

It was cold on Thursday morning, so the Little Prince is snuggled up in two suits for the walk to school, and Ginger Rose is bravely nursing two bloody grazed knees after trying to run as fast as the big kids on the bike path.
Posted by Picasa

Morning tea

A relative dropped in earlier in the week, and I stopped everything to sit and have a cup of tea with her. It was lovely, but when the children came home from school I was still rushing around trying to get everything done and I realised - I was prepared to stop, sit down and chat with almost anybody who dropped in, but wouldn't give my children the same courtesy.
This morning Ginger Rose and I stopped work and drank tea out of special cups together. I'm looking forward to making morning (and afternoon) tea part of our days.

Credits: Mug from Great Auntie J
Posted by Picasa

Melanzane alla parmigiana (aubergine parmigiana)

Or how to spend an entire day cooking something nobody but you will eat.

Grandad B produced some truly gorgeous little auberginies that I thought deserved to be appreciated, and as he delivered them with another batch of deliciously red tomatoes, the aubergine parmigiana recipe from Jamie's Italy seemed the best way to enjoy them.

The sauce called for a chopped onion, which made my eyes water ridiculously. I should have taken it as a sign to stop, rather than persevered with peeling, deseeding and chopping tomatoes.

First you plunge your tomato into boiling water.

Then into iced water .
Then you cut it in two, peel off the skin, squeeze out the seed, and chop the slippery sucker.
Toss it into the pot with the onions, garlic and oregano. The recipe called for dried oregano but I only had fresh.
Then the fun bit. Jamie helpfully comments that "you can leave the sauce chunky or you can puree it". I, of course, attempted to use the blender. Will I ever learn?

By the time I'd grilled the aubergine, grated the cheese and shredded the breadcrumbs I'd decided this was more trouble than I'd bargained for - particularly with a 3yo helper and a velcro baby!

Pre-assembly, featuring sauce blended with the stick blender, finally chopped spelt bread crumbs, grated parmesan and grilled aubergine:

It looked quite nice and I was feeling hopeful, until dh informed me over our lunch together that he was absolutely positively not interested in eating aubergine parmigiana EVEN if Ginger Rose had picked the oregano with her own fair hands and I'd used every pot and pan in the kitchen.

Fortunately, there was enough parmigiana sauce and grated parmesan for me to tip over some chicken fillets I dredged in seasoned polenta and baked.

Looks just like the picture, doesn't it?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cousins playing

Cousin JJ came to visit this weekend. It was great to get a childproofing preview, and I'm remembering with discomfort that there's no such thing as a childsafe area when there's a preschooler in the house.
The little Prince wasn't really ready to play games with his cousin, but he did have a great big smile for Auntie C!
The newborn longies kniyyed by the wonderful Nicole in far-off Canada are still cute and cuddly even if they are definitely on the shortie and tightie side now!
Posted by Picasa

Tarzan's butt

I am baby, hear me roar! Grandma L is helping the Little Prince to express his inner wild animal with this very soft and soakable fitted nappy. Too gorgeous!

And for the nappy afficionados, hemp inner with a microfleece outer that makes it effectively an AIO for home use but fine enough to toss a PUL cover on for wearing out.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 07, 2008

My little gumnut

It's hard to believe these are being worn comfortably during a Canberra February, but I'm not complaining about some comfortably cool weather! It certainly makes the walk to and from school more comfortable.

While we're still not making great gains with dam water levels, there's enough water around to be causing a laundry backlog!
Posted by Picasa

All on my own

The Little Prince is keeping me company, but it's just so quiet....although the next-door dog who is usually entertained by the Ginger Ninja is missing him terribly loudly!
Ginger Rose is very very excited to be starting school. I said good-bye and asked if she wanted a kiss. Her response? "No, thanks. Have a nice day!" Heartless child. I made it up the bike path before starting to sniffle as I realised there was nobody to point out the sweet little birds to.

Being an incompetent mother, I returned to preschool 90 minutes after the start to drop off her hat and drink bottle (please don't ask HOW we forgot the beloved school hat, and don't even think of asking why I haven't been able to find the newly labelled hate at all and ended up drop ping down a substitute!) and despite my best efforts at discretion, a little ginger head poked through the curtains to wave at me. She seemed very cheerful and I only hope she didn't think it was home time!

And the last night of holidays dinner was Indian. Thanks to Auntie C for the dahl recipe.
Posted by Picasa