Monday, December 08, 2008

Zucchini and pistachio spice cake - late virtual hug

I missed the weekend of virtual hugs for Barbara, but that doesn't mean I still didn't want to send one to Barbara from me and my girl with this cake made with lots of good fresh ingredients and made from the loads of organic zucchini I have been buying lately from my friends who have me buying lots more organic produce these days.

It started with my wanting to reduce the amount of pesticides in my families life. I am happy to say from an organic perspective we now mostly eat organic, pasta, rice, milk, eggs, fruit, vegetables, chicken, beef, pork and I also bake with organic flour, sugar etc.

This beautiful cake is topped with a lovely fresh lime cream cheese frosting. The cake itself tastes of cardamom and mixed spice and lovely bites of pistachios. The recipe is one from the Delicious magazine and can be found at one of my favourite websites at Taste.

I think this cake makes a great virtual hug to Barbara because it is filled with lots and lots of organic goodies prepared with love and care to share with all those I love.

Baking to me means caring and sharing. For my children I hope I am creating memories of a loving mother who wanted to make her children happy and healthy. Because I work full time I hope my children will remember less about the mother who wasn't there in the afternoon, and more about the mother who remembered them everyday and showed it each day when they opened their lunches and found a special treat I made for them, and one extra to share with their closest friends.

I am not the mother who drops them off regularly, goes on the excursions, reads to the class, or participates in tuck shop, but I am the mother who wanted to provide them with beautiful things to taste and remember as a highlight of their day, its my love letter to them.

My beautiful son on his tenth birthday last month. A cheesecake lover I made him one of his absolute favourites and all time classic - a new york cheesecake courtesty of Taste once again.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Lumberjack Cake

A friend on facebook recently pointed me in the direction of this lovely and rustic looking cake.
I did some googling and found a number of recipes with variations on the amount of sugar, green apples and dates and eggs.
The first recipe I found on a favourite blog. I made it for Melbourne Cup day and it was quite a hit satisfying all our cravings for a sweet hit in the afternoon. The first one I made I served with the caramel sauce and cream.
Today I went for simplicity and varied the quantities on the sugar, eggs and apples. So my version of the cake is so:
For the cake
200grams of dates chopped
1 cup of hot water
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
125grams of butter softened
1 cup castor sugar
1/2 tsp of vanilla paste
1 egg
2 green apples, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups plain flour
For the topping
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons of butter
Turn on the oven to 180 degrees (160 fan forced).
Place chopped dates, hot water and bicarb of soda in a non-metallic bowl and leave till cool.
Butter and flour a square pan or a round one and line with baking paper. Mine was a large round one about 26 cm in diameter.
In another bowl, cream sugar and butter till pale and fluffy, add lightly beaten egg and vanilla and mix through. Then add flour, date mixture and apples alternately till combined.Transfer to baking pan.
Cook for 45mins or until skewer inserted in middle comes out dry.
While cake is cooking, combine topping ingredients in a small saucepan till butter melts.
Remove cake from oven and spread over the topping. Return to the oven for 15 mins until topping is brown.
Cut when cool and serve with cream.
P.S the beautiful yellow day lilly is from our front garden. Its taken nearly a year but they have finally flowered and are gorgeous. Gabi cut off two to give to Di our lovely neighbour as a thank-you for the beautiful hibiscus that she scored from her last weekend.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Paul's duck salad

A very, very, very late evening for us last night cooking a Thai feast. We started with pork rice rolls, and chicken spring rolls and Thai Mojitos, then we had this duck salad, the Thai red lamb shank curry from the previous post, a cucumber salad and then a trio of desserts - coconut creme caramel, mango and lemongrass tart and vanilla bean icecream. A marathon of cooking, eating and entertaining hence why I will leave it till later this week to post the recipe for the duck salad a Paul special. Our guests left at 2am and I got up at 5am that morning to track down the many ingredients. It was a breeze to actually serve as we did all the preparation in advance.

I couldn't resist posting the picture of the beautiful hibiscus as well. Paul and Gabi went next door for a swim and while there the lovely Di (our neighbour) went to cut two of her hibiscus for her own purposes. Gabi has a sharp eye and immediately asked for one, while I am happy to have one, I feel sorry for Di having to give it up to Gabi. However Gabi does have a good eye and appreciates natures beauty so its not being wasted with us and indeed being imortalised on the internet!.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Gabi's 5th birthday - Pirates and Fairies party

Birthday cake from Vanilla pod

Smartie cookie new recipe

Lemon iced biscuits

Fairy cupcakes
We had a big weekend preparing for the invasion of fairies and pirates - I think I was remarkably restrained in my food preparations. The Menu: Mini Quiche (I bought the baked pastry cases from Coles) my MIL brought the sandwiches, Cupcakes, the biscuits above, a fruit platter, bannana bread, lemon and poppy seed cake (damn forgot to get a photograph of) and that was it.
I used a new recipe for the cupcakes some of them were coconut ones, but I wasn't happy with it so I won't post it as I won't use it again.
The iced biscuits though were great and a nice change from ginger bread men.
Ingredients 250 g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 egg
Pure icing sugar
lemon juice
Preheat oven to 180degrees c
In food processer mix the butter and flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add sugar and mix to combine. Add egg and continue to process until mix comes together. Knead on floured surface for a few minutes until smooth. Divide in half and wrap in cling wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Line baking trays with baking paper. Roll out dough on a floured surface to half a centimetre thickness and use cookie cutters of your choice.
Bake for 8-10 minutes until light golden - I went for paler biscuits.
Gabi didn't like the lemon flavour so some were not iced and then later I decided to only use the pure icing sugar and milk. You need the icing to go hard quickly on these cookies so pure icing sugar not icing mixture is what you should aim to use. If you make the lemon icing use 1/2 cup icing sugar sifted to 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
The Smartie cookies are based on the chocolate chip cookie recipe using smarties instead of chocolate chips.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lamb shank red curry

I can't tell you how this was made, I wasn't at home when it was made by Paul and our good friend Kim who is a fabulous cook. It was the most delicious curry I have eaten in my entire life - yes it was that good. I will ask Paul to tell me how they made it and post it - I would hate to think that I will never have that fabulous flavour in my mouth again. I can tell you how she made the rice it was very simple and fool proof.
One cup of rice to one and a half cups of water - rinse the rice first if you like and drain then add the required water - so two cups would mean three cups etc. Also add a touch of salt.
Bring to the boil without a lid - then as soon as it boils reduce down to the lowest temperature you can get - seal the lid with two paper hand towels between the lid and the pan - this will help absorption of the water. Leave on low for 20minutes, then turn off . Don't remove the lid during this time and leave standing for another ten minutes off the heat before removing the lid. When you take the lid off its ready to serve.

Random scallop dish

This dish is the result of an evening dining with my sister-in-law. She had some scallops left over from the dinner she cooked for us and was unimpressed so gave the remainder to Paul and me.
I promptly cooked them for lunch. As I recall it was a leek and wood smoked bacon sauce with a dash of cream and some organic olive oil drizzled over for good measure. The scallops were very simply grilled on my flat grill.
It was pretty darn good.
Oh in the back ground is some beautiful garlic turkish bread I get from the Rocklea markets - first I lightly grilled it and then we used it to mop up the sauce on the plate. A hint of dill is the last embellishment

About Me

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Mother of two with one of each. Wife of one.Dogless. Busy working five days a week, baking and cooking when time allows. Writing rarely these days. Wishing I had time to read more often.