Monday, July 29, 2013

Sticky Date Pudding Muffins & Butterscotch Sauce

Last week Emma posted this Sticky Date Pudding Muffins recipe which looked amazing including her photography.  All the ingredients are things you have in your pantry and fridge and we just happened to have dates as well which is my kind of recipe.  I really wanted to make this however didn't want to have 12 delicious Sticky Date Muffins in the house either (as I would eat them all) so decided to make them and take them on our family BBQ.

James with my help made the muffins and butterscotch sauce which I just left in the saucepan to transport to our BBQ so I could heat it up on our little gas burner.  The muffins were at room temperature but once you put the hot butterscotch sauce on top...well let me tell you it's just delicious.

When I was packing our things for the BBQ I grabbed out some paper plates for the dessert as it needed a lip for the sauce and I noticed that the only ones I had like that were Christmas Plates so we just called our dessert "Christmas in July Dessert".

The weather was funny yesterday and when I woke up at 7am it was raining and overcast so thought we would change the venue to our place however when I rang my brother in law to tell him it was sunny again.  By the time we were headed to our BBQ destination the sky was grey again however it's great to get outdoors and since it wasn't actually raining it all went ahead.

That was great for lunch however right after I had served up our Sticky Date Pudding Muffins with hot Butterscotch Sauce it started raining, not spitting but raining which mean we ate those beautiful desserts in about 2 minutes flat instead of taking our time to enjoy it slowly.  As you can see the kids took cover underneath the table to eat their puddings and were quite happy.  The verdict for the dessert (thanks Emma) is a 10 out of 10 from everyone.  The muffins are lighter than I thought they would be in terms of Sticky Date Pudding is so rich it can be heavy and make you feel a bit sick (from self indulging of course because it's so yummy) but these were beautiful and flavoursome and totally delicious. I think my favourite photo is the one of the kids underneath the picnic table to get out of the rain while they have their dessert.  Love it !

Friday, July 26, 2013

New Green Cleaner

I have been wanting to mix up a new "green cleaner" well it's actually an "orange cleaner" cleaner for a while now and since we had some oranges in the fridge finally did it this week.  I got the recipe off this Little Eco Footprints blog and popped the orange skins in a jar with some vinegar and have stored it in a dark cupboard for the next two weeks.

In two weeks time all I need to do is stain the liquid and add water in a ratio of 1:1 and put it in a spray bottle and label.  I'm looking forward to trying this one on my kitchen benches now that my Aldi orange cleaner has nearly run out.  I didn't want to waste what I already had however I'm now getting to the bottom of this cleaner and hoping my green orange cleaner will be it's replacement.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Home for Bees

The kids and I went to Regional Flavours at Southbank over the weekend which we have been to for the past three years and we always look forward to it.  While we were there we purchased a little home for the bees which now proudly sits on top of my retractable clothesline ready for some bees to nest.  We purchased it from Ingrid at City Chicks where we bought our chickens from.  Ingrid has all sorts of things now like soap making, cheese making, yoghurt making etc. which I think is great.  She also sells native bees and hives which one day would be great to own however they are out of our price range at the moment so for now we'll provide a little home for bees that visit our place.  Here's a few pics from Regional Flavours and our new home for bees which is made locally.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Home Grown Potatoes

Last year we grew some potatoes and we were so excited about it that we grew a few more this year.  Not a huge harvest but enough to have a few potatoes and rosemary on the BBQ grilled.  The kids had fun digging around in the tubs to collect their little potatoes.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Making Sausage Rolls

Yesterday I bought the ingredients to make sausage rolls however the filling was a little unusual.  It had smoked paprika, grated lemon rind, wilted baby spinach (trying to keep it healthy) and pork mince among other ingredients.  I was up for anything and the kids have wanted home made sausage rolls for ages.  On a Friday afternoon after a quick visit to some friends for afternoon tea we came home and Sienna and I got stuck into making the sausage rolls.  The recipe called for caraway seeds to go on top of the sausage rolls which surprisingly we had.

In our household our recipes are usually rated 9 out of 10 or sometimes a 10 out of so as easy as these were to make, the flavours were not your typical sausage roll.  I gave them a 5 out of 10 which means I won't make them again.  James gave them a 5.5 out of 10 and Sienna didn't rate them.  I thought the kids wouldn't eat them at all however they didn't love the taste but happily kept eating them which I was pleased about as we had spent an hour making and cooking them.  We all agreed the traditional sausage roll filling will be in them next time.  As I say to the kids, you have to try these things to see if you like them and if you don't then we won't use the recipe again we'll try another one.  If anyone has the "wow factor" sausage roll ingredients you would like to share I would love to hear about it.  Here's a couple of photos from our little cooking last night.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Finding Happiness

On "Down to Earth" blog today Rhonda posted her thoughts on "Finding Happiness".  I think we all agree that there are times in our lives when we are extremely happy and times when we are not so happy and this is the way life is, with it's ups and downs.  Times for me being extremely happy were buying my first house, selling my first house to get another one to renovate, getting married, having my first baby and then my second baby and times that haven't been so happy were getting divorced because your husband won't stop having affairs and drinks excessively every night. Having to sell my dream family home and dealing with the aftermath of all of that.  Getting a phone call to say that your 17 year old brother was hit by a drunk driver who fled the scene and he won't make it through the night all while you are away in another state for the weekend in 1989.  Finding out our friend's 8 year old daughter has Leukemia and passes away 6 months later in 2012.

These things are the "big" things of happiness and sadness and in between those things there are ranges of both however all of our happiness does not have to be "big" and can be small although I think sadness sometimes leans more towards big anyhow because of it's general nature.  Sure we can be sad that our favourite TV show is ending and there's not much on TV but it's not real sadness that's more disappointment.  Some days we have good days and some days we have bad days and other days we have days just in between.

There are things that I wish for now that would certainly make me happier like being 10 kgs lighter, having more money in the bank for the future and a reliable car which would all go towards making me happier.  However I don't want to be rich, but if that happened and I won lotto then I would be okay with that sort of rich.   As I don't put in Lotto that dream could be a problem with or without a ticket I think I have an equal chance!  I do know that money doesn't buy happiness however it would certainly help along the way if we had a little more of it but happiness comes from family, friends, experiences and moments.  With all of that in mind I have put together a group of photos of things that make me happy at this present time in our lives.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tonight's Harvest

Tonight I picked a few veggies from the garden to cut up and stir fry with oyster sauce....even though it's only a handful of veggies I was very excited that they all came from my little garden.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Boiled Orange Chocolate Cake

I recently came across a lovely New Zealand blog called "Petite Kitchen" about cooking with wholefoods and I found a yummy chocolate cake recipe to try out.  It is gluten free, grain free, wheat free, dairy free and refined sugar free. So if you have an intolerance, this cake just about caters for everyone.  The beginning of the process is to boil two oranges in a pot on the stove for an hour, let them cool, then blitz them in your food processor and then add the rest of the ingredients and mix together and then pour into a tin and bake for an hour.  So from start to finish you will need about three and a half hours.  1 hour (oranges) + 15 mins (rest of ingredients and mixing) plus 1 hour (cooking) plus cooling so allow 1 hour.  Make this cake on a morning when you know you will be home.

It was really easy and the cake is very moist and dense and very much like a dessert.  Double cream on the side won't go astray either.  I think I needed to cook my cake for a little bit longer and even though the skewer came out of the middle without any crumbs on it, it's probably a bit moist (a bit like moose only set).   Either way this cake tastes like chocolate jaffas so if you love jaffas this is the cake for you. I dusted my cake with icing sugar which is nice and light so if you are looking for a delicious orange flavoured chocolate cake I highly recommend you try this recipe out.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Seeded Crispbread

Over the holidays I came across a healthy "Seeded Crispbread" recipe from "Easy Peasy Organics" that I made yesterday to put in the school lunch boxes.  I need some more recipes that aren't just straight biscuits or slice even though home made beats the chemical version at the supermarket I still wanted something a bit savoury so gave these a try.  The verdict from the kids were 10 out of 10 and next time I make them I would just cook them a little bit longer to make the top a bit crisper.  I bought all the ingredients from the bulk supply store "Simply Good" and then when I was making the recipe measured out all the seeds for the next time I make it so it's just a matter of then adding flour, water and oil and the packet of seeds and away I go.

This recipe made three big trays so if you wanted to give it a go you could halve the recipe and make the batch rather than committing to a huge quantity however I think these will be gone in next to no time.

It's pretty simple to make, so first of all you put all your seeds in a bowl, add the flour then the water and oil and mix it together.  I took half of the recipe and placed it on a baking sheet with another baking sheet on top and then rolled it out until it was thin.  I just kept lifting the paper to see how my thickness was going and when I was happy I just got a knife and cut the dough and then popped it on the tray in the oven for 20 mins.  Once it comes out cut it through and put on a cooling rack and into a tupperware container.  I made a tray of small pieces to fit in the little containers for school and then I made some larger ones for afternoon tea.