Friday, July 9, 2010

Voting time...

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And this week you are voting for....

Hot Pies!




I'm going away for the weekend, but I'll make those chewy chocolate cookies when I get back - Tuesday hopefully. Have a great weekend everyone!

Rock Cakes

Zoe and I decided to do some baking again this morning, what a great way to spend a frosty winter morning. So I had to go by what I had available in the pantry today as my groceries don't arrive until Monday (that means those chewy chocolate cookies won't be baked until next Tuesday - stay tuned). Luckily we had all the ingredients that you need to bake some rock cakes - a classic baked good that is easy to make, good for the kiddies as they aren't too sweet and good for the parents with a nice cup of tea. So without further ado...

Rock Cakes (from The Australian Women's Weekly Basic Cookbook)
Makes about 15

2 cups self-raising flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup caster sugar
90g butter, chopped
1 cup sultanas
2 tbsp mixed peel
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup milk
  1. Sift flour, cinnamon and sugar into a medium bowl, add butter, rub in with finger tips. Stir in fruit and peel with a wooden spoon.
  2. Make well in centre of dry ingredients, add egg, then enough milk to give a moist but still firm consistency. If mixture is too soft, cakes will spread too much during the cooking time.
  3. Place 2 heaped tablespoons of mixture onto lightly greased oven trays. Leave about 5cm between each cake to allow them to spread slightly.
  4. Sprinkle cakes with a little extra sugar if desired. Bake in moderately hot oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Use metal spatula to loosen cakes on trays; cool on trays.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

23 Weeks Pregnant

23 weeks today and to be honest not much has changed in the last week. I have thoroughly cleaned the nursery - scrubbed the walls, cleaned the mirrors, cleaned the cupboard and mopped the floor. I also have picked out some things that I want to buy from Ikea once I have some money again. I think my next step is to make a list of general baby items that I need - I don't think it will be a very big list, but there are a few things like a monitor, car seat, pram, etc. Hopefully I can grab most of those things on sale or off of ebay.

Bubs is still pretty quiet in there - I feel a few kicks a day but not too many. I am feeling really good still - not too big or tired, just happily pregnant :)

Only 17 more weeks until I meet my new daughter!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Apricot and Coconut Muffins

Zoe and I baked these yummy muffins the other day. Well really I baked, and Zoe played with an unopened packet of sugar, and did some pretend stirring with a bowl and a fork. She seemed to really enjoy it, and loved listening to me count out the number of cups of flour, sugar, etc. There was lots of singing too - "this is the way we stir the muffins, stir the muffins, stir the muffins" - on repeat. All in all it was a very fun time and I'll definitely be baking nice easy recipes with Zoe more often. So if you have a young one and a rainy day give these muffins a try - they are easy, fun and delicious!

Apricot and Coconut Muffins (from The Australian Women's Weekly Kids Cooking)
Makes 12

425g can apricot halves
2 1/4 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
160ml buttermilk
125ml vegetable oil
1/3 cup apricot jam

Coconut topping
1/4 cup plain flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
1/3 cup shredded coconut
30g butter
  1. Preheat the oven to moderate. Grease 12-hole muffin pan. Drain apricots; discard syrup, then chop apricots coarsely.
  2. Make coconut topping.
  3. Combine flour and sugar in large bowl; use a fork to stir in apricot, then combined egg, buttermilk, oil and jam. Mixture should look lumpy, do not overmix.
  4. Divide mixture among prepared pan holes; sprinkle coconut topping over each muffin mixture. Bake, uncovered, in moderate oven about 25 minutes. Stand muffins in pan 5 minutes; place top-side up on wire rack to cool.
  5. Coconut topping: Combine flour, sugar and coconut in small bowl; use fingers to rub butter into flour mixture.

Here is the little miss trialing the coconut topping. She called it cheese, I guess it kind of looked like grated cheese. She loved it!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Vote time!

The next sweet for the 20 Sweets in 20 Weeks project is...

Drop Cookies

And your choices are...

Coconut & Cherry Macaroons

Chewy Chocolate

Pumpkin & Cranberry

So what are you waiting for? Get voting now!

Friday, July 2, 2010

20 Sweets in 20 Weeks - #3 Caramel Layer Cake

Are you ready for an absolute sugar overload? If you answered yes then read on this recipe is full of sugar and is so sweet! Even I the world's biggest sugar lover thought it was just a wee bit too sweet - but hey it hasn't stopped me from eating it. What is especially wonderful about this recipe is the cake itself - a lovely light texture, not too crumbly and super easy to make - I love it, and I hope you do too.

Yellow Cake (from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)
Serves 8 to 10

3/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease and flour 2 9" round cake tins. (I used 2 8" tins)
  2. Combine the butter and milk in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat until the butter melts. Stir well and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the eggs and sugar, and beat well at high speed, scraping down the bowl often, until light yellow, smooth, and thick.
  5. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture, mixing only until the flour disappears. Add the cooled milk mixture and the vanilla, and divide the batter between the prepared pans.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cakes are a pale golden brown, spring back when touched lightly in the center, and begin to pull away from the sides of the pans. (Mine baked for 45 minutes)
  7. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes on wire racks. Then turn out the cakes onto wire racks to cool completely, top side up.
  8. I halved each cake again to make 4 layers of cake and 3 layers of icing.

Caramel Icing (I ended up making 1.5 times the mixture to get enough for the extra 2 layers of icing)

2 2/3 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
7 tbsp evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir well and then adjust the heat so that the frosting boils and bubbles gently. Cook for 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Beat the warm icing with a wooden spoon until it thickens, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Quickly spread the icing over the bottom layer of cake, then position the next layer and ice again, continue until all layers of the cake are in position. Then ice the top and side of the cake.
  4. If the icing becomes too hard to spread warm gently over low heat, add a spoonful of evaporated milk, and then scrape and stir well until the icing softens enough to spread again. Dip a table knife in very hot water to help soften and smooth out the icing once it is spread.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

22 Weeks

22 weeks pregnant today - and time is flying by now. I can't believe that I am already over the half way mark, it won't be long now until I get to meet my gorgeous baby girl.

This week bubs has been doing gymnastics in my belly, my mum even saw my belly move the other night - so definitely some big kicks going on.

I am feeling really good at the moment - got to love the second trimester - not too tired, not too big but definitely feeling pregnant. I love this stage of the pregnancy.

I am thinking of getting stuck into the nursery in the next week. I want to have it all done sooner rather than later - as I know when I start to get bigger that I might not feel like scrubbing walls and cleaning mirrors. I've also got lots of baby clothes, wraps and nappies to wash - can't wait to hang out all of the cute little things!