Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Banana Muffins

These are a favourite in my household (I mean there are cheers and fist punching joy). When bananas were far less expensive and we used to have bunches of them we would sometimes have some overripe ones left over which were always great for this recipe. I could also find some overripe ones on sale at the fruit shop. With the Queensland floods banana prices have skyrocketed but here in Sydney they are finally getting below the $10 kilo mark. Hopefully this means things in Queensland are improving too. Consequently, I am able to come across some overripe bananas more often. I got this recipe from another mum at playgroup.
This is such a simple recipe – one bowl and hand mixing only. Also a great recipe to do with any little bakers you may have. I normally get 24 mini muffins and 6 regular muffins out of this recipe.

2 eggs hand beaten (I have also used the product “No Egg” with success for those allergic to egg)
3 bananas mashed
2 cups self raising flour
1 cup of raw sugar (or you can use 3 tblspns of honey)
½ cup olive oil (or any vegetable oil)
1 level tblspn of cinnamon
optional: 1 tblspn vanilla essence

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with a spoon. Put in a baking tray that has been oiled and floured (if using a muffin tray then just spray oil).
Bake at 160 degrees for 50 minutes for the baking tray or 20 minutes for the muffins.
Mini muffins: You don’t need muffin cases for the mini muffins, just oil the casings and add a teaspoon of the batter and bake for 15 minutes.

I wanted to take a final plated picture but they got eaten before I got a chance.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Favourite Words

Master 3 loves the following words:
Poo poo
Pee Pee
Bum Bum
Wee Wee
...and when he is really daring...arse!
This is what he looks like when he says "underpants".

The life and times of a 3 year old.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Saturdays at the Salvos

On Saturdays I like to escape for a few minutes and head to the Salvation Army Depot (thrift store for any internationals) around the corner from my place. During my university days many, many moons ago I used to like going to thrift stores to find some cool, retro clothing. But through the years I had forgotten about them until some of my fave blogs reminded me of their jewel-worth.
My local thrift store has specials every Saturday – generally half price on any particular category. Today it was books and bric-a-brac which was perfect for me as I was on the hunt for a music book. I have a craft project in mind that requires some music sheets to be chopped up. I found some lovely sheets of music at Reverse Garbage the other day for $3 but I wouldn’t have the heart to cut it up. I needed something less precious. I found two books today plus a book about Renoir and a pattern for kids shirts (perfect!). So here are my finds at a total of $8 for the lot.

I love the “Italian Favourites” one, it has O Sole Mio and That’s Amore (love the Dean Martin version) – it’s so kitsch it’s cool.
This is my all-time favourite Renoir, Luncheon of the Boating Party.

And this is my Saturday (hubby made lunch – love him).

Husband's hairy hand, not mine.
Lunch and a show.

Have a happy Saturday.

Friday, 26 August 2011

DIY Lord Voldemort

So it’s book parade day at school. When the boys started kindy I was eagerly awaiting the dress up day but they didn’t have it. They didn’t have it in year 1 either. By now I was grateful of its absence (love dress ups…but amidst all the other daily chores I just couldn’t find the enthusiasm). But lo and behold now that they are in year 2 we have a book parade.
After some consultation we decided on Sky the Blue Fairy (refashioned out of an Alice in Wonderland dress we already had),

Harold from Captain Underpants (Master 8A is not too fussy on getting it right),

and my creative genius, Lord Voldemort. One academic gown (yes, I own one but you could use a big black jacket as well), one fake snake, one wand (or drumstick from younger brother’s drum set) and a white stocking over the head to make him look authentic.

Dodgy I know, but it worked. I got the idea for the stocking from Mrs Woog here. Overall a satisfactory result.

A bit of self advertising

Toffeeapple Kidswear is on sale until 1 September 2011. Most items have been reduced to $20.

Go on over and check it out. Or visit my Etsy store here.

Some of the clothing on sale:
Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

What Ashton Kutcher and I have in common

What a gorgeous almost spring day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing. Simply beautiful.
I ended up at the park with Master 3 after dropping the older three grommets at school. An impromptu park visit, so I had brought along no reading material and left my phone in the car. So sit in the sun I did and soaked up the glorious rays of sunshine. I heard a kookaburra singing somewhere, the low din of traffic in the distance and some incessant "mumming" until I realised it was Master 3 wanting a push on the swing.
Homeward bound to a gigantic pile of ironing which I managed to avoid by attacking the gardening. I don’t garden very well. This is an annual event. But anything to excuse me from the ironing. Master 3 decided it was warm enough to strip to his undies and pretended to help.
A quick shower (we’re talking micro seconds) and I discovered my toes. They have not been out for months. And given it was such an awesomely warm day and I had 2.5 minutes up my sleeve it was just enough time to get out the Revlon Vixen and do the ladies up a bit. Pretty, eh? Just don’t look too close as the photos reveal the hit and misses.

Here they are in my old faithfuls. I bought these in Germany in 1997. I’m hoping this won’t be their last summer. I thought I was so cool hopping off the plane back in Sydney wearing these. I wish I bought the green ones too.

And if you look very closely you will see in my right foot the link between me and Ashton Kutcher – webbed toes! That’s my party trick. It has caused me no issues except in the ‘80s when sock gloves were in for a while and then it hurt a bit. Otherwise ok.

I hope you all had a sunny day (whether real or in your head).

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Some days ...

Some days I just want to crawl back into bed and have a cuddle.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Balkan Jam Rolls - Kiflice

The other day I wrote about the lack of cupcakes and chocolate crackles in my house whilst growing up. We did not, however, lack in sweets. We always had a daily supply of some sort of pastry in the house. My mother didn’t believe in buying biscuits or cakes (never a tim tam to be seen!) but she absolutely did not fail in the baking department.
One regular was this shortbread-y jam roll that looks like a mini croissant. We call it a “kiflice”. A standard Balkan delight.
2 ½ cups plain flour
2 ½ cups self-raising flour
½ cup sugar
250g unsalted butter
300ml sour cream (1 carton)
Plum spread (not jam it must be a spread)
1 egg

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (fan forced). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix by hand. It is messy at first but will combine fairly quickly. Once it comes away from the hand knead a bit more and then it is ready to roll out.

Flour a large clean surface and roll out the dough until it is about 2-3mm thick. Using a pizza cutter cut long strips in both directions to create rectangles that are about 10cm x 5cm (but really do any size you wish). Now cut the rectangles in a diagonal to create long triangles.

Picking up the triangle place the widest end on your finger tips and with a teaspoon take a small amount (less than half the teaspoon) of the spread and place on the wide part of the triangle. Start rolling from the wide end to the pointed end so it looks like a croissant.

Place on the baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes or until slightly browned. Allow to cool on a wire rack. For serving sprinkle with icing sugar or roll in caster sugar.
These are also ok to freeze prior to sprinkling with sugar.

Why a plum spread and not a jam? The reason why it must be a plum spread and not a jam is because of the sugar content. The spread is only about 20% sugar as opposed to the 50% in jam, the spread is less likely to leak out of the rolls whereas a jam will completely melt and pour out whilst baking. I use a plum spread made by “Podravka” that can be found in some grocery stores (such as Franklins) and most delis or fruit shops. If you can’t find it, I have mixed jam with bread crumbs (you could probably also usealmond or walnut meal). It works but isn’t half as nice as the plum spread. If using the jam and bread crumbs I use a 2:1 ratio.
 Master 8A caught in the act! Taking a jam roll just as I was taking a shot.

Forgive the photography please. It'll get better I promise.
And I am going through a "baking" phase so should soon head back some Toffeeapple Kidswear stuff. I swear.

This post has been linked to the wonderful blog "our creative spaces". Pop on over to see what other wonderful bloggers are creating.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Crochet a Beanie

I’m not much of a knitter. I always wanted to be. My mum is a spectacular knitter. When I was little I used to get a couple of her knitting needles and tap them together quickly emulating the noise she made when knitting, hoping to produce something. I never got far. As an adult each time I had a baby I had visions of knitting a beautiful white cardigan for them. There are a few that have been started, but alas none that have been finished!
However, crocheting is a different relationship. I enjoy crocheting. I think because I can get through it quite quickly and produce something over a shorter period than knitting that it has been able to sustain my interest. I like doilies (gasp!) but lately have been attracted to clothing I can crochet.
Retromummy has provided a great tutorial for these beanies. She has them in three different sizes. Here I have tried both the toddler size (the blue - though I added a few extra rows) and the child size (the white).

After a brush up of my crochet skills (hooray YouTube for reminding me how) these beanies have been quickly whipped up. They have been to soccer and judo, and on the lounge while hubby strums his guitar. A very portable hobby. I used wool I had in my stash but I think the next beanie will require a special purchase. Not sure what colour though. I better hurry as Spring has nearly Sprung.

 (And yes that is a fish shaped large doily done by my mum).
I also want to do make these from Mamachee on Etsy. But there is an absolute plethora of awesome crochet patterns to purchase on Etsy which I will probably spend the rest of the night perusing.
Photo of Oma House Slippers my Mamachee found here

Friday, 19 August 2011

Chocolate Crackles

When I was in primary school I was the only "wog" in most of the school. There was also an Indian girl and later a boy called Adrian who was second generation Polish. Anyway, my parents were the only ones with an accent. Now it wasn't all that bad, I did get farely regular sandwiches (yes, the vegemite was one centimetre thick - but she tried!). But it was on cupcake day I felt it the most. I loved the cupcakes, the toffees and the chocolate crackles. I never got these at home. We did have sweets (more along the baklava line) but never chocolate crackles.

Consequently, chocolate crackles are now a staple. I recently tried Donna Hay's recipe from her latest Kids Annual. It uses golden syrup instead of copha which I find so much more easy to use, especially when the kids are involved.

200g dark chocolate, chopped
100g butter
1/3 cup golden syrup
4 cups rice bubbles

Place the dark chocolate, golden syrup and butter in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring until melted. Place in a bowl together with the cereal and mix well together and all combined. Spoon into cupcake holders and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to set.

Yum Yum.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Please not today

When I got up this morning, this was what was waiting for me:
Miss Five desperately wanted to play dollies – I desperately did NOT. Not today. No Barbies…please. We compromised and made some paper dolls instead.
Fun on a Sunday!