Lizzy's Halloween party at preschool gave me the chance to make some caramel popcorn. I've been craving it for ages and don't think I've had any since about 1982. It was soooo good. So good, in fact that recipes like this one shouldn't go out of fashion. It's simple too, or it would have been if I hadn't -
a) burned the first lot of popcorn
b) cooked the second lot of popcorn in peanut oil (just great for a nut free preschool!)
c)taken the lid off the third lot before it finished popping. I don't think I have ever seen Lizzy laugh so hard!
Anyway - you should try it. Hopefully, you'll have more luck than me...
Pop half a cup of corn in a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil.
Over a low heat, melt 125g butter, 3/4 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of honey. Stir over a low heat until it turns into a lovely golden caramel colour. This should take 6-7 minutes, but take care as it will burn really easily.
Spread the popped corn over a tray and mix in the caramel. Careful - it will be really hot! Let it cool, break it into small pieces and enjoy!
Lizzy certainly did...
PS - our giveaway winner was comment number 3!
Congratulations Margaret - let us know what you'd like us to make you and where you would like us to send your prize!
Thank you all so much for your lovely comments - we really appreciate them!
Usually, we're pretty blessed with the weather in Sydney. I guess there's always an exception to the rule though- we don't seem to have seen the sun for days! I'm starting to crave some real spring weather and the sort of food that goes with it.
I came across this Jamie Oliver magazine the other day and couldn't stop thinking (and salivating) over the fruity frozen yoghurt cake on the front - yum. It's like so much of Jamie Oliver's cooking - easy, fresh and simple. Blend some fresh fruit with some yoghurt, freeze, layer and ...voila!
I decided to put my own spin on it for Mart's party - single serves of apricot, strawberry and vanilla yoghurt layered and frozen into a a summery treat (even if it is grey and rainy).
They were a bit icy, but if I hadn't been so lazy and churned them in the icecream maker first, I'm sure they would have been a whole lot creamier. They were delicious anyway... not too sweet and very fruity!
There were plenty of sticky hands and fingers to prove it, too!
In our house, Monday is baking day. When I say that, I feel like Milly Molly Mandy's mother! She has a baking day, a washing day and a dusting day.
Well, I never dust and the washing is almost always done at 10pm. But I do like to bake on Mondays.
Caroline and I like to have a little treat for supper at our sewing classes. It's lovely to stop for a sugar fix in the middle of a class and it gives everyone a chance to chat and make friends.
Tonight is the last Sew for your Children class in this series and we will be having Raspberry cupcakes for supper. I thought you might like some too, so here's the recipe. Light and fluffy with a sweet little treat inside. The perfect evening snack!
110g Unsalted Butter
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs
150g SR Flour
125g P Flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup of frozen raspberries
Icing sugar for dusting
Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C. Line a muffin tray with paper cases - 12 large or 24 small.
Cream the butter and sugar well. Add the 2 eggs and mix until well combined.
Mix the flour, milk and vanilla essence into the butter, eggs and sugar until just combined.
Fill the cupcake cases until they are about 2/3 full.
Push two or three raspberries into the top of each cupcake. I use the berries straight from the freezer. They are easier to handle and keep their shape as they cook.
Bake in the oven for about 25 min (larger size) or 15 min (smaller size) until they are nicely browned.
Let them cool (if you can!) and dust with icing sugar before serving.
Go on - make yourself a batch. They are quick and easy and I'm sure you'll love them. Why not make Monday your Baking Day and tonight a sewing and supper evening! How perfect! I just had a thought - are there such things as eat alongs? May be we should organise one!!!!
Since I've had children, long, lazy Sunday afternoons have lost their lustre. Rather than spending time reading a book or sewing, I frequently face the 'how am I going to entertain the children?' panic.
There are plenty of 'old favourite' activities around here - books, dressing up, 'concerts' and dancing, but sometimes a slight twist to an old favourite can make it seem like an exciting new adventure.
We love play- dough and cookie dough play-dough is a real hit around here. The aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa and mint add another dimension to the imaginative experience and you can scent it by using basic pantry ingredients. You might be thinking why not just make real cookie dough and bake biscuits? We do that too , but it is possible to have too many home baked goodies in the house!
Everyone has a favorite recipe for play-dough - so start by making a batch. If you don't have one try this -
Mix 2 cups of plain flour, 4 tablespoons of cream of tartar, 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, 1 cup of salt and 2 cups of water in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir for 5 minutes or until it congeals into a play-doughy consistency. (Hey - you get an upper arm work-out, too!)
While it's cooling, head to your pantry cupboard and find some cocoa (not drinking chocolate!), cinnamon, vanilla extract and any peppermint essence
When the dough is cool, divide it into 3 balls. Into one, kneed 3 tablespoons of cocoa, into another 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and two teaspoons of vanilla and into the last ball two teaspoons of peppermint essence. Lizzy insisted that peppermint had to be green, so I also added a little green food colouring.
Sometimes the additions to the play dough make it a little dry, so you might want to need a little more oil after you've added your' flavourings'
You're done... grab some cookie cutters and start 'cooking'!
It's our week to provide snacks for the children at Lizzy's preschool. Eeeek... the pressure!
I thought I'd share some of the super-simple (but yummy nonetheless) treats that Lizzy and I will whip up to feed her friends.
Monday - Apple and Berry Jelly
A big handful of strawberriesA big handful of blueberries800 ml Apple Juice200ml boiling water Two and a half tablespoons of powdered gelatine
How easy is that?Enjoy!
- Roughly chop the blueberries and strawberries and place them in the bottom of your serving dishes. (I used individual espresso glasses )
- Mix the boiling water and the gelatine together in a jug and stir until the gelatine has dissolved.
- Add the apple juice to the dissolved gelatine and stir thoroughly.
- Pour the apple juice/gelatine mix into your serving dishes (the fruit will probably float to the top)
- Refrigerate till set
Caroline and Lizzy
Delicious Mini Lemon Cupcakes
Mix 1 and 1/4 cups of SR flour, 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of lemon zest in a bowl. Add 1 cup of milk, 2 eggs and 125 grams of melted butter and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Spoon into two lined mini-muffin pans and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes or until golden.
While you're waiting for them to cool, mix 1 cup of sifted icing sugar, the juice of one lemon and enough boiling water to make a firm paste.
Ice your cooled cupcakes and dip them in shredded coconut.
Eat them with your friends (Ivy joined us!) and you're guaranteed to have a great morning!
Caroline and Lizzy
Lizzy was lucky enough to receive a brownie recipe as a Christmas gift from her friend Romola this week. We've made them twice already, and I'm sure she wouldn't mind if we shared the recipe with you. Super-simple to make, they're just as a good brownie should be, a little bit chewy in the middle, a little bit crunchy on top, a whole lot chocolatey right the way through, oh-so-moist, and not even a tiny bit greasy.
Pre-heat the oven to 170 C
In a bowl, mix 1 and 1/3 cups of sifted plain flour, 2 and 1/4 cups of sugar, 1 cup of cocoa powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder. Place the dry ingredients in a food processor and add 4 eggs and 250grams of melted butter (it's probably best to cool it so you don't scramble the eggs!) Process till smooth.
Pour the mix into a lined 20cm cake tin and bake for about 40 minutes.
I could suggest that you make them for friends and family as Christmas gifts, but instead I'm going to suggest you make a pan for yourself, brew yourself a pot of strong coffee, put your feet up and enjoy!