Tuesday, 23 June 2015

S is for School Holidays

S is for School Holidays

In Australia our mid year school break is approaching.  While it is winter for us I know many of you are in the midst of summer school break so I thought a list of food related activities for the school holidays might come in handy right about now.

1. Learn to make something new - book into a cookery class or do a swap with a friend. They teach you and your children how to make a favourite dish and then you can return the favour.

S is for School Holidays

2. Plan and make a picnic - indoors if it is cold, outdoors if the weather is warm enough. There is something about a picnic that makes the food extra special so you don't need to go to a lot of trouble. These Iced Chocolates and Strawberry Shortcake Kebabs are good picnic treats and don't take much time to put together.  Visit our Picnic Food Pinterest board for some other ideas.

S is for School Holidays

3. Visit a working farm to see where our food comes from.  Dairy farms are great for kids but you might also have a sheep or crop farm nearby that welcomes visitors.

4. Visit a farmers market or local produce co-op. Many places will have samples for you and your children to try.

S is for School Holidays

5. Host a cookie decorating or cupcake decorating play date for your child and their friends.

6. Try out new ideas for lunchbox items.  Search our Lunchbox Ideas Pinterest board, magazines or kids cook books with your child for possible items for your kids lunch boxes.  Have them help make some things off the list and taste test them for back to school.

7. Bake something together that takes a little extra time that you don't usually have.  Try homemade bread or a rainbow layered cake.


8. Visit your local library and borrow some children's cooking books.  Read them together and choose something to make. We made Gingerbread Cookies after borrowing and reading a Maisy book from our local public library.

S is for School Holidays

9. Take inspiration from your child's favourite book and see if you can come up with a dish to make. Try our Ariel's Treasure Cakes or Cinderella's Pumpkin Doughnuts.

10. Spend the day with grandparents or another elder for your community (if you don't) have any relatives close and make a recipe from their collection.  You can discover some wonderful tried and true recipes this way and chances are your child will remember this time spent together for a long time to come.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxPGzHrEAAGbeHR5MmlfR3MzV00/view?usp=sharing

To help you plan what to do on the holidays, I have made this activity list into a free printable.  You can read it with your child and mark the activities you want to do. Or use it as a checklist and tick each one as you do it.

Click on the image above or on this link to download the free School Holidays Activity List printable.

Have a safe and happy break.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

H is for Hand Pies

H is for Hand Pies

What is a hand pie I hear you ask? Well maybe you already know.  I hadn't heard them called hand pies before.

Mini pies? Yes. Hand pies? No.

So in case you are in the dark like I was, hand pies are mini versions of regular pies. Easy to hold, very easy to eat and you get to enjoy the crispy pastry edges as well as the yummy filling.

At least that is what Bear and bee love best about hand pies.

H is for Hand Pies

We made hand pies a few weekends ago to share with family at a BBQ.  With the weather cooling down only a little and mostly at night time it is still nice enough to enjoy an outdoor barbie but now we can add the fun of a camp fire or brazier fire.  

Bear has desperately wanted to make pies this last week so these hand pies were the perfect solution for dessert.  We were able to customise the pies for each person by making small amounts of filling and then mixing and matching.  Bear was happy to work with apples and blueberries while Bee chose raspberries and strawberries.  I like to keep some frozen fruit in the freezer for use when the fresh versions are out of season so apart from the apple all the fruit we used for these pies was frozen.

For the fruit feel free to use whatever your family prefers. We peeled, cored and chopped an apple and mixed it with a teaspoon of brown sugar.  We also used frozen blueberries, and raspberries which we allowed to thaw a little.  The frozen strawberries were thawed slightly and chopped into smaller pieces.

H is for Hand Pies
Bear cutting apple for the pie filling.
H is for Hand Pies
Adding the brown sugar is optional.  A little rice malt syrup would work too.

You can use either ready made or homemade pastry.  We found both types worked well for this recipe. You might also like to try puff pastry for a flakier crust.

H is for Hand Pies

These pies are delicious served warm with custard or vanilla ice cream.  They would also be a nice addition to school (or work) lunchboxes.

If you would like to make hand pies with your children, here's what we did.

H is for Hand Pies

Fruit Hand Pies
Makes 6 approximately

Ingredients
2 sheets of ready made shortcrust pastry
OR
1 quantity of homemade shortcrust pastry

1 1/2 cups fruit, all one type or a mix
1/4 cup almond meal
1 egg, lightly beaten
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling on pies

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
2. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.

H is for Hand Pies
Waiting for the frozen strawberries to thaw.
3. Prepare the fruit for the filling.

H is for Hand Pies

4. Cut the pastry into 12cm x 8cm rectangle (or close to this to suit your pastry sheets).

H is for Hand Pies

5. Take one pastry rectangle and top it with a teaspoon of almond meal and some of the fruit. Make sure you leave a clean border around the edge of the pastry rectangle.

H is for Hand Pies

6. Place another pastry rectangle on top and press the edges together to seal.

H is for Hand Pies

7. Gently press the edges together with a fork.

8. Place the pie onto the prepared baking tray and cut 3 slices in the top of the pastry.

9. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling.

H is for Hand Pies

10. Brush the top of each pie with the beaten egg.

H is for Hand Pies

11. Sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar over the pies.

H is for Hand Pies
The lighter pastry is the ready made version.

12. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

H is for Hand Pies


H is for Hand Pies



Tuesday, 19 May 2015

F is for Food Revolution Day 2015


I love Food Revolution Day and the aims of the movement. Unfortunately this year the three foot cooks and myself didn't get time to participate on the Friday. The girls' school had other celebrations planned for the day and by the time we got home we were all really tired.

Oat & Raisin Cookies

I didn't want to miss it completely though so we went ahead and made the Oat and Raisin cookies on the weekend. Jamie Oliver's original recipe is gluten free but since we don't have any food intolerances in our house we made the cookies using regular flour.
Oat & Raisin Cookies

If you like biscuits and cookies with oats in them you could also try our Anzac Biscuits recipe.
Oat & Raisin Cookies
Oat and Raisin Cookies
Original recipe Gluten Free Oat & Raisin Cookies from Food Revolution Day
Makes 25

Ingredients
100 grams unsalted butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1 2/3 cup plain (all purpose) flour
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins
2 cups rolled oats

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 180ÂșC and line 2 baking trays with non stick baking paper.
2. Melt the butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan over a low heat.  Leave to cool for a few minutes.

Oat and Raisin Cookies

3. In a large bowl, mix together the sugars.

Oat and Raisin Cookies

4. Pour in the melted butter and stir well.

Oat and Raisin Cookies
Bear practising cracking eggs.

5. Add the egg and milk to the sugars and mix well.

Oat and Raisin Cookies

6. Sift the flour, bicarb soda and cinnamon into the bowl and stir to combine.

Oat and Raisin Cookies

7. Mix in the raisins and rolled oats.

Oat and Raisin Cookies

Oat and Raisin Cookies

8. Place heaped spoonfuls of the mixture onto the lined trays leaving a 4cm gap between each one.

Oat and Raisin Cookies

9. Flatten each biscuit slightly with your fingers.

10. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

11. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and leave to cool.

Oat & Raisin Cookies

12. Enjoy for afternoon tea.

Oat & Raisin Cookies

Oat & Raisin Cookies


Tuesday, 31 March 2015

C is for Chocolate Crackle Nests

Chocolate Crackle Nests

Chocolate Crackle Nests are a simple to make chocolatey treat for the upcoming Easter break.  Not that we need more chocolate but these are fun to do and easy enough for older children to make on their own.  There is no copha to melt which means no need to supervise kids using the stove.

Bee requested we make Chocolate Crackles this weekend.  We usually spend some time talking to both girls about what they would like to do each weekend.  Sometimes they have enough ideas to make a list.  Other times we go with the flow.

Chocolate Crackle Nests
Bear and Bee making chocolate crackles with Dad when camping last year.

Bee remembers making Chocolate Crackles as part of the kids' activities at the holiday park we stayed at last year.  She also remembers missing out on the Chocolate Pizza which is on our holiday to do list.

This version of Vegan Healthy Chocolate Crackles from Veggieful is even healthier than the traditional recipe too.  Coconut oil is used instead of copha (a form of vegetable fat shortening) to make everything stick together.  And maple syrup replaces the icing sugar as the sweetener.  I haven't tried them but rice malt syrup and agave nectar would probably work well too.  I prefer these crackles made with maple syrup as I don't find them as sickly sweet as the version made with icing sugar.

You could add in 1 cup of desiccated coconut just like traditional chocolate crackles or some chopped macadamia nuts if allergies aren't a problem.
Chocolate Crackle Nests

Chocolate Crackles Nests
Recipe from Veggieful
Makes approximately 12 muffin sized crackles

Ingredients
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups rice bubbles (puffed rice cereal)
24 mini chocolate eggs

Directions

Chocolate Crackle Nests
We used a patty cake tray and made slightly smaller crackle nests.

1. Line a regular muffin tray with paper cases.

Chocolate Crackle Nests
Adding the maple syrup to the oil.

Chocolate Crackle Nests
Bear whisking the oil, syrup and cocoa together.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup and cocoa powder.

Chocolate Crackle Nests
Double mixing gets it done faster!
3. Stir in the rice bubbles.

Chocolate Crackle Nests

4. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases.

Chocolate Crackle Nests

5. Top each nest with the mini eggs.

Chocolate Crackle Nests

Chocolate Crackle Nests
Ready for the fridge.

6. Refrigerate until set - about 2 hours.

Chocolate Crackle Nests
Mini chocolate crackles.
Since we used a patty cake tray which is smaller than a muffin tray we had enough mixture left to make some mini chocolate crackles.

Chocolate Crackle Nests

Chocolate Crackle Nests


If you are looking for more Easter inspired cooking ideas check out our Easter Pinterest board.