Sunday, January 29, 2012

Back to school

Today is the last day of the summer holidays. I've spent the last two weeks preparing my new classroom, in my new school for my brand new receptions. Like most school teachers I'm not feeling much joy today. By noon today I'd scrubbed my house, made our lunches, laid out my new school clothes and was placing my school books in my bag, read to be placed on my new desk tomorrow morning. 


The Stirling Hotel, one of my favourite Adelaide hill's pubs.

 To help ease my severe case of School Teacher Sunday Blues Mr PE and I decided to head to the Adelaide hills for a bakery fix. There is nothing that savory pastry and sugar can't fix.  Or so I thought.  

We ate our lunch opposite the library
but sat on the grass.
A good compromise between a PE teacher and a Junior Primary teacher.
In line with a normal teacher's workday, the most carefully thought out plans can easily go pear-shaped. There is no way of guaranteeing you'll know what the day will hold for you.  Both towns  in our Adelaide hills adventure close their bakeries on a Sunday. Aldgate's Bakery was closed as was our next stop back down the hill, Stirling. I won't begrudge any retail worker a day off. Especially if it brings me closer to my all time favourite "junk food": a hotdog.  My eventual lunch may not have been what I'd set out to initially eat but I think it was a valuable lesson for me at the start of the 2012 school year. No matter 
what those 20 little people bring to my classroom tomorrow morning we'll somehow muddle through it. 48 days until the Easter school holidays!

Thank heck it was open 7 seven days...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bite me Broome

2011 is proving to be a bit of a travel year.
Which is nice.
I miss airports. I miss packing.
I digress.
A visit to Broome, Western Australia
with very dear friends
from my former London Life
provided me with ample opportunities
to photograph all the delicious food I encountered
while my friends cowered
in great embarrassment.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Pound Cake

I've always wanted to make a pound cake.
I expected pound cakes to be sturdy, solid cakes.
The kind that require a strong cup of black tea with lashings of sugar.
I was wrong.
Pound cakes are soft, moist and so delicious that they don't need a hot drink to aid their consumption.

Where's that cup of tea?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do you use your oven timer?

My mother has never used an oven timer.
A lot of what I know about baking comes from my mother.
Which means that I have never used an oven timer.
Until now.
A friend was over and we were talking in my kitchen.
She asked me how I liked my oven timer.
I told her that I didn't know how to use them so I never bothered.
She laughed at me, turned the dial and my oven timer was ticking away to it's goal time.
How easy!
The following banana bread is made using honey and buttermilk.
It is super delicious and soft.
The recipe also includes a saucey glaze which I sadly didn't have time to make.

Recipe from here

Ingredients (serves 8)
Melted butter, for greasing
125g butter, cubed, at room temperature
185mls (3/4 cup) honey
2 eggs, lightly whisked
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
60mls (1/4 cup) buttermilk
300g (2 cups) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Thick cream, to serve

honey almond syrup
160mls (2/3 cup) honey
80mls (1/3 cup) fresh lemon juice
80g (1/2 cup) almond kernels, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Brush a medium (8.5 x 19cm, base measurement) loaf pan with the melted butter to lightly grease.
2. Use electric beaters to beat the butter and honey in a large mixing bowl until creamy and evenly combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition until well combined. Add the bananas and buttermilk and beat until just combined.
3. Sift the plain flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and ground cinnamon. Fold the flour mixture into the honey mixture with a large metal spoon until just combined. Spoon mixture into the greased loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Cover with foil and bake for a further 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the bread comes out clean. Stand bread in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cutting board.
4. Meanwhile, to make the honey almond syrup, combine honey, lemon juice and almonds in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
5. Slice the hot bread, place onto plates and drizzle with the honey almond syrup. Serve immediately with thick cream.

Monday, July 26, 2010


I was a little shocked to realise that I have not blogged since February.

I have certainly baked and cooked during the last few months but a few things have eaten away at my time and prevented me from blogging.

Things such as:

getting married

Turning this

into this

(obviously still a work in progress!)

and returning to school to once again be a teacher

Our house renovations are almost complete, the wedding is a happy memory and my return to the classroom is slowly starting to feel routine.

So the next few months should mean lots of blog posts as I put my new kitchen to work.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I was a teenage mother....godmother that is!

I was 12 when my youngest cousin, FireBug was born.
I was shocked (but thrilled) to be asked to be his godmother.
To say that FireBug is a character is a bit of an understatement.
He has been entertaining our family with his antics for the last 17 years.
Imagine a 5 year old who is home sick from school, asks his grandmother (who is babysitting him) if he can phone his friends but instead calls the police for a chat and you have my godson.

Today is Firebug's birthday.
He's never been a big one for sweet food but has always loved plain shop brought biscuits covered in icing and splattered with sprinkles.
So I've put on my godmother hat and made him some of his favourite treats.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's over.... career as a uni student that is.
After two of the hardest years of my life, a research project that gave me insomnia, limited spare time and being stuck in front of a computer for 2/3 of the day I am finally free.

My final research report is ready to be bound and presented to my supervisor.
I'm returning to teaching while I look for a job and I could not be happier with all the free time that awaits me this year. Well, once we finish renovating our house and get married in April that is.222My reward for finally writing that 12000 word report?

A chance to bake a cake using real Cacao.
Yep, I've never used real Cacao before. After this I don't think I'll use anything but Dutch-processed Cacao from now on.
Opening the box of Droste Cacao was like breathing into a chocolate cloud.

Some internet research opened my eyes to the fact that not every recipe calling for cacao allows you to substitute Dutch-processed instead of the natural form. Apparently only recipes that list baking powder instead of soda can contain the Dutch-processed. Whoops! My bad.

Recipe for Chocolate Layer Cake
150g chopped butter
1 cup castor sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cocoa (I used Dutch-Processed but you already knew that)
1/2 bicarb soda
1/2 milk (I made mine buttermilk by adding vinegar)

Grease a deep 20cm round cake pan.
Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Beat on low speed with either a handheld or electric miser until ingredients are combined.
Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth and has changed colour.
Spoon and spread mixture into prepared pan.
Bake in a moderate over for roughly 70 minutes. (I actually texted mine at 60 minutes and it was already perfect)

Cover cake with the icing of your choice.
I used lemon buttercream as I'm slightly obsessed with buttercreams at present.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia Day

Australia Day BBQ's mean many things to many people:
Alcohol (possibly too much of it)
Triple J Hottest 100 Countdown
Back to School

Cupcakes don't immediately spring to mind.

It was my plan to change all that when I was invited to a friend's Australia Day BBQ.
This friend will be marrying a butcher (my butcher in fact) shortly so there was no need to offer to bring our own meat along.
I, of course opted to take care of sweets deciding on chocolate cupcakes.
Being pressed for time I cheated slightly and used a White Wings packet mix adding in extra vanilla of course.
When it came time to decorate them there was no cheating.
Of course green buttercream was the way to go.
To add the Australian yellow/gold element into the mix I went with Allen's Banana Lollies.
You can't get much more Australian than a Banana Lolly.
Some of my fondest childhood memories involve leaving a friend's
birthday party clutching my lolly bag
that always contained a few of the little gems.

So here they are,
Chocolate (Packet Cake!) Cupcakes with
buttercream icing and banana lollies.

I've been asked to make them for next year's BBQ so they must have been good!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Eating in Robe and Kingston

Carrot cake slice (Robe Bakery)

I took a short little break to visit a few lovely beach towns off the south eastern coast of my state. While both Robe and Kingston may be known for their gorgeous sandy beaches and increasingly magnificent holiday homes I think their marketing people have got it wrong. Robe and Kingston should be known for their amazing bakeries.

Donut (Robe Bakery)
Vanilla slice (Robe Bakery)

Mr High Heels did not grow up touring from one South Australian bakery to another under the guise of a 'family holiday' so he still doesn't understand why we can't just drive past a bakery. Or why we have to buy several cakes, both a pie and a pasty and numerous loaves of bread. What he really struggles with is comprehending my obsession with the vanilla slice (which I inherited from my father).

Fresh finger bun with currents, vanilla icing and spread with butter (Kingston Bakery)

Two thirds of my all-time favourite junk food meal, hotdog and orange soft drink.

Lobster for tea, I now love seafood.

Plain meat pie (Kingston Bakery)

Vanilla slice (Kingston Bakery)

Cheese cake slice (Robe Bakery)