Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ante Turns 1! The Very Hungry Caterpillar.....

Ante turns 1

Very hungry caterpillars waiting for their cake

Amazing cake made by Bex (Ante's mum)

Harry, Holls and Grayson


Marcel and Bubba

Bex and Ante

Jack- now a black belt in Karate


Dion and Tia



Fiona and Kiwi

Tarn and Beau beau

Kiwi and Billy

Tam and Jimmy

Selfie with the sister in laws

Mons and Cooper
Our most precious nephew Ante turned one the other week and we got to celebrate it on a beautiful sunny day with all the whanau. The theme was The Very Hungry Caterpillar and his mum Bex made the amazing cake. I whipped up some cupcakes and after doing a search online I found these cute little fondant caterpillars. I think my ones turned out pretty well.

Baking for Nightshift- Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

This is one delicious banana cake. I have to say I am not a big fan of banana cake at all, in fact it's my least favourite flavour. However I have made this a few times since I found this recipe. What I like about it is that it's a pure and simple and unadulterated banana cake with no frills, spices or additions. AND it tastes great....that could have something to do with the fact that sitting on top is a layer of cream cheese icing maybe? It makes a big cake which is made in a tray tin so although it isn't tall it's certainly big enough. You can find the recipe here. The girls at work that night loved this cake and one of them adores banana cake so surely that has to some sort of endorsement?

A Bit of Ballet for the Oldies

Cupcakes for the dancers and their support 'crew'

Warming up

Sophie about to start her Barefoot

Saskia mid dance with sweet old Margie going for a wee wander

Lexi also warming up

The gorgeous Krystal doing her Classical

Stephanie doing Free Movement

Mikayla doing her Classical- looking stunning in that gorgeous tutu

Ms A introducing Harry

Harry doing his Classical

Stephanie with her Grade 3 Character

Zoe with her own dance number form the Grade 2 exam

Sophie with her Classical


Finally Lei and Cushla with Harry and Saskia

Lexi busting out the moves

And Oli doing the same
Last weekend Dons and I organised for some of the ballet kids to do a wee show for the lovely oldies at a rest home where Dons works. So a small group of us hatched together a 'show' and the lovely Ms A (ballet teacher extraordinaire) brought her two little ones to be a part of it too. The kids did so well and I was so proud of them trying to put a little bit of fun and enjoyment into the lives of others. And it worked. The oldies loved it and just beamed, clapped and cheered along with the staff who also seemed to have a good time. I love that the kids have such a sense of wanting to do something good for other members of the community. Before the show they all went around the residents and introduced themselves and had a little chat. At the end the little ones got up and busted some moves much to the delight of the oldies. All in all a lovely experience and one which left Harry feeling great. Of course a huge thanks must go out to the parents too who gave up their Sunday afternoon to bring their child!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Annabel Langbein 'A Free Range Life'- Dinner for Dad

Very exciting new Annabel Langbein Annual #afreerangelife @annabellangbein

Spicy Corn and Rice

Roast Vege and Chorizo Salad

Another view

The revelation! Chimichurri Skirt Steak

Dinner....also with Blackjack Chicken Nibbles

Harry trying everything...but particularly enjoying the corn and rice and the chicken

Birthday Boy

Dad settling in with his food

Raspberry Ripple Ambrosia

Harry eating the fruits of his labour...he pretty much made this

I was lucky enough to be one of the people selected to be a part of a Free Range Foodie event where we got preview copies of this new annual and get to share photos and experiences of the food. Because I have been on night shift I had to wait to have my first attempt at some of the recipes. Let me tell you....this annual is only going to cost $19.95 and it is well worth it! What I like about it is that it's all geared to the easiness of summer food and summer gatherings, which tend to be more relaxed. I have pretty much all of Annabel Langbein's cookbooks and I think it would be fair to say she is my most favourite cookbook author (I know my friends would agree).What I like about them is the high yield of recipes that actually work! 

My dad had his birthday last week but as I was working, last night was the first time I could get him over for dinner. I chose the whole menu from this annual. As I was going to be home later after school pickup I picked recipes that didn't need too much preparation and cooking. There is nothing worse than over committing to a menu. It leaves you stressed therefore making the whole experience a miserable one. I had to do a small amount of prep the night before but otherwise it was pretty easy to manage.

The revelation of the night was skirt steak! I have a feeling this will go the same way as lamb shanks and end up being over priced. The cost of skirt steak is about $13/kilo making it a cheap option. Not only is it inexpensive but it tastes amazing! Trust me on this one....but most importantly do NOT overcook it and make sure you rest it. Otherwise you will end up with tough meat that is impossible to eat. The book said to cook it for 5 min each side. However my steak was quite thin so I did 2 1/2 min each side. It was pretty rare but the taste was phenomenal. I also marinated it the night before. The sauce (using the marinade whizzed up with some orange juice and extra coriander) just finished it off.

I also made the Blackjack Chicken Nibbles but only added a small amount of chilli. for these you whipped up a BBQ sauce the night before and cooked the nibbles in it before grilling them on the BBQ to give a charred taste. Delicious!!! We had the corn and rice salad (loved this) and the Roast Vege and Chorizo Salad....also very good. 

Harry made the dessert with a bit of help from me however because I only had frozen raspberries ($8 per punnet was waaaay too expensive), I think that even though I defrosted them, they were made it just a bit runny. I also added the nougat but next time I would leave it out. As well as that I didn't make the compote to go on top instead I bought the Dollop Boysenberry and Raspberry Compote which is yum! This was pretty standard I thought but still Ambrosia is still fabulous no matter how simple it is! It did look pretty in the stemless wine glasses though.

All in all the meal was lovely. I can't wait to make more from this annual....next up is the Blueberries and Cream Trifle for a 'Xmas' get together on Sunday.