Friday, November 27, 2009

The value of playdough

I went to my 4 year old's kinder AGM last I hear you say and yes, you'd be right. (I also brought my knitting so it wasn't all bad.)

But one thing I do remember the kinder teacher talking about was the value of playdough. As in it's value as a play material, rather than it's monetary value of course.

She said you could take a cranky, out of sorts, having a bad day child, sit them down at the playdough table and after a short while they'd be happily rolling and squishing.
According to her, playdough is somewhat undervalued by today's parents and many children don't have any in their homes.

You're kidding, right?

Tell me you had playdough at home growing up. Tell me your KIDS have playdough at home right now.

Playdough is an essential part of child hood.........if only so you can roll it into small balls and fire them at your brother.

However, I had my very own cranky, out of sorts, having a bad day, got out of the wrong side of bed, mummy never lets me do ANYTHING I want four year old very recently.

After trying to entice him out of his foul mood by the offer of making new playdough and being soundly rebuffed, I made it with his lil bro instead. Only to find after a very short while Mr 4 could not resist getting out the muffin pans along with lil bro and making a batch of cupcakes, just like mummy.

He thawed out remarkably

And was even happy to pose while pretending to eat one

Whereas this little guy actually DID eat one...

My sis has a no-cook playdough recipe on her blog here.

The one I generally use though is this:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Throw it all in a pot, mix and stir over a medium heat till cooked.
Takes about 5-7 minutes and works every time.
Store in an airproof container or in a plastic bag with all the air squished out.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Healthy foods and eating for health

I've been doing some interesting reading and research of late on eating and health, and I wanted to share a couple of sites.

Kelly the Kitchen Kop writes about -
Healthy cooking, Traditional food, Vibrant health - Busting "Politically Correct" Health and nutrition information.

Ann Marie is the Cheeseslave
All about cheese, butter, bacon, raw milk and all those other things we're not supposed to eat.

And this list of Real Food Podcasts is on both the above sites.

My current favourite podcasts are from Underground Wellness.
And the host of Underground Wellness, Sean, can also been seen on You tube......and he's worth seeing, gals.....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A food meme

This Food Fetish Meme (about Me, a MeMe got it? right) was thrown my way by the deliciously chocolatey Kath at Blurb from the Burbs fame. Yes, it was a while ago, I'm just catching up...

So here you go, more than ever wanted to know about my dietary predilections:

1. What's your #1 comfort food?
Custard. Thick, creamy, high in sugar, out of a tub....NOT made by me.
Or smarties, good old smarties. Pebbles to you kiwis. See, this is my favourite method of birthday cake decoration:


2. If you were stranded on a desert island what 5 foods would you want to have with you to survive on?
Cheese toasted sandwiches made with my home made spelt bread. Well, technically that's two foods. Ok, ummmm....pumpkin soup from my thermomix....yum! And the cheese (grated) can go in that too. Arnotts mint slice bikkies. Blueberries.

3. What are your signature dishes? (What dishes are you known for making?)
Well, cupcakes of course. Or chocolate cloud cake for grown up birthdays. Lasagne for family do's and a mean green salad to take to bbqs. Ok, I'm not a one-dish kinda gal.

4. It's Friday night, you don't know what to cook. You opt for?
Fish and chips from Shark-2-go up the road. They are goooooooooood......

5. What's your ultimate food weakness?
Arnotts mint slice. I know, a bit sad aren't I? But I can get through a packet of these in one sitting if I try hard enough.

6. What food can you soooo not eat?
The usual suspects such as liver and tripe. And I'm not a pork or pea fan. Or broad beans, ick.

You need a drink, you grab a.....?
Glass of water straight from the tap. Nothing better.

8. What's the most decadent dish you've ever had?
Goldensyrup dumplings...sweeeet, sticky, doughy. I'm sure there's something more elegant but I can't bring it to mind.

9. What's your favourite type of food?
Fresh and raw.....fruits, vegies, sushi.

10. Favourite Dish?
At the moment it's homemade tortillas with diced crumbed chicken, fresh tomato, spinach and cheese, mmmmmm.

11. If your partner could take you to any restaurant, where would you go?
Tokyo Tepenyaki Japanese restaurant down Chapel St. That was first on my hit list after coming out of hospy with my first bub.

12. Soup or Salad?
Soup in winter, salad in summer.

13. Buffet, Take-Out or Sit-Down?
Take-out or sit down. I feel like a guts if I have to get up to serve myself. Surely everyone's staring at my back thinking "wasn't she just up there? She does NOT need to pile that plate any higher..."

14. What's the most impressive meal you've ever made?
I will have to say my most impressive 'dish' right now is kick-arse sorbet made in my thermomix. What did I ever do before I got my thermomix??

15. Do you consider yourself a good cook?
I'm an ok cook, but a good baker.

16. Do you know what vichyssoise is?
Um, no. Some sort of cold soup?

17. Who's your favourite TV cook?
Don't watch the box on a regular basis although I was riveted by the original Masterchef series.
Can NOT see myself on there though.

18. Can you name at least three famous cooking personalities?
Maggie Beer, Nigella, Jamie Oliver. Predictable aren't I?

19. Homemade or homemade from a box?
Oh definitely home made, real food does not come out of a box. See?

I think this lot is lemon butter, blueberry muffins, pumpkin muffins, spag bol sauce, caramel and more blueberry muffins.

20. Tag three more foodies..
The only one I'm going to tag with this is my youngest sis The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady....head's up sis!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chocolate sorbet in the thermomix

Here it is, and this is where I found the recipe, from Jo at Quirky cooking.


It was soooo good I cannot do it again any time soon as I just couldn't help eating way too much of it!

Self control, where are you?

Ah that's right, you do not reside in my kitchen...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Trying out the rapadura

A short while ago I mentioned rapadura, which is a sweetener made from evaporated sugar cane juice.

I managed to order some online, funnily enough it was cheaper for four 250 gram bags than for one 1 kilo bag so I went with the four.


This is what Jo at Quirky Cooking has to say about rapadura...

"Rapadura is evaporated cane juice - it's also known as Sucanat. It is just the juice extracted from the cane in a press, which has then been evaporated to dry it into granules. It has not been heated and spun to change it into crystals, so it has a grainy texture.

Because Rapadura is not heated, the vitamins and minerals have been retained. It also still has the natural balance of sucrose, glucose, and fructose, and contains components essential for its' digestion. It is metabolized more slowly than white sugar, and therefore will not affect your blood sugar levels very much at all. Refined, crystallised sugars will raise blood sugar levels, and the more refined the sugar, the more it raises your blood sugar."

See the rest of Jo's post about sweeteners here.

Now rapadura is a light brown colour, and in taste is vaguely reminiscent of brown sugar. It has some uneven sized grains so depending on what you want to use it for, you may want to grind it further. A thermomix is perfect for this but I'm sure any high powered blender will do.

So far I've used it to make lemonade syrup, a batch of snickerdoodle biscuits/cookies and just tonight I made a chocolate sorbet (in my Thermomix) with rapadura in it.

And oh my gosh, that sorbet was goooooood! I'm thinking the delightful writer of Gone Chocco might just appreciate this one and I will be sure to take a photo of it when I pull out the rest tomorrow and polish it off.

I digress.

Cooking with rapadura does not seem to be much different than cooking with regular sugar. The cookies turned out as expected, the sorbet as I said was sickeningly good and the lemonade syrup worked well too, the syrup gaining a beautiful deep brown hue and a bit of a brown sugar flavour. As I am a brown sugar fan, that's no problem for me.

Please excuse the manky tomato puree label left on my lemonade syrup bottle, I am generally too lazy to remove labels.


So in my quest to convert my family to a more whole food diet (um, a couple of the above foods notwithstanding...) the rapadura will stay. I just need to find somewhere to buy it in preferably larger and cheaper quantities.

If I find a decent supplier, I'll let ya all know.

Oh, and I'm taking delivery of some live kefir grains early next week, so that will be an interesting experiment this space.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A bit of this, a bit of that.......lots of everything

Life is busy. Busy busy.

Adding to my usual routine I worked three afternoon/evening nanny shifts with my kids in tow.....that included the school run to a VERY swanky school......but I have been driving their (the family I sometimes nanny for) Range rover so didn't feel as out of place as I would have pulling up outside that swanky school in my paint peeling ford........

It's a great job, I've known the family for 10 years and am happy to help out.
My kids love their kids and their kids look after my kids (their kids are older).
So it's almost like a non-job.

Except cooking dinner while helping a 10 year old with homework, trying to get the attention of the 7 year old to feed the dogs that are tripping me up in the kitchen, keeping tabs on a 13 year old boy and his phone, the laptop and homework supposed to be getting done, eating the pretend food my 19 month old is cooking for me in the playroom and trying to locate the drumsticks so my 4 year old can have a bash on the drum just a tad stressful.

Meanwhile nothing gets done at my house.

'Nuff said on that.

So in between all that I've done a bit of this


Made a few of these for Cup Day


Put the lil fella to work


Weathered a few hot days


Talked this one down from the brink


And found out Master H is NOT allergic to bee stings


Phew. It was quite a week.

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