Monday, 30 September 2013

School holiday baking - raspberry yogurt cake

It's Spring school holidays here in Brisbane. Two glorious weeks of freedom. I just love the change of pace and the chance to slow down. I'm very fortunate in the fact that I can buy extra holiday days from my employer and it means that I can plan to take school holidays off with my girl. It's a great extra benefit to my job that I'm extremely grateful for.

catching up with her cousin

Living in such a glorious part of the world we often don't feel the real urge to go away anywhere on holiday. Often the two week blocks away from school are spent pottering, catching up with people and generally taking life one day at a time. We seem to be able to fill the couple of weeks with trips to the cinema, picnics, swimming, play dates, baking and not too much clock watching. It's a time to refresh and recharge.

So we are half way through the holidays and Sibs has just left to go for a swim and play with a friend  and I thought that I would take this rare 10 minutes to write a quick blog post. Of course nothing ever takes 10 minutes and in my ipad and instagram world I had forgotten just how long it takes to fire up the laptop and download some photos from the camera....!

Anyhow, now that I've got going I want to share a recipe that I tried out last week. I love baking and creating in the kitchen and most of the time I will find myself reverting to making the same things over and over again. When it's holiday time, Sibs and I will trawl through books, magazines and more recently online to pick out dishes and goodies to try. One of the things on the list last week was a raspberry yogurt cake.

I found this through one of my favourite blogs - 'Tea for Six'. (link HERE) I often source meals and dishes from Natalie's blog and she is a constant source of inspiration for me.  This cake sounded just the thing for a morning tea treat to go with a coffee and berry smoothie. Her children had declared it the best cake ever and those were the exact words used in this house too. 

raspberry yogurt cake

Raspberry Yoghurt Cake

1 cup of vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups of caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup of full fat Greek yoghurt
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup frozen raspberries

raspberry yogurt cake

 cream cheese icing

(I halved the quantities below as I didn't quite have enough ingredients and in my opinion it was probably just the right amount)

100g unsalted butter
250g cream cheese, softened
500g icing sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.  Grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin.
Whisk together the vegetable oil and caster sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time and whisk. Then mix in the yoghurt.  Fold through the flour like you would with a muffin mix – a little lumpy is OK so don’t over mix.  Fold through the raspberries then pour into the prepared cake tin.
Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until cooked through (if it is browning too quickly and taking longer to cook then just cover the cake with some aluminium foil and continue to cook until cooked through – test with a skewer) .  Leave to cool in the tin. Once completely cooled ice with cream cheese icing.
For the icing, cream the butter and cream cheese together until pale and smooth.  Mix in the sifted icing sugar

(This cake recipe is from ‘Nourish’ from Bardon State School via 'Tea for Six' blog)

raspberry yoghurt cake
It's a very simple cake to make and the yoghurt makes it very light and moist. I think next time I will probably add a few extra raspberries and possibly omit the cream cheese icing and just dust it with icing sugar. All in all a big hit of a cake to add to the repertoire.

Happy holidays

glorious Queensland sunset September 2013

Thursday, 5 September 2013

A simple surprise birthday

My little Sibs had a birthday recently.

I actually think that someone tampered with the calendar as there is no way that a year has gone by since the last one!

Anyhow, as the date drew closer and the crosses on the wall calendar increased, we began to think about how to celebrate.

Each year she has had a party. We have had the small family gathering in the back garden type of party, we've had a whole class in the park rainbow party, a disco in the living room, a girly tea party, even a Jane Austen inspired dinner party. Usually Sibs has an idea and we work with it.

This year however there was some big undecisiveness (is that a word?). Sibs wasn't even sure if she wanted a party and if she did, it was all a bit much coming up with the guest list.

We knew that we would mark the occasion in some way but somehow there was no clear idea about how...

All of a sudden it was the week before her birthday and in a break with tradition I decided to just get on with organising something for her.

It was not particularly thought out, but I decided to get together some of her friends and their families and plan a surprise party.

The night before her birthday we went out for a meal with Nana and Papa and Sibs invited a friend who had a sleep over. She thought that this was her birthday celebration.

The next morning her friend left and we pottered around and made it sound that an afternoon picnic in the park was just an impromptu idea.

(Sibs must have been in fairy land as she never questioned why I was loading the car with a huge box of food...!)

Anyhow, we arrived at the park and she spotted  a couple of friends which she was rather pleased about.

Then another friend, then another...

It suddenly twigged - these people were all there for her.

No words, just a huge hug from my grinning girl told me that she was happy.

The best part of the afternoon was that instead of just the children being dropped off, whole families came and stayed.

It was lovely to be able to celebrate a special day with friends. Friends who have made our move to Australia easy. People who I am pleased to have in our lives.

There were no party games, no organised activities, no planned entertainment  and do you know what? It worked.
Adults sat and caught up with each other and the kids ran around, climbed trees and  kicked a ball.

Neil cooked sausages on the bbq (so Australian - I love it!), there were of bowls of fruit, rice crackers and dips and Birthday cake - easy peasy!

A few hours later the box was re-packed with a few leftovers, the children were gathered up and that was that.

Another year; another party ticked off.

 Penblwydd Hapus Sibsy girl.