Let’s eat cake!

Well the proof is there. I have become a once-a-month blogger. Thought I’d better get a quick blog post in before July passes by.

We have been partying hard here, with an 8th and 10th birthday to be celebrated. The birthday cake is a big deal around here. There are weeks of birthday cake book perusing. I have the Women’s Weekly one from the 1970’s which my mum used for us, plus some others collected along the way. Ari likes to flick through them at least a few times per week. I have happy memories of a few cakes I received as a child from the Birthday Cake book.

Ella’s 10th birthday cake.

Mia’s 8th birthday Octopus cake.


Making and baking

It has been a week of making and baking here. We recently had our 2 Dexter steers butchered for our own consumption, and some meat for friends. This is our second time round with butchering own own livestock. The Dexters are small and compact and great for keeping the feed in the paddocks down. We bought them in mind of eating them, and have used a mobile butcher. Last time we had a sausage making night with some friends. This time we borrowed the sausage maker, and got to making our own sausages.

Disclaimer: a photograph of raw sausages is never going to look attractive.

The sausages were simple herb and garlic sausaages, made with natural casings.

I made a batch of hot cross buns that were devoured, both by myself and family. This confirmed to me why I try not to buy either hot cross buns or mince pies early in their respective holiday seasons. Once you start, you just can’t stop.

Do you bake any special foods over Easter? I mostly bake buns. Every year I aspire to make a Chocolate Cake decorated with Easter eggs, but once the kids are already hyper and I realise just how much chocolate that will be it just doesn’t get made.

Icing frenzy

I am over Royal Icing. We have just finished the frenzy of baking, preparing and dropping off our entries for this years local Horticultural and Agricultural Show (or as everyone calls it, ‘The Show’). Ari has submitted his first ever entry in the Preschoolers section of Decorated Marie Biscuits. Love it.

I forgot to photograph Mia’s entry of decorated biscuits (which will no doubt be pointed out to me by Mia). Other family entries included a clay lizard, a painted clay girl and dog, a knitted cardi, a quilt, a patchwork scarf, three types of jams, a jar of pickles, and a loaf of bread.

Fingers crossed for favourable judging! It costs to enter in The Show, and considering you don’t win any prize money it is not all that economical. We are just happy to be supporting the local community, and helping to keep a local institution going. We do hope someone comes home with a certificate and a ribbon though.

Below is Ella’s entry of decorated cupcakes. If you can stand how darn cute they are.


Menu plan

Do you menu plan? I can’t live without muy menu plan. I have been menu planning fornightly for years. I used to plan weekly, but I just hate supermarket shopping. I tried monthly, but kept leaving items out and having to go back to the shops for one or two items.

I find it a drag when I sit down to write out a menu plan for the fortnight. It all becomes worth it when 5pm arrives every evening and I don’t have to think about what to cook. I customise my menu plan to make things easier for nights when there are after school activities, and for some early meal prep during the day when I am not so rushed (and don’t have a toddler clinging on to my leg!).

This photo was taken in the gorgeous sunshine we had this week. I get out a few cookbooks, and work my way thorugh them. I also have a folder of firm family faves. My favourite books are by Bill Granger. I have all his books. Unlike other chefs, I find I can cook all his recipes without disaster (not so for Jamie Oliver’s recipes).  I try to spread out the meat, vegetarian, fish and chicken meals to a few each week. I shop once a fortnight and twice weekly for fruit and veg. Do you menu plan?

Seven = Snow

Where do you celebrate your birthday during the school holidays in Winter? At the snow! Mia turned 7 last week, and we spent a day at the snow celebrating.

The weather was less than perfect, and even worse once we arrived. The 40 km/h winds slapped us in the face the minute we stepped from the car, and within 15 minutes I couldn’t feel my toes. I spent an extra long time in a snow fort, pretending to play cubby with Ari, sheltering from the bracing wind.

But we forged onwards, as there were new skills to learn

and snow men to be made.

Later at home the chilly theme continued with ice-cream cake. Happy Birthday Mia!


How was your Christmas? Mine was full of kids, chaos and food. We were away from home this Christmas, only for a few days. It was nice to see family but bliss to get back to home.

I am waiting for my motivation to join me in the year 2011. Nothing yet. I am pottering about getting not much of anything done. I’m staring listlessly at the sewing room which is half cleared. I don’t want to sew or craft or knit. I could easily set a match to the whole room. I would save my laptop, Florence Broadhurst fabric, camera and Enid Blyton book collection first.

I made pickles though. Lots of pickles. My friends Marina dropped over 4.5 kilos of zucchini.  That’s how you get a lot of pickles. We made some raspberry cordial and raspberry jam on Boxing Day Evening after returning home. Crazy timing, but raspberries were cheap and we had to act fast.

Our mulberry tree is only 1 metre high and loaded with berries. I have to sneak out there to get them before Ella. She sneaks out there when she puts the chooks away and doesn’t see me watching her through the lounge window. I wonder if she spies me sneaking mulberries? The taste of mulberries takes me right back to my childhood on the farm. My great-aunt and uncle had the hugest mulberry tree. It is still there. The taste of mulberries make we wish I was still there.