Forbidden fruit

Pomegranate

I think just about everyone, religious or not, knows the story of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit. Most people know of the forbidden fruit as an apple.

I’m not sure where I read it but I’ve heard that it might have been a pomegranate. Has anyone heard anything similar?

When I took this photo JJ said why don’t you pick one from the tree. It wasn’t the story of Adam and Eve that stopped me, but the fact that it was taking someone elses fruit although it was hanging over the footpath and that means it’s anyone’s doesn’t it?

I kind of wish I had taken one now because it’s been too many years since I ate a pomegranate.

They wouldn’t have missed one of these surely.

Pomegranate

A loaf of bread a day

bread babe
Creative Commons License photo credit: mars!

Over the recent Australia Day long weekend an old school friend, her husband and their four children came to visit me and stay overnight for one night.

I’m lucky that I’ve got a three bedroom house and I was able to fit them all in. They would have stayed elsewhere if I couldn’t accommodate them but I wanted to so we could all kick back and not have to worry about anyone driving after a few drinks.

Having a family of six people here, with kids ranging in ages from 16 down to 10 who all have healthy appetites made me realise just how much this many people can eat.

We cooked a barbeque – they’d won a meat tray which helped out there – and as we were about to sit down and eat my friend asked if I had any bread. I’d completely forgotten to bring it out. The loaf of bread was demolished in that one meal. A loaf of bread normally lasts us one week and they told me they go through at least one a day. I guess their grocery budget is about five times ours, although JJ has a very healthy appetite and once he hits his teenage years and doesn’t go to after school care anymore, one loaf of bread a week just won’t be enough here either.

But I’m in awe of families with more than two children. Shopping once a week wouldn’t be enough unless you had a huge amount of fridge and freezer space. And seeing three teenage boys spread out on my lounge just made my lounge room seem a lot smaller than it actually is.

So how do people with large families do it? A couple of bloggers below show us.

Nicole at Planning with Kids has just had her fifth baby and she’s apologising for only doing three to four blog posts per week over the next few months until she adjusts to the new addition. No wonder she writes a blog about planning with kids. You have to be organised as a parent anyway, let alone a parent with five children. She has plenty of menu planning tips and I know through my experience that planning what food you buy on a weekly basis helps save money rather than buying food on an ad-hoc basis.

The Happy Housewife has a husband and six children, nearly seven, and they live on one income which is what she writes about on her blog. And she homeschools! Just like I’m in awe of people with lots of kids, I’m in awe of people who homeschool. Not that I want either of those things mind you.

So, how many loaves of bread do you buy each week?

Making a trifle

I had a few people around for dinner a little while ago and as I quite like making desserts I decided to have a go at making trifle which is something I’ve never done before. My main course – mango chicken – was also a first run which I wouldn’t normally do because I like to try things out before making them for people.

I didn’t have a trifle recipe in any of my books so online I went and found one on the Women’s Weekly website.

This is modified ever so slightly from that.

Ingredients
2 x packets jam sponge logs (I bought little sponge rolls, not the big ones)
1 x packet of wildberry jelly (any type will do)
1 x 825 tin of pears (I used peaches)
500ml custard, (optional if you make your own)
300ml fresh cream
Grand Marnier & dry sherry to taste (orange juice will do, but I used orange juice and Triple Sec which has an orange flavour)

Custard: (optional, you can just add custard purchased from supermarket)
2 level tablespoons of custard powder
1 level tablespoon of sugar
milk, enough to get desired consistency

Method
Bowl – 21cm x 9cm (deep) with a base of 13cm diameter.

First make a jelly to packet directions and refrigerate until set.

Cut the Jam Sponge Roll into slices of equal thickness. Place them around the bowl, starting from the bottom of the bowl then building them around the sides to cover the entire inside. Fill in all the gaps by halving the slices where required.

Drizzle the sherry over the cake so that it becomes moist but not soggy. Add a little Grand Marnier in the same manner for taste variation.

Mum likes to make fresh custard- combine custard powder and sugar (or less to taste), add milk slowly to form a paste then stir in the remainder. Over medium heat and stir constantly until the custard can be poured but not too runny. (I used bought custard).

Pour the custard over the Jam sponge and spoon it over the sides to fill in the gaps – then let cool, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate – this allows the sherry & Grand Marnier to meld with the custard and sponge

Once the custard is cooled take the jelly and mince it with a fork and spread over the custard – again up the sides of the bowl to fill in any gaps – then refrigerate.

Whip 300ml of fresh cream and spread over the jelly, garnish with pears cut into slices in a circular pattern around the bowl and any other seasonal fruit – berries if available – or just the pears will suffice.

The finish! This was more than enough for seven of us. JJ and I have leftovers for a couple of days and it kept just fine in the fridge.

Cup of tea anyone?

A while ago I read a recipe on how to make teacup biscuits on Planning Queen’s blog. JJ and I put it down as one our things to do during the school holidays. We finally did it.

I saved it for an occasion where we weren’t left to eat all 26 by ourselves – that would have been a bit piggy. We visited a friend who has three kids and it was one of those kids birthdays the day prior so we took most of them there.

JJ also had some left over for his lunchbox for a couple of days into the school term.

As the recipe said, we used lifesaver lollies for the handles and I had trouble cutting them in half properly. Someone mentioned to me that you could use fruitloop cereal so this might be worth a try next time.

It was a great little activity to share with my son, and quite easy to do.

On another note stay posted as I’m going to be doing a giveaway here. It will be a good one.

Yummy banana cake

In one of my micro-blog posts I said that I’d made a really yummy banana cake, and Shai Coggins asked for the recipe. It’s worth sharing on my blog as it is absolutely deliciously moist, and did I say yum?

I managed to take this photo just before I wrapped up the last two pieces.

Banana cake - mmmm

I’m not sure where the recipe originated but it’s on a piece of paper handwritten by either me or my sister.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups self raising flour
  • .75 cup sugar
  • half cup (quarter pound) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 bananas
  • 1 level teaspoon bicarb soda
  • half teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 tablespoons hot milk

Method

Beat butter and sugar to a cream then add beaten eggs and vanilla – beating well.

Mash bananas thoroughly and add. Sift in the flour. Dissolve bicarb soda in hot milk and add last Blend all thoroughly but lightly.

This makes a fairly stiff mixture but is very light and fluffy when baked.

Grease a tin (I put mine in a loaf tin and I usually line it with baking paper), and pour the mixture in.

Then fight with your child about who gets to lick the bowl and the beater.

Bake in a moderate oven (about 180 degrees celcius) for 25-30 minutes. In my oven it takes a bit longer which could be because of the loaf tin I use but I always test with a skewer to make sure it’s cooked through.

As you can see from the photo I didn’t ice it, but a cream cheese type icing goes well, or just whipped cream. I did have some cream left from something else and enjoyed a piece with cream over the top.

Let me know if you use this recipe. I would love to hear what you think of it.

Party food and suspension from school

Chocolate crackles

Party food, ie chocolate crackles, and a suspension from school? Let’s see if I can do a neat segue.

My friend’s son had a 5th birthday party yesterday afternoon. The night prior my friend rang to ask me for a chocolate crackles recipe. It so happened that I had all the necessary ingredients as this is something I promised to do with JJ. In a moment of weakness I offered to make them and bring them along with me.

It’s the first time I’ve made them and it was dead easy. The recipe is on the side of the Rice Bubbles packet.

You will need:

  • 4 cups Rice Bubbles
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 250g Copha
  • 3 tbsp cocoa

In a large bowl mix the Rice Bubbles, icing sugar, coconat and cocoa.

S lowly melt the copha in a saucepan over low heat and allow to cool slightly. Add to the rice bubbles mixture, stirring well until combined.

Spoon the mixture into paper patty pans and refrigerate until firm.This will make about 24.

So I made these just before I went to school to pick JJ up. I was sitting outside his classroom when he came back with two other boys and the deputy principal and an envelope in his hand. The other boy said ‘we’ve been suspended’. Apparently there was an incident at lunchtime that involved kicking. I still haven’t got the full story but will find out at the suspension conference early this week.

JJ has had some detentions this year and it seems to boil down to mixing with this kid who gets him into trouble and not knowing how to behave in the playground. He also has trouble making friends at school.

I felt like I was rewarding him by taking him to the party but because it was a good friend’s birthday and we’d promised to go, we went. JJ is without tv and computer for one week and this will be reviewed after a week.

Just when I thought I’d achieved something with JJ’s behaviour this goes and happens. He’s fine (mostly) with me, and friends that had him for a couple of days over Easter noted that he was really good for them. So school, and this other kid, are the common denominator. The school wants to work with us to resolve this so this time I’ll be making sure that this happens.

Basil pesto

It’s that time of year when the basil is abundant. I always grow basil as it’s pretty easy to grow and I just love it. Basil can be used in salads – raw, and in cooking. I also love it as a base ingredient for pesto. As my basil was starting to flower I had to pick a lot of it to make into pesto. Because I’ve now trimmed my basil I’ll get more life out of the plants instead of going all woody.

Basil

The first time I made this pesto I followed some recipe or other but now I know the base ingredients I just put them all into the ancient food processor I have to blend.

The ingredients are:

  • fresh basil (of course)
  • pine nuts (I’ve also used walnuts and not noticed any real difference)
  • fresh garlic
  • olive oil
  • parmesan cheese

I don’t use set amounts but just keep blending and adding ingredients till it looks just about like pesto should. So that’s my really basic and bare-bones recipe.

If you’re after something a bit more precise and variations to the theme try this.

After I made my pesto I cooked up some pasta, put some leftover roast chicken and some of my fresh pesto and had a delicious meal. Mmmm, mmmm.