Thursday, 4 December 2014

Coconut Ice for the Birthday Girl

Matilda was 2 yesterday and had an "Alice in Wonderland - Mad Hatter's Tea Party" on Sunday which was a glorious day. Dress ups were in order and so was a table full of tea party cakes!

I haven't made coconut ice for years but inspired recently by the blog of "Hotly Spiced" with delicately  pink jewels gracing her page, I thought this would make a perfect addition to the themed tea party.
This way to Matilda's party
Chalkboard with Chapter 1- Alice in Wonderland
Coconut Ice is better made the day before so that it has plenty of time to set hard in the fridge. Even though there is no cooking involved I remember there being some fairly heavy mixing action required. But I have some quick tips for that!

Matilda's amazing birthday cake

Matilda's mummy setting up the cake table
Ingredients ............…..
4 cups dessicated coconut
3 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 x 390 gm tin condensed milk
Pink food colouring

1x 8" square cake tin

What to do......................

Sift icing sugar into a mixing bowl,
Add coconut and mix thoroughly  so that the coconut and sugar are evenly distributed.

Cake Table

Now here is the trick......…..

Divide this coconut and sugar combo in half and place into separate mixing bowls.

Bowl No.1 will remain white

Bowl No.2 will be coloured pink

Pour half the tin of condensed milk into Bowl No.1 and mix with a knife to combine all the liquid, mix with your hands to combine as required, so that this becomes a smooth ball.

Set aside this white coconut ice.

Add a few drops of pink food colouring to the remaining half tin of condensed milk and stir to make it an even colour.

Pour the pink condensed milk into Bowl No.2  and repeat mixing process above.

This is so much easier than trying to add food colouring to an already solid ball of mixed ingredients. I was a little heavy handed with my Rose colouring, but then what little girls don't like a vibrant splash of pink at a party? I must get a dropper for this purpose in the future.

Lightly oil/grease an 8" square cake tin

Press the first layer of white mixture into the bottom of the cake tin - ensuring the mixture is evenly spread over the bottom of the tin.

Then add the pink layer on the top.

Cover with glad wrap and place in the fridge over night.

The next day turn the coconut ice out onto a board and cut into bite size pieces.  Mine made 64 small pop straight in your mouth - 1 bite size pieces perfect for little birthday parties.

Matilda in her Alice dress


Friday, 31 October 2014

From the sunbed - Far North Queensland

I have not done much cooking over the last couple of days but we have done quite a bit of eating and drinking. Holidays are such wonderful things!
We  rose on Wednesday at the ungodly hour of 3.30am, left home at 4.30am and after a brisk walk across the Tarmac at Tullamarine  board the plane at 5.30am and flew north to Cairns arriving at 9.30am Queensland time (no daylight savings here). Another hours drive north by bus along the idyllic coastline to Port Douglas and into the grounds of the Sheraton mirage resort. Ah... A deep breath's like coming home it is so familiar to us.. It means relax, completely chill and do nothing for the next 10 days, except whatever we want at a slow tropical pace. Over the last decade it is one of our most favourite places to holiday without having to leave the mainland.
The Sheraton Mirage was built on the shoreline of Four Mile Beach by the infamous Christopher Skase back in the 70s, it spreads over acres of beautiful tropical gardens, villas built within the  18 hole golf course, and crystal clear man-made swimming lagoons surround the hotel itself. Back in the 70s it was THE places for the rich and famous to holiday. Now days the huge hotel is in need of a makeover, it is a little tired in places and the maintenance and upkeep would be never ending. But the grandeur the vision and design of the resort is timeless and there is nothing like it in Port Douglas. And I have to say we love it even though some of it is a little dated.

Over the years we have done all the tourist things, been out to the Great Barrier Reef, on the Quick Silver, down in the glass bottom boat to view the coral and fish life, up in a helicopter to view the Daintree and reef from above and down the Inlet through the mangroves in a flat bottom tinnie to capture a glimpse of the crocs that survive in the warm tributaries. So now days our main focus is on sun,swim and where to eat, and there are plenty of those.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Pumpkin Soup

I am dragging myself around the house, off work for a couple of days with a virus (so the doctor said) and a hacking cough, that keeps me awake half the night.  No medication but Panadol 3 times a day and rest!
Its cold outside and is the perfect Melbourne day for soup, given my condition, its all I feel like making.
I am a little partial to pumpkin and with a couple of kilos in the fridge and because it takes such little effort, it was the obvious choice for lunch.
1 kg of pumpkin (I used Kent pumpkin)
1 large onion
Enough water  to cover vegetables + 1 stock cube or homemade stock (which ever is to hand) at least 500ml
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
For the garnish some chopped fresh herbs of choice, a grind of black pepper, a sprinkle of chilli flakes and a retro swirl of cream.

What to do…..
A kilo of pumpkin might sound like a lot but once its peeled, deseeded and chopped up small its the perfect amount for two large hearty bowls.

  • Put the chopped pumpkin in a medium sized pot and cover with a generous amount of water or stock
  • If you are not using stock add a stock cube to the water.
  • Chop onion and add to the pot.
  • Sprinkle on the cinnamon and coriander
  • Bring to the boil and simmer until vegetables are soft and easily mashed.
  • With a stick/hand held wizzer, blend the pumpkin to a smooth consistency in the pot, you can pour this into a blender, but that is more washing up!
  • Don't forget to make a little tent with the tea towel over the stick wiz and the pot to stop any splatter, I hate having to clean pumpkin off the walls!

And its done, ready to serve.
Pour into a bowl or large mug and top with chopped herbs (I had mint and parsley from the garden), cracked black pepper, chilli flakes to boost the immune system and a dribble of cream to make it creamy!
Now that has to make you feel better.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

ANZAC Biscuits

Plain ANZAC biscuits ready for the oven

ANZAC Day drew the biggest crowds ever recorded in Melbourne this year.  A sign that "We Will not Forget". It was also the coldest morning for the Dawn Service at the Shrine of Remembrance.

Shrine of Remembrance Melbourne - Click Here
However, the day unfolded into perfect sunshine for the diggers to march through Melbourne to lay their wreaths and poppies at the Shrine, followed by one of the biggest days in AFL football outside of Grand Final Day, with the traditional game between Collingwood and Essendon at the MCG. You could hear a pin drop in the Stadium as the Last Post was played.

Watching the game with family with a bit of knitting between quarters! Love that footy jumper.
I was a bit late making my ANZAC biscuits this year - but better late than never.  I thought I would try a variation and add some homemade fig jam…..but in the end I decided why mess with a perfect recipe and stuck to the traditional ingredients. Crisp on the outside, chewy centre. See here for recipe.

Nan these are for you RIP 25 April 2003
          See also:

ANZAC Biscuits

Joining with Belleau Kitchen for April Random Recipe and Ros at AlphaBakes  "A"

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Daniel's Zesty Easter Coleslaw

Easter Sunday at our house is like a mini Christmas with all the family, old and young, not to mention the excitement of the Easter Egg Hunt in the front garden.  This year not wanting to go for the full blown sit down Sunday lunch we opted for cold roast chicken, hot jacket potatoes and coleslaw buffet lunch, find a seat or stand up, casual affair for about 25!

I began the coleslaw the night before, using my new "Slicer Dicer", and sliced finely a whole cabbage, grated 6 large carrots and a couple of sticks of celery. Sunday I started to mix in the whole egg (shop bought) mayonnaise as people started to arrive.  No. 2 son took over the coleslaw and added a couple of his own ingredients - the zest and juice of 1 very large lemon, together with a heavy handed glug of extra virgin olive oil, salt to taste and a strong arm to mix thoroughly. A fresh grind of pepper and sprigs of celery leaves to dress for the table.  Everyone said how much they loved my coleslaw!

1 large whole cabbage
6 large carrots
2 sticks of celery
1 large or 2 small lemons - zest and juice
Olive oil enough to loosen the volume of cabbage
440g whole egg real mayo (good shop bought)
Salt to taste
Black ground pepper and celery leaves to dress.

What to do. . . .
Mix together vegetables in a large bowl
Add zest, lemon juice and mix
Add mayo and enough olive oil to loosen the vegetables.
Salt to taste
Turn onto a nice serving plate
Grind pepper on top and dress with celery leaves.