Lemon honey in the city

Living in a big city naturally means you do not have an acre of land. We are lucky in that we have a courtyard, and it gets sun in the summer. You have heard me wax lyrical about basil pesto before. Well now it is the turn of some humble lemons. One of our first purchases was a lemon and lime tree – a graft obviously, though we only seem to get lemons. I had visions of limes for gin and tonic in the summer when we bought the tree! The last batch of lemons ended up as frozen lemon juice thanks to the mother-out-of-law. For some unknown reason I have always wanted to have a go at making Lemon Honey (which is known as lemon butter in the Australian vernacular as I found out) and for some random reason this late batch of lemons (code for I thought I had better take them off the tree as spring was here!) inspired me. While I was tempted to give them the same fate as their predecessors I went to every kiwi’s cooking bible (the Edmonds Cook Book) and the making of lemon honey appeared reasonably straightforward. What was quirky was a couple of day’s later I picked up the October Child magazine (a great freebie) and in there was an article on their tried and true cookbooks and there first was the good old Edmonds cook book. I could not have agreed more that day, fresh from my successful foray. And it made me smile, especially when we think of modern cook books full of fabulous colour photos – this cook book is the original real deal, the entire recipe for the the lemon honey stretches to about two centimetres, and there are four other recipes sharing the page. You know what though – the lemon honey turned out just so. I am even giving the small jar to a friend, not that she knows it yet, but she thought my first jam attempt was more than ok, so I am willing to risk her opinion again! If you have some lemons going spare, can I suggest a batch of lemon honey…

Modern art or…

…did you know that cupcake/muffin trays are essential when baking?!

My daughter and I decided to have a go at baking and decorating some fancy cupcakes. There was a lot of mixture so I put a set of cupcake cases on a baking tray to bake along with those in the cupcake/muffin tray. Let us just say the outcome was not what I was expecting. Who knew I had a talent for cupcake art! As you can see those that were cooked in the cupcake/muffin tray came out as expected. The sprawling mess was demolished while still warm I might add. You cannot believe how utterly delighted I was with the finished product. How often do you make something that looks like the photo in the cook book and they were delicious. These will not be a one time bake methinks. Especially seeing that my daughter does not like marshmallows, so Mum & Dad get to eat the flower ones, not just the bases where my darling girl has only eaten the icing!

Of course without downplaying my incredible culinary skills (tee hee!) these are much easier to make than the final product looks. If you want to given them a go, they are courtesy of the Australian Women’s Weekly Fresh Food for Babies & Toddlers cookbook. I highly recommend this cookbook for new parents by the way. We still make meals from this that the whole family really enjoys.

Live the life you have always imagined

At the start of last year I shared the source of some of my inspiration – who said TV was all bad!  And continued to share quotes as the year progressed until about this time last year. Must mean I am now an uninspired soul!  Not entirely true, as I do call on more than one source for inspiration, and wanted to share with you another, the rather wonderful Annabel Langbein.

Probably two Christmases ago my mother-out-of-law gave me The Free Range Cook, a cook book by Annabel Langbein.  For some reason I went and purchased the associated TV series to watch and it is just amazing.  It is that really down to earth kiwi approach – great food, great friends, on the edge of the great outdoors.  I just wanted to step into that picture.  I highly recommend watching it almost simply for the enjoyment of delightful television.  Looking back now I am sure watching that series may have had a little bit of influence in our thinking to make that adventurous step and put a foot hold on a big change of life here.

I have always been a bit of a foodie, and do believe one of the true pleasures in life is yummy food enjoyed with others.  But with a busy life that has been squeezed out.  One of the joys has been that it has helped entice me back to playing in the kitchen – check out my Chocolate & Cranberry slice below, and here for the recipe.  At the same time as those TV ads became my mantra, I spied another Annabel Langbein cookbook, a summer edition with the subtitle a free range life – how could I resist?!   There is an awesome and easy pizza recipe in it that I highly recommend.

So to finish, I thought I would share with the you the last quote which is,

“Live the life you have always imagined because life is for living”

It is a timely reminder.  I have been making conscious changes to some aspects in mine, getting some wins, but also need to make some more adjustments.  While we may often feel that everything is beyond our control, that is frequently not as true as we let ourselves believe.  We often forget that much more is within our own control.  At the end of the day the most powerful person who can affect a change in our own life is ourselves. I am trying to get out there and life the life I imagine, I hope you are too.

My current definition of what the phuck?!

Heard my daughter awaken from her night’s sleep.  As per routine I glance at my iPhone for the time, 6.20 am, that’s not too bad, wishfully would prefer later for a Saturday morning.  Her father beside me is already awake, slightly unusual.  He makes some comment about it being early.  Head downstairs, give little missy her milk and head back up to our bedroom.  She is very snuggly like she wants to go back to sleep.   After a while check the time again – it is only 5.57 am – what the phuck?! – somehow had managed to misread 5.20 am with 6.20 am.  Ah that’s why he said it was early and the three of us are doing a great zombie impression.  Note to self – must double check when reading the time.  On the bright side made a batch of mini muffins for the little girl and they were cooled by 8.30 am!

The grandmother she will never know

Given I was an accidental child – my mother was 47 when I was born – and my little girl arrived a little after I past the age of 40 it is no surprise that both of my parents are gone. In some senses sad, for despite having two much older siblings my little girl is my parents only grand child.

But the reality is that my parents will be alive for my daughter.  Not in the way her paternal grandparents are – with hugs and kisses, and Skype and visits, watching her grow up.  But alive in the stories I will make a point of telling her.  But even before she hears the stories, my mum, her grandmother, is already giving her something – mini pikelets.  My mother was known as the pikelet queen, and little pikelets are very good for someone who is learning to feed themselves.  I use my mother’s recipe, making them child size. So even though my daughter will never meet her maternal grandmother my mum is indirectly feeding my daughter.  Thanks Mum, you will never know the mother I became, and that does make me teary.  But your granddaughter loves her pikelets!

Pikelet over 40 mum

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 level teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1&1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • milk

Method: Make a well in the centre, drop an egg in (unbeaten) and a little milk.  Stir well, adding sufficient milk to make a batter consistency.  Heat fry pan, grease lightly and drop small spoonfuls on. Turn when bubbles appear.  (I wrap them in pairs in glad wrap and freeze them)

The best advice prior to bub’s arrival

If I can give one piece of advice to a mum/mom/dad to be it is get some meals prepared in advance and in the freezer. I think I read this in more than one place, and was certainly told this as well. It sounded like a sensible idea, without knowing what it was going to be like with a newborn. And I would add to it put a list on the freezer door you can cross off as you use them.

This is all we have left, boo hoo!

It was a lifesaver for us, particularly with no family in the country. We had a fortnight’s meals in the freezer, and managed to make them last at least a whole month by alternating with cooking on the other night, not to mention a takeaway thrown in every week. And if chance presents itself when you are cooking post bub’s arrival pick something that you can make enough of to also freeze. My pick was Thai “pick your colour” (green, red, yellow) curry with rice. Quick to make, and freezes/reheats well.  What are your meal suggestions for this situation?

And a wise friend who is a mum said to me, you’ll be offered all sorts of advice whether you asked for it or not, so take it or ignore it as you see fit. So take my advice in that vein too!

And almost completely unrelated – why is it that we have mum/mom but not dad/dod?! Does anyone know?