Sunday, January 30, 2011

keeping the kids cool... with pomegranate popsicles

In the heat of summer it's sometimes a struggle to keep the kids hydrated and cool. Kye has always loved drinking water and won't go to sleep at night without his water bottle on the stool next to his bed. But Ada on the other hand, will try to get away with drinking as little as possible during the day, only to be dying of thirst right before bed when it will keep her up all night, needing to pee. It's a constant issue, and one that I'm always trying to keep on top of. I refuse to get trapped into giving her juice all the time; I really don't think kids need all that sugar. Water is ideal, but she just won't drink enough of it by itself to do any good. Here are a few little tricks I've come up with over the years to keep her hydrated that I thought I'd share with you today...
Wednesday, January 26, 2011

gluten-free brown-butter spice cake recipe

I had intended to post a few savory recipes after all the sweetness of late. But after reading a recent post on 101cookbooks which features Heidi’s recipe for brown-butter spice cake, I've scarcely been able to think of anything else. All weekend while we were over at mums, I was planning and thinking about which gluten-free flours I’d use to convert her whole-wheat brown-butter spice cake to gluten-free. What had me hooked right from the start was her unusual but amazing addition of garam masala as a spice. I’m usually pretty heavy handed with spices when I add them to cakes, so this had me intrigued.

I decided to go for a brown-rice and quinoa flour mix, with a little potato starch to hold things together and give lightness. If you haven’t yet tried quinoa flour, it is amazing. Yes, it has a strong flavour that may be off-putting to some. But paired with equally strong flavourings like the garam masala and also with the lovely sweetness of the roasted pumpkin puree, its grassiness is almost undetectable. It adds a beautiful light texture to baked goods, as well as much needed moisture in gluten-free baking. Like the quinoa grain, it's very high in complete protein, so not only do your cakes taste wonderful, they are nutritious too! I have a feeling this cake is going to become a firm favorite in our house.
Sunday, January 23, 2011

gluten and dairy-free blueberry & almond muffin recipe

God, I don’t think I have ever been so scared driving home before, as I was today. The kids and I have just returned from a few days at my mum and little sisters place. That will be our last trip to Pukehina before we move to Perth and I definitely had a few tears in my eyes as we drove off today. It turns out we picked a crappy few days to go, our summer seems to have abruptly ended! We had one nice day there, albeit windy. Then the rain set in yesterday afternoon and continued heavily overnight. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a little apprehensive about the drive home today, in the rain, with two kids, by myself.

After watching the footage of the Brisbane floods in utter shock over the past few weeks, I found it really unnerving seeing all that rain. Many low-lying paddocks were completely under water as we passed (slowly) by, the fence posts barely poking their heads out of the lakes now surrounding them. The mini waterfalls coming down off the hills of the Kaimai ranges, which then formed rivers across the road, made me wish I had considered staying at mums just one more night. Thankfully Kye slept most of the way home, and lucky also, Ada was old enough to pick up the seriousness in my voice when I said “please don’t talk to me, I need to concentrate”!
I tell you, I have never felt so glad to be home. Turning into our driveway, seeing Si come down the stairs to greet us, was such an overwhelming relief, I can barely put it into words.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

we're trading the jandals for thongs...

Yep that's right, we are moving to Australia! No more dairy, deli it will now be. Whipper snipper, not weed eater. Bathers, not togs. Icy pole, not ice-block. Thongs, not jandals.

It's been talked about for years, yes we are going, no we're not, yes we are... And finally we are making it happen. We leave New Zealand March the 7th on a one-way ticket to Perth, Western Australia.

I'm excited about the possibilities that lie ahead, terrified at the thought of all that is going to be new, sad about leaving those who are near and dear to us, and our safe little routine life here in Raglan. I feel happy at the thought of seeing Si's family and am excited that they will finally be able to get to know our kids. I'm going to miss my Nana, who since living next door has become one of the most loved people in our kids lives, and who's daily visits when our kids were babies kept me sane. I'm going to miss being able to walk to the park, to town, to the beach, to my sisters and Dads. I'm going to miss seeing my neice and nephew grow up. I'm going to miss seeing the ocean from my front door. I'm going to miss my mum and little sister who is just starting high school this year. I am going to miss my brothers, who have only just themselves returned from years overseas. I'm going to miss our vege garden, but I'm looking forward to all the beautiful Australian produce I will be able to cook with and eat! Mangoes freshly picked from the front lawn anyone?! I'm looking forward to learning more about Vietnamese food from the master chef herself (My mother-in-law). Oh and of course I am looking forward to eating Ngot's rice paper rolls, Banh Xeo and vegetarian Pho. If you're lucky I may even share a recipe or two :-)

I am looking forward to what is ahead of us, as a family.

One thing I'm really not looking forward to is packing up our life here. It's been 5 years since we brought and moved into this little house, we now call home. And having kids, really makes the whole moving thing a little more complicated. If it were just me I'd do as I used to on one of my many moves to Australia in the past. I'd stuff a backpack with clothes, my chef knives, a notebook scrawled with recipes, my camera and that would be me. But with kids there's the clothes (including dress-up clothes, a must in Ada's world), the toys (what do you take, what do you leave behind?), the books (actually don't even get me started on how I'm going to decide which cookbooks to take!), the bikes... To say we are going to be busy over the next 6 weeks is an understatement. But it will be all good. Exciting times ahead.
Saturday, January 15, 2011

gluten-free chocolate courgette cake recipe

With Kye and I feeling much better, the butter was once again pulled out from the fridge this morning to soften for the much anticipated chocolate courgette cake. I swear, that container of chopped, weighed butter has been in and out of the fridge more times than I care to remember over the past week. Every time I would go to make the cake, I’d get side-tracked. A phone call from a friend wanting to catch up, or my blocked nose that prevented me from tasting anything for days. Then yesterday I thought right today’s the day, but alas the yoghurt was still doing it's thing in the yoghurt maker. And I really didn’t feel like venturing into town to buy some more. Never before have I tried so hard to get it together to make a cake, so with that kind of build up, this cake really had to be a good one!

Monday, January 10, 2011

strawberry + rhubarb jam recipe

strawberry + rhubarb jam

I had intended to make and share my recipe for Chocolate Courgette (zucchini) Cake today, but low and behold Kye and I seem to have picked up some bug, so the butter remains on the bench where I left it to soften, untouched.

Lucky for me it was Si’s day off today, so Kye and I were able to spend the afternoon lying on the couch, quietly dying without having to think about entertaining Ada or cooking dinner. I lay there as still as can be, upper arm resting on the back of the couch, with hand splayed over my forehead. It did little to hasten the throbbing congested headache, but still made me feel better somehow. Kye lay next to me, struggling to breathe, tossing and turning in an attempt to get away from the pain and discomfort he was feeling. My poor baby boy. Isn’t it one of the hardest things in the world, seeing your little ones so sick? I hate it. I seem to have come right after taking a homeopathic remedy all afternoon, and getting some food into me. But Kye is still pretty sick. All his colds seem to descend to his chest way too quickly. He was so exhausted tonight all it took to get him to sleep was a teeny snuggle in bed, tucked up next to mum.

Strawberry + rhubarb jam strawberry + rhubarb jam strawberry + rhubarb jam

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

persian-style pilaf with chickpeas, mint & harissa recipe

I'm finding it a little hard to believe we are in 2011 already. It only feels like yesterday I was welcoming my first born into the world... and now she will be turning 5 this year!
People are forever going on about how fast kids grow up. I now understand what they were talking about. However, I do remember in those first few torturous months when sleep was but a distant memory, having thoughts of it lasting forever.There was definitely a little bit lot of,

What have I signed myself up for? Am I ever going to sleep again. Or function normally for that matter?

And then bam, Ada's nearing 5 and Kye 3. We have adapted to the sleep deprivation and I now wear my black ringed eyes with pride. My babies are growing up... fast.
This coming year has got a few little and not so little treats in store for us (more on those in the coming weeks) but for now we are lapping up the sun (that finally reappeared), paddle boarding lots, and eating loads of simple, fresh summer food. Yep, summer is here. Nau mai, haere mai 2011.

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