Friday, 5 July 2013

Winter Madness!

Since the last post total madness took over our household and now it's over a week later and I'm only just able to even think about this blog! I think in the last post I mentioned that our youngest had to go in to Starship with croup and pneumonia. Well, a few days later she and I had the pleasure of staying a couple of nights in starship...the antibiotics she was sent home with initially just weren't able to do the job due to a sick little sweetheart being unable to keep them down on her empty stomach. Now, in any given week a couple of nights in hospital would have been a bit of a disruption, but also a bit of a novelty to break up the normal weekly routine. Unfortunately, last week was not just any other week - it was the week of my brothers wedding. A family wedding always makes for a busy week, but just to really up the ante we were all included in the wedding party (hubby was Best Man, I was Maid of Honour and the two girls were flower girls), and just for the icing on the cake (pun intended!) I was making the wedding cake so all in all, not the ideal week for a trip to hospital!!

Taking the positives from such a crazy week though, it was actually really special to spend so much quality time with my little monkey - we are often at home together when big sis is at Montessori, however there are always a thousand things that need to be done at home and being in hospital ensured that we had lots of time to read books, play games and watch movies together without any distractions. I was also so so proud of my little baby girl for how well she handled all of the poking and prodding that comes with a hospital visit.

Back from hospital, it was time to get into cake baking mode - I have never done a wedding cake before, so I was not really 100% sure of what would end up on the cake stand! Here is a picture of the final product... I was pretty happy overall! The picture is missing the cake topper (a really cool stylized 'M'), but you get the general idea. Being a winter wedding we went for a winter theme for the cake with the twigs and leaves. It also really worked well with the wedding dress which was made from stunning hand-made lace.


Although this cake does not technically fit the theme of this blog, it was really fun to make! The bottom layer was a gluten free dark chocolate cake with a raspberry filling, and a chocolate buttercream outer (fondant coated). The top layer was a white chocolate mud-cake with a passionfruit filling and a vanilla mascarpone outer (fondant coated). 

Right, on to matter a little more closely related to the point of the blog! I have not been very adventurous in the kitchen this week, as we are just managing to catch up on everything that needed to be done after last week. I have made a couple of tasty little things that were a way to use up some of the food we had that was starting to get a little close to the best by date. Todays tasty concoction was a fruit salad muffin (gluten free, dairy free, nut free and soy free) which I made using some very borderline looking fruit that was lurking in the bottom of the fruit bowl. 


I made these nut free with gluten free flour so that the kids could take them to kindy and I wanted something that held together well, however they could be made using almond meal or coconut flour instead if you wanted a grain free option. These summery little bites are really easy to make and can be made using whatever fruit you have lingering. With all of the fruit in them, they do not require much else in the way of sweetener and I found that just a little bit of honey was all that was needed, and that could even be left out depending on the fruit you use. 

Fruit Salad Mini Muffin Bites 

(gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, refined sugar- free)

Ingredients:

2 cups mixed fruit of your choice (I used banana, pear, mandarin, kiwifruit and pineapple)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup honey (optional)
1.5 cups desiccated coconut
3/4 cup gluten free, self raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 24 hole mini muffin tin 
2. Puree fruit, egg, honey and vanilla using a food processor or stick blender. 
3. In a large bowl, sift dry ingredients (flour, coconut and cinnamon). 
4. Add pureed wet ingredients and mix until combined. 
5. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tin. 
6. Bake for approximately 12 minutes or until golden. 

Options:
- Replace gluten free flour for 1 cup of almond flour or 1/2 cup of coconut flour for a grain free option
- I had a little bit of pineapple left over so cut it up into 1cm cubes and pressed a piece into the top of each muffin before baking. This added a nice bit of texture to the final product .
- You can remove the honey if you prefer your baking a little less sweet. Whether or not you use it will also depend on the fruit mix you use. If you use more banana/apple/pear the muffins will probably be sweet enough, but I used quite a lot of acidic fruit (kiwifruit/pineapple/mandarin) so the honey just helped to take away some of the tartness.

I have a couple more recipes up my sleeve that I will hopefully get on here before I head away to SEATTLE!!!! Super excited, but also feeling very anxious about leaving my amazing little family for a week. Hopefully I will feel inspired by the beauty of Seattle and come home feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world - look out!!!