18 January 2013

Birthday Break

Delissimon is taking a break away for a week, Owen and I and the kids are heading off on a much needed family vay-cay to Fiji. Owen has worked his butt off this year - lately doing 60 hour weeks so I'm very pleased to have him all to ourselves and relaxing. It's also my birthday while we are away so I'm very excited to spent it poolside with a cocktail in my hand my most precious people near me.

I've also got Smash Cakes and her little and big fella house/cat sitting for me while we are gone so maybe she'll knock up something real nice in my kitchen while I'm away :)

Enjoy your week everyone!


The awesome sunset we had last week.

16 January 2013

Lamington Cupcakes

I think I've pretty much nailed my perfect vanilla cupcake recipe.

I've been trialling for ages now and I've just not found one that rises beautifully and has a moist delicious texture. This one is the winner...its the addition of the buttermilk that I think makes it just right.

So, what to top a perfect vanilla cupcake sponge with? Well in this case I decided upon a Lamington style topping. If you are not from NZ or Australia the Lamington might be foreign to you, but here, its an institution. There is a lamington in EVERY bakery either filled with cream and a dollop of jam or just sitting in a square waiting to be messily devoured, or sometimes rolled into a log. Either way it involves a chocolate or  raspberry icing rolled in coconut. And that is a winning, delicious combination.

So, here goes;

1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup buttermilk (or just use normal milk and add vinegar or lemon juice until it curdles)

Mix together the flour, baking soda and powder and salt in a bowl.
In a separate mixing bowl add the eggs and sugar and beat on high for a few minutes then add the oil and vanilla and continue to beat.
Add dry mix alternately with the buttermilk, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
Fill the paper baking cups about 3/4 of the way only and bake in an oven on 180deg C for 12-14 minutes.
Allow to cool.

To prepare the topping use the following

1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
30g butter
boiling water
dessicated coconut

Mix together the icing sugar and cocoa in a bowl. Place the butter in a bowl or cup and pour a small amount of boiling water over the butter to melt it. Once melted add these to the icing sugar and mix well until it is a slightly runny and smooth mixture.
Using a spoon drizzle the mix on top of the cupcake, do this with all of them.
Dip each cupcake then in shallow saucer of coconut and tap off gently to get rid of excess.

Then eat! Yummo!

15 January 2013

Beach Light

This weekend just gone we hosted the Williams family get together. We haven't seen each other since November so this was our belated Christmas get-together.

The weather was SO hot and beautiful, so I suggested a walk out to the estuary but the sun was just too overpowering. We got halfway to our point and we all turned around again and walked home to the shade and the garden sprinkler for the kids. I don't think we've had a hotter day down here, with the house being 30 deg C inside I can only imagine what the outside temps were.
What I do know is that it made it very difficult to sleep!

Anyway here are some pictures of our time. The kids had such a lovely time - they are all such great friends too which makes having them so special.

The light here at the beach is magical. I just can't get enough of it!

07 January 2013

Graduating from Chemoversity

Just a short one but I'm linking to this excellent post by fellow Young Survivor Kristin from Everyday Cancer Conquering. Entitled Something everyone should know when they graduate from Chemoversity it's a good read for anyone about to graduate or has recently from chemo.

She also has a blog full of delicious fresh vegan recipes!


Delissimon's Sausage Rolls

Lately in Delissimon HQ we've been enjoying creating our own sausage rolls. Well I've been creating them and the family have been eating them, quite happily.

These are very easy, delicious and just a few ingredients can go far and make a filling and delicious snack...or a good meal when paired with yummy summer vegetables or salad.

All you need is some sheets of ready made puff pastry, some mince and any flavours or additives you want to add. Personally I HATE peas and carrots in my sausage rolls so these never feature in our homemade ones, but you may like to add them.

These ones pictured are mexican beef but I'll share with you our favourite recipe.

2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry
400g pork mince
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
handful fresh thyme 
dash of soy sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten

Place mince in a bowl. 
Using a mortar and pestle (Jamie Oliver style!) grind the cumin, salt and fennel seeds together and add to the mince along with the soy sauce and egg and mix well.
Make sure the pastry has defrosted, then cut in half. 
Using a spoon spread the mince mix generously in a line across the pastry lengthwise and roll it. Then cut it in half, repeat this for each half.
Brush tops with egg wash and cut small light slits across the top of the pastry or sprinkle with cheese

Place on baking tray lined with baking paper and cook at 180 deg C for 25-30mins or until pastry is golden and crisp on the bottom.

These are great for hard working daddies too!

*I just realised that I hardly EVER feature savoury baking items. I'm determined to feature more of my favourite savoury baking dishes this year. Fruit and vegetables are a much larger component of our family diet that I often show. I am all about healthy balanced diets and my family get more than their fair share of 5+ a day!

06 January 2013

Tigers in the Grass

We have a child absent from our family this week. Madeline is having her own adventures in Auckland with my parents and extended family for a week. We really really miss her.

However, these two do find their own fun regularly.
Watching them play make me silently giggle. 
My heart swells when I'm watching them like this.

Like today when they found long grass in the garden and decided to play tigers. Johnny rushed inside the house to fetch a top (he was shirtless and is prone to itchy grass rash). He was gone for ages so we thought he'd forgotten us. Turns out he was crafting himself tiger ears and a tail then dressing himself in the dark outfit (which is actually his pj's) - perhaps he's cut out for costume design? Kid knows how to go the extra mile. (he's so cute he makes my heart swell!)

They prowled and played in the grass.

The kids and I are heading up to Auckland this coming week as I have a few medical appointments to attend. Nothing serious, just checkups and blood tests but a bit of pain. I'm looking forward to the day I don't have to make these anymore. I love Auckland but sometimes its just nice to be close to home.
Especially on days like today.

04 January 2013

Rhubarb, Lemon and Cream Cheese Cake

I made this as a way to use up the rhubarb that's gone mental in my garden.
This weather is making everything GROW like crazy. It's humid, hot and then we have those days of rain and my vegetable garden is thriving. I love it.

This cake is really yummy and filling, perfect for feeding hordes of children during the holidays!

Rhubarb, Lemon and Cream Cheese Cake

1 1/4 cups sugar
zest and juice of two lemons
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1 3/4 cups self raising flour
140g butter, melted
2/3 cup rice bran oil
100g cream cheese cut into small chunks
300g fresh rhubarb, trimmed and cut into small chunks.

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C and line a baking tin with paper.

Beat together the lemon zest and sugar for about a minute with a kitchen mixer. Add the eggs and continue to beat until thick.
Add the milk and flour to make a smooth batter. Combine the melted butter, one tablespoon of lemon juice and oil together and add to the batter.

Pour enough of the batter into the cake tin to cover the bottom then arrange the cut rhubarb and cream cheese on the top. Cover this with the remaining cake batter mix.

Bake for 50 minutes - the cake pulls away slightly from the tin during baking. Cool the cake in the tin before removing. Sprinkle with a light dusting of icing sugar and serve...this is very yummy warm too!

A few tips: this is quite an oily cake and I used a spring form tin which leaked on me. I cooled the cake on top of a few paper towels to soak up the excess oil when I removed it from the oven. You also might like to have a tray in the oven underneath the cake to catch the oil from dripping onto the bottom of the oven.

02 January 2013

Goodbye 2012

Its time for that retrospective post about 2012. 
This one is in picture form.

Hello brand new 2013...may you be full of promise, hope and amazing times.