Saturday, 18 May 2019

Quince and polenta muffins for election bake sale

My mum gave me some quinces a couple of weeks ago.  I love quinces but they lingered for far too long.  I have just been too busy for them.  (Busy times which mean less time for baking or blogging.)  But when the school holds a cake sale for today's federal election, it is great to have an incentive to bake with the quinces.

I found a quince muffin recipe on a blog called In Erika's Kitchen. The idea of baking the muffins with strips of quince on top was just what I needed.  Muffins can be pretty ugly.  Not only did the strips of quince make the muffins look prettier but they also make it clearer to punters what they are buying.  I added some polenta which also gave the muffins a slight grittiness.  However they were rather good.

And we didn't just bake quince muffins.  Sylvia made coconut ice last night with a very nice teal layer.  I baked vegan brownies which were a bit less moist than last time but still nice and dense.  This morning I made some pumpkin muffins and will write about these soon.

We headed to the school to vote early (for us) at 9am with lots of cakes in hand so that we didn't have empty hands for all the how to vote cards.  I still arrived at the school gate with a clutch of how to vote cards.  The prize for the best was the Independents for Climate Action Now with their scorecard on parties and climate change which used emojis for how well they were doing.

We dropped off cakes at the cakestall.  Then headed into vote.  I queued for over 30 minutes.  Thank goodness for the sunshine.  And I was also thankful for fresh home made doughnuts with raspberry coulis and pretty flowers.  They were so good and some comfort after confronting a senate voting slip with 81 candidates on it that seemed to go forever.

Our electorate is changing along with other inner city seats.  While it used to be a safe Labour seat, it now is less certain thanks to the challenge from the Greens.  A bit of competition means that politicians are kept on their toes and actually woo voters rather than taking them for granted.  Politics is a bit like the chocolate toss where Sylvia and I spent an hour overseeing this fundraising game of trying to toss a gold coin onto a chocolate bar - it is much harder than it sounds.

As I watch the election results, we see that politics is a complicated game.  The opinion polls that found Labour to be the victor in the election are being proven wrong.  However every time I watch an election on tv I find it bemusing to see how they crunch the numbers.  I have always been more a qualitative than quantitative person and still want a nation of compassion rather than wealth.  I fear that compassion is not the winner in this election.

And so back to the quince muffins.  They seemed to be selling when I left.  They are quite traditional sort of muffins with a slight polenta/quince texture, a hint of spice and a fruit topping.  These are just the sort of thing to pop in the lunchbox but could have enough style for an afternoon tea or just comfort eating in the face of an election loss.

More quince recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Banana and quince smoothie (gf, v)
Quince and almond cake
Quince and walnut garibaldis (v) 
Rhubarb, quince and apple crumble (v)
Stephanie's quince and nut cake

More quince recipes elsewhere:
Golden quince almond tart - Allotment to Kitchen
Quince and apple ANZAC biscuit crumble - Not Quite Nigella
Quince & gorgonzola salad - Where's the Beef
Quince and vegetable tangine - CERES Fair Food
Spiced quince and cranberry chutney - Lavender and Lovage

Quince and polenta muffins
Adapted from In Erika's Kitchen
Makes 12 muffins

Wet ingredients:
1 cup mashed quince
3/4 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup rice bran (or neutral) oil
1 egg
1/4 cup milk

Dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cups self raising white flour
1/2 cup polenta
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

To decorate:
12 slices poached quinces

Mix wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls.  Combine until just mixed.  Spoon into paper cups in a 12 cup muffin tin, only about a third to a quarter full.  Push a slice of poached quince into each muffin.  Bake at 180 C for 25 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Poached quinces
adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe and Figs and Pigs

5 quinces
200g sugar
1 lemon, quartered
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves

Peel, trim and quarter quinces.  Cut each quarter into 3 or 4 slices.  Cover with water.  Push cloves into lemon quarters.  Place the lemon quarters, cinnamon stick and sugar.  Stir.  Bring to boil and simmer (covered) for about 5 to 10 minutes until quinces are soft.  Cool.

NOTES: You could puree the quinces rather than mashing if you prefer.  I found it easier to mash well with a fork.  For a less gritty texture, substitute flour for polenta.  Once you put the batter into the paper cups, it will get more full once you press the quince slices on top so do not fill too much.  If you don't have self raising flour substitute 1 1/2 cups plain flour and 3 tsp baking powder.  I had 5 quinces so I didn't use all of them for the muffins.  I think 3 quinces is closer to what you need.  Put aside 12 nicely shaped quince slices before mashing or pureeing.  When previously poaching quinces, I have used more sugar (eg 800g for 3 quinces) but decided to follow with less sugar in the Figs and Pigs recipe.  It was less syrupy but kept the quinces fine for days.

On the Stereo:
Greatest Hits: Elton John

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Twice baked potatoes and SpudFest 2019

On the weekend we went for a country drive to SpudFest 2019 in Trentham.  We came away with 3 kilograms of spuds.  On Sunday night we had fantastic baked potatoes with butter, sour cream, grated cheese, baked beans and finely chopped purple cabbage.  It was so good but too dark and hurried for a photo.  So I decided to revisit baked potatoes today before a dentist appointment.  When I looked online at how to reheat them the internet presented me with the idea of twice baked potatoes.  Thank you, World Wide Web for a great dinner!

Baked potatoes are fantastic but finding good potatoes to bake at home can be challenging.  SpudFest had such a great range of potatoes to choose.  (If you didn't make SpudFest I recommend your farmers market.)  Twice baked potatoes are the best of both worlds.  You get the crispy skin of the baked potato with the creaminess of mashed potato.  We also had lots of herbs in the garden so these also went in with lots of cheese.

Making the twice baked potatoes were great and reheating them was really easy.  I think perhaps I should make them more for busy work nights because they are so easy to make ahead.  And if you don't have the time to bake them the second time, you could do what I did before I left home and bung them under the grill to crisp up on top and eat them straight away.  I ate mine with refried beans but I think coleslaw is a great classic side to eat with baked potatoes.

And because the potatoes came from SpudFest, here are a few photos.  We didn't get there til mid afternoon so we didn't get involved in all the activities.  It was a fun visit.  Sylvia is quite into potatoes so we enjoyed all the pictures of friendly potatoes.

There were a few different areas around Trentham so we chose one.  It was mainly food trucks, live music and a merchandising stall.  The ambience was lovely but when we arrived the weather was quite grim.

Within minutes it had transformed to a beautiful autumn day.  We had some late lunch: amazing hot crunchy potato waffle chips, some pumpkin soup that was nice but needed seasoning, interesting musk-flavoured ice cream and delicious hot jam doughnuts.  Did I mention my parents came along and my dad loves hot jam doughnuts!

We walked along the high street and were amused to see potatoes in the store displays.  Some were placed among the wares.

Some potatoes were a little more artistic.  This wee potato is so cute!

And others were just plain silly but fun.  You can see my dad's hand beside this huge potato statue to show you how big it was.  I didn't take a photo of the man dressed as a potato!

We stopped at the Red Beard Bakery to watch the bakers cut bread rolls with very fancy cutters, to drink lime and mint kefir and to rest indoors out of the cold.  They weren't quite in step with the SpudFest with their pumpkin display but sadly they were sold out of SpudFest Spud Bread.

And one last photo that made me smile even though it is not spud related is this wombat statue.  I guess you might say it looks like a misshapen spud.  We left with our sack of spuds and a resolution to return to Trentham soon.

I am sending these twice baked potatoes to Eat Your Greens, a blog event hosted by Allotment to Kitchen and the VegHog.

More baked potatoes recipes online:
Baked beany potatoes with pesto: Green Gourmet Giraffe
Baked potato with haggis: Green Gourmet Giraffe
Twice baked potatoes with leek and cheese: The VegHog
Cheesy leek baked potatoes - rarebit style - Little Sugar Snaps
Mexican street corn twice baked potatoes - The Candid Appetite
Twice baked potatoes with caramelised onions and blue cheese - Fine Cooking

Twice Baked Potatoes
Serves 2-4

4 large baking potatoes, scrubbed
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp seeded mustard
1/2 salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped herbs (I used parsley, chives and thyme)
3/4 cup grated cheese 
1/4 cup extra grated cheese for topping

Place potatoes on an oven tray and poke with a sharp pointed knife a few times.  Bake for 1 to 1.5 hours at 200 C.  The potatoes are baked when the skin is crispy and the insides are soft so that a skewer or knife slides in easily with no resistance.  Cool slightly so they are easier to handle.

Cut tops of potatoes off and scoop out the potato flesh, leaving enough in each potato to hold its shape (about 5mm thick).  We snacked of the tops but you could halve the potatoes if you don't want to waste the tops.

The potato that comes out should be quite dry.  Mash it with milk, butter, sour cream, mustard and seasoning.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Stir well to make it creamy.  Stir in herbs and 3/4 cup cheese.  Spoon back into potato cases and sprinkle with a little cheese.

Return potatoes to the oven for 20-30 minutes or until topping is crispy.  If you are in a hurry just crisp the topping under the grill.  If you want to eat later you can leave for a few hours on the oven trays or keep in the fridge overnight.  If it has been in the fridge, it might take longer to reheat.

On the stereo:
Nightflight: Kate Miller Heidke

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Lorne cafe: HAH Lorne Beach

While in Lorne recently, I liked the sound of HAH Lorne Beach but found the Google directions a bit odd.  At first glance it seems like there are no cafes on the beach side of Mountjoy Parade.  You need to walk down between the grassy playground and carpark (near the cinema) to the cafe which overlooks the beach.  It is worth getting your bearings and finding the cafe.

This is the view.  Impressive, huh!  I imagine a few parents enjoy a coffee and meal while their kids are running around the beach.  We were there on a cool windy Autumn morning and sat inside.  Here the hipster inner-city meets the relaxed beach.

I struggled with the menu because they had a lot of good lunch bowls, salads and jaffles but I wanted something more suitable to brunch.  So I settled on the avocado on toast.  Sometimes it is just what I want in the morning.

Sylvia didn't want another toastie because she already eaten one the previous day.  I had thought she might have tried the apple, sultana, maple, coconut sugar, and cinnamon jaffle (or toastie).  She just ordered a chocolate milkshake and a packet of her favourite roasted seaweed snacks.  She also bought some gummy bears for later and I was annoyed after we bought them to find they had gelatine.  It is too easy to assume a wholefoods cafe will be all vegetarian but this one isn't.

She wolfed down the seaweed but was not keen on the milkshake.  I am even less keen on milkshakes at the best of time and didn't taste it but I suspect it was her ambiguous attitude to milk rather than the cafe's fault.  At least they served it in a suitably small cup for kids.

My avocado on toast came with tomato, spinach, dukkah and lemon.  I really loved it.  These are exactly the vegetables I want at the start of the day.  The dukkah was a nice touch that I should remember at home. 

The cafe is not only right on the beach but has the swimming pool, a trampoline and mini golf centre and a great playground right behind it.  If you are after hiring bikes, surfboards or bodyboards, this is also the place for you.  HAH stands for Health and Hire.  So you can be really active and eat well too. 

HAH Lorne Beach
81 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne Foreshore, Lorne
Phone: 0406453131 or 0437759469

HAH Lornebeach Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 2 May 2019

In My Kitchen: May 2019

May arrives with darkening evenings and cold mornings.  Not great for blog photography and cycling home from work.  But there are also apples and soup and pastries so it is not so bad.  April was filled with of school holidays and Easter and birthdays.

The above photo is of the hat I decorated for a birthday party with a mad hatter theme.  Fortunately my friend Kerin had heaps of fake flowers leftover from some craft she was doing and gave me a box of them (after her cat lay in it in a snuggly attempt to claim it).  Sylvia and I had a lovely morning decorating hats and hairbands with the flowers.

Another friend gave Sylvia some Easter cookie cutters.  They were fun cutting out shapes with the sugar cookies we made for Easter.  I think the carrot cutter is the cutest.  When we were decorating our carrot cake recently, I wondered how it would look with carrot cookies decorated and placed around the edge of the cake.

And I got hit by the Easter spirit and had to try some Hot Cross Bun ice cream.  It was not my thing.  Just too creamy.  No amount of spice and raisins would change that.  I had half hoped there would be chunks of hot cross buns but I probably should have been honest with myself and bought some of the hot cross buns on special in the supermarket (even though homemade HCBs are the best).  I much prefer HCBs to ice cream.  I already miss them but they are special because they only happen for a few weeks in a year.

We love these new tomato and sweet basil mini rice cakes from Table of Plenty,  Their chocolate covered rice cakes have always been popular in our house but it is so nice to have a savoury version.

A few weeks back, I made my first egg omelette.  I have made lots of vegan omelettes in my time but I don't like eggs.  Last year Sylvia was eating lots of vegan food but this year she is suddenly into eggs.   She likes her omelettes made with 1 egg, chopped tomato, chopped basil, a spoonful of milk and some seasoning, fried over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes until golden brown on the bottom.  We started with 2 eggs omelettes that she shared with E but we have made her a few 1 egg omelettes when he is eating something else.  Oh and she still eats my vegan omelettes. Thank goodness for small mercies!

Sylvia is quite into We Bare Bears at the moment.  I haven't watched much of it but her Ice Bear is so cute.  And so is the little Ice Bear she made out of modelling clay.

Another joy of Sylvia's life that has come into our kitchen is the combination of cheese and spinach.  We made some spinach and ricotta cheese pastries from a supermarket magazine.  Sylvia was not keen on the filling in the pastries because it had quite a lot of herbs in it.  It is a shame because I always have mint in the garden and rarely find a use for it.  I liked the filling and have used the rest of it grilled on toast.  But it is a good step for Sylvia as there is a lot of cheese and spinach pastries out there.  We will try some other versions.

And there is more slime.  Glossy, stretchy, bubbling, crackly, soft and supple.

As it is apple season, we are eating lots of apples.  But some have fallen by the wayside and been stewed.  During the school holidays we put some apples in pastries.  And, because we had time to play with our food, we tried styling each pastry in a different way.

Sylvia saw a kid making rocky road popcorn on the ABC's How to Do Stuff Good.  (It is a show where kids show kids life hacks or as we used to know it, helpful tips!)  So she wanted to do it.  She had some Easter marshmallows on special (because it is hard to find vegan marshmallows) and mixed them with raspberrie lollies, coconut and melted Easter eggs.  It tasted great and disappeared very quickly while we watched the Gilmore Girls.

Here is a photo of the food we bought at the farmers market.  At the back is some catnip.  I've only ever seen it in cartoons before so it fascinates me to see the real stuff.  Our cat is not so keen.  There is also a purple cauliflower, hummus, spanikopita, beetroot, hummus, orange juice, a chocolate and cardamom bun and lots of apples.

I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event, that was started by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial,  If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 13th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog to peek into more kitchens.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Carrot cake for 12th blogiversary

When I started my blog, I felt I needed to make every great recipe in the world and get them onto my blog immediately.  Fast forward 12 years I am more aware of how impossible that would be given that many recipes I want to make and that these continue to grow every week.  And so it came to pass that after posting 4 fancy carrot cakes on my blog, I go plain and high with a carrot cake this year.  The one thing you can rely on in blogging is change!

My blog started 12 years ago on this day with a vampire cake I had made for my husband's birthday.  Ever since E and my blog have shared a birthday cake.  Some years when Easter is nearby too, we make a birthday cake that can also be Easterly.  I try to keep the red carpet speeches about the blog anniversary to a minimum as I like to do most of my thank yous in my annual new year post.  However who can resist saying thanks to you wonderful people who are visiting, reading, commenting and all.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you. 

But enough dramatics.  Back to the cake.  I really love a carrot cake that is choc full of dried fruit, nuts and pineapple.  Seeds?  Yes please!  Coconut?  Bring it on!  Purple carrots?  Now you have my attention!  But plain old carrots with just a bit of spice and no other add-ons was what was ordered by E.  Though I have my suspicions that this was really down to Sylvia who was doing most of the planning.  We agreed it would be a layer cake with cream cheese frosting and fondant carrots.

The carrot theme was partly because the birthday was around Easter.  We took the cake to my parents to share with family at Easter, and decorated in my mum's kitchen the day before the lunch.  My sister told me that my niece really wanted to make fondant carrots.  Stella wanted to make them so much that she even had some orange and green fondant.  So we invited her to help us.  She was so excited she could barely sit still.

I discovered that not all fondant is equal.  Stella's fondant seemed to last better than ours which had dried out around the corners.  Stella's seemed to have dried out but could be kneaded back into softness.

We looked online at sites like this and worked out the best way to make the carrots.  They took some concentration to make but they weren't too difficult.  The hardest part was making carrots that were the same size.  And we ended up with far more than we needed for the cake. 

Likewise we also had more frosting than we needed.  We added a squeeze of lemon juice to take the edge off the sweetness.  It was quite soft frosting.  My mum suggested that I should use the block of cream cheese rather than the spreadable type that I used.  So I have suggested this in the recipe.  It might have made the middle spread of frosting higher.  I think my lack of experience with layer cakes was also a contributing factor.  Having had a few where the layers threatened to part company, I am just pleased if they stay on top of each other.

Despite my wariness about layer cakes, I was very happy with this carrot cake.  It was soft and full of flavour.  In searching the web for carrot cake recipes, I noticed some had a lot more spices but I thought a teaspoon of cinnamon was just enough.  The cream cheese frosting took it to another level and layers all look fancy.  It looked great on the Easter dessert table and we were pleased to take home some leftovers. Poor E.  His birthday got a bit lost in Easter celebrations this year but he did enjoy his cake.

I have lots more ideas for posts so I am looking forward to more blogging.  Meanwhile I wanted to acknowledge some of the bloggers I enjoy reading regularly.  Some are missing because I found that not everyone has a carrot cake recipe.  As I said, you can blog for a long time and still find that there is still much more to try.  In the end I have 12 bloggers to represent my 12 years of blogging.  So much to bake and so little time!

More carrot cakes from other blogs:
Turmeric carrot cake - Allotment to Kitchen
Vegan carrot cake - Tinned Tomatoes
Browned butter carrot loaf cake - Joy the Baker
Cranberry swirl marmalade carrot cake - Kellie's Food to Glow
Hawaiian carrot cake (GF) - Not Quite Nigella
Carrot cake country show style with glace ginger - Laws of the Kitchen
All American carrot cake - One Hot Stove
Carrot cake with cider and olive oil - Smitten Kitchen
Simple carrot cake - Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
Vegan carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and lebkuchen spice - Seitan is My Motor
Healthy vegan carrot cake - Wallflower Kitchen
Carrot cake with streusel topping - Pinch of Yum

Layered carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
Adapted from the Australian Women's Weekly

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups carrot (about 4 carrots), grated
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 cups self raising flour

Cream cheese frosting:
250g block of cream cheese, softened
50g  butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar
Squeeze of lemon juice

To decorate:
1 small Lindt bunny
green and orange fondant

Grease and line 2 x 20cm round cake tins.  Preheat oven to 180 C.

Using electric beaters, beat brown sugar and vegetable oil together.  Add eggs one at at time, beating for a minute or two after adding all eggs so the mixture is creamy and airy.  Fold in remaining ingredients until mixed.  Scrape into tins.  Weigh if you want them to be equal sizes (I did this).

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and the cakes are starting to pull away from the edges of the tin. Rest cakes in tin for 5-10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

When cakes are cool, make the cream cheese frosting (or this can be made in advance and stored in the fridge).  Make frosting by beating the cream cheese and butter until soft and creamy.  Add icing sugar gradually until you have a nice creamy frosting and then beat in a bit of lemon juice.

Place one cake on a cake plate.  Spread about half the cream cheese frosting on the cake.  Place second cake on top.  Spread remaining frosting on top.

If you wish to decorate with bunny and fondant, place unwrapped bunny in the middle.  Make carrots by making a thin cone of orange fondant, put a little hole up the thicker end and put in a thin piece of green frosting.  Shape orange carrot a little more to hug greenery tightly.  Flatten out green piece and cut into little strips like carrot tops.  Use a knife to make a few lines across the orange part of the carrot.  Place carrots around the edge.

We made the cake the day before and kept it in the fridge overnight because it had cream cheese frosting.  I took it out a few hours before dinner so it would come to room temperature.  It lasted a few more days.

On the Stereo:
Music from the Gilmore Girls: Various Artists

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Sugar cookies at Easter

E asked me why I didn't make ANZAC biscuits this year on ANZAC Day.  I told him because Easter was too close.  Easter was so late this year that I could sandwich one day of leave between all the public holidays and have a week off work.  When ANZAC Day came, we were still finishing baking our Easter biscuits (which some may call cut out cookies or sugar cookies but in my day were just plain old biscuits).

Months ago, Sylvia and I bought an egg shaped cookie cutter and decided we would make cookies when Easter rolled around.  It was meant to be.  In April Coles Supermarket magazine had cookies on the cover.  And my friend Alison visited with a present of Easter shaped cookie cutters.

Our first batch was a chance to use the Easter cookie cutters.  We did these the day before Easter because we didn't get organised enough to do it earlier.  But we were racing around before we went to my parents'.  One batch of cookies was enough commitment on a busy day.

The other half of the dough was left in the fridge for 5 days.  ANZAC Day was the last day of holidays before Sylvia started Term 2 and I went back to work.  Easter was close enough that we could justify using our egg shaped cookie cutters.  It was just as well we used up the dough because it was hard as a hockey puck and took a lot of convincing to be soft enough to come at with a rolling pin.

The cookies were delicious - quite short and nicely flavoured but not that sweet.  They were a great base for sweet frosting and sprinkles on top.  They did not have egg in them so I would be willing to try them with margarine to make them vegan but we made ours with butter.  I thought it odd they did not have any raising agent in them but this worked and meant they kept their shape well.

We went to my parents' house armed with biscuits and buttercream.  My mum had the sprinkles.  My niece came with fondant, which was nicer than our fondant.  I am no expert at biscuit decoration.  Nor were the two kids helping out.  We just played with all the buttercream, fondant, sprinkles and icing pens at hand.  We also helped decorate bunny biscuits that my mum had made.  My favourite decoration was the carrot with the orange and green fondant.  We even made a few little fondant carrots but those will wait for another post.

On Easter Sunday a few of my siblings needed to leave mid afternoon to see in-laws.  So we started early with an Easter egg hunt.  My dad started it off with a briefing, complete with a white board and a pointer.  Then we were relieved that they could find all the eggs (or chocolate bunnies, in fact).  My dad put letters on each chocolate bunnies and each kid had to find bunnies with the first three letters of their name.  Another fine moment in cooperation from my dad!  Then we had the pinata which Sylvia made.  After three kids had hit it (and one made it fall) my nephew hit it so hard I thought he was going to hit it over the roof for six!

So yep, by the time lunch came around the kids had sampled one or two Easter eggs.  I on the other hand piled up my plate like a Gilmore Girl.  (When we were not running around during the holidays we were binge-watching the Gilmore Girls on Netflix.)  My lunch was so impressive.  I took along a favourite vegan nut roast.  I ate this with chutney, roast potatoes, roast pumpkin, cauliflower cheese, a spinach, pumpkin and lentil salad.

Dessert was a feast of toblerone cheesecake, carrot cake, pavlova and iced cookies.  We were all stuffed afterwards and there were lots of leftovers.  And of course there were lots of Easter eggs.  Plus lego.  My mum gave my niece a Lego kit that Sylvia helped make before she left.

We drove home listening to a true crime radio show (Crime at 10,000 feet) about Martin McNally and Garret Trapnell.  I digress but we were quite amazed at how the latter criminal had written his memoirs which had led to a criminology student falling in love with him, dying in the attempt to break him out of gaol with helicopter.  Saddest of all was when her 17 year old daughter hijacked a plane to try and break him out of gaol.  The show also highlighted how many plane hijackings there were before airport security tightened up.  It was fascinating.

On ANZAC Day we decorated the second batch of eggs.  It was fun to get out our sprinkles.  Sylvia found some eyes, moustaches and mouths to play with.  I was glad to finally finish up the buttercream that was leftover from her birthday.  And with that Easter and ANZAC Day were over and we were back to our regular routine.

More cut out cookies on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Best ever chocolate cut out cookies
Choc cherry cut-cut cookies
Chocolate and black tahini cut out biscuits (v)
Cookie wands (gf) 
Gingerbread bush buddies
Lego sugar cookies (v)

Easter sugar cookies
From Coles Magazine, April 2019
Makes 48

250g butter softened
4 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 cups plain flour
2 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp custard powder
2 tbsp rice flour
buttercream and sprinkles, to decorate

Cream butter, brown sugar and golden syrup (I did this with electric beaters).  Gently mix in remaining ingredients until they clump together.  Use your hands to bring this together into a ball and knead a few times until the dough is smooth.  (This could be done in the food processor too.)

Wrap dough in clingfilm and chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes.  We did half the dough for about 4 days and it was like a hockey puck - it needed to be kneaded in small pieces to get it soft enough to use but was fine in the end.

Roll out to about 3-5mm on a lightly floured surface.  Cut into shapes.  Bake at 160 C for 12-15 minutes (15 minutes for us).  Cool on a wire rack.  Decorate with buttercream and sprinkles or as desired.  Note: if you want to decorate with fondant, spread a thin layer of buttercream underneath.

On the stereo:
The greatest hits: the Teardrop Explodes