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Mini Olympics

1 Aug

We are in full Olympic swing in our house. My little guy loves his sports so the Olympics is right up his alley. I am so excited as well because this is Thomas’ first summer Olympics. There’s something pretty special about that. We are loving watching the swimming, diving and basketball especially.

It seemed fitting that we should do our own little mini Olympics with our neighbours complete with medal presentations, podium and some yummy Olympic themed treats. It was a great day.  

Our Olympic themed treats consisted of

Olympic Flag Cupcakes

(these were just a butter cake iced with butter cream icing and M&M’s for the Olympic rings)

and

 

Honey Caramel Popcorn Olympic Torches (popcorn recipe from Taste.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup popping corn
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 60g butter, chopped
  • 12 flat bottomed small ice cream cones

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 pieces of corn. Oil is hot enough when corn turns slowly in a circle. Add remaining corn. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Shake saucepan gently when corn starts popping. Remove from heat when corn stops popping. Transfer to a large bowl. Discard any unpopped corn.Note: I have issues cooking popcorn in oil. I always burn it. So, I had seen online that you can make your own microwave popcorn using a paper bag. Put half the popping corn in a paper bag and put in microwave for approx 1 min – 1 min 30 secs and voila. Repeat with the rest of the popping corn. This is also a great way of making popcorn for kids. They can measure it out and put it in the bag – also it has no salt or butter added so it’s much healthier!
  2. Place honey, sugar and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 6 to 7 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil. Boil without stirring for 5 to 6 minutes or until light golden. Working quickly, pour caramel mixture over popcorn. Stir to combine. Spoon into ice cream cones and shape to look ‘flame like’. Set aside to cool completely.I don’t recommend doing this step with kids as the caramel gets very hot. I ended up with burnt fingers myself from touching it. 

     

Here is a list of our games and items you might need if you are going to do your own mini Olympics.

Games:

 Soccer: (cones for goals, soccer balls)

Shot put: Scrunched up foil ball for throwing, tape measure

Basket ball: basketball hoop and balls (you could also use a washing basket or box and balls)

Running Race: streamer for end of race

Balloon tennis: Balloon and 2 bats (made from paper plates and a stick)

Discus: Frisbee throwing, tape measure

Other Items needed:

Whistles

Medals (already bought)

Podium (3 steps numbered 1-2-3)

Chalkboard for recording “scores”

Tape measure

 Happy Olympics everyone!!!

 

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Possum Magic Lamingtons

26 Jan

Possum Magic would have to be one of, if the most well known Australian children’s book. Written by Mem Fox, Possum Magic was first published in 1983. In 1983, I was in Year 1 (6 years old) and an avid reader. I loved books and still do. Possum Magic was one of my favourites. I can remember our school library having a display during book week with Possum Magic as the central theme.

Possum Magic is a tale of 2 possums who live in the Australian bush – Hush and Grandma Poss. Grandma Poss does magic to make Hush invisible to protect her from harm but one day Hush decides she wants to know what she looks like and asks her to make her visible again. The story details the adventure the possums go on to find the magic “to make Hush seen”.

This is a quote by Mem Fox about why she chose the places and foods that were visited and eaten by Hush and Grandma Poss…

“I chose possums as the main characters for this book because we had possums on our roof and the babies were adorable. I didn’t include Canberra, the national capital, because it wasn’t a state capital. I chose the casino in Hobart because it was famous at the time for being new and for being the first legal casino in Australia. I chose pumpkin scones in Brisbane (for those of you reading this outside Australia, Brisbane is the capital of the state of Queensland) because at that time the wife of the premier of Queensland was Flo Bjelke-Petersen, nationally famous for her pumpkin scones—it was an in-joke for the parents who read the book to their children. The other foods were chosen for their alliterative qualities and because they were typically Australian”. You can read more about Possum Magic by clicking here.

I found one of my copies of Possum Magic the other day. The 21st Birthday Edition. I think I have about 4 copies of this book, including my original copy. Thomas and I found a quiet place to sit down and read it together. I have to say it was a very special time for me – to be able to share one of my favourite children’s books with my little man was a memorable moment.

As we read the story, Thomas asked lots of questions (as he does) about what invisible means and how long it takes to get to Brisbane…. He also wanted to know what Lamingtons were. What can I say, I knew that was our next cooking project right there.

In the spirit of the nostalgia trip I was on, I dug out my Mum’s old Woman’s Weekly cookbook that every housewife from the seventies had and found the recipe for lamingtons. I have to say I found it quite amusing as I was flipping through it – there is a calorie counter and weight table included as an appendix to calculate how many calories you should consume per day according to your weight and height. They give 2 examples to indicate how you should work it out:

1. “You are an active housewife…”

2. “You are a typist, aged 33…”

I can’t imagine these examples being printed in cookbooks these days :-).

I had never made lamingtons before. They were quite time consuming and very messy. Thomas wasn’t very keen on the messy part. He enjoyed measuring out the ingredients and making the cake but was more interested in washing up. Not that I’m complaining about that!

Ingredients:

100g butter

3/4 cup castor sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

2 cups self raising flour

pinch of salt

1/2 cup milk

Icing:

500g icing sugar

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon melted butter

1/2 cup warmed milk

Dessicated Coconut

Method:

Cream butter, sugar, vanilla together until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beat well.

Fold in sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk.

Spoon into a greased and lined 7″ or 8″ tin (approx 18cm).

Bake in a moderate oven for 50-60 minutes

Allow cake to cool completely (overnight works best as then cake doesn’t crumble too much) and cut into squares.

Make icing by mixing dry ingredients then adding milk mixture to make a smooth consistency.

Dip cake squares into chocolate icing using a fork to hold then cover with coconut. Place on plate to set.

 

Did you do any cooking for Australia Day this year? I would love to hear what you made…

Aussie Cake Pops – our modern day take on the humble lamington

25 Jan

I first saw Cake Pops on Bakerella’s website and thought they were great. I haven’t been ready to take on the challenge though. They are super cute but look so complicated so I have been working up to it.

I wanted to do something different but Australian for Australia Day so using the cake pop concept, we made these lamington inspired Aussie Cake Pops. They turned out ok for a first attempt… They do taste yummy!

Ingredients: (these ingredients made 15 pops)

1 quantity of cake mix (I used a packet sponge for this one but you could use any type of cake)

1 quantity of frosting (I used a White Wings packet mix)

300g white chocolate

3 cups dessicated coconut

Green and Yellow food colouring

15 Lollipop sticks (from cake decorating shops)

Method:

Cook cake as per instructions and allow to cool completely.

Crumble cake into a bowl and add frosting. Mix together using a wooden spoon or your hands.

Melt a little chocolate in a bowl over boiling water.

Roll cake and frosting mixture into balls approximately 3cm in diameter.

Dip tip of lollipop stick into chocolate and push cake ball onto the stick.

Put cake pop into styrofoam to sit.

Repeat with rest of mixture.

Put cake pops into freezer for 15 minutes to set.

In the mean time, melt rest of chocolate, add a few drops of green food colouring to half of the coconut and mix with a fork. Repeat with rest of coconut and yellow food colouring.

Dip each cake pop in chocolate to cover. Then coat in coconut.

Stand in styrofoam to set.

This is my interpretation of the instructions on the Bakerella website. There are also video tutorials on the website if you need better directions!

This was a messy experience. It was quite time consuming and I didn’t really know what I was doing. These cake pops are very basic (if you take a look at the ones on the Bakerella website you will see what I’m talking about!). These are my tips and things I would do differently next time….

1. Refrigerate the cake and frosting mixture for approx 15 minutes after mixing it together. I had a few balls sliding down the lollipop sticks because the frosting was too soft from me working with it.

2. Don’t make the cake balls any bigger than 2-3cm in diamteter Otherwise they are too big and fall off the stick.

3. Get some styrofoam blocks that are quite deep – a similar size to a brick. Pierce the styrofoam with a skewer before pushing the lollipop stick into it.

4. Use a deep bowl like a ramekin to put chocolate in for dipping. That way when you dip the pop, you don’t have to move it around in the chocolate. I had a few crumble off the stick because of this.

So these are my tips. Have you made anything like this before? Do you have any tips? Would love to hear them!

Happy Australia Day everyone!!!