Category Archives: Children

Photos or information related to children – play, things to make, holiday activities, children in the kitchen, school lunches

Charlie’s Rainbow Sorbet Cake

 

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Each year, I ask the kids what birthday cake they’d like, they look up cake’s in the Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake recipe books, or we google ‘best cakes ever’, or they just think of ideas and let me know.    Charlie’s birthday is in the middle of January – Summer! – and she wanted  ‘rainbow sorbet cake’!  We had a look around google images but she could not find what she wanted.  So she drew it, coloured it in, thought of the fruits that we could have in each layer, and gave it to me…. and we managed to pull it off last weekend for her birthday celebrations.  The best part about this bright, colourful ‘cake’, was that it was all natural fruits giving it the flavour and colour!!!

Recipe for ‘Charlie’s Rainbow Sorbet Cake’

You need to think about the ‘cake’ a week in advance (unless you have an endless supply of cake tins!.. and loads of ice in the freezer).  It’s also handy to have a Thermomix 😉 or a really good food processor that can handle crushing a lot of ice.

Basic Sorbet Recipe

Pour 50g raw sugar into your Thermomix/food processor.

Mill the sugar on Speed 9 for 10 seconds.

Add 350g fresh or frozen fruit (peeled kiwi fruit, peeled oranges, blueberries, strawberries, banana, raspberries etc) and 1 egg white to the sugar. I added a banana to the fresh fruit for most of the sorbet layers as it makes a creamier, softer, ‘icecream’ type texture.

Mix on Speed 5 for 15 seconds.

Add 800g – 1kg of ice (4 to 6 trays of ice) to the bowl.

Mix for 1 min 30 seconds.   If the ice cubes start to get pushed to the top of the Thermomix bowl, then take the measuring cup out, and push the ice down with the spatula.  You can leave the spatula in the lid for the rest of the mixing time if you want.

Make a ‘batch’ of sorbet, and after feeding the kids a serve each, pour/plonk/scrape it out into a lined cake tin.   Flatten the sorbet into the tin using a spatula.    I used a ‘ring baking tin’ so that the layers would be thicker, so it would defrost evenly, and so that it was easier to slice up and serve everyone.  I lined the tin with baking paper on the bottom of the pan only.

Cover the baking tin with GLADwrap and put in the freezer for 3 hours, or until you make the next layer the following day.

Take frozen sorbet out of the freezer, dip a knife in hot water and run the knife around the edge of the tin to help ease the sorbet from the tin.  Turn the tin upside down and the ‘sorbet layer’ will pop out like a cake, onto your plate.  Leave the baking paper on the sorbet layer, as this prevents the layers mixing when defrosting, and it makes it easier to slice and serve.  Cover this layer with GLADwrap, and return it to the freezer.   Remember to refill your ice trays for the next layer of sorbet.

The following day, make another ‘batch’ of sorbet, and repeat the above process.

You can store each layer separately in the freezer, and put together on the day…. or you can clear out some freezer space and put the layers together prior to the day.

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Above: making a batch of sorbet… this one is blackberry sorbet….

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 Above: the ring baking tin I used for each sorbet layer.

Below: the blueberry sorbet layer resting on top of the kiwi fruit layer.

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By the time we brought the cake out to the table (on a hot Summer’s day!), popped some candles on top, took some photos and sang ‘Happy Birthday’, it was beautifully defrosted enough to slice and serve.  If it wasn’t such a hot day, you would take it out of the freezer at least 15mins before eating, so that it is soft enough to serve.

Here are some photos of Charlie’s birthday party ….

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Hills Homestead - Birthday Cakes

signed - hayley @ hills homestead

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What’s growing in the Hills Homestead Garden – Autumn in South Australia

Just loving the crisp Autumn mornings, and the sunny days!

The kids jump in front of the heater to get dressed into almost Winter clothes!  They then run outside to play in the sun, and soon there is a pile of dirty jumpers at the front door that they’ve stripped off because of the beautiful heat of the sun (and the fact that they are running constantly outside).  Yesterday they built a fort down in ‘Lilly Valley’, they played a mock netball game (no rings or court, just grass) with Daddy and their uncles and cousins, they sat in the cubby house to chat, played with the chickens, they rode their bikes up and down the driveway, climbed the neighbours apple tree and ate some fresh apples, then all came home for tea and fell into bed.

Thought I’d post some Autumn shots of what’s growing in our garden at the moment.  It’s lovely making lunches and dinners with fresh produce – beans/capsicum/carrots cut up for kids lunches, potatoes and chillis in the latest curry, pumpkin quickly made into soup whenever other food is running out!    My husband (and my father-in-law) are the best gardeners! and I am extremely grateful for the crates of potatoes brought up from the garden, the huge zucchinis plopped on my front door, and for the reminders that ‘you have tomatoes, lots of beans, carrots ready to be picked, chilli’s are ready etc’.

Autumn Harvest @ Hills Homestead – Today’s Photos…

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We are getting a handful of strawberries a day at the moment – so sweet and delicious!

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The grandchildren helped Grandad dig up potatoes on Saturday.  They spent the morning in the sun, getting dirty and having so much fun.  Grandad gives them a surprise (usually chocolate!) for helping with the potato harvest!

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I posted a photo on Facebook of someone’s celery ‘stump’ that they put in the ground and it grew!  So today, I tried it… we’ll see how it goes!

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… strawberries, carrots, green beans, rhubarb, tomatoes dying off along the pickett fence…

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… a new variety of pumpkin that my father-in-law has planted – it’s not Queensland Blue but tastes similar.. I’ll have to find out what it is we’re eating!!  I’m roasting some in the oven for tea tonight – yum!

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Small chilli’s – I pick them and just dry them on the kitchen counter – then use them to flavour dips (like hommus) or soups, and use them to make Red Thai Curry Paste (in the Thermomix! See here for recipe of Green Thai Curry Paste  and the recipe for Red Thai Curry Paste is in the Every Day Cookbook… that comes with your Thermomix!!!)

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Carrots!

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The last of the cherry tomatoes – had a lovely harvest of these over Summer and they dying plants are still producing a handful a day of little tomatoes!

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The last of the apples from our tree.

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More strawberries.

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… and beans.  The kids love fresh beans in their lunchboxes!

Children Playing  – Beautiful Autumn Weather on the Weekend !

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ADDIT – Some indoor activities …..

… a cubby house that the kids attempted to sleep in Saturday night (see picture below)  – they lasted a couple of hours, then they ALL ended up snuggled up in their own beds!!

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… Charlie’s picture before she headed off to school this morning …

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… and do any of you have a one of a kind friend who comes over and clears out and organises your pantry ?  I do!  Thanks Karen!!!

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Enjoy this Autumn weather!!!!

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Birthday Celebrations Today – Cake Pictures… and Real Food at a Kids Party?!

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I LOVE birthdays.  My mum always made my sisters and I feel so special on our birthdays growing up.

I also want to make my children feel special as we celebrate the DAY THEY WERE BORN and how BLESSED WE ARE to have them in our lives!

Every year, I ask the kids what special birthday cake they would like me to make … and yes, they can choose anything… and this year Charlie wanted a ‘Carousel’ or ‘Merry-Go-Round’ cake.

 

She Googled this picture….

Source:  http://www.pinkfrosting.com.au/persistent/catalogue_images/products/301-1335b.jpg

… and said “I want this one please mummy!”   This picture is what we based our creation on.

So after 3 trials of different ‘icing’, and a leaning, top heavy cake sliding off of it’s post, and a lot of ‘fixing’ mistakes… and a LOT of licking of fingers… the Carousel Cake was completed in the early hours of this morning!!!!!!!!!

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It was put together in one night (last night) only because of a lot of preparation.

The cake…

A few weeks ago, I baked the chocolate cakes X3 and put them in the freezer.

I used ‘Mrs Ripberger’s’ recipe for ‘moist chocolate cake’ because it is –

1.  EASY to make

2. you can make TRIPLE the quantity in one big saucepan

3. you don’t need a machine (even the Thermomix sat quietly while I made this mixture in the saucepan!)

4. and it’s DELICIOUS !!! and MOIST and EVERYONE loves it at a party.

Recipe for ‘Boiled Chocolate Cake’ (I’ve just doubled the recipe – so it makes 6 log cakes)

Get out a HUGE saucepan (if you triple the recipe as I usually do for birthdays).

Pop it on the stove and turn it on low.

ADD a 250g block of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of water, and 4 Tbsp of cocoa.

Turn up the heat and stir until butter is melted and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Take it off the heat and cool.

Then (once cooled) ADD 3 cups of Self Raising Flour, 4 eggs, and 1 tsp of Bicarb Soda.

Mix well.

Pour into baking tins or muffin trays.

Bake in the oven at 180 degrees Celcius.

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For today’s Carousel Cake, I made 3 round cakes (in 8 inch or 20cm round baking pans) and a whole heap of muffins.

I pull the cakes out of the freezer a couple of hours before I decorate.  Half frozen cakes are easier to cut when making cake creations – they don’t crumble or break – and the icing ‘sets’ quickly on the cake too.

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The icing….

My aim for the icing was to make it ‘colour’ and ‘flavour’ free so I looked up some egg white recipes (we have a LOT of eggs at the moment).

The first icing I tried (see white icing top/centre in the picture above) was Royal Icing – just an egg white and 1 cup of icing sugar whipped up in the Thermomix for 2 mins.  It didn’t work.  I would have had to make  6 batches to cover the whole cake! and it went SO HARD before I could even spread it! and it tasted of course like ‘wedding cake’ icing which the kids aren’t keen on, just too sweet …….. so even though it was  a beautiful white I tried something else.

I then made my usual butter icing (whip up a cup of unsalted butter with a drop of water and vanilla extract, and  4 or more cups of icing sugar – yes, I do it in bulk) but I kept on adding too much water and needing too much icing sugar and the it was kids bedtime and I was distracted…. so I put the huge bowl of icing in the fridge to ‘set’… and went to Google to find another ‘colour-free’ and ‘flavour-free’ recipe.

And the I found THIS recipe on the Super Kitchen Machine blog for the most amazing ‘Swiss Meringue Butter Cream Icing’!!!

I had never heard of it before, but it sure looked delicious, and there was a Thermomix recipe for it so I gave it a whirl.  (You could also do it in your Kenwood /Kitchen Aid etc).

It has egg whites, sugar, pinch of salt, and unsalted butter – all real ingredients – no colour or even flavour added – it turned out a beautiful pastel yellow colour – AND tasted even better than any other icing I’ve ever tasted!!!!

I used this meringue icing on the top 2 cakes of the carousel, then the butter icing for the bottom cake, and for all the cupcakes.

The pink butterflies and flowers…

The ‘candies’ we made a couple of weeks ago with the kids.  Simple ingredients (icing sugar, gelatine, water, and a drop of red food colouring),  easy, and so effective.  The last few years we’ve even made ‘candy Easter eggs’ using this recipe.  I’ll do a post on these another day (because it is so cool to make ‘lollies’ or ‘candies’ for your own birthday parties – the kids love it and it saves money also!)

The horses….

They are little wooden horses from Spotlight, painted white one night with the kids, then the next day decorated (painted eyes, saddles) with coloured paints.  Another holiday activity with the girls.  The above horses were the same one’s that I used a couple of years ago for my other daughter’s cake, so they were already in the birthday box!

Other bits and pieces…

I received a new ‘Cookie Press and icing set’ from my in-laws for Christmas…  (what a cool gift!!)

   Its the SAVANNAH Cookie Press and icing set and I just found a review on it here

I used this to put the icing in the centre of the flowers, to stick on some of the obnoxious little pink flowers that kept falling off (most just stuck so easily and beautifully to the sticky meringue icing), and  to decorate all of the chocolate muffins.

The pink stripy patty pans/cups were 3.95 from Neds – I bought them in bulk a few years ago and use them at the girls birthday parties.

And with the help of my Thermomix, I was able to feed the kids some ‘real food’ this birthday party (aside from the musk sticks, mint leaves, and candies on the cake!)

Menu – Spicy Thai Hommus & Sundried Tomato/Cashew/Capsicum Dips

– Corn Chips

– Carrot/Capsicum/Celery Sticks

– Dried Apricots

– Fresh Cheese/Tomato Bread (pull apart)

– Meringues drizzled with dark chocolate

– Homemade Chocolate and Vanilla Icecream

– Caramel Popcorn Balls

– Fresh Fruit

Then for extended family and extras who stayed for tea, I made some extra fresh bread, had extra piles of carrot sticks, celery sticks, capsicum stick, and I had frozed some mince patties shaped into ‘sausages’ (minced meat from our grass-fed beef… by the way, did you watch Food Inc the other night on SBS??  It’s still on the SBS website for another few days).  I pulverised a whole huge zucchini, some squash from the garden (that I never know what to do with!), an onion, cloves of garlic, a capsicum, and a few stalks of celery in the Thermomix, then added this to the mince and mixed it with my hands – the veges made the mince go even further, and if the kids didn’t eat the vege sticks, it didn’t matter as the veges are in the patties! AND they tasted delicious (not just my opinion, others commented also!!) AND all the children ate them!!!

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Well, that was Charlie’s 7th birthday party today.  It was a lovely day.  And I’m going to go and fall into bed….

Addit…

I just looked up the above white carousel cake that Charlie found on Google images  – it cost $75 – and that’s with 20% off!!!!  So I saved a bit  (and I don’t mind ‘spending’ the time).

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