Thursday, April 28, 2011

Party time and the perfect cake for childrens' parties

This is a bit of a busy week.  A really big bit busier than normal.  It is my daughter's birthday in a few days and we had her party on monday.  I also volunteered to bake three hundred Easter biscuits for a party at my son's school and I am having our annual Easter egg hunt as well. 

All this translates into a lot of baking and making.  Not that I mind.  Nothing quite like being in the kitchen and baking.  Nothing, except maybe making things for parties.  

My little girl loves to draw.  She wakes up and starts looking for crayons or pencils and some paper.  We always take some drawing stuff with us just in case and we are never in the car without them.  So it was not long before the fairy party turned into a drawing party.  And then she became so excited.  She counted the sleeps and helped with the crafts.  She even helped to do her cake.  

And on the day she hopped and skipped and giggled, all day long. So precious.

I painted a big floorboard with chalk board paint and some filing boxes became chairs with a bit of white paint and a chalk board lid.  I kept the eats simple and made some painting aprons from plastic table cloth covers.  I simply glue gunned the frills, ribbon and rickrack to the plastic.  So simple, but the girls adored them.  The cake was a bit of a last minute affair, but M was so happy with the end result and in the end, that is all that count.  Her happy smiles and giggles made me giggle too.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Breakfast tarts for a brunch

My mom had a few friends over for brunch last week and she wanted something special to serve them.  Not the usual bacon and eggs.  Nothing wrong with a good old fry-up from time to time, but sometimes an occasion just calls for a little bit of something else.

I shared a breakfast the other day with L.  We treated ourselves to a rare hour away from our offices and routine and went to a beautiful little restaurant all by ourselves.  He ordered a fruit platter filled with fresh, seasonal fruits and nothing else.  I kept on thinking that it looked so gorgeous and tasted so good, but it needed something else.  Maybe a slice or two of melba toast.  A cracker.  A tiny croissant.

So, when my mom mentioned wanting to serve fruit, the fruit platter came to mind.  But with what?  Maybe something resembling a bit of a tea treat, but not really.  And that is how these breakfast tarts happened.  I made some sweet pastry and then played around with a combination of fillings, before deciding on the yogurt and cream cheese mixture.  Plenty of options really.  

The plates came back to the kitchen with not a crumb in sight.  Success I suspect. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Olive oil sponge with figs

I love figs.  Love, love, love them!  I can type 'love' a couple more times here, but you get the idea.  I grew up with a fig tree in our backyard and I can still remember the sweetness and the juiciness of being perched in a branch, eating fresh, sun-ripened figs.  I also remember paying some very hard earned pennies for a single fig in London once, because I just simply could not resist.  

Unfortunately figs do not do to well where we live now and I have to wait until the ones from the Cape ripen and end up on our supermarket shelves.  When I get some, I usually finish the whole punnet, by myself, in the car before even reaching the end of town.  Luckily for me, it is only me and my father who share the affinity for this biblical fruit.  Hardly any takers around.

I have to admit I seldom think of anything to do with them other than eat them as is.  I have used them sliced on pizza before, but that is about it.  I always look at the recipes, bookmark them, but as mentioned before, the figs seldom make it home and alas.

However, the other day my eye caught this recipe on Phillippa Cheifitz' blog.  The post was hard for a figaholic like myself to miss, as it was titled:  'Fig, figs and more figs'. And for a change I had some figs to spare.  I love stumbling upon a recipe like this.  One that is sort of scribbled and then the revelation when it comes out of the oven.  It is a really good cake, light and not rich and just dotted with the figs for some tartness. 

We were on our way to visit a friend for a play date and this made for a perfect treat to take along.

Phillippa's blog has a few more ideas with figs and one of these days I might just try them too.  Maybe, I should start buying two punnets instead of one....