choc cross scones

choc cross sconeschoc cross scones

We officially kicked off our Easter baking yesterday with these gorgeous and very simple choc cross scones.

Chockfull of plump sultanas and apricots and scented with cinnamon these Easter inspired scones are not only delicious but are far less labour intensive than traditional hot cross buns.  With the help of my favourite piece of kitchen gadgetry, the food processor, these scones came together almost effortlessly and in the matter of mere moments.

Once the dough was ready Miss G. had the best fun patting and shaping the sultana flecked dough and spent a good ten minutes giggling whilst cutting out the scones with our pastry cutter.

Once nestled in the oven the scones baked to gorgeous goldenness and filled the house with the sweetest scent of Easter.

Whilst the scones cooled, Miss G. and I melted a little dark chocolate to adorn the scones with the traditional Easter cross.  I can’t say how proud she was standing over admiring the choc cross scones but I think this picture says it all…

choc cross scones

To create your own batch of easy peasy choc cross scones simply…

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strawberry heart scones

strawberry sconesstrawberry scones

Miss G. and I did a little Valentine’s Day inspired baking yesterday and came up with these gorgeous little heart shaped strawberry scones.

They are delish.

Chock full of fresh strawberries and laced with a good dollop of vanilla bean paste these pink hued babies smell and taste of summertime strawberries and cream.

Rather than following the traditional route I decided we’d skip mixing the scones together by hand and opt instead for the food processor.  And thanks to our favourite kitchen gadget the strawberry studded scone dough came together almost effortlessly and in a matter of just moments.

Grace had the most fun though once we started playing with the dough.  Watching her flatten the dough into a chubby disc and cut out the little heart shaped scones melted my heart.   Yes it got a little messy but it was totally worth it.  Her little face was so proud and full of excitement as she plonked the heart shaped scones onto our baking sheet.  And of course she was in charge of ‘painting’ the scones with their obligatory adornment of milk.

Once nestled in the oven the scones grew and turned the most wonderful shade of gorgeous goldenness.  And thankfully the scones didn’t take long to cool down as Grace could hardly wait to dig in.  Once cool enough I sliced a strawberry studded scone in half, topped with strawberry jam and a dollop of Greek yoghurt and my lovely little taste tester gobbled it up praising her cooking efforts.

In terms of baby led weaning, scones make a wonderful morning or afternoon tea treat.  They’re texture is perfect for baby led weaning beginners, firm enough to withstand a tight grip yet soft enough to be nibbled on with ease.  So far I have baked mango coconut scones, raspberry almond scones, carrot cake scones, and even a batch of pumpkin scones.  All recipes include a good serving of fruit (or vege) and have been gobbled up and enjoyed by little kids (and big).  Scones also freeze beautifully.  I often bake big batches of scones to stash in the deep freeze, they not only last up to 3 months frozen but defrost and reheat beautifully!

To bake your own batch of Valentine’s Day inspired strawberry heart scones simply…

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lime & coconut loaf

lime & coconut loaflime & coconut loaf

Grace is now officially 15 months old!

YIPPEE!!!

The days of constant napping, seemingly never-ending milk feeds, long sleepless nights and new born cries are long gone and I absolutely adore the lovely little adventures we now share.

Don’t get me wrong, I miss those precious newborn snuggles but watching your little one grow into a bright, bubbly and very inquisitive teeny tiny human being is just wonderful.  At times stressful, very stressful but mostly wonderful.

Lately, trips to the state library have become a lovely little weekly ritual of ours and we both cherish the day out.

Miss G.

Miss G. spends the morning painting, drawing, colouring, reading, singing, clapping and playing games with the other children.

There is always so much for her to do by the time we head home she is absolutely exhausted.

Miss G.

But just before she’s almost tuckered out Miss G. and I head to our favourite grassy spot next to the river to sit on our blanket and nibble on the goodies I’ve popped into the lunch box.

Today, along with fresh rockmelon slices and a yoghurt cup I added a couple of slices of this heavenly lime and coconut loaf.

WOW.

Chock full of zesty fragrant lime and shredded coconut this loaf is divine and couldn’t be simpler to prepare.  This gorgeous batter takes no more than a few minutes to stir together and after a quick trip to the oven the gorgeously golden loaf emerges smelling of sweet summer lime and coconut goodness.

To create this heavenly lime and coconut studded loaf simply…

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mango & banana frozen yoghurt

Mango & banana frozen yoghurtMango & banana frozen yoghurt

It’s hot.

Really hot.

It’s the kind of stinking, sticky, humid weather that leaves you no other choice but to abandon all plans and head straight to the beach.

So this morning with our towels, hats and plenty of sunscreen packed snugly in our beach bag we escaped the house and headed off to Southbank in the hope of a cool blissful swim.

Mango & banana frozen yoghurtMango & banana frozen yoghurt

Before leaving though I decided to chop up a little mango and banana to stash in the deep freeze whilst we’re away.

Along with a little yoghurt the food processor will blitz the frozen fruit to create a creamy, luscious, cooling frozen yoghurt.

The perfect summertime treat.

And the thought of sweet and creamy frozen yoghurt might just be enticing enough for us to leave the bliss of the cool water and return home.

Well, here’s hoping.

To create this sublime summer time mango & banana frozen yoghurt simply…

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gingerbread christmas cookies

gingerbread cookiesgingerbread cookies

It just wouldn’t be christmas without a big batch of wonderfully fragrant gingerbread cookies in the house.

The heady scent of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg wafting from the oven as these little babies bake is pure festive joy and I am delighted to be ending the year with this perfect baby led weaning holiday treat.

These cookies are not like most gingerbread biscuits, they are much softer, with a gorgeously chewy texture thanks to the use of almond meal instead of flour and are perfectly suited for little ones to nibble on with ease.  The dates studded throughout the dough give the cookies sweetness along with the help of a little golden syrup.  These cookies are also sugar and gluten free making them a great treat to have on hand for those with dietary requirements.

And in the midst of holiday madness I am so pleased to tell you these gingerbread christmas cookies are an absolute breeze to prepare and can easily be whipped up with a little one nestled by your side.  The best part of this recipe for the kids is cutting out the cookies using an array of different christmas shapes.  Today Miss G. and I went with the obligatory gingerbread man as well as a lovely little christmas tree and star.  Miss G. loved pressing each cutter into the date flecked golden dough and was amazed to see the shapes appear.

After a short trip to the oven we decorated the golden gingerbread cookies with a little white chocolate and ate quickly after.  We did however manage to save a few for Santa Claus.

As mentioned earlier this will be my last recipe for 2013.  We are going to spend the holidays enjoying the sun, sand, beach, hot long balmy days and perfectly ripe mangoes.  Thank you all so much for taking the time out of your very busy lives to visit my lovely little lunch box and share in our cooking and baby led weaning adventure.  From the bottom of my heart I hope you all have a wonderful, love filled, peaceful and joyful holiday with your loved ones x

To create these wonderfully wholesome sugar-free gingerbread christmas cookies simply…

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pistachio & cherry bundt cake

cherry pistachio bundt cake

cherry pistachio bundt cake

Our christmas baking is well and truly in full swing.

With little Miss G. by my side, we’ve been busy little kitchen bees baking all of our adored festive delights.

Amongst the mess we’ve managed to conjure up a gorgeous batch of deep dark intense christmas choc puddings, a tray or two of jewel adorned christmas cookies and of course a mega slab of marshmallow spiked rocky road.

Surrounded by a kitchen full of sugar laden, choc filled, once a year treats I decided we needed a little balance and opted to bake a more modest cake, filled with festive fruit and a little nourishing wholesome goodness.

The result was this christmas inspired pistachio and cherry cake and I just had to share it with you.

This little darling is just gorgeous.  The pistachio meal turns this cake the most gorgeous shade of festive green whilst giving the cake a dense, moist and tender crumb.  And thanks to the intense heat of the oven, the cherries studded throughout the batter caramelise to jammy perfection and create little pockets of sweet cherry jam throughout the cake.

You’ll also be happy to know that this baby led weaning friendly cake is sugar free thanks to the use of my newly found friend, agave syrup.  I used a mere half a cup of the amazingly sweet nectar in the batter because my cherries were already so wonderfully sweet.  I also made a few baby friendly, health conscious adjustments to the original recipe by using olive oil and yoghurt instead of butter and replacing refined flour with wholemeal.

To create a little opulence I decided to bake this little baby in a decorative bundt tin but a round or loaf cake tin would be fine also, and much less stressful.  If you do choose to travel down the more decorative tin route ensure that you generously grease the pan with either oil or butter, getting into every nook and cranny so that the baked cake will slide out with ease.

The only adornment this cake requires is the lightest dusting of icing sugar along with a small sprinkle of finely chopped pistachio nuts.

To create this cherry studded pistachio bundt cake of pure gorgeousness simply…

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festive zucchini choc brownies

festive zucchini choc browniesfestive zucchini choc brownies

I love to bake chocolate brownies.

Especially around the holidays.

This year, however, my brownie recipe has been given a fabulous wholesome make over in order to perfectly suit those lovely little hands it will surely find its way into.

This delicious recipe is wonderful not only because it contains vegetables but its free of butter, uses wholemeal flour and thanks to my new found friend agave syrup, is now sugar free.

And keeping with todays health conscious theme, today I opted to forgo the usual cup or so of chocolate chips I would normally stir through the batter and instead used a teeny tiny 40 gram bar of wonderful antioxidant rich dark chocolate to scatter over the top of the brownie.  The results are sublime!  The deep dark brownie is so amazingly rich that it really only needed the smallest hint of chocolate and because of the brownies decadence the tiniest square makes the perfect serve, so this festive treat goes very far!

Please allow me to talk a little about the zucchini.  I beg you not to be put off thinking the zucchini chocolate mix is some weird and wacky combination.  Its truly not.  The zucchini strewn throughout the batter is devoid of any flavour and is there only to add a gorgeous moistness to the brownie crumb.  It also adds to the depth of the brownie creating a gorgeous dense texture.

For a baby led weaning holiday treat these little zucchini choc brownie babies are perfection.

To create these festive zucchini choc brownies simply…

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