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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zucchini choc loaf

choc zucchini loaf

choc zucchini loaf

Miss G. is feeling much better.

Over the weekend her teething symptoms all but vanished and we were able to get in  plenty of giggles, play time and fun.

So with my bright, bubbly little bubby back in full force I pulled out this zucchini and choc loaf recipe I’ve been lusting after for quite some time and decided to have a little baking session with Grace this morning.

I have to say I absolutely adore this age.  Its seems Miss G. gets a little more cuter each and every day as well as more and more interested in the goings on around the house, particularly my cooking.

So with a cooking bench set up at the right height for her to stand at we got our bake on.

She watched and giggled as I cracked the eggs, chopped the chocolate and grated the zucchini and when I started to stir the dark, gleaming batter together she insisted on helping.  I have to say the cheeky grin of excitement she had as we popped the zucchini choc loaf into the oven completely melted my heart.

After a little nap Miss G. awoke to enjoy a small slice of the amazingly dark, rich zucchini studded loaf alongside a generous helping of her favourite strawberries.

To create your own gorgeously dark and chocolatey zucchini loaf simply…

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beautiful ballerina birthday cupcakes

happy birthday

happy birthday

Leading up to Miss G.’s first birthday I was filled with excitement.  I couldn’t wait to celebrate her very special day, spoil her with presents, watch her eat cake and have fun completely oblivious to the reason behind all of the fuss.

With a few days until her birthday celebrations began I was feeling particularly organised.

Presents were wrapped.

Play dates were scheduled.

Cupcakes were baked.

And we had even decorated the house with pink balloons and streamers.

Feeling smug, I tucked Grace into bed, poured a glass of wine and decided to have a quick flick through Pinterest for a little extra birthday inspiration.

Rookie error.

Two hours and hundreds of pins later I quite clearly had fallen down the rabbit hole.

Mesmerised by the plethora of unbelievably beautiful birthday snaps my sense of organised smugness quickly disappeared.

Dazed and confused the need to bake a last minute birthday cake seem imperative.

And not just any old birthday cake.

A four layered, white chocolate, flag and sprinkle adorned monstrosity.

Reading through the ‘simple’ recipe I thought oh wow compared to the other birthday cake monsters (yes I am talking to you Ariel the life sized little mermaid cake) this looks wonderfully easy.

I told myself I’ll get started first thing in the morning and will have it banged out by 10am.

Yep.

Easy peasy.

Off to bed I went with not a care in the world.

Stumbling around the kitchen in the fresh light of day with an almost one year old playing at my feet it became abundantly clear I had bitten off more than I could bake.

Whilst lining the four cake pans (that took me an hour to find mind you) I began to curse pinterest and the crack pots who peddled this ridiculous birthday propaganda.

Not one to quit however I decided to continue on and by the grace of god somehow managed to bake the cakes.

And whilst staring at the four vanilla specked and quite frankly very ordinary looking cakes nestled on my kitchen bench I did a quick time check.

I was already 4 hours behind schedule.

Shit.

Completely overwhelmed by the everest task ahead of me I began to cry.

Cue meltdown.

The tears continued to flow as I stared at the mammoth mess my kitchen had become and the four lonely yet to be iced cakes before me.

To be perfectly honest the rest of the afternoon is a complete blur.

The only vague moments of recollection I do have are snippets of a hubby pep talk, throwing sprinkles at the cake and the gorgeous words of encouragement from the beautiful people of instagram.

When I finally came to and witnessed the pink cakey creation nestled in my refrigerator I did feel the slightest pang of pride.

A tired pang but it was there nonetheless.

Deep breath.

I had done it.

Seeing Grace enjoy her birthday cake did feel wonderful.

It was a beautiful mummy moment but will I be doing the same next year?

Oh hell no.

I’d much prefer to stick to my simple, fuss free baking and enjoy extra play time with my lovely little girl.

So the recipe I’m sharing with you today isn’t the mammoth, flag adorned, stress inducing birthday cake but the simple, gorgeous, beautiful, easy peasy beautiful ballerina birthday cupcakes.

These little babies are a delight to bake and a joy to eat and I encourage you to make them.

No ridiculous birthday propaganda here.

To create your own batch of beautiful ballerina birthday cupcakes simply…

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