I've definitely been slack on the cupcake decorating front, haven't I? Even my family are starting to complain. My husband keeps showing me pictures of the cupcakes he wants me to make for him from my cupcake calendar. First it was a sugary golf scene....
Then it was an ant picnic, complete with watermelons....
Thankfully, I've managed to avoid this labour of love so far, by making some of his other favourite sweet treats. There were two this week - Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding and Lebanese Ka'ak Biscuits (using my Mum's delicious recipe). I think I've included photos of my chocolate pudding many moons ago in one of my posts, but today I've decided to share my secret recipe with all of you (just because I love you!) I'm even going to share my Mum's Ka'ak recipe, so hold on to your hats! (I'm pretty easily excited, aren't I?)
Was this enough to escape the cupcake craving entirely though? Well, my beautiful daughter baked these gorgeous looking cupcakes, which caused my hubby's eyes to light up...
BUT...unfortunately we weren't allowed to try any because they were for her friend's birthday celebration at school the next day :(
Oh well, my pudding and bickies would have to do!
Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding
(Serves approx. 6)
60g unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup castor sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup milk
2 tspns vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tbspn cocoa, extra
2 cups boiling water
Preheat oven to 180°C. Place melted butter in mixing bowl and stir in sifted flour, sugar and cocoa. Add milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Place mixture in large oven proof ramekin, sprinkle with combined sifted brown sugar and extra cocoa. Pour boiling water over mixture carefully.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until just cooked in the centre when tested with a skewer.
Stand for 5 minutes before serving with cream or ice cream.
Lebanese Ka'ak Biscuits
(Makes approx. 45)
250g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar (I used xylitol)
3 tspns vanilla essence
1/3 cup milk
4 1/2 cups self-raising flour
sesame seeds & sprinkles
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
Beat in the eggs thoroughly, then add milk and stir.
Stir in sifted flour, and then knead into a dough.
Taking walnut size pieces of dough, roll into long narrow strips (about 10cm long & 1.25cm wide).
Twist each strip into a circle, pressing ends together slightly, and press into a plate of sesame seeds or sprinkles.
Place on non-stick baking tray, and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
I guess I just haven't had time for the intricacies of decorating cupcakes lately. I know I'll get back to it eventually, but at the moment, we are so busy in our household. My hubby has got so much on at work and the kids have so many assignments to do (the joys of high school)...so my aim is to keep them as well nourished as I can and spend time helping the kids with their school work as much as possible.
For some reason, each of the kids had a Science assignment to do that was stressing them out...I think Science is fun, so I tried to convey my excitement as best I could. Unfortunately, they didn't really get excited until the assignments were completed and off their hands. I remember the feeling though - when I was back at school I didn't care that I was learning about amazing scientific discoveries, I just wanted to get it over and done with :)
So first was my daughter's Science Research Project, for which she investigated the "Best Foundation for a Dance Performance". She's a gorgeous "girly girl", so I thought when she chose this, she would be in her element. However, I don't think she realised that the science behind makeup is not as much fun as wearing it!! Anyways, she got there in the end and I was very proud of her results...
My son's Science investigation was a little easier. He had to make a video presentation demonstrating a household separation technique. Hubby volunteered to help with this one, and my clever boys came up with the simple (but very effective) separation technique of juicing!
Who would have thought that the juicing of a few fruits and veges could be so scientific, not to mention entertaining??
First he explained what a mixture is...when two or more substances have been combined. Then he explained that he was going to demonstrate separation via the use of centrifugal force. So the juicer was the centrifuge machine, which furiously spun the fruits and veges around, to separate them into pulp and delicious healthy juice (which we all got to drink at the end).
I know, it's simple, but I was impressed.
When I observed that centrifuge machine spinning so ferociously, I understood for a moment why humans experience separation anxiety. When lovers or best friends are ripped apart, or a child is separated from their parent, is it not ferocious? Ferociously sad, ferociously distressing, ferociously unfair.
I remember when I was about 5 years old, waking up one day from a nap only to find that I was alone in the house. It was very early in the afternoon. I opened my eyes and the house was perfectly silent. Mum was nowhere to be seen or heard. I immediately started to panic, and crying, I ran out the back door, through a hole in the fence and into the next door neighbour's backyard. And out the back door of my neighbour's house came a vision too beautiful to behold...it was my Mum with outstretched arms running towards me.
She'd only been visiting with my Aunt who lived next door while I was having my nap! So I know it was a bit of an over-reaction, but when you're a kid, you just want your Mum, right?
Then about 10 years ago, my precious Dad was ripped away from me by the finality of death. A separation anxiety so unspeakable was what I remember feeling back then. Death can have such a sting, but because of my faith, I was eventually comforted by the knowledge that I'll see my Dad again in heaven.
Then only a couple of years ago, separation anxiety crept up once again. Stealthily, it came in the form of a tumour, threatening to separate me from my treasures...my husband, my children, my family and friends. But I stood up to that enemy. I faced it head on and said "NO, I will not give in to you separation anxiety!"
I know the sun will shine again.
I know there will be a rainbow after the storm.
I know the trees will flower in springtime.
I know tomorrow is a new day.