Friday, 2 December 2011

{Holiday Treats} Pie Time

There is nothing better than a sweet pie. My favorite would have to be Jamie Oliver's Baked Chocolate Pie.  However most people balk at the thought of making their own pie crust but a good pie crust is the differences between an average pie and a great pie. I follow Jamie Oliver's sweet shortcrust recipe (  and his process for preparing it  - it is so easy I thought I would share it - no rolling involved! Follow the directions below each photo to get a nice buttery crust that will make any pie delicious.

Once you have made the pastry roll it into a big sausage, wrap it in glad wrap and put it in the fridge for about an hour. Take it from the fridge and cut it into rounds a bit like cookies. Lay the rounds out in the pie dish in a way that roughly covers the dish. 

Using your fingers squish the pastry into place filling in all the holes and trim any edges off.  Put the ready crust in the freezer for 30 minutes and then pop it straight from the freezer into a prepared over and bake for 8-10 minutes - this is called blind baking. 

Once the pie crust is blind baked add your filling (the one pictured is Pumpkin Pie) and bake. It is worth the extra effort to get a beautiful soft buttery crust. 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

{Everyday} Bagel Faces

Following the healthy breakfast I posted last week I though you might find this fun too. It is a lunch time favourite in our family but is also suitable for a light dinner. The more you can get your children involved with what they are eating the easier you will find it getting them to eat a more varied diet

It is very straight forward - all you need is bagels, cream cheese and a few things out of the fridge. For the ones you see here we used cherry tomatoes, olives, baby carrots, cold chicken and orange capsicum. Bean sprouts make great hair as does shredded lettuce.

Cover the bagel with cream cheese including the hole and then let the kids go to town creating all sorts of fun and interesting faces! Have fun.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

{Everyday} Weekend Breakfast Parfait

Banana, Strawberry & Muesli Breakfast Parfait
Here is a quick, easy and healthy treat for the kids on the weekend. You can either make it for them or make it with them.  In our house we call it a breakfast parfait. The one pictured is layered with plain yogurt, muesli, sliced banana (which is drowned by strawberry yogurt in this picture) and strawberry yogurt. The strawberry yogurt is actually frozen strawberries blended with plain yogurt - the kids think they are eating ice cream! You can use whatever you have on hand, any fruit works and any berries blended with yogurt is good or you can buy fruit yogurt ready to go. The one pictured is made from home made muesli (look out for another post on this) but you can use any store bought cereal.

If you have fussy eaters this is a great thing to do with them as the more involved they become with their food the less fussy they will become. Get them to make it themselves and see how they go.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

{Holiday Fun} An Almost Jack-O-Lantern

Here is an alternative for those of you not keen to spend QR150 on a pumpkin from Lulu - a Watermelon Jack-O-Lantern. A very cheap alternative to using a pumpkin when you are in the hotter climes. We bought 2 watermelons, one was QR10 and the other was QR13.  This was my first attempt to make any kind of Jack-O-Lantern and I was surprised at how easy it was. For our first attempt we drew our own design on the watermelon and for our second attempt we downloaded a stencil we found online. I just googles Jack-O-Lantern Stencil and came up with a number of web pages offering them. We used one from  Once you find the stencil you want to use just print it and cut it out so you can then use it to draw the design onto the watermelon.  

All in all a successful afternoon of cheap and relatively easy fun that the kids thought was great. For a QR10 watermelon you can't really go wrong. 

Tools of the trade - a couple of knives along with a cheap
watermelon from Lulu

Cut the bottom off to make it nice and flat so it will stand up easily

Hollow out using a knife and spoon.  I used the watermelon
we dug out to make ice blocks (see previous post)

Draw your design on the watermelon

Cut out your patern

Our first attempt!
This was our second attempt made with a stencil

Monday, 17 October 2011

{Easy Treats} Ice Blocks

Traditional Ice Block Mould
It is still hot enough to make a batch of ice blocks! They are super easy to make and the kids love to both help you make them and eat them. You can take the straight forward route and just pour a bottle of juice into your mould or you can make your own mix. The hardest part is finding a mould in Qatar! 

I use two types of moulds. The first is just the traditional old fashioned ice block mould. My one is one I bought back with me from NZ. 

Twist Up Ice Block Mould
The Second type is the twist up type. I got mine from Lakekland in City Center. These are great for little children as you wind them up as you go so you don't end up with sticky melted ice block         everywhere. 

For those of you who have a Aramex account you can easily find these online and they are pretty light so can't be too expensive to ship. You can get all sorts of funky moulds shaped like rockets and umbrellas. If you are looking on overseas web sites they might be called iced lollys. 

If you are using juice you will be suprised at how little you need. Usually a small bottle (one cup) will fill up all your moulds. If you are following a recipe it should tell you how much you need. 

The most popular recipe in our house is Lemonade! It is very easy - mix 1/4 cup lemon juice with 1/2 cup of icing sugar until all the sugar is disolved. Add one cup of soda water and pour mixture into your moulds. It will fill 6 - 8 moulds depending on the size of your moulds. Put the lid on the moulds and put in the frezzer. They will freeze in a couple of hours.