No Knead Bread

It’s time for Real Life Wednesday!

I could tell you about how little sleep I’m getting, and the baby who wants to be awake between 1am and 5am.

I could tell you about juggling a crying baby and a poo-ing OCD preschooler (seriously – she has to have her toilet paper just so, everything done in just the right order…. arrrgh!).

Or I could tell you about trying to get Rocky to sleep while Pebble scoots around the floorboards on her scooter saying, “I just want to be with you”, while I explain that I want to be with her too, but I need to get the baby to sleep for that to happen, so could she please stop scooting, then I could be with her quicker (deep breath). But she won’t stop scooting. In fact, she scoots more, faster, louder. This conversation goes around and around in circles until I think I might explode. But I don’t. Because apparently I’m the adult around here *sigh*.

Or, instead of poo, and tantrums, and sleep, I could tell you a happy story about the amazeballs bread that I made this week. Real Bread. That I Made!

No Knead Bread

It’s all thanks to Gourmet Girlfriend’s bread revolution. It’s been sweeping across my Instagram feed for a week or so now and I got sucked right into it. And I’m so glad that I did!

No Knead Bread 1

My experience with this recipe was a story in itself. I have been so very sleep deprived that trying to calculate the 14-18 hour proving time, plus the extra two hour time, plus the half hour heating-the-pot time and the half hour cooking time and the extra 15 minutes cooking time… I read and re-read the recipe and still kept having to come back and re-check it. So my only advice is to bake this bread when you have had a good nights sleep! It truly is a very simple recipe that creates simply wonderful bread – no bread maker, no kneading.

No Knead Bread 2

We will definitely be making it again and I can’t wait to try some new flavours – perhaps sun-dried tomato and black olive or classic cheese and bacon. Or a herb bread using herbs from our garden!

So. Are you going to join the Gourmet Girlfriend Bread Revolution?

Linking up with Kate at Picklebums for Real Life Wednesday

Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky

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Simple Meals and Treats to Cook with Kids

I’m very lucky to have a helping hand from some awesome blogging friends while Paul, Pebble and I settle in with little Rockster. Today Bekka from Just for Daisy is sharing some yummy meals and treats that she likes to cook with her little Miss Daisy.

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One of the things that surprised me after having our second daughter last year was how much I would have to truly organise my life to stay on top of things! Should it really have surprised me!?

I am an organiser at heart so although a little surprising this didn’t bother me too much. It became an evening ritual to write a to do list for the following day, do what I could the night before and start the new day with a plan of action!

One of my favourite things to plan was the yummy meals and treats we’d make each week. I like to meal plan weekly, as well as plan what kinds of baking/snacks we’ll make over the week. This helps with organising a grocery list as well as keeping me inspired to bake our treats rather than resort to store bought or processed items.

Baking is also a time that Miss Daisy and I spend together. She’s enjoyed baking with me since she was 9 months old and at two and a half she’s now quite confident in the kitchen!

Here are some of our favourites that we like to make together:

Pea & Feta Fritters

This is a very quick and easy toddler friendly lunch or a last minute dinner that the whole family can enjoy. If you grow your own herbs you can very easily substitute the feta for grated cheese and you should always have these ingredients on hand! Loved by our whole family! Miss Daisy likes them with sauce and a few leaves (spinach leaves) for lunch or dinner. Hubby and I enjoy with salad!

2 Ingredient Chocolate Crackles

These are just a little too easy! But perfect for a last minute play group snack contribution or to take along for a morning tea with friends. They’d also be the perfect addition to any party table and the best part is, no copha!

One bowl Choc Coconut Slice

This one is a favourite in my family and is usually on the table at birthday parties and other gatherings! We made these to take along to a dinner last week! It’s quick and easy and a favourite with children and adults alike. The perfect companion to a hot (or cold) cuppa!

Easy Cookie Dough

I’ve generally got a roll of this cookie dough in my freezer at all times, ready to bake for unannounced guests or just to enjoy on our own if we don’t feel like all the dishes that baking can bring! So many variations can be made from this easy cookie dough recipe. Double it, triple it, enjoy!

Scones

This is where it all began for us! We have made scones together for such a long time! And we thoroughly enjoy eating them together too. Tea party optional!

Sticky Date Mug Cake

And this one is just for you. New mummy. Tired mummy. Frazzled mummy. Dessert for one is served. Or split it in two if you think your hubby is deserving! :) After falling in love with the choc mug cake I just had to experiment with my favourite dessert and came up with this perfect (sickly sweet!) individual delight!

 

Bekka ~ Just for Daisy

Bekka is a primary school teacher turned SAHM to two little girls. A lover of baking, sewing and creating, Just For Daisy is where she blogs about her life and the loves of her life!

Tried and Tested Kid Friendly Recipes

Tried and Tested Kid Friendly Recipes | Octavia and Vicky

This week we’ve been enjoying a few old favourite meals and some new snacks. I even gave a few Pinterest recipes a whirl, which is always interesting. You never know when you’re gonna hit a Pinterest FAIL! Here are the recipes that we tried and loved – click on the image to go to the recipe or scroll down to the list of recipes and mini reviews at the end of the post. The short answer is: I’ve tried them all and highly recommend them.

2 Ingredient Cookies 2 Ingredient Pizza Dough Frozen Yoghurt Drops NOT Fried Chicken Pikelets Vegetable and Lentil Lasagne

The Reviews

2 Ingredient Banana and Oat Cookies

These cookies, made from oats and banana (and nothing else!) were delicious straight out of the oven and could not have been easier to make. I may have *cough* thrown a few white chocolate chips into the mix for the last two cookies and they were really, really good. The plain cookies were less delicious when eaten cold the next day, but the white chocolate ones were still good. I’d make these again – perhaps making and freezing a batch, and cooking as many as I needed at a time.

2 Ingredient Pizza Dough 

I have been using this pizza dough recipe since reading it on Chantelle’s site in August last year. The two ingredients are greek yoghurt and flour. It makes a light, crispy outside, fluffy centre pizza dough that we make once a fortnight at least, sometimes weekly. I usually use it for  a traditional tomato based pizza with cheese, veg and meat, but also tried a homemade basil pesto and prawn pizza this week, which was divine! If I had remembered to take a photo of that you would be seeing a blog post of it soon. I guess I’ll just have to make it again :P

Frozen Yoghurt Drops

I was a bit sceptical of this one, but was pleasantly surprised to find it worked! You pipe yoghurt dots onto a baking sheet and put it in the freezer to make frozen yoghurt drops. These were an awesome snack in this muggy Aussie heat this week. The yoghurt drops do melt a little once out of the freezer – not too fast for me to eat them though!

“Not” Fried Chicken

I have loved and used Liss’ recipe for ‘Frugal Fast Food’ chicken for a long time now, it must be a couple of years since we first tried it. The coating is so easy to make, you can make and freeze ahead, and throw it in the oven to bake. It’s also really easy to substitute bits and pieces in the recipe – I might substitute the rosemary for thyme or the cayenne for paprika, depending on what I have on hand. We always serve it with mashed potato, corn on the cob and gravy. The leftover chicken (if you have any) makes an awesome cold lunch either on it’s on or in a sandwich. I always use thighs or breasts instead of drumsticks, because that’s what I like :)

Pikelets

I love Beverley, otherwise known as Beth, and have been reading her blog ever since we were both preggo at the same time with our now three year old girls. She whips up some very tasty treats, and these pikelets certainly didn’t fail. Super simple recipe and perfect pikelets – I won’t try another recipe again. This is the one!

Vegetable and Lentil Lasagne

This is my very own recipe – actually it’s from Pebble’s child care centre cookbook, and we’ve been cooking and eating it for a year or so. It’s one of Pebble’s favourite meals to eat at child care and one that we’ve replicated for home too. Of course, now that I’ve just made another super batch of it she seems to be turning her nose up at it! I’m sure she’ll come around to it again. Kids!

Have you tried a Pinterest recipe lately? Was it a success? Or a big FAIL?

Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky

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Mum’s Banana Cake

Mum's Banana Cake | Octavia and Vicky

What’s your favourite cake? I find it hard to choose just one favourite… but when I was a child I always chose banana cake on my birthday. As long as it’s moist, full of real banana flavour, and comes smothered in cream cheese icing, then bring it on. I was digging through my Mum’s old recipe books again, and I found her Banana Cake recipe….. well, I thought it was her old recipe.

Mum's Banana Cake | Octavia and VickyWhatthought was Mum’s original recipe. As it turns out. Not. 

Pebble and I followed this recipe to whip up a lovely cake. She was very excited to be making a cake because making a cake means decorating a cake. She immediately decided that she wanted this cake to be pink. With glitter stars on top. Now, being the top notch food blogger that I am, I had other ideas. I was going for classic white. Maybe a sprinkling of coconut? …. then I remembered. I’m NOT a top notch food blogger. I’m a mum-parenting-family-fun kind of blogger…  bring on the pink cake!

Mum's Banana Cake | Octavia and Vicky

I made the cake according to the recipe (photographed above), not really paying much attention to the method, because I know my way around cake making these days. Cream this. Sift that. Fold this. Bake that. It turned out just lovely, and no different to Mum’s from back in the day. Although I ignored the instructions to fill it with cream and sift icing sugar of the top. She never did it like that!? It was only as I started to rewrite the recipe for this blog post that I saw the words “fold in the sifted flour, salt and soda alternately with the milk“. Um. Milk? Milk is not listed in the ingredients! And I didn’t include it in my cake.

I called Mum and asked her what’s the deal with the milk. I hear her fumbling about over the phone, pulling out the recipe book. She starts rattling off ingredients… different amounts of ingredients to what I have in her hand writing in front of me. As it turns out, the recipe I used is not THE banana cake that mum used to make for me on my birthday. THIS (below) is the banana cake that she used to make for me – straight out of the Mothers’ Favourites cookbook from our local playgroup in the early 1980s. We had a giggle over some of the other recipes that she found in there…. Jellied Pineapple and Carrot Salad? Fritz Cups?  I have a group of friends that would love to make a dinner party out of that crazy cook book. Mum has since passed the recipe book on to me – stay tuned! Until then, without further ado, I give you:

Mum’s Banana Cake

(also known as Alice’s cake…. thanks Alice!)

Mum's Banana Cake | Octavia and Vicky

Mum's Banana Cake | Octavia and Vicky

Top it off with lashings of cream cheese icing (lurid colours and sugar glitter optional) and try to stop at just one piece.

What was your ‘birthday’ cake of choice when you were growing up? Did you get a choice?!

Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky

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Teddy Bear’s Picnic Party: The Cake

Octavia and Vicky: Teddy Bear's Picnic Party
One of THE most important parts of planning a child’s birthday party is the cake. Well, that’s my humble opinion :) My mum always made us a cake from the Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. Most newsagents, book shops and large variety shops sell the ‘vintage edition’ of this cook book now, but for many years it was out of print and you needed to scour op shops (or ebay!) to get your own copy. I was given my ‘vintage edition’ for Mother’s Day (thanks, hubby x).

For Pebble’s Teddy Bear’s Picnic Party I flicked through the book and found a couple of options for teddy bear cakes. Not being known for my cake decorating skills, I chose the easiest option. And then I made it even easier!  Here’s how I made the teddy bear face cakes (I made two, because I’m a chronic over-caterer).

Teddy Bear Face Cake (makes 2)

Octavia and Vicky: Teddy Bear's Picnic Party

Cake

  • 2 x store bought sponge cakes (gasp!)

Chocolate Butter Cream Icing (warning – this is a double quantity of icing and will make A LOT). I like it thick!)

  • 250g salt reduced butter, softened
  • 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons full fat milk

Decorations (this is what I used, but you can adapt to use whatever sweets or lollies you have available in your country)

  • approx 5og desiccated coconut
  • 4 x wagon wheel biscuits (original size) or any large, round, chocolate covered biscuit
  • 4 x large white chocolate buttons
  • 2 x 10cm pieces of thin licorice (I cut up one wider piece)
  • 4 x raspberry lollies
  • 4 x chocolate covered marshmallows
  • 4 x small brown chocolate buttons

1. Very important step: DROP YOUR TODDLER OFF AT THE HOME OF A MUCH LOVED CARER (thanks Grandma). If you don’t have another adult available you could try using a combination of television and left over cake decorations – however this is not recommended.

2. Place the sponge cakes on to your serving dish. I happened to have two round cake boards from a previous party.

3. To make the Chocolate Butter Cream Icing: place the butter into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the butter is as white as possible. Gradually beat in approximately half the icing sugar, beating as you go to incorporate it into the butter. Add the milk, beating constantly, then gradually beat in the remaining icing sugar and the cocoa powder, until the icing is thick, creamy and brown.

4. To decorate the cakes (refer photo):

  • Use a spatula to smooth half the chocolate butter cream icing onto each cake, covering the cake completely (no need to be too neat, bears are furry after all!). Save a couple of tablespoons of icing to use as ‘glue’ for sticking on the decorations (and a couple more if you like eating it yourself).
  • Place a scone cutter or egg ring on to each cake as a guide for sprinkling the coconut into the round nose shape. Use a spoon to carefully sprinkle the coconut into the ring, and gently press down into the icing.
  • Use a little leftover icing as glue and stick the licorice mouth, raspberry lolly tongue and marshmallow nose into place. Remove the scone cutter/egg ring.
  • Use a little more leftover icing to stick the white chocolate buttons and brown chocolate buttons on as eyes.
  • Press the Wagon Wheels into the head as ears.
  • Eat the remaining icing.

5. Very important step: Collect your toddler from their much loved carer’s house and resume normal parenting programming.

There will be more Teddy Bear’s Picnic party planning ideas to come this week, make sure you come back to see tips for food, decorations, treat bags and kids activities.

You might like to see my other Teddy Bear’s Picnic Party ideas:

Teddy Bear’s Picnic Party: Photos
Teddy Bear’s Picnic Party: The Decorations
Teddy Bear’s Picnic Party: The Food
Teddy Bear’s Picnic Party: The Activities

Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky

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