Baked Chicken Legs for School Lunches

Last week our young man came home from school, and told me that the canteen had delicious chicken legs on the menu. Apparently his friend had ordered them, and shared one (thanks, Master K!). Would he like some in his lunch? Oh, yes, he most certainly would!

So I checked out the school canteen menu, and discovered that they offer 3 BBQ chicken drummettes for $3. Pretty reasonable price, considering they are prepared fresh at the canteen. And canteens offer a great service, so I am certainly not going to tell you not to use them! But if I can make something at home, and I have the time and the ingredients, then I’ll give it a go. Continue reading

Making Butter at Home

Yesterday I was making butter (if you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen it!) when it occurred to me that I haven’t written about that yet.

Now, when I say I made butter, it’s not entirely from scratch. I didn’t milk the cow, skimming the cream from the fresh milk. I bought a carton of cream from the supermarket. Really, all the hard work was done by the dairy farmer (and the cow), my part is easy!

You can use pure cream or thickened cream for this, although thickened cream of course has additives. But it will have a heck of a lot less additives than the margarine you may have in the fridge.

*Important* – You just can’t use light or low fat cream. Check the bottle – it will say not suitable for whipping. And that’s what we’re going to be doing with it.

And if you ever see bottles of cream marked down, this is a great way to use them ūüôā

The bottle on the left is marked down thickened cream, on the right is (full price) pure cream. They are both 600ml.

Cream for butter

Pour your cream into your electric mixer, and start whipping. And keep on whipping.

You can, of course, use a handheld electric mixer, or even a completely non-electric whisk. You will also develop nicely¬†toned arms at the same time! For¬†this job, I am more than happy to drag out the big mixer…

First up, you get -surprise, surprise – whipped cream! Don’t stop – keep going!

Cream to butter

It depends on how fast you have your beaters going¬†, but I’ve found that at around 15 minutes the cream starts separating. You can see liquid pooling

Cream - butter

And there’s your butter! But you’re not quite done yet. Next you need to drain off the whey, or buttermilk.

Line a bowl with a clean cloth, I use a clean kitchen chux. Scoop out the butter and buttermilk into the chux, and let it drain.

butter

Gather up the sides of the chux around the butter and squeeze all the liquid out. Don’t throw¬†the liquid¬†away!

It’s very important then to rinse your lump of butter under cold water. Keep it wrapped in the cloth, and squeeze the water through it. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear. Removing all the buttermilk from the butter will keep your¬†it fresher for longer. This is why you can use short-dated cream to make butter, and not have it go off quickly.

But the buttermilk is still good to use.¬†Add it in your milkshakes or smoothies. Use it in your baking. Many recipes call for buttermilk, but you can also substitute it for plain milk. It will make your pancakes or pikelets, cakes and slices¬†light and fluffy. And it can be frozen if you can’t use it straight away.

So, what did I get from 600ml of cream?

butter and buttermilk

As you can see, I ended up with about 230g of butter, and around 1 cup of buttermilk.

You can leave it that, but you know how hard it is to spread pure butter straight from the fridge? We can fix that! Put your butter back in your mixer and start beating again, this time slowly¬†drizzling in some olive oil (or your preferred oil type). You’ll have to experiment with how much is required, but it’s not too much. Maybe 1/4 cup.

You can also add some salt. Or go all out and make flavoured butter with garlic and/or herbs, or whatever else you choose!

I used some of the buttermilk to make pikelets for afternoon tea. Topped with some of the butter, and some homemade plum jam, they were delicious! And¬†plenty left over to go in the school lunch box ūüôā

Pikelets

The rest of the buttermilk I used in these chocolate cupcakes. I substituted it for the plain milk that the recipe called for. They will be frozen, also for school lunchbox treats.

Cupcake with buttermilk

If you haven’t made butter before, you really should give it a try. It is very easy to do, tastes great, and you know exactly what is in it.

I know many of you have made butter. Do you have any tips I’ve missed?

Linking up with:

Milk and Cuddles – Mommy Club, 21 Rosemary Lane – Share Your Style, Too Much Time on my Hands – The Handmade Hangout,¬†Posed Perfection – Creative Ways, Have a Daily Cup of Mrs Olson – Share Your Cup,¬†Domesblissity – Thriving on Thursdays, Wondermom Wannabe – This is How We Roll, Sincerely, Paula – No Rules Weekend Blog Party, The Life of Jennifer Dawn – A Little Bird Told Me,¬†The Pin Junkie, Life With Lorelei – Home Matters, Shoestring Elegance – What to do Weekends, Tatertots and Jello – Link Party Palooza,¬† Oh My Heartsie Girl – Friday Features, Strawberry Butterscotch – Saturday Shuffle, 24 Cottonwood Lane – Best of the Weekend,¬†Love of Home – Sundays at Home, The Pinterested Parent – Sunday’s Best, Nifty Thrifty Things, My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies – Snickerdoodle Sunday,¬†That Recipe – Happiness is Homemade, Plucky’s Second Thought – Cooking and Crafting With J&J, My Pinterventures – Merry Monday, Claire Justine – Creative Mondays, Create With Joy – Inspire Me Monday, I Should Be Mopping the Floor – Inspiration Monday, Embellishmints – Dream. Create. Inspire, Yesterday on Tuesday – Project Inspired,¬†The DIY Mommy – The Creative Corner, Lou Lou Girls, Kathe With an E – You’re Gonna Love It, Our Home Away From Home – Tuesdays at Our Home,¬† Being a Wordsmith – Turn it Up Tuesday, The Dedicated House – Make it Pretty Monday, Cedar Hill Farmhouse – The Scoop, That Recipe – Tasty Tuesday, The DIY Dreamer – From Dream to Reality, Oh My Heartsie Girl – Wonderful Wednesday, Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesday,¬†Simply Made Fun – Wednesday Roundup, Lamberts Lately – Create it Thursday,

Easy and Delicious Apple Cake

Tomorrow is election day, and we all know what that means…

…cake stall at the local school aka polling centre!

One of my favourite cakes to make (and eat!) is this extremely easy Apple Cake. I love it because there is no creaming of butter and sugar, in fact you don’t even need to melt the butter! You’ll never believe it, so you’ll just have to try it for yourself ūüôā

Unfortunately I don’t remember where I found this recipe, so can’t refer you to the creator. I’ve been making it for some years now, from my handwritten notes.

Without further ado, the recipe is as follows:
3-4 Peeled Apples
1 cup Sugar
2 Cups SR Flour
115g or 4oz Butter
1 Egg
A little Milk                                                                                                                                                                           Cinnamon and extra sugar

And all you need to do is:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C, or 350 degrees F.

Line your round or square baking tin. Grease if you like. I just use baking paper.

Mix the flour, sugar, and about a teaspoon of cinnamon¬†in a large bowl. Cut the butter and the apples into rough chunks. And rough really is fine ūüôā Stir the butter through the flour and sugar, then add the apples and stir through.

Beat the egg in a cup, then add a splash of milk. I do this in my 1 cup measure (since I’ve used it for the flour and sugar), then add milk until it is about 3/4 full.

Pour the egg and milk over the dry ingredients and mix well.

The batter is very stiff at this stage, more like a dough really.

Apple cake batter

Spoon it into your baking tin.

Bake until a skewer inserted into your cake comes out clean, around 45-60 minutes.

About 20 minutes into the cooking time, sprinkle the top with sugar and more cinnamon. This gives your cake the most delicious crunch! And there’s no need to ice it!

If you don’t like cinnamon, just leave it out.

Today I made one cake with apples for the cake stall, and one with pears for us. You could try berries or other fruit as well. If you try with soft fruit, just be careful when you stir it all together, you want to keep the big fruity chunks.

Let the cake cool before cutting it.

A small slice was perfect for my afternoon tea on this beautiful sunny, winter’s afternoon. You can serve it with cream, custard or ice cream, and it is delicious hot or cold. We may or may not have enjoyed¬†it for breakfast in the past¬†for a special treat (but don’t tell anyone!)

Today, I enjoyed my slice warm from the oven

Apple cake

Apple cake.

Look at those big juicy chunks of pear, and the crunchy crust on top.

This really is the best apple (or pear!)¬†cake I’ve tasted!

Here is the cake ready to go up to school

Apple Cake 1

I hope whoever buys it will love it as much as we do!

Linking up with:

Too Much Time on My Hands – The Handmade Hangout, Milk and Cuddles – The Mommy Club,¬†21 Rosemary Lane – Share Your Style, Have a Daily Cup of Mrs Olson – Share Your Cup,¬†Domesblissity – Thriving on Thursdays, Wondermom Wannabe – This is How We Roll,¬†Sincerely, Paula – No Rules Weekend Blog Party, The Life of Jennifer Dawn – A Little Bird Told Me,¬†The Pin Junkie, Life With Lorelei – Home Matters, Shoestring Elegance – What to do Weekends,¬†A Tray of Bliss – Five Star Frou Frou, Tatertots and Jello – Link Party Palooza,¬†Raising Fairies and Knights – Bloggers Spotlight, Oh My Heartsie Girl – Friday Features, Strawberry Butterscotch – Saturday Shuffle, 24 Cottonwood Lane – Best of the Weekend, The Interior Frugalista – DIY Sunday Showcase, Nifty Thrifty Things, Love of Home – Sundays at Home, My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies – Snickerdoodle Sunday, That Recipe – Happiness is Homemade, Plucky’s Second Thought – Cooking and Crafting With J&J, My Pinterventures – Merry Monday, Claire Justine – Creative Mondays, Create With Joy – Inspire Me Monday, I Should Be Mopping the Floor – Inspiration Monday, Yesterday on Tuesday – Project Inspired, Lou Lou Girls, The Dedicated House – Make it Pretty Monday, Cedar Hill Farmhouse – The Scoop, Wimsy and Hope – Dream.Create.Inspire, The DIY Mommy – The Creative Corner, The Kim Six Fix – You’re Gonna Love It, Our Home Away From Home – Tuesdays at Our Home, Being a Wordsmith – Turn it up Tuesday, The DIY Dreamer – From Dream to Reality, Oh My Heartsie Girl – Wonderful Wednesday, Savvy Southern Style – Wow us Wednesdays, Simply Made Fun – Wednesday Roundup,