Table Hammocks – Simple Fun for Kids

Table Hammocks 4

After having the kids home sick all week I was desperate for something to keep them quiet but happy and came up with this! A new take on the usual sheet over the table tent – we created table hammocks! And it was so easy and they had hours of entertainment – simply using a queen sized sheet tied over the top of the table šŸ™‚ (Turns out this is not an original idea – but it was to me ha ha – the joys of Google prove me wrong but happy to share my version :-))

(Please ensure that you take all practical steps to ensure safety for your little ones and do so at your own risk with constant supervision, Ā consider the child’s age, strength of your table, child’sĀ understanding and size of your child before you set this up please- I cannot accept responsibility for you trying this at home)

What you need:

Queen sized sheet
Strong Sturdy Dining Table (a Must!)

How:

Simply take two opposite corners (on the diagonal) of the large sheet bring them up from underneath the table tie them on top of the table. We tied it width ways across our tableĀ (which is approx. 1.2m wide) You may want to try a few times to get the sheet the right height – high enough so they are off the ground – not too high so they are kissing the table! šŸ˜‰ You will need to tie a tight strong double knot.

Table Hammocks 2

Once you have the sheet tied to a suitable height, take your little one under the table and teach them how to hop in – bottoms first in the very centre of the hanging sheet – then gently lay back and lift their feet, after a few tries they will be away! Once they are in they can pull the sides of the sheet out a little to make a wider hammock if needed so their shoulders are supported – the other corners of the sheet make a comfy cover if they want to snuggle down in there and pull them over like a blanket.

When they are ready to get out – teach them to gently roll out and come out of the table on their hands and knees to ensure they do not bang their heads.

Table Hammocks 1

This is one of those activities that is so simple and easy BUT you need to use common sense. My table is very very strong solid wood – I know it would not collapse under their weight and I did not allow them to swing when they are in there so they did not bang their heads etc and also taught them the safe way to get in and out. I double knotted the sheets and checked it from time to time to make sure the knot was still strong.

So my 3 loved it – we started with only one hammock and quickly needed to accommodate all of them under there – they took in a wee table with some fruit on it, books, teddies and dollys, even the ipad was played on under there. It made a special place just for them – somewhere quiet they could be and create their own special world. We covered the whole table with a large sheet so it was cosy and snug in a little world made for 3.

And it saved my sanity on a sick day!

Table Hammocks 3

Feel free to ask any questions if you are not sure how to set it up = but try it a few times first and see how it goes – remember the opposite corners on a diagonal on the sheet.

Thanks for stopping by to check out this quick easy idea for kids – I have more under the Fun Kids Activities tab and lots and lots of yummy recipes too.

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My Mum’s Vanilla Biscuits

Vanilla Biscuits 2

Today I would like to share with you a recipe from my Mum – I am quite sure she did not invent the recipe but in myĀ mind it may as well be hers! These cookies were a constant when I was growing up – the go to cookie recipe for any occasion and they are so so tasty. They are crispy, buttery, sugary and great with either sultanas or chocolate chips. A really basic recipe that takes no time to whip up.

Ingredients

125g Butter
250g Sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Egg
250g Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 cup of Sultanas or Chocolate Chips

Method

Preheat Oven to 175C.

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla essence together until smooth and creamy. Add egg and mix well. Combine dry ingredients including sultanas or chocolate chips and blend until all mixed through.

Roll a tablespoon sized amount of mixture together in damp hands and pop on a cold greased or lined tray. Press slightly with a damp fork.

Bake for approx. 13 – 16 minutes until slightly golden in colour.

Remove from the oven and after a few minutesĀ remove onto a wire rack or newspaper to cool completely. They will be soft when removed from oven but will crisp up on standing.

Vanilla Biscuits 1

Easy as that! Store in an airtight container and they last well – if you don’t eat them all that is!

I hope you enjoy this quick tasty biscuit recipe from my family to yours.

While you are here check out my other recipes and pop your email address into the field on the left to get an email when I post a new recipe – or also follow me on Facebook & Twitter.

Have a wonderful day, thanks for stopping by šŸ™‚

vanilla biscuits 3

Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding

chocolate self saucing pudding 9

I was given this recipe for Chocolate Self Saucing PuddingĀ by my lovely Aunty Marilyn when I was a young girl and have made no other version since! The ingredients are everyday basics you have in the pantry so this makes a perfect go to dessert when you are wanting something sweet and decadent. You are left with a lovely chocolate cake like pudding and a thick chocolatey gooey sauce, perfect on its own or divine with ice cream, cream or yoghurt.

You can easily whisk it up while dinner is cooking – pop it in the oven and by the time you have finished eating dinner its ready to go for dessert! Perfect for a cold winters evening, or really any time of the year as lets face it when is chocolate dessert not a good idea!

Ingredients

Base:
1 Cup flour
3/4 Cup Sugar
2 TBSP Cocoa
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 TBSP Butter (melted)
1/2 Cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla

Sauce:
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 TBSP Cocoa
1 Ā 1/2 to 2 Cups Boiling Water
1 TBSP Coconut (Optional)

Method

Heat oven to 150C

For the base combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking powder and mix well.

AddĀ to thisĀ the milk, melted butter and vanilla. CombineĀ ingrdients until smooth and creamy. Pour into a casserole dish or a large ring mould.

Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding 1

For the sauce, combine the brown sugar, cocoa and coconut – combine well and sprinkle over the base mixture until well covered and even. Pour over boiling water and cover with a sheet of waxed paper or lid.

Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding 2

Bake for 30-40 minutes – knife will come out of cake clean once done.

Serve straight away or set aside in fridge to heat later in the day with whipped cream or ice cream. The one photographed today does not include coconut, but it is just as tasty with or without!

Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding 3

I hope you enjoy this lovely recipe my family have been enjoying for years. Feel free to check out the other easy yummy recipes here on my blog and fun kids activities also.

chocolate self saucing pudding 8

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Feijoa Loaf …….. And Cake!

feijoa loaf 9

We are inundated with feijoas this Autumn,Ā we never know what sort of crop we will get from our trees but maybe the abundance of bees & wasps this year meant things did what they should!

Everything you ever wanted to know about feijoas can be found online – but here in NZ they are a pretty acquired taste – people either love them or hate them, and even those that love them do not always think theyĀ should then be used in baking!

Feijoa Loaf 2

As I received an extra bag of these from a local farmĀ  I thought I best find some recipes to use – and came across this loaf in a few different places online, no idea where the original is from but it has been around for years. I put my own spin on it and a few modifications to make it even nicer.

IĀ doubledĀ this recipe and made it as both a loaf and a cake with lemon icing – then took it to a few taste testers and the general consensus was the cake with lemon icing was nicer – but then my kids and husband prefer the loaf and both were enjoyed at a recent coffee morning.

It is best to use really ripe fruit as I think it will add more flavour – be generous with the fruit portions for extra yumminess.

Ingredients

1 heaped cup peeled and sliced feijoas – riper the better
1 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
50g butter
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, beaten
Walnut Pieces (Optional) I used half a cup, gave a lovely texture and taste

Method

Heat Oven to 180C

Prepare loaf pan with cooking spray or line with baking paper (I also cooked the cake in a ring tin).

In a saucepan add the feijoas, boiling water, sugar, butter and heat until boiling, then gently boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Feijoa Loaf 3

Carefully stir in the dry ingredients, egg and walnuts if using.

Mix until dry ingredients are just moistened, pour into prepared tin and bake. The original recipe stated to bake for 45-60 minutes – mine was done in 30, so do check after 25 minutes to assess cooking times in your oven. The loaf is ready when it springs back to the touch, and a knife or skewer comes out clean.

feijoa loaf 4 feijoa loaf 7

Allow to cool slightly then remove to a cooling rack. I iced the cake with a lemon icing which was a nice contrast to the delicate flavour of the cake. Was my basic vanilla icing, but with lemon used to moisten instead of water, could also add some fresh lemon zest. Serve the loaf in thick slices with butter.

Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

feijoa loaf 8

There will be more Feijoa recipes coming your way – this was nice but I am sure there are more around for me to test.

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter or add your email above to receive my latest blog posts as they come up, or check out the Sweet Treats Tab above for more lovely recipes.

Have a super day, šŸ™‚

Grandma’s Microwave Chocolate Cake

Microwave Chocolate CakeOne of my earliest baking memories is of this cakeĀ made by myĀ GrandmaĀ – well not so much the cake, or even if I helpedĀ make itĀ – but of the crumbs left in the cake tin! When you remove the cake from the tin it leavesĀ little traces of soft moist cake behind – and it is those little traces of cake crumb that are my most enduring memory of this cake – and the best bit is that 20-30 years later it still tastes the very same!

Grandma's Microwave Chocolate Cake 3

The next most important point to make is this cake cooked in 5Ā  1/2 minutes!!! So at any given point you are only aroundĀ 10-15 minutes away from a whole chocolate cake – forget tasteless cakes in a mug – this is real cake, whole cake, cooked in no time at allĀ šŸ˜‰

This was definitely trial and error – the original recipe said to cook on medium for 10 minutes – so I thought I would try 40% for 10 minutes – and well suffice to say I now know how to make rock cake!

So second time around I went with fullpower and 4 minutes – eventually cooking for a further 1 Ā 1/2 minutesĀ – each microwave will vary so I recommend starting at 4 minutes and going for 30-60 second increments until it bounces back to the touch and a skewer or knife comes out clean.

You will need a microwave proof cake tin – I have the original old ring tin but I see you can get them online and in some stores still.

Grandma's Microwave Chocolate Cake 1

Ingredients

1 Ā 1/2 cups Flour
1 Cup Sugar
3 heaped Tablespoons Cocoa
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 Eggs
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Oil
3 Tbsp Golden Syrup

Method

Spray or line the microwave proof cake tin (I used a ring tin) It does leave a fine crumb behind but you can always use a circle of baking paper in the bottom of the ring to avoid losing the top of your cake.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and combine well.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and combine well – I used a whisk to ensure it was all well combined.

Pour into the prepared cake tin, pop into the microwave and cook on high for 4 minutes, then check and cook for 30-60 second increments it bounces back to the touch and a skewer or knife comes out clean. It took 5 1/2 minutes in our 1100w microwave.

Grandma's Microwave Chocolate Cake 2

Allow cake to cool in the tin then remove onto a rack ready to ice once cold.

Grandma's Microwave Chocolate Cake 6

To ice I used my basic Chocolate Icing Recipe

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 heaped dessertspoon of cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1 – 2 tsp butter melted

Method

Combine all of the above ingredients in a bowl and slowly add water a teaspoon or two at a time until you have the desired consistency, I just drizzle it straight from the tap a wee bit at a time.

SpreadĀ over cooled cake and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Microwave Chocolate Cake

I hope you enjoy this special recipe from my Grandma, I was so pleased to remember it and even better that my Mum was able to dig it up.

For more Grandma Recipes – check out my Sweet Treats Tab, stop by my Facebook page or Twitter to follow my latest recipes or you can follow this blog via your email address above too.

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Divine White Chocolate Cheesecake with Berry Coulis

White Chocolate CheesecakeI discovered this recipe after endless requests from my lovely husband to learn how to make his favourite dessert – Cheesecake! I have no time for fancy ingredients or tricky techniques so after combining a few ideas from online this is what I have come up with.

It is a White Chocolate Cheesecake using a block of Whittakers White Raspberry Chocolate, but you can easily use your favourite white chocolate and it will still be just as tasty. And the couli? Only two ingredients šŸ™‚ I said it was easy!

Prepare it at least 4 hours before you wish to eat it – it will still be fine after a day or two in the fridge so I will not judge if you have cheesecake for breakfast……..

Ingredients

Base
100g butter
1 packet super wine biscuits

Filling
500g cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 Cup caster sugar
250g Block White Chocolate – I used Whittakers White Raspberry – yum! (You canĀ use less for a less dense cheesecake)
1/2 Cup thickened cream

Coulis
250g Frozen Berries (these can be any berries of your liking – Mixed Berries work well as a bit tarter – Rasperries on their own are a little sweeter – any berries will be divine :-))
1/2 Cup Sugar
(You can add a TBSP of lemon juice if you have it – I didn’t)

White Chocolate Cheesecake 2

Method

Crush biscuits into a fine crumb in theĀ food processor, add melted butter and blend well. Pour into a 22cm springform tin and press down well – for a thinner crust you can press it up the side of the tin or pat it down into one layer like I did. I pop this in the fridge while I prepare the filling.

White Chocolate Cheesecake 3

Rinse out the food processor or use a food mixer and combine together cream cheese, vanilla and sugar until it is light and fluffy – scraping down the sides occasionally. You really want the mixture to be creamy and satiny to ensure you get the best texture in the end so whip a minute longer than you think you need to.

Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in the microwave – heating for 20 second bursts, stirring in between until completely melted and smooth.

White Chocolate Cheesecake 4

Fold the thickened cream and chocolate gently into the cream cheese mixture until well combined – I used the food processor and just put it on lowest speed until just combined.

White Chocolate Cheesecake 7

Pour the cream cheese mixture onto the biscuit base and gently smooth it using a knife.

Refrigerate until set – ideally 4 hours, but can also be made a day ahead if required. This cheesecake is quite a dense one due to using the entire block of chocolate – but the texture is just lovely so I recommend keeping that amount but use less if you desire.

White chocolate cheesecake 8

Cheesecake is ALWAYS better served at room temperature or near to it – so if possible get it out of the fridge 20 to 30 minutes before you wish to serve it.

To remove the cheesecake from the tin – you may wish to gently take a knife around the inside of the tin and gently open the spring. If the cheesecake does not come away in places you can easily take a clean knife around the edge to tidy it up. It is very forgiving and tasty no matter how it looks! To remove it from the base simply slide a metal spatula between the base and the biscuit crumb and gently lift onto a plate. If you are not brave enough to do this feel free to serve it on the base – we are not Masterchefs, no one is judging! šŸ˜‰

White Chocolate Cheesecake 1

Now for the Coulis – this can be prepared ahead of time also and stored in a jar or covered container in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Add the frozen berries and sugar to a small pan and set on a low heat. Begin to gently heat the berries for up to 10 minutes. They will begin to break down and release their juices. Stir often to ensure the sugar does not burn on the side of the pan. Once the berries have completely broken down and you have a lovely juicy mixture remove from the heat.

White Chocolate Cheesecake 9

Strain the berry mixture through a sieve a few tablespoons at a time into a bowl or jug to remove the excess pips & pulp. I use the back of the spoon to push the liquid through the sieve, scoop out theĀ pulp bits into a bowl (*see below) and repeat for remaining mixture. Remember to also scrape the underside of the sieve to get all the yummy liquid you can! Stir in the lemon juice now if using.

Store the coulis in a covered jar or container and serve either drizzled over the entire cheesecake or on individual portions to suit peoples tastes. It really adds to the overall taste of this cheesecake and provides a lovely contrast to the rich cheesecake.

* If you are a clever baker you might like to save the pulp and pips. They would make a lovely addition to your baking if you are so inclined.

This cheesecake can be cut to 12 very generous portions or 16 daintier ones.

White Chocolate Cheesecake

I hope you enjoy this special recipe – made with love for my Husband and hopefully becomes your go to special dessert as well.

Thank you for stopping by – I have lots of other yummy recipes above in my Sweet Treats tab, you can also follow this blog by registering your email above left or check me out on Facebook or Twitter šŸ™‚

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