Tuesday 9 October 2012

Catching up with our buddies

There are many advantages to holidays: time away from work, the occasional sleep-in, that relaxed feeling you get after a few days of down time, holiday food, the excuse to eat holiday food and deciding where to start on all those half finished projects. But by far the most excellent feature of holidays to the opportunity to catch up with friends.
Our Tuesday Plunket group catch-up was always a welcome patch of sanity among the very new world of stay-at-home motherdom. Time to share stories, grip gripes, and celebrate milestones. Now that work has intervened, holiday time is our opportunity to catch up with our buddies. Even after almost two years of Preschool, Little Miss 3 still regards her plunket buddies as her best friends. 

As is our tradition, we put on a lovely spread to host our friends: Fruity caramel crumble slice, Sticky lemon slice, jellies, sandwiches, Cheese and prosciutto scones and chips and dip. When asked Little Miss 3 regards chips and dip as her favourite party food; a preference she shares with many of her buddies. 

Here's two of the recipes I made:

Sticky Lemon Slice

This recipe came, via my mother, from the Dunsandal School fundraiser cook book Over the Fence and Under the Oak Tree. It's a lovely book full of the school community's favourite recipes. Mum loves to accumulate cookbooks; she picked this one up at the Cafe in Dunsandal for no better reason than the quality of the book.

225g butter
70g icing sugar
270g flour
400g caster sugar
4 eggs
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
zest of 3 lemons
100ml lemon juice
icing sugar for dusting

Cream the butter and sugar. Fold in the flour and press the mixture into a paper lined slice tin.  It's quite soft, so wet hands are useful for spreading the mixture. Bake at 170deg. C for 15 minutes.

While the base is cooking make the topping.
Beat the sugar and eggs together until thick and creamy. Beat in the flour and baking powder. Lastly, briefly beat in the zest and juice. Be sure to scrape the zest from the beater whisk attachment, as they tend to get stuck and you want them in the mixture not stuck to the beater.

Pour on top of the hot base and return to the oven for approximately 30 minutes at 160deg. C. The centre should be set, but not bubbly or overcooked.

I had some oven temperature issues - too hot - and ended up with slightly scorched edges and a huge crack on top. Its amazing what icing sugar can hide.

Fruity Caramel Crumble Slice

I adapted this from the Caramel Crumble recipe in Edna Low's Recipes from Edna's Kitchen. Its a great compendium of a life time of recipes from this amazing lady's kitchen, all compiled by the Mid Canterbury Federation of Women's Institutes. Mum bought my sister and I a copy each of this useful book. It's my go to when I want to make something new and need a reliable recipe. I added oats and fruits for some extra texture in the base, and used the whole tin of condensed milk, as a half tin always seems to end up wasted.

180g butter
125g sugar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup dried fruit - I used cranberry, glace cherries and currants

Cream the butter and sugar well. Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder and the rolled oats. Lastly fold in the dried fruit. 

Press 3/4 of the mixture into a lined slice tin. Bake at 180deg. C. for approximately 15 minutes.

While its cooking, prepare the topping.

120g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 tin condensed milk
1/4 cup sugar

Put all the ingredients in a pan and heat, stirring, until the mixture is melted.

Place on top of the hot cooked base. Crumble the remaining base mixture on top of the caramel. Bake at 160deg. C. for about 30 minutes until the topping is cooked and the caramel is bubbly at the sides.

Leave in the tin until cold, then cut into small squares. It's a very rich slice. 

Our afternoon tea spread. All ready for our buddies to tuck into.

Little Miss 3 having fun with her buddies.  There is nothing like the joy that comes with spending time with good friends. Thanks for coming over today. It's always a pleasure to see you all!

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