Hazy Days

Archives for baking

Herman the German

It all started on Facebook.  Karen‘s cryptic update about keeping their new male pet alive and hoping his babies survived was a sure fire way of sending my curiosity into overdrive.  Let’s be frank here – it’s not difficult to tickle my curiosity, but boy, Karen had me totally befuzzled!  Boy pet with babies?  Well, kind woman that she is, she put me out of my misery and kindly passed one of Herman’s babies to us.  Turns out that Herman is actually a friendship cake mix.  The idea is to grow the natural yeast mixture over a period of two weeks and then split it into 5 parts, passing on the other 4 parts to friends while keeping the 5th part as a starter for a delicious cake. 

Well, my kids were all over that!  We brought our baby Herman (dubbed Horace by Karen who creatively gave all her Herman’s babies H names!) home after our Cape Explorers outing and got going a few days later.  Feed, feed, feed!

It’s really easy.  He comes with instructions – and if you lose those you can always head on over to a website dedicated to all things Herman: www.hermanthegerman.com  Fantastic recipes, photos, trouble shooters and more make this website such fun. 

For the first few days, you just have to mix a little, add a little and so it goes.  The kids loved “feeding” our pet with some flour, sugar and milk – making sure that he stayed bubbly and yummy.

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Eventually, the day came to make our Herman.  Since we didn’t have all the ingredients on the original recipe list, I adapted it a bit and turned our Herman into a chocolate chip cake.

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It was a big hit with the kids – so much so I never did get a picture of Herman in the end!  Gobble gobble!

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And while the others were finishing up their school work, Kiera helped me make the Hermans to share …IMG_6937

A few empty ice cream containers made great friendship cake sharers!

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Herman is still going strong in our homeschooling circles – I’m seeing him pop up on our FB newsfeed as the love has spread!  And I got to taste another version (pineapple banana) at our last Cape Explorers outing thanks to Caroline G’s generosity – it was delicious!

So, methinks we may just make another Herman one of these days – there’s even a recipe for starting him totally from scratch.

Minichefs at the Mount Nelson

mini Minichefs

At the foot of the majestic Table Mountain is the equally majestic Grand Old Lady:  The Mount Nelson.  A hotel of yester-year’s grandeur and tomorrow’s pride, today it is a luxurious haven for overseas visitors and wealthy locals too. 

For most of us, it’s the Pink Lady – the landmark by which we follow directions into the maze of mingling roads to the centre of town; the building we point out to visitors as we pass by.  Today, it was Minichef Heaven!  mini and master chefs at work

A couple of weeks ago, Spatula mag together with Cape Town Kids offered budding minichefs across Cape Town the awesome opportunity to chef with the best.  Yip: the Mount Nelson was to be Minichefs’ grand and gracious host!  Under the expert guidance of executive chef, Rudi Liebenberg nogal!  It was an "Enter your minichef’s name into the draw and you could win" affair.  And so 12 little minichefs between 6 and 12 years old scored an awesome making and baking opportunity at the Mount Nelson.

It was a morning packed with fun fun fun.  Kitted out with chef hats and aprons the kids got down to business.  Under Rudi and his assistant chefs’ guidance, the children baked chocolate cakes, decorated them with a mountain of goodies, enjoyed a lunch of pizza and milkshakes and went home filled to the brim with food and a good experience.

You can get all the details of their fun and games at Spatula.  Head over there to get the rich moist easy chocolate cake recipe to bake with your own kids and see all the professional pics.

In the meantime, I’ll share a few of my photos from my cranky camera:

Let the games begin:

let the games begin!

That momentary pause in the frenzied activity of baking…

a serious pause in the frenzied activity

Not everyone was quite tall enough…

those little legs 

Serious business this, as Merrick proves.

Minicheffing is serious business!

Ok, maybe not that serious!

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Chef Kiera

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A dedicated chef – this guy has won super duper cheffing awards and is going places!

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He’s also awesome with the kids!

minicheffing with the master chefs 

Marina our official photographer extraordinaire. 

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And oh, oh, oh!  The results…

mmmmmmmmmm

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After all that hard work, the kids were treated to a special pizza lunch at the chef’s table in the heart of the kitchen.  What was on the menu?  Any pizza of their choice!  What privilege!  What adventure!  What topping delights will they choose?  Salami, brie and sliced fig, perhaps?  Chicken, green pepper and mushroom with sundried tomatoes?  What?  Just cheese and bacon all round? 

It really did amount to about that! Good ol’ standard pizza choices for most of the kids, with one or two braving more than one extra ingredient.  Dare I say that Katie was the only one who ordered extra?  It was the only one with green stuff on it, certainly.  Mouth watering slices of green avo.  Mmm-mm!

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Finally, it was home time.  (Not before scoffing all the wonderful delicacies on offer for the parental types!) Our minichefs headed back over the mountain, balancing cake boxes and pizza and …

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… a super fun certificate "we were here!"

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Not quite sure what to do with our FOUR chocolate cakes between us, Debbie and her boys suggested that we all head to the Yuppiechef offices to share our fare with the guys behind our morning of fun.  So off we went and did just that…

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What a treat for us.  Kiera was amazed to see that our beloved Marina actually works for Yuppiechef.  Not sure where she was when we’ve talked about that!  I guess little ears don’t listen to every adult conversation!  Nathan and Jake got to show their friends their daddy’s office – every kid’s moment of pride.  IMG_4743Micah and Sam were thrilled to be included.  Not too young to consume their sisters’ cakes with great glee or enjoy snorting like piggies from the delightful pink piggy cups (after downing the Milo it contained, of course).

Nathan took his role as chief cake cutter very seriously.  Well done, Nathan!

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Four satisfied Hayes kidlets – enjoying the yuppie fare.  Mmm-mmm!

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A lovely day, indeed!  Finished off with a play on the jungle gyms nearby and a lovely relaxed chat time for us moms.  It’s been ages since we’ve enjoyed such a solid day of fun and relaxation.  I felt re-energised!  Thank you Spatula and the Yuppiechef team!

More photos can be found at Spatula’s Facebook page and at their blog post.  Or head to my Picasa album to add your own pics.

Father’s Day 2011

With Craig jetting off on his first trip to the USA this past weekend, with the prospect of missing Father’s Day completely, we decided to move it all up by a week and a day.  Father’s Day 2011, for the Hayes fam anyway, was celebrated on Saturday 11th June. 

IMG_4416With some (unusual for me) forethought, I managed to hunt down a copy of President GW Bush’s autobiography, Decision Points.  Not having formulated much of an opinion about the man, given the media assassination he received while in office, we were pleasantly surprised by his interview with Oprah.  Neither of us watch TV aside from brief snippets when we visit my parents.  I like to watch some pre-recorded shows there and I subjected Craig to some Oprah one afternoon.  He is not a fan.  And that’s being kind.  But, this interview was really interesting and prompted Craig to say that he’d like to read the book.  Well, for once I actually remembered one of his throw away comments about a potential gift.  Loot – really the best South African online general bookstore around – had it for significantly cheaper than Amazon (and, I found out later, Exclusive Books).  With that all done and dusted it was time to organise the Daddy’s Day book:

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The kids had to think of five words that described their daddy in addition to the usual handprint, picture and little note.  Kiera gave her new cursive a go.  Katie was hesitant to write much as she really wanted to spell everything correctly.  I still love the cuteness of "goks" (jokes) "plaefites" (playfights) – some of her describing daddy words.   Sam had me totally cracked up  -  one of his "describe daddy" words was "useful!"  Always good to know one is useful, I guess!

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Thanks to Debbie ingenious ideas, we had a great plan for Dad’s breakfast on Father’s day.  Just that Thursday we had made amazing flapjacks (crumpets, really) at Minichefs.  Debbie added crispy bacon and biltong to the deal.  It was simply delicious, and the kids absolutely loved being so responsible for making a family favourite that our Daddy usually treats us with.  As per the last few minichef episodes, each child made their batter in their own bowls, with a divided recipe.  Head over to the Minichefs: Biltong and Maple Syrup Flapjack Stacks post for the full recipe, some great photos and a fun montage of my Micah Monkey who just cannot keep his little fingers from scooping uncooked minichef delights into his mouth!

Recreating our minichef fun in our kitchen was fun and chaotic and simply a great memory!  We messed around with some cream and nutella too.  Craig was stuffed to the brim when we eventually got to eating the dessert-for-breakfast fare!

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Our Nutella offering was blobs of nutella baked inside the flapjack, along with some cream and more nutella blobbed on top… Mmmmm!

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And our bacon, biltong and flapjack heart-attack on a plate turned out pretty good too, with each kid contributing his/her very own flapjack creation to the stack.

oh oh oh!  seriously yum!

Finally, after what seemed like HOURS, we rescued Dad from under a mountain of pillows to say HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

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Dad came and joined us at the table so that we could all eat the delicious fare together.  Here is his forkful of nutella flapjack.  Oh oh oh!  Seriously yum.  He managed only half of each plate it was so deliciously rich!

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Finally, after a few errands to run, we got to sit down and let Dad open his Daddy’s Day Book and gifts. 

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Here’s a happy smiling daddy who loves his book! (And had already priced it in Exclusives at nearly R400!  Again – I love Loot!)IMG_4389 

The rest of Daddy’s Day was Daddy packing and sorting and jetting off to the USA for a conference.  He is loving it there so far!  A whirlwind visit to New York before his flight to Charlotte, NC.  He has completely fallen in love with Charlotte.  I love that he is loving the US, since it was my home for a year and holds a really special place in my heart.  One day, I pray, that we all get to enjoy it together!

More of the Daddy’s Day fun (including some great pics of the kids for grannies and grandpas to enjoy) here on our picasa album: Father’s Day 2011

cupcakes!

IMG_3278 For the past two weekends, Craig has been in cupcake mode.  It’s been awesome for the rest of us, including Uncle Adam and Kiera’s friend who came over last weekend for Kiera’s first ever sleepover.  Craig had them icing, decorating and consuming.  And with the cold rainy weather this weekend, the cupcake fun was most welcome, especially with the roaring fire in the background.

The slideshow below is a taste of our cupcake fun (via my phone)!

Enjoy!

cupcake slideshow

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Hazy Days