Happiest Cake on Earth... Rainbow Doodle!

It’s not hard to get excited over cake. It’s generally delicious and filled with all sorts of fabulous naughtiness. However, this Rainbow Doodle Cake from Sweetapolita takes cake envy to a whole new level. Can you imagine serving this up at a child’s birthday party? I would imagine it would be received alongside a chorus of squeals, eyes-popping-out-of-heads, tongues hanging out of mouths, and
sugar-induced mass mayhem. This may just be the happiest cake on earth!

Rainbow Doodle Birthday Cake

Find our how to make your own Rainbow Doodle Cake at Sweetapolita.

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Summer Fun... Homemade Lemonade!

When it comes to summer weekend activities, I’m hard pressed to think of anything more traditional, old fashioned, and charming as making homemade lemonade. This recipe is one that we’ve used in our household on several occasions and is super easy for kids to follow.

Homemade Lemonade Recipe

Homemade Lemonade Recipe

First things first. Set up your lemonade stand using some old crates or a table {the more rustic the better}. Make your lemonade sign as bright and big as you can; think yellow paints on an old piece of wood, or texta on a large piece of cardboard. It’s best to choose the hottest day of the year to maximise your patronage.

Next, practice your cutest facial expressions in the mirror. You might like to take some lessons from Puss in Boots and his legendary performance in Shrek. When choosing your outfit, opt for something adorable with a hint of nostalgia. Play classic hits from the 70s and 80s on your boombox to lure unsuspecting oldies towards you.

Finally, charge said oldies 25c per glass for the privilege of sampling your citrusy brew, and then blow the lot on mixed lollies from the local milk bar. Mmmm… it’s retrolicious!

Homemade Lemonade Recipe

  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
    1 cup (250ml) lemon juice
    3 cups (750ml) soda water, chilled

Homemade Lemonade Recipe

  • Place the caster sugar in a saucepan with 1 cup (250ml) water.
  • Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • Allow to cool. Stir in the lemon juice.
  • To serve, top with chilled soda water.

Recipe originally found on taste.com.au.

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Date Night Recipes... Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

Welcome to the 2nd post in our ‘Date Night’ series, inspiring you to take time out from your busy schedule to spend with your sweetie. Today we’re pleased to introduce guest chef Christen from twirling betty. Christen designs and makes fabric accessories by hand from her home business in Melbourne and lives with her two little girls and a remarkably supportive husband.

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks Recipe

As chilly Winter weather finally starts to bite, I can think of nothing for better on a date night than these slow-cooked lamb shanks on wet polenta with sautéed fennel. They are relatively simple to make and the smell that will permeate your kitchen as they cook is utterly divine.

Slow cooked lamb shanks on wet polenta with sautéed fennel

Although I’m aware there are unlikely to be any more than you and your beloved around the table on date night, I’m giving quantities here for around 5-6 because this is just as good re-heated the next day and served on mash or couscous. Alternatively, pull the leftover meat from the shanks and shred it then toss with some of the leftover sauce through fresh fettuccine.

For dessert I’ve chosen a very simple Italian desert; Affogato. Affogato means “drowned” in Italian and this dessert is so-called because you drown vanilla ice-cream in hot coffee and liqueur.  It’s really, really delicious.  Non-coffee drinkers could use decaf but you have to use “real” espresso for this dessert – either made with a machine or a stove-top pot.  Instant coffee just won’t cut it here.

Affogato and Fennel

Recipe Ingredients

For the shanks

6 lamb shanks. Veal works equally well. The shanks look prettier if they’re “Frenched”  so just go ahead and kiss them passionately. Just kidding. “Frenched” simply means some excess meat and sinew have been trimmed from the top of the shank so there is a neat little bit of bone sticking up above. Butchers are usually happy to do this for you if you ask. As your shanks slow cook, the meat will pull itself even further down the bone. This makes a cute little handle if you propose to eat yours with your hands, cave-woman style.

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 pickling size onions (the really little ones)
  • 2×6 cm long fresh rosemary branches
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 cups red wine
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup redcurrant jelly
  • 2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
  • 24g button mushrooms
  • Finely chopped parsley, for garnish

For the polenta

  • Instant polenta (available at supermarkets)
  • Salt
  • Water

For the fennel

  • 2 bulbs fennel
  • Olive oil and butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

For the affogato

  • Good quality vanilla bean ice cream.
  • 60ml per person of hot espresso coffee.
  • 60 ml per person of an Italian liqueur such as Amaretto (an almond flavoured Italian liqueur).

Recipe Instructions

Cooking the lamb shanks

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius.
  2. Peel onions but leave them as whole as possible (unless they’re on the big side in which case you might halve them). Wash rosemary.
  3. Heat oil over medium to high heat in an oven proof dish and brown the shanks for a few minutes on each side until they have some nice colour. Do this in batches of 2 or 3 each so you don’t crowd the pan.
  4. Remove the shanks from the dish and set aside.
  5. Drain excess fat and then return dish to medium heat. Add onions and sauté for a moment to take some colour.  Then add rosemary, stock, wine, salt and pepper to taste, redcurrant jelly and mustard to the dish and stir to combine.
  6. Return shanks to the dish and cook in oven for 2 hours or until meat is pulling away from the bone.
  7. Wipe mushrooms and add whole (or halved if they’re on the big side) to the pan 20 minutes before the end of cooking time.
  8. Service on wet polenta garnished with a little chopped parsley.

Cooking the polenta

If you want to cook “real” polenta then you need to be aware that it takes around 20 minutes of standing over the pan and stirring constantly.  Nothing tastes better, though.  However, I think slaving over the stove defeats the purpose of a date night somewhat so I really recommend the quicker option: instant polenta. Just follow the directions on the packet. Very quick and easy.  Promise.

Cooking the fennel

Cut bulbs into slices about 1 cm thick. Saute over medium heat in a little olive oil and butter until browned and tender. Serve with shavings of parmesan cheese.

Preparing the affogato

Serve a scoop or two of ice-cream per person and serve at the table with a shot of 60 ml shot espresso and a 60 ml shot of liqueur. Pour coffee and liqueur over ice cream. Eat! 

Note from editor: I cooked this recipe myself over the weekend and it was absolutely delicious. It was the first time I’ve ever cooked lamb shanks, but they turned out perfectly. I’m delighted to have a new recipe to add to my gradually expanding list of favourites and would like to send a big thank you to Christen for her delicious recipe. I’d like to leave you today with a couple of new additions to Christen’s store, twirling betty

Twirling Betty Handmade Accessories

This is Christen’s gorgeous daughter modelling two of her new Autumn Sun Visors. They are both available from the twirling betty Madeit store.

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Date night recipes for you and your sweetie

Being a parent is many things; rewarding, challenging, joyful, eye-opening, mind-boggling, amusing, at times terrifying… but perhaps one of the biggest challenges of all is the ability to step back from the mayhem and take some much needed “ME” time. We’ve decided to dedicate this series of recipe posts to Mum + Dad and an old fashioned “date night”.

Date Night Recipes for Sweethearts

Today’s recipe is from the first edition of the Madeit recipe-zine and comes from the kitchen of Madeit seller Curious Lama. I made this recipe for the first time a few weeks ago and it’s already at the top of our favourites list. It takes a bit of preparation time to roast the pumpkin, but is easy to make and has turned out perfectly for me three times in a row.
Vegetarian Recipes Butternut + Feta Risotto
The recipe serves 2, and takes approx. 25 minutes to prepare. For those of you who are worried about the fat content, you’ll be as overjoyed as I was to discover “Josephine’s Danish Style Reduced Fat Feta“. It’s delicious, you can buy it at Coles and it has only 3g of fat per 100g {normal feta has around 15-20g}. You can also substitute the butter for olive oil with minimum difference in taste.

Butternut Pumpkin and Feta Risotto

Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • butternut pumpkin – half a small one, peeled & cubed
  • 500ml (2 cups) vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 finely chopped small onion
  • 135g (2/3 cup) risotto rice
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons parsley – finely chopped
  • 60g feta cheese – (handful) crumbled
  • parmesan cheese – freshly grated

Recipe Instructions

  1. Turn the oven to 200°C. Put the olive oil in a roasting tin with the garlic, thyme & butternut pumpkin. Coat everything with oil & season well.
  2. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes, turn everything over once. Once cooked take the garlic out of its papery skin but leave it whole & throw away the thyme. (Handy hint: whilst this is roasting, complete steps 3 & 4 of the recipe).
  3. Heat the stock in a saucepan until it is simmering, then leave it over a low heat. Melt the butter in a large, deep, heavy-based frying pan, then gently cook the onion until it is soft, but not browned. Add the rice, reduce the heat to low & stir well to coat all the grains of rice in the butter.
  4. Add the wine to the rice, turn up the heat to medium & cook, stirring the rice, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Add the hot stock, a couple of ladles at a time, stirring continuously so that the rice cooks evenly & releases some of it starch. This is what gives the risotto a creamy consistency.
  6. Once all the stock is added, taste the rice to see if it is al dente. It is impossible to gauge the exact amount of liquid you will need as every risotto will be a little different. If the rice is not yet cooked & you have run out of stock, use water.
  7. Stop cooking the rice as soon as it is soft but still has a little texture or bite in the middle of the grain. Taste the risotto & add seasoning if it needs it.
  8. Stir in the butternut pumpkin, garlic, parsley & feta, squashing the vegetables slightly as you stir. Serve with grated parmesan.

Serving Suggestions
The wine I chose to accompany this dish was an Evans & Tate Classic Dry White from the Margaret River {my all time favourite wine region}. You can pick it up for around $15 per bottle and it works well both in the dish, and to serve with dinner. We finished the night off with hazelnut gelato for dessert from our local Gelateria… pure heaven!

CompetitionWant to win a copy of the Madeit recipe-zine? Simply tweet about this recipe using the TWEET button above or add it to your facebook page {and then post the link in the comments section below}. We’ll choose 5 lucky winners next Wednesday 21 April 2010, and send them a copy in the post!

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