Archives for posts with tag: old school

Yesterday I made my love one of her favourite sweet treats…a very old school Kiwi kids recipe. We call them Honey Rice Bubble Bickies. I wasn’t going to post it here as I figure the NZers amongst you are probably starting to get bored of me posting recipes that you already know. However I had the recipe requested by some US friends, so I will post it after all.

The wife and I have been having a hard week, and so to show her a little bit of love I decided to make her a batch as a surprise. The recipe only takes 3 mins of actual cooking, so it’s easy to prepare if she pops out for a wee while.

Yesterday afternoon she left me sitting on the couch in the sun reading blogs on my phone, and went off to do some writing, which I knew meant I had at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time. When she returned from writing she found me in exactly the same position, in the sun, playing on my phone.

Little did she know that I’d been up, made a batch, done all the dishes, put them away again, aired the house (as the delicious honey caramel smell is obvious), put them in the tin I always use, cut love heart paper dividers, placed the full tin back up on the shelf, rechecked for any evidence, then planted self back on couch with one minute to spare before she arrived back.

So here’s my recipe for my go-to Sweets for my sweet, Sugar for my honey…

Honey Rice Bubble Bickies

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Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons of honey
125g butter
125g brown sugar
4 Cups rice bubbles

 

Method:

Put honey, preferably Manuka, into a medium sized or smallish pot (you don’t want too much surface area). Add butter. I like salted butter for that slightly salt/sweet taste. Also add the brown sugar.

Melt gently over a low heat then bring to boil. Once boiling turn the heat down to simmer but high enough to keep the bubbles forming but not bursting. This bit is the important bit! As soon as the mixture begins to boil, press start on a timer set for 3 minutes. Boil it too high or any longer and it will make the biscuit too crunchy. Too short or not hot enough and the biscuit won’t set just right.

While it boils, quickly measure 4 Cups of rice bubbles into a bowl and get a spatula ready. Also get a flat dish, approximately 20cm across and line it with greaseproof paper. It might be a good idea to get this all ready before you start heating the mixture.

The second you hear the timer go, turn off heat and tip the hot mixture into the rice bubbles and stir it in immediately. Use the spatula to get the last of the honey goodness out of the pot, seriously, you don’t want to miss a smidgen of it!

Stir well then tip into the dish, press down firmly with the back of the spatula, then cut with a knife after about 5mins once it has set slightly. Don’t leave it too long.

Air out the house as the delicious smell will be a dead giveaway.

Then fill a tin and hide it in full view on the shelf so your sweetie doesn’t know anything different. That way you can bust it out to surprise them at an opportune moment.

Perfect with coffee or a spicy tea. Oh, and kids quite like it too!

 

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Hidden very carefully

 

Notes on storing: Keep it airtight and cool if you live somewhere hot, so the butter doesn’t go rancid. Put paper in between the layers to avoid it all sticking together.

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Love comes in layers

Nearly every NZ’er has an Edmonds Cookbook. It’s the classic ‘going flatting’ gift that your mother or aunt or nana gives you. (Flatting is what my American readers would call getting an apartment I guess).

I grew up baking from this book. It contains all the Kiwiana classics such as Chocolate Afghans, Scones, Pavlova, Sponge Cake etc. I just stick to the baking from it though as the old versions also include some classic examples of cuisine such as Aspic Salad and Mock Chicken. (The book has had 57 reprints so the more modern ones don’t have all the same old recipes.)

The copy of the book that I use is extremely well used. I think it is the only thing I was given when my much loved (but tyrannical to everyone else) Great-Grandmother died. She was in her 80’s and named Beebee as she believed she was too fabulous to be named grandma when my mother was born in the 1950’s. I believe this book is from the same era, but it arrived without a cover so I don’t know its publication date.

She loved to bake and taught me to make perfect pikelets, fabulous scones…and today’s recipe…banana cake.

Now I realise this is pretty standard fare for us Kiwi’s, but for those who don’t live in NZ, this turns out  a perfect airy banana cake every time.

The recipe calls for it to be baked in two flat ‘sandwich tins’ (and traditionally it was sandwiched together with whipped cream but I always make it in a ring tin. I prefer to ice it with a tart lemon icing, but some people prefer chocolate icing.

However, I baked them yesterday as cup cakes for a very sad reason. A wee 1 year old boy from our small local community, was run over in his driveway and died last weekend. His Mum was one of the stall holders at our local Indie Craft Market, so the market organisers ran a cake stall to raise funds for his family. I thought cupcakes was the best option as they could be sold individually. So these were:

Banana Cupcakes with Lemon Icing & Love.

cakes

Ingredients and Method:

I’m going to cheat here and post a picture of the well-loved recipe here. Please don’t judge me, I have had this book since I was 10 and I guess it’s at least 60 years old. I’ll add notes on any small changes I make under the accompanying photographs.

It’s easiest to use an electric beater to cream the butter and sugar. I use Tiffany. She has been with me since I left home at 16. Since I already had the Edmonds book, my Mum gave me an electric mixer instead.  I still can’t believe she’s still going. (Tiffany, not my mum.) She’s my longest serving female cooking companion. And a cheap one at around $20 for the original investment!

Trusty Tiffany

Trusty Tiffany

I’m sure you know to use over ripe bananas to get the best texture and flavour. And I’m sure I don’t even need to say Free-range eggs do I now? You can make a respectable version using No-Egg (Organ is my brand of choice), and / or a margarine / olive oil type margarine. But butter is best if you aren’t vegan or dairy free.

Good NZ butter, free-range eggs & over ripe bananas

Good NZ butter, free-range eggs & over ripe bananas

I use Tiffany to beat in the eggs and banana and then set her aside to put her beaters up for a well earned rest.

A tip in relation to the milk (and yes soy milk works fine), when you measure the 2 tablespoons, add a little extra as you’ll lose some as it heats. Pictured below.

Adding about one extra teaspoons worth of milk

Adding about one extra teaspoons worth of milk

When you stir the baking soda into the milk, ensure it’s really well mixed into the milk, then gently fold it into the batter. Some people’s banana cake tastes baking soda-y and I guess they don’t mix it in well enough. But that said, don’t over mix or it will lose some of its lightness.

Folding. Gently.

Folding. Gently.

My lazy version of mixing the flour and baking powder together is to roughly stir the powder into the flour whilst it’s in the measuring cup, then sift straight into the bowl. Too much of  a hoha (annoyance) to mix into another bowl then sift into the mixing bowl.

My favourite sieve, only holds one cup but it's so cute :-)

My favourite sieve, only holds one cup  at a time but it’s so cute 🙂

Mix the batter with a spatula or wooden spoon. Make sure it’s 100% combined, but do the minimum you need to so it stays light.

Mixing gently...

Mixing gently…

Then either put in teaspoon lots into greased patty pan type ‘tins’, or put into a greased (and I usually put a wax paper ring in the bottom to avoid tears later), or follow the recipe and put it into two sandwich tins. This makes one 20cm ring tin, or 24 baby muffin / cup cakes plus some extra that I made into two small cakes for Joyous and I. Don’t overfill the holes! Just one teaspoon in each.

Batter up

Batter up

Bake as per instructions. You can tell this is an old recipe book as NZ hasn’t used Fahrenheit since the 70’s, so for you metric people – that’s about 180 C. A skewer in the top centre of the cake will tell you when it’s cooked. I prefer ever so slightly undercooked and just leave it in the pan for a around 10 minutes covered with a clean tea towel. It’s a fine line, gooey in the middle is BAD. Over cooked is blah. This cake should be moist and light.

Icing:

I used a basic icing of approx 2 C icing sugar (powdered sugar for the US readers), a good squeeze of a large juicy lemon and about 1 desert spoon of soft butter. It’s really a matter of mixing it till it looks right, and adding the lemon to taste. I like mine tart (so actually added 2 good squeezes of lemon juice.)

Sift the icing sugar first, not essential but makes sure there are no lumpy bits. Really I just wanted to use another photo of my sieve.

So pretty

Sifting prettily

Combine all ingredients and mix with a fork till stiff enough to hold together, but runny enough to spread easily.

A fork in unmixed icing

A fork in unmixed icing

A fork in mixed icing

A fork in mixed icing

I find it easiest to spoon the icing onto the cupcakes, then use a knife frequently dipped into a glass of warm water to smooth out the icing. Then I used my micro-plane to add zest to the top of the iced cupcakes and added organic edible cornflowers from our garden for colour.

And….voila!

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Ready to enjoy