We have been without an oven for six months. Six months! I kid you not! While waiting for a part to arrive in Australia (thanks to our inherited Italian oven), we have cooked pasta, stir-fry and risotto, and pan-fried or barbequed our meat. But the list of what we have missed is long - cakes of all descriptions, this blueberry scone, slices, rhubarb crumble, chocolate pudding, roast lamb, zucchini slice, chicken parmigiana, these chocolate chip biscuits, scones, baked snapper, homemade pizza ....
But last week, the oven part arrived and was installed by my wonderful neighbour - and we have literally been cooking with gas!
Annalise requested cupcakes, and we chose our recipe from this picture book - "Ruby and Leonard and the Great Big Surprise" by Judith Rossell. Ruby and Leonard are two mice who decide to cook some cupcakes as a surprise for their brothers and sisters. "It will be easy," Leonard said.
I am slightly biased towards this book as Jude, the author and illustrator, taught me in an RMIT writing course last year. And now I am even more biased after cooking her cupcake recipe!
This is a lovely book for kids who love to cook. My kids have cooked enough with me to know that of course, you need eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla essence etc to make cupcakes. So the instructions in the story are already familiar. Annalise tended to agree with Ruby - "This is almost easy," said Ruby.
The humour comes from the illustrations - gorgeous mice with heaps of personality who are cracking eggs, sifting flour and mixing ingredients. The scale of the illustrations - small mice trying to manage large cooking utensils - really appealed to Annalise's imagination.
And the cupcakes really appealed to all of us! The kids mixed up the icing - Tom's lurid blue is nowhere near as delicate as Jude's colours - but apparently it tasted good!