Sunday, January 30, 2011


Olives seem to be a hit with toddlers - or at least with Billie and her good friend Henry. And fresh sweet corn is Billie's no.1 vegetable. In fact, these days it's the only vegetable she eats without it being hidden.

So when I offered to contribute to Henry's 2nd birthday bash his lovely mother Emily requested "some of your rice cakes, but with olives, no feta and you could hide some courgette". I wound up filling them with lots of corn so I'm not sure Henry was impressed -  and there were too many toy diggers landing in his lap anyway. But the adults were.

Phew. There was a fair bit of competition this morning - several offerings of savoury muffin-type things. Even one from a fellow food blogger, Morsels & Musings. Anna served some delicious salmon and dill mini muffins. I have to confess Billie preferred those to her mother's vegetarian rice cakes. I'll have to chase Anna for the recipe.

My favorite today though was Emily's gazpacho served in shot sizes. Perfect for a hot January morning. I'm definitely going to follow that one up.

Olive, Corn and Courgette Rice Cakes

Billie chills out with an Olive, Corn and Courgette Rice Cake

All the savory bits were followed by lashing of sweets. Emily made a perfect chocolate cake for Henry. Moist, tasty and light. She did extremely well as first-time cake baker. It's a recipe I pulled out of a cookbook years ago, I don't even recall what book. All I know is the author credited it with their friend Dana - so it's Dana's Chocolate Cake.

But I will call it Magic Chocolate Cake. If you come across another cake recipe that DOES NOT CALL FOR ANY CREAMING of butter and sugar, please pass it on. When Emily mentioned she didn't own a cake mixer - neither do I - I insisted she try Dana's Chocolate Cake. It's easy and extremely good.

Henry gets ready for some Magic Chocolate Cake

Billie had chocolate for the second time in her life. I wish I had a shot of her and Henry post-cake.

The Magic Chocolate Cake recipe follows the Olive, Corn and Courgette Rice Cakes recipe.

Makes 12-18

1 cup arborio rice - or other Italian
knob of butter
2 corn cobs, steamed
2 courgettes/zucchini, grated
3/4 cup pitted olives, chopped in half sideways 
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
generous grind of black pepper
6 egg, beaten

Place rice in small pot filled with water and salt. Bring to simmer and simmer with lid off for about 12 minutes or until just done.  Drain and mix knob of butter through with fork. Leave to cool.

 Remove corn off cob by placing length-ways on chopping board and slicing with large knife. Place in large bowl with rest of ingredients. Mix well but gently with large fork.

Spoon into oiled muffin tins - depending on cup size this recipe will make between 12 and 18.

Place in preheated oven on medium-hot (200 c/400f). Cook for 15-20 minutes or until browned.

Remove from tins and cool on wire rack. Serve warm or cold. Perfect picnic fodder.

Emily and Henry start the jam


1 2/3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
100g butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

100g butter - soft
250g icing sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
 milk to mix
 1 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180c/350f. Grease a 20cm loose-bottom cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper. Put all the main ingredients in a food processor, or just mix by hand (very easy, remember - no creaming). Pour into the prepared tin and bake for at least 50 minutes.

The cake will rise a lot and when cooked the centre should spring back when gently pressed, or a skewer poked into the centre will come out clean.

To make the filling or icing, place butter and dry ingredients in food processor, pulse to combine. Again, no worries if you don't have one, a wooden spoon and bowl will do you fine.  Add a dash of milk, mix, and add tiny amounts of milk until achieve a thick, soft, spreadable icing. Add vanilla.

Slice cake in half horizontally and spread some icing on the lower half. Replace the top half and ice the whole cake. Alternatively, just leave cake intact and use all icing on the top. Leave to set and keep in sealed airtight container.

Birthday Super Mum Emily and myself


  1. Hey Sarah
    what a lovely day today! the rice cakes and the chocolate cake were absolutely delicious. Henry and Bille (oh and the adults!) were certainly enjoying all the food on offer. I cant wait to try some of your recipes as I start solids this week with Isabel :)

  2. Yum! How good do those rice cakes look? Who would have thought toddlers would go for olives ... I look forward to trying them

  3. Hi Ali,
    Yes it was a perfect day. Let me know how you go with Isabel on the solids. Check the babies only page and older posts.

  4. so lovely to meet you!!! i can't believe we have so many friends in common.

    billie is beautiful. i'll make muffins for her anyday.

    and frankly your corn cakes were my favourite. with a glass of cold gazpacho, i was in heaven.

  5. HI Anna,
    Yes it's great when you can connect the dots, and the online world merges into the 'active' world.
    MMM you've just reminded me of the gazpacho, must hunt the recipe from Em

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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