Last weekend was a long weekend and a busy one in my household and was spent catching up on jobs that had been neglected. Lately, I've been preoccupied writing articles and this takes up a lot of my time so the housework has really suffered.
We are also in the process of doing a front yard makeover, and had some gravel delivered. I spent most of Saturday spreading the 4.5 ton of gravel over our yard which was a great workout. I was pretty pleased with my body's ability to keep going and am very thankful for the free council passes I've been using to visit a local gym twice a week and I think this definitely helped my stamina. The yard is now almost done and when it's completed I'll write a post and add some before and after photos.
Sunday was spent catching up with the washing, general cleaning and tidying. Luckily I have 2 teens who are able bodied and despite their wishes to remain on the couch and watch music videos. After some yelling and a brief lecture on relevant English proverbs like "A job shared, is a job halved" and "Many hands make light work" they were convinced cleaning sounded like a good idea.
I decided that after all of the weekend's work, Monday would be spent doing what I wanted to do, and not what needed to be done. So, I spent most of the day baking. Cooking and baking is my happy place. It relaxes me and calms my soul. A few years ago I was lucky enough to work as a Kitchen Specialist for the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program and I have fond memories of that time spent teaching children to cook. The school I worked at was in a low socioeconomic area, and many of the children had limited awareness of fresh fruits and vegetables. This certainly led to some challenges as in fitting with the program's philosophy, the children grew and harvested the crops and then we used them in the recipes. We would then all sit down at dining tables set by the children and eat. Most of the kids really enjoyed it and I would encourage the children to try the foods, but there were always a couple of kids that were too used to their standard fare of processed foods who would refuse to eat. After a while these children did try the food, and even ate some salad! Which was a great breakthrough.
I'll never forget the day I had a 9 year old student came up to me and said "Thank you Miss, for teaching me how to cook. Now at night when mum and dad go out to the pub, I can cook my little sister and me dinner." Wow.
So enough of the reminiscing. Here is one of the recipes, I cooked over the weekend. It was a kitchen class favorite and is an easy and cheap recipe, ideal for using up any excess zucchini. You can barely taste the green vegetable in this cake, but it does give it a lovely moist texture.
Zucchini Chocolate Cake Recipe
Half Cup butter
1 and a half Cups sugar
Quarter Cup milk
2 and a half Cups self raising flour
4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
Half a teaspoon ground cinnamon
Half a teaspoon salt
2 Cups grated zucchini
1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar using an electric mixer.
2. Gradually add in the eggs, one at a time.
3. Now mix in the milk and vanilla, then add the dry ingredients.
4. Stir in the grated zucchini.
5. Mix well, until it is all combined.
6. Grease a cake pan, and pour in the cake mixture.
7. Bake in a preheated oven of 160 degrees for 45 minutes.
Let it cool in the pan completely, before turning out on to a rack.
When cold you can dust with icing sugar or if you prefer, cover with chocolate icing.
Chocolate Icing Recipe
1 Cup icing mixture2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1 Tablespoon milk
Combine all ingredients into a bowl and stir until well mixed.
Spread over the cooled cake and serve.