Sunday, 1 August 2010

I need to share something with you. An amazing giveaway at Tracey Lau Art and Soul.

I need to share something with you.  It is about Tracey from Tracey Lau Art and Soul  she has a wonderful and inspiring blog which I have only recently discovered.   Tracey has amazing talent for photography, cooking and styling events.

In celebration of her decision to turn her love and talent into a small photography and styling business she has an amazing giveaway currently running on her blog.  Tracey is giving away the fantastic  Silhouette digital cutting machine on her blog to one lucky lucky person!! Yes I know we are drooling already!!

To find out how you too can have a chance to win one, head over here! And to see more information about the silhouette machine head to this website.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

White chocolate mud cake with Swiss meringue buttercream and rose petals!

In the spirit of baking and what I deemed 'practicing' for making the masterpiece for my daughter's up and coming posh poodle party, I thought I better start trying out cakes to decide what I wanted to use for the cake and perfect my techniques so I am not stressed out with baking disasters on the day!

I am going to be making the FiFi Poodle cake from the Australian Women's Weekly Kid's Party Cake Cookbook.  The recipe says to use two packets of buttercake mix but I was thinking of trying to make my own and make it a bit nicer than a packet cake! I decided that a white chocolate mud cake might be good for the base cake.

There is a great cooking blog that I found awhile ago and I have cooked a lot of different recipes off there and they always work and I find it very easy to follow and usually quick and easy to make.  So I headed over there to Exclusively Food and was pleased to see that they did have a recipe for a white chocolate cake. For the test cake I just made a 20cm springform pan size so used the directions from the pdf at the bottom of the recipe.

For the icing I wanted to try out the Martha Stewart Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe and just made half the size that the recipe states.

I am an extremely impatient baker at times and everything also is on the run due to constant interruptions by my darling daughter, however I thought that this turned out quite well.  It wasn't quite cooked enough in the middle though when cut open but I was a bit worried about it getting overdone on the edges!  However despite that it tasted delicious!!!   And I really like the icing as well, not too sweet and nice and light.

Any other tried and true recipe suggestions out there for me to try for the cake base?

Swiss meringue buttercream with rose petals

Icing coloured with Wilton gel (pink)

Pariya rose petals

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

I heart french toast cupcakes!

We have a new love in our house....French toast cupcakes! When I finally got my hands of a copy of "Eat me! The stupendous self-raising world of cupcakes and bakes according to Cookie Girl" at work, Mackenzie and I were looking through deciding what we should try to bake first.  

Somehow we managed to agree on one to try (yes how did this happen...a Virgo and a Saggitarius actually agreeing!) and French Toast cupcakes were it.  Now my daughter Mackenzie loves French toast and manages to wrangle one of her parents to make it for her for breakfast (ie. me or my husband) and has the particular knack of requesting it on days you are in a rush or walking out the door!! Somehow though the little chicken manages to get one of use to whip her up a batch, so it was only fitting that I give these cupcakes a try!!!

And can I say success...everyone has loved them.  I made the first batch when my mum was visiting and she did not need to be asked twice if she would like to try a second.  The second batch I made to take to my workplace and I modified the recipe to be gluten free.  The third batch I made for my husband who had missed the first two because he was away for work.  These are definitely a winner and will be going into my recipe file.  Now the next time I make them I must remember to try and take a photo!!

And as my daughter says..."they really really taste like french toast! I love them!"

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Little softies

I have collected a few patterns here and there of little softies that I put aside and was determined that one day I would at least try to make one of them!

Over the Christmas period, I got around to whipping up a sweet little scotty dog for my daughter who is desperate for a real dog, but was happy with this little guy to play with for the time being.  She has called him Rex.   I got the pattern from Jenny, over at Allsorts.  You can find it here.  I really love her website, she has some wonderful things.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Picture Book of the week : "Wanted: The Perfect Pet" by Fiona Roberton

Late last year this new picture book "Wanted: The Perfect Pet" by Fiona Roberton arrived on my desk I was thrilled. Not only was this a perfect and timely book that I could take home to read to my daughter who had been pestering me non stop about her wish to get a dog, it truely is a delightful book!

The story is about a little boy called Henry who desperately wants a pet dog to play with.  In his eyes a dog that would fetch, play and do tricks would be his perfect pet.  Henry is willing to go to any length to get his perfect pet, although sometimes what you thought you need isn't really so.  Now I won't spoil it by saying anymore but just see if you can get your hands on a copy at your local library or bookshop. You won't be disappointed, it is a lovely story for both children and adults!

Monday, 18 January 2010

My precious.....Ruby, the Kitchenaid mixer

I have been lusting after a Kitchenaid mixer forever (I know along with everyone else!).  I was fortunate enough to use my dear friend Brittany's when visiting in South Carolina last year.  This only made me want it more! 

So this year when my December birthday rolled around and I cursed the double/joint birthday thing with Christmas, this year I thought I would use it to my advantage and put all money and requests for birthday/xmas presents towards my beloved Kitchenaid.

So here she is in Empire Red and I have called her Ruby. Isn't she a beauty? :-) Another bonus was she came with the ice cream maker attachment and extra cookbook.  I have been busy whipping up ice cream, sorbets, yogurts, cakes and so on.  Now let me say it was so worth it. It works like a dream. I totally understand all the Kitchenaid fanatics now. 

Random fact of the day

Most people know that chocolate is highly toxic to dogs and can be fatal in high doses, but did you know that grapes (and sultanas) are also toxic to dogs!  I did not know that.  Our dog used to like grapes and sometimes sultanas, maybe it is like a drug and makes them go a little loopy!

We had a visit to the library from the Animal Welfare League QLD doing a talk on Pet Welfare and they also brought along a 4 month old kitten Auburn who was looking for a new home and their own dog, a golden retriever who could do lots of tricks.  It was great!  Check them out if you are thinking of getting a new pet, they have so many needing homes.