Sunday, July 31, 2011

Child's play

Just a little bit of fun in the kitchen with Little Miss M.


I was all prepared for a mess, but Little Miss M was much too careful and precise.  
Except for tasting time!!


Enjoy Little Miss M!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What I love about "Flakes"

As in Cadbury's Chocolate Flake.

I can get pretty snobby, or shall we say particular, about chocolate.  I look for single origin chocolate.


I love gourmet chocolate shops, such as Sisko.  And seriously, with the chocolate from Sisko, one piece of chocolate orb, such as their Fleur De Sel, is so satisfying that I am happy with one piece.  Not because it is so rich, or so sweet, or so anything except so divine that you have no choice/want/need/inclination but to savour it and it alone.  I will not eat this chocolate anywhere except on my own and with no distractions for at least 10 minutes on either side of consumption.  The perfect treat after that 2am feed.


This is opposed to a BLOCK of Cadbury's that I can devour in one sitting (and still appreciate it, of course) on the go, in the car, while I'm walking quickly to a screaming baby demanding her next feed.  It's an anywhere chocolate.

So, while I can be particular about chocolate, I still crave the basic, common Cadbury's or Nestle chocolate.  In this instance Cadbury's Flake.


Cadbury's Flake, for all intents and purposes, is actually a very good chocolate.  Unlike other "common" chocolate , Flake has to go through a more intense conching process to achieve the ultra smooth chocolate that forms the ribbons that make up the Flake.  (As I was told during my chocoholics tour.)  When I want a sweet milk chocolate, I will look for the Flake.

However, there are some instances when Flake will just not do.

- In the dark, at those 2am feeds, on white bedsheets.
- In a moving car, with light colored pants.
- Whilst sewing, especially with light colored fabrics.
- Whilst holding a wriggly baby.
- Next to a jumping toddler on a light colored or any fabric sofa actually.  Particularly if it's not ours. (That's both the sofa and the toddler.)
- Basically at any point where you don't have your own two hands at your complete disposal.



Otherwise, it's perfect with that afternoon cup of tea and the fancy cheese and crackers.  Go on - I know you want one.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Choices choices....

Should I eat the orange or should I make an orange cake?  ORANGE CAKE, of course!!!

Now, should I make Orange Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, or Orange Cake with Orange Icing?  Hmmm - a quick look in the fridge (oops - no cream cheese) and a nostalgic feeling for those supersweet iced cakes from the supermarket and the Orange Cake with Orange Icing won the day.


Next decision - should I have a slice now warm out of the oven, or should I let it cool, ice it and then have a slice?  BOTH!!!



The recipe can be found here.  I added a couple of drops of Orange Oil in the frosting as my orange was not orange-y enough.

Citrusy, moist, and extra yummy with some Girly Grey Tea (from T2).  Perfect morning tea.  Now what to do for afternoon tea...

If you want to make the Orange Poppy Seed cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, then just add 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds to the cake recipe above.  And to make the cream cheese frosting, you can use this...  (I don't usually measure out the icing sugar but add bit by bit to taste)
60g cream cheese
30g soft butter
1 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar

Enjoy!!

For more baking inspirations, head on over to A Spoonful Of Sugar Designs

Saturday, July 23, 2011

From across the world

From my generous and talented sister.
 

J - this is beautiful!!!  And so well made - I can't believe that you made this yourself.  I love the color!!

C asked - is there anything that J tries and is not good at?  

And thanks for the extras as well.  


Oh - what can I make for you?!?  I don't think my pound cake or cupcakes will travel well.

Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  And I love you!!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A quick one...

What am I thankful for today?  Apologies in advance for some of the blurry photos.

A sleeping baby...



A well-stocked pantry...



A toddler at day care...






My expensive-better-put-it-to-good-use sewing machine...



That all allowed me to whip these up today...

A purse for Little Miss M; a birthday present for a lovely little girl; and a "food" purse for the food money.

I love my kids, but sometimes I have things to do!!!

Gotta run.  Got a few more things to do before bubs wakes up.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Awakening Senses

My senses have been on the dull side of late.  New baby sleep deprived numbness...?  All I know is that, while I know that something is funny, or enjoyable, or delicious, the feeling that is supposed to go along with that is there but somewhat muted.

Until this...

I made a Sour Cream Pound Cake.  I had some sour cream that needed to be used up and I found this recipe - Grandmother Paula's Sour Cream Pound Cake.

Easy to make; ingredients were few and on hand; nothing fancy really.  And so I made it (only half the quantity of the recipe).  And after worriedly looking on for over 1 hour and 20 minutes (which is a long time to bake something compared to mini cupcakes and cookies), this is what came out.  



Looks ok (if a little ugly) - plain and simple, like the recipe reads.  I mean, what can you expect from 7 basic pantry ingredients?  I was thinking that I might need to quickly make an icing to "dress it up".  But in the end, I decided not to and...

... oh my goodness - this was GOOD!!!  A sweet crunchy crust surrounding a moist, dense, but surprisingly light buttery cake.  Wonderful when warm.  Comforting when cold.  And HEAVENLY, just heavenly when coupled with a soothing cup of tea.  My taste buds jumped to attention; my eyes rolled back in pure delight; my body relaxed and released all tension... my senses had been shocked awake by this deceptively simple cake.  Numbness and fogginess lifted.

By the way - I reduced the sugar by about a third without any detrimental effect as far as I could tell. 

What baking have you done?  For more baking inspirations, head on over to A Spoonful of Sugar Designs

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Could this be the reason?

That Baby M was 4 weeks early...?

On the evening that my waters broke, I was working on this little blanket.  No - my waters did not break onto the blanket, this was my evening work and the waters happened closer to midnight :)



But, I was on my hands and knees working on this in the evening.  Apparently, being on your hands and knees is a good way to get the baby into an ideal birthing position.  Old wives tale says to mop the floor on your hands and knees while you are pregnant.  I think this is an old HUSBANDS tale - a way to keep the little woman working even if she is 8 months heavily pregnant!!!  Hahaha - what do you think?

Anyways, Happy Birthday Master J!  I hope you and your momma find lots of cuddles under the blanket while you read books together.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What I love about "baby wearing"

Thankful Thursday again!!!  And today, I am thankful for having discovered Babywearing.  And here are some reasons why...

- Stroller-free travelling, especially in Venice
Imagine chasing after this happy cherub with a stroller - through the plazas
 ... over the canals...
 ... and up and down those steps!


- Keeping each other company 


- Keeping each other warm


- Being able to "just get on with it"


- Upping the "cool" factor (I mean who doesn't look good with a baby strapped to their body?)
How is your Thursday looking?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days Cupcakes

I have seriously tried to limit the number of cookbooks in my bookshelf.  Not only is the internet a major source of information (and free at that!), but we just don't have the space.

However, there are a few cookbooks that I love having on hand, in person, ready to be flicked through at a moments notice.  And this book - the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days - is fast becoming one of those books.  I love it even more so as it was a "just because" present from my Dear Husband :)



The cover is textured and PINK.  Not just a pastel pretty pink, but a bright-in-your-face PINK!!  There's no mistaking the market for this cookbook.  And the rest of the book follows in its bold use of colors. 

This cookbook, for me, provides inspiration by way of baking, photography, and food styling.  Much progress on the first one, not so much on the last two.. oh well, so let's talk about the baking.

So far, I've tried two basic recipes - the vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting and the chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting.  I figure if the basics are right then the rest will follow.

And how right they are...



The cupcakes are made using a methodology different to what I am used to.  The recipes do not start with creaming the butter and sugar together, but with the mixing of the dry ingredients to which the wet ingredients are added.  Not only is this method simple and quick, but it produces a beautiful light, fluffy and moist cupcake base.  And the batter - seriously, I could forego the baking and just drink the chocolate cupcake batter.  It is seriously yum.  

While the cupcakes taste wonderful on their own (says she who manages to devour 5 mini cupcakes before they've even cooled down), the frosting really adds that beyond-homemade-heading-towards-cupcake-bakery feeling.  It is good...

The frosting is light and airy and just melts in your mouth.  And the chocolate frosting is dark, delicious and utterly decadent.  Perfect.



My modifications to the recipes has been to reduce the sugar, in both the cupcake and the frosting.  This reduction in sugar did not have a detrimental effect on the final product as far as I could tell.  Oh yes, as always, I made mini cupcakes for better portion control (again, says she who ate a few more cupcakes to taste with the frosting.  Ahem, the portion control is for Little Miss M).

I first tried the vanilla cupcake with the vanilla frosting.  No photos because I was so disgusted with the frosting colors I ended up with. 
Second, and as pictured, the chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting.  The recipe yielded 56 mini cupcakes but probably could have given over 60 if I hadn't eaten all of that batter!

I definitely will be making both of these cupcakes again as well as trying out some of the other recipes.

But for now, I think I'll head on out with Baby M for a walk and very-crisp-fresh air.  Rug up little one!!




Have you done any baking this week?  Head on over to A Spoonful of Sugar Designs for more baking inspirations!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ribbit...


10,000 stitches frogged.

To be replaced by 2800 stitches.

Sleep deprived mistake.

Now a mess next to my bed.

No longer a portable project.

AAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What I love about "the internet"

What am I thankful for today?  The internet... following are some of my favourite websites and the initial hooks that reeled me in.

Our Best Bites - dinner rolls plus other foodie ideas
Sorry about the colors - I have only made these for dinner, so the lighting is not ideal... nor are my photography skills!!

Katrina Higham - best pancakes/pikelets recipe

Nicole Mallalieu Design - sewing tips and other blogs

Vintage Ric Rac - hilarity and creativity.  Being crafty does not mean you can't be naughty...

Imagine wearing this to your ob-gyn appointment.
Or, for that romantic night with the hubby, you could wear this 
Or, when you think you might have a Marilyn Monroe moment, this should do the trick!

And I also shed a tear over Baxter's story... check it out - talented, creative, heart-warming and hilarious.

I love the way this blogger's mind works!!

Ravelry - a wonderful knitting community inspiring new knitters to produce things like this
and this

And my latest find...
A Spoonful of Sugar Designs - for "the finishing touch" inspiration (as well as project and baking inspiration).  I'm loving their posted Choc Chip Muffins recipe at the moment.  My first muffin attempt and they freeze (and defrost) really well.

Do you use "the internet" for inspiration?  (Hehe - the rabbit ears are a bit much, but it feels like something is missing if I don't include it).