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Saturday, 27 February 2010

Saint Patrick's Day

Sweet Treat
Saint Patrick's Day Clover


I made these clover leaves because I thought they'd make good presents for people. As corny as it sounds, I like the idea of giving these to close acquaintances that you are "peas in a pod" with. Individually people are wonderful/creative/happy but together friends can share things and appreciate everyones achievements.

Don't laugh. I'm being serious here!

If you look up Saint Patrick's Day you'll see it's a festival celebrating the Saint's death. I know that the shamrock has three leaves but four fits better on the plate ^_^. I'm a graphic designer who likes symmetry---I can't help myself. So technically I can't call it a shamrock because the tri formation is a representation of the trinity. This is why I've titled this post under "clover".

So, onto it! This is a chocolate cake recipe from The Edmonds Cook Book. I'll put a reference at bottom of post. It's an awesome cook book.

Ingredients:
  • 175g Butter (softened)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 & 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup socoa
  • 2 Cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • Icing
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 Celsius. Get your ingredients ready and measured.

2. Firstly prepare the tins or cup cake wrappers. I'm using these miniature heart tins I bought recently. They're non-stick coated so they're a dream to use. Don't be worried that the St. Patrick's idea won't work because you don't have something---they look just as charming as regular muffins or the likes. Use your creativity and make an idea "yours". NOTE: even if your tins are non-stick I advise to spray oil on the surfaces just in case.


3. Put butter, vanilla essence and sugar in bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Below is a picture of what it should look like. I melted my butter slightly and used an electric beater to combine everything.


4. One by one, add the eggs making sure to mix after each addition. I used short bursts of the beater as I didn't want to over beat my mixture.

5. Combine your flour, cocoa and baking powder in a bowl. Make sure to sift to remove any lumps.
6. Now, slowly put this into your creamed sugar/butter alternating with the milk so it doesn't clump up. Be sure that the baking powder is in the mixture; my first batch failed because I forgot.

7. This is what the mixture should look like. Be careful not to get carried away with beating. The more mixing the tougher the product is.

8. Put into tins. I had a lot of mixture left so I made muffins as well.

9. Okay, so now put in the oven for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it though because your oven or mixture could be different to mine. If you are unsure, gently press a finger on the cake-let. If it springs back up then use a skewer and poke center of cake. It should come out clean.

10. Let the cakes rest for a minute or two before removing tins. Hopefully the steam will have helped separate the two. When removed, let the cakes stand until cold. When they are, cut off any extra cake that distorts the shape. I over filled my tins (a lot) so I had to cut off the excess. NOTE: You can only ice cakes when completely cold or your icing will melt.

11. I didn't measure this, I just made a guess and tossed everything together. Pretty much all you need is icing sugar and butter. Combine these with the beater. It should be smooth and soft but still hold its shape if left alone. Add some food colouring. I only used a small amount of green to tint the mixture.


12. Put cakes on a pretty plate. This was from a Japanese friend and I absolutely adore the subtle elegance. Put a little icing on the bottom of each cake and place down. This acts like glue and keeps everything in a general position.

12. When Icing, you can use a plastic tool (like the one above) but a knife is just as good -- if not better! Keep a cup of hot water beside you to dip your knife in (wipe dry before using) as this will soften your icing and help get a smoother surface.

13. I made a second batch of icing, this time a little darker and used a piping syringe to add decoration. I love love love to decorate!

14. Voila! Finished result! Refreshing clover petals for your friends and family. These were scoffed in a matter of hours so needless to say, they will be popular.

I hope whoever reads this, gives something handmade a go for Saint Paddy's Day. This is a time when you're supposed to be with family and friends. Don't forget to wear green!

Reference: Bluebird Foods Ltd, . (1998). The Edmonds cookery book. Hong Kong: Bookprint Consultants Ltd.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Uni Trends

Finally, we're back at University! I was twiddling my thumbs at the end of the three months. Shocking, I know! How could a holiday become a burden? Easy: each day passes and I know I haven't done anything. At least I managed to construct a new wardrobe. I've made five dresses, two pairs of pants, two skirts and a tulle petticoat. While I was in Brisbane I managed to pick up a few bargain pieces so I am quite excited to try wearing everything.

I had my hair done, my hairdresser did an awesome amazing job. When I realised a man was doing my hair I got nervous because the last man did a rather boring job that didn't elicit any excitement. But he was soooo good and completely understood what I wanted and even drew little pictures so we were both clear about our goal. My stipulations were a short severe bob that was green. It turned out better than I expected, so I'm going to request him next time I'm there.

Thank you Aunty Waltraud and Uncle Felix for checking out my blog. I will take your star sign advice and choose hot colours next time I go to the hair dresser. Also, look close in the photos--I'm wearing the stilettos that you gave me when the family were in Germany!

Heram pants are awesome for this summer. They came into fashion last year, but usually they are sold in a stretch cotton and muted colours. I made myself a pair as seen in the photo above. I purchased a KWIK SEW Pattern (#3701 find it here) and used a brightly coloured stretch satin that Lily got for me from Singapore. The pattern is relatively straight forward, though I did have difficulty understanding how the pockets were done. The effort is worth it though! Paired with a simple tank top and headband it conveys a artsy ethnic look.

TIP: when wearing potentially fattening pants wear a high pair of heels. Stilettos will lengthen your legs while putting emphasis on the delicateness of your ankles.

It was awesome to hook up with the "cronies" and find out what they'd been up to in the hols. Samantha looked sweet 'n' sassy especially after her hair cut. She's throwing off Twiggy vibes.

Thank you Wiggs for the 80's glasses! I almost passed out from excitement when I got them back from the optician with my prescription. I love the chic geek look and have wanted a pair for ages.

Nef and I. Nuff said ^_^.

So anyway. That concludes this post. I'm so happy to be back! I missed everyone over Xmas! I will post again very soon because I have a Saint Patricks Day idea I want to share.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Homemade Bacon & Egg Pie

Homemade
Bacon & Egg Pie

Ingredients:
  • 7 Eggs
  • 2 Sheets Flaky Puff Pastry
  • 1 Onion
  • Cup of bacon
  • Chutney (I'm using my own Plum Sauce)
  • Pepper or any seasoning you like.
  • Milk wash

1. Gather your ingredients. Pre-heat oven to 200 Celsius

2. Roughly chop the onion and bacon as you see above.

3. Spray oil in a shallow dish. I'm using a glass one which is heat proof. My dish is 21cm square by 3cm deep. Put the pastry in and mold into shape.

4. Start crackin' eggs! Be aware of egg shards, so I suggest examining each egg after you've broken it. If there is a shell fragment inside, use a knife and maneuver it out.

5. Sprinkle onion and bacon over pie. Using your chutney or in my case, the Plum Sauce I made in the previous entry, liberally dot it around the place. Season with salt / pepper etc.

6. Put the second sheet of pastry on top and gently press the bottom and top pieces together so the egg will be covered. Poke the pastry to let hot air out when in the oven. If you like put a rosette piece in center just for a cuteness factor. Brush milk on top to help your pie achieve that golden glow!

7. Put in oven for 30-40 minutes. Keep an eye on it though! A change in variables could see your pie cook faster or slower than mine. Remove from oven and let it rest for a few minutes before you serve.

8. One homemade pie! Enjoy!

Monday, 8 February 2010

How to make Plum Sauce

I made Plum Sauce yesterday. My boss got a box of plums from her neighbor but, being only one person, she didn't need them so she gave them to me and I made sauce. Voila!

Making the sauce isn't hard, though it does take some time. What's more, they make pretty neat home made presents. I've provided the recipe I used, but you can use whatever one you like or use a completely different fruit. It's best though, to use fruit that is in abundance because you need quite a lot.



1. Prepare all your ingredients.

2. Remove the stones and any imperfections from the fruit.

3. Weigh the fruit. I used 2kg of plums but adjust the recipe to the amount of fruit you have. Don't be frightened to use what "feels" right. I didn't work out the measurements, I just tossed it all in.

4. Put everything in a pot (no specific order is required).

5. Turn the stove on high and bring to the boil. I let mine boil for about fifteen minutes making sure to regularly stir so the sauce didn't burn. This is when the mixture will dramatically rise and bubble, so it's important that your pot is big enough.

6. Sterilise your jars. It is important to do this so that no bacteria can grow. It is unlikely bacteria could survive in your sauce considering the high acidity and sugar, however, it makes your sauce last longer and it's hygienic. Don't forget to do the lids! You can sterilise your jars by either boiling them in hot water on the stove or putting them in the microwave half filled with water and zapping them for three minutes. If you do the microwave method you must put water in and don't put the lids in either!

7. Once you've boiled the sauce long enough, turn the stove down to a medium/low heat and let it simmer for the next hour. Stir the mixture every few minutes. While this happens you can start your jar decorations.

8. Find some fabric. I used spare scraps from a dress I made. You could also use paper, cellophane or an old garment you don't wear. Use a soup bowl or something round and cut out as many circles as you need.

9. When your sauce is pulpy and looks similar to the above photo it is about done. You can choose to blend it so it's finer or leave it as a chunky sauce.

10. Use a ladle and pour the hot liquid into the empty jars. This is a messy and hazardous process. Be careful not to hold the jars. Before you put the lid on, use a damp cloth and wipe the rim so it is clean. When the sauce cools, it will create a natural vacuum that will help preserve it.

11. Put your jars in the sink and wash the sauce off the sides.


12. When jars are clean you can put the fabric circles on top. I used white ribbon to secure it and added a label that included it's name and the day it was made.

13. Finished!

Remember, once they are opened they should be refrigerated.

Here's some photos of Stef. She was my stirrer.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Mundane chores

Nuthin' much to report as of late. I've finished another (superly, awesome) dress. I plan on making a few more items before the term starts.

I've just just finished filling in an application for a student loan. Something tells me this year is going to be expensive and I don't need to be psychic to come to that conclusion. Hope it arrives in time because I must admit, I'm a bit slack in getting my application in. Oops ^_~.

Happy Waitangi whoever is out there! It's been quite spiffy with the weather et all and I don't even like 100% Sun Watt-age.

Well. That's about all. I really need something awesome to blog about.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Think Pink

I love this YouTube video...*sigh*...I was born in the wrong era.