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Hello 2011!

Wow it has been such a long time since I wrote anything here. We have been busy not only with work and everyday things but mainly busy mentally dealing with this terrible 3 that we have in the house. J has been quite a handful lately, especially after we came back from our holiday on September. Not quite sure what happened, but he has been so difficult lately, you know – not listening to anything we say, shouting, screaming, winging, always unhappy, always upset, not sharing, yes the lot! I’m praying that this is a normal phase that a 3 year old goes through and he will get over it soon.

So today after an episode of bad behavior, lots of screaming and shouting, I punished him by locking him in the toilet for a few minutes, so obviously he cried and screamed so hard – he almost lost his voice. I told him that if he doesn’t stop screaming he will eventually lose his voice. He was so worried, he told me that we should quickly go to the shopping centre. I asked why? He said because we need to buy a new voice for me… Oh bless! ūüôā we so love his innocence!

Is anyone out there experiencing the same issues as us?? J starts pre school in a few weeks time, I’m hoping this will be a start of something good and exciting for him. I have been talking to him about it and he’s really looking forward to going – especially to play with the resident guinea pigs in the school.

Aside from that – how time really flies! Can’t believe it’s the start of a new year again. I’m thankful for the abundant blessings in 2010; we travelled, we dined and wined often, we upgraded our car, we bought an investment unit but most of all I’m thankful for families, friends and neighbours for enriching our lives one way or another. I know that this year will be an amazing year for us too as Joe starts his MBA program the same time as Jay starts pre school, more travels and maybe just maybe another little one to add more chaos and joy in our lives. ūüôā

 

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More cakes!

September and October has been a very busy two months for me.¬† Mainly because I took more cake order than usual.¬† The problem with me is that I love the challenge, it’s very gratifying when the outcome surpass the client!

The only thing is that I still feel really guilty, because I feel that the kids seems to be left alone doing their own thing.¬† Another thing that make me super guilty is they watched me make the cakes and asked me a million time if I was making the cake for them.¬† “Ohh… very guilty!”¬† By the time it comes to Stella or Jake’s birthday, if there is cake order I ended up making something very simple for them.¬† I mean, the kids loves the cake that I made for them, but I know I could do something better for them.¬† So,¬† with that in mind, in November I’ve decided to give myself plenty of time to make cake for Stella’s birthday and in the process I’ve politely knock down a number of orders.

Here are the cakes that I made in September and October, and since our family is taking part in the Big Walk to raise money for PMH.  All the profit from my September and October cake order is donated to this worthy course. 

Simple Vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese and strawberry

Ellena's Totoro garden cake

...and it comes with flower decorated cupcakes

Alexia's princess castle cake

20 boxes of set of 4 cupcakes for baby Aldrik's 1 month

green tea cupcakes

Cars, Planes, Trucks and Helicopters cake for my gorgeous nephew!

Blue and red cake

Racing cars cupcakes

Boo! (3D Ghost cupcakes)

I am a self tought baker, cake decorator.  I am still learning lots of new things, and I must say, there are a lot of generous cake decorators out there who shares their tips and secret. 

Now, there are lots of people who asked¬† if cake decorating is hard.¬† Well, it is definitely an art I think.¬† It is hard but¬†why not get some fondant and give it a go!¬† It is a lot of trial and error.¬† Working out colours and position can sometimes take hours.¬† There are times when I can’t go to bed because I can’t work out where to put things.¬†

The biggest high for me is when I see people jumping up and down looking at the final product, in other word “appreciating my hard¬†work“.¬† And this is one of those cupcakes that brought me lots of joy.¬† It was for a 4 year old boy who wanted a ghost cupcakes.¬† The mum ordered the cuppies and when she saw it she was grinning from side to side, honestly, I can’t even stop her from giving me compliments.¬† She really made my day!

Here is my ghost cupcakes. 

If you are wondering what makes the ghost 3D.¬† The secret is marshmallow and allen’s ripe raspberries.¬†

Cover the marshmallow/raspberries lollies with fondant that has been rolled and cut into circles with cookie cutter.  Add some eyes and mouth (I used pen with edible ink).  And you got yourself a ghost figurines!

To attached the ghost figurines onto the cupcakes, I used a dollop of thick royal icing in the middle.  Make sure you use a thick royal icing, it makes the ghost figurines appeared to float.  I thought that was cute!

This ghost cupcakes is great for haloween, and a really great activity to do with kids.¬† Both Stella and Jake helped me out with sticking the raspberry and marshmallow.¬† I covered the fondant myself, just because this is for someone’s birthday.¬† But, children definitely can make this.¬† So, why not make some with the kids for haloween!

Yes, the humble bok choy = Rose.  Pretty one too!

One day when we¬†chopped of the bottom part of the bok choy to cook for dinner.¬† Stella who is ‘recylcing’ everything said “Why don’t we use this for craft?”.¬† I looked at it and went ¬†“you know what, why not”.¬† So we got some paint and¬†guess what?¬†We got this beautiful rose¬†stamp.¬†¬†¬†

What you need

Bottom part of bok choy

Paints

Paper

Dip the bok choy into some paint.

Then press hard onto paper/ card.

Paint the flower stem and voila… you’ve got yourself a beautiful rose card.¬† This beautiful card was given to Stella’s kindy teacher for her birthday.

Potato Focaccia

A month ago, Stella and I made potato foccacia together. Jake was out with daddy for his swimming lesson.

What I like about the recipe is it is very easy.  No extreme kneading, and the ingredients are easily in your pantry.

Stella did all the measurement.  She watched excitedly when the dough rises and I must say we were really pleased with the flavour and texture of the foccacia.  Out of the oven, crunch on the outside and chewy on the inside.  Super yum!  One thing that you must remember is that focaccia is best eaten the day you bake them.

Just to show you how fun and easy it is, here are some few pictures:  (It was a bad day for picture taking, we had sun, cloud and rain all in 2 hours)

mix yeast + lukewarm water

make a well in the centre of the flour

adding the yeast mixture to the flour

add mashed potato...

add 1 tbs olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 1/2 tsp sugar

first mix the ingredients with spoon

then get your hand dirty and mix until a dough is form

writting the time on the masking tape

at 9 o'clock

10 o'clock, almost doubled in size

at 11 o'clock ready to go to the oven

Here is the recipe:

(adapted from the Good Food Magazine)

1 potato, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes

7 g dry yeast

140 ml lukewarm water

300 g plain flour

60 ml extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

marinated olives, halves or sea salt

(If you are making plain focaccia, scatter some sea salt on top.  For olive focaccia omit the sea salt)

Place potato in a pan.  Cover with cold water.  Heat on medium.  Bring to boil.  Cook for 10-15 mins until tender.  Drain and then mash.  (I do this myself before hand, so it will be cooled enough when start making the dough)

Dissolved yeast in lukewarm water.

Place flour in a large bowl (transparent bowl is fantastic, so the kids can see how much the dough rise)¬† and make a well in centre.¬† Add yeast mixture. Mix to combine. Add mashed potato, 1 tbs¬†olive oil, sugar and salt.¬† Mix first with spoon until all the liquid is incorporated then use hand to knead it a little until they all combine together.¬† The dough won’t be super smooth, you will be able to see little bits of mashed potato.¬† But they should all come together and looks like a bread dough.¬† Cover with cling wrap and a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 2 hrs, until doubled in size.

Now, when we were doing it, when we finished mixing the dough, it was 9 o’clock.¬† So I got a masking tape and asked Stella to check the height of the dough and stick the masking tape on the side of the bowl and write 9 on it.¬† She then checked it every now and then.¬† Then at 10 o’clock we got another masking tape and check the dough.¬† Stella was super excited that the dough was growing.¬† She kept on asking what made it grow.

It was interesting for me to see her ‘play’ cooking with Jake afterwards and then taught him how to cover the dough with cling wrap and tea towel and she measured the ‘dough’ and put a masking tape on the side of the bowl as well.¬† She even told him that the yeast makes it rise.¬† Now that is education right?!

Preheat oven to 200 C fan.  Grease a baking tray.  Punch down dough with fist.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll to form a 1.5cm thick rectangle.  Using fingers first dip in the remaining olive oil, and make dimples in dough.  Drizzle remaining of olive oil reserving about 1/2 tbs, then scatter sea salt flakes or some marinated olive.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Turn tray around and bake for a nother 10 minutes, until bread is golden and cooked through.  Brush with the remaining olive oil and serve warm or at room temperature.

I took some picture of the cooked focaccia, but they didn’t turn out well.¬† It was chaos when Jake got home, both kids were hungry.¬† So forget about taking picture of the focaccia, nothing is more scarier than hungry children!¬† We had them with pumpkin soup.¬† There were none left!!

Jayden in Gumboots Shop!

Jayden (2nd from left)

Yay! Jayden won a photo competition at Gumboots, where 12 boys and 12 girls were selected to have their photos displayed in all Gumboots store nationwide! Thanks to Aunty Clara who took and entered the photo! I’m one proud Mummy and Joe too, a super proud Papa ūüôā

The wiggles cake

"toot toot chuga chuga... big red car!"

Made this Wiggles cake for a little girl who is a big fan of The Wiggles.¬† I made the car and the girl 2 weeks prior, and I am very happy with the little girl figurine.¬† However, I am not too sure about Jeff!¬† Stella went “I don’t thing that is Jeff, mum.¬† But your cake looks nice”.¬† Very diplomatic answer.¬† I can’t agree more though.¬† Figurines are hard to do!¬† Now, this time covering the cake with the ganache was a challenge.¬† There were bumps everywhere.¬† Can’t get it smooth enough.¬† I came to a conclusion at the end that, the cake is a hill and hills are supposed to be bumpy and uneven.¬† This is when¬†¬†– “Should I take a cake decorating course” question kicked in.¬†

Just came back from the birthday party and guess what?  The birthday girl loved the cake so much.  She kept on holding on to the big red car!  So that really made my day.  There is nothing better than a happy customer that appreciate the work that I put in! 

Once again, happy birthday dear Aleisha!