Just about all done

Every last little bit, 155/365

I now have only one thing left to make for my biscuit boxes and I will do that tomorrow night as well as decorating the boxes so the first set are ready to be packed on Tuesday morning to take to work.

This is just such a striking song, the video clip makes it more so.

oh little lights

The lights on my little tree, 150/365

My eyes are currently telling me it is time to go to bed, the cake in the oven though is telling me something else. According to the recipe it still has about 10 mins to go, knowing my oven that could be anywhere between another 10 to 50 mins. I can smell the ginger wafting through the house and oh it smells good. This afternoon I also made my first batch of peanut brittle – should have doubled the recipe but other than that fairly good.

I came across a link to this dress on some blog the other day. Is it not just one of the most gorgeous dresses you have seen? I would love to wear this to a party and the ballet and dinner and the shops etc etc.
gorgeous dress

Minestrone Muffins

Minestrone soup, the soup with many ingredients. The soup you make that uses up the veggies in the bottom of the fridge. Minestrone muffins, the muffins you make to clean out the “pantry” aka your drawer in the kitchen.

Minestrone Muffins

These muffins were made on my standard muffin recipe but my additions were not the usual berries but mint chocolate, rasins, walnuts and sunflower seeds. I was sure about the last three ingredients but wasn’t too sure how the mint chocolate would pan out. I am pleased to report they are very tasty 🙂

Orange and Almond Cake

This is the cake that I made last week for birthday at work. A very simple cake to make but oh so very rewarding. I remember the first time I made an orange and almond cake. It was a total disaster. This time though I had a cake that was moist, slightly light (thanks to the whipped egg whites) and gloriously fragrant. This recipe has two slight variations from the Claudia Roden recipe for this cake that made it famous round the world in the form of the orange blossom water and the separated eggs. I could just about have this cake every day with a cup of tea for afternoon tea.

Claudia Roden's Orange and Almond Cake

Orange and Almond Cake
2 large oranges
220g almond meal
220g white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
6 eggs, separated
a dash of orange blossom water if needed

Simmer the oranges in water to cover for 1 1/2-2hrs, longer is better as it means the oranges will be softer. Drain the oranges and allow to cool. Cut open, remove the seeds and pith. Puree the oranges in a blender. Heat oven to 180°C. Beat egg yolks and sugar until pale, beat in the orange puree, almond meal and baking powder. Whip the egg whites till you have soft peaks and fold gently into the cake mixture. Pour into a spring form cake pan, at least 20cm, 23cm is better. Bake until the cake has started to pull away from the edges of the pan and is firm to touch – it should take an hour, it may take longer. If the cake starts browning too much, cover with foil. Cool and then dust with icing sugar. Serve with cream if you are feeling decadent or Greek yoghurt if more restrained. If you are faced with oranges that are not very fragrant, add a little orange blossom water.

Claudia Roden's Orange and Almond Cake

To make the pattern with the icing sugar, I arranged strips of paper over the cake top and dusted over the paper.

movies, baking and a brass monkey

It is a Friday night, and I have just come home from the movies. I have quite literally walked in the door, picked up my laptop and gone back out onto the deck and I am not going to move till I have written at least one recent adventure.

What day, week, fortnight, whatever it has been. Work is of course still work and hopefully in the coming the weeks the stress, the issues and the hours will start to settle down. Next week will mark the turning of a new leaf at work with staff changes and I am cautiously looking forward to it.

Yesterday at work it was the birthday of one of my “Work Mums” and to celebrate I made the Orange and Almond cake made famous by Claudia Roden (photos/recipe of course to follow). We had planned to have it for morning tea but one thing of course leads to another and before we knew it was just before three and the cake had not been cut. A mimed Happy Birthday was sung and then there was cake. I was really quite happy with how it turned out. It does take a little time in the prepping of the oranges but oh it was good.

Today was of course a Friday and it was even Black Friday, it was also a day where we had 29 candidates in for assessment which makes it a very big day. To fill our stomachs, a morning tea buffet was arranged which was a very fitting end to both the week and a booster shot for the day. I made these little Persian rosewater and cardamom rice biscuits which went down a treat (of course as above photos/recipe to follow).

I went to see Easy Virtue tonight and oh it was a tragic delight. Oh the costume design was just glorious and the music and the wit, I did adore the wit. On Wednesday night I went to see He’s Just Not That Into You which was a pleasant reprise from the week. It was a good laugh, which also had some sad/true/real bits in it as well. Two movies in a week is quite bold but through Optus Tickets I have a $8 movie pass for Birch CC till the end of the month and I plan on seeing a few more movies between now and then, especially as a ticket normally costs me $15 something!

Last weekend I had quite a pleasant Sunday, Windsor Brass was playing what was advertised as Jazz, Swing and Show Tunes at Gregory Park in Milton. I arrived a little early and picked up a turkey/cranberry roll, an apple scroll and a ginger beer. I found a patch of grass in the shade and enjoyed what turned out to be an afternoon of show tunes with no jazz or swing. I had been very looking forward to the jazz/swing but the show tunes sufficed.

An older couple enjoying the music
Listening to the music

The Band
Windsor Brass

And a little video! Windsor Brass, play some James Bond

Finally I adored these rainbow pencil bollards at one of the entrances to the park, how cool are they?
Rainbow pencils

Tomorrow I have a Risk Management course alllll day with SES which should be at least interesting.

Wedding Morning Tea Cakes

Wedding Morning Tea Cakes

One of the ladies in Mum’s staffroom is getting married this weekend, so I made some suitably simply elegant cupcakes for the staffroom morning tea.

The chocolate cake recipe is from The Australian Woman’s Weekly cupcakes book

Double Chocolate Mud Cake
60g dark chocolate coarsely chopped
160ml water
90g butter, softened
220g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
100g SR flour
2 tbsp cocoa
40g almond meal

Preheat oven to 170°C (150°C fan forced). Line a standard 12 hole muffin tin with patty pans.
In a double boiler melt the chocolate in the water, stirring till smooth. Cream the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs. Sift in the remaining dry ingredients and the chocolate mixture, stirring till smooth. That is it. Then it is just a matter of dividing the mixture evenly between the 12 pans (I used a pastry bag as the mixture is quite runny) and cook for about 20 minutes.

Once they are cooled it is time to decorate.
I warmed some blackberry jam to use as the “glue” and coloured the white fondant to a very pale pink. On a well dusted silicone mat, I rolled the fondant out nice and thin, then pressed a Fiskars Texture Plate into the fondant to make it “all pretty” on top.

Place in a container and every so often open the lid a fraction and inhale the chocolate. Or you could just eat one 🙂