That’s a lot of cupcakes….

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Not that long ago was one of the most important moments of my cooking life- my first paid cooking gig. The order was for 60 cupcakes for a surprise birthday party. It was hard work. It was epic. It was awesome. I made six flavours, They were-

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Spiced Maple                                        Not-so-normal Vanilla                         Chocolate Heart Attack

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M&M Surprise

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And Banana and Cream Cheese, Chocolate Funfetti and White Chocolate and Raspberry.

The night was amazing. Everyone was wonderfully kind with their compliments. And the cupcakes were gone pretty quickly, so I think they must have meant what they said.

Here’s to the first of many!

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Notes from the Veggie Patch- Prepping the Vegetable Garden

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Lately I’ve been spending some time doing the garden. I’ve been getting it ready for Summer, clearing out the weeds and ever encroaching grass, which strangely enough never grows in our lawns, only the garden beds. I love the fact that when I am growing my own food I am closer to the source and I know what is happening to the food as I grow it. I love the satisfaction of watching it grow from a vulnerable seedling to a full, strong adult plant. I love that it tastes better too!

First on the list are the essentials- basil, rocket and tomatoes. The basil and tomatoes will grow side by side as they are harmonious together. I’ll need to wait a while still, but I plan to add beetroot soon too, as it is one of my favourite things to cook with. garden2

My little brothers and sister chose silverbeet, radish and zucchini which will be interesting to grow. I am hoping to harvest some zucchini flowers as I haven’t cooked with them before. The radish should be ready in a month- that’s my sort of plant- no patience required! The silverbeet will be finding its way into my Spinach and Ricotta Mega Ravioli.

Meanwhile, I am nursing back to health a sick and sore Orpinton chook called Ruby. She has hurt her leg somehow, though we don’t know how yet. Our other three chooks are Beatrice (speckled), Zoe and Pie (both black). At the moment Beatrice and Pie are both clucky so we aren’t getting too many eggs at the moment. We are trying to encourage the girls out of their cluckiness but they are extremely stubborn. That’s it from me for now, I’ll keep you posted with more notes soon.

Adventures in Caking- Watercolour Cake Painting

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So I’m still very much learning… but I can still share with you some of the things I have learnt so far. This is a really cool cake technique that I have discovered, it involves simply mixing cake food colouring, icing sugar and water together and ‘painting’ it on a fondant covered cake. It’s definitely just a cheat’s way, and please don’t tell any serious cake decorators that I do it this way, but it works for me.

I won’t tell you how to do all the fondant-y stuff (see picture below for why), there are plenty of great YouTube clips out there to learn this from. Shout out to PrettyWittyCakes.com for their awesome tutorials.

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Ok, seriously don’t be judging my fondant (lack of) skills. I have a lot to learn, but I’m pretty happy with this as a start.

Basically you just mix it, as I mentioned before, but you want it to be a very liquid sugar paste. Just add a few drops at a time until you get a nice texture that you can paint with. Don’t forget to add the colour. I used a warm gold and a hot pink, both Americolor brand. Then you just paint it on, no need to be neat, this will just add to the effect. If you are painting in layers like this cake, make sure you let the bottom layer dry completely first, otherwise it can mix and make some weird colours.

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The white chocolate shards that are on top were super easy too. I just smeared white chocolate on baking paper, top with another layer of baking paper. Roll it up into a fairly loose cylinder, set in the fridge. Once it is set, unroll it and let it crack as you go. You want this to happen so that you get lovely big shards of white chocolate curls. Arrange them into a bit of a pyramid on top and gently push them into the fondant so that they stay put. Try to avoid handling them much though as the chocolate is so thin it melts very quickly.

Nothing left to do after this other than dazzle your friends with you amazing cake skills and bask in their compliments.

Spring Green Omelette

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This hearty omelette is bursting with sweetness of baby leeks and is the ultimate in comfort food with the rich, creamy omelette base. My hint- when you pour the eggs in, make sure you swirl the pan and give a nice thin layer so it goes nice and crispy on the edges. This makes it easier to fold in half, though don’t worry if it gets a little messy.

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My favourite part about this simple, rustic meal is the sage- I think it makes the flavours absolutely amazing and brings this humble omelette to the next level. Best serve this with a cool glass of cranberry or apple juice to really make this meal sing.

This recipe is just for one omelette but can be easily adapted for as many as you need.

Ingredients-

2 eggs

1tbs of pouring cream

knob of butter

small handful of baby spinach

1 baby leek

3 leaves of sage

Salt and pepper

Method-

Whisk 2 eggs and cream. Tear up sage into fine shreds and add to eggs. Put to one side. Finely chop baby leek. Fry over moderately high heat in about a tablespoon of butter until soft and slightly browned. Pour egg mixture into pan and swirl to cover the base of the pan. Tear up about half of the baby spinach and add to cooking omelette. Season with salt and pepper while cooking. Once the edges start to crisp, fold it in half. Leave it to cook for about another minute, turning the heat down so it doesn’t burn. Once it has cooked to your liking serve on a plate with the remaining baby spinach. Enjoy! 🙂

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Joy in Simplicity- Kipfler Potatoes

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First off, how amazing are potatoes? You can roast them, fry them, boil them and chip them. I don’t think you can chocolatify them…. But that would be awesome! But best of all these is boiling them, a little butter (actually I lie, I use a lot of butter) and some salt and pepper- perfect. Out of every potato in the world, I would get kipfler potatoes. These smooth, flavoursome potatoes are perfect for boiling and roasting. These things were good enough already, then butter came along and transformed these humble tubers into something more than amazing.

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The simplicity of this dish is part of what makes it so good. You can just chuck on some potatoes to boil about 20 minutes before you want to eat. Once they are done lather them in butter, add salt and pepper to your liking, I personally like slightly more pepper than most people, and cut up some spring onions to sprinkle on top. Voila! Eat these little bits of deliciousness as soon as you serve them.

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