Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Moshi Monster Easter Bonnet

Anyone want to see my Moshi Monster Easter bonnet?

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Moshi Monster Sugarpaste creations

Yes, I am officially hooked on creating little sugarpaste characters. So armed with my packs of Renshaw Sugarpaste from www.lakeland.co.uk I set about making some little Moshi Monsters characters. I plan on making about 6 other characters and then make a birthday cake using them. I am so pleased with how they turned out though that I had to share them!

LinkFor more info please visit www.lakeland.co.uk

Edible Book Festival: Alice in Wonderland Cupcakes

It was with some trepidation that I set about my second entry for the Edible Book Festival. For years I have wanted to do sugarcraft but after buying a copy of Debbie Brown's Character Cakes book, a block of sugarpaste and navy colouring paste, I swiftly gave up. My hands were stained for days, let alone the work surfaces; and as for the sugarpaste I was trying to colour; it dissolved! That put me off for a few years, so when Lakeland offered me the chance to review some of their Sugarpaste products I quickly took them up on it.

My entry was obviously based on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

The products I used were:
Cool Coloured Sugardough £3.29 - This was incredibly easy to roll and mould, the colours were bright and vibrant and it was as simple to sculpt with as clay.

Funky Flavoured Sugardough £2.49 was my absolute favourite though because it made my mouth water when I was sculpting with it because it smelt so delicious. It smelt a bit like Opal Fruits used to smell. Amazing!

I also used a few various colours from the Renshaw brand. Renshaw is one of the top brands in the sugarcraft business and rightly so, it comes in a wide range of colours and is really easy to work with. I loved the mini-packs that I used above though, as they were the perfect amount to use for cupcakes. They allowed me to create delicious cupcakes that were very visually appealing due to the vast range of colours that I was able to incorporate. The price for these packs are really good too.

So with these packs in hand I set about my challenge. I didn't really know what I was doing but I made sure I kneaded the dough properly to avoid cracking and I pretty much treated the dough like Plasticine. I had some failures which I will know how to improve on next time, such as Alice's legs. I needed to paint her shoes on as opposed to drawing them on with edible pen as the pressure made her legs wilt and caused them to take on a grainy look. Next time I will also use edible gold paint to paint around the clock face.

I was armed with a blog post http://www.notquitenigella.com/2010/05/05/alice-in-wonderland-cupcakes-10-tips-for-cupcake-decorating-from-planet-cake/ and just tried to develop the characters from the pictures.

I'm very pleased with how they turned out and this has led me in to the wonderful world of sugarcraft! I am so excited to continue my journey in this wonderful world; instilling life in to beautiful little sugarcraft creatures!

I love how quirky each cupcake became. I hope you love these cakes as much as I do!

Please continue reading my blog posts on future cake decorating ventures.

For more info on where to get the products please visit www.lakeland.co.uk

Edible Book Festival: Aliens Love Underpants

I have been excitedly waiting to write this post from the minute I finished my creation, but the rules for the competition stated that you were required to wait until the 26th March before you created and linked up your post to remain anonymous to the judges. Anyway, here I am and feeling rather excited....

One of our favourite books is 'Aliens Love Underpants' and so when I first heard the novel idea of an Edible Book Festival it seemed only natural that my creation would be centred around this. (So please take note of the book cover above).

Here is my creation which I am really rather proud of. The best part about it was that my three year old son ate every bit of it. Admittedly this took a little while to create, but it was thoroughly enjoyable.

If you would like to know where I got my inspiration from for this creation, then please go and visit www.funkylunch.com

Since learning about Funky Lunch my son has excitedly requested different creations at each lunchtime and I have had the pleasure of creating them for him. I love it because it gives me a chance to be creative and the look on his face when I finish makes every minute spent making the sandwich worthwhile. And better than that every last bit gets eaten.

Here are some of my Funky Lunch creations:

So I was delighted to be given the opportunity to create my own "Funky Lunch" idea when I heard of the Edible Book Festival.

Keeping the 'Aliens Love Underpants' book by my side for reference I made the bodies of the aliens with ham sandwiches cut with circle cookie cutters. (If you are going to become a Funky Lunch fan then I strongly recommend investing in some cookie cutters.)

I then covered the one alien in strips of carrots to make him orange and decorated him with cheese, cucumber and red pepper. The other alien was also decorated with cheese, red pepper and cucumber.

I then cut the stars out of processed cheese using a mini star cutter, and a rocket shape with a rocket cutter. I cut out a semi-circle shape and added some holes for the moon.

And there you have it! I am looking forward to turning more books in to things you can eat in the future!

If you would like to get your hands on the wonderful book I have above, then please visit www.funkylunch.com

If you would like more info on 'Aliens Love Underpants' please visit http://www.aliensloveunderpants.com/

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Review: Everything Alice - The Wonderland book of makes by Hannah Read Baldrey & Christine Leech

Lost in a creative land of designing an Easter bonnet for my children, I began to realise the beauty of art and craft. Especially in this day and age when after finishing a piece you can upload your finished piece to the Internet for admiration and constructive criticism. It is so rewarding......

I gleaned so much pleasure from producing something novel and that in my mind was not only a beautiful piece of art but served as something educational for my children that I wanted to complete more projects that would bring books to life. My Humpty Dumpty Easter bonnet (above) was a lovely way to bring the character to life for my three year old, and many characteristics I gave to him were ones which I imagined of Moonface from Enid Blyton's 'The Faraway Tree.'

I began to browse the Internet for some books to give me some creative inspiration. I had also just finished making Alice in Wonderland cupcakes which I will do a separate blog post about but when I laid my eyes on the 'Everything Alice' book I knew that I had to have this book.

The authors of the book are people after my own heart and what they have achieved in writing this book is amazing! Their creativity is endless and this shows in the wide variation of projects in the book.

I have many craft books, but usually I use them as reference, this book was on a different level. It was so delightful to look at that I spent a happy half an hour with my three year old looking at all the interesting and inspiring pages and then another two hours browsing the book myself.

The first few pages offer an intriguing look at the lives of the authors and what prompted them to write the book. The pages are light-hearted and yet contain enough enthusiasm in the words to prompt you to want to try the many enchanted projects that have been created by the authors. And that is in fact what I will be doing over the coming months; recreating many of the projects from the book.

I loved the fascinating photography in the book, and I adored the Alice in Wonderland quotes and illustrations dispersed throughout the book. But my favourite part of the book has to be the wild variation of projects, each do-able and very appealing. Creations that would look fantastic in any book-lovers home!

I have photographed a few wonderful pages for you to get a feel for the book:
The Red Velvet Cupcakes were something quirky and new to me, and that's what I love about this book; a constant source of new ideas.
I've tried my hand at many crafts but I'm ashamed to say I've done hardly any sewing, so I think it's great that the authors of this book don't expect you to have a knowledge of the crafts and break down each craft with easy to follow photograph step-by-steps as well as easy to follow written instructions.

And if these adorable projects don't make you want to get in to sewing, I don't know what will! Amazingly cute!
So much thought has been put in to providing a variation of crafts; you have cake decorating, egg decorating, sewing, baking, jewellery-making, candle-making etc. I feel rather like the Mad Hatter as I could ramble on about this fantastic book for some time.
I have gained so much from this book. I feel that this book has given me enough inspiration to turn Alice in Wonderland in to a book that you are able to touch, taste and see! Not many books can boast that! And if that isn't enough there is a whole section of links and addresses at the back of the book where you can have more Alice in Wonderland fun, from museums, tours and craft suppliers. This book is quite simply everything you could want from a book and more.

Over the coming months you will see me complete projects from this wonderful book, but in the meantime if you want more info you can go to www.quadrille.co.uk or if you want to grab your own copy then you can head over to www.amazon.co.uk

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Family Friendly Fridays: Chicken Chow Mein

One of my favourite blogs is Fabulicious Food and each month they host a Family Friendly Friday challenge, which I love to read because it gives me ideas to compose my weekly meal plans with. So thanks for your work Ren in hosting, and thanks to the other bloggers for your entries.

Here's my entry:

Chicken Chow Mein
It's very rare in our household that we get a dish that everyone loves; I usually can only please a few people at a time. But when I make this I know that that every last bit will get eaten. So here's my recipe:
  • 3 blocks Sharwood’s Medium Egg Noodles
  • 1 tablespoon oil for frying
  • 4 chicken breasts sliced into thin strips
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pepper chopped
  • 100g beansprouts
  • 3 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Firstly, I mix the soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil together. Then I fry the onion and peppers in a small amount of sunflower oil for a few minutes before I put the chicken in, as my children like them to be really wilted (if you like them firmer though just put them in the same time as the chicken. Lastly I add the beansprouts and add the mixture of the sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil and fry until everything is heated right through. Finally cook noodles, drain and mix together.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Tea Time Treats: Saffron Scones with Rose Petal Jam

This month I am very excited to be taking part in a wonderful monthly blogging challenge and baking event that is set by Karen from Lavender and Lovage (go have a read, you will enjoy) and Kate from What Kate Baked - each one taking turns to host on alternate months.

Here's the info taken from the Lavender and Lovage blog:

This monthly challenge covers one of our most delightful and eternally popular British institutions, Tea Time. Not just cakes and scones either, but pies and more filling supper dishes come under this culinary umbrella, from afternoon teas of delicate and elegant bakes to the more rustic and filling pleasures of high tea and farmhouse suppers, it’s all showcased in this exciting new blogging event. All teatime treats, whether sweet or savoury, breads, scones, sandwiches, pies, pasties, cakes, tarts, desserts, conserves or biscuits (plus many, many more!) will be featured over the coming months. Each monthly challenge will suggest and involve a certain style of bake or popular teatime ingredient, and Karen and Kate will be following the seasons with an eye on many popular feasts and festivals throughout the year.

So what's this month's challenge I hear you ask! Well, it's the humble scone! Whenever I have thought of scones before I just think clotted cream and jam, I never really think of the hundreds of variations to them. Anyway, with challenge set, I thought about what my entry would be. An important factor in deciding though was that I had just ordered a secret ingredient from the internet, Rose Petal Preserve, after reading a wonderful recipe using it over at one of my other favourite blogs Chez Maximka, and I was keen to find other recipes for it. So after trawling the internet I found a recipe called 'Saffron Scones with Rose Petal Jam'. I guess the Rose Petal Jam from Forage Foods would work with any scones, but I was interested to see whether this was a more appropriate flavour combination.

So here's my entry:

Saffron Scones with Rose Petal Jam

I made some small alterations:

  • 30 saffron filaments
  • 250g plain flour
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1 heaped tsp baking power
  • a pinch of salt
  • 60g unsalted butter chilled and diced
  • 1 medium egg beaten

  • Grind the saffron filaments, blend with a tablespoon of boiling water and set aside for a few minutes.
  • Sift the flour, icing sugar and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor and add the salt. Add the butter and whiz to crumbs, incorporate the egg, the saffron infusion and just enough milk to bring the dough together. You can also make the dough by hand.
  • Roll the dough about 1.5cm thick on a lightly floured work surface and cut scones using fluted cutters (4cm-6cm), rolling the dough only twice. Arrange these spaced well apart on a baking tray and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Brush the tops
    of the scones with milk and bake for 10-12 minutes. Leave to cool.
  • To serve, slit the scones and spread with clotted cream and jam. Serve scattered with rose petals, if wished. The scones are best eaten warm or fresh on the day of making, in which case cover and set aside in a cool place.
  • VERDICT: The recipe was easy enough to follow, although I think the scones could do with being slightly thicker, but you live and learn. The saffron flavour was very subtle but it complemented the Rose Petal jam perfectly and I felt that I was eating something suitable for a queen.

    The best bit about this challenge for me has been the gorgeous smell wafting from my kitchen, the fact that my little boy enjoyed helping me make the scones and of course slathering on the clotted cream and Rose Petal Jam with a self-satisfied smile at having produced such wonderful scones. The Rose Petal Jam from Forage Fine Foods is divine!

  • Delicate and light with a floral edge!

    Rose Petal Preserve is available from www.foragefinefoods.co.uk