Archive for the ‘Baked goodness’ Category

I’ve been procrastinating over a commission piece I’m supposed to be working on …I’m a little burnt out after the last one – Because it was a rush job with a window of only 3 weeks, I ended up working both days and evenings to complete it on time.

So instead of painting New Zealand birds and bush, I’ve been watching The Mighty Boosh – Which I have somehow never seen before – And making Red Onion jam.

I seem to have used up all my blank sticker paper, so had to make do with labels made out of the brown tape I usually use to back my canvases and picture frames. That meant I needed to come up with a sort of longish image to fit the tape, rather than the swamp monsters I did last time.  I think Narwhal jam is totally awesome! No Narwhals were harmed in the making… Though my finger came out a little worse for wear, after a run in with the serrated knife on the very very last 1/2 onion, of the 2kgs of onions I chopped up. Ouch!

Luckily the deliciousness of this jammy sticky oniony process way out-weighed the damage… I’m thinking now I need an excuse to make these cute as and uber tasty looking bite size Brie pops. Or maybe I should just go all out and bake a whole brie wheel and eat it with fresh baguette instead!?!

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Birthday girl

My Tui has just turned a big three today… So this is my Happy Birthday for my darling.  It means her sleeps are almost non existant in the daytime now, and with the waiting lists for pre schools here being rather long it leaves me with no daytime space to create and just way too tired in the evenings.  Its something I’ve got to work on fixing. But I guess there just may be a few less posts in the meantime. Anyways. This is the extent of my making at the moment : Jungle cake, complete with a jelly lake with m&m pebbles and edible glitter. It was supposed to have palm trees too – But now that it is warming up here in Melbourne I couldn’t get the chocolate flakes to cool down enough where I had melted them to fuse with the leaf canopy parts, and our fridge was way too full of party food to fit the cake in *read : cheerios and beer*  Ah well. I’m pretty pleased with the result anyways and Tui was pretty stoked.

Today was a trip to the zoo. Tui got to see Lions, Orangoutangs, Elephants, Snakes and some pretty big Spiders. So the theme tied in pretty well.

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After writing my last post I went to bed and ended up dreaming about shopping for china plates.  So I thought I better follow through…

I would really like to be painting these birds on beautiful white or cream vintage saucers with gorgeous ornate detailing – A bit of embossing, Scalloped edges or gilt. However first I need to do some basic testing and fully work through the idea, So I picked up these basic white saucers from our local Sally Army shop.  I found a set of three, which is a good start. Here is the first one along with the Chocolate-Vanilla cupcakes Tui helped me bake … Mnnnn they look so good with the piped frosting and sugar hearts I think I may need to paint them!

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So here is the finished result of my Friday brightness… Tui is having on and off again daytime sleeps so its taken me until now to finish the linework for it.

Unfortunately its just a no go for when she’s up… She love love loves my paints. Even though its less complex than the native birds I’ve been working on of late, its still taken a bit of time to finish off – Missing that guaranteed two hour block each day *sigh*

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And here is the last of the Kotare set *for now* that I’ve been working on – It’s taken me a bit this week to get it done… Tui has dropped her daytime sleep, so the only painting time I now have is in the evening, If I’m not too exhausted.So next I get to focus on getting another almost-finished commission piece done, done and sent, and then I’ll let myself start on a new idea thats been in my head for a week or so.  Exciting!


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A couple more small gouache works on handmade flax paper in my new Kotare series.  These little ones are 10x19cm masked, with a 3.8cm flax border.The one with cupcakes on the left was for a friends birthday today… She got those red velvet cupcakes last night, so felt appropriate to add them into the pic… oh so cute!

Notice how the flax paper on the left is darker? Thats the difference between varnished and non-varnished like the one on the right. I’m going to seal that one too to prevent the gouache cracking an flaking off, but the varnish makes it a bit tricky to photograph at night with all the spotlights in our kitchen.

I likes how her cupcake piece turned out so much, I thought I’d add another to the series too.

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Rocket cake

Today was a cooking day. I made delicious gnocchi with roast paprika pumpkin, baby spinach, beetroot leaves, Kalamata olives and garlic crumbs + more fresh baked bread. Then moved on to this rather-delicious-looking-I-can’t-wait-to-eat-you dark chocolate and beetroot cake for my little bros birthday *Thanks Deb for the help! *   I had a bit of an icing disaster in the process… Damn you Australian dairy products that have been thickened with gelatin – I have never had my cream cheese and dairy milk chocolate icing fail before, but today it definitely did. Luckily, nothing like adding a bit a milk and way more cocoa to fix the problem!  And I’m rather pleased w how the rocket turned out, even if the purple/grey part did stick to the bench in a rather epic way. …Now just to keep my paws off it until Duncs gets back from work!

I’ve put the recipe up on my food thoughts page – But without the failed icing, its not hard to google a good chocolate cream cheese icing though, Jamie Oliver does a good one…

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I’ve been playing w D’s camera this afternoon to photograph my latest set of collecting cards I made on Friday. I’m still trying to work out the settings, as its not on auto at the mo and I’m not that great with instructions.

So here is an offering of what I made for lunch today.  Braised fennel with Kalamata olives and home made bread to go with… It smells so good! Click on the image to enlarge if you want more of a close up on the fennel… Delicious. And a great accompaniment to my photography attempts at these collecting cards.

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Long weekend with not much to do… Mine has been like that this Easter.           Especially with this southerly and all the rain that has rolled in – Which makes leaving the house not so fun.

It got me in the mood for baking. Which not only indulges in my need to make something, but also heats the rest of downstairs that the fire doesn’t always get to right away.  After the success of my easter biscuits – They were gobbled up really fast. I thought I’d make another batch… But this time pinch an idea I saw a while back, that I have just never quite had the time to try out. Pantone biscuits!

The original idea comes from a blog by Kim Neill.  I originally read in an article link on Poppytalk

I used the same gingerbread and royal icing recipe I used for my easter biscuits, as its one I love – Though this time I added an extra tablespoon of ginger to give them an even stronger ginger kick.                                                                               The great thing about the shape of these biscuits is that they are really fast to cut out in a grid… The time consuming bit comes in the icing. I started by piping a divider line on the biscuits in white icing and then painted in the gap.  Then I mixed each colour individually, a tablespoon or so at a time before painting these on too. Once dry, I colour matched them with pantone swatches I got online – As I have finally given my loaned pantone flip book back. So the colours are approximate… But they still taste pretty damn good!                                                                        One of the reasons I hadn’t made these sooner was my lack of owning an edible food marker.  Well mixed food colouring works just as good w a small paintbrush I must say, though it gives them a bit more of a home made look – But this could also just be my scruffy southpaw writing!

This is the biscuit recipe I used.

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Egg day treats

Today I felt like bakingSo I made these delicious gingerbread treatsJust in time for egg day

Here’s the recipe :

Gingerbread Eggs

2-2 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 cup (220g) firmly packed Soft Brown Sugar
150g butter
1 egg, beaten

1Sift flour, baking soda and ginger together and place in a bowl or food processor. Add Soft Brown Sugar. Add butter and rub in with fingertips, or pulse in food processor until resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2Add egg and stir or pulse to mix. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour to the mix (the more flour you incorporate, the harder your biscuits will be.)            Wrap in gladwrap and refrigerate for half an hour.

3Preheat oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.                    Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface, or between two sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Using cookie cutters -or freeform like I did-  cut shapes and place on tray. Leftover dough can be re-rolled until all the dough is used up.

4Bake gingerbread men for 8-10 minutes or until cooked and golden. Remove from oven and cool on baking rack. When cool ice w piped Royal icing.

Royal Icing :

1 Egg white

1-1/2 cups sifted icing sugar – depending on how runny you want your icing.

Beat the egg whites and the sifted icing sugar with an electric mixer on low speed until combined and smooth.  The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. You can add a few drops of food colouring when mixing if you want colour, but I quite like it white. Thin piping sets really fast, but runnier or thick icing may take a couple of hours to really harden up.

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