Friday, April 18, 2014

A Peter Rabbit Styled Party - The Inspiration Board

I believe the key to a successful and stress free party (or cake) is to plan and allocate yourself tasks and a timeline to complete them. While this may sound boring and like way too much work, I guarantee you that it will make the whole experience a fun one as opposed to a stress induced one where you break down in tears because things are not going the right way or end up paying extra for express shipping or last minute bookings.

My cousin is having a first birthday party for her little boy Lucas in a couple of weeks and as part of helping her out with all the festivities, I thought I'd document it all as I worked through the whole process. My cousin has planned for a Peter Rabbit styled party since her little boy was 6 months old. She's been shopping online, in stores and collecting things here and there for a long time. Yes she may have been a little bit obsessed :)

Below I have put together a style board with some colour swatches and some of the images I have collected on Pintrest to get creative juices and party ideas flowing. Next week I'll feature more of the party type details and ideas we plan to have. Enjoy for now :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

London Classes and More - April 2014

Hello from sometimes sunny England :) The weather has been quite kind to us while we have been here the last two weeks. I'd say we've had a 50% success rate of sunshine. When I was here for the first time last May it was freezing and rainy, so I know this time we’re pretty lucky.

Nick managed to tag along this time around which made it much more fun :) I finally got to show him all the sights and places I would not stop talking about.

First stop in London was Choccywoccydoodah on Carnaby Street where we were supposed to be looking for a place to have lunch but ended up gorging on two very rich and chocolaty drinks instead. Needless to say, we skipped lunch that day!

Praline milkshake and milk chocolate hot chocolate from Choccywoccydoodah

Then off to classes with Fair Cake where I somehow managed to score a new assistant :D

Love the mess we made? :D

Thank you to the quiet, fun, friendly, chocolate bringing and wonderful students who came from near and far to attend the classes. It was almost a year ago when I kicked off the international teaching at Fair Cake and it seems fitting that I am back here again a year later. A special thank you to Jess and Nat for all your help, baking and organising, Arianna for assisting and Shikhita for having me! For those of you who were talking about coming to Australia to visit one day, make sure you stop by in Sydney and say hi :)

Next stop Cake International where I was beyond amazed at all the sugar flowers on display. Seriously amazing. Even Nick who is kind of immune to all things cake was very, very impressed. Oh! And look who I bumped into. It was so wonderful to catch up with Zoe (The Cake Parlour) even though I only saw her a couple of weeks ago in Sydney.

And now here we are... in the Lake Districts where we have seen a TON of sheep and many, many little lambs like these guys at the top of the hill. I never realised how playful and child-like they are because I have only really seen them at petting zoos where they all just seem to walk around in a daze :)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

This blog post, recipe and beautiful photos were generously contributed by Joanne from Simple Ingredients

How do you know Easter is fast approaching? For me, it’s when my kitchen smells like Easter with all the gingerbread cookies baking! Let’s celebrate your holiday with this recipe by making your own delicious bunny, egg, carrot and chick-shaped cookies. 

Don’t miss out a fun day baking and decorating these cookies at home with your kids. You can leave them plain and sprinkle them with icing sugar, drizzle them with melted chocolate or royal icing or decorate them with fondant like I have done here.

They are also great Easter gifts for your family and friends, simply wrap with some cellophane bags and cute ribbons.

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

Makes: 10-15 cookies

40g      Unsalted butter
60g      Caster sugar
30g      Honey
½tsp    Baking soda
1tsp     Ground cinnamon
¼tsp    Ground cloves
½tsp    Ground ginger
25g      Egg
125g    Plain flour

1.   Using an electric hand-held mixer, beat unsalted butter and caster sugar together until mixture is light.
2.  Add honey, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger, egg and plain flour in. Beat together at low speed until well combined.
3.   Rest dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
4.   Preheat oven to 160ÂșC. Roll the dough with a rolling pin until 4mm thick.
5.   Cut your preferred shapes out with a cookie cutter and insert a cookie pop stick halfway into each cut dough.
6.   Bake for 12-15 minutes.
7.   Let cookies cool on a wire rack before decorating them. If you are decorating with fondant, you can use sugar syrup to adhere it to the cookie.

Happy Easter Everyone!

A little bit about Joanne...
Joanne graduated in 2010 from University of New South Wales with a combined degree in Bachelors of Commerce and Arts, and decided to follow her dream and passion for patisserie and sugar art instead of joining the corporate world. She completed Diplome de Patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu Sydney while attending various sugar art workshops and working at various patisseries. Upon successful completion of Superior Patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu, she started to work as a junior pastry chef at The Restaurant Art Gallery of NSW. She eventually found her ultimate passion in sugar art. With her family and friends’ encouragement, she has recently set up an online business, Simple Ingredients and currently is very privileged to have such great opportunity to work at Sharon Wee Creations. 

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