Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Since I've been a naughty non-blogging blogger I thought I'd better share a recipe with you.
I first tasted this slice at a friend's post-wedding BBQ a couple of years ago. I shamefully kept reaching for the slice plate, and my friend's aunty took pity on me and sent me the recipe. Being the disorganised person I am, I inevitably lost the recipe and have been itching to have a crack at the slice myself.
Recently I went to a lunch at my friend Yvette's house, and I wanted to bring something quick and tasty for dessert. I managed to throw this together a couple of hours before leaving for Yvette's - a true testament to how simple this slice is!
Here's how you make it:
1 packet Arnott's Marie biscuits
1 tin condensed milk
1 family block Cadbury peppermint chocolate (you can easily substitute any of the 'filled' blocks - caramel or turkish delight for example)
20g milk or dark chocolate, optional
Truth be told, I rarely spend a lot of time on a computer. A few years ago I would spend countless hours on the computer every night, and thankfully I have broken that habit. Time on my iPhone, however? Let's not talk about that...
If the Blogger app wasn't so woeful you might hear from me more often. Oh well, them's the breaks!
So what have I been doing the last few months since we last spoke? I have an update for you!
Last time I wrote about our plans for building a classroom/studio for my cake decorating and the launch of my business, Treat Bakeshop. I am pleased to announce these plans are currently on hold indefinitely.
"Pleased?" I hear you ask?
Yep. Because I scored myself a full time gig decorating cakes for a cake factory, that's why! I look after their custom orders and wedding cakes, and when I'm not doing those I'm working with pastry chefs, producing cakes for cafes and the like. I'm learning heaps from the chefs and I feel really blessed to have been offered such an amazing opportunity.
Sunday, June 3, 2012
To be the first to receive updates on cakes and classes, please visit www.facebook.com/treatbakeshop.au
Thanks to all my loyal readers who have been following my blog over the last few years - your encouragement and support has given me the drive to make my cake dreams a reality!
Sunday, April 29, 2012
This small two-tiered cake was comprised of one chocolate tier and one vanilla raspberry tier. The bottom tier resembled a keyboard, while the top tier was transformed in to a drum. A fondant microphone sat on the cake board and a musical note became part of the '16' topper the adorned the top tier.
Happy 16th birthday!
|Jacobs Creek vines|
|Penfolds Winery, Nuriootpa SA|
|Vines at Maggie Beer's|
The woman doing the demonstration was cooking butter mushrooms, roasted sweet potato with verjuice (a Maggie Beer specialty) and onions with vino cotto (a cooked wine blend reminiscent of balsamic).
Mid-way through the demonstration we heard a booming female voice say "something's burning!" We all turned around, and there was Maggie. A very welcome surprise considering her and her husband only visit the Farm Store on some weekends, and this was a Tuesday.
|The picturesque dam at Maggie Beer's|
Needless to say, we stocked up on verjuice, vino cotto and some delicious raspberry & pomegranate jam at the Farm Store and went up to the Clare Valley for the night.
|Pheasant and quail eggs at the Farm Store|
|Maggie Beer's crockery and preserves collection|
From the Clare Valley we drove a few hours down South to Victor Harbour. I hadn't been there since I was a kid, so it was nice to revisit and see it as an adult. A note to anyone heading to Victor Harbour - do NOT stay at the Comfort Inn in Victoria Street. The owner ripped us off, and the towels looked 30 years old (seriously, they were frayed and had holes in them). After overcharging us, the owner even had the audacity to make smart comments to Chris about me (to which Chris replied that the reason he was checking out was because I was ropable). Rant over. Boo, hiss.
Anyway, most of the reason I wanted to go to Victor Harbour was because of Granite Island. There is a bridge that stretches between Victor Harbour and Granite Island, which is home to some little penguins. I love penguins. We even got to see the first mating of the season. Woohoo for us!
|The laws at Granite Island|
|Sunset at Granite Island, SA|
From Victor Harbour we went across to Tailem Bend, where we spent a couple of hours at Tailem Town, a pioneer village. Yawn. Got some good pics but the place lacked atmosphere and excitement. I suppose I'm biased, being from Ballarat and having Sovereign Hill at my doorstep.
|Tailem Town at Tailem Bend, SA|
|Driving on the beach at Robe, SA|
From Robe we began our return back to Victoria. We decided to stay at Warrnambool, and by this stage we were so tired we stayed in our hotel the entire time we were in Warrnambool. Yes, the entire time. Room service for dinner and breakfast. The laziness was uncannily empowering.
When we were leaving Warrnambool we detoured through Tower Hill, an old volcanic crater filled with a myriad of amazing wildlife. I'd highly recommend it for a picnic. While we were there we had heaps of emus in front of the car (we'd seen a lot of wild ones over in SA so this wasn't unusual) and a cute little wallaby. We have a lot of wallabies at home so it was nice to see something familiar after being away from home for a while.
|Some of the many emus who strolled in front of our car|
|Bay of Islands, VIC|
So tell me...what's new in your world?
Cupcakes have a special place in my heart as they are where my caking adventures began about six years ago. One afternoon I had a (then-unusual) craving to bake something. Anything. The first thing that popped into my head was cupcakes. I took them to work and they were devoured in about five minutes flat. So I made some more. And more again. And then someone offered me money to make them some. Me? A pro-cupcake maker? I had never entertained the idea. And there it began; my baking obsession.
This anecdote brings me to present day, when my work colleague Stacey asked me to provide cakey goodness for her 21st birthday party. She requested a chocolate mud cake and 21 cupcakes. The design for this mud cake is not my regular style nowadays; ganache with piped borders is something I started out doing all those years ago. Most of the cakes I do are fondant-covered, so it was a breath of fresh air to do something I hadn't done in years. Stacey asked for white and milk chocolate shavings on top, along with a plaque saying 'happy birthday'.
For the cupcakes, Stacey requested chocolate and vanilla marble with vanilla buttercream. I piped the pink, yellow & blue buttercream with a 1M tip and decorated them with varying sized cachous and fondant cutouts.
Happy birthday Stace!
Sunday, April 8, 2012
A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine visited Adriano's store at The Star in Sydney (where we headed for dessert straight after we got engaged) and she saw him through the window. I was, of course, insanely jealous and I told my man that one way or another, I was going to meet Adriano.
Yesterday we travelled the four hours from our house to Mount Buller to attend our session with Adriano. We were to arrive at the venue no earlier than 1.30pm but when we arrived at 1.10pm we were already about 15th in the line. By the time 2pm (start time) rolled around the line stretched right down to the road. I excitedly poked Chris in the ribs while squealing "there he is!" I appeared to be the only psycho staring through the window for a glance of the man we were all there to see.
When we were finally allowed inside we were handed bags containing recipes, along with a much-appreciated glass of champers. I quickly downed my champagne as trying to juggle a camera, a phone, a pen and my notes proved somewhat impossible.
After Adriano was introduced, he set about demonstrating how to make some Easter eggs. These, naturally, were not your run-of-the-mill eggs - they involved splattering some coloured cocoa butter and lustre dust on the moulds before carefully tempering some 64% dark chocolate, which he used for the shells.
Adriano also made some strawberry-vanilla macarons for us while we looked on. It was so interesting to watch him make these fragile beauties; particularly as I struggle to make the damn things. I learnt a lot about making macarons from watching him; I think a lot of my problem is that I treat the mixture far too carefully. Adriano explained that egg whites must always be whipped on medium speed as whites that are whipped too quickly fall too quickly. Now, while making macarons it is the aim to knock quite a bit of air out of the mixture; however whites that are whipped too quickly don't have time to full develop the strength of their protein. He also explained that folding the mixture is unnecessary (another thing I've been doing wrong!) and that you should continue to work the mixture until it resembled a mixture that only just falls back into itself. Adriano also taps the shells vigourously after piping, and double-trays them in the oven.
Adriano also spoke about the type of people he employs - he prefers to hire young people with passion and drive, over people who have worked at a lot of top notch restaurants. He finds those people harder to work with, and much prefers to surround himself with those who are willing to learn and get on with the job.
Adriano got a few laughs when he revealed his favourite dessert; rather than something high-brow, he opts for custard in a carton from the supermarket. True story. "You can even drink it straight out of the carton!" he excitedly added. Err yes!
Adriano is quite obviously a naturally shy person and appears embarrassed by all the attention he receives. After the demonstration I waited in line for him to sign my book (trying not to crumble from nerves and excitement!) and thought of all the things I wanted to say to him. I wanted to thank him for sharing his passion with us; I wanted to tell him how I almost got engaged at his Balmain store but couldn't due to a lack of V8 cake; I wanted to tell him he constantly inspires me and is my idol; I wanted to tell him about my macaron-filled engagement cake. Finally it was my turn to meet Adriano. He looked up at me, but I was thrown because he seemed so shy. He couldn't be shy! I am the shy one! So all of my thoughts went out the window and I awkwardly said "Um...it's for Kellie...with an 'ie'...K, E, L, L, I, E..." And that was it. I stammered "thank you" before moving over to the line of people queuing for a photo with him.
After the signing and photos we moved to the rear of the room and were treated to a delicious afternoon tea consisting of macarons, the famous croquembouche, and a tart topped with watermelon. My stomach was full of butterflies from just meeting Adriano so I shoved my treats into a cup and we left the ski lodge.
So...there you have it. Have you ever met your idol? Did you freeze like I did?
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
I sculpted a little female cop and a suited-up groom to adorn the top of this cake.
I was a little nervous as the cake was being picked up fully assembled and transported to the wedding in Melbourne. Thankfully, Steph's sister let me know that the cake made it to its destination safe & sound.
Congrats Steph & Luke!