Tuesday, March 13, 2012

a birthday afternoon tea

Another year, another birthday. This year I celebrated by baking up a storm and then hanging out with a bunch of friends for some sugar overload times in the park. Fun!

It seems that every time I bake, I decide that since I do it so rarely I should bake all the things at once. Which results in baking from Friday night to just before the guests start to arrive on Saturday afternoon. But it's fun to have an excuse to try out some new and delicious looking recipes. 

No added food colouring! This is just from maraschino cherries

The cherry cake necessitated a last minute frantic hunt for a maraschino cherry provider in Sydney, but it turned out ok. I think it was a mixed success though, the icing was heavy on the butter and not everyone was a fan of the almond/maraschino flavour of the cake. I liked it though, and it definitely looked gorgeous (thanks to decoration by Andrew, I had trouble getting the food colouring to take with all that butter!).
Cherry-Vanilla Layer Cake (recipe from Sprinkle Bakes)
I also made some sage and polenta madeleines and chocolate stout whoopie pies. I haven't had whoopie pies before, but I think they were the stand-out from my baking selection. The stout made for an unusual (but delicious) flavour and the texture was fantastic, dense but fluffy. I plan to make these again, though I'm hoping to use a chocolate stout rather than plain Guinness (the bottle shop I went to before making these had a rather limited selection of stouts). Making the caramel sauce for the buttercream was lots of fun as well, there's something about heating sugar and water until it bubbles up that feels like you are breaking some kitchen rule, and at the same time almost like a science experiment. I recommend making caramel all round, fun and tasty- what more could you want?

Sage and polenta madeleines (recipe from Kitchen by Marie Claire) and Chocolate Stout Whoopie Pies with salted caramel buttercream frosting (recipe from Endless Simmer)
I asked everyone to bring a plate as well, so we ended up with heaps of food. I am slowly getting through the leftovers...

More of the spread

Friday, March 02, 2012

extracts from my notebook 5

Daydreamer by trade

"No more dreaming like a girl, so in love with the wrong one"
- Florence and the Machine (although I later found out it's actually 'wrong world', which is even better)

"There's always a bit of a tug-o-war between the sexes, there's always a bit of tension when there's romance involved."
- Overheard in a cafe, older woman giving advice to younger woman

"All of that filthy empathy for the way we're feeling"
- Bright Eyes

What the preacher wants to show him is that the real basis of wisdom is a frank acknowledgement that much of what happens is quite inexplicable to us, and that most occurrences 'under the sun' bear no outward sign of a rational, moral God ordering them at all
- JI Packer, 'Knowing God', on Ecclesiastes

We were all struts in a rickety scaffold, holding each other up.
We were all falling down.

"He is as delighted as he is wet"
- Soccer commentary, rainy world cup group of 16 game- Uruguay vs. South Korea