#MadeItMonday: In Fairness, It’s Not *Quite* Cake

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

Pressed for time again this week what with the wrap-up of school and all – Monday I drove back from Deniliquin (6 hr drive), Wednesday I had debating until 9:30pm, Thursday was parent-teacher interviews until 8:30pm, and Friday was DIE THE DEATH OF THE LAST DAY OF TEEEEEERM day. Woo.*

All of which is to say that pretty much all I’ve done this week that could tenuously be called creative and isn’t either a) making resources for school, b) writing (or more accurately editing these days) or c) website admin is a continuation of last week. I Got My Planning On today and finished planning out the baby’s (slowly) impending birthday party, including a menu (soup and bread, plus birthday cake and hot chocolate), a guest list (family, which still equals nearly 25 >.<), a shopping list (extensive) and an equipment list (not quite so extensive). It *sounds* like an impressive degree of organisation, but really, it was maybe an hour tops, including finding the soup recipes and compiling a comprehensive shopping list, and given that the end of next term involves report writing and semester grades and all sorts of time- and brain-consuming things like that, the hour of organisation now will save me a lot of stress later.

Plus if I can make decorations during this holiday break (the three jellyfish (which hopefully I will have to show you in two weeks’ time) and the cotton-wool snowflake string) then all I have to do is make food. And honestly, I could probably even make soup ahead of time and freeze. Organisation, y’all: it really works.

ANYWAY, as part of all this I sketched out the cake in a little more detail so I could figure out what I’d need to add to the shopping list. I still haven’t decided on a flavour of cake; I have both white and dark chocolate mud cake recipes that are *mine* and are *glorious* and my standard go-tos that I’ve made for heaps of parties and weddings, but…. I’ve made them a lot? Last year I did a coconut mud cake with raspberry buttercream filling for the baby, and it was REALLY TASTY, and I enjoyed the excuse to make something different. So! If you have suggestions for slightly a-typical cake flavour pairings, I AM ALL EARS. Suggest to me, peoples! Suggest!

But yes, this is the cake plan. Narwhal (BECAUSE NARWHAL) that will have a shiny silver horn, a teal-y coloured base icing, darker teal ganache dripped over the back, and decorations in white, silver and dark teal over the back–silver cachous, white almond confetti, and royal icing flowers mainly, I think. We Shall See.

Narwhal cake.

So yeah, that’s pretty much it this week. Don’t forget to suggest cake flavours for me – I could really use some inspiration!! 🙂

* But seriously: Holidays. WOO!

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

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#MadeItMonday: Are We Sick Of Cake Yet?

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

I really hope not, ’cause that’s literally all I got this week. Unless you wanna see the killer school resources I made, hardy har har. Anyway, this time multiple iterations of Cake: the SmallBoy needed cupcakes for a school bake stall, and a kid at my school needed a birthday cake. Woo. Cake. Yeah. #enthusiasmftw!

(Except I forgot to take a picture of the cupcakes, which is a shame, because they all sunk really badly, and it would have been amusing to prove that sometimes my cakes fail Really Badly :D)

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

#MadeItMonday: Ah ha ha. I Love That You Thought This Wouldn’t Be Cake.

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂
A baby shower cake this time, in fondant, spray painted with edible gold paint :3

Canted angle shot of side of 1-tier gold fondant cake with purple wisteria, pale pink and white daisies, and daisy buds on a white round platter  Canted-angle side shot of other side of cake; more white daisies and wisteria leaves are visible on this side. Front shot of cake, a single-tier 23cm round cake covered in fondant (with sharp corners!), sprayed gold, with a glittery gold dream catcher centered on the front side of the cake (it extends above the edge of the cake by about a centimetre); three sprays of purpley-blue wisteria are arranged around the bottom of the cake at the front on the white platter; they are filled out with three baby pink daisies, three white daisies, some white daisy buds, a few wisteria leaves, and a gold glittery feather or leaf made to match the dreamcatcher. Canted-angle front shot of cake - 1 tier round sprayed gold with a gold glittery dreamcatcher mostly visible in-shot, accented with a spray of purpley-blue wisteria, two white daisies, a white daisy but, a spray of wisteria leaves, and a white star flower all arranged around the bottom of the cake where it sits on a white platter. A gold leaf skeleton or feather is also visible, made of the same materials and in the same style as the dreamcatcher.

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

#MadeItMonday: Zucchini Pasta/Courgette Pasta

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

Today I’m sharing a recipe that was first made by my sister, and then was further developed to increase the degree of laziness required to make the dish. Lazy dishes are a must when you get home from work exhausted and brain-dead, and healthy, filling food is a must when you’re feeding small hungry people (and husbands, ha). This is now a two-pot dish, one for the pasta and one for the sauce, and it takes as long to make as it does to boil a large pot of water and cook the pasta, so not terribly long. As for the brain-dead component, literally all you have to do is a bit of chopping, then dump everything in a pan and let it fry. ‘S my kind of weeknight recipe!!

Pasta dish with delicious chunks of zucchini, baked sweet potato, home-made garlic bread and topped with parmesan cheese in a white bowl with a silver fork

INGREDIENTS
Spaghetti for 4 (or spirals, they work great in this)
2 sml or 1 lrg orange sweet potato (might be a yam where you live)
Olive oil for frying
1/2 t Moroccan seasoning
1/2 t ground sage
1/4 t lemon pepper seasoning (or just pepper, and add a dash of lemon juice)
1/4 t chili flakes
generous shake of garlic salt, to taste (or salt to taste, and add crushed garlic to taste)
1/4 c pine nuts (or crumbled pecans)
90g butter (ish; more or less depending on how much fat the frying needs – about 3 ounces)
1/3 c breadcrumbs (preferably the herbs-included variety; more if you need more crunch towards the end or need to use up the packet)
1/4 c fresh grated parmesan (using fresh grated really does make a difference; more or less to taste)
2 sml zucchini, sliced (might be a courgette where you live)
150g soft (Danish) feta, or other soft, salty cheese (about 5 ounces)

METHOD
1) If you’re organised and have time, peel the sweet potato, chop it into 1-inch-ish sort of shapes, and bake it with olive oil and salt until blackened around the edges. If, like most people, you’re pressed for time, just microwave it until it’s tender (7 mins in my microwave at full power).

2) Put your large pot of water for the pasta on to boil.

3) In a frying pan or saute pan, heat up your oil over a medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add your herbs and spices, the nuts, and the breadcrumbs. Fry ’em up, stirring constantly, for about a minute or two. Don’t let them burn. Crispy is good. Charred is not.

4) Add in your zucchini and parmesan. You don’t have to stir constantly, but do flip the mixture over and around every so often to give new zucchini slices a chance at the heat, and to make sure the crumby-nutty mix doesn’t burn.

5) Around now, you should be right to put your pasta into a boiling pot of water. Cook it until tender according to packet instructions.

6) Sweet potato will now also be ready. Drain it and dump it in the pan with the zucchini mix. As per 4: you want the veggies to have the chance to develop a little bit of a crispy crust if you can, without the crumby mix burning. You’ll probably be right to turn it off before the pasta is cooked, giving you the chance to dig out some bowls.

7) Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and dish it out into bowls. Portion over the veggie mix, and then garnish with the crumbled feta. Alternatively, you could dump the pasta into the veggie pan and mix it all through, because who can be bothered plating up twice? 😉

BONUS: The recipe is vegetarian, and if you simply omit the butter (use a little more oil instead if you need it) and the cheeses, it could be vegan!
What have YOU made this week? Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

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#MadeItMonday: Yet More Cake (Wedding Cake This Time)

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

Yet another cake this week (I know, I know). One day soon, I’m going to tell you the utterly hilarious story behind this cake, but for now, pictures 🙂



This is four filled layers of mud cake, two dark chocolate with orange curd buttercream filling, and two white chocolate with lemon curd buttercream filling, covered in Italian meringue buttercream and decorated with 24-carat gold leaf and hydrangeas from the garden of the mother of the bride 🙂 Believe it or not, there is a whole bathtub’s worth of flowers here!! See:

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

#MadeItMonday: A Birthday Picnic :)

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

#MadeItMonday contribution of the week: it was my birthday recently, and we had a picnic dinner (as picnicking is pretty much my favourite way to consume food apart from a) in bed or b) at a fancy, atmospherey restaurant), and because it was my birthday I decided I wanted to make it actually LOOK like a birthday picnic. I also made myself a birthday cake for, like, the first time ever, because there was a specific technique I needed to practise – yay cake! So my #MadeItMonday contribution this week is the lovely picnic set-up + cake, because I totally made it, and it was creative and a little work of art all of its own :3

Birthday picnic with food artistically arranged over multiple levels on a portable picnic table Single tier birthday cake covered in pale yellow buttercream, with a round posy of soft cream roses clustered over one edge and gold left speckling the top and part of the front

Don’t forget to link to your contribution in the comments!! 🙂

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I Made It: Dinner, Om Nom

Hello! I KNOW, this is me blogging for what, the third time in a week, or something like that? Don’t keel over in shock. I’ve finally come up with a Plan that I think might see me blogging more regularly–but then again, I’m currently Not At Work (because surgery), and we all know that full time teaching tends to play havoc with my most carefully laid plans all the time. So. Blogging: I have a plan; we’ll see if it survives contact with the enemy next week 😉

Anyway the net result of this is that a) you’ll hopefully have more blog posts to read, but the corollary is that b) random topics. I can’t be thinky and deep all the time (AH HA HA MY POSTS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THINKY AND DEEP WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING SHUT UP) so prepare for more randomness.

On that note, dinner. 1) Due to my recently acquired gallbladderlessness, I have to, er, tinker with the way I’ve been eating. Not outright change, but definitely, undeniably tinker. It’s possible that you don’t know, but I’m vegetarian, and have been my whole life. I’m not vegan, though, and I love me some dairy. Sadly, that’s part of the problem: I love me some dairy a little too much. Animals fats are high on the list of things that can exacerbate my digestive system now, so urgh, I have to learn to cook without cheese at every meal. (Meals without some variety of cheese? What even IS this?)

2) In my attempt to establish more regular blogging, I decided alliteratively that Mondays shall hence with be Made-it Mondays, wherein I can post pictures/evidence of something non-writingish that I have recently made. Dual purposes: a) I believe strongly that writers, as well as every other type of person in existence, should fundamentally be creative people. Being creative is soul nourishing, character developing, anxiety liberating, and a perfect antidote to an overly capitalist/consumerist society. People who are alive create; people who aren’t consume. (For the purposes of this argument, assume ‘create’ is defined in the broadest sense possible.) And b) this will force me to both i) make time to pursue my other creative hobbies that tend to fall by the wayside (music, drawing, photography, cooking, baking, building lego sculptures, etc :D) and ii) acknowledge the act of creation in the mundane. Because sometimes, like today, the most blog-worthy thing I created was dinner. But you know what? That’s totally okay, because creating food is still creating, and when you look at it that way making dinner is no longer drudgery, and is instead a creative and interesting endeavour 🙂

So! All of that preamble aside, dinner! I’ve had my eye on this recipe on Smitten Kitchen’s blog since Deb posted it because I am TOTALLY ADDICTED to all things sweet potato AND all things involving baked vegetables, and this not only ticked both those boxes BUT so long as I kept the yogurt dressing to a minimum it also fit my other ‘dietary requirement’ bills (yay non-animal protein). (sigh).

The recipe is Roasted Yams and Chickpeas with Yogurt and it’s pretty much as it says on the can, except that the title neglects to mention the delicious spicy kick from the chilli and paprika, and the sour OM NOM from the Greek yogurt and lime juice. Either way, it was dead simple to make, incredibly tasty,* and it’s going on my regular roster – albeit as an Amy lunch food rather than dinner, since Mr 4 is currently incompatible with orange vegetables** and Mr Laurens was not a giant fan of the sum total of the parts.

Anyway. Crunchy, sweet, sour, spicy, and with a good hit of protein. Dead easy to make. Good weekday food. The only thing I changed in the recipe was the amount of lime juice – I only used one lime 🙂

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* So long as you’re a comparable sweet potato freak, I guess. Husband was not a massive fan.

** Though strangely enough carrots are still okay. Go figure. Still, better than my “I will not eat anything but corn kernels and cottage cheese” phase at an approximately similar age, I guess.

Random Lunch Recipe: Pear Salad

Because it’s autumn here and this was just the thing for a lovely, sunny, bright and breezy day 🙂

Ingredients (per person)

A large double handful of baby spinach leaves, torn
1 beurre bosc pear (or one with similar soft texture), cubed
50g of soft feta (more or less), crumbled
1T pecans, roughly crushed
1T black cherry vinegar*
1 med-large strawberry
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Finely chop or puree strawberry with vinegar. Let steep. Meanwhile, combine all other ingredients and gently toss. Pour over vinegar, season and consume 🙂

Alternatives

* Good quality balsamic vinegar should be a passable substitute for black cherry vinegar.
Try walnuts instead of pecans, apples instead of pears, or parmesan instead of feta.

Alivity, and GMO Foods

Why yes, yes I am still alive. Maybe. Probably. *checks for rotting limbs that may indicate zombieism* Nope, all clear. I am definitely, absolutely, 100% alive. Later in the week, I might even post pictures of my trip to Laos with school. See be have Plans to be Organised.

 

Randomly, I found this article today, and thought it provided a perspective on GMO foods that is often overlooked. So. Go read it, and discover why GM oranges may be a Thing Near You in the future.

This Is How We Party…

Family friend’s 18th party on Sunday, and it was the family team at work in all our usual roles: Mum on food, Jess on decorations, me on cake, and Em on stand-by/gofer/jack-of-all. Friend wanted a picnic in the park–less clean up, good choice!–and the weather held out, which is not usual for this time of year in Canberra–it’s usually teeth-blisteringly freezing by now.

Picnic in the park; pretty simple, right? Ha. This is how we party.

 

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(There were originally a whole bunch of paper lanterns hanging across the top of the shelter, and a big pink parasol hanging at the back. Alack, the wind…)

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And the cake, a milk-choc mud cake with orange marmalade filling (since friend wanted jaffa), with cinnamon and cloves in the cake (to blend better with the orange). The filling, meh. I’d do it differently next time. The cake–well. Husband dislikes cake. He usually declines, or if pressed for politeness, will have the tiniest of nibbles. He devoured an entire bowlful of trimmings and lamented the subsequent empty bowl. I call that a win.

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No candles – we used sparklers instead 🙂 Four down each side to make eight, then one in the middle to make “eighteen” 😀