Make time to enjoy Afternoon Tea

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Make time to sit down and enjoy an afternoon treat.  Lately life seems to go by so quickly.  Life is fast paced and full of activity.  For me, working long hour days, I don’t get the chance to sit down and enjoy and a cup of coffee or a pot of tea with a little treat.

 

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Having some down time is very important.  It’s time to collect thoughts and enjoy some quiet time.  I know it’s hard.  Even though I sit down, I’m constantly thinking about planning our family meals for next week or what chores and events I need to attend to next weekend.

The ritual of sitting down for a cuppa is long gone but I would like to bring it back.  I enjoy a cup of coffee or sometimes a pot of freshly brewed tea.  I always need to accompany my drink of choice with a sweet treat.  Of late, I have put aside my Sunday afternoon, even for just half an hour to sit down, enjoy a cuppa.  I often read a magazine while partaking in a sweet treat.

If I can do it al fresco, it’s even better.

 

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For treats, I like scones.  I’ve recently had the delicious range of scones from baker’s delight.  Or if you’re up to baking up a storm to create your own special treat to enjoy, you can look here for some of my recipes.

Scones and the Christina Re tea cup came courtesy of Baker’s Delight and Keep Left PR

Bon appetite,

Cherrie

 

 

How Do You Eat Your Hot Cross Buns?

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So, how do you eat your Hot cross buns?

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Do you eat it toasted with lashings of butter for breakfast at the kitchen table in your pyjamas or do you like to scoff them down with butter and jam for afternoon tea with friends?  Either way, it’s time to eat them now!

I was given a chance to try eating them with all kinds of spreads.  Some of which I haven’t even thought of.  For me, I like to eat them with a thick layer of butter with a good cup of coffee.  Thanks to to Baker’s Delight, I was able to try them with caramel spread, honey and lemon curd.

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In my house, my family eats them all different times of the day depending on when we crave them.  Most of all, while they are available, they are best eaten fresh when they are still soft.  We can go through so many packets during Easter.  It’s definitely a favourite with everyone in our house.

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Whilst the kiddies like them with strawberry jam, I have discovered my love for caramel spread on warm hot cross buns. I have a sweet tooth, as you can tell from all the baking I do.  This really hits the spot when I have my late night sweet cravings.  Hubby tried the lemon curd and he loved it! He loves the combination of the spices and sweetness of the hot cross buns mixed with the sourness of the lemon curd.  If you haven’t tried it before you need to try!

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Anyway, however you enjoy these sweet spiced buns, I hope it’s shared with family and friends together filled with love and laughter this Easter.

From my family to yours,

Hope you have a blessed and happy Easter.

Cherrie

A Cake Decorating Class and an AppliancesOnline.com.au 8th Birthday Competition

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As many readers may know, I love baking and decorating cakes for family and friends.  I’m far from being an expert so any tips and tricks I can get is always welcomed.

I was invited by AppliancesOnline.com.au to attend a cake decorating class at Let Them Eat Cake in South Melbourne.  Owner Christopher Montebello and staff demonstrated their decorating skills and answered all the questions we had.  And trust me, we had plenty.

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Australia’s largest online retailer of appliances is celebrating it’s 8th birthday by launching a national cake decorating competition to find it’s official birthday cake.  The national competition encourages Australians to get creative by baking and decorating an appliance themed cake, to celebrate the birthday.  Entrants will go in the draw to win one of eight sunbeam food processors valued at $399.

To enter, create your cake and upload a picture via Appliances Online Facebook, instagram or twitter. Tag @appliancesAU and use the hashtag #AOLbirthday

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During our class, we were shown how to decorate cake to make it look like a blender. CakeDecoratingClass1

Doesn’t it look real?!

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Christopher also showed us how to write with royal icing.

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Not bad huh?

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Here are some cake decorating tips:

1. Buy fondant pre-made.  It can be difficult to achieve the right consistency when making fondant from scratch.

2. Sketch your concept before you start decorating and keep it simple.  The simplest ideas are often the best.

3. Use fruit or mud cake.  Fondant works best with firm cakes such as fruitcake or mud cake.  Make sure you don’t use sponge cake as it won’t support the weight of the icing.

4. Heat the marzipan.  If you’re using marzipan, take it out of it’s foil package and microwave for about 10 seconds to make it easier to work with.

5. Applying the fondant.  Knead on a clean board that’s been sprinkled with icing sugar.  If adding colour, apply sparingly and knead into the icing.  Roll out with a rolling pin and keep applying sugar throughout the rolling process.  Drape fondant carefully over the cake and then smooth gently with dry hands, starting at the centre of the cake, moving outwards.  Make sure to get rid of any air bubbles. Trim any excess fondant with a sharp knife.

6. Experiment and have fun with leftover marzipan and fondant icing which can be used to create simple figurines and flowers.

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Don’t forget to enter Appliancesonline.com.au’s competition.  Ends December 8th. So get on it now!

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Bacon and Cheddar Loaves

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What is better than the aroma of freshly baked bread? Freshly baked bread coming from your own oven.

Lately I’ve been a little obsessed with baking bread.  More specifically, Paul Hollywood‘s bread.  I’ve baked a few.  Some successful, some not so :(  However, I have found one that was (extremely) successful and better still, damn delicious.  There are a lot of bread recipes out there. Some are complicated and some are easy.  I think this recipe falls in between.  There are also some no-knead recipes out there.  Check out my instagram feed for one I baked for our ANZAC day picnic or check out #ggbreadrevolution on instagram and twitter for more pics of yummy bread.

These loaves are baked with bacon pieces and cheddar cheese.  These two ingredients lifts the flavour profile through the roof.  It was a hit with hubby and the kiddies so it is definitely a recipe I will use again and again.

 

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400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
100g strong wholemeal bread flour
10g salt
10g instant yeast
30g unsalted butter, softened
330ml cool water

For the filling
8 rashers of smoked bacon, rind removed, cooked and chopped into small pieces
150g cheddar, grated

 

1. Tip the flours into a large bowl and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the butter and 3/4 of the water and turn the mixture round with your fingers. Continue to add the remaining water, a little at a time, until you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all the water, or you may need to add a little more. You want dough that is soft, but not soggy. Use he mixture to clean the inside of the bowl and keep going until the mixture forms a rough dough.

2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead. Keep kneading for 5 to 10 minutes. Work through the initial wet stage until the dough starts to form a soft, smooth skin.

3. When your dough feels smooth and silky, put it into lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a the towel and leave to rise until at least doubled in size (at least 1 hour but can be left for 2 or 3 hours)

4. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

5. Once the dough is risen, add the bacon and cheese to it and knead it until well distributed. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, pushing any pieces of bacon or cheese that bounce out back in.

6. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and shape into ovals, tapering the ends of the loaves into points. Place the dough ovals onto trays, spacing them apart. Dust the loaves with flour and deeply slash the tops lengthways.

7. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave to prove for 1 hour or until the dough is at least doubled in size and springs back quickly if you prod it lightly with your finger. Preheat your oven to 220degC.

8. Sprinkle the loaves with a little olive oil and bake for 20mins until golden brown. Eat warm.

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No matter how you bake and which recipe you use, home baked bread will always be better and more satisfying than bought bread.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie