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

Sydney Holiday in Pictures

During Easter this year, we (Hubby, myself and the 2 munchkins) spent a few days in Sydney. Hubby and I have driven to Sydney many times before but this was the first time we took the 9hour drive with two small children.

We left home Thursday evening and arrived in Sydney on Good Friday. The kids were very good during the road trip and slept most of the way there.

The trip was mostly about eating and children-related activities.

As soon as we checked into our motel, we unpacked the car and headed out again. We had lunch at the famous Bourke street Bakery in Surrey Hills.
We had: chorizo pizza (top left), roast beef, chilli and coriander jam sandwich (top right), pork and leek sausage roll (middle left) and a honey roasted ham, cheddar, onion pickle, parsley mayo and rocket sandwich (bottom).
We also had the chocolate tart. Soooo good!
Next, it was onto to Gelato Messina for dessert. The highlight was the mini me ice cream dessert (bottom right)
As if that wasn’t enough, we headed off to Chinatown for the Friday night market. I couldn’t really eat much as we were so full already.

Next day (Saturday) we headed to Westfield Sydney as I have heard yummy things about the food court there. However, we were there too early for any of the cafes or stores to be opened so we wondered downstairs and I found this delicious grilled beef salad. It was a great find.

We then went to the aquarium where the children enjoyed and learnt about the different fish and sea creatures.
Before heading back to the motel for a much needed rest, we drove up to Manly for the essential visit to Zumbos. I bought his macarons. One of each, of course. In Zumbos these are called Zumbarons! Also got one of the infamous V8 cake and the citrus cake.
For dinner that night, we went to Chef’s Gallery. I found out about this place through instagram where I saw many wonderful photos of their food.
We had: Top: shredded peking duck roti.
Bottom left to right: wok fried rice and shredded pork and lettuce. Mini pork fillet burger. Boneless pork ribs topped with pork floss, corn cereal and roasted garlic. Handmade noodles with BBQ pork and soy sauce.

This was the reason why we went to Chef’s Gallery. This dessert is so popular that you have to pre-order when you make your booking. It is their signature “piggy face” sesame bun with marshmallow bunnies set in an edible garden served with berry and mango ice creams. Not only delcious but also very cute.

Every Saturday night, darling harbour holds spectacular fireworks. Darling harbour looks so pretty at night.

Sunday was another busy day for the family. We spent most of the day at Taronga zoo where we arrived by ferry.

My favourite animal at the zoo.

Lunch was Pad Thai at The Rocks.

Deanna and I shared a corn on the cob at The Rocks weekend market.

We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday in Sydney even though it was a short stay. Thank you Sydney for your hospitality. Hope to see you again very soon.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

 

300th Post, Cakes and a Giveaway

I’ve finally made it to 300 posts. It was a long road to get here.

I started back in 2006 because I wanted to share recipes with friends. Along the way, I’ve had many great food experiences, enjoyed eating for the sake of my blog and best of all, I’ve connected with lots of wonderful food bloggers. A couple of times I lost my blogging mojo when life got a little busy with work and most importantly my family. However, I got back into it. I can’t stay away too long.

To celebrate, I have eaten cakes for you. I have enjoyed cakes and desserts from The Cheesecake Shop.

I thought the cheesecake shop only had cheesecakes but they offer so much more. I first discovered this at the “A Foodie Affair” event held by 360 Focus PR.

They have a variety of desserts, cakes and treats on offer. They have something for every day treats or a cake for that special celebration.

I have enjoyed the strawberry continental cheesecake. The cheesecake is so light and has a moussey texture. This was a favourite with the family.

The Rocky Road was full of marshmallowy goodness coated in dark chocolate.


The Rumballs were delicious little morsels but be carefull, these are addictive.

The Boston Mudcake was rich and full of chocolate flavour. I thought it would be dense like some mud cakes but this one was actually light.

I got “The Treasure Cake” for my dad’s birthday. The cake is a chocolate Mudcake coated in chocolate frosting and topped with profiteroles and fresh strawberries.


To share in the celebration, I have 5 cheesecake shop vouchers to the value of $25 each. It is valid at any of The Cheesecake Shop outlets near you. Simply leave a comment below to enter and I will randomly pick 5 winners. The winners will be notified by email and will have the vouchers mailed out by post.


Be quick, the competition closes midnight Monday 6th February AEDST.


Unfortunately, this competition is only open to Australian residents only.


Vouchers are courtesy of The Cheesecake shop and 360 Focus PR


Bon Appetite and Good luck,

Cherrie

Cupcake Central Masterclass

I was very lucky to have been one of the food bloggers invited to do a Cupcake Masterclass at Cupcake Central.

Cupcake Central is owned and managed by Sheryl and Tin. It’s a dream Sheryl has been envisioning ever since the day she had her first bite of a famous cupcake sold in New York. Sheryl’s determination on getting the right cupcake recipe was a long and hard road but with trial and error, she was able to find the perfect recipe that has made their little cupcake shop grow into a thriving business.

Their first store was opened in 2010 in Hawthorn and only a short 10 months later, they opened their second store in Melbourne Central. The idea behind cupcake central is that all cupcakes are baked fresh every morning using only the best ingredients. They bake up to 400 cupcakes a day and on a busy day, they can easily double that.  They truly believe in the “quality over quantity” philosophy.

When we arrived for the workshop, Sheryl greeted us and gave us the history, then it was straight into the workshop.  Sheryl and the pastry chefs were very friendly and helpful.  They shared tips on how to achieve a light and airy cupcake and how to decorate and how to pipe frosting. There was a competition on which group had the best decorated cupcakes judged by Tin, but since my group didn’t win, I won’t mention that part :p

We were showed how they make the cupcake batter.

The baked cupcakes ready to be frosted.

After being shown how to roll out fondant and how to pipe frosting, we all got stuck in and started decorating our own cupcakes.

My finished cupcakes.

And this is how they meant to look like.

Thank you so much Sheryl and Tin for letting us all loose in your workshop and sharing some tips on how to make your famous cupcakes. Thank you Thanh for organising such a fun (and tasty) event and for modelling the apron for me so I can take a photo :)

I hope you go and try out their cupcakes. They are amazing.

Cupcake Central on Urbanspoon

Level 2, Dining Hall,

Melbourne Central

Melbourne

 

Shop 7, 672 Glenferrie Road

Hawthorn

http://www.cupcakecentral.com.au/

 

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie