Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Mermaid Tales and Scales

It's been nearly a year since I was planning this mermaid themed party.
I was asked the other day if my children appreciate what I do for their parties.... Um, possibly not.

When I made this demo for the mermaid class, my daughter took one look at her and proclaimed "Oh, you should have done that for my party!"
Does that mean you weren't happy with the one I did make for you??!!   I didn't bother to ask.
You've got to be thick-skinned to be a parent!

Anyway, here's a quick tip:
If you need to make scale impressions on your mermaid's tail, you may find that the scalloped tool in you set of modeling tools is a little too large, and not sharp-edged enough to give a good result.
So, take a plastic drinking straw and snip off a wedge lengthways, and use the remaining crescent edge to create your imprints.

And don't forget to lustre that tail  when you're done scaling! 

Happy decorating!


Friday, 22 January 2016

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Sometimes you just get that need for something peanut butter, don't you?! And a spoonful from the jar just won't cut it. Some scooped up on an apple wedge might; but why settle for that when you can take it up a sweet-crunchy-peanut-buttery notch with something like these cookies...

You can literally make them (from the time you get that peanut butter urge, until the time they're done) in 15 minutes.  15 minutes! Three minutes to assemble and mix the ingredients and 12 minutes to bake. Really - give it a try...
Ready, set, go!

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies (makes 15-18) 

Preheat the oven to 180'C
Line a baking tray with parchment or a silicone baking sheet

250g peanut butter (choose the no sugar added variety)
120g light brown sugar
1 XL egg

(You can throw in a handful of choc-chips or nuts if you'd like to; half a cupful will do.)

Mix all the ingredients together.
Place spoonfuls of the batter onto the baking tray.
Press down with a fork.
Bake at 180'C for 10-12 minutes.

Allow to cool before removing from the baking tray.

Dang! I forgot to include cooling time in that 15 minute timeframe. But it's essential: these cookies are very soft and crumbly when they come out the oven, but crisp up once cooled. Be patient. Wait. Ok, now ...


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Whimsical Sugarpaste Snail

Here's a little mid-week whimsy for you... 


I saw a snail like this made out of clay a while ago (the original artist is "JooJoo" / Afsaneh Tajvidi), and I was completely charmed by it. So, it's been on my fondant modeling to-do list since then. 
(There's also a baking to-do list; a sewing to-do list; a reading to-do list; a house ... ok, you get the picture..!).

But while this little creature suggested "spring-project" to me,  I didn't get around to making it until now.... because mid-summer is such a great time to be voluntarily working with modelling chocolate, right? (insert rolling eyes emoji here!) 
Finally though, we've had a balmy break from the 40'C days, and here she is, with a few work in progress shots...

Materials used -
Dusting powder - green, pink
Food doodlers - black, pink

(If you want to see Afsaneh Tajvidi's original clay work, visit www.joojoo.me)

Happy decorating!


Monday, 4 January 2016

Apple Pastry

Hello 2016! How's it going for you so far?
To be honest, this is not my favourite month of the year. If the calendar was to be down-sized (budget cuts, falling Rand value, etc)  I'd vote for January to be axed first...
But I suspect it's probably here to stay, so we just have to put on our big-girl panties and get on with things.

But let's just ease our way into things, shall we...?

Here's a delicious, easy-peasey apple pastry idea. Easy because it uses store-bought puff pastry and just a handful of other ingredients from your pantry.
 Braiding the pastry is a little more complex, but I've included a link to a video clip that shows you  how easy that part actually is, too. You can do it!

Apple Pastry
Recipe by Tea, Cake & Create

Pre-heat the oven to 200'C


4 medium apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup mixed raisins and sultanas
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs butter
1tsp cinnamon
1 tbs water

Place all the ingredients into a medium sized saucepan, and simmer on low heat until the apple pieces are just tender.
Allow to cool completely.


1 roll of puff pastry, thawed
1 egg whisked with 1 tsp water (egg wash)

Place the puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface, and roll it out to a thickness of approx. 4mm.

Trim off the edges to leave a neat rectangle of pastry.

Place a piece of baking parchment underneath the pastry before you continue.

1.Use a knife or pastry wheel to gently score the rectangle into thirds (length-ways). Don't cut through the pastry - it's just to give you an idea of where to make your cuts and place the filling.

2.Slice off the two top corners of the pastry and notch the bottom.

3. Slice 3cm wide parallel strips of pastry down each side of the rectangle (in the two outside thirds). These should be at approx. 45 deg angles.

4. Spoon the filling into the middle third of the pastry.

5. Fold a 1cm flap over the filling at the top of the pastry, and  fold over the flap at the bottom.
    Fold the strips of pastry over the centre filling - alternating sides. to create a braided appearance.  
    (watch this clip to see it professionally done - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd3PMaMt4j4)

6. Brush the surface of the pastry with the egg wash (a whole egg whisked with 1 tsp water).

Use the baking parchment to lift the pastry onto an oven tray and bake at  200'C for 15min.
Rotate the baking tray, then bake for another 10min. at 180'C or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven. Cool. Dust with icing sugar.
It's great on it's own, or you can serve with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Wishing you all the very best for 2016!