> m.e: December 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Missed you!

It feels like I haven't seen you in a while, why don't you pop round for some tea & cupcakes.

Sending you hugs and hope you had a great time with your loved ones.


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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Greek Almond Cookies

Mum and I had a baking session together yesterday which we do every year and we made some cookies which have been in my life for as long as I can remember.
Though I don't eat them now, I still enjoy making them and sharing them with others.

These are traditional almond cookies which are called "kourabiethes" and this is a recipe mum has used for many a years. They are normally a crescent shape but we went for a round shape this time.


Greek Almond Cookies
makes approx 25

ingredients
  • 250g softened butter
  • 2 cups of pure icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • vanilla extract
  • 100g blanched, chopped almonds
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • rose water
  • icing sugar to decorate

method

  • Preheat oven to 180 deg C
  • Using a stand mixer, cream butter and icing sugar until its soft and fluffy
  • Add egg and vanilla and mix
  • Add chopped almond pieces and flour, ensuring the dough comes together
  • Remove dough from bowl, ensuring it is not too soft and sticky. It needs to be workable but also not too stiff
  • Form into a large ball
  • Scoop out walnut sized pieces of dough and form into balls or crescent shapes.
  • Place on a lined baking tray, allowing space between cookies
  • Place into oven and cook for about 15-20 mins.
  • When cookies are slightly golden remove from oven and spray with rose water
  • Dust cookies with a generous amount of pure icing sugar
mmmm enjoy, I can smell the rosewater throughout the house as I type

edited : featured here
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I heart cherries

Summer & Christmas for us always mean yummy, beautiful, perfect cherries.

Some curl up with hot cocoa
in far away lands and cook with warm Christmas spices and we enjoy beautifully smelling summer fruits.

Wherever you are, enjoy the different smells, the tastes, smile, laugh and especially enjoy the hugs from those you love.


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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hugs ♥

Thank you all for opening your arms and giving me what felt like the biggest cyber hug ever!!
You had me in tears and you made me feel the grief and to be able to let it out and I really appreciate that.
Thank you

We headed to Daylesford yesterday to visit this lovely magical place called Lark. We were welcomed by the ever so beautifully smiling Allison & left with some wonderful Christmas gifts.
We then had a fabulous pre Christmas family get together before my beautiful sister-in-law leaves for the U.K.
Beautiful day, fabulous lunch, great family get together, lovely presents and lots of smiles and laughter. Very much needed indeed.
Hope you had a great weekend

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Is it wrong that I don't feel like Christmas?

No matter what goes on around me it just doesn't feel like a joyous time.
I wish I could fix it, but I can't.

I need to bake for orders so I do it, but I don't bake for enjoyment.

I need to take photos , but even then, I can't see anything to photograph.

I need to wrap presents, I need to put on a face, I need to be celebrating but all I have are tears.

Is it easy for others who have experienced the loss of a family member to be able to go on and celebrate these first occasions without the sadness. Probably not.

I wish those around me would understand this, but some don't.

Do I care...no.


Had to get it out of my head as my heart has been aching for sometime now and the happy face has been packed away for now...is that wrong?

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fruit Mince Tarts

Made these the other day and they didn't get a chance to see the morning sun.

You may think they are difficult to make, but really they are very simple.
All you need to prepare is the fruit to soak the night before in the fridge and you are all ready to start.

Fruit Mince Tarts
makes about 15

fruit filling

ingredients

  • 2 granny smith apples peeled, cored and grated
  • 1/3 cup sultanas
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup mixed peel
  • 1/3 cups slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or sherry
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
method
  • mix all ingredients together, cover and refrigerate overnight or longer if you have time
sweet shortcrust pastry

ingredients
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 150 g butter, cold and chopped
  • a few tablespoons of water
method
  • process flour, butter and sugar in a food processor until you have a breadcrumb like consistency, then slowly add water whilst still processing until mixture just comes together.
  • knead lightly and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about 30 minutes

how to put it all together

  • preheat oven to 18oC / 350F
  • roll out pastry on a lightly floured bench about 2mm thick and cut out 7 cm rounds and place in shallow cupcake tin or individual store bought aluminium tins
  • place a few teaspoons of the fruit filling in and cut shapes out of remaining pastry and place as a lid
  • brush with egg wash and sprinkle with some caster sugar
  • bake for about 15 minutes or until slightly golden and pastry looks crisp
Have fun!

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gingerbread

Hope you had a great weekend and are anxiously awaiting Christmas...or maybe stressing that it's just around the corner and you have soooo much to do.

Luckily I have bought alot of gifts online in the last month so my Christmas to do list isn't that big, except for the baking that is.

Now I know I like to tempt you with alot of step by step pics of the recipes but due to time and baking late hours I will provide you with recipes and limited pics because I want to actually post some Christmas recipes before the new year.

So first one on the list is gingerbread. Enjoy!


Gingerbread
makes about 20

ingredients

  • 150g butter, chopped
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice, sifted
  • 3 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, sifted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Royal Icing
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 1/4 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Method
  • Place butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
  • In a bowl sift together flour, bicarb soda, ginger and mixed spice. Add golden syrup mixture and egg and mix to combine.
  • Divide dough in half. Flatten into discs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour or until firm.
  • Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease 3 baking trays.
  • Roll dough out until about 3mm thick. Using a 7cm gingerbread cutter, cut shapes from dough, re-rolling dough scraps. Place, 2cm apart, on prepared trays. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Bake for about 8-10 minutes or slightly browned and firm to touch. Leave on trays for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Icing
  • Use a fork to beat egg white in a bowl until foamy. Gradually beat in icing sugar until combined and then stir in lemon juice. Spoon icing into a snap-lock bag and snip off one corner.
  • Decorate gingerbread men with icing, sprinkles, chocolate buttons, raisins..whatever you like.
A good recipe to get those little helpers in on, have fun

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cake, cupcakes and softies

After a long couple of days and a market, we finally got a chance to celebrate a family christening and a great lunch out.

A while ago I was lucky enough to win a fabulous giveaway over at Sally's and had been holding on to this little fella until today, when I could finally give him as a christening gift to my new godson.

..and he LOVED him and my sis absolutely loved him aswell.
Thanks Sally for making a little boy very happy :)
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Creative Space...

My Creative Space today is to hopefully finish part 2 of my Melbourne Epicure bunting which I showed you the beginnings of here.
The letters are painted on with fabric paint and I used a couple of pairs of Mr M.E's ripped jeans.

Thanks for all the words of encouragement last time as this is my first EVER sewing project and I am quite enjoying it.

Now back to figure out why the sewing machine thread isn't sewing all the way through in parts...hmmm, where's that manual..

Have a look round here for Kirsty's end of 2009 Creative Space and for some other fabulous ones aswell.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Markets this Saturday

We have a busy few days ahead and I think I will be all ginger breaded out by the end of it, but they are definitely going to be fantastic pre-Christmas markets.

If you are looking for some beautiful craft and delicious goodies then pop on down to The Gardens Market at the Botanic Gardens and Made 'n' Thornbury in Thornbury.

We will be making Lemon Tart, Pear & Almond Tarts, Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake, Gingerbread, Cupcakes, Muffins, Herb Breads and some delicious savoury treats especially for Made 'n' Thornbury.

Ok, enough...off to do some prep and hope to see you there.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

it's raining

Today in Melbourne it has been raining all day long!

Woke up with a headache and had to cancel a playdate we were looking forward to, but stayed home and enjoyed yummy hot chocolate with the little ones.

I do rainy days!


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Monday, December 7, 2009

things that make me smile

There are times when the days are too short, kids have been at their worst, homely duties are awaiting to be done and that headache that will not go away... and the last thing you want to do is do a blog post or sit at the computer because is there even anyone out there that wants to read this stuff anyway.

And then you read this and it makes you feel like somebody does care, and someone is reading, and that this is worthwhile, and it makes me cry and smile at the same time.

Go have a read of this and I promise that you will be laughing and picturing this all happen as you read every word.

It's people like you
Leonie that make me smile and love what I do even more, all because I know that the recipes, the photos, the never ending supply of cupcakes have all been made for a great cause.




p.s I know you like roses

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Photo tip

I get asked about photographic tips as well as baking tips, so I will do my best to add some tips at least once a week to answer any questions.

Feel free to ask for anything specific and I will add it to my weekly tips or will get back to you as soon as I can.

I have a few tips to share with you today:

  • I shoot in the mornings if possible in natural light, near a window where there isn't a strong light coming through which will cause unnecessary shadows
  • I don't use a flash
  • I use a reflector, which simply reflects light towards the object. It can be as simple as a sheet of white paper..or in my case a baking tin. Move the paper around until you can see the dark spot on the object become illuminated

Please let me know if this has been even slightly helpful.








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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

my creative space

Better get that fruit in to soak, 22 days to go!

One of the things on my to do list is to get some Christmas baking done and show you some recipes, so stay tuned.

I wonder what everyone else is up to, let's have a peek.

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Simple things

Thank you for your sweet messages in my previous post regarding lists & things to do, but I can assure you that I do sit down to enjoy my tea and don't worry too much.
I know that if I don't enjoy the simple things in life then what can I truly enjoy.

So today we enjoyed the simple things and hope that you have to.

I'd love to hear some of your simple things, the ones that make you smile.
simple things are the best

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

do you ever...

...have so many things to do but you don't know where to begin!

yep
, seems like there are a few lists going on around lately and lots of deadlines to meet...but all I want to do is sit down and have a cup of tea

in the garden,
is that a bad thing?

lovely teapot surprise, by the ever so lovely Ms Jay..thank you beautiful lady
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