Monday, October 26, 2009

To market to market........home again, home again

Well first up let me confess I forgot my camera....... in my defense, the market is 1 1/2 hrs away and we had to be leaving home at 7.30am with both kids and their supplies for the day, lots of cupcakes and ourselves. We being hubby and I.

The whole market-stall-for-a-day thing came about because my hubby is a good friend of the Nut Bloke, who asked hubby and me if we could mind his stall for the day because he would be out of town. The Nut Blokes stall on Saturday was at the Yarragon link 'cos it's just not very big in market terms!...., so we were happy to help out, because my mother-in-law lives in Yarragon so she was more than happy to have our boys for the day so we could man (and woman, haha) the stall.

And the Nut Bloke was happy for me to put some cupcakes on his stall for the day. However, it was a very quiet day, much quieter than usual according to the CFA ladies across the aisle who are there every market day (and who are doing their best to marry the Nut Bloke off to any eligible female who comes along!). So not a great deal was sold, maybe about half of what I'd made, and at the end of the afternoon I gave some away to other stall holders, who were busy trying to give their unsold goods away too. Now I have some lovely organic sourdough bread from a local farm, a bunch of beautiful fresh silverbeet, and other bits and bobs of fresh-but-looking-slightly-wilted veggies.

But fun was had, it was just hubby and I which happens very, very, very rarely. In between serving customers, which was fun too as many of them are locals and know my hubby from when he was a little tacker, we talked, laughed, joked and didn't get interrupted by small piping voices once! Much as we love our little monsters, it was heavenly :)

So no photos, sorry but you have already seen the varieties I made. Chocolate with chocolate ganache and white chocolate with raspberry.

Now, I did make one more variety, caramel, and they were first out of the oven the night before the market. And this is how they look now...


They sank. Yes, actually sank. Not just not-rounded on top, but sunken a bit in the middle. I have made these before and they were delicious and perfect looking, so I have yet to figure out where I went wrong, but I suspect it was in the caramel that gets mixed into the batter. Hmmmm. So, I'll figure out the problem there before I put that recipe up.

I got hubby to peel them out of their wrappers and dump them in a bowl, from where they were transferred to the freezer. I now have the perfect excuse to try my hand at cake balls. Yes, sad I know, hehehe....

And I've had a play around with my new cookie cutters, how cute are these little guys? They're on a bread and butter plate, if that gives you an idea of their size.


Hubby thinks these may go down well at a market and I think perhaps cake balls might too.

Lots of ideas floating round in my head...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gearing up...

Ok, so today/tonight I need to make a largish amount of different sorts of gorgeous looking and tasting cupcakes for the market tomorrow, where I'm crashing on The Nut Blokes stall.

But....... I worked last night until 1am (no kids in tow this time) so am feeling a little challenged.

Add to that Mr 4 has been in CONSTANT question mode, Mr 18 months bashed his head against the brick wall while climbing in/out of/around/under an enormous cardboard box, Mt Washmore is requiring some urgent attention and does anyone have any idea what's for dinner?

Methinks it will be a loooong day....

Photos of the market and a couple of overdue recipes will follow...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Do you know bread is being fortified now with folate?

I know, I know, I can't seem to make myself stop going on about food and what's in it these days.

And I recently found out, through an innocuous tv show on food followed by a little research, that commercially made bread is being fortified with extra folate, as of September just gone. Here in Australia anyway; seems like NZ is managing to put it off for the moment pending further investigation.


The risks of extra folate to the general, non-pregnant population appear to be unknown.

Hellooooo, is anyone actually out there, in decision-making-for-the-entire-population land???

So, get to making your own if you can....the recipe for this is here.


And it can be made with wheat flour just as easily as spelt, no adjustment required.

Do you know your food source?

When I was at the farmer's market this morning (after the baby market and before the supermarket....yep, and I wonder where my weekend went??) I quizzed the holder of each stall I went to about their growing/producing methods.


The delicious apples I buy are sprayed to control codling moth, as are most apples.
Ok, I will continue to peel them , much to my four year old's delight.

(There's now an apple seller who uses organic growing methods and does not spray, woohoo!)

The orange grower introduces beneficial bugs to control pests and does not spray.

The free range beef is completely grass and hay fed, no grain at all.

The coffee at the coffee stalls is fair trade, as is the hot chocolate.

The eggs are free range, they tell me they are as organic as they can be without actually having certification.

The raw milk, which is, ahem, for COSMETIC PURPOSES ONLY, has it's organic certification underway. And the kids love it, I mean, the kids love to BATHE in it. Right. Because you know it's illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption here in Australia.

The veggie guy says they are as natural and organic as they can be, without, once again, gaining their organic certification. And I enjoy seeing caterpillar chew holes on my beetroot leaves.

The tomatoes are sometimes sprayed, but not at the moment.
Need to bring a note pad next time so I can remember what they are sprayed with...

Strawberries are sprayed, lightly.
Ditto above.

Hmmmm, that's the guts of what I bought, I think. And it was very interesting morning, those that are making the effort to keep things as natural as possible are more than happy to wax lyrical about their product and methods.

Oooh, I feel so green and in touch haha, love it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I christened them!

With Billy's vanilla vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting...


This is quite a good recipe, but reading through the comments a few people managed to get it wrong. If you've ever made cupcakes you'll find the way the recipe is put together a little I used my own tried and true method instead.


And tweaked the ingredients just a tiny bit too.

Yes, once again I cannot just blindly follow a recipe. However, apart from the fact my buttercream separated (my fault), they turned out admirably. So much so that I might put this on my master list of cupcake flavours.

Now in the interests of sharing good cupcakeness around, I'll put up my version of this recipe sometime over the next few days. Vanilla is a classic after all, and we should all be able to pull a great vanilla recipe out of our sleeve at short notice.


Oh and the cupcake courier works admirably, hubbby's taking them to work tomorrow in it.
And it has the added bonus of keeping small fingers out...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Here's my birthday present!

Ok, not a great picture but here they are...


The 3 large boxes are cupcake couriers, which I finally received on the weekend. (Not the company's fault, I was waiting on my sis-in-law to fly them down with her when she came)

And on top of those is a cupcake stand that I recieved from my mother-in-law on the same day....hehehe, I'm easy to think of gifts for at the moment, yeah?!

I have another offer of some space on his stall from The Nut Bloke, so I'll be baking up a storm for Saturday 24th Oct. And now I can pack 'em all up and carry them.

Isn't it funny what gets me all excited these days?!

I thought I might christen my cupcake couriers with Martha Stewart's Chocolate Salted Caramel cupcakes, but I didn't really like the resulting chewy caramel encased in chocolate cake thing. It may have been because my caramel was several shades darker than it appears in this photo, and had a distinct burnt sugar taste to it......

The actual chocolate cupcakes part was fairly good though and easy to make.

That bit of the recipe is worth keeping.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Spring is in full swing

We had some hail yesterday, real live freezing cold hail. Good 'ole Melbourne, throwing her best spring weather at us.


Yes, our minuscule backyard has fake grass as well as hail, you can probably tell what hubby's turned it into, do the golf balls give it away?

When I first arrived in Australia (following my hunky snowboarding Aussie boyfriend, now hubby, oh how long ago THAT seems!) I was under the mistaken impression that Australia was HOT.

All of it.

But that's not the case as I soon found out, seeing as I arrived at the very beginning of spring.
A spring that was one of the coldest, wettest I can remember, it nearly chased me back across the Tasman.
But seeing as we have the same weather across the Tasman, the lure of aforementioned hunky snowboarding boyfriend was enough to keep me here. (Oh lucky Australia, you get to keep me!)

Now here I am ensconced in domesticity..

training the next generation of food critics...


the next Booker Prize winners...


the next animal rights activists...


and squeezing in a bit of sewing in between.


I made this little lady one evening after hand drafting the oh so complicated pattern. She is now stuffed and awaiting a baby for her pocket, before she wings her way to somewhere...

Ahh, domesticity, I love you! Usually.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lets make a cake!

Hubby's birthday late last week so of course we needed a cake. To my kids, birthdays are all about the cake (apart from the presents of course) and "what cake should I have for my next birthday" is a topic brought up all too often.

So having exhausted my favourites due to father's day, mother-in-law's birthday and MY birthday, I was keeping my eyes open for something new.

What I came across on Lick the bowl good, was this blueberry lemon marble layer cake. Now, mine doesn't look quite like that, due to fact I made 2 layers instead of three, therefore had leftover blueberry preserve which I mixed into the icing. And I put a layer of sweetened whipped cream in the middle, 'cos I know hubby likes whipped cream. And the actual icing called for more butter than was in the cake, so I ditched that and just made a more simple one with a little butter. So true to form, it's not all that much like it's namesake.

The kids of course,were in on nearly every act:





It was delicious and not very difficult to make. Worth the effort.

Speaking of cakes and refined white sugar, I'm going to try some rapadura, which is apparently unrefined dried sugar cane (or sugar cane juice?), I need to find out some more about it. But it retains all it's nutrients and can (apparently) prevent the insulin swings brought on by consumption of refined sugar.

Jo at Quirky cooking gives a run down on different sweeteners including rapadura. It's something I want to look into in my quest to feed my family foods that are less refined......above cake excluded, obviously.

Watch this space.

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