Friday, June 17, 2011

Painted for You

Well it's official - we are open for business! Lynette and I have created a Facebook page called Painted for You that showcases projects from our weekly painting sessions. There are some items that are ready for sale, and others that are examples of work we can do for you. I hope you come along and check out the page, remember to "Like" it so that we can keep you updated as we add more things to it. Thanks!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Female Prerogative

When I was growing up, my dad would always say if ever any of us girls changed our minds about something that it was a woman's prerogative to do so. With that in mind, I am going to make use of my female prerogative to change my mind about the Cook The Issue competition. Basically I am wimping out of it. I have entered two of the photos that I have taken, and have cooked a further 3 dishes now. My problem is, I have looked at the gallery of other entries and it seems to me that I wouldn't have a chance in the competition as there are a number of photos that look to have been taken professionally. I just don't have the energy at the moment to try to be more than I am. I am quite happy cooking for my family and myself, for pleasure, so that is what I will continue to do.

I am very happy with my win in the albumworks Facebook competition and I am looking forward to receiving my prizes. In the meantime I have been watching MasterChef avidly on the tv, and drooling over the great recipes. Last night's episode featured Nigella Lawson and her recipes. I love her! She is such a diva in the kitchen, she makes cooking look such fun.

I was inspired by the episode and decided that I absolutely had to give her Red Velvet Cupcakes a try. Needless to say, my family were behind that decision one hundred percent! Now up until yesterday, I didn't have any idea what a Red Velvet Cupcake was. I was under the mistaken impression that it was a "hot" spicy cake, perhaps with chilli or hot cinnamon in it. I don't really know why I thought that, perhaps just that the colour is such a "hot" colour. I know now that it is a chocolate cake with red colouring, which seems pretty straight forward to me.

Thanks to my sister for sending me a link to an article that features Nigella Lawson - Sharing the Love which includes her recipe for these cupcakes. A quick read over the recipe and I realised I would have to go shopping as she doesn't use regular everyday ingredients. I needed to pick up Buttermilk, Cream Cheese and Christmas Red paste food colouring. Luckily we have a great cake decorating shop near us, so I was able to get an awesome "Red Red" Wilton food paste that would do the trick, and grabbed the rest of the things from the supermarket.

I spent a great afternoon painting, although without my sister as she is ill (it's not the same without her, but I managed) and after a lovely dinner with mum and dad, decided the time had come to whip up the cupcakes. So recipe in hand, I went into the kitchen. It was surprisingly easy to make, although I altered the recipe just a touch. This batch of cupcakes is for the kids, so with all the allergies we have in our family I wasn't keen to use a tablespoon of food colouring! I decided to try a third of that and see how it turned out. The recipe says it serves 24, but when I spooned it into the cases I was lucky to get 18. I think for my next batch I will make 12 decent sized ones, and I will try more colouring to see if I can get a really red cake. Today's batch were delicious, but they are a light chocolate red. I am really happy with how they turned out. They are a delicious cake and I can see myself making them again, perhaps without the red colouring, for a regular cupcake.

Decorated with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting and a sprinkle of Rainbow Coconut

This is a third of the strength of the food colouring.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


At the start of May I received an email from my Dad suggesting that I might like to enter a competition online. It was a Facebook Foodies contest that asked for the entry of your favourite foodie photo of something you have cooked. I thought it sounded like a bit of fun and entered my photo of the Cookie Monster Cupcakes. It involved getting votes to win, so I shared it amongst my friends on facebook, and they shared it with theirs. I was interested to see how I would go, as the odds seemed to be in my favour. There weren't many entries, and I had entered at the start of the month, so had plenty of time to build up my voting base. I have a large circle of friends on facebook, but soon found that friends of friends of friends seemed to be voting for me too. I was definitely feeling the love!

Anyway, as you can no doubt guess from the title of this post, I was placed First! in this contest. I logged on to check it out yesterday and they had just announced that my photo was the winner. I am very excited about this! The prize is a $100 voucher for a photo album from the company running the competition. Also included in the prize is a 12 month subscription to the MasterChef Magazine, and Adam Liaw's Two Asian Kitchen's hardcover cookbook. I can't wait to receive these in the mail, and then also to choose the photos that I would like to form into a hardcover album.

Needless to say, I am immensely grateful to my dad for suggesting I enter, and to all the family and friends who have voted for me over the month. Thanks for the support! (Oh, and thank you to the Tupperware recipe page from where I got the idea in the first place).

My SH and the kids are very excited that I won, and SH has taken to calling me his personal MasterChef. He is glad that I have decided to enter the Cook the Issue competition as he gets to continue trying new dishes as I cook them.

I don't know where I am going to go with my cooking. At the moment it is something that I am doing for me (although my family are benefiting from it) so while I enjoy trying all these new things, I will continue. I am like a sponge, everything I can watch, or read about cooking, I will. I have just started reading Julia Child's cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" which I first learned of in the movie "Julie and Julia". It's an old old book, but it has some fantastic knowledge in it, which is what I am looking for.

My favourite cookbook is the one I used when we were taught cooking at school "Cookery the Australian Way". I really enjoy reading a cookbook to discover the techniques that different cooks or chefs use. Slowly I am piecing these together and I think it is starting to pay off in the dishes I am able to prepare now. Where before I was a tentative cook, now I am becoming more ambitious and adventurous. I am really enjoying pushing myself in the kitchen, and I know my family are too.