Wednesday, March 31, 2010

52 Weeks of Baking - Week #4 Not So Blooming Brownies...

After the success with my fish pie, I did not look anywhere else for brownies recipe but headed right back to Jamie Oliver's website and picked out his Bloomin' Brilliant Brownies recipe. Although I did not have all the necessary equipment, by that I meant the square baking pan, I soldiered on.

Firstly I was shocked by the amount of butter the recipe required, the whole block of 250g! Then the amount of dried items was made of a little bit flour, a little bit cocoa powder and a whole lot of 360gm sugar. Oh yes, I know it is suppose to be really chocolaty and sweet. But forgive my ignorance here.... that much?!?

Anyways I stuck to the recipe, even went out to buy a kitchen scale (which turn out not small enough), to get it right. But totally forgot the square pan. So in the oven it went and 20 mins later I took it out, just as the recipe said. But the middle was wobbly and wet. Instinctively I put in the oven and left it there for another 20 mins. Alright, I havent developed and instinct for baking yet.

Well it ended up wet and crumbly like my horrible experience with the pineapple upside down cake! Frustrated, I wrapped it in shrink wrap and chuck it in the fridge. The next day we revisited the brownie to decide if it was a keeper or not. To our amazement it set! It was firm in the middle. Although hard to the touch, once in the mouth the crust around it had a chocolate chip cookie texture and the inside was like a soft chocolate bar.

So it was not that bad after all! Jamie Oliver still rocks!

Come join in the fun with this Swap-bot swap.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Weekend Wants!!!

This week I found some amazing photo prints on Etsy and some lovely things!

Abstract Hyacinth 2 by Keep the Sugar
This piece would look really nice in my living room as the color scheme is just right. This type of macro photography that is not too subject orientated is very handy when decorating a place!

Mother of pearl ring by Queen G Designs
This is a mysterious little fella! I thought it was an eye, it does look like the all seeing eye. Lovely mother of pearl.

Friendly Flowers by Jessica Torres Photography

Another photograph I came across. This has a lovely and romantic feel to it. Would look absolutely wonderful in a white room!

Black Leather Satchel Bag by TheLeatherStore

I have weakness for all things leather, especially if it has big buckles, or studs. Oh... I know what just flashed in your head. Nope!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

February Custom Banner Giveaway

I am blogging this a little late, only over a month... LOL. However here is my February Custom Banner Giveaway -

February Banner - Dancing Wind Designs
Working with Sue was very delightful! She handed me a picture of her favorite fishing spot and hoped I could use it in someways. I just fell in love with the blue in the picture.

Here are some amazing pieces from her studio -

Monday, March 22, 2010

52 Weeks of Baking - Week# 3 - Fish Pie!

So I thought that from this week on I will include the dish I made in the title, we improve ourselves as we go along... This is my unofficial week 3 as official week begins in April and also when this Swap-Bot swap begins.

Before this weekend I was looking forward to making Jamie Oliver's Bloomin' Brilliant Brownies. Who could resist? But I ended up making a fish pie instead. I started late, felt tired, haven't done the shopping and hubs was asking about dinner.

So I did me some searching for fish pie recipes (since it is my first time) on the internet and found many a little complicating - poach fish with vege in milk, strain, throw out veg, use milk a little in mash.... etc. etc. Too much work for someone who hasn't gone out to get ingredients at 4pm!

Luckily I went back to Jamie Oliver's website and found this fish pie recipe. It is so simple! Literally shred everything in to a baking earthenware dish, cover with mash and bake. And it turned out to be really, really good. I had it again for lunch the day after and still could not believe how tremendously good it is.

I made some alterations to the recipe to suit our taste at home and also because I could not find creme fraiche at the supermarket. I added one medium sized brown onion, about 2 tablespoons of cream and sour cream, and totally forgot to add the fresh chillies. I used about 6-7 slices of smoked salmon, 5 fillets of ocean Perch and 5 large prawns.

I hope you try this AMAZING recipe!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weekend Wants!

Some interesting and beatiful pieces here! Ooooh I want! I want! I want!

Harry handbag in brown by Lisaroy

This is a beautifully structured handbag in brown wool, upcycled from a vintage man's suit jacket! I love the clean lines and crispness of the bag giving it a lot of characteristics without going over board with design elements. Wonderful!

Jason Yenter Floragraphix Quilted Placemats byKimbuktu

I love the colours in this placemats. They are bright and sunny and a little etnic as well. I think Kimbuktu did a good job with the photo as well, with the props and the lighting.

Triple Earthtone Embroidered Earrings by ThreadFed

Isn't this a unique pair of earrings? The colours are lovely and the fringe does add a lot of texture to the design. There are many other unique pieces in this shop.

Magical Forrest Potpourri Frame by QueenOfAllTrades

This is so cute! I love square photo frames, and the colour of this is really exquisite. Wonder if it is scented potpourri? It stands on it's own too, lovely!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sunshine Award!!!

Here are the rules of this award...

1. Place the logo within your blog or post.
2. Pass the award on to 12 bloggers.
3. Link the nominees within the post.
4. Let the nominees know they have received the award by commenting on their blogs.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award.

Thank you Diana djstoreroom for the award!

My 12 nominees are -
1) Andrea W Design Blog
2) The Sudden Cook
3) Kind Over Matter
4) BEBs Treasures
5) The Art of Zen... Crochet
6) jaC Jewelry
7) Mother's Love
8) Huggermugger
9) My Gypsygoods
10) Jennuine Candles
11) Pickles on Pizza
12) Anastasia Drawing and Dreaming

Monday, March 15, 2010

52 Weeks of Baking - Week #2

For week 2 (unofficial week 2), I decided to bake a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. The recipe looked simple, had a beautiful photo and I had a pineapple sitting in the fridge. Little did I realize how wrong I was with it being easy!

My first attempt turned out to be a 'crumbly mess' I can't even cut! The cake was still moist but the pineapples were stuck to the caramel, which was stuck to the spring form and everything came out in bits. Straight to the bin it went. But I tasted it before dumping it, it was good but a little too sweet.

So it was back to the mixing bowl! I had some pineapple left and heaps of the other ingredients, so I decided to try another recipe. This one calling for more flour than the one before and simpler in method. The second one held it's shape for... urm 2 minutes! Then it went crumbly as soon as I turned it upside down. That is also because it formed a large lump hill in the centre. This time it was crumbly dry.

At this point, I think the Pineapple Upside Down Cake is a myth! It is one of those recipes that has never turned out right and no one dares to admit so as in admitting so means you are a lousy cook. Well in this case, I would have to admit - I am a lousy cook. And I hope that after week 52, I can say that I am no longer lousy, but improved!

If you have successfully baked a Pineapple Upside Down Cake that did not turn out like mine, I would like to know how you did it. Better yet, if you can tell me where I might have gone wrong with my two above. I will be forever grateful!

Join me in my 52 Weeks of Baking on Swap-bot, where we will exchange emails with photos and recipes, our experiences - where we might have gone wrong, be friends and help keep each other motivated!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekend Wants!

I want to start a new feature format Weekend Wants, which I think will help get more exposure than Thursday features. It will showcase a few things that I've seeked out on Etsy and really want!

I'm starting this week with some of those who has commented on the last Thursday Feature.

Circle in The Sand -Buttons Supplies Needlework Scrapbooking HomeDecor

This Etsy shop has some really nice vintage buttons. Here I found this lot of 12 buttons. I can so imaging a really sassy cuff made with these!

AriDesigns Studios

Aridesign has some real chic stuff! I love this Green Mandala Bangle made with decoupage. Will look real nice with a green or blue summer dress!

KottageKreations by Laurie Salinas

Lovely necklace! Reminds me of the beach... you must see it closer up as the details show better.

Please leave a comment if you like your items to be featured in upcoming posts. All items featured will also be automatically posted on my Facebook and tweeted!

Monday, March 8, 2010

My 52 Weeks of Baking

"The proof of the pudding is in the eating"

Above - Sticky Date Pudding I made this week.

Baking or cooking in general is calming to me. I search recipes out, follow them with some modification and reap the benefits. All in the span of hours - I seek, execute and reward myself. After a good day of baking or 'intentional cooking' - not the every night quick dinner fix - I feel like I have renewed myself.

I am setting out to challenge myself to bake once a week for every week from April onwards. This is in hope I will stick to doing something I set out to do for an entire year. I've always been weak at keeping up with myself! Therefore if you like to motivate me or show some support to my efforts, please join my an email swap I am hosting on - 52 Weeks of Baking.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

It's been a while since the last post...

and I am sorry for this, especially to those who are waiting to be featured. I've not been attending much to my online sites too.

Life has been a little crazy when I got back from my holidays back home. I feel left behind in class and struggling to keep up. While the silence and lack of familiar faces around me has left me in a bit of a depressed state.

I am dealing with it and hope I will bounce back soon. Any help or advice is much appreciated!

Thank you for reading.