Category Archives: Baking

Uh… Happy New Year?

(No, I suppose I can’t really get away with that in March, can I?)

So the wee boy recently raced past the 11-month post, which means I have been a non-blogger for four months people. Four! I think that may be my longest break yet, and people are starting to, you know, mention it. (Ok, namely Mum, but still…)

Also, I described myself to someone the other day as an ‘ex-blogger’, and then I wondered to myself whether the situation was really irreparable… so here we are, my blog and I – we’re entering into a trial reconciliation. No commitment, mind. We’re just casual friends. 🙂

In honour of it being my first post in 2010, how about some pics of a few firsts that have happened around these parts lately?

First day of Year Two:
First Day Grade Two

First day of Pre-school:
First Day Kinder

First swimming class:
First Swimming Class

First (ever) pavlova:
First Ever Pavlova
(This was so, so very good. It disappeared very rapidly. I baked another a week later for Mum’s birthday, and that one didn’t even hang around for a photograph! Pavs are definitely my new go-to fancy dessert. Yum)

[Left] First two-wheeler (technically a four-wheeler right now, I suppose); [Right] Finally getting rid of those training wheels, hoorah!
Two wheelin'

First glimpse at Melbourne’s baby:
Melbourne's Baby Elephant
(And so worth standing in line for, even though I only have crappy pics. Better ones at that link above. She’s since been named Mali, which is Thai for jasmine, apparently.)

Life. It’s pootling along just the way it always does, blog or no blog. Nice to be back 🙂


Bunting on Monday…

Project overseen and fabrics chosen by Niamh, purchased in the recent GJ’s fabric sale – to which every craft blogger in the north seems to have been!

Cracked my first Nicole Mallalieu pattern on Tuesday…


Are you sick of this fabric yet? Not I! This is Nikki’s 90mm coin purse pattern, and not terribly tricky… though I must admit it’s not quite finished – I haven’t tackled the crimping/squishing of the metal frame yet, as there’s nothing resembling a cork coaster in the house. Think I’ll be making more of these 🙂

Revisiting “Smartie Cookies” on Wednesday…

I had some helpful comments back on this post after we used M&Ms on the last batch of these. This time we used Smarties. Hardly any of these cracked, which is good, but some of the (all-natural, as Marita pointed out) colours were altered in cooking – the green ones turned yellow, the blues went quite pale, and some of the others were dulled as well. They look like they’re out of a 70’s cookbook! Oh well. Tasty nonetheless. I think our playgroupers appreciated them.

My Creative Space

Creative space July 30.JPG

As usual, not much crafting going on here. I have been working on the knitting, but since I’m getting close to a happy dance* on that, I’m not going to show it to you today.

As for my sewing machine, the most action it’s seen lately is a quick bit of repair work on some cloth nappies (actually, not so quick, and man oh man is that Bum Genius elastic dodgy – if anyone plans to buy any, check whether they’ve changed the elastic since I bought ours – which were version 2.0, I think. If you have no idea what I’m on about, ignore!) Oh, and I also whipped out the machine to run up a quick wheat bag – thanks to a blocked milk duct (ow ow ow ow ow) the other day. Thirty-three months of breastfeeding, and this is the first one I’ve ever had (total for 3 kids, not all at once!). Here’s hoping for no repeats.

But! While I didn’t get up to much creative today, I did find myself with two sleeping children. Amazing! I baked blueberry muffins to celebrate (had been planning to do this with Niamh, but I do prefer to bake alone anyway)… then parked my bum on the beanbag for a little while to enjoy the silence and a few new books I’ve picked up lately.

And now they’re both awake, and one is drooling on my laptop (like the poor computer doesn’t have enough problems!), and school pickup is imminent! Cruise on over to Kirsty’s for some more spaces 🙂

*Happy dance = finished project. I think this one might belong to the cross-stitchers, yes? Or is it an all round crafty term? Anyway… now you know!

Here’s One I Prepared Earlier

This post, that is. Since I’m away for the weekend (sort of), this post comes to you courtesy of yesterday 🙂

Since I blogged about making friands, lots of people are stumbling across my blog while out Googling for friand recipes. So especially for you friand fiends (okay, and for me), I’ve been hunting down some more recipes. Here’s a few you may like to try:

Raspberry surprise and Green tea Chocolate surprise friands
Orange and poppyseed friands
Fruity friands (for Em, who asked about a gluten free recipe)
Chocolate and Raspberry friands.

Interestingly, when I went seeking friand recipes, I noticed that they seem to be a bit of an Australian obsession. Even, I would say, a Melbourne obsession. Do you think this is related to this city’s ongoing love affair with good food, and of café food in particular?

I bought myself a new friand pan recently. Here’s the recipe I’ll be breaking it in with:

Chocolate and Pecan Friands
190 g (6½ oz) unsalted butter
100 g (3½ oz) ground almonds
6 egg whites
75 g (3 oz) plain flour
3 tablespoons chopped peans
3 tablespoons chocolate chips
115 g (4 oz) caster sugar
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F/ Gas mark 4). Lightly grease 12 small friand tins. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes until very hot. Remove from heat, cool for five minutes. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add lightly beaten egg whites and stir until just combined. Stir in melted butter. Pour mixture evenly into prepared pans so they are two thirds full. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden and firm to touch. Remove tins from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Turn friands out onto a rack and cool completely. Serve dusted with icing sugar. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

(from 500 cupcakes & muffins, Connolly, F. New Burlington Books. © Quintet Publishing Limited. Directions modified for clarity)

Now go forth and bake!

Frogging & Friands

How can this be? I actually have time to myself in the middle of the day! Niamh is sleeping (she has unfortunately caught the Cold that begat the Croup, thanks to small-boy-kisses). Finn, who is much, much better, is reading in his bedroom – occasionally calling out to find out what P-R-O-B-E spells, or A-M-A-L-G-A-M! (After the first, I was puzzled, after the second I figured out he was reading ‘Emma goes to the dentist’).

So anyway, I’m frogging. Well, before I was blogging, I was frogging. I decided (after you all said I should 🙂 ) to stick with the ‘Fantasy Blues’ border on ‘You Were Hatched’, but I’m definitely ditching the metallic backstitching it calls for – that just looks right out of place to me, so I’ll just backstitch the border and eyes with dark blue floss instead. Sometime this weekend (I hope), I’ll be posting a happy dance.

When Niamh wakes up, we’re off to buy flour to make playdough. And more friands. Let me tell you about friands. They are the Best. Things. Ever! Even for my baking-challenged self, these are fail proof. They are 100% delicious, if not more. Here’s the recipe I found on the back of my icing sugar packet – we have since experimented with Raspberry friands from another recipe, but I liked these ones the best. I might try lime zest in today’s batch though. Yum.

I’m too lazy to imperialize the measurements – and besides, Metric rulz! :giggle:

Orange Almond Friands
150g butter
100g almond meal
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/3 cup plain flour, sifted
5 egg whites
grated rind of 2 oranges

Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease 12 (1/3 cup capacity) muffin pans*.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes until very hot. Remove from heat, cool for five minutes.
Combine almond meal, icing mix and flour in a large bowl. Add lightly beaten egg whites and orange rind and mix gently to combine. Stir in melted butter.
Pour mixture evenly into prepared pans so they are two thirds full. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden and firm to touch.
Serve warm or cold.

*If you want to be a cool kid, you can buy friand pans – café friands are usually oval in shape. But muffin pans work just fine, truly.

Bake Away the ezBoard Blues

This post is dedicated to all the ezBoard readers who are feeling out of touch. I thought of you today as I baked biscuits with my son (that would be ‘cookies’ to most of you!) I thought of you because:

a) when I opened the drawer where my baking paper is kept, I saw all the bits and pieces sitting neatly in zip-lock baggies, and
b) when I reached for the dessicated coconut, it was nicely labelled with a black-on-clear PTouch label.

Both of these organizational wonders are a direct result of me hanging out in the stitching boards… so thankyou… I think 😕 Anyway, the ANZAC biscuits came out great, so if you’re looking for something to do while your favourite board is still chewing up and spitting out your posts, may I suggest:

  • Ingredients
    • 1 cup plain flour
    • 1 cup rolled oats
    • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 125g butter
    • 2 tbsp golden syrup
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 3 tbsp boiling water
  • Method
    • Combine sifted flour, oats, coconut and sugar in a bowl. Melt butter and Golden Syrup in a saucepan over low heat. Dissolve baking soda in boiling water, then add to the butter and Golden Syrup. Stir this into oats mixture mix well. Spoon tablespoons of mix onto a tray lined with baking paper. Leave plenty of space to allow for spreading. Bake at 150C for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Not as good as Tim Tams, I grant you, but fabulous anyway. Still in search of something to do? Go check out Browse Happy. Then go stitch :giggle: