Monday, August 30, 2010


Yesterday I baked up a storm,over 4 dozen cupcakes. I chose 2 flavours - pink champagne, with pink champagne buttercream (recipe to follow shortly) and German chocolate with chocolate cream cheese icing. 

I had my cruelty free eggs at the ready (just the way I like them), purchased from the Whangarei Growers market on Saturday morning from Cackleberry Farms

Now the blue eggs in the back row are chicken eggs as well. Not duck as I first assumed. Such a pretty colour shell.

 I first turned my hand to two dozen chocolate lego cupcakes. 

Now you might be wondering what lego blocks have to do with animals..........................Well take a look at this little fellow. 

In our house, Bilbo has been known to munch on many piece of lego in his time, if it isn’t put away, he is likely to give it a good ole chew!  

Next up was pink champagne, this flavour is my new favourite. As the flavour was completely new for me, I did a test run 2 weeks ago and was thrilled with the results. I used my Cricut Cake machine and the Paper Pups cartridge, to create these.

I used white icing, which I painted with glycerine, to act as glue for the glitter (Glacier violet by Rainbow Dust). The cupcakes in my opinion don't photograph too well,,the subtle pink actually looked quite nice against the white- but in the photo the difference is not as noticeable.

I loved the poodles.

I'd love to hear what you made for the SPCA today.

Friday, August 27, 2010

How to use an impression mat with buttercream

Click here for a great video on how to use impression mats with butterceam icing.

Stunning new impression mat set

I am in love with these new sets of impression mats. 6 per set priced at 29.95. Click here for the full details on Kiwicakes I have so many ideas running through my head for the fabric sheet set, I adore the crocodile skin texture and the tartan or plaid would certainly come in handy. I'm going to show you all of the photos for these mats, that I have to hand, reprinted with permission of the mats creator.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A day in the life....

Following on from my day in the life of Kiwicakes posts. This one is actually a weekend in the life post. I spent the weekend in Auckland this past weekend. I managed to call in on my good cyber friends Kathryn & Colleen who I met for the first time this weeknd. They're the wonderful, talented, awesome ladies behind Delish cupcakes They've opened a shop at Shop 4, 14-16 Raines Ave, Forrest Hill, North Shore City. They of course sell their wonderful cupcakes - as well as the most delightful old fashined sodas from Boylan's Bottling Co and Coffee from Atomic coffee. They also have goodies from Little Cookies (sorry I missed you there Kirin). I preordered a big box of mixed cupcakes, as I had been dying to try all of the selections available, as these girls have been constantly teasing me with flavours of the day via facebook. When I visited it was the last day of their opening week and their "Grand opening"
Here's a look at the cupcakes I got (and every single one was divine!)

Now I immediately ate the red velvet and cream cheese icing one YUMMO
Big Bro ate the Peanut butter one (flavour of the day)
I had to wait an hour or two before I could tackle another - but then it was straight in to the lemon passionfruit.
Now I did share these around, Grandma Kiwicakes made straight for the orange choc (with the fish on top) and later tackled a raspberry one. I had been treated to a raspberry one in store, so didn't have to make a beeline for that. I was impressed by the raspberry icing, which is made using REAL raspberries. (Their bananas are fair trade too).
Now cheeky Kathryn said I could take a photo as long as she wasn't in it. I captured the beautiful Colleen along with their wonderful helper (who had her face painted by the instore face painter - there for the grand opening) They seem to have a lot of fun at Delish.
However Kathryn doesn't get away too lightly as TV3 featured them today in an article, so you can catch a photo of her, by clicking here to read the full story and see the photos.

On to Sunday - I attended Cupcake Camp as an invited demonstrator. I demo'd the Cricut Cake machine and had a heap of fun talking to Kiwicakes customers (even one of the judges admitted to being a customer of Kiwicakes). The afternoon whizzed by so fast, it was over before I knew. Sorry to those I didn't get a chance to catch up with. I leant Ghada (the Cupcake Camp organiser) a hand with the running, and with so much to do - 2 hours simply wasn't enough time. We were all treated to wines from Sirens Wines. Now if you're planning a fundraiser, check out Sirens Wines, as they are a winery that exists and was created, to market their wines, through fundraisers, to benefit the community and charities. (and their chardonnay is divine very buttery)
The Judges Were Mel from Easy Mix and many of you may remember Grayson from the TV show "NZ's Hottest Home Baker".
I taste tested some of the amazing entries, but there were more than I could physically manage. I fell in love with the "winter warmth" cupcake featuring whiskey (somehow - that one still amazes me), the topping on this "best in show" entry was amazing, a caramel fudge like icing.
Here's a pic of the cupcakes getting ready for the judges, each silver plate is one category and the flags let the judges know the flavour. That's around 20 cupcakes they had to taste test. There were more than 20 different cupcakes at Cupcake Camp. Not everyone wanted to enter their cupcakes for judging.
I can say I had a great weekend in Auckland this weekend. I can't begin to imagine how many cupcakes I consumed. Too many? NEVER!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Next New Zealand Woman of the year awards

I want to start this post by thanking all of you that emailed me with congratulations, messages of support and kinds words. The level of support and kindness has been overwhelming. I write this post in response to everyone that wanted to know what happened, how I got on, what I wore, who was there..... etc.

We received these beautiful invitations, in a lovely cream envelope with the wax seal of Next magazine.

The cocktail party & awards ceremony was held at Fables in Parnell, a gorgeous venue with a unique atmosphere. (more about that later)

The 25 finalists were lucky to be offered free hair styles from Vada an awesomely awesome salon on the corner of Beresford and Pitt Sts in Auckland. I had the fabulous Leonie, who did a great job. I must say Vada's wash basins are the most comfortable I have ever had the pleasure to rest my head on. I spent a pleasurable hour, with a glass of wine in hand having my hair done and just resting, after a busy week.

I parked in Beresford St and took a short stroll along K-Rd, as I was a little early. I had brought my camera with me, as I'd intended to take photos for you all.

I wandered past a store that sells Indian sweets. I often stop to buy them here. I really like the Milk Barfi.

When I married my darling hubby in 2000, we had a reception here on K Road at Alleluya cafe - that's it at the back, by the big picture window. I just love the stained glass "To Myers Park" sign (we were married in Myers Park). That stairway (park side) to Myers Park has been used for so many television commercials I've lost count (including one airing at the moment for TSB bank - with the "Stroller Helper")

After I had my hair done, we made our way to our motel for the night. The lovely Parnell Inn on Parnell Road. I must have been in the right place. Look what shop was directly across the road.

We arrived at Fables just a couple of minutes after 7pm. We ascended the stairs, which were lit the entire way with tea light candles in small glass vessels. We were greeted at the top of the stairs by Next magazine staff members and a glass of bubbly. Our names were checked against a guest list. As a finalist, I was given a Camellia corsage to wear. For which Christina Sayers-Wickstead, Next's editor explained the significance, for those who were unaware (during the campaign for Women’s Suffrage, those who supported the 1893 Electoral Bill were presented with a white camellia to wear in their buttonhole. The white camellia has since become a symbol of Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand). These stylish corsages were a great way of recognising the other finalists, and acted a great way to start a conversation with another finalist.
On a giant screen the head shots of the 25 finalists slowly faded in and out. I must say it seemed perfectly natural for the other 24 to be there, but I found it odd, looking at a giant photo of myself.

The canapes circulating were divine. It is here with my foodie readers in mind, that  I know you will take great delight in reading about them. Each was a sheer delight. There were lightly battered prawns on a knotted skewer with a lime aioli. Italian Sushi - which consisted of what seemed to be arborio rice mixed with parmesan, wrapped in prosciutto with a sliver of parmesan and a half cherry tomato on top. One of my favourites was a tiny waffle cone filled with Asian watercress creme, topped with a viola, the contrast of the slightly sweet cone with the watercress creme was lovely. Lastly a lovely rare slice of beef served on top of a purple cabbage slaw. I'd love to know where those mini cones come from. Oh the uses I could think of for them..

Here is where I have to apologise for the lack of photos. The time simply whizzed by, there were speeches, of which all were highly entertaining - from Dr Gareth Morgan & Dame Cath Tizard (judges), as well as Christina the editor. I was humbled to learn, the sheer volume of applications, for every category and am still stunned to think I was awarded as a finalist.
We were all called to the stage one at a time, to receive a certificate, and at the end of each group, a winner was awarded for each category. And THEN the final announcement for the WINNER! of the title of "Next Woman of the year!"

The winner of the Next Woman of the year was Dr Emma Parry. Click here to watch Emma on the "Breakfast" TV show, the following morning.
Dr Emma Parry specialises in high risk pregnancies at Auckland Hospital and helped develop the first service in New Zealand to treat twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, amongst other amazing achievements.

We were all called to the stage for a group photo by Next's photographer. My hubby snapped one on his phone. It's not the best, but it's all I have. (18 of the 25 finalists were present)

As we were leaving, I had ringing in my ears, all the requests from Kiwicakers for a photo of me in my cocktail dress (which I had to go out and buy, as I simply don't own one). One of the lovely Next staff members Chrystal obliged. The lighting was awfully dim and I had only taken my small point & shoot camera. So apologies for the quality.

It's virtually impossible to tell what the dress looks like in these photos (sorry to the ladies that asked). It was a wrap dress by Annah S.

As we were leaving, we were given a goody bag of products from the sponsor Aveeno, which included some awesome de-stressing shower gel & moisturiser (that could come in handy close to Christmas). As well as an advance copy of the September issue of Next magazine, where we could read the true extent of all Emma's amazing achievements.

Not ready to call it a night hubby & I strolled back towards Parnell's centre (yes I was the woman in a cocktail dress walking in stockings down the street on Thursday night, with high heels in hand, it's been too long since I spent an entire evening in heels and my feet weren't up to it) we popped in to the Blue Elephant, a lovely Thai restaurant. Here's a quick shot of me waiting for my supper. (the hair is a bit dishevelled by this stage of the evening).

We crossed back to our motel just before 11pm. I can admit it was absolute bliss to wake in the morning to peace & quiet (instead of being jumped on by a dog or small children). However there was no time to waste, it was straight back up to Whangarei to collect our wee man from Kindy and to dispatch the Kiwicakes orders.

I can say whole heartedly, I had a fabulous time, and am so pleased I went.

In today's Sunday paper, in the "About Town" section was some lovely photos from the evening.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Kiwicakes partners with Hamilworth UK

Kiwicakes is proud to announce an exclusive sole distribution agency for NZ with Hamilworth of the UK. Hamilworth supplies quality floral wires, tapes & stamens in a wide variety of colours.
In securing the NZ distribution we have brought in over 100kg of floral wire - this economy of scale means we've been able to reduce the price on metallic floral wire by 25% and regular wire starting at $5 pack
The metallic colour and range of gauges has been extended. We also now have red & black paper coloured wire. Green is now offered in two shades, the regular darker green we're all used to and a lovely fresh spring green.
Our floral tape is a great price at $4 per roll and comes in 12 colours.

Wholesale prices apply to businesses, licensed bakeries and teaching institutions. Please enquire about wholesale ordering details.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

More free printables

Yet another gret free printable, this time from Crafty Chicks follow th elink to download it from their site.

Here's a link to all the freebies from Crafty Chicks be sure to check it out

My family recipe journey #4 - Girdle scones (a.k.a Holiday Scones)

Girdle scones. Gosh these were one of my absolute favourites when Grandad made them. He certainly must have doubled or tripled the batch as there was always plenty of these to go around. I can recall many a time in my life, when I would bring these out from my lunch. Only to be asked "what is that". "it's a girdle scone" I would pronounce proudly. More often than not I was asked "don't you mean griddle scone" "no!" I would declare quite proudly "it's a girdle scone". I was often met with strange stares. Neither my brother or I cared, we were super proud of our girdle scones, in fact my older brother renamed them "Holidays Scones" as a young tot, as prior to Grandad's retirement when he came to live in Whangarei with us - we would only get them at holidays. I always had mine with just butter - I still like them like this. Everyone else, had jam, or any manner of other spread, whereas, I still prefer to stick to good old butter, so I can really taste my scone.

The recipe (they are always quite basic, as we attempted to \jot down what Grandad was doing or saying whilst he was in the middle of making them - he never used a recipe)
Sieve full of S R flour (that is an old fashioned sifter with the turn handle on the side)
Half tsp Salt
2 Tbsp sugar
sieve together
Add approx half a pint of Milk
Mix to a fairly stiff dough
Pat out to about half an inch thick
Flour pan before cooking (Grandad always used an electric frypan)
Cook about 4 mins each side


The finished Holiday Scones

Below is a copy of a girdle girdle scones from "What's Cooking in Scotland" from 1965. My Mums family would have been settled in NZ for 10 years at this time. My Mum would have been 18.

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