Monday, January 30, 2012

Great new videos for baby shoes or trainers & a handbag

Today I've loaded some fun new cutter sets to the Kiwicakes website from Frankly Sweet The oval cutter set makes these wonderful baby trainers (sneakers).


I've also added the new multi-use petal/leaf/bauble cutter set, which was used to make the Christmas baby bootie or trainer below.

Frances has also recently created this video below on how to make a miniature handbag using  cutters from the miniature shoe cutter set



And lastly, I've added Frankly Sweet's latest book Sensational Sugar animals, just released last month. A great buy at only 29.99 a must have for those looking to model animals.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Life on board Pacific Pearl - PART 3

The third instalment of life on board P&O's Pacific Pearl (see here for Part 1 here for Part 2)

If you can't already tell from my previous posts. I thought a lot about the way food was prepared & served on board Pacific Pearl. So I was thrilled when later in the week I learned there was to be a cooking Demonstration and Galley tour (which until this time, i believed the Galley to be off limits to us. It was timed for mid morning, so there wasn't too much action in the Galley to get in the way. The presentation started in the Marquee show lounge with Zoltina-J our cruise director introducing Patrice Mick (executive chef) and Rossen Mateev (Maitre D'Hotel). Between them they oversee hundred of staff. They cooked for us a Basil Marinated Grilled Prawn Risotto, which was on the menu at Waterfront resteraunt that night (coincidentally DH had it for dinner that night)

After the highly entertaining demo was over (Zoltina-J described the 2 chaps as an old married couple, they had worked together so long, but with their strong accents and highly comedic act, it was like a scene straight out of the Muppets!)

Lucky for me, when one of the P&O staff said to the hundreds of people gathered for the tour, he happened to stand right next to me and Grandma Kiwicakes, so we were in the front of the line heading down in to the Galley. This is just some of the wine being chilled.

You descend down in by escalator.

I was conscious I had hundreds of people behind me, so my photos was shot very much on the run. At this time of day mid morning, it was after Breakfast and before lunch, timed to be least busy in the kitchen for us to visit.

The space was actually quite large, but there was so many different cooking stations, prep stations etc crammed in there - it must be VERY hot working in there. I learned there are actually people employed solely to pick up anything that is dropped, so that the chefs do not compromise hygiene levels.

The "welcome to the Galley!" bread display was awesome

More of Armando's vege & fruit carvings

I'm not sure what they do in here!

We received a galley fact sheet that had an interesting list of the quantities of food loaded on board for a cruise.

This photo I took from the gangplank heading in is just a fraction of the stores loaded on board.

During each 9/10 day cruise commonly uses
3,000 doz eggs
1250kg tomatoes
1800kg pineapples
2000kg watermelon
7500 tea bags
450kg cucumbers
4000 lt milk
2812kg Chicken
650kg apples
500kg ham
662kg oranges
1400kg steak

And much much more!

From one of our Kiwicakes members

This clown cake op display tutorial was sent in from one of our Kiwicakes members - Helia Whittaker. Thanks for taking the time to document this Helia!

 Putting together Wilton Cake Pops stand.  Also, have my paper ready to decorate.

  Cut trimmings and attached with double sided tape

Using circle cakepops mould, using non-bake dough...yummy    

Clown hats made from pre-coloured fondant     

Sticks inserted into dough, ready for chilling

Starting to dip cakepops...harder than it looks, but finally got the hang of it after thinning my Wilton Candy Melts.    
  Homemade royal icing for trimmings, and coconut mixed with Wilton Orange Candy Melts for the I'm ready to decorate
Clowns chilling in the fridge...but can't get them to stand straight in the stand...they are unevenly weighted  

Falling everywhere put bluetak around the base of sticks to help balance them and use curled ribbon to hide it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Munchstache cookies

A true friend indeed. Lisa from The Whole Cake & Caboodle offered to have my children for the day on Tuesday. She made moustache cookies with them. I also received one fresh from the oven DELICIOUS!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Valentines Day Picks from Grandma Kiwicakes

From Grandma Kiwicakes - here at Kiwicakes  we have  a vast array of products over 150 items  click here for Valentines Day to see our selection

We have Fat Daddio's heart cake pans in various sizes and heart shape cutters in all shapes and sizes.

These Frosted heart pails are $2.20 each for the small ones and $3.20 for the larger,also in this pattern are packets of 20 cello bags for $8.25

We have heart cupcake candy and sprinkles and for something different jars of kissing lips sprinkles.

Cupcake papers in all shades of pink and red, especially appropriate would be these Robert Gordon papers covered in hearts

Chocolate transfers

Cupcake rings

Cupcake topper all in one silicone moulds.  

Every colour of red and pink glitter and lustre to highlight your efforts.

The list goes on but this set of Cake Pop Moulds would have to be my top pick with the dear little heart shape mould. It would make stunning cake pops or truffles  and of course we  have all the extras to make these too. If you intend to make a home baked gift for Valentines we have everything you could possibly need.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The wedding of Mr & Mrs Stanners

This weekend past, I made my first ever wedding cake. In the recent years that I've been involved in Kiwicakes, none of my friends have got married, they're either married, not getting married, or haven't found someone yet. So when my good friend Jodie announced she was engaged, I offered to make her wedding cake, as a wedding gift. At the time I offered, I did not know this cake would be travelling to an island - would I have still offered if I knew? - YEAH PROBABLY!

Kiwicakes chews up the majority of my life and these days, I have little time for cake making, apart from for the kids - I had made a total of about 5 roses in my 12 year cake making hobby, so this was a big step for me.

The cake design was a collaboration of some design ideas the bride to be had seen in magazines, but the final design was not copied from any one cake. I covered the cake in white Satin Ice on Thursday afternoon, in the worst humidity ever (in the middle of a storm) - the fondant was like bubble gum, I was tearing my hair out, I could not use a smoother - as it was simply sticking to it - but with no time to spare, I forged on. And what looked bad on Thursday night, did not look as bad on Friday morning. By Friday night when it was covered with roses, it looked 100% better - and many of the pits/ripples that were a result of the terrible humidity were covered with roses. So I can say I was almost satisfied with the cake, I doubt anyone else noticed the less than perfect finish on the white fondant - except for me.  The most important thing was the bride & groom loved it. And I can now officially say I have made a wedding cake.

The groom picked us up at a tiny coastal town Rawhiti - 1 hour North East of my home - it took me a little over an hour to drive the road - as there are many hair pin bends, stretches of gravel road and pot holes. The boat was small - but fast

The groom assured me the back corner of the boat was the most stable spot. Thank goodness the top was covered in cellophane - it got covered in salt spray.

Leaving the bay was rather calm waters, I was reasonably confident the cake would get there in one piece - it had survived the car trip intact.

Then as we left the bay and entered open seas to head towards Urupukapuka Island, I became terrified for my cake, we hit some pretty big waves (the groom was being terribly careful), I could see the whole cake vibrating. I can only think my internal supports of one dowel down through all 3 cake boards, as well as individual dowels in each cake saved the day.

I am still utterly gobsmacked this cake arrived without a single broken petal - I had an extensive repair kit with me, and a few hours to spare.

I also did a blue/white/black candy buffet for the wedding. Unfortunately I only had about 10 minutes to set it up. This was due to the Island clsoing to the public when the last ferry left and the timing of the beginning of the wedding ceremony, once the guests had the island to themselves. The back drop of part of the cafe didn't allow me to get the best photos in my 60 second photo shoot. I look forward to the official wedding photographers photos.

Blue candy is not the easiest colour candy to find, I was thrilled to get Macey's milk bottles with blue tops (instead of just the usual plain white) I added personalised stickers to black lollipops and displayed them in a stainless steel lollipop stand from Kiwicakes

The sugared almonds I picked up in Noumea during my Christmas holiday.

Thank you Mr & Mrs Stanners for letting me be part of your wedding day

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Life on board Pacific Pearl cruise ship. PART 2

Welcome to part 2 of Life on board the Pacific Pearl. And the first of our P&O competitions. Leave me a comment at the bottom of this post to enter.

From my post Part 1 you may have an idea of just how much FOOD there was everywhere! in addition to all of the eating establishments that we could eat in at no charge, if you needed to eat outside of the meal times, there were additional options. 

Such as Charlie's Cafe in the Atrium where Macarons were only $1 each and high hat cupcakes were $3. Grandma Kiwicakes and I did get a trio of Macarons to half between us, but we couldn't face all the frosting on the high hat cupcake - we were simply too well fed all cruise long. 

The Chocolate Cafe, I previously mentioned was a favourite haunt for DH to get a good coffee and use the internet.

The cookies here were enormous, I didn't try one. The Chocolate volcano peaked my interest. And after getting a copy of Holidays - the P&O cookbook and seeing the Chocolate volcano in there - Grandma Kiwicakes & I just had to try one.

We ventured in to the Chocolate Cafe one afternoon and ordered one each, Grandma Kiwicakes got a coffee and I got a hot chocolate (which was awesome), it was a little dark in there, so my photos aren't the best.

When you cut in to it, the centre oozes out warm & molten, the raspberry sauce provides the lava

When the charming waiter came to collect our plates he asked if we enjoyed them, I tilted my plate and said "can't you tell" he looked at me and said "but of course! - I just wanted to hear it from your lips"

The recipe is in the P&O Holidays cookbook and P&O provides the recipe on their blog which is as follows

Warm Chocolate Volcano, Chocolate Sauce, 6 Portions
  • 250 grams dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100 grams unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 pieces eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 pieces egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 55 grams caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted
  • Unsweetened chocolate powder, to dust
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C. Brush 6 x 185 ml (6oz.) ramekins with melted butter. Place on a baking tray.
  2. Combine 2/3 of the chocolate and butter in a small sauce pan over low heat. Stir frequently until the chocolate and butter have melted and the mixture is smooth, remove from heat.
  3. Beat the whole eggs, egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Add the chocolate mixture and flour and use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold in until evenly combined.
  4. Divide the mixture evenly amongst the ramekins. Stick a small quantity of chocolate into the center. Bake for 12 minutes until puddings have risen almost to the top of the ramekins. There are slightly underdone.
  5. To serve, turn the puddings out onto serving plates. Dust with cocoa powder and serve with vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate sauce.
There are so many lovely recipes in this book, as I flicked through I saw recipes for main meals that myself Grandma Kiwicakes had for dinner. There is also a cocktail recipe for one of DH favourite cocktails from the cruise "Lychee Mojito", there's also the "Chilli Margarita" which I tried on the first night - gosh it sure packed a punch!

January 7th Was Grandma Kiwicakes birthday, we went to the Salt Grill for dinner. This restaurant carries an AU$40 per person surcharge, it was SO! worth it. I could not fault a single thing for my meal, which for me is rare, I can usually find something just not quite right - this food was exceptional!. Salt Grill has an amazing menu we had prawn toast tapa and a variety of sides to share, truffle mashed potato (exquisite), truffle parmesan french fries (not because I need fries with every meal, but for the simple reason I could not imagine what these could possibly be like) and a pear, rocket & blue cheese salad.

Both Grandma Kiwicakes & I opted for the lobster tortellini in coconut broth - which I snapped a photo of just moments after the waiter poured the coconut broth from a small jug.

DH& I opted for the eye fillet & Grandma Kiwicakes had the Scotch fillet for a main - the choices of sauces and mustards to accompany is exceptional. We all opted for steak, as our meal was towards the end of our cruise and we'd all been mainly eating seafood, chicken  & special creations for the week, we all agreed we'd like to try the Steak at Salt, because it is so highly regarded. It was certainly the best medium rare steak I can recall in my recent eating history.

DH piked on us for dessert. Grandma Kiwicakes & I never one to let the team down when it comes to dessert took our time choosing. Grandma Kiwicakes opted for the petit fours and generously allowed me to eat one line. From left to right (raspberry tart, pistachio marshmallow, chocolate nougat & turkish delight)

I opted for the Licorice parfait - it was exceptional!

Our lovely cabin steward Melroy put up balloons for Grandma Kiwicakes. The kids were thrilled about this, as they had seen balloons all over doors around the ship, in the week leading up to Grandma's birthday and were hoping some were coming our way.

Before I left NZ, I had arranged for a cheesecake & bubbles to be delivered to Grandma Kiwicake's cabin. Perhaps if I had truly fathomed how much food is available on board I might not have done this - however it was inexpensive to organise at only $30NZ for both cake & bubbles. It was delivered at 12 noon as requested, but afterwards Grandma Kiwicake's was too full to eat any lunch. The cake although cheesecake, was not cheesecake as we know it - it had a very thin top and bottom layer of light as air sponge and then the cheesecake filling was light as air. All of this meant we could eat a really big piece (and seconds) The roses on top were marzipan, my favourite!.

It wasn't all food food food, I promise!. I did a premium wine tasting event which was well attended by other passengers. Poor DH agreed to join me, right after he'd just attended a 1 hour whiskey tasting.

We sampled 6 different wines, 1 pinot noir red bubbly 2 whites & 3 reds. Each wine was presented by a different member of P&O's staff.

We received a snazzy little book, that gave wine notes & other interesting facts & figures. The regular wine tasting (which I missed earlier in the cruise) was $16 and premium wine tasting was $22.

In Part 1 I introduced you to Armando, he is a highly skilled carver. I was thrilled to find he was holding an ice carving demo on the upper deck. I was surprised to find that a beautiful swan only takes him 15 minutes to carve.

These are his tools

The water is set with ammonia & gelatine, to make it clear and to prevent it from breaking easily, during the carving process.

As part of the ship's entertainment, there is a Pacific Cirque on board, these acrobats perform high rise acts out on the open decks. As well as indoors int he atrium and theatre. One evening I took the kids along to an aprx 30 minute laser light show, featuring Pacific Cirque in the Atrium area (reception).

If you look closely, you'll see an acrobat up the silken drop

It was not an easy feat to get the laser lights to show up in a photo. I took many photos, these meagre offerings were the best of them

Another of Armando's ice carvings featured on a lighted stand during the laser light show.

Tune in a little later for Part 3 (life in the galley kitchen)

COMPETITION: (Drawn Thursday January 19th 2012)
To win your very own copy of "holidays" - the award winning travel book from P&O. Simply leave me a comment below. Tell me have you been on a cruise?, where did you go?. Or if you haven't - where would you like to go? Make sure I have a way to contact you if you are the winner.

P&O Says this about this stunning book:
Featuring more than 60 delicious recipes from the Australian cruise line’s culinary team, the cookbook is a celebration of the transformation of P&O Cruises’ food and wine offering.

Following a massive overhaul three years ago, the cruise line’s fleet now features a contemporary menu specifically designed for the Australian palate and built around Australian and New Zealand produce and local wines.

The emphasis on freshness and flavour is evident throughout holidays, with recipes ranging from macadamia nut pancakes with mango and maple syrup to wagyu burgers and spatchcock with eggplant salad.

holidays also offers delicious desserts – from amaretti baked peaches to apple tarte tatin - alongside cocktail and canapĂ© options such as lychee mojitos and mustard and sesame seared tuna loin with wasabi.
P&O Cruises Corporate Executive Chef Uwe Stiefel said the holidays collection featured the cruise line’s signature dishes and passenger favourites.

“Australians and New Zealanders love their food – they love to try different tastes and they love to eat well on their holidays so our cuisine is a very important part of the cruise experience,” Uwe said.

“Each of our four ships has more than 90 chefs, patissiers and bakers onboard who take delivery of close to 100 tonnes of produce every cruise and work around the clock to deliver delicious meals to everyone on board. The results are in this cookbook.”

With multiple restaurants offering an array of food from breakfast until late each day, Uwe’s team oversees more than 16,000 recipes.

“It was hard to choose 60 for our book, but we have selected an array of our passengers’ top dishes so that people can now enjoy our food at home as well as onboard our ships.”

Passenger favourites included in holidays include pork belly with scallops and red pepper pesto, coral trout with lentil salad and butter sauce, and cookies and cream cheesecake.

“The recipes are delicious but they are also easy to prepare– after all if you’re on holidays you don’t want to spend all your time in the kitchen!” Uwe said.

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