Saturday, 31 March 2012

Easter Chick!

Who can believe that Easter is only a week away now! Where has the year gone? Hopefully you are all organised for the Easter Bunny's pending visit this Saturday night. I seem to be on top of it this year which is surprising given past holidays where I have scrambled around at the last minute trying to buy gifts and decorate the house in a sheer panic.

If you have left it to the last minute though and are not keen on picking up the same old commercial rubbish the supermarket stocks each year (which not only costs the earth but just means nothing) then perhaps try putting your own personal and creative touch on these little gifts as I've done. They are perfect for work colleagues or to keep tucked away at home for those visitors that pop in over the Easter long weekend with an unexpected egg or two! 

Now these were as simple as quick trip to Spotlight to pick up some small coloured noodle boxes (you can get them as big and make them as generous as you like really), some raffia to go inside, a bit of ribbon and some adorable little fluffy chicks to stick on top! Craft shops seem to have an array of DIY Easter decorations for gifts at the moment so you really can be as creative as you like. Just crack out your hot glue gun and get gluing!

Now purchasing small solid eggs in bulk seems to be the most economical way of filling your noodle boxes, but you could really fill them with whatever chocolates or eggs you like. But be warned with so many eggs on hand you may be tempted (as I was) to play the 'one for me, one for the noodle box' game if you know what I mean! And lets just say I've had my fair share of Easter eggs already and it's not even Easter yet! Thank goodness it's only once a year!

So yet again I have ruined the surprise of what my friends will receive this year (sorry girls!), but at least they'll all know their gifts were created with a bit of love and thought:)

Have a safe and Happy Easter x

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Meko's best ever Hot Cross Buns!

Well it's that time of year again where the Easter Bunny is only a hop away and the weather is starting to cool right down. So we thought we'd share Meko's best ever Hot Cross Bun recipe to warm you all up and provide you with a little Easter inspiration! Now homemade Hot Cross Buns can be a little timely but these are totally worth the effort and are so incredibly yummy!

makes 15
5 cups plain flour, sifted
1/2 cup sugar
1tbs dried yeast
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup mixed peel
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tbs butter, cubed
1 egg, lightly whisked
melted butter for greasing
1 extra egg, lightly whisked
Extra butter to serve

flour paste
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup water

1/4 cup caster sugar
2 tbs water

Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, sultanas and mixed peel in a large mixing bowl. Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan until butter melts. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1 of the eggs. Add to dry ingredients and mix to form a soft dough.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 15 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp team towel and prove in a warm, draught-free place for 1-1.5 hours or until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down the centre and then turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and its returned to its original size. Preheat oven to 210C.

Grease a 3cm deep, 25x30cm baking tray with the melted butter and divide the dough into 15 equal portions. Knead each portion into a ball and place in the tray. Cover with a damp tea towel and prove for another 30-60 minutes or until doubled in size.

To make the paste, place the flour and water in a bowl and beat until smooth, adding more water if the paste is too thick. Spoon into a piping bag. 

Brush the tops of the buns with a little whisked egg and then pipe the flour paste to form crosses across each bun.

Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce oven to 180C and bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until cooked through and sound hollow when tapped on the base.

For the glaze, heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Simmer uncovered for 30 seconds. Remove the buns from the oven and turn onto a wire rack. Brush the tops with the glaze and then serve with plenty of butter.


Saturday, 17 March 2012

Who isn't a bit Irish on St Paddy's Day?!

Fiddley dee to all those sore heads out there today after yet another St Patrick's Day yesterday!

The day can never go unmarked in our household with Matt's Irish heritage (yes he has an Irish's the real deal here!). Usually there are a few pints of Guinness sunk, a bit of U2 listened to and a few too many "to be sure, to be sure's!" But this year however was a lot tamer where we opted for a bit of green baking rather than green Guinness! Matt whipped up these rather green and lucky looking cookies yesterday that I thought I'd share with you. Think I may have had one too many today though, my tongue is beginning to go green! Oh well, I guess I'm just engaging my inner Irish heritage too (I'm sure there was some Irish ancestors somewhere down the line in our family!)

Happy Sunday

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Aloha from the studio!!

So the plan for today was to go and check out the Melbourne Food and Wine festivities down along the riverside at Crown. We were looking forward to searching for a little inspiration for our sweet creativity but maybe more so just for a little indulgence in some good food and wine. However we faced a problem this morning when we woke (or should I say this afternoon when we woke!) whereby we realised that we had perhaps already over indulged a little too much in the food and wine festivities at our friends place for dinner last night! So with a couple of sore heads we decided to ditch the plan and I instead headed to the studio to finish a painting I've been working on this last week. A hidden talent you may not know I have, but yes I do love to paint! Now I don't have enough walls in my house to hold all the burning works inside me, so this particular one I have painted for a very special girl friend of mine. A true surfer chick, she has the ocean running through her veins. So I was inspired to paint her her own Hawaiian sunset to look at and remind her of the beach, but maybe more so that she just needed to fill a big empty wall in her living room! So this is the end result and she loves it......brief complete! It has got me thinking however that given the abrupt change in seasons this weekend I may need to paint one for myself so I can just stare into the sunset and imagine I'm living it up Hawaii too!

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