Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pear and Ginger Upside Down Cake

Tamara Jane featured this on Good Morning a few weeks back, and a close friend of mine told me I had to try it.   I knew it would be good, as she knows her food.  I had actually seen it being made on the show and thought at the time it looked pretty good, but I wasn't prepared for just how good it truely is.  You have to make this cake.  It is devine.  Not cheap, but it ranks up there with probably one of the best cakes I've ever come across!!

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
250g melted and cooled butter
2 packham pears, peeled, cored and cut into 2cm slices
1 cup of golden syrup
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
200g sour cream

Preheat oven to 160 degrees and lighly grease and line a 6cm deep cake tin.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup brown sugar over base of prepared pan and pour 1/3 cup butter over the sugar.  Arrange the pear slices in a single layer over the butter and sugar.

Place remaining butter into a large bowl.  Whisk in syrup and eggs.  Sift in soda, flour, ground ginger, mixed spice and remaining sugar and mix.  Stir in sour cream and pour batter over pears.

Bake for 1 and a half hours or until cooked.  Stand for 10 minutes and turn out onto a platter.  Serve and enjoy.  Have two pieces.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Freeset Sari Baby Wrap

I was at the HEART Conference over the weekend, and again Freeset were there with their amazing bags.  If you haven't heard of Freeset before, check out their website  Its a dream of mine to travel to India, and now that I have heard of Freeset its now a dream to travel to the factory and see this organisation running.  Better yet to volunteer for a month.  The work they do is just amazing and the changes they can make to these ladies lives is priceless.

One of the things they were selling at the conference, along with their bags, were Sari Rugs and Sari Baby Wraps.  I was lucky enough to take one home - here is Ada wrapped snuggly in hers:

These are basically secondhand Sari's that have been upcycled.  It is just beautiful and I love all things to do with India, so you can imagine my obsession with it!  As they have no batting its around 4 layers of Sari's, handsewn together with a hood attached (which is machine sewn).  Its a piece of art and I am loving showing it off and telling the Freeset story where ever I go!

This is the front, with the hood in the top left hand corner

The back

I love this - there was obviously a little hole in the material, so this is where they have patched it up!

Close up of the stitching

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Strawberry Shrewsbury's

As an adult I am not a fan of the storebrought Shrewsbury biscuits, but do remember the joy as a child trying to get the raspberry out of the centre with my tongue.

I am so bored with the usual biscuits I've been making lately that I am on a mission to try lots of new biscuits I've never baked before, that are child friendly.  This is another recipe I've had floating around for ages,  In fact, have a look at this - these are the recipes I've been collecting for a few years that I want to try. They are a mixture of magazine cut outs and hand written or typed recipes given to me by other people.  I will never get through them!!

Anyway, I digress!  These biscuits fit the bill perfectly for being child friendly and I am fighting my way to the biscuit tin with the children.  I did roll them a bit thickly, and they are more a meal in a biscuit - next time I will be rolling the dough thinner.  But still sooooo good!

125g softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 TBS lemon rind
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Strawberry Jam

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.  Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the lemon rind and egg and beat well.  Sift in flour and baking powder.

Knead well.

On a lightly floured board roll out to a 4mm thickness and cut out shapes.  In half the biscuits cut a 1cm hole (I used one of my Wilton icing tips).

Place on greased and lined oven trays and bake for 10 - 15 minutes.  Cool.  When cold spread the whole biscuits with strawberry jam and top with biscuits with holes in them.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Upcycled Denim Pinafore


I love denim pinafores on little girls and have been waiting for the denim in Spotlight to come on sale, as at $18- $24 a metre its a bit pricey for me.  It did, but they only had black left and I wanted blue ... Murphys Law!  So decided to buy a pre-loved denim skirt for $6 and upcycle it into a baby dress. 

I love the finished product.  It only took me an hour or so to whip up and I love the idea of upcycling so much I am going to try some other projects.  My photo quality below is poor - I do alot of my sewing at nighttime when the children are in bed, that combined with the fact my camera is on a slow decline to the rubbish pile makes for not great photos.  Here is how I did it.

You need one skirt, 1 x metre of lining (depending on size - I made a size 1), buttons and matching thread.

Firstly cut down a side seam of the skirt to open it up.

Fold along centre seam (or just centre) of the front panel of the skirt,with right sides facing, and pin and cut out the front of you dress (on the fold).  You can copy off a pinafore dress you already have - or there are lots of free pdf's on the internet for pinafore dresses - just google it and you should find one.

Then do the same with the back panel of the skirt to cut out the back piece of your dress pattern.

Then cut out your lining, back and front.

Next you are going to pin the denim together, right sides facing, and do the same for the lining.

Sew along each side seam and once finished press out your seams with an iron.

Slip your lining into the denim dress with right sides facing together.

And pin the lining and dress together along the straps and underarms, matching the straps etc together.

Sew around the whole top piece.  Once sewn trim close to your seam and notch the arm hole edges.

Turn dress right way out and iron.  Now you are doing to sew around the top of the dress to give a nice flat finish.  See picture.

Then its time to put the buttons on.  Use the button function of your sewing machine.

Then hem along the bottom (I folded twice) and sew.

And there you have it.  You can embellish it anyway you want.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Caramel Streusel Slice

This is another recipe I ripped out of a magazine a few years back and have finally given it a go.  Its a different twist on the traditional Caramel Slice, and although its not my favourite, my hubby loves anything with cinnamon in it so he thinks its great!

125g butter
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup self-raising flour

1 cup plain flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
125g butter
1 TBS water

395g condensed milk
30g butter
2 TBS golden syrup

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and lightly grease and line a 18 x 28cm slice pan.

To make TOPPING.  Sift flour and cinnamon together and stir in sugar.  Grate butter into mixture and rub in with fingers until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  Add water and form mixture into a dough.  Roll into a log and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill in freezer for half an hour.

To make BASE beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Sift in flours and stir until a firm dough forms.  Press dough evenly into base of the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.  Cool.

To make FILLING combine sweetened condensed milk, butter and syrup in a small saucepan.  Heat on a medium heat stirring until smooth.  Continue stirring until mixture bubbles and thickens - around 5 minutes.

Spread filling over the cooled base.  Grate topping over the filling and bake for 10 - 15 minutes until firm.  Cool in the pan for around 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.  Cool completely then cut into fingers.

Chocolate Melting Moments with Coffee Cream

I found this recipe in a Womans Day magazine about a year ago, and bored with normal biscuits, finally gave it a go!

200g butter
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cornflour
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 160 degrees and line two baking trays.

In a large bowl beat together butter, icing sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.  For best results use an electric beater.

Stir in combined sifted flours and cocoa. 

Fit a piping bag with a 1.5cm star nozzle, fill bag with mixture and pipe 4cm wide biscuits on to trays.  Should make approximately 28 biscuits.

Bake for 15 - 17 minutes until slightly firm.  Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling racks


The recipe stated to use 2 teaspoons of instant coffee, which I did, and the coffee icing was really overpowering!  So unless you enjoy a really strong coffee flavour, I would recommend cutting the coffee down to 1/2 - 1 teaspoons.

50g butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tsp instant coffee (see above)
1 tsp boiling water

Beat butter all ingredients together until pale.  Sandwich biscuits together with Coffee Cream.  Will store in an airtight container for 3 - 5 days.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bandana Bibs - Goober Bibs!

Ada is at that dribble stage.  I must change her tops about three times a day as she is a super soaker with her dribble.  I was recommended a really easy Bandana Bib tutorial.  These are brilliant for soaking up all that dribble and mean no more clothing changes.  They take about 10 minutes to make from start to finish.  The only difference I made was using snaps instead of velcro.

The tutorial is straightforward and easy to follow.