Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Goodbye 2013!

Wishing you all a fabulous New Years Eve 2013!

Here's a little pic of our drinks station for the festivities ahead...fresh cut limes, coconut water slushies and a selection of mixers. 

and a bit of this at the stroke of midnight!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Deck The Halls - Holly Pom Pom Arrangement

In the spirit of all things 'Fa la la la la, la la la la" I grabbed and few bunches of Holly from the market this week and set about decking the halls. It's summer here so there were no red berries on the branches but I decided to add a bit of whimsy and crafty fun with the addition of bright pink felt pom poms.

If you happen to try making pom pom holly at home I'd definitely suggest wearing gloves as the leaves are quite spikey and the pom poms can either be glued to the branches or simply placed on one of the thorny points of the leaves as I did.

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Simple Meringue Christmas Trees

Here's a fun dessert idea that will delight your Christmas day guests and relatives. My Christmas Tree Meringues or Pavlovas (as we call them here) are a lovely light way to finish a meal served with whipped cream and berries on the side.  

Preparing your meringue mix
Earlier in the year I shared my Meringue recipe and I simply halved the amount of egg white to 4 eggs and used 1.5 cups of sugar. Ideally a stand mixer is the easiest way to achieve a stiff peaked and smooth meringue mix but you can also use hand held beaters to achieve the same (4 egg whites approx 120 grams of white to 1.5 cups caster sugar).
Meringue making tips
 Make sure your bowl is clean, your egg whites are at room temperature and when ready only add the sugar one tablespoon at a time and whip till the mix is at stiff peaks and the sugar is dissolved (rub a small amount between your thumb and forefinger). Also bake on the lowest shelf in your oven and at a very low 110 degrees C - I think that's about 230 degrees F for 40 minutes or until sufficiently dried out. This makes approx. 20 meringue trees. I also like to add a pinch of salt to the egg whites when I begin beating to stabilise.

1. When your meringue mix is ready take your piping nozzle I used Wilton 1A round nozzle and place it in your piping bag. Then fill with your meringue mix and you are ready to pipe your trees.

2. Hold your piping bag straight down on a lined tray and push the meringue out till you get a nice round shape then stop and pipe another round on top that is slightly smaller and repeat creating 5 or 6 levels to each tree and finish with a peak at the top. Make sure to leave more then an 1" between each meringue tree as they will spread slightly and increase in size as they bake.

 as you will see some of my trees sloped because I didn't pipe them straight enough, if you find your piped meringues are not sitting straight simply scrape them off the baking paper and re-pipe.


You will need
-Fondant in the colour of your choice to create the stars
-Star or flower shaped cutter
-Edible baubles - you can use edible pearls, mini round candies, choc chips or rolled fondant balls.
-Glitter or shimmer powders (optional)
-A few pieces of white chocolate to stick the star and bauble to the trees

1. While your meringues are baking and then cooling start to cut your stars using a flower or start shaped mini cutter. I then chose to paint my stars with edible silver powder and edible glitter. 

2. Once your meringues are completely cool melt your white chocolate (you will only need a small amount of chocolate to decorate the trees I used a few pieces from a chocolate bar). Then apply a small amount to the star and attach it gently to the meringue peak. Once that is set start adding the round candy baubles and that is it!


Sunday, 15 December 2013

DIY Glitter Pegs - Glitter For The Sake Of Glitter!!

I am loving the resurrection of glitter in fashion, home wares and crafting - not that it really ever left crafting circles but its certainly been given a new boost. From glittery fonts to glittery champagne bottles and glitter clad stilettos - it really is all about the bling!.

This week I decided to "glitterize" some old pegs that were lying around the laundry... here's my super simple how to. 
You will need:
-Craft Glue
-Small plate for the glitter

1. Brush your pegs with craft glue on one side
2. Lay the peg glue side down in glitter
3. Leave to dry
4. Enjoy! 


Friday, 13 December 2013

Miss Chu Inspired Summer Party Coconut Cocktail Loveliness!

For my birthday this year my husband and I popped into Miss Chu in South Yarra for lunch. Serving tasty Vietnamese street food in an uber cool setting, this place is definitely worth visiting.

I was drawn to the place after seeing the owner and founder interviewed. I thought she was amazing - savvy, generous, feisty and totally inspiring and after our visit I have to say lunch, dinner or snacks at Miss Chu is a real treat from the senses...

At this time of year I start thinking about my festive season cooking and given the weather here in Australia I always like to mix up a chilled cocktail or two for guests. This reminded me of Miss Chu's Young Coconut slushies served with or without vodka... they are absolutely delicious and would make the perfect summer festive season offering.

I remember Mum and Dad buying "baby coconuts" and drinking the milk straight from the fruit "resort style" and at that time I wasn't too fussed by the taste but now I've grown to love the subtle nutty flavour. With all of that in mind I was delighted to find frozen young coconut drinks at my local Korean Supermarket and set about recreating the young coconut & cucumber slushies we enjoyed back in August. 

Here is my simple Miss Chu inspired Coconut Slushy Recipe:
Serves 2
2 x young coconut frozen drinks
1/2 lime 
3" long cut of cucumber
For the spiked version add 40mls-50mls of vodka or coconut rum
You will also need a blender or food processor to create your slushy

Allow your coconut drinks to defrost a little bit so they can be processed with ease. Place in a blender with the lime juice and cut cucumber skin on. Then simple pulse and you are done... for the cocktail version add your spirits and pulse again for a few seconds - serve immediately.

This is the packaging you will find in your local Asian Supermarket... check out the freezer section.


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

5 Minute DIY Ikea Paper Bag Coaster Christmas Bunting


Here is a fun and simple way to add a bit of bunting cheer to your mantel, bookcase or wall. Using Ikea SNÖMYS paper bags or Snofint coasters, twine, clothes pegs and lettering, this is one of those ten minute craft activities that little kiddies can do (scissors aside) in the lead up to the big day.

As shown above you will need
-1 or 2 packs of Snofint Coasters or Snomys paper bags
- (optional) letters I used a sticker pack but you can also print and cut around or stamp/ stencil the letters
- Pegs

For the coaster bunting follow all steps. For paper bag bunting follow steps 3 and 4.
1. Choose your wording for the bunting. (I chose Merriment for my bunting)
2. Stick, draw or stamp your letters onto the baubles
3.  Space out your at even intervals baubles or bags, I used my clothes pegs to help set the distance between each bauble for the coaster bunting (as shown below.)
4. Now start pegging your baubles/ bags to the twine and you are done!


Friday, 6 December 2013

DIY Ombre Glitter Champagne Bottle - How To Guide

I fell head over heels in love with the idea of covering champagne bottles in glitter when I laid eyes on the various visuals circling around Pinterest. My favorite version was originally crafted by 100 Layer Cake for their Glitter Themed Valentines Day Party and I wanted to try my hand at replicating and also sharing my "how to ombre glitter" champagne bottles with you today. This is perfect for festive season entertaining, new years eve parties, birthdays, weddings, engagements, hens nights, christenings, cocktail or tea parties etc etc!. It also looks super cute on little champagne piccolos.

You will need:
-Champagne bottles (you could also use vases or glasses)
-Glitter in three shades (I chose Gold, Pink and Silver/Hologram)
-Glue (I used PVA but most glues will work)

Start by preparing your glitters for sprinkling. To achieve a graduating ombre pattern we need to take our three colours and use them to mix together three transition shades. This is the best way to achieve a smooth and blended appearance (see above image). As you will see the first and last shades are just straight pink and silver hologram and the middle three colours are the mixed transition shades.

To make transition shades/colours:
-Take about 1 tsp of the darkest shade, in my case the pink glitter, and add about 1/2 tsp of the gold
-On another plate mix 1 tsp of the middle colour (gold for me) and add 1/2 tsp of the darkest shade
- Again on another plate mix the 1 tsp of the lightest colour (silver hologram) with 1/2 tsp of the middle shade
You will need more then this amount to cover the bottle but you can mix as you go and layer on top of the already applied glitter. If you feel you need a bit more of one colour added to your transition mix feel free to do so. Once you have your glitters ready you are ready to start encrusting your bottle.

Step 1. Soak and remove the label
Step 2. Paint with glue

Step 3.Starting with the darkest shade at the base start sprinkling on your glitter right around
Step 4. Once the darkest shade is applied add the next (transition) shade 
Step 5. Then add the third transition shade, brush the top part of the bottle with glue and add the 4th and 5th shades and leave to dry!. 
I used a very rough 1.5-2" space per colour as a guide with the largest space dedicated to the 2nd and 3rd colours.


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