Sunday, 20 May 2012

Baking Buys - Sew White

Now this may seem like a sponsored post, but I assure you that it's not, I just love the products! A little while ago a work friend told me about their website and I instantly fell in love. I could spend so much money on this site I actually had to restrain myself. What I really love is that they're on Twitter, which enabled me to contact them to ask about stock.

All of the products are so reasonably priced I don't have to hunt on eBay to find a good deal. They sell bakeware, homeware, kitchenware, aprons, stationary, crafts and sewing items, candles, bags and lots more. The silicone moulds section is probably my favourite to browse through and I'm gutted there's a few things I forgot to add to my basket, will have to go on the next order :D. I've been after some new cameo moulds for a while and asked if they would be getting some in, lucky for me they had actually inquired about it so it was just to wait for the stock to come and go online. I've been holding back on ordering anything until they came in, I also couldn't help adding some other items to my basket :D

I was only expecting the normal classic cameo but was so surprised to see all kinds pop up, flowers, bows, presents and even cupid! I do have the classic cameo at home so thought I'd try something different, I bought; the bow, the lovebirds, cupid and the rose. I can't wait to get these tried and tested onto a post, I think I'll use the rose and the bow the most as they feature the most on my cakes. Along with these I also bought the small chocolate button mould and also the large chocolate tag mould.

 I think buttons always look so cute and along with going on treats they also make great gifts on their own. Here I've made a cute little treat bag, it could have done being a bit fuller, this was one full tray of buttons so I think using two would look really nice, brilliant for wedding favours don't you think?

 I also made some tags, they come with messages like; homemade for you, eat me, with love, happy birthday etc and also some blank ones so you can add your own message. I think these are such a nice touch when you give a baked gift, you'll see some featured on giant cupcakes in the future!

Some of my other 'to order' products are; the double sided macaroon mat, crown cookie cutter (perfect for the Jubilee) and the vintage style picnic cutlery. Pin It Now!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Happy 17th May - Norway's National Day

So yesterday was the 17th May, a big day for us vikings, Norway's constitution day - so we celebrate!! The last time we were there for the big day was 2009 and I so wish we could have gone this year. I love being in Oslo for it, there is a massive procession for all of the schools and their brass bands (oh yes I was in one!) and they all march up the streets to the palace where the royal family stand on the balcony and wave. Everyone's in their national costumes, stuffing their faces with ice cream, hot dogs and generally having a good time. 

Here are some pictures from when we were there last, it was the day after Norway won Eurovision so it was extra special!

The above two pictures are of my mum and my nan and and then my nan and me (I was blonde!). As you can see I do have my own national costume, usually each county has their own, and they're extremely expensive but you get one for life. My mum is amazing at dressmaking and made all of our when we were younger (you can see me in blue above), and actually see hers and my nan's in these pictures too. Mine was made last minute when I asked if I could have one for the trip. It may not be completely official or belong to a county but I love that we designed and made it together, I now want an embroidered one too :D! 

Normally we always take the day off and do something fun if we can't be there in person. The last two years we've gone to Thorpe Park but there's a lot going on at the moment so it didn't feel right to go again. So instead we thought we'd have the day a bit more relaxed. I surprised my mum with a big Norwegian breakfast complete with egg, bacon, Jarlesberg, smoked salmon and danish salami. They always start the 17th with a big breakfast so I thought this would be a nice surprise and she loved it.
We then spent the day looking around shops, stopping for cake and icecream, finishing off the day with a Norwegian salmon dinner followed by our favourite film Elling, again in Norwegian. After which I made some cake pops, 

I couldn't resist making something on a special day like that. I thought I would some of the bits in my last Baking Buys post and went for the red, white and blue theme, quite royal and patriotic. You will also see these popping up in my guest post on Philosophy and Cupcakes but slightly adapted to turn them into Jubilee Cake Pops, perfect for any street party!

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Thursday, 17 May 2012

Baking Buys

Another Baking Buys post, I can't seem to stop shopping at the moment, not healthy for the bank balance...I just can't help myself. Some of these were bought a little while ago and kept for this post that you will have seen me use in past posts.

On one of my last trips I managed to pick up some red,white and blue sprinkles, red writing jelly (these use this a lot on their iced cakes), cake flags and also some tutti fruitti flavouring, it's a tiny bottle but it's super concentrated so a little goes a long way :) You'll see these feature in my next post so keep a look out.

The first of which are my Norway purchases, these were actually bought a while ago but I've only used them recently which reminded me that I actually had them! Today is actually Norway's independence day, I really wish I could have been there but instead I had the day off. Normally we do something fun like going to a theme park but there's been so much going on it didn't feel right this year so we had a nice day at home with a bit of shopping, eating and baking. Which is why I bought some of the following bits you'll see in a moment. Norway love their baking - LOVE IT! I love trawling their baking aisles in the shops as they stock so many great products we just don't get that would be so useful.

Last Week I had ANOTHER shopping trip, I couldn't resist popping into TK MAXX where I picked up this cupcake cutter, I've been wanting one for ages and this one was perfect. I also picked up a plain icing rolling pin which I forgot to take a picture of before I covered it in icing sugar, it's great for fondant and gumpaste work. Which bring me to my trip to HobbyCraft, there I bought two boxes of gum paste mix, I never bought ready rolled until my mum pointed out the price difference, £5.99 for the mix, £12.99 for the ready to roll stuff. As I was buying it for my brother's wedding cake, not knowing how much the mix made I bought two, but after mixing it (in fear) I discovered one mix made up 500g of gum paste - exactly the same as the ready made but less than half price! Love it.

 My next hit was Tesco and the garden center. I love the new products the garden center is stocking, I couldn't resist the patterned rolling pin, set of girly cookie cutters, apple blossom plungers and the cute polkadot petit fours cases. The range is so reasonable the rolling pin was only £6.99 - bargain!

 My next hit was Tesco, it's not that exciting for most but I found the blue table cover in the picture above, actually I got the cupcake one there too! I also found the Jubilee golden syrup tin, I think this would love lovely in my baking room when it's empty to hold some of my various tools, and a nice keepsake :)

Finally I hit my town to pick up something to help me make my cake pops more rounded, I found this Joseph Joseph measuring spoon, I have tried it out and while it doesn't make them perfect it definitely helps. In another little shop I found these star cookies cutters for making a star tree, I know it's stupidy early.... but I thought these would come in handy for Christmas, or do you think I could use them at other times?

Now I did do a big order from Sew White, a lovely website my work friend told me about, but I've already tried some of the products out so I think they need a post all to themselves :)


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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Scandinavian Waffles - Norwegian Bake Of The Month

I'm trying to make a post I do every month, it did start at Old School Bake Of The Month...but it didn't really feel right so I stopped, but I have noticed there are a lot of my grandmother's recipes I want to share, I also have piles of recipes I gather every time I visit, which has been a lot I've collected a few! I think I might actually do two this month as Norway's national day is on the 17th of May and they love to eat cake then so I can't really ignore it :D

This recipe is a favourite in our house, it is my grandmother's own recipe as is the only one we use in our house, anything else would be sacrilegious...she would know! A lot of people think of waffles as big fluffy creation topped with piles of ice cream...wrong! Those are Belgian, and completely different. Scandinavian waffles are denser, gorgeous and commonly topped with jam, brown goats cheese (not my favourite might I add) and my favourite - butter. You can also add normal waffle toppings like maple syrup and ice cream though so don't worry if that is what you like.

Waffle makers are quite easy to find in the UK, my mum has had hers for a long time and my grandmother bought me one a few Christmases ago as a thank you for traveling with her to ours for the festive season, she remember me saying how much I really wanted one and sent it back with my mum when she traveled back with her. My mum hadn't used hers in a while though so we decided it was her turn to bake.

My sister-in-law had never had these before, which is shocking as she's been in our family for 11 years! We always seem to make them on random evening when the urge takes us, you just can't beat them. And it's worth noting, that many people don't know our secret ingredient is ground cardamom, it's hard to find here in England though, you might have luck in Asian food shops as they use it a lot but we have yet to find it...let me know if you do! It really make a difference to the recipe, well to us anyway as we can always tell if we forgot to put it in! Please forgive some of the measurements, Norwegians often measure ingredients in units of deciliters (dl), which is 100ml - rather than just grams, I always say I'll convert it but as it's my grandmother's recipe I won't touch it!

Makes 8 - 10

100g butter, melted and extra for greasing
4 eggs
4-5 tbsp caster sugar
5 dl plain flour, sifted

5dl whole milk
1/2 tsp ground cardamom


1. Pour the butter in a large mixing bowl and combine all of the other ingredients in the bowl at the same time. I always think this is a mad method but with some good whisking (electric) it does all mix it. Don't worry if there are any lumps though as when it goes in the iron it really isn't noticeable. 
2. Leave the batter to stand for about 30 minutes to allow it to swell and thicken.
3. Turn on the waffle iron and when it's hot spread on some butter, if you don't the batter will stick...and it makes the waffle even more buttery when it comes out, nom.
4. You'll see the iron lid rise up as the waffle cooks, basically it's trial and error to see if it's beautiful and golden, if not, place the lid back down and give it some more time. Some irons have a light that changes when it's cooked but even they're not always spot on so just keep checking - it won't affect the cooking.
5. Eat! Best eaten when warm in my opinion, choose your topping and enjoy. Nom!

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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Pink and Ivory 30th Birthday Cake

As I said in my last post this weekend was my sister-in-laws birthday, so of course she got a cake! I've been so busy lately I've not been able to make many so it's nice to have time to actually do a proper cake.

I love making two tier cakes, they're great to give as presents and you can have lots of fun decorating them. I recently bought a textured rolling pin I've been wanting to try out, you'll see this soon on a Baking Buys post. I managed to get my hands on some ivory fondant, I do have ivory colouring paste that I could have used, but if I see it I usually try to pick some up it looks quite pretty next to pink. Which of course is the other main colour, I've become quite obsessed with this colour combo, if you haven't noticed. As this was going down the girly route I thought I'd make it extra girly by adding some cameos. They can be a bit of a pain as i only have one mould at the moment but my new favourite shop Sew White has informed me they will be stocking them soon so hopefully the process will speed up some!

So for both tiers I rolled out the fondant and used the rolling pin to make the spiral patterns, I've learnt that you need to press fairly firmly or the pattern smooths out a bit when you smooth it on the cake, and don't try to roll backwards afterwards or it'll all be destroyed!!

For the bottom I cut out some pink hearts and using white royal incing piped pearls around the edge and the letter 'L' in the middle for her name, Lindsay. For extra detail I made strips of fondant ribbon in between the hearts and made a pink fondant bow the night before so it could dry and not fall to pieces, think I'm starting to get the hang of these bows now!

For the top tier I again cut pink fondant hearts and made a pink and white cameo inside. Again piping pearls around the cameo to add a bit more definition, I love how sweet and detailed they look! I think the spiral patterned fondant looks really nice and effective against the pink and finishing with the gold ribbon around the bottom of each tier really topped it off I think giving it quite a vintage look.

The cake went down really well after a night of drinking, as you can see it ended up covered in streamers from party poppers and devoured over the next two days, nom indeed! I also have to give credit to my mum for the actual baking of the cake as I was too busy she helped me out one afternoon , we're quite a good team!

Nom! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Domino's Triple Chocolate Cookies!

I was recently asked if I would like to review something...and not just anything, oh no...triple chocolate cookies no less! I have to say when I heard these cookies were from Domino's, I was instantly sceptical. Pizza? Love it, garlic bread? Yes please, but cookies? I've never bought a dessert from a take away before, there's usually no room left. But I have to admit everyone has been raving about these Triple Chocole Cookies, and as it was reviewed alone without eating a huge pizza before - I found it no problem :D. I say 'I', my mum couldn't resist helping me 'test' them! Though I do dread to think what the delivery man thought as he just kept pulling out box upon box of cookies!

Being sceptical I thought I would compare them to my own ooey gooey chocolate cookies, my mudslides. These are brilliant when warm from the oven and make the house smell of brownies. I'll post the recipe below which I originally got from Cookie Madness, although mine did come out thinner they were gorgeous and definitely worth a bake.

So the cookies, I wasn't sure how many you got so ordered four boxes, whoops! Although this only means there's more for tomorrow, work might get a look-in too....maybe. I was pleased to see four cookies in each box, arriving in the classic Domino's box and piping hot filling the house with a lovely chocolate smell that still hasn't gone. I had to crack one open to see what gooey goodness was hidden below. Inside the cookies crust was a wedge of what can only be described and hot brownie cookie dough. When that smell hits you, you just know it's going to be good.

My mum actually had the first one, looked at me and just said 'Oh bugger...' quickly followed by 'If there is food in heaven then this is it!', no exaggeration this is exactly what she said. I thought I'd help out and try for myself, and I couldn't agree with her more. Delicious isn't the word, warm and yes, just like brownies but in the form of cookies. I now see why I got jealous Tweets and offers to help when I mentioned I was about the review these cookies, I must have had three separate people tell me how good these are in the last week. Considering this is the first dessert I've bought from a takeaway I am now fully converted, I see many indulgent dinners coming up in the future! As for how they measure up to my mudslides? Well...mine might need some more work now! I'm really not sure I could make anything like this in our kitchen...although that gives me a good reason to try right? In the meantime try out the mudslide recipe, see if you can get them any thicker than mine. If you want instant utter indulgence though, I think you should keep these bad boys in mind for your next order, pleasantly surprised I'm happy to say!

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons cake flour (1 1/4¼ oz)
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 3/4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs (weigh to make sure there are 6 oz)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (8 oz)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 oz chocolate chips or chunks
  1. In a small mixing bowl, stir together cake flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine both chocolates and the butter. Melt on 50% power stirring at 30 second intervals. Let cool slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, in the bowl of as stand mixer or with a hand-held electric mixer, beat the eggs until light. Beat in the sugar and the vanilla. Beat in the melted chocolate. With a mixing spoon, add the flour mixture and stir just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips or chunks.
  4. At this point the batter is fairly loose and more like cake batter. Chill batter for about 1 hour to thicken.
  5. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick foil.
  6. With a quarter cup measure, scoop out large mounds (2 oz each) of dough and arrange on the baking sheets spacing 2 ½ inches apart; bake for 12 minutes or until tops are cracked. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough to make 18 large cookies.

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