Friday, 29 June 2012

Office Outfit of the week!

Office Outfits 08

This week things were rather slow in the office, no meetings or people coming in and out. Plus it was really hot, so I wanted to wear an outfit that it was not too formal, but also not "vacation" appropriate.

Since I can wear jeans in the office, I tried to "mix and match" a little: casual with luxury accessories!

Totally my style!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Daring Bakers - June 2012

It's time for challenge Nr. 3.
This time we made a Battenberg cake!
I was really excited when I saw this, because I've always wanted to make one.

The challenge was chosen by Mandy over at What the fruitcake?.

Battenberg cake is a classic english cake in two colours, usually pink and yellow, covered in marzipan.

For the challenge though, we could make any colour cake we wanted and we could cover it not only in marzipan, but also in fondant, in modelling chocolate, or ever buttercream!

You can find the recipe here.

I don't have a specialty Battenberg cake pan, so I divided my rectangle pan using aluminium foil.

One part is vanilla tinted pink and the other is chocolate.

Now that I trimmed the cake the colours show better!

I "glued" the cake pieces together with apricot jam and covered the cake with dark modelling chocolate.
I did have some trouble rolling the chocolate, BUT I so enjoyed the taste that I don't think I will ever cover this cake in anything else but chocolate.

Next time? Probably white chocolate.....

The taste was really great!

What I love about this cake is the versatility of it. You can make any kind of cake, you can cover it in anything you like, you can colour the cakes to coordinate your party, you can decorate the covering, etc!

It is amazing!!!

Mandy, a big thanks for this great cake!!!!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Office Outfit of the week!

Office Outfits 02
I don't know about other girls, but I believe they don't differ.
A closet full of clothes and nothing to wear..............

It has happened to you, right?

Well, usually I decide on what to wear at the office the night before. I make a mental fitting, I style the outfit, so that in the morning I will not be late and I WILL NOT STAND in front of my closet looking at my clothes.
Yet, every day is not the same. Sometimes I have an "inspiration" on what to wear, other times I struggle....
There are days when I do like what I wear and others that I just put on some decent clothes.

I think it will be a good idea to keep track of my favourite outfit of the week and maybe I will manage to be "inspired" every time!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Dutch Porcelain cinnamon sugar cookies!

It was my mother's Name Day a little while back and she hosted a big Sunday lunch.
She has a thing for beautiful blue Dutch Porcelain items, so this is what I got her: a nice large bowl with a geometrical pattern in white and blue!

since I am the kind of person who tries to find excuses to bake something, I decided that I had to fill the bowl. I couldn't just give it empty!!!!!

So I made cinnamon sugar cookies, using my go-to sugar cookie recipe and adding a little cinnamon.

This was my "guide".
I outlined and flooded the cookies.
I mixed a little gel colour with a drop or two of vodka and used a brush to draw.
I like drawing on food!
The cookies are bite size.
Can you see part of the bowl on the top left corner? The mug is mine (I like Dutch Porcelain as well!).

My mom loved them. She liked both the cookies and the idea itself!
Oh and the smell of cinnamon cookies.... OMG!

P.S. I started using PAINT. These are the first pictures I ever processed. I think they are a little brighter than I wanted, but I need practice...

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Breakfast hamper!

I believe in homemade gifts, whenever possible. I think I have mentioned that several times.
It is a great feeling, watching your loved ones open up a present and really be surprised and happy!
I also "work" my brain hard every time I must give a present, because I want the present to accurately match the interests and the personality of the person in question.

My cousins had their 7th wedding anniversary a few days back, so they hosted a big party/dinner at their house. G. and I were not sure what to get them. They didn't actually "need" anything and we didn't want to get them flowers or a bottle of wine. We only knew it had to be something for the both of them to enjoy.

Suddenly I came up with the idea of making a breakfast hamper, just like I had done for my sister a couple of years ago for the morning after her wedding night.
G. thought it was brilliant and not common, so we were set on that! Luckily I had about 10 days to prepare everything.
I had to come up with a menu, make colour assortments, decide on the label style and find packing supplies!

This is the final result!

This is the menu:
1) Orange cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and sugar paste mini roses.
2) Double decker sugar cookies "hearts" covered with sugar paste and a painted "Nr. 7".
3) Cake pops "hearts" covered with white chocolate.
4) Chocolate chip cookies classic.
5) Sugar & Spice nuts.
6) Chocolate & paprika mini bonbons.
7) Mini red "heart" sugar cookies.
8) Apple - Pear jam.
9) Butterscotch.
10) Tomato & Feta cheese muffins.
11) Breakfast cereal with dried fruit and chocolate.
12) Vanilla waffles.
13) A selection of teas.
14) Filter coffee with vanilla aroma.
15) Brown sugar.
16) Rock sugar (in crystals).

For the packaging I used cellophane bags for sugar cookies and waffles, CD paper cases for the chocolate chip cookies, confectionery boxes for the cupcakes and cake pops, a tall round tin for the nuts, a small round tin for the bonbons, small jars for the cereal, coffee, sugars, jam and butterscotch, clear plastic cases for the muffins wrapped in cellophane bags and finally 2 clear glass MUGS for the teabags!

I designed the labels myself, using good old Word. Want a sample?

Mmmm, classic choc chip cookies...

My cousins were so impressed and happy! They texted me the next morning, telling me how much they enjoyed their breakfast! Maria actually got a little sentimental...

Isn't this kind of giving better and more personal? I think so....

Monday, 11 June 2012


I love love love the taste of caramel.

I had this recipe for butterscotch, like forever and I wanted to give it a try. I think I always believed it to be rather tricky to make, so I just put it off.
But the time was right and I went it.

The experience made me wonder why didn't I do this before.....

180gr sugar
300gr heavy cream
120gr glucose syrup
75gr butter
a pinch of salt

* you will need a candy thermometre.
* when I make caramel I add 1/2 tsp salt

In a small pot warm the cream with the glucose, but do not boil it. In a non stick skillet melt the sugar little by little until it darkens. When all the sugar is in and it has become caramel, pour the warm cream mixture slowly. BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO HURT YOURSELF because it will bubble a lot!
Mix and boil until the temperature is 107oC. Remove from the heat and let it cool until it is about 40oC. Put in the butter in cubes and mix it very well, until there is no trace of butter. I used a hand eggbeater.
Now it is ready and you can put it in a jar!

Cream and glucose...
Waiting for the caramel to cool down...
Mixing in the butter...
Lovely colour...


I ate it with a spoon, I put it on a slice of chocolate challah, I added it on top of a vanilla cake, the possibilities are endless!!!!


Thursday, 7 June 2012

Sugar & Spice nuts!

I love the combination of sweet, salty and spicy in anything edible.
I actually double the amount of salt in chocolate recipes and when nuts are required I use salted ones.
And what can we say about salted caramel, right?!!!

So I made some simple sugar and spice nuts......

Sugar - Spice Nuts

1 tbs butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs corn syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups mixed nuts salted

Line a baking sheet with baking paper and butter it. Stir together the butter, sugar, corn syrup, spices and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the nuts and cook, stiring for a few minutes. Pour this mixture on the prepared baking sheet and spread it in one layer. Bake in a preheated oven (180o C) for 15 minutes, until golden and bubbling.
Remove from the oven and let it cool on the baking sheet for 45 minutes.
Then brake with your hands into rough pieces or (as I did) cut into bars with a pizza cutter.

Sorry I do not have any pictures of the process...

Incredible smells, incredible taste!!!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Summer Dessert!

This is the first day of summer! Happy Summer!

For this summer I wish:
Not too many mad hot days...
Lose weight...
Calm situations everywhere...
Good time on our vacation...
Plan an amazing birthday for my Ioanna...

For the "Bake..." part, I decided to share one of my favourite desserts.

No Bake Cheesecake!!!!

I love cheesecake (baked or straight from the fridge, I do not care!).

It is very simple to make.

1 pack of biscuits (Digestive or Petit Beurre or both)
260gr butter or margarine melted
600gr cream cheese
250ml heavy cream
2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 can sour cherries strained
1/2 can juice from the cherries
2 tbs sugar
2 1/2 tbs corn flour

Crumble the biscuits and mix them with the butter. Put this mixture in a pan and press it evenly.
Mix the cream cheese, the heavy cream, the icing sugar and the lemon juice. Pour it over the biscuit base.
In a small saucepan mix the cherry juice and the corn flour. Make sure the corn flour is mixed well with no lumps. Boil until it is thick, let it cool completely and add the cherries. Pour evenly over the cheesecake and let it in the fridge overnight.

For the topping this time, I used both sour cherries and strawberry pie filling.

When I make this type of cheesecake, I prefer to use glass bowls and small glasses.
It is more impressive and more practical!
Nice and fluffy cream cheese cream!!!

In my opinion the individual portions are better, more appealing.