Life – what is happening to you..?!

It has been a while since my last post or significant update.  There are a few things I am currently working on, somewhere in between the 60+ hours I work every week. I am sure most are aware by now, I rant on about it enough – that I am now selling cupcakes at Side Street Espresso in Spring Hill.  I also got confirmation today that as of Monday I will also be supplying to The Gresham Bar in Brisbane’s CBD.  That one has been a long wait, I have waiting for an order since April!  So watch this space, I will keep you all posted when and where you can pick up some Miss Bakes cakes and bakes on demand!

In between all of the orders I try to get through, I have also been trying to get my website together.  My goal is to go live in the New Year, so hopefully just after Christmas everything I have been slowly working on behind the scenes will be revealed!

This leads me to another thing I have just started working on behind the scenes.  Very early days, but I had to share because I am so excited about it!  I have just started planning some beautiful photo shoots with Alicia and Heath from The Left Lane Photography.  This, I guess you can call it a collaboration, was just meant to be!  Let this be a lesson, NEVER turn down a last minute order, even if you are busy, you never know what it may lead to.  More will be revealed about the shoots as they come closer, but I have some very exciting plans and ideas in my head and I can’t wait for them to become real and share with you all.  In the meantime, do yourself a favour and check them out!  http://www.theleftlane.com.au  They also just got their latest shoot featured on The Polka Dot Bride.  If you scroll down, you can see my little ol’ name as  a vendor.  Go me!!

Here is a cute little sneak peek of a shot Heath got of one of my yummy vanilla rose cupcakes.

But as far as life goes, when I actually stop and think about everything I am trying to do each and every day/week/month, I scare myself.

I work full time.  I am attempting to run and build the business to be able to leave said full time job. I am trying to maintain a balance between the two so neither get ignored. I am trying to expand my client base and maintain regulars. I am trying to monitor budgets and invoices to try and actually make money, unsure yet if I even am. I am trying to experiment and expand my recipe base, working on menu’s and pricelists meanwhile trying my best to ensure quality of each and every order, even when I have 4 going out the door. I am building a portfolio of work with branding and photography. I am planning a holiday. I am trying to sell a car so I can go on said holiday and save much needed money. I am saving for a house. I am saving for a shopfront. I am working on a business plan so I can get the shop front. I am (struggling to) maintain my home.  I am trying to maintain some form of social life to not completely ignore my boyfriend or friends. I am trying to maintain a healthy diet and exercise twice a day. I am also trying to lose the 20 kilos which have mysteriously piled on in the last 12 months….

I could go on, but I feel dizzy putting just this down!

Complaints aside, I feel fortunate that I am working towards something.  Little wins make me so happy these days.  It literally takes up every spare moment of my thoughts, I can’t even type “cupboard” at work without writing CUPCAKES by mistake.

The most important thing is that I am doing something about the desire for something more, and utilising my talents rather than letting them go to waste.  Nothing makes me happier to be in my kitchen creating something new or even just an old favourite.  Some days I hate it, some days I want to just lay on the couch and forget about cooking and ovens and how much work I have to complete before I can even sit down for a rest, or the hours of work I have to do and then come home to make 60 cupcakes.  Those moments are fleeting, because as soon as I see that finished product, see something I have created and made work with my own skills and imagination, I remember why I am doing this.  Nothing makes me feel more proud and accomplished to hand over my creation to my customers and to see the excitement on their face.  That is why I am following this crazy little dream of mine.  Seeing and making people happy makes me happy.  That is the simple fact to it.

 

Photography by The Left Lane

Recipe: Sailor Jerry’s and Honey Ice-cream

As you can probably assume, I love food.  Like, LOVE it.  It is such a big part of our lives, everything we do revolves around food!  Every two hours or so that thought pops into our heads.  There isn’t anything else that you do as regularly as eat (at least for me), so why wouldn’t you do everything possible to make that experience GREAT every single time!? How did I do that this time?  With booze, of course.  And not just any old booze, it’s my favourite drink of choice, spicy and sweet and just plain old delicious.  I am of course talking about Sailor Jerry spiced rum.  I have put this in a few things lately and so far it hasn’t led me astray.  Recently I put it in some stewing apples and plums to make a crumble pie.  AMAZING.  The latest, I was inspired from a dessert I had recently when I went out with friends.  It was honey and whiskey ice-cream.  Oh god.  If you haven’t experienced the combination of whiskey and honey, you need to.  Seriously, your tastebuds will thank you for it, and you may even foodgasm a little.. or a lot.  I’m gonna go with a lot.

Try this.. make a simple ganache (that’s cream and GOOD QUALITY chocolate, my friends).. now add a spoon of honey. Now add a little (or big, I don’t judge) glug of whiskey.  Now pour this over ice cream.  Or just eat it out of the pan.. who am I to tell you how to have this new orgasmic experience…?  It’s so warming and delicious; the honey-whiskey combination intensifies and takes on a whole new flavour, almost nutty.  Intrigued, right?

So now that I have your attention, I can share with you my latest recipe.

This recipe is for Semifreddo with no tempering of the egg required.  Don’t worry, it’s easy and just as delicious and creamy as churned ice cream made from crème anglaise, I promise you.

At this point it should be noted that this should be no deterrence from anyone who may want to buy me a kitchen aid so I can make proper ice-cream…

Sailor Jerry’s and Honey Ice-cream

Ingredients

6 egg yolks

50g caster sugar

Vanilla pod/vanilla bean paste

350ml thickened cream

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoon Sailor Jerry Spice rum (More to taste)

Method

For this I recommend using a bench or hand mixer. In a mixing bowl, with whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks and vanilla on medium to high (depending on your mixer – mine isn’t very powerful, so I beat on high) until the egg yolks begin to lighten.  Sprinkle in the sugar and continue beating.  The egg yolks will continue to lighten in colour and thicken.  This process usually takes about 3-5 minutes.  In a small bowl mix together the honey and Sailor Jerry’s until the honey is diluted.  Pour this slowly down the side of the bowl as the egg yolks are being whisked.  When all combined and a lovely light colour, put aside.  This is a good point to taste test to ensure you have enough honey and rum to your palate.

In a separate bowl, whisk the cream until thickened, like whipped cream.  Don’t overbeat it; we want thick cream, not butter!

Gently fold together the cream into the egg and rum mixture, a few spoonful’s at a time.  When all combined and cream incorporated (you don’t want chunks of cream in the ice-cream so make sure it is well combined, careful not to beat out all the air.  Pour mixture into a pan or ice cream tin, cover and place flat in the freezer.  You do not need to stir this ice cream, just let it do its thing.  This ice-cream is so creamy; it is usually ready to scoop straight out of the freezer.

Freezing usually takes about 4 hours minimum depending on your freezer.  I prefer to make it a day before, just to be safe.  This also allows all the flavours to incorporate. 

This ice-cream is well suited to bittersweet chocolate, salted caramel and walnuts.

I always use this recipe as a base, so I can add any flavour combination I want!

ENJOY!

Weekend Notes: Birthday Surprise

Those who know me know I don’t do things by halves.  After months of planning, this weekend finally brought my boyfriend’s 30th birthday.

It started in March, an idea sprung to mind.  A big milestone such as this should be grand and ridiculous and completely memorable.  An idea lead to a poem, the beginnings of a scavenger hunt.  Planning in secret for two months, getting a collection of presents and supplies and hiding them away in my locker at work, just waiting for the big day to arrive.  Ticking off my list one by one, a variety of  30 presents; handmade, cheeky and extravagant.

The prelude to the weekend started with the most stressful day I have experienced in a while.  Running around the city with no lunch in my belly, trying to find last minute bits and pieces to make sure the surprise was exactly as I had imagined.  Oh, and I also had my first order, so also had to produce 60 spectacular cupcakes in three different flavours for the boyfriend’s twin’s party.

Saturday started early with a few presents and breakfast at our favourite breakfast spot in Brisbane, Lady Marmalade.  Everything for the coming day was still a big secret, stirring intrigue.  Afterwards we drove to Beach Burrito at West End for a surprise lunch with friends and family.  After lunch I snuck away to “go get cake”, but never returned.  My boyfriend telling my friends, “she’s taking a really long time to get back”, and my friends telling him, “have another drink”.  I have awesome friends, by the way.

Meanwhile, I was home, blowing up balloons, setting up decorations and preparing myself for the few hours ahead of me.  A little package of presents was left for him to find in my absence, an ollo clip for photos, a mix cd to entertain him on his scavenger hunt, and a scrap book, inside containing a letter and a clue.

Today I have an adventure for you, each location contains a new clue.

It will be a fun test of your memory and wit, a challenge of riddles so don’t you quit.

Grab your coat your comfy shoes, and drive to the place with the pretty views.

This is the place we first had kissed, there you will find your next clue to persist.

Here I tied some helium balloons to the fence overlooking the Brisbane River and Story Bridge, and tied on the second clue and a bag of hershey’s kisses.

Your memory is good so far I see, but more clues to come one two and then three.

The next clue awaits at a market indoors, containing books and records and many old drawers.

A hint for where we had our first date, look for a beacon ballons of eight.

Here hides for you the next suggestion, a place where we will leave a lasting impression.

This was at the Woolloongabba Antique Centre where we had our first date.  I hid the balloons at his favourite record stall, and quickly ran over to the diner to drop off a cupcake I made and wrapped.

You’re doing so well solving my clues, the next is here where you by some brews.

Go to the counter and announce your birthday, on this day in beautiful May.

There you will be handed a gift in cake, one for you your love did make.

Sit and enjoy the time is yours, for soon there will be three more chores.

Everyone was so wonderful and obliging, and encouraging me along in my grand surprise.

Finish your sweets I hope you’re jittery, the next clue for you may be tricky.

Drive over a bridge into the city, to Mary Street, quiet and pretty.

Here lives a store with delightful books, a favourite of yours with little nooks.

Look for an author you admire, inside will hide a clue for you to inspire.

This was at his favourite book store, Folio Books.  The staff here like the antique centre were so accommodating and actually thrilled to participate.  I’m so blown away with how amazing everyone was and willing to help out.  Romance is still alive!

As fun as this is only one clue remains, this constant rhyming is hard to maintain.

West End is the place for us to be, come here for weirdos hipsters and food you see.

One of your favourite shops in town, here lives cool vintage with never a frown.

Say hi to the staff mention your name, time to get dressed up to finish the game.

This was at Box Vintage in West End.  I bought an amazing vintage paisley shirt and had Nick keep it out the back.  I dropped some more balloons and the last clue and quickly ran home to get dressed for dinner.

Here it is the final challenge for you, a surprise is in store with something new.

You’ve had treats in chocolate cake and presents, for turning 30 you deserve grand events.

Head down the hill towards the river, I hope you’re warm it might cause a shiver.

I’ll be waiting for you dressed in red, I trust you’re hungry it’s time for a spread.

I got dressed in my new red paisley dress, tied a yellow balloon on a string around my wrist, and waited at the West End ferry.  I was greeted by my boyfriend grinning from ear to ear and looking so dapper in the shirt I bought him.  We took the very long ferry ride (he’d never been on a city cat before) to Hamilton, and had an amazing dinner at Sono.  It was the perfect way to round out an amazing day, and went nearly exactly as planned.  I would have loved to get more pictures, but we were both extremely rushed because of a slight delay in starting.  It is still entirely memorable, something I am sure we will reminisce on for many years to come.

 

xx

Weekend Notes: Anzac Day

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was writing about my last weekend adventure.

I love this time of year, Autumn is by far my favourite season.  Cool crisp mornings, warm sunny days, leading into comfy cuddly evenings under a blanket.  Our latest routine is to wake up at a reasonable hour to go for a walk around our neighbourhood.   The idea was to start doing this to get out to begin exercise to motivate me to get back into my full workout routine.  All it did was make me hungry.  Now on my second cup of coffee, and my second Anzac biscuit, I still haven’t done anything.  It is Sunday afterall, you can’t expect TOO much from me, right?

The weekend began slow, on Thursday.  I know, after two days at work I couldn’t face it anymore and was begging for another 4 day weekend.  Next week is going to kill me having to be at my day job for 5 whole days in a row.

Friday was beautiful, we woke up slow and slowly began to piece together a plan for the day.  Eventually we got ourselves out of the house in time for brunch.   Where to go on a public holiday?  We decided on Southside Tearoom.  We had been wanting to go for a long time.  Based in Brisbane’s south in Morningside, this little kitsch  cafe is just our style.  Morningside isn’t very well known in Brisbane for being a very cool suburb, but hosts a few little gems.  Hidden away on the main road, you probably wouldn’t notice it unless you knew it was there.  We pull up out the front and find the cafe overflowing with people.  It is a popular cafe, run by the beautiful Patience Hodgson and husband  John Patterson, better known as band The Grates.

We place our order and burrow into the corner, admiring the decor and extremely happy and bubbly service from Patience.   Or order did take a while to arrive, but we didn’t care.  It was a busy day on a public holiday to be fair.  One thing I did notice about the cafe, everyone looked so happy, laughing and enjoying the great service and food.  The cafe has a great friendly and community atmosphere, a vibe that I hope my cafe will have one day.  This is what great cafe’s are made of.  A place to be with friends, be happy, eat great food, drink spectacular coffee and just sit around for an hour or two without a care in the world.  If you haven’t been here, I highly recommend that you do. Just sayin’.

After  brunch, we made our way to get supplies for the next foodie adventure.  A late picnic lunch with friends at Mount Coot-tha. Being the (hipster?) domestic goddess that I am, made up a feast of salad, green salad, apple salad and potato salad, perfectly stored in jars with string and brown paper packaging lined with wax paper.  (This is the part where I admit that I had no clean containers).  It still looked amazing and I got the desired response of oohs and ahhs when I pulled it all out of my perfectly packed picnic basket.

There were also cupcakes.  I am undeniably proud of these.

We made our way to the lookout for a drink and a look at the view at sunset (and to giggle at tourists). Mount Coot-tha is always a great spot and so close to the city, and yet we do not manage to get there often enough.

Yesterday after our morning walk, we repacked the picnic basket and car and went for a drive down to the Gold Coast Hinterland.  It was a ridiculously perfect day.  I always seem to forget just how beautiful our little corner of the world is, and it was great to spend a whole day enjoying it.

 

We drove as far as Binna Burra, stopping regularly on the way so I could take yet another picture or stop at another adorable fruit stall.  (Sorry Facebook and instagram for spamming you all yesterday!)

We had amazing pie at the Binna Burra Teahouse, and so-so coffee.. but all is forgiven for that amazing pie.  The crust was fluffy like a cake,  or a cloud.  Cloud pie, with cinnamon and apple.. mmmmmmmm.

The rest of the day was spent waiting in line at the Ikea returns department, making coconut ice cream and watching ET.

Weekends do not get better than this.

Recipe: Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Day is upon us, so what better way to honour our ANZAC’s with some Anzac biscuits.  Buttery golden syrup goodness, these Anzacs are deliciously chewy and so morish.

Recipe: Anzac Biscuits
(adapted from NMAA Cooks, Nursing Mothers Association Australia)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
pinch salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup coconut
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
2 tablespoons boiling water
125g butter, melted
2 tablespoons golden syrup

Method:

Mix all the dry ingredients.
Preheat oven to 160C (325F)
Melt butter in a saucepan on a low heat and add golden syrup.  Remove from the heat.  Dissolve soda in boiling water and add to melted butter and syrup. Add to dry ingredients and mix well.
Place in teaspoonfuls on tray lined with baking paper.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes.

Tip: This recipe is for chewy biscuits, for crunchy biscuits add more sugar and cook an extra few minutes.

Happy baking!

Adventures in Brisneyland

Isn’t it funny how no matter long your weekend is, it is never long enough to want to go to work.  After 4 days of barbecues, brunches, shopping adventures and lazing, yesterday was a last ditch effort to fill the last day with as much as possible.  How do you do that?  By going to Ikea, of course.

Fighting through the crowd, and there was a massive one as usual, we chowed down on our meatballs and mash, and then took on the real challenge… walking though the Ikea display without wanting to punch someone in the face.  I am not ashamed to say that little children are also included in this category.

After an hour of browsing for my kitchen for our in our invisible dream house and dropping nearly $250 on furniture and props.  We had to get out.

Our afternoon was much more relaxed, catching the bus into the city, camera in hand.  The remainder of the afternoon was spent with gelato and the botanical gardens.  Imagine two 30 year olds with childish enthusiasm playing in the new park.  I don’t care how old I am, I love a good swing.

Writing this as I sat at work, refusing for the weekend to be over.  Only three more days and then we can do it all over again.

Music: Record Store Day

Yesterday marked the 8th annual record store day, not just here in Australia, but across the world.  The tradition that first started in 2007 in Baltimore, the aim, to celebrate and appreciate  the independent record store.

There is a real culture surrounding vinyl.  Collectors who weekend after weekend, meticulously scour through crates in record stores, thrift stores and record fairs for a gem.  It takes patience and passion to finger through hundreds vinyl to find the record that is just right.  The sheer buzz you feel when you finally come across a record you have been waiting to find for a long time, makes you feel like a proud child wanting to show everyone the masterpiece you just found.  This is what record store day is all about, true love and devotion to music and the joy of arriving at your favourite record store and keeping that culture alive and kicking.  Sure, you can browse online and lazily place a bid and have it arrive on your doorstep pristine and packaged, but where is the fun in that!?  I love the smell of vinyl, the musty smell of the aging cardboard, you can’t experience that online.

Record store day gives us that, the chance to truly appreciate a culture and a community.  It raises awareness of this to those who have until now have been ignorant to the pure awesomeness of their local record store, and hopefully keep them coming back and collecting.  Not for profit or because collecting vinyl is the “it” thing to do, but because you genuinely enjoy the experience of flicking through your collection to find the right record for your mood and enjoying that beautiful crackle that only vinyl gives you.

Record store day for me found us celebrating our two favourite stores in Brisbane, Egg Records in West End and Tym Guitars in Fortitude Valley.

Both stores different in their supply, but both have as much to offer as the other.  Egg Records rarely sell new release vinyl, but have a vast selection of second hand.  Tym Guitars, a music store come record store, a more versatile store for new vinyl and equipment.  You may find Violent Soho’s James Tidswell lurking around here as well.  Nice chap, great beard!

The record store gods were good to us yesterday, me managing to get some Beatles LP’s that I have been wanting for quite some time, for a special record store day bargain of $10 each, and a few others for my collection.  Walking out of Egg Records with 7 records under my arm and only $70 poorer was a very worthy trade.  Tym Guitars traded me only 3 for my $95, but I got some very sexy new records, and even a birthday present for the boyfriend.

(The extravagant birthday plans will be shared soon, he reads this blog!)

All in all it was an awesome day, ended with fabulous carbs from La Vosh Patisserie and homemade gyoza.  Check my instagram, I’m proud as punch, they were AH MA ZING.

Happy belated Record store day everyone!

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Anything salted caramel seems like decadence, and yet it is such a cinch to make.  My salted caramel cupcakes are definitely a crowd-pleaser, light, fluffy and perfectly salty sweet.

But  how do you make it?  Simple!

Recipe: Salted Caramel Sauce

125 g caster sugar

50 ml water

50 g butter

1 teaspoon salt

150 ml good quality pouring cream

Combine sugar and water in a pan over a medium heat, stir until sugar is dissolved.

Let bubble lightly for approximately 8-10 minutes, brushing sugar crystals off the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush.  When sugar reaches a deep amber colour, remove from the heat.  Add in the butter cubes and salt, stirring until the butter is melted.  Add the cream and stir until glossy and smooth.

If the caramel crystallizes when you add the cream, just put the saucepan back on the hotplate and whisk until smooth.  (Turned off, the heat remaining in the hot plate will be enough)

Pour caramel into a jug to cool and place in the fridge.

This caramel recipe is so easy to make, and useful for many different recipes.  I add this sauce to my basic buttercake recipe, and a little into the frosting to make my salted caramel cupcakes.

I also add it to ice cream to make salted caramel ice cream, and as a sauce for desserts like chocolate molten cake, brownies, and to pair with tarts.  It is a simple versatile recipe.  If you want a thicker sauce, just omit the water!