Happy Halloween!

31.10.10 - 22:21

Happy Halloween everyone. This year we did his 'n' her's pumpkins. What do you think? Mine is the 'Other Pumpkin'. If you listen carefully you can hear it whispering, "Stay with us in the the Other World where it's Halloween everyday". Mr Fiancé said it was too cute. I actually think it's kinda creepy to have buttons for eyes... and how can anything be 'too cute'?



Making Macarons - attempt 4

24.10.10 - 21:07
Success! Yay!!

After my macaron 'revelation' the other day I was dying to have another go and see if I'd found the final piece in the puzzle. They came out of the oven really crispy again (blagh) but I filled them anyway and left them in the fridge. 24hrs later - beautiful smooth macarons. I'm so pleased, I thought they had me beat! Mr Fiancé also got to finally try a proper macaron and see what all the fuss is about.

So this time I followed the David Lebovitz recipe again (except I only made half as much in case they were wrong... again).
I left the egg white out while I went into town, so only an hour or two.
I whipped the egg whites until it was shiny but not really stiff.
I did all that tapping on the counter and waiting for a skin to form stuff then I baked them for 15 minutes with the oven open a bit.

I used my favourite chocolate sauce recipe for the filling instead of chocolate ganache then left them in a box in the fridge for 24 hours.

In honour of them finally working out they got their pictures taken on my cake stand with the pretty roses.

Thank you for all your helpful tips!



Flower Market

23.10.10 - 12:03
Have you ever been to a flower market? I visited one this week to see what flowers might be available for our wedding.

The name conjures up images of row after row of pretty stalls offering a rainbow of beautiful flowers. Unfortunately that's not the kind of market I've been to. This kind of market is more like a wholesale point for florists and grocers. You have to be there at 5am for the best choice and the setting is a lot more industrial estate than market square!

I was also not there at 5am. To be fair it's a half hour drive away so I thought 6.30 was pretty good. I picked up some white roses to have a go at some flower arranging. They didn't look great at 6.30 on a chilly autumn morning, but after they had come out a bit in the warm they looked gorgeous.



Making Macarons - attempt 3

22.10.10 - 10:36
Third attempt at the macarons! If you've ever had a go at making macarons (or you've seen my previous failures) you'll know there are a lot of variables which can affect the final product including the humidity in the kitchen.

This time I used a recipe from David Leboviz for chocolate macarons. I only aged the egg whites for an hour, I made sure that I didn't over whip the egg whites, I let them set before I baked them and I cooked them with the oven door slightly a jar.

They look a lot better than last time. A little flat maybe - perhaps I was a bit too cautious with the whipping! The taste was okay, but the texture was still the problem. Instead of being soft and fluffy in the inside they were really chewy. I was starting to think I would never get this right, until someone sent me this post from Not So Humble Pie. It includes a quote from Hermé:

"As soon as they're made they're not ready to eat, but they're really at their best after 24 or even 48 hours," he says. "An osmosis takes place between the garnish and the biscuit. When freshly baked this is hard and crisp, but it absorbs some humidity from the filling and its inside becomes more tender while the crust on the surface stays intact."

So maybe that's how they are supposed to be when they come out of the oven?! I didn't bother doing the filling as I thought they were all wrong! Next time macarons, next time.



Pretty tape round up

17.10.10 - 20:12
Who doesn't love decorative sticky tape? It's great for scrap-booking, journalling, card making and gift wrapping; as well as just looking pretty. It's popping up in lots of independent internet shops at the moment, so here is a little round up of the self-adhesive beauties I've come across this week.

Add lace to everything non-fabric! I also got some tape similar to this from John Lewis recently.

Nonesuch things, where this tape comes from, has lots of nice things that would make great gifts. I especially like the porcelain keys, but as you may know I have a bit of a key problem.

Owl tape
Papermash has a whole tape section! But I've included this one as I've not seen it elsewhere.

Masking sticker set
Yeah, okay, not technically a roll of tape. But these sheets of stickers come cut into stripes and circles and they are in a tin. Super cute. The site is even called 'cute tape' and they ship internationally. yay.



Mood Fabrics discount

5.10.10 - 09:33
I always watch Project Runway when it's on TV here and I love it when they go to Mood to get their fabrics. They seem to have everything; especially compared to my nearest fabric shop which is half material and half lino and carpet. Nice.

Now they are finally online!
Yay! And you can get a 30% discount* until the 6th October using the code BurdaStyle30 at checkout. 

*Offer valid only on Mood Fashion Fabrics and cannot be used on Fashion Fabrics beginning with PV, home fabrics, notions, buttons, trims and accessories or in combination with Mood gift cards. Just so you know.



Making Macarons - attempt 2

3.10.10 - 18:00

I had another go at making macarons. It was a total disaster.

Last time they looked okay, but the consistency was wrong. This time I tried a chocolate recipe and I aged the egg whites, which is supposed to help; but as you can see they are not even right on the outside.

I think I made the eggs too thick and I didn't leave the oven door open. Why are they so frustratingly tricky?