Thursday, 29 July 2010

The Kids Love It!

Recently my lovely Laura came round for a cuppa and brought with her Jak.  Jak is her brother's partner's little boy and she has been babysitting him for the last couple of weeks while he's on sumer holidays.  I must say, if I was Jak's age, 11, I would definitely want to be babysat by Aunty Laura because she's FUN and she's an artist.

Determined to keep his creative juices flowing, we first sat Jak down with pencil and paper and gave him a Kidrobot postcard to copy.  Nice results but he wasn't overly excited by it and wandered off.

A little later Laura and I got the sugar paste out and started making bits and bobs.  In walked Jak.  His eyes widened and from that moment on, he was well and truly engrossed.  Here are some of the things he made:

First was the Evil Eye!

Then came the Purple Pizza!

Fantastic work!!

Jumper cookies

I recently attended the launch party for a wonderful new company called Quality Knitwear.  They sell all sorts of beautiful one-off pieces of knitwear.  I had a great time trying on lovely jumpers and rubbing my face in soft woolly cardi's.

I also had a great time making jumper biscuits for the event!  After trawling the internet for the perfect cutter, I sat by the letterbox waiting for it to arrive. "hurrah!" I shouted.  "Let the baking commence!"

So I opened my Hummingbird Bakery book on the sugar cookies page as I trust them entirely, to come out of the oven golden, crunchy and flat.

I chose icing colours to cater for boys and girls and added little cuffs and collars using a small crimper.

Once I had finished icing, I began setting up my photo shoot for the biscuits.  Suddenly i realised I needed pegs.  It was one of those jobs where you get halfway through and think 'WHY?' because it was just so damn fiddly!! But, I persevered and in the end it looked pretty.

Here they are in action on the big day

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Lydia and Joel's Wedding Favours

 My Beautiful Friends Lydia and Joel recently got married.  It was a gorgeous wedding in Oxford and I was lucky enough to be a bridesmaid. Not only this but i was also lucky enough to be the designated favour-maker.  After much deliberation we decided on puzzle shaped cookies, which were to be decorated with blue flowers and the initials of the happy couple.

I have come to rely upon a pretty simple sugar cookie recipe which can be found in the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook.  It produces really sturdy cookies which turn a lovely golden brown colour if you cook them just right.  They taste delicious as well. I have found however, that they need a LOT of extra flour when it comes to kneading and rolling them out.  Also, the dough does benefit from being sat in the fridge for a little while to toughen up.

Unfortunately I had only 2 days to come up with the goods, but with the help of my wonderful mother, everything was done in time.  I gave her a 30 second lesson in how to use royal icing to stick stuff down and we were away.

First off, I made around 160 biscuits.  Only 140 were needed but once you've taken into account breakages and tasters, you need a good few extra.

Next up was the cutting out of the blue flowers, around 800 to be exact.  I must say, I went into a bit of a trance at this point, as did the cat who was watching from the corner of the room.

It's really important to use freshly made royal icing that has been made to just the right consistency, so that the writing and the squigley lines look need and don't run.  I make mine with reall egg whites and icing sugar.

I decided to make them all the same but different so that everybody felt they had something unique to take home from the wedding (or to gobble up as soon as they sat down....)  

Soon a sea of puzzle shaped biscuits would fill the entire kitchen (and my dreams for the next few nights!)

The end result looked great, even if i do say so myself and it was thrilling to see them all delicately tied up and placed on all the tables.

And judging by the reactions of my fellow guests, they didn't taste bad either...