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1  Kiwi bird cake in Dessert by Moomin Bus Rider on: December 20, 2010 10:47:50 AM
I went to New Zealand to meet the rest of my husband's family earlier this year, and decided to bake a cake for the big family lunch. I decided on a cake shaped like the Kiwi bird since it is the national symbol of New Zealand. And because I like birds, especially ones you can eat.



I started with a sheet of plain sponge cake baked in a roasting tin (didn't have a special cake tin at hand). While the cake was cooling down I traced a photo of a kiwi bird on some baking paper held against the image on the computer screen (if you do this make sure you don't press too hard!).



I then placed the baking paper on the cake and cut out the shape. At this stage I decided to make two layers, so I assembled a similar shape from the offcuts Cheesy The rest of the offcuts were assemled beneath the bird shape to form the 'ground'.



I filled the cake with raspberry jam and then covered most of it with chocolate butter icing.

I made slightly lighter brown icing for the feet (I wished I had made the feet of something other than cake - the crumbs were getting mixed up with the icing...), and then a beak out of a chocolate biscuit cut in half, covered in the lighter icing.



The cake was finished with a small piece of liquorice for the eye and some kiwi fruit for grass - I figured since I was making a kiwi cake I should include some kiwi fruit in it as well!

The cake was well received at the lunch, especially by the younger kids  Smiley
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2  Tree cake in Dessert by Moomin Bus Rider on: November 26, 2009 04:20:50 AM
After making some elaborate cakes for someone at work, my husband complained that his birthday cakes were always really plain. So, to shut him up I made him a tree cake (he loves trees, and actually hugs them at times)...

Here's the result:



I started off with a sheet of chocolate and coffee cake, and cut the rough shape of the tree out of it:



I filled the cake with chocolate and coffee cream cheese icing:



I covered the top of the tree with sliced grapes, and used the spare bits of cake for the 'field' below the tree:


Here are some of the sweets and grapes before decoration. I love the chocolates that look exactly like rocks, I just wished I had bought more of them! The fudge was really good to work with, it was exactly like plasticine, but it tasted much better than fondant icing...


I made him a tree card as well, it says "Happy Birthday you tree hugging hippie".




He loved the cake and the card, now everyone else wants a cake as well....  Roll Eyes

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3  Ugly dress into a fab handbag! in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by Moomin Bus Rider on: October 04, 2009 08:08:07 AM
Last month I realised that I needed a new handbag, something a bit more glamorous than the bag I use every day.

After searching every shop in town for a bag, I decided to give up and have a look at some clothes. I couldn't really find any clothes I liked either and decided that this was just a bad day for shopping.

Then I saw a dress. It was ugly. It was short and strapless, had a big bow at the front, and the material was a kind of weird silver and black houndstooth type thing.

But I didn't see an ugly dress. I saw a bag.

The dress cost just £5 in the sale, and after trying it on at home (just in case it looked good on me, and it didn't), I started planning the transformation. As I don't have a sewing machine, I wanted to do as little sewing as possible, so I decided that the big zip at the back of the dress was going to be the main zip for the bag, and that the lining of the dress was going to be the lining of the bag. I decided to leave the pleats where they were, and to just use the back of the dress. The straps were made of the hem of the dress.

And here's what it looks like now with a couple of handmade brooches:


This is what the dress looked like when I bought it:


And from the back:



It's easier to see what I've done if you look at it from this angle, I've folded the dress from the zip at the back, and then cut the excess material (including the bow) at the front:


I put in two pockets inside, a small one for my keys inside the larger one with the red zip:



My friends couldn't believe it when I said my bag used to be a dress, and apparently even the boys were discussing the bag whilst watching football! They said it was during half time though...

I've already bought another dress that is in the process of being made into a bag.... Watch this space! Wink

Thanks for reading,
Hanna
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4  Cook book for a student in Recipes and Cooking Tips by Moomin Bus Rider on: April 28, 2009 01:56:41 PM

My friend Katie and I made a little cook book for our young work colleague Natalie, who was leaving to do some volunteer work in Senegal, before going to university (Cambridge!).

She often told me how worried she was about cooking for herself at uni, so Katie and I decided that some crafting was in order... The result was a little cook book with about 15 recipes, ranging from Baked Potatoes to Cajun Salmon, all on scraps of craft paper with some all-important googly eyes.

My personal favourite was Katie's drawing to accompany my Mum's coconut biscuit (or 'cookie' to you Americans) recipe, she even wrote a poem about the biscuit man!

Natalie is still in Senegal, so we don't think she has tried any of the recipes yet, but we're hoping she will.

Here's the cover:




Tuna Potato Salad




Cajun Salmon
(That 'fishy' shape was cut out previously, so we put an eye on it to go with the salmon recipe...)




Coconut biscuits (cookies)




And finally - The Beeescuit Man




Natalie seemed quite pleased with her pressie, I think I'll make another one the next time someone mentions they don't know how to cook anything  Smiley



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5  Carrot cup cakes - dairy free (if you change the icing)! in Dessert by Moomin Bus Rider on: April 28, 2009 01:13:34 PM
I tried a carrot cake recipe ages ago, but the middle always ended up being a bit undercooked and the edges burnt a bit... I wanted to make some cup cakes for an event at work, and I decided to try the carrot cake recipe in a muffin tin - they turned out really nice that time!

I don't know if the different cake tin made the difference, or if the oven was slightly cooler or if the recipe needed the alteration I made out of necessity (I changed the ratio of carrots and pineapple), but for some reason this recipe now works well!

The recipe is from the Edmonds Cookery Book (the most popular cook book in New Zealand where my husband's family is from), it originally had 3 cups of carrots and 3/4 cup of pineapple, but because I only had half a cup of pineapple I topped it up with more carrot, and I've done the same ever since. I also put in double the amount of cinnamon simply because I like it so much.

I don't make these very often unless I have a helper (i.e. the husband) in the kitchen doing all the grating, if you have kids this is a great task to give them   Wink

Here's the recipe (I think it makes about 20 small cakes) :

CARROT CAKE (Edmonds Cookery Book 1998, with some changes)

3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2 cups plain flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3 1/4 cups carrots, grated
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tsp grated orange rind
1/2 cup crushed pineapple

Beat eggs until thick. Stir in oil. Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar into the egg mixture and combine. Fold in carrots, walnuts, orange rind and pineapple (don't mix too much or the cakes will end up tough).

Spoon mixture into paper cups in a muffin tin (fill the cups about half way). Bake at 180 Celsius (350 F0) for about 20 minutes. Check if they are done by putting a sharp knife or skewer through the middle, when the cakes are done the knife/skewer should come out clean.


Cream cheese icing
(if you want this to be dairy free you obviously need to use a different icing recipe...)

2 tbs butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
+ some chopped walnuts on top

Beat butter and cream cheese until creamy. Mix in icing sugar and lemon rind, beating well to combine. Spread on top of the cupcakes when they have cooled down, add some chopped walnuts on top if you want.

(for those of you who prefer metric quantities, one cup is 250 ml, so 1/2 cup is 125 ml and so on)

Let me know how yours turned out if you try the recipe!


Here are the piccies of the first batch:








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6  Boob cake (with a 'bra' on top of the cherry 'nipples'...) in Dessert by Moomin Bus Rider on: April 26, 2009 09:13:24 AM
My friend Katie and I decided to make a cake for our boss Graham's birthday a few months ago. We wanted to make it in the shape of something he really likes, so we put our thinking caps on after a couple of drinks on a Friday night...

We went through all the things he likes (Elton John, cowboy hats, Beetle boots etc), but then we got it: (like most men) he really likes BOOBS!

So on the following Sunday Katie baked two small sponge cakes in ceramic bowls, we then cut small wedges out of each one to get the 'Wonderbra' effect, and covered them with flesh coloured icing.



We needed nipples, so two cherries were cut in half and placed on top.

As we work with Graham, we decided that for 'modesty reasons' it would be best to cover the boobs with a 'bra', so we made bright red icing and started covering the cake. Unfortunately one of the cake boobs was still a bit too hot and the icing kept sliding off it, but at least I got the chance to send a message to my husband saying "Won't be home for another hour or so, one boob is too hot"   Grin



While we were making the icing, Katie dediced to spill half a bottle of red food colouring all over her white kitchen.
Instead of helping her clean up the mess I decided to take photos of her trying to stop the colouring running into the cupboards. That's what friends are for... I call this photo "CSI: Scotland".



As you can see from the last photo, Graham liked his cake, and was quite happy to pose with it in a highly seductive way.



We're already planning the next cake  Wink
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