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1  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Re: Beetle Cakes on: October 24, 2011 03:46:26 AM
I thought I should update this thread with the beetles that made a reappearance yesterday. A Black Forest Gateau with a macarbe, decomposing twist. Looked quite wrong, but tasted great! Possibly my favourite cake I've ever made. I was great watching people's reactions to it.

2  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Harvest Festival Sheaf on: September 23, 2011 04:09:58 AM

I'm not sure what the case is in the rest of the world, but here in UK around the Autumn equinox we celebrate Harvest Festival. It's a time for us to be thankful for the harvest and share food with people who are less fortunate. Churches are often decorated with fruit, vegetables and other food. It is also tradition to make bread that looks like a sheaf of wheat.

I wanted to make one for one of the schools I work at. As it was going to be on display in the school for 5 days before Harvest Festival Service I needed to make it from a decorative bread dough and it didn't matter if it wouldn't be edible.

I used the Hamelmans Light Yeasted Decorative Dough recipe but scaled it down to make just 900g of dough. (525g strong white bread flour, 2g fast action yeast, 8 g salt, 26g milk powder, 23g sugar, 26g butter, softened, 290ml warm water) Meaning that 400g for base, 40 x 10g wheat stalk, 3 x 20g braid, 30-40g mouse. I think the photos above explain the process better than I could ever do with words! It took about 2.5 to build then another 2 hours being slowly baked at 160oc.

I really enjoyed making it as the dough was so easy to use, but the dough did need to be chilled when not being used to stop it rising too much and being unworkable.

3  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Corpse Bride Cake on: April 20, 2011 06:49:08 AM
That's fantastic! I'm always in awe of wonky cakes.
4  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Baby Shower Cupcakes on: April 14, 2011 06:04:45 AM
Thank you all for your kind comments Smiley
5  COOKING / Dessert / Baby Shower Cupcakes on: April 12, 2011 01:20:18 AM
Here in the UK baby showers are quite rare so when I was invited to one I wasn't too sure what to expect. I decided if I turned up with some cakes I wouldn't be turned away  Grin.
I'm quite new to using fondant and still getting used to working with it and colouring it but am really pleased with how the cakes turned out. They went down very well at the baby shower. The idea for the cakes is based on one that features in the Planet Cake book. I'm impressed what I managed to achieve with just a round cutter, cocktail sticks and a No.2 piping tip.

6  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Re: Brussel Sprout Wreath on: December 17, 2010 03:20:41 AM
That's lovely. The soft green of the sprouts is perfect. Thank you for not adding glitter!
I love the natural colours of our veg garden. I do love my glitter but I reserve it for cakes.

That's a wonderful wreath! I love the brightness of the green sprouts.

Not to ruin the Christmas spirit, but just have to ask: How long will the brussel sprouts stay green? Will it stay that way until Christmas? 
I must admit I'm not sure how long it'll last, but a week in and it's still going strong. May have something to do with the very cold weather were getting here in the UK at the moment.
7  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Re: Brussel Sprout Wreath on: December 15, 2010 01:52:29 AM
Put me on the side of brussel sprout lovers (mmm, baked with butternut squash and sweet potatoes, and olive oil and salt)! 
They sound delicious cooked that way. We usually have them lightly boiled with bits of bacon. I also like them raw. I think a lot of people get put off by them after eating sprouts that have been boiled within an inch of their life and they are horrible!
8  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Re: Brussel Sprout Wreath on: December 14, 2010 05:19:27 AM
I'm also a sprout lover but didn't feel guilty so much with these sprouts as they were heading for the compost heap. It's a bit rustic looking, but I like it that way. Postman didn't know what to make of it when he saw it this morning!
9  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Brussel Sprout Wreath on: December 14, 2010 02:49:13 AM

Every year I make a wreath for the house to hang during Christmas. I suppose you could describe my husband & I as foodies so I always try and link the wreath to food. Last year I made a chilli & lime wreath. This year I had the slightly mad idea of making one from brussel sprouts. I'm not sure what it is like in the rest of the world, but here in the UK it is traditional to eat sprouts with your Christmas dinner. People either love or hate the vegetables!

Due to the extreme cold weather we've had here recently many sprout harvests have failed or been frost damaged. The sprouts in my in-law's allotment suffered and we're no longer edible. The majority of them had opened up like little sprout flowers. Not one to throw something away I decided to fashion them in to a festive wreath.

The base was just a moss circle I picked up from the garden centre and I just attached the sprouts by wrapping around with florist wire. I started with the middle ring of sprouts then worked on the sides. The final sprouts (the ones that were still tightly formed ) we're stuck on with a glue gun. All in all it took about 2 hours. Sorry for the first few blurry photos. I was too lazy to get out the tripod!


10  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Re: Beetle Cakes on: October 29, 2010 10:12:07 AM
Thank you for the comments. I'm not bothered about minibeasts as the dissertation part of my degree was all about them, however it turns out one of my Husbands workmates was a bit freaked out by the cakes! I will admit I had the centipede one and struggled to eat the marzipan centipede, it just felt wrong.
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