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1  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Super Mario Cake on: April 30, 2007 02:20:50 AM
Yay! Thanks, i was hoping it would be easy like that Smiley
2  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Fresh produce tips for a little family on: April 29, 2007 09:31:21 PM
With fresh herbs, buy a bunch,a nd keep only what you need fro the next 2 days in a glass of water in the frigde.

Chop the rest up, and put a teaspoon full into each secton of an ice cube tray, then fill carefully with water. Once they're frozen pop them into zip lock bags, ro plastic containers in the freezer. This works fantastically for most dishes that require herbs, just throw in a couple of ice cubes while it's cooking (or add it once the water has melted for things that don't cook on the stove)

However, this won't work for salads, of course, or for garnishes.
3  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Favorite Cupcake & Frosting Recipes (all kinds) on: April 29, 2007 09:22:20 PM
Ok, I have a cookbook called "500 cupcakes" It's small, squareish,a nd bright pink. ANd it's amazing.


I've found that almost all of the cupcake recipes consist of...

250 grams of unsalted butter
250 grama of castor sugar
4 eggs
250 grams of self raising flour

You just cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs,a dn then the flour. DOn't beat it too much (i always make this mistake) or they'll turn out full of holes with a crispy top.

Before you put the batter into cupcake cases, add flavouring. Cocoa powder, choc chips, chopped nuts, vanilla/coconut essence, fruit, desicated coconut, citris zest, etc.

Bake for 20 minutes at 175 C/350 F/gas mark 4.

For icing, there are a few general types i use.

Plain icing, just icing sugar and a liquid mixed to form whatever consistency you like - a drizzle, a paste, halfway in between (you can dip the tops of cupcakes into this one) Flavour with essences adn colour as you like.

Buttercream. Butter, icing sugar, and a little milk beaten together until it's fluffy. I like to add whipping cream, it makes it less sickly sweet. Flavour with whatever you like, cocoa and essenses are the most common, and you can colour it too.

Ganache. Melt chocoalte and cream together until smooth. It will harden  when it cools. You could add orange zest to this.

Other - Try beating sour cream, or cream cheese with icing sugar.

Decoration - Usually i pipe a large swirl of icing onto each cupcake,a nd top with sprinkles, 100's and 1000's, small sugar hearts etc. lollies, even a sprinkling of a herb, or flower. Or dust them (iced or uniced) with a spice, icing sugar, or cocoa powder.

Some of my favourite recipes are...

Jaffa cupcakes (add orange zest and cocoa to the batter) with either a pastel orange (coloured and flavoured) buttercream, or a chocolate ganache (with orange zest added) topped with jaffa lollies (looks wonderful if you smash them lightly with a rolling pin, arrange them ontop so they look pretty)

Coconut/raspberry cupcakes. Add desicated coconut and coconut essence to batter. Before baking, push some raspberries into each cupcake. Don't ice.

Lemon/Orange poppyseed cupcakes. Add zest and a tablespoon of poppyseeds to the mix. Top with a lemon or orange juice and icing sugar drizzle.

Brownie cupcakes - Use a chocoalte mud cake batter, add white chocoalte chips,a dn chopped walnuts. Top with ganache.

Chai cupcakes.

Warm 150ml of milk, add a few chai tea bags to infuse

Beat 60g unsalted butter and 150g of brown sugar until smooth, add 2 egg white.

Mix into sugar mix 250g of self raising flour, and the milk.

Top with a cream cheese icing, and dust with a little cinnamon.

Choc-mint cupcakes. Top chocolate cupcakes with a pastel green mint flavoured buttercream, decorate with a few chocoalte chips.

Choc-cherry cupcakes (great for afternoon tea, these are fancier) Ad 100g of chopped cherries(fresh or bottles) and a dash of cherry flavoured liqueur to chocoalte cupcake batter. Top with a spoonful of lightly sweetened whipped cream, place a cherry (with a stalk) in the centre,a nd sprinkle chocoalte flakes onto the cream.

Basic cupcakes. Make the basic batter,a nd add coconut, or vanilla essence, or cocoa powder. Ice with plain icing in a spreadable consistency (of whatever colour and flavour you like) or a swirl of buttercream, top with lollies or sprinkles. These are good for kids.

Basically, have fun, come up with some recipes of your own by combining flavours you love. Buy a cupcake recipe book or search the internet for ideas

4  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Bringing salad to work - help! on: April 29, 2007 08:49:15 PM
It might be a little green, but baby spinach is a different sort of green Tongue

Basically, toss together some baby spinach leaves, some small cubes of roasted butternut pumpkin/squash, some chopped semi-sundried tomatoes, and some shavings of parmesan. Dress with oil and vinegar and sea salt.

It's simple, and it looks fabulous, and it tastes great Smiley

It's also nice if you don't use pumpkin,a nd add a ripe chopped avocado and some fresh tomato wedges...
5  COOKING / Dessert / Super Mario Cake on: April 29, 2007 08:47:29 PM

So my brother wants me to make him a cake like this for his 18th birthday, which I have no problem with, since fondant always makes things easier.


How do i go about making a half-spherical cake (for the top of the mushroom) And also, any idea about flavours? I make a mean devils food cake, and a fabulous coconut cake... But i'm open to suggestions.

SInce I've never made a tiered cake before, will i need to put boards between each layer to keep it srtong? or will it be ok without them?

6  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Stitch And BOTCH / Re: Help! Jammed sewing machine on: April 29, 2007 06:24:56 AM
Hehe, sorry. First I'm going to ask my aunt to come and take a look at it. And we can fiddle with things for a while. Then if 2 weeks of fiddling isn't enough, when my dad comes home from china, I'll egt him to drive me to where i bought it... I'm just frustrated because i'm in a crafty mood.
7  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 15 ENTRIES / Re: Ursula the Robotologist (Now with more photos!) on: April 29, 2007 05:56:46 AM
Aww! She's so sweet! What brand is her blusher? (or rather, what did you use to make her blush?)
8  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 15 ENTRIES / Re: A stuffed Zombie bear on: April 29, 2007 04:38:46 AM
Ok, umm, question (I want to make somethign similar, I hoep you don't mind) With his stomach, is the orange part sewed on top of the brown to make a sort of 'pocket' for his guts? Also, how do I make the 3D snout? You should make a tutorial Tongue That would rock.
9  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Stitch And BOTCH / Help! Jammed sewing machine on: April 29, 2007 04:36:31 AM
Oh, my sewing machine (2 years old, Janome Sewist 525S) keeps jamming up on me. The bottom thread gets jammed and tangled down in the mechanisms beneath the needle. It's been doign this on and off for a year. I took it to the place I bought it once, they threaded it,a nd it worked fine,a dn was fine for months, but then it started jammign again :S What's it doing, and how can i stop it?

I've tried threading it differently, but no matter which way i do it (or what thread i use) it always jams.

Help! Without my machine I can't make much at all.
10  CLOTHING / Designer Clothing Homage / Re: rachel bilson's cami top/dress on: April 29, 2007 12:28:55 AM
Ok, for the bust:

Get a strip of fabric, maybe double layered to make it thicker, a bit longer than from your underarm to the other one, and as wide as your boobs pretty much, mayeb a little more. Hem it all nicely, and then twist it so that it has the twist in the middle. Sew that twist together with a couple of little stiches if you want to, and sew in two of those bra pad type things that are in bathing suits. You'll want to try this a few times to get the shapign right at the neckline and the edge (at either end, you'll want two lines of sewing, so you can thread a string through it (attach it to the bottom with a few stiches) and gather it a little to make the straps.

For the back and front you'll jsut want to take a couple of bit of fabric, wider than they look,a nd sew it together (for the front half) gathered at the bust so it drapes, and sew side seams in, attach the straps etc.

Try it first with cheap fabric of the smae weight an thickness of the one oyu're plannign on using,a nd adjust it here and there to make the shape right.

I'm sorry my instructions arent very clear, but just look at the dress,a nd play with some fabric,a nd with the help of my instuctions you should get somethign sorta similar. It's a fairly simple  thign to copy, it's mostly jsut about getting the shape right, which can be done with a few nips and tucks.

Good luck!
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