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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The christening cake challenge

What does a very sleep deprived mother of a 9 week old do on a Tuesday night at 9pm?  She attempts to bake a trial christening cake, that's what!  I'm fortunate that A has a great night routine - bath at 1815, feed at 1830 and well and truly out at 1900 so I have the nights to myself. Usually to eat and read and iron and mop and wash my hair and tidy the house.  Phew.

Everywhere I look, people are baking amazing christening/birthday/whatever cakes and I like the idea of having baked the cake myself for the occasion.  I have outsourced pretty much everything else (lunch is at the amazing Quat Quatta and they have gone above and beyond).  Just waiting on the stickers for the favour jars from Etsy and I'm all set.

Anyway, back to the cake. I decided to go for a simple dense, but fluffy vanilla cake using a tried and tested recipe. My oven a little bit strange so a trial was a must.  

I followed all the steps carefully, however I did find that the paddle attachment on my Kenwood still left a lot of chunks of butter which I had to break up with a spatula.  I am also used to sponges for cakes being thick, however this batter was virtually custard.  It was so light and fluffy, but a bit worryingly "thin".

My worries around the consistency were not warranted, as the cakes turned out perfectly.  The bottom did burn a little, but that's because my oven pretty much SUCKS.  I will have to turn it down to 170C and perhaps bake for a few minutes less.  The first cake was perfect, it was the second one that burn a little.  The actual cake will have 3 layers, so I will bake 4 and use the best 3.

Now, I underestimated the amount of white chocolate ganache that would be required.  I bought a 180g block of chocolate and some cream and butter.  I used the block, plus 1/3 cup of cream and 50g of butter.  Melted it and cooled in the fridge for about an hour.  THEN I WHIPPED IT!  Ganache is usually glossy and smooth, but the whipping turned it an incredible fluffy and delicious consistency.

Overall, not too bad.  Will need to do a better job with the icing to create the rough finish and will decorate with fresh flowers.  It's the effort that counts, right?

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Love a Friday

Weather wise, this was easily the best summer in Melbourne since I've lived here. We had proper hot days. Even consecutive hot days.

A couple of Fridays ago Ari and I ventured down to Mornington on a warm Friday to have lunch with a friend and her baby.

DOC - the best pizza in Victoria. Actually the best pizza ever.

Damn good pannacota too.

Watching the world go by. Enjoying every moment of being a mum to a wonderful little girl. I love being near the ocean and I can't wait to spend lots of time there with A when summer returns. The ocean calms me and reenergises me.

The following day we spent in Geelong, again enjoying the sunshine and spending time outdoors.

I'm wearing my new uniform - Country Road Moto Jeans, Jeans West top, T&Co necklace.

Sleeping angel Ari says hi xxxx


Monday, 13 May 2013

Love, Mum

That's me. 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant, cleaning out my wardrobe.

Even while pregnant I never gave much thought to Mother's Day. I always sent a card and a small gift to my mum because she's the sort of person who really values that. But me, I never gave a hoot about valentines day or birthday gifts. I hated making anything about me.

Usually after the early morning feed, I cuddle with Ari in bed and have another quick sleep until about 8. On Sunday I woke up to her really close to me, breathing gently on my neck. It was magical. A quick scroll through social media made me all foggy, reading everyone's love towards their mother and the hurt and pain of those whose mothers are no longer around. It really hit me that I was somebody's mother, too.

I cried multiple times that day. I hugged my little girl tight (too tight at one point that she cried... Oops). It made me miss my mum and appreciate the sometimes suffocating love that she has for me. I totally get it, even though it drives me mad at times.

In the short 7 weeks that I've been lucky to be her mum, Ari has bought me so much joy. Every day is different and unpredictable. Her innocent smile heals all the physical pain and cures all of my insecurities. She gives me strength and makes me excited for the future that I will hopefully share with her. She makes me want to work harder than ever. She's turned me into an organised morning person.

No gift is greater than my Ari. But the chocolates and the framed picture of the first moment I hugged my girl and looked at her are pretty close. Topped off with a beautifully written card that caused a flood of tears.

And half a glass of champagne.

Happy Mother's Day.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Easter reflections and a recipe

If I thought that time went by quickly before, it's nothing compared to how quickly it goes now. I barely turn around and it's 4pm. But my head is so clear and my priorities are finally right. I've come to terms with getting nothing done and feeling okay about it. Caring and nurturing an infant is a task unto itself.

This bad boy has been decorating my desk for weeks and I finally cracked him open. And ate him in his entirety, immediately.

And that's my little muffin checking things out.

Of course I needed to bake a cake for Easter. One that could be baked with one hand using ingredients already in the fridge and pantry, so I made something up.

- 150g butter at room temperature
- 100g sugar
- generous tablespoon of honey
- 2 eggs
- 180g almond meal
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup natural yoghurt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder

An icing would have been lovely, but this way the cake can be popped into a container and enjoyed for a few days with tea or coffee.