Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Crazy Lovely Week

So my little cookie launch finally came. It was a crazy week leading up to it where I didn't get a lot of sleep in between work, school and icing and packaging my little treats. I have to say was a lot of fun. I had one late night putting the finishing touches on the cookies, and the only reason I was up so long doing it was because I was enjoying myself too much to sleep.

I really don't think I would have made it though this hectic week without all my lovely friends though. My cooking parter at school joked with my throughout all our classes, which cheered me so much and helped to keep me awake. We were both sleep deprived and overworked leaning over big marble benches trying to temper chocolate perfectly and not eat all the treats we made.

On the day of the little launch a heap of my wonderful friends came in to visit me and buy cookies. It was so lovely, and I felt so supported in my venture. Its wonderful to have such kind people in my life. Even one of my guy friends came in to show his support buy purchasing a little cookies decorated like a pink frilly dress. All these wonderful people warm my heart.

So the cookies will be selling at all the Little Cupcakes shops in Melbourne from now on. Check out this sight to find one near you!!

On top of all of this I had my last day at placement this week, and to be honest, I'm really going to miss that place. Once I got used to the five am starts, and the intimidating head chef, I actually fell in love a little bit with the quiet of that tiny pastry kitchen, where I would pipe, glaze, and bake pastries all day. I love the sweet hearted ladies who worked alongside of me and taught me so many little tricks, always offering my chocolate croissants for a mid morning snack. I think I'll really miss being about to have conversations that go:
Me: Hey, when you make macaroons what meringue type are you using? Italian
Pastry Chef: No I use french meringue in it.
Me: Oh I have never used french meringue in my macaroons.
Pastry Chef: Yeah then you don't have to boil the sugar to 180 degrees. I find its much more stable this way.
Me: What about regular meringue, without icing sugar? I find that never works.
Pastry Chef: No this is really good I'll give you the recipe.

I WILL MISS THOSE CONVERSATIONS! Because to me, they really ware the best sort of conversations.

I really do wish I had a recipe to share with you today........but lets be honest, I am much too tired for such things and I really need to start thinking about starting my next batch of sixty sugar cookies. For now though, I'll leave you with some little pictures of the cake I made for one of my lovely friends birthdays this week. Its super retro, and I like it because it reminds me of an old ladies swimming hat.

Much love.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cookie Launch

I'm so very very very excited about launching my range of 'Cherry on Top' sugar cookies at 'Little Cup Cakes' in Melbourne this week. Its so fun to see all my hard work paying off a little bit. All my packaging is arriving tomorrow and my graphic designer (and wonderful housemate) is sitting in her room right now designing a logo for the labels. The smell of fresh cookies is floating in the air, and everything smells like cinnamon, sugar and spice. There really is nothing as good as hot cookies out of the oven is there?

Its wonderful to be starting this little venture.......because really, how else would I find a way I could work and sip red wine at the same time?

No but really, it is very fun. I think its a little bit romantic too. My parents met each other when they were running their own business ventures as well. My mum (an artist) was selling hand panted clothing at a market when she met my dad. They got married three months after that first meeting, and went on to paint more clothes together, until my dad opened a plant nursery. So the idea of starting my own venture feel just that little bit extra special.

The cookies hit the shelves at 11am on Friday. I'm expecting you too all rush in and buy hundreds of them (please!)

I was also thinking of having a tiny launch party.......really just an excuse for a wee soiree. Maybe just get a few of my nearest and dearest together to drink Champaign and eat some cookies.

Ekkkk I'm so excited about everything!!

Little Cupcakes on Urbanspoon

Little Cupcakes on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 22, 2012

Smoked Chicken Salad For The Soul

Sitting in bed at the end of a ten hour day at work I'm thinking about my next couple of weeks to come. It looks like there won't be a day off for another three weeks, and holidays are well and truly over. I cant believe how quickly they have gone, and how quickly all my week days have filled up again. Its a little bit scary, but at the same time very exciting to see all of my little plans starting to take life. I have so much work in front of my, but some of it is so fun that its hard to call it work.......for example, in about a weeks time I am launching a range of my sugar cookies at little cup cakes. I'll keep you posted with the details of this, because I want you all to rush in and by them off the shelves so that it looks like I'm a huge huge success.

With all these things in front of me I've been thinking about the idea of working heard. I always knew that coming to Melbourne would be difficult at times (or even all the time.) I knew I would miss my family. I knew I would be broke at times. I knew I would have to work like crazy and I knew it would be a little bit lonely before I met all the wonderful friends I now have. I didn't understand what this meant though. I think I had an idealised idea of 'work.' I was so keen to get stuck into pulling together this little career that I idealised hard work into something of a movie montage. You know the sort where there is music playing in the background and lots of snap shots of wonderful things being achieved. Everything always comes together so quickly in these montages, making it look like hard work is just one eventful moment in time. This however doesn't seem to be the case. The more I work hard towards the things I want, the more I realise that there is no one moment where you are pulling everything together, or when everything makes sense. However its just a process of slowly applying the things that are important to your life everyday. When you look at it like this, its actually pretty simple. It can be harder to apply because it takes persistence, but this is kind of beautiful. 

So right now, I'm appreciating this simple slow beauty of just getting done all the things I need to get done, and enjoying them. When It gets too overwhelming though (I had a bit of a night of feeling like that recently) this is what I do:

Make a smoked Chicken and ricotta Salad.

You will need:
One smoked chicken breast
Half a bunch of asparagus 
1/4 cup of fresh green peas
1/4 lemon
salt and pepper
olive oil
1/4 cup of ricotta (from the deli) broken into little chunks
Heat a frypan with some olive oil

Break of the thick uneatable ends of the asparagus and add it to the pan. Cook for five minutes stirring from time to time. Add the fresh peas and continue to stir for two minutes.

Add the juice from the lemon.


Cut the smoked chicken breast into 5 pieces and add to the pan. Cook for two minutes to heat the chicken through.

Add the chunks of ricotta and stir.

Take of the heat and pile it all onto your plate. 


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sweet Minty Tea

I have been in my tiny hometown for the last week and a half. It was such bliss. Mostly I went to the beach, sat in cafes, sipped coffees, cooked pancakes with my dad and read lots of books. Sometimes I forget how good it feels to just get out of the city. To just take your shoes off and wiggle your toes in the sand. To have no phone reception. To drink wine at lunch time in a nice restaurant. To read for hours. To ignore facebook. To float on the ocean. To sit in the sun. 
(My favourite farmers markets)

I felt so relaxed and was tempted to never go back to Melbourne. I planned out a little life in my head where I would work part time, and sit on the beach for the rest of my time. All I wanted to do was soak in all the vitamin D I could get. I could literally feel it just soaking into my skin and making me feel more healthy. However, Melbourne beckoned me back. I still have ten weeks of my course left to go.......and a career to pull together.
(A really good pastry shop thats in a tiny country town.....its crazy good)

When I landed at the airport back in Melbourne town I was a little sun burnt and had sand in my shoes. The sky was grey and I felt pretty sorry for myself. Being home sick is the worst, but I still have so much to do here. So many exciting things to discover. 
('Belmondo's' is my new favourite cafe with delicious cold drip coffee.)

Speaking of exciting things.......I'm just about to launch a range of sugar cookies that will be sold in selected stores around Melbourne. Its still in the process of being organised but I will keep you posted!

(Every time I go home we get all the girls together and cook a dinner party with lots of yummy food and wine. Here is a little sneak peak)

While I was back home I got in the habit of making fresh mint tea with the mint growing in the garden. Its so very very easy to make but super yummy.

Fresh Minty Tea

You will need:

About half a bunch on mint
1 Tsp of honey
1Tsp of green tea
Boiling Water

What to do:

Place all the ingredients in a small teapot (enough for two) and pour over the boiling water. Let steep for 5 minutes. Drink it all! 

(One of my favourite people celebrating two of our favourite things with me)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Here Are A Few Of My Favourite Things

From time to time when I get uninspired I go on a little inspiration quest. I watch shows, read books, and magazines, I go to new places and genraly just explore, and look for something to spur me on. I love these times because the more I do it the more I discover about myself, and that is really important to me. I learn things like how much family matter, and how important it is to have friends who genuanlly just want what is best for you. I have learnt that sometimes I much much much prefer I quite night in with a glass of wine instead of a pub full of strangers. I've learnt how beautiful it is to fall in love, but how important it is to fall in love with the right person. I have learnt that sometimes long flowing silk dresses that make you favourite barista exclaim "Goodness you look amazing!", are so much more sexy than tiny short skirts.

Today I am leaving Melbourne to go home and spend time with my family with a week and a half in Queensland. I'm so excited to see my old friends and have family time. Going home is also one of my favourite ways to boost inspiration. I get to rest up, cook for the family, sit on the beach, and sip lattes in nice cafes. Its bliss to be back on the farm.

Two of my friends came out with me for a little girls night last night before I head off. We drank cocktails and sparkling wine in one of my favourite bars. Its nice to know that when I get back to Melbourne I will have so many wonderful friends waiting for me back here.

I know everyone cant run back home to a beach town every time they are worn out and lacking inspiration, so I would like to share with you some of the inspirations that have been getting me by this busy busy term at pastry school.

My Inspirations This Term.

Rachel Khoo 
Rachel is my new favourite celebrity chef. I've been getting so inspired by her cooking (like the pepper meringues I made recently)........but also, her style is AMAZING. Its so fun to see other people doing all the things I dream of doing, and with such style. She has been one of my wardrobe inspirations over the last few weeks. I very very much recommend you check out her recipes, style, and very sweet show called 'The Little Paris Kitchen', where she whips up amazing tasty meals in this tiny tiny space.

Sophie Dahl
This lady is another celebrity chef that I'm loving at the moment. At first I was unsure of the whole model turned chef thing, but after watching her show and reading some of her recipes I fell in love with her work. I love how funny, dramatic and whimsical she is. My favourite thing about her cooking is that it all based on her mood that day. On her show she will do a little segment on sad cooking, and then cooking all the food she makes when feeling down, or she will do a segment on romantic cooking, and tell stories about meals she has cooked for men she once loved (I could totally relate to this....and just her way of thinking in general.) Her food is simple, and usually a little indulgent. I made a mexican dish she prepared on her show and it was so delicious I cooked it over and over again that week. 

Clare Bowditch 
No, this one is not a chef, but she is another beautiful inspiring wonderful woman. Clare Bowditch is one of my favourite musicians, who place so much soulful, beautiful music, that it always cheers me up and makes me jump out of bed when I'm feeling a little low. I love listening to this music when I cook.

Albert Street Food and Wine.
I'm not so sure if this place counts as inspiration? Its more just one of my favourite places to go for a cocktail when I need a martini and some girl talk. The place just received a hat, and the food is great (but a bit on the expensive side when your a pastry student, so we usually just stick to one cheeky cocktail.)

House of Humble
House of humble is a little blog by a Melbourne couple. Its just about there lives as a newly wed couple, and the things they get up to. Its really beautiful to read about these two lovely people doing their lives together, thrift shopping, going to cute cafes and making craft. It makes me remember to enjoy the simple, beautiful things in life. 

So I hope all these beautiful things that are making me so happy can inspire you too! Soon I'll be posting more yummy recipes, but until then, have a lovely day.