Sunday, February 14, 2010

Faux Fondant Hearts and bonbons

My first valentine's day present from my hubby was Flyer Teddy and A bunch of purple gladiolas. And a hand made card that stated, that he didn't believe in valentine's day, coz every day should be just as special, or no less loving. I melted at the thought, and since then its been 'Happy Tuesday', Happy Thursday and Happy Sunday!

But honestly, with a job like his and various other things to boot, i have come to the conclusion, that every tuesday is just plain lousy, so we need things like special days in our lives. And we need to take time out to make them special.

But here's the thing... I dont get fondant or most fondant ingredients readily where i currenly am based, so i searched online for some edible playdough recipes, and with a lil food colouring: voila! I must say I'm quite happy with the end result, although the ganache base is messy and this little fudgy treat must be kept chilled until serving.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Just an oldie I whipped up ... woow, a whole year and a month ago, i guess. but i like how it turned out so i am posting it here. The material for the base could have been more flexible but its all done and over with now. i didnt have time to shop at that time. A combination of papercutting motifs, black and gold gel pen scrolls, and woven ribbon. I was into the whole manuscript look back then. still like it though. Larger preview here.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Clutches by Kiran!

I've always admired creativity; and even more so I've admired the pursuit of personal talent into a productive stream. And therefore I was pleasantly surprised and pleased to discover Kiran Javaid and her wonderful collection of Clutches, Keychains, GiftBoxes, and handmade paraphernalia courtesy of an old school friend. The best part is that while Kiran's in university doing her Masters, and at LUMS no less, she's taking time out to do something with such promise.

Here's just some of the wares she has up for sale, one of a kind pieces, and up for grabs!
You can see more of her wonderful things here

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Unlettered Greetings

Sometime around the beginning of this month, I had the strongest urge to do something both creative and commercial. And somehow I landed upon the idea of hand made greeting cards. My goal was to create a bunch for sale and display at one of the local stores by the end of this month. The stash was supposed to be predominately Valentine Related, but would mostly contain no text, so that the use was not limited.

Sadly though, due to a few reasons, my plans went awry. I should have known though. Too many ideas, not enough resources as it always is. Excuses. Excuses.

Anyhow, a preview of what I did start out to make, and the promise of a couple of tutorials and templates to come!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bannoffee Twist!

So, the other day, a colleague gave me the recipe for ‘Banoffee’ and I bought all the ingredients necessary with the intention of making it for dessert at lunch. But as luck would have it, the day I ran a little late with the food preparation, my husband came home early. And while I opted not to dismiss the idea, I threw together a rendition of the original recipe that I think I actually like better in the long run. At least, I appreciate the added ‘eyecandy’ aspect to this sweet treat! Also how quickly this can be thrown together for panic situations.

As with most recipes like this, proportion can be changed according to personal preferences.

What you need:

Glass goblets; equal to the number of servings you would like to make.
Roughly chopped/crushed Biscuits; I prefer crunchy chocolate ones.
Roughly chopped almonds.
Can of sweetened condensed milk; left to boil in a large pot for about an hour to caramelize the contents. It will be thicker and wonderful gold colour as a result.
Bananas; sliced.
Whipped cream.
Finely chopped or grated chocolate.
Chocolate sauce.

All you need to do is layer all ingredients, in any order and quantity that you find appealing. I layered from top to bottom: Biscuits, almonds, condensed milk, bananas, condensed milk, bananas, whipped cream, grated chocolate and chocolate sauce.

Now Dig in Deep and savor the flavor.

Be warned through, this forms quite a heavy serving, and unless you and your guests have an extremely sweet tooth, try not to over do the serving size.

Happy spoon licking!

Monday, January 4, 2010

On cakes of another kind...

I remember, when I was little, my mother used to make these amazing ‘Rainbow Sandwiches’. She would take those big uncut loaves of bread and slice them lengthways horizontally to her preferred thickness and number. She would then have an array of different sandwich mixtures made which she would layer on in between slices and then carefully stack up the loaf, wrap it in damp cloth and put it in the fridge until it was time to serve it. Before which, she would decorate it with colourful vegetables and ketchup. It was always wonderfully moist and a treat to look at.

So the other day, when I had to make a quick contribution to the regular One-dish parties we have in the community, I figured I’d try my hand at it. Somehow, nobody really appreciates normal bite size sandwiches too much at these things, so I wanted to make this a little different from the norm. I remembered the rainbow loaves of my childhood, but uncut ones aren’t easy to come by. So after a little googling, I came up with a ‘Sandwich Cake’. Perhaps not as colourful, and though I did not decorate it as lavishly as some of the images I saw online, I still think it came out quite nice.

There are a whole lot of recipes for this online, so I won’t really dwell upon that. Instead, here are a few pointers that I thought were must.

The normal bread slice: Using stacks of normal square bread slices with their edges cut off and them stacked and arranged, you can just about create any shape or size you would like. However once filled, layered and arranged, you can’t move this monstrosity, so use the platter you will serve it in for one, and take precautions for spills.
The Overnight Factor: It’s a good idea to make this one day ahead, to let the moisture in the fillings soak into the bread. This will help keep it held together, and also help the flavor. Just like icing in a cake. It’s always good to give it the time to be absorbed. Also for big events, its always great to have some do-aheads, than all last minute things. :)

The Icing: For a grander look, I prefer smoothing a moist covering on top of the whole slab which has the consistency of ganache. It won’t stiffen up like the actual chocolate but would contribute a lovely base texture. Also, it will hold any extensive decoration items you might want to place on. Ingredients I used were whipped cream, Italian salad dressing, mustard, yogurt and mayonnaise.

While it is important that whatever you make takes good, I do believe that making it look good makes it taste even better.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pretty in Pink

Looking back I realized that the times i remember best about my wedding are the events that led to it. The few days just before the actual events when all family and friends came together to stay over. And they came just for me. It was crazy, crazy fun. And we can still laugh for hours in reminiscence.

That's why, I absolutely needed to do something for my darling sister in law before hers. She's a gem of a person, and i felt awful, that because she works, and because most of her side of the family, including her elder brother and sister live quite far away. And I'm happy to say, that through a plan executed never matches the plan blueprint in my mind, it did turn out quite wonderful indeed.

It was meant to be a surprise, so i contacted all her friends and such as best as i could without letting her know. Thanks to facebook, and other mutual relations. Practically everything was homemade, and i had a lot of fun adding little touches of origami, craft, personalized presents and cake decoration to the ensemble.

I have the internet to thank for all the marvellous ideas. Here's just a few of the party ideas to inspire your own.

...can make anything go from simple to special! I heartily believe this. Which is why I try to get as many tea candles, Scented Candles, big fat ones, small squat ones, tall thin ones. it does matter. All you need to do is turn off the lights, and turn on a couple of lamps and light up your treasury! Yellow light works wonders! Trust me!

Balloons are the easiest most convenient filler for any room. If you go for a single colour or a themed tone, it can add to the elegance. I don't believe any party should do without them. I think its a nice detail to hand something from the balloon string. You require large, gas filled balloons for this purpose. For this event, I strung heart shaped decorative cards which i meant to get signed by all the guests for the bride to be. but i forgot about the signing part in all the rush. lol. But you could try handing origami items from it. Gauzy Butterflies or any other custom light-weight item. For my husband's birthday, I got balloons his age's amount and hung origami jet planes from it, since he's a pilot. See, its just all about improvisation!

Hot Chocolate and 'Heart' straws:
I learnt to make origami hearts a while ago. And I put them together with bendy straws to make a neat customized straw for our hot chocolate goblets. All you need to do is add a tiny cross in the center of the heart before its final fold. and voila! there's space to slip the tube through. The best part is, they can easily be slipped off and reused elsewhere!

Curler Units:
Though these are time consuming, they are rather worth it. I dangled them from stings against the ceiling, for a starry effect. They would also make lovely pot pourri parts. I also tried the Sonobe. I'm still playing with the idea to use the holes in the apexes as flower stem holders.

Originally taken from here.

Towel Cake:
I got the idea for this from here. There are also many videos available on youtube for a variety of styles. As you can see, i took a relatively simpler approach. Another little detail i added, was that instead of filling the outer rims of the towels with tea and hand towels, i opted to hide goodies and presents. Like Circular chocolate assortment tins, etc. Or even small bath accessory batches. It becomes a lovely and unique gift wrapping method this way.

Actual C
The actual cake was a lot fun to play with. it had on the inside a chocolate layer sandwiched between two dyed pink french vanilla layers. My cousin was an incredible help with finishing this and making it look pretty. We used butter creme icing on the inside. The outside is coloured fondant. All the little articles were especially made in context. :) Edible eyecandy.
You can order your own personalized cake at Saddy's Cakeworks!

Crepe Roses:
I fell in love with these when I first saw them and I made them for home first and mixed them up with store bought artificial flowers and you really cant tell the difference at first glance. The theme for the shower was pink and chocolate, and while I bought a lot of crepe in those two colours, I was pretty much the only (wo)manpower available, so i did not get to make as many as i would have liked. I got spherical oasis and pushed each stem in to form a ball of crepe flora. I think I might hang it up somehow someday.

Party Favours:
What's a party without favours? :) First you need this tutorial for the bags! I almost found myself spending more time on these than the actual party items! lol. But here's the few nick nacks that i threw in them.
Chickchik bookmarks by jinjerup : These were too adorable to pass out on. I used them for the play of words for "hen's party" and also in the "new beginnings" context.
  • Felt Fortune cookies that had candy in them and a strip of paper that read: "You are lucky to have a friend like ABC. Thanks for attending!
  • There was also pink gum packets and chocolates.
  • I wanted to throw in these Japanese paperdoll bookmarks, but i never got to make the amount i needed. ^^;

The table linens and backdrops are pink bed sheets snagged from wherever i could find them. So overall, while it took time and effort, it was fun and economical! Hope these resources inspire you like they inspired me!