How cool is this? I got sent the press release for this fab washing up bowl yesterday and I had to share it with you all right away. Now, I know I shouldn’t get excited about a washing up bowl, but as it’s a JosephJoseph one it means it’s a “why didn’t someone think of this before ? moment.
Why do I want this so much?
Well, to start with it’s green. Green is so good for my charcoal grey kitchen. It’s square… like my very deep sink and it’s so modern. If you have to use a washing up bowl (which apparently is quite a British thing by the way. My Australian friend thought I was mad when she came to stay with us all those years ago and I started to fill up our old washing up bowl. “What’s that for? What’s wrong with using the sink?” she asked. I mean Eeewwwwwyukkkkk. Gloop and buttercream water tide marks on my nice shiny sink? No,no, NO!) then it has to be a modern one.
The handles make it easy to carry and manoeuvre. It’s available in fab colours and most importantly it has a drain at the bottom that means you don’t have to lift the whole bowl up to empty it. The drain also traps any food bits and pieces that may escape down your plug hole. Totally brilliant! I can’t wait for them to hit the shops in the Spring!
p.s. (shhhh don’t tell Tim- the JosephJoseph brothers. Nom, nom, nom!)
P.S. The washing up bowl, £28, is available from their website www.josephjoseph.com from 8th March 2013
Have you seen these Dr Oetker gel food colours on the supermarket shelves yet? They’re available in these really handy squeezy tubes. Nice and neat and easy to use and what’s more they don’t make your icing go all runny. Each 10g tube of gel can be used to colour enough icing to cover 24 cupcakes in a really bright neon colour or a whopping 200 pastel coloured ones.
The range is available in Bright red, Sky Blue, Sunshine Yellow, Lime Green, Hot Pink, Ultra Violet, Neon Orange and Jet Black and is perfect for wet icing. It’s a bit too runny to colour sugarpaste as it makes it super sticky but it’s perfect for colouring royal icing whether for writing or flooding cookies. I wanted to give the tubes a test run and my two little helpers wanted to play too. We mixed up some icing sugar and I let them colour it. Let’s just say that we started with four colours then they created their own mix match colours and both added every colour gel we had into one bowl. The end result wasn’t quite what I expected. Usually when you add black colouring you end up with a dark gloomy colour but both Beau and Darcey created khaki green colours.
We had been out to a farm on the day we did the colouring and it was freezing outside. When we got home they both shot upstairs and came down in their onsies. I can’t seem to get them out of them if they are at home!
The icing was used to first put together this gingerbread house from Christmas (which has made the whole kitchen smell divine). For this they used lots of pretty coloured icing which is mainly on the inside. Then the fun really began. Beau grabbed our Friday night sweets, put them all in separate bowls and started piling them on with the khaki coloured icing. Let’s just say they brushed their teeth REALLY well that night!
And here’s the mess that the girls made with this little gingerbread house. I turned my back for two minutes! I don’t think we had any small bowls left in the cupboard!
Dr Oetker Gel Food colours are available from major supermarkets from £1.29 for a 10g tube. For more information and some lovely recipes check out the website www.oetker.co.uk
Now, I know that I said this was a Valentine free zone this morning, but I couldn’t resist sharing with you my cookies for AchicaLiving.com. Have I mentioned that I write for them? Well I do. They asked me to do a recipe for Valentines day and these are what I came up with. I did some hearts as they are more generic but I also did some words. You can see the post complete with recipe and more designs here.
Big love to all my readers.
This is a cake I made for Amelia who is in Darcey’s class. It was for her sleepover party and we (the mum’s of the party goers) were all informed that Amelia wanted everyone to wear bright colours, so it stands to reason that the cake was going to be nice and bright as well.
Amelia is a proper cutie. I actually thought she was going to be 6 as she is so weeny next to Darcey. Good job I checked! She has this super cute voice and wears her hair in bunches all the time and that’s where the idea for the little Amelia model came from. It was also the picture on her birthday invite which made things a little easier for me!
I wanted to keep things pretty simple for this cake and let the bold colours stand out, so, I made up loads of little square presents in sugarpaste then added ribbons in a contrasting colour. The bows on top were made using a silicoln mould. You can get them on Amazon. I just did a search for my one which is a Karen Davies Ballerina Ballet Mould and found a load of others that would be perfect. I really like the Three piece JEM Bows Cutter Set . I think that would come in very handy!
To finish off the bottom I wrote Amelia’s name in thick sugarpaste and left it to dry for about 30 minutes. I like letters to still be quite malleable when I attach them to the cake so that they can bend with any curves. But they need to be firm enough to stand up. I use a little royal icing to hold them onto the cake.
Rather than using ribbon along the base of the cake I made little balls of coloured sugarpaste.
To make sure each ball was the same size I rolled out the sugarpaste – using spacer bars, then used a circle cutter to cut out however many balls I needed in each colour. Because it’s a measured roll out I know that each ball uses the same amount of sugarpaste and therefore once rolled in my hands they’ll all be the same size. All that’s left is to attach each one to the cake board with a little royal icing.
P.S. Sorry all you love birds. This is a Valentine free zone! But I still love you all. x
I’ve decided to start a series of posts on my essential cake decorating kit. When I first started decorating cakes I only had a few tools of the trade, but as time goes on, and you get chatting to other decorators and helpful shop assistants and you learn about these clever little gadgets that make a job much easier and your cakes look more professional. Over the coming months I’ll be sharing my favorites with you with the hope that they will make your life easier too!
The Side Scraper
Have you ever tried to do a buttercream coating on a cake and wanted to get it perfectly straight? By straight I mean at a 90º angle. I am totally useless at seeing if things are straight – you should see the shelves I put up at home! So I find it really hard to see when a cake looks right. Well ,this nifty tool does it for you. What’s more it’s less than a fiver. Money seriously well spent.
I hadn’t seen one of these before. I always used my Plain Edge Side Scraper but never really got the hang of getting the cakes to be really straight. There’s far too much room for error! My local cake shop(Cake Craft World) has a You Tube channel which I found out about in their newsletter. I checked out the video on ‘How to cut and fill a sponge cake on YouTube and saw Louise using this metal edged side scraper and knew I had to have one. It took me about 5 trips to the cake shop to remember to buy it as usually I go into the shop with a list for boxes, boards, icing and cutters for whatever cake I am about to make and I kept on forgetting to buy the scraper. Then by luck I was chatting to Sue and I remembered and I haven’t looked back since. Sue also showed me a taller scraper for the really big cakes. I really wished I had bought it as I had a 7 tier cake to decorate last weekend and it would have been really useful.
Anyway, the way the scraper works is simple.
Give your filled cake a layer of buttercream on the outside edge.
Press the side scraper against the cake and drag it around the circumference, ensuring the bottom angle is flat on the surface the entire time.
Look how easy that is!
Et Voila! A nice and straight edged cake without any fuss.
I mean really. This is as 90ºs as it gets!
You can get a ‘Perfect Angle side scraper’ from your nearest cake decorating shop or check out my fav cake shop for theirs. Here’s the link to it on their website!
You may remember me talking about my brother and his wife having the same RG initials and subsequently calling each other “RG”, well this is their recipe for breakfast pancakes.
The first time I tried one of these was on our family camping trip to Hastings last summer. Family camping is always good fun and to make it even more enjoyable we had 5 kids with us, Beau,9, Darcey,5, Asher,4, Sara,2 and Lital 10 months (Yes you read that right 10 MONTHS old!) We love a group outing as I am sure you can imagine.
On the first morning my mum and Dad brought out their little gas stove and Mrs RG brought out her pancake ingredients and frying pan (or was that mums?). This is a pretty ingenious way for a 10 month old baby to feed herself as the pancakes are nice and thick, so there’s plenty to hold onto. They are naturally sweet – so you don’t have to add nutella/cream/sugar / honey etc. They are filling and DEEELISHHHHH. Needless to say they couldn’t be made quick enough for us all!
My sister made a batch just last week and I just so happened to pop round as they were cooling on her worktop. Lucky for me Shell got a phone call and while her back was turned I wolfed down 5. I’d like to say that they were small. But they weren’t!
Rg’s pancake ingredients
- 2 ripe bananas – this is a great way to use up brown bananas as they are the sweetest ones.
- 100g raisins or sultanas ( I soak mine in boiled water for 30 minutes so they are fat and juicy- which is how Darcey likes them best)
- 3 eggs – at room temperature
- 75g oats (you can add more if you want)
- 125 g plain flour
- 200ml milk
My sister soaks the oats in the milk so they are really soft but I just blitz all the ingredients with a food blender adding the sultanas at the end.
Heat a frying pan with a little oil. Add a small amount of pancake mix. Don’t touch it or try to turn it over until little bubble holes start to appear throughout the pancake, then gently lift and flip it over. Heat them until they are golden brown on each side.
As with most pancakes anything goes. Last week I had some cherries left over from a Black Forrest Gateau cake and I popped them in. They made the pancakes amazing. I had to squish down any larger pieces of fruit so they would cook properly. Next I’m going to try with raspberries.