Monday, March 31, 2014

Tea & Sultana Muffins

These days I'm a fan of any muffin or cupcake that doesn't need to be iced & these muffins are one of my favourites. Quick & easy, I make them all the time. The longest step of the preparation is infusing the tea into the sultanas, so plan ahead!

I've seen a similar recipe which calls for Earl Grey Tea but I just use regular Lipton Black....


450ml boiling water
2 tea bags
120 grams sultanas
2 eggs lightly beaten
110 grams butter melted
375 grams plain flour
2 Tbs baking powder
Pinch of salt
200 grams castor sugar


Pour boiling water into plastic measuring jug & add tea bags; infuse for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes pour tea over sultanas, in a bowl, sprinkle with the baking powder. Stir gently till baking powder is combined & set aside for an hour.

Preheat over to 200 degrees celsius. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with paper muffin cases.

Sift flour & salt into a mixing bowl. Add sugar to the flour mix. Mix gently to combine.

To the tea/sultana mixture add the eggs & melted butter.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients & mix just until all the flour is moistened. The batter should look lumpy. Do not over mix! 

Divide the batter amongst the 12 muffin cups. Reduce oven temperature to 180 degrees & bake the muffins for 25 minutes or until well risen.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Two Birds

I picked up this pair of Kaisercraft wooden birds from Spotlight for $5 each. I knew straight away I wanted to use the doily stencil I'd also seen at Spotlight, costing $4.

I saw the colour scheme clearly in my mind too but when it came to the doing...things just didn't go to plan. 

I did a base coat with spray white. I didn't want to have to mess around with fiddly bits like when I did my 1st wooden word thing.

For the colour & stencil I made up a spray bottle of paint and water, but the solution was too thin and it ran everywhere after I sprayed it :-/ 

I washed the first attempt off.

Take two was not much better, after making a thicker solution, but it gave the nice watercolour effect you can see above.

I thought it'd be pretty to use a bubble technique my daughter had done at Kindy, but even after googling it I couldn't get THAT to work either...! :-(  And that was when I had my 'blowing paint with a straw' fail ALSO seen in the picture above...

For my next attempt I switched to undiluted paint & a roller. The paint still bled beneath the stencil but it was pretty.

There was excess paint all over the top of the stencil so I flipped it onto the other bird & pressed it down like a stamp several times...

After that I struggled for a bit. I envisaged rubb ons but after applying them the birds still looked unfinished. I added some Kindy Glitz but still wasn't feeling it.

I felt the birds needed more depth. I flicked gold paint on them but felt like flicking paint is my fall back move...I wanted to develop my technique past flicking paint all the time. :-/ 

I used the stencil again & a slate ink pad to stamp the pattern but because the white spray paint was glossy the ink wouldn't dry & it was smudging :-(

I lay awake last night thinking about it...yes seriously...and I hoped if I washed off the slate ink it may leave a stain behind. So first thing this morning that's what I did, and it had :-) 

During my nighttime pondering I also thought about more colours & how I could add them. I came up with the plan of adding coloured dots to the doily pattern. Finally things were coming together and they birds were really brightened up!

Looking at the pictures now I can see there is room to take the accentuating of the stencilled pattern, with additional colours, further.

Anyway considering how bad it seemed to be going  after the whole running paint thing I started with, I am thrilled with the final results :-)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hootabelle Birthday Cake

You may remember my Hoot cake as posted recently.

My mum came over during the process of my making that cake and watched very keenly how I did it. We had also previously looked at pictures of Hoot & Hootabelle cakes on Pinterest.

My mum is a very organised woman & takes her cakes very very seriously. In the old days she used to enlarge pictures by hand using the grid method, to make them big enough to use as a template. She has also used the grid method to apply the icing to a cake.

She used a printed picture of Hootabelle to make Miss 2's cake and the memory of how I had constructed Hoot. That's it.

I'm still very proud of the Hoot cake I made but there is no doubt my mums Hootabelle is above and beyond. :-)

Squidgy, aka Miss 2, was very excited by the cake and said Hootabelle over and over.

I would just like to note that my mum uses packet cake mixes & premade fondant icing which she dyes herself.