Wednesday, 31 August 2011


I can't get enough of Homebrand Jellybeans at the moment...they are all glossy and shiny..they even come in pale pink..and they do a bag that's entirely black jellybeans! Yum! I just wish they did one full of blue jellybeans too...then life would be complete.
I also love the girls' new mini Keep Cups (for their morning shot of hot chocolate), and the pretty combination of colours on my bench.
 Last, but not least, I love this time of year for homegrown grapefruit (though it seems I can never get enough!). The ones in the picture are not only beautiful in colour, but have the most amazing taste too..I cut them up in wedges and devour like they're oranges..dribbly but delicious!

Happy Wednesday folks!

x Harriet

Monday, 29 August 2011

And another one gone...

On Saturday afternoon me and my girls decided to be totally unneccessarily indulgent and so we baked chocolate cupcakes...with pieces of chocolate inside...and chocolate butter cream icing on top. Very very sweet. The chocolate we used was the cadbury block that has different types of, pineappple, caramel, strawberry and coconut it was a bit of a surprise in each cupcake. The baking process itself was pretty sweet too...the girls are really into it and there are not enough tasks to keep them both satisfied! We also listened to a bit of classic Bon Jovi and they were singing along to 'Livin' on a prayer' doesn't get much sweeter than that.

Meanwhile, Herbert was enjoying a nap in a you do...

Later in the afternoon we brought out the singstar...the girls particularly like the 80s songs: Heaven is a place on earth, Material Girl, Wake me up before you go.... James even wanted to be Alice Cooper, but it's not that easy. I remember liking that song when I was about her age...strange as that seems. I feel like such a mum at times like these! Before long I'll be telling her about my long walks to school, barefoot through the snow .....

And today I bought Rory a new (to her), totally rad, bike. And she is almost able to ride it was awesome. Rory was so excited, giggling with nervous hysteria and likening it to a bit of a rocket launch. It was a bit of a workout for me running along with her this afternoon...trying to keep up, and keep yelling 'keep pedalling, keep pedalling!' at the same time...i'm rather unfit! But it was fun. I took some awful first photos of Rad Rory and her Rad bike (hey, i was exhausted by then)...and they don't even begn to convey the full extent of her enthusiasm...or the RADNESS of her bicycle!!

Anyway that's the weekend roundup. I'm pretty much over cupcakes now - it's merely the thrill of piping icing that keeps me hanging in there. Time for some new baking terrain to be explored.
What i'm not over is my bookshelf/ poster wall which I have just completed lately...My walls have been bare for too long and I know it will be awhile before I can spend money on art - or frames - so in the meantime I have chosen some pretty pictures, mostly from Frankie and NO magazines , plus a couple of 2 picture walls going at the moment, still a work in progress, but they bring me much pleasure to the do all my books...I like to gaze at all the familiar titles and just feel a general comfort in their appearance and the knowledge of the words inside...what a geek. But now i'm a geek with some pretty wall coverings! Lovely...

Next time I will show you 'the hot dog lady'...a family favourite.

xx Harriet

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

School kids and sprinkles

My friend Jo is a primary school teacher and yesterday her students were celebrating 100 days of being at school! I think it's super cute to be celebrating this milestone, the kids must be so proud of themselves and feel like real big school kids now.. Anyway, as part of the celebration she asked me to do some baking, which was a real honour for me (yay, my food is edible!).

It had to be nut-free (and yet Jo still asked ME to make them...hmmm) and I figured little kids are best with plain flavours so we chose mini vanilla cupcakes, and then shortbread bikkies that the kids could ice and decorate themselves. I can't really show you the kids faces, but judging from Jo's pictures I reckon these cookies were the more popular item..DIY and loaded with could they not love that?

The cookies themselves were my first attempt at shortbread, and I wasn't prepared for how much they would spread during the baking. So, what once was round, became kind of squares as they all vied for space on the tray. They are definitely quite 'home-made' looking (to put it nicely) .. but it looks as though -at least some of them.. were still decorate-able (?).

As for the cupcakes, the recipe is generally fail-proof, then I iced them three different colours (Rory selected the rather sickly shade of green). This was probably my best ever batch of butter cream icing...not too runny and no signs of curdling which I sometimes see after adding the milk. And, I purchased a disposable piping bag set from the supermarket which worked really well! My writing icing was a bit hard, and I'm still learning there,so the 100 Days writing looks pretty crappy, I'll admit, but I'm thinking this was another fairly successful project..

Jo has kindly sent me some photos to share with can also see the kids' 100 handprints that they made in celebration..all in all very cute!


and after...I love the colours in this photo!

Okay and that is that. Time for a new project to keep me occupied in the kitchen...and not just baking for my own tummy!

Hope you are all having a good week (and not doing stupid things like locking yourself out of all your property!)... and may I also take this moment to say THANK YOU to all our lovely blog readers and supporters, those of you who have commented, on here or in person, it is really nice to know that our family and friends are reading and enjoying what we are doing here...thanks guys!

xx Harriet

B is for Baby..and Boy...and Bedtime...and Book

Well ok , I seem to have developed a 'better late than never' policy towards blogging specific events. So today I have the photos from Viv's baby shower...most of the sweet food was actually Kate's handiwork, as I spent so much time panicking over the previous night's requirements that I didn't have enough left to fulfill my baking promises for this event. I managed a chocolate caramel slice , some greenish coconut ice, russian fudge, and mini ginger cupcakes with lemon icing. Kate, on the other hand, made pikelets, Belgian bikkies, yo-yos, chocolate chip cookies, and a lemon and yogurt cake, ...and I may have missed something else out there!

I'm not sure who provided the savouries but they were super yummy too, lovely club sandwiches and cheesy i'm-not-sure-what-you-call-them 's, all in little portions and set out very beautifully. It was all very high tea and pretty-ish and lots of fun. We played a few estimating the size of Viv's baby belly (apparently not nearly as big as most of us thought! ) and matching celebrities to their babies...I got one out of ten right -they were all guesses (can you tell?) - which just goes to show that I have not been reading nearly enough trashy magazines lately!

Rory and Mila were also there, although Rory was having a bit of an off day, too many strangers, so we left a bit early, while everyone was playing 'guess how much the baby will weigh and what day he will arrive and what his name will be...?'. I doubt I would have had much of a clue on all that anyway..

Viv looked amazing - and no, i'm not just saying that - I guess all I can compare it to is my own pregnancy, but she didn't look at all how I felt at that stage (ie swollen and puffy and obese)...definitely a glowing mummy-to-be. My photography skills did not extend to people very well, so I might just chuck the food pictures in...

And in other non-baking related news....I bought a book from the Hospice Shop in Takapuna the other day (I also really wanted a Holly Hobby cloth picture - super cute - but I didn't have enough pocket money ) and I thought I would share a few pages with you. It was written in 1950 I think...posing as 'bedtime stories', but boy, Uncle Arthur really wants to give us a guilt trip about all our faults and petty behaviours...and this is for children! The fact that each story is indexed under the title 'lesson' says it all...But I love the styling, the decorative inside cover, the fancy (appalling) couloured picture pages...quite fun. I shall be reading it nightly to my outrageously undisciplined children...God and Uncle Arthur will have them sorted in no time!

...then he made this freaky baby

One more project to report on, coming really soon! Truly!

xx Harriet

Friday, 19 August 2011

Quiz night with cake

Okay folks, here I am at last. It has been a while. Once again there are many things to catch up on; I don't know if I can fit them all in today, so I'll start with the two most interesting -  our official Russell and Cake baking projects.

The first of these was my baking basket / hamper for James' school's quiz night. It was for a raffle prize, so I needed to make it look  - and be - worth winning. I decided on a selection of chocolate chip cookies, brownies, fudge, coconut ice, chocolate-caramel pecan tarts, and a lemon and coconut cake. Typically, two of my most tried and tested, never fail recipes, didn't seem to come out their best. But hopefully the cookies made up for that. They were some of the best looking chocolate chip cookies I have ever made, I think! the real chocolate chunks really make the difference.

I packaged everything up as beautifully as I could was a very hectic end of week, with lots of baking, babysitting, and going over the budget (ing). But on the night I sold all 100 raffle tickets and I was pretty proud of how it looked.

On top of that I also made little sampler plates for all the quiz tables, with a 'Russell and Cake" business card (thanks Phil) to give us a little exposure.

So here's how it all looked...

With the other prizes

Table treats

 And this is our table of vintage beauties...second place (for the third year in a row!).

I'll be back soon with a recap of Viv's baby shower....

xx Harriet