I recently made a batch of cupcakes for a 30th birthday party and adorned the Pineapple and Coconut Cupcakes with pineapple flowers, an idea I saw Martha Stewart once do. I received several questions on how to make these so I thought I would share the technique, as well as some other easy ideas for decorating desserts.
1. Pre-heat oven to 110°C and line 3 baking trays with greaseproof paper.
2. Thinly slice a pineapple (or split pineapple rings in 3 horizontally) and arrange rings on the baking trays.
3. Bake for 30 mins, then turn and cook for another 30 mins.
4. Transfer rings to a muffin tin to cool so they curl upwards and form the shape of a flower.
And now for some other decorating techniques:
♥ Sugar Art
A lot of great sugar decorating options are now becoming available in supermarkets and specialty stores. My absolute favourites are the sugar buttons from Donna Hay. Cheaper options from the supermarket include silver cachous, little pink flowers and they often have seasonal decorations like these cute Christmas-themed ones I found.
Fruit is a simple, colourful and healthy way to decorate your desserts. Berries are always an easy and delicious way to jazz up a dessert. Or try contrasting colours and textures such as kiwi and passionfruit. Get a little creative and top chili-chocolate cupcakes with a chili ganache and small chili, or turn strawberries into Santa hats for a Christmas treat!
♥ Toppers, nuts and more
Purchase some cupcake toppers from a homewares store (or make your own… more on that in another post!), or get creative and make a birds nest out of chocolate and crunchy noodles and top with an Easter egg for an Easter-themed cupcake. Otherwise, nuts make a delicious and crunchy decoration, either spread across the sides of a cake or on top.
I have been collecting numerous decorating inspiration on my Pinterest Board. Some new tricks I am dying to try out:
♥ Cookie Stamping
I hope this has given you some more ideas for decorating your own desserts!
You know when you stumble across something on the internet and think “damn I wish I thought of that”. Well, it happens to me quite often. And when I saw these awesome fashion-inspired cupcakes made by Edsalv Lisa and photographed by Therese Aldgard I knew I had to share. They accurately portray the style of each fashion label through lighting, colour and design, cleverly creating boob cupcakes for Agent Provocateur and a red velvet interior to represent the infamous Christian Louboutin shoe.
Which is your favourite designer cupcake? Are there any fashion labels you would love to see them create?
Today is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the respect, appreciation and love towards women (although shouldn’t that be every day?!) and honour the struggles of those who have fought and are still fighting for justice to get us where we are today. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is actually a national holiday.
I am fortunately surrounded by a huge array of inspiring women in my life, however we need to reflect on those women around the world who don’t have the same rights, freedom and respect we enjoy in the developed world (with inequality still rife throughout the first world too).
I’m loving this poster made for the International Woman’s Day Special Edition of Kosova Times by Tabi Aziri.
How are you going to celebrate International Women’s Day? (And if you are a fella reading this, there is International Men’s Day too, on 19 November!)
I’ve been seeing some amazing travel videos springing up on Vimeo lately and have been bookmarking each to share them with you. They sure are giving me itchy feet to explore the world again! I’m excited my new camera has HD video – I am looking forward to creating travel and food videos in the near future. Enjoy!
It’s February and I am getting excited about that special day looming in the near future. No I’m not talking about Valentine’s Day, or ever Chinese New Year. I am talking about World Nutella Day! The founders of World Nutella Day, which falls on 5 February, describe Nutella as more than just a “chocolaty hazelnut spread,” it is a way of life. Want to get in on the act and help celebrate the joy of Nutella? Here are some recipe suggestions:
A super simple and delicious recipe featuring buttery cookies with a huge dollop of Nutella in the middle. Heaven.
You can also stuff the Nutella inside the cookie for a nice surprise!
This cake combines the flavours of Nutella – chocolate and hazelnuts, a decadent Nutella buttercream, and Nutella’s best friend, Ferrero Rocher!
Bake these delicious Devil’s Food Cupcakes, and substitute the chocolate ganache for this Nutella Buttercream. Thank me later.
And what am I baking this year for World Nutella Day? Well, here’s a teaser:
Hell. Yes. Stay tuned on Tuesday 5th February for proper photos and the recipe!
I recently stumbled across this series of gorgeous and quirky food art by German art director Sarah Illenberger. I would love to hang any of these on my wall. Hello disco pineapple!
For more of her work check out sarahillenberger.tictail.com
The other day I went for a wander to the shops to find the perfect birthday dress. I wanted something 50s styled, preferably in mint green. Then I passed a cat dress and any sensible dress ideas went out the window. Isn’t it wonderful?! However I do draw the line at a cat wearing a bow tie, fortunately this part is detachable.
A pair of Charlotte Olympia cat shoes has been on my wish-list for a very long time but at over AU$700 a pair I think I need to be content with just admiring.
This is ridiculous. I kind of think I need a cat-ular. Yes, that’s a cat spatular. The fact that it guarantees you a purr-fect breakfast just tops it off.
If you want to embrace the cat look on a more low-key level, then perhaps some cat eye sunglasses are more appropriate.
More cat stuff here!
Here is Part 2 of my eating in Vietnam photo-log. This covers from Hoi An up to Hanoi, via Halong Bay.
I was awoken at 4am in Hoi An to go on a sunrise bike ride. I was initially a bit shakey and nearly rode a woman off a bridge into the river. Oops! I managed to make it to the fish market in one piece, and there is nothing better than starting your day off with the stench of fish :)
My bike riding skillz were rewarded with a delicious Vietnamese coffee – hot and strong espresso with a generous layer of sweetened condensed milk at the bottom. Heaven!
A home cooked breakfast by a local consisting of a spring roll, spicy noodles, sliced pork, peanuts, coriander and a wee quail’s egg.
More bike riding in the heat had me running for cover mid-morning and in need of a refreshing and caffeinated drink. This is iced Vietnamese coffee and I drank it at least once every day in Vietnam. It’s delicious and refreshing and my go-to drink this summer (although I fear having a tube of condensed milk in the fridge will be very dangerous).
This coconut tart from The Cargo Club was so delicious I actually ate it for morning tea everyday I was in Hoi An. Oops!
Bánh xèo, a crispy pancake which is a speciality of Hoi An.
Bánh mì!! I swear I could live on these. This one consisted of crunchy pork, pickled veges, coriander and lots of chili!
A visit to the Central Market in Hoi An was a whirlwind of colour and smell.
Ummm “green things”. Any ideas??
Fish fish everywhere!
On our overnight junk boat trip on Halong Bay we had the most beautifully presented dishes – I almost felt bad eating each work of art!
Freshly caught crabs
Look at the beautiful border of vegetables on this calamari dish! Gorgeous.
The prawns came out adorning the most beautifully hand carved vegetable centrepiece. We were given a demonstration the next morning and I took step-by-step photos – will post them soon.
The bird was carved from a radish, and the flowers from a chili and cucumber.
This beautiful flower was carved from a carrot.
This fishnet was also carved from a carrot!
A lady selling fruit in Hanoi
Fried dough! This is served everywhere on the streets of Hanoi in a variety of flavours and textures.
And a final meal in Vietnam of caramelised pork and veges – delicious!
I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of what I ate on my Vietnam trip, I’m hungry!
I have slowly started trawling through the 1000+ photos I took in Vietnam and will be sharing more with you soon. Turns out I took so many photos of food in Vietnam I will have to do this post in 2 parts – Vietnam is a foodie paradise after all!
Fresh tropical fruit is in abundance and regularly served after meals. Here is a plate of rambutans I snacked on.
Little bananas being sold from a street cart in Ho Chi Minh
Dragon fruit at a local market in Ho Chi Minh
Meals were simple and small in rural areas. This was my lunch enroute to the Mekong Delta and I was starving within an hour!
I sampled some snake wine in the Mekong. It is produced by infusing whole snakes in rice wine and tastes, um, snakey.
Delicious homemade springrolls from my homestay host.
I came across these ladies sorting fruit in a village in the Mekong Delta. They kept giggling and staring at me and my translator informed me they thought I looked like a doll and they liked my nose. Also, would I like to spend my life working with them, sorting fruit? I politely declined.
On a side note, everyone squats here. They must have thighs on steal! I only had to use a squat toilet once and 30 seconds in the position had me whimpering.
I visited a candy factory in the Mekong where they produced all sorts of Vietnamese treats. First they demonstrated splitting the coconut and extracting it’s milk. This would then be used in a coconut caramel.
Rice was cooked over a high heat in what looked like a giant wok until puffed.
The puffed rice was then mixed with a flavouring (coconut caramel or savoury) and pressed out flat onto a board to cut up.
The ladies then wrapped up the puffed rice squares for sale.
Finished treats ready to be sampled. Delicious!
I also watched a lady making rice paper wraps, a fiddly process that she made look effortless.
I ate stir fried Morning Glory with nearly every meal – so fresh and delicious!
You can’t visit Vietnam without many bowls of delicious Pho.
Wandering through local markets in any Vietnamese city is always fascinating. Here we have all the garlic and onions you could ever want.
Dried starfish. I am not sure if they eat these, but can’t help but think they would make a pretty (albeit stinky) Christmas tree ornament.
The markets are often an assault on the senses, particularly when you hate the smell of fish. Let alone dried prawns that have been sitting in the sun all day.
Pufferfish! Another addition to my fishy Christmas tree?
I stumbled upon a delicious looking feast at a temple, perhaps this is laid out for the monks?
At a fishing village near Nha Trang I saw a darling little girl frying quail eggs in a mini pan. Heart melted.
And as we took the boat back to Nha Trang we were presented with a great spread to feast on full of spring rolls, freshly caught seafood and veges.
I hope you enjoyed some of these Vietnamese foodie highlights, stay tuned for part 2 !
Hola, life is pretty insane at the moment. I have started a new job, taken on a mountain of freelance work, am in the midst of redesigning this blog (and making it some business cards, finally!), have several baking projects coming up and am now a product photographer for a few awesome hair brands! I am looking forward to catching up/meeting a lot of you at next weekend’s Eat Drink Blog Conference and hoping I will have managed to squeeze some sleep and exercise in during the lead up.
When I have some (rare) downtime, I have been trawling Pinterest for some design inspiration (when I am not watching new Dexter or Revenge episodes of course, omg TWIST!) and thought I would share some works that caught my eye.
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