I just came across this amazing photograph on Pinterest by David Seetoh Lang and was blown away. It is quite possibly the most fun, unique and sweet portrait of a woman and a cat I have ever seen. Also the logistics of this shot baffle me, was there someone off screen hurling the cat into frame repeatedly? Haha.
After looking through David’s extensive portfolio I found the set of images this shot came from – a series of Heidi Iro and her cats, shot in Salzburg, Austria. Here are some of my favourites.
Have a great weekend everyone. Please don’t throw any cats, no matter how inspired you are by this gorgeous shoot ;)
You know how much I love chocolate and how much I love Instagram, well now Cocoagraph offers a service where they convert your favourite Instagram photos into edible milk, white, dark or organic dark chocolate bars!
Cocoagraph’s promo video
Rae Vittorelli - founder of Cocoagraph, and an example of a chocolate photo.
More chocolate photos!
So for a unique and personalised present, head on down to Cocoagraph! What would you want to eat – a photo of your cat, a pretty sunset, your ex’s head? The mind boggles ;)
This month’s theme for the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop was Nuts About Sweets – a seemingly easy theme until you get overwhelmed by the amount of options available! I love hazelnuts and I love chocolate so it made perfect sense to combine these into a Ferrero Rocher cake complete with a decadent Nutella buttercream!
The cake features 3 layers of deliciously dark Devil’s Food Cake, with each layer sandwiched between a generous heaping of Nutella. The entire cake was then cloaked in Nutella Buttercream (omg), the sides adorned with chopped hazelnuts and then decorated with Ferrero Rocher chocolates.
This is definitely not the neatest or most elegant cake I have ever made but it’s definitely the tastiest!
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- 1½ tbsps instant coffee powder
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 375ml boiling water
- 190g butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 eggs (room temperature)
- 2¼ cups plain flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 225g butter, room temperature
- 1½ cups icing sugar
- 125g dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
- 150g Nutella
- 200g Nutella
- 80g hazelnuts
- Ferrero Rochers, to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the bases of 3 x 20 cm cake tins with bake paper and grease the sides with butter.
- Stir the cocoa powder, coffee and brown sugar in a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Whisk to mix and set aside.
- Cream the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy and then add the vanilla extract.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Slowly add the flour, bicarb and baking powder. Pour in the cocoa/coffee mixture and beat until just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly amongst the 3 cake tins.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool slightly in their tins before turning out onto a tray to cool completely.
- Place the softened butter and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
- Add the slightly cooled chocolate and continue beating until combined.
- Add the Nutella and beat on medium-high speed until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
- Using an offset spatula, spread half the Nutella on top of the first cake layer.
- Place the second cake on top and spread the remaining Nutella over it (don’t go down the sides).
- Place the third cake on top and gently press down to sandwich the 3 layers together.
- Dollop ⅔ of the Nutella buttercream on top of the cake, and using the offset spatula, begin to smooth the buttercream out across the top and over the sides of the cake.
- Use the remainder of the buttercream to cover the sides of the cake (remember it doesn’t have to be too neat as you will be covering the sides with hazelnuts!)
- Chop the hazelnuts as finely as you want. Gently press them to the sides of the cake, dusting away excess nuts that fall off.
- Decorate with Ferrero Rocher chocolates.
Thanks to Dining With a Stud for hosting this month’s Blog Hop!
What a busy month! It involved pretty skies, hair cuts, couches, and of course a lot of FOOD.
♥ Tapas Cooking Class at Mumu Grill
I recently attended a tapas class at Mumu with fellow bloggers Sophie and Flick. We learnt how to make various tasty dishes including bread, haloumi with chilli and lemon, meatballs and potato frittata. Yum!
♥ Got my hair cut and (finally) bought a couch
I took a leap of faith (wow, it’s just hair isn’t it?) and finally got a bob! I love it when it’s behaving, which is occasionally. And we finally bought a couch for our apartment. It’s name is Frenchie and you’ll meet her soon.
♥ Amazing skies
Sydney has been pulling out all the stops lately with her beautiful skies! These pics are all various sunsets except the bottom left hand photo which is when the sunrise bathed everything in pink. Beautiful!
♥ Food Bloggers Dinner at House Thai
A delicious and fun dinner with some food blogger Tweeps. Whilst I still prefer Spice I Am (they are owned by the same guys) there was a lot of tasty food to snack on. AND the dessert on the right is called “Better Than Sex” and involved a thick slab of buttery brioche, pandan gelato, caramel sauce and sesame seeds. It was pretty damn amazing, not sure if it’s better than sex though!
♥ The Dip
Had a delicious meal at The Dip with some high school friends. I only wish they would turn the music down as we had to shout to each other to be heard and eventually gave up and ate our hot dogs in silence. Am I getting old? On the left we have the Confuse di Mouth hot dog and on the right we have peanut butter + jelly and deep fried banana desserts. Heaven.
♥ District Dining
I crossed another restaurant off my list and it was District Dining, and it sure smashed all my expectations! Highlights included pigs ears and deep fried quail eggs, parmesan herb crusted pork cutlet, pear and rhubarb crumble with gingerbread icecream and white chocolate and coconut cheesecake with passionfruit sorbet. Wow.
♥ Spencer Guthrie
I ventured to Newtown (which is rare) for my father’s birthday and nabbed us a last minute table at Spencer Guthrie. The food was delicious and the desserts were a real highlight. On the left we have chewy meringue with pears and prune + green tea icecream (I really need to bake more meringues!) and on the right “All Things Chocolate”.
I recently discovered Pamukkale, Turkey through a friend’s photos on Instagram. It came as no surprise to me that Pamukkale translated as “cotton castle” – it looks like these hot springs formed against cliffs have been draped in white cotton candy! Pamukkale’s terraces are made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by water from the hot springs. I am adding Pamukkale to my bucket list!
Where in the world are you currently fascinated by?
Edit: Thanks to my lovely readers I have now sourced some locations to buy authentic Dulce de Leche in Australia. Firstly online from Mi Casa Fine Foods, or at a store called La Torre, 9 Nelson St Fairfield.
I was recently gifted 2 jars of delicious Dulce de Leche (or in Portuguese Doce de Leite) from my cousin who had just returned from South America. The jar on the left is from Brazil and the jar on the right is from Argentina. This caramel is hugely popular in South America and has been steadily gaining popularity in desserts within Australia.
After doing some taste testing (for scientific purposes of course) I think I am learning towards preferring the Brazilian Doce de Leite – it’s darker and richer and a little less sweet than its Argentinian friend. However both are sublimely delicious and I have been sprung on numerous occasions by my housemate at the refrigerator, spoon in hand.
Now, with nearly a kilo of caramel, what does one do with all of this deliciousness? I can’t keep eating it with a spoon, my teeth will fall out. Here are some of my recipes I am considering using it in:
I want to whip up a batch of these tasty sesame seed biscuits and sandwich them together with my caramel (a nice and quick way to avoid boiling sweetened condensed milk)
For a super quick Banoffee Pie- make a biscuit base, spread with the caramel and let set in the fridge. Then top with sliced bananas, whipped cream and shaved chocolate and serve. Too easy!
To make salted caramel buttercream simply beat the dulce de leche with butter, icing sugar and a pinch of sea salt until a spreadable consistency is achieved. Then sandwich between ginger cookies, or pipe onto cupcakes.
Some other popular uses in South America include spreading it on bread/toast (like a super sweet and decadent version of peanut butter I guess?!)
Or freshly cooked churros dipped in dulce de leche. Yum!
Have you tried the authentic doce de leite before? What are your favourite dulce de leche desserts?
ombré noun – From the French word ombrer (to shade). Having colours or tones that shade into each other —used especially of fabrics in which the colour is graduated from light to dark.
I have recently become obsessed ombre and first discovered this trend through cake. I loved the effect of tinting layers of cake a different shade.
I next noticed the ombre trend incorporated into interiors and furniture. My plain white IKEA desk is begging to be painted in peach ombre!
1. Ombre Chair by Design Sponge
2. Ombre Stairs by Design Sponge
3. Ombre Desk by Vintage Revivals
4. Ombre Curtains by Sketch 42
And I love love love this ombre nail idea from The Beauty Department
Stay tuned for an ombre inspired dessert coming soon! And possibly some DIY home decorating attempts….
I generally try and avoid literary band wagons. I avoided the Twilight thing like the plague and am still yet to generate enough interest to read the True Blood or Game of Thrones books.
I recently starting hearing about a book called 50 Shades of Grey and I am sure any lady reading this will know exactly what I am talking about. Upon hearing it was based off poorly written Twilight fan fiction I grimaced and returned to my Kafka on the Shore. Soon more and more of my female friends were talking about this “sexy book” and I admit curiosity got the best of me. And then low and behold my friend express posted me her copy which arrived promptly the next day at work (much to the amusement of my colleagues).
I am about half-way through. It’s terribly written, to the point that I actually have to shout at the pages now and then. If I hear her talk about her “inner goddess” one more time I may have to throw it out the window. It is kind of sexy, but I have read the works of Marquis de Sade so you can image it pales in comparison.
What creeps me out most about this grey-fad is the women throwing these 50 Shades-themed parties with cupcakes, cookies and cakes! Do you realise how unappetising grey desserts look?! Let me show you.
First up we have some very dreary looking iced cupcakes in various shades of grey. It looks like you would be eating piped cement.
Continuing the wet cement look we have an ombre cake in, you guessed it, shades of grey.
Next we have cookies! Fortunately they are in a more tasteful colour palette but I am not sure I could keep a straight face nibbling on a biscuit that says “what is the safe word?”
And saving the best (worst?) for last, we have these grey cake balls. The seller advertises these with “Grab Christian Grey’s balls for your next book club discussion”. Wow.
Have you ever created any ridiculosuly themed desserts? Any plans for a 50 Shades party? (Please don’t ask me to bake).
I saw this ad for Fancy Feast on the TV the other night and was beside myself with joy. I had to share. Cats at a sushi train?! It must be like heaven on earth for them!
For more examples of cats starring in ads check out my Cats in Advertising post. Meow!
This month’s theme for the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop is PIE, something I don’t often make as I usually get distracted by cupcakes or cookies. Peanut butter chocolate pie, apple cobbler and pumpkin pie were a few of the ideas that swirled through my head but I finally settled on a well loved classic – the Banoffee Pie.
I’ve always liked the idea of a Banoffee Pie, an English dessert consisting of pasty, bananas, cream and caramel, but found most tooth-achingly sweet. I’ve been loving salted caramel lately and thought creating a salted pretzel based biscuit base would work well to contrast with the sweet caramel.
- 250g buttersnap biscuits
- 100g salted pretzels
- 180g butter, melted
- 400g sweetened condensed milk tin
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 50g butter
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 3 medium bananas, sliced
- 300ml pouring cream
- Dark chocolate shavings to decorate
- Blitz biscuits and pretzels in the food processor until finely crushed.
- Add in melted butter and pulse until just combined.
- Press the biscuit mixture into a 23cm/9″ round spring form cake tin and put in the fridge to set.
- To make the caramel combine the sweetened condensed milk, golden syrup, butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan and stir over a low heat for 10-12 minutes until the mixture is thickened and golden.
- Pour onto the biscuit base and return to the fridge to set (about an hour).
- Once caramel has set, peel and slice up bananas and arrange in a single layer over the caramel.
- Whip up cream until firm peaks form. Be careful to not over whip as it can go grainy.
- Using a vegetable peeler, grate the chocolate into chocolate shavings (or curls if you are more dexterous than me!)
- Release the pie from it’s spring form tin and put on a cake stand. Decorate with lashings of whipped cream and finally sprinkle over the dark chocolate.
Thanks to Kitchen Crusader for hosting this month’s blog hop!
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