Sunday, January 26, 2014

What A Difference A Year Makes


Remember the blog entry about the Melting Cake??? Well it's been 12 months since Mother Nature played her cruel joke on me, simultaneously baking Sydney and melting my cake!

What a difference a year makes Old Woman .... My eyes are clearer, my cakes are better (and firmer) and your getting soft in your old age. Or is it just that your plans for 2014 don't include breaking any records in Sydney this January??
I shouldn't antagonise the beast. There's many a cake still to be made this Summer. I can laugh about it now ..... Still wish I had seen a photo of that melted cake though :)

So last week, as promised, I delivered a miniature version of that fateful wedding cake to the door of the most understanding Bride of 2013.
It was my absolute pleasure to do this as a first anniversary gift to the lovely couple.

Grabbing my car keys and walking out the door with cake in hand, a wash of panic came over me as I saw the Frustrated Painters car and realised he was well on his way to QLD in MY car with HIS car keys!!! Are you kidding me?????

His suggestion when I called for help ..... silence ....... then "there is a spare key in the drawer, it's not broken, just bent and twisted. Get a hammer and try to smash it flat"!!!!

I did and then delivered the cake.

X Nadia



Sent from my iPhone

Monday, December 16, 2013

Houston, we have a problem!

I am a sucker. I know it, the kids know it, the Frustrated Painter knows it. Ask the Dog, who gets to stay inside on the Leather lounge all day because its raining outside and he'll tell you .... SUCKER!!!


I think I'm tough. In my mind, I pack those kids off to school with fevers, broken bones and wracked with pain. In reality, they scam me more than I care to admit. All it takes is a simple phrase - "Mum I feel really sick","Mum, my tummy is sore", "Mum, my throat hurts when I breathe".

I fire back with my tough responses... "You looked alright when you were running around playing this morning!", "Yeah, well don't breathe then".

But the kids and I both know, 9 out of 10 times they will end up at work with me. How quickly the look of distress morphs into a smug grin as they set themselves up with my computer and chill out on the fluffy rug in the office. 9 out of 10 times I regret my weak disposition as my workload is increased by the constant feeding and watering of an extra person and the freqent reconnecting of the internet. As my previous week had been dotted with "sick" kids at work, 4 out of the 5 days, and so much of my work had to be brought home and completed while the rest of the world slept,  I was hoping for a less hectic week.

Monday went off without a hitch but Tuesday night started with  - "Mum, I feel sick" as number 1 ran towards the bathroom. Are you kidding me??? As awful as it sounds at least I could leave the big one and her real germs at home, well away from my cakes and my studio. Rushing through my work to get home and be a loving and caring mum for a few hours before 2 hours of baton twirling training for 3 of us and 3 hours of gymnastics for no 4. Late dinner, more loving and caring, teeth brushing and bed for all and peace and calm were restored. Never for long ..... not in this house. Plans to sit and catch up on 2 weeks of neglected paper work were shattered by 5 simple words.......

I don't even think my computer was open before it happened...... Oh how I wish the phrase was something as simple as "Mum, I feel sick" - Oh No .... think more along the lines of "Houston, we have a problem,". The words that came out of my last born chilled me to the bone ......

"Mum ........ My head is itchy!"

"Are you kidding me?"




Monday, November 25, 2013

The very hungry Gabriella and the Masquerade Cake


Here I was thinking I had it all under control. Poached eggs on toast for three of the kids for breafast and 2 dippy eggs with toast for number 4. For the first time in three weeks, everyone complaint free and at school on time, money and notes in hand, lunches in bags, canteen money in pockets and the correct uniforms on. I filled the car with fuel and with coffee in hand, walked in the door of my studio at 9:45am. Emails were answered, cakes were sorted, invoices and quotes were sent. Bills were paid, ganaches were made, boards and fondant were ordered, paid for and being picked up. Ingredients were purchased and dinner was planned. The buds of my roses were made and set to dry and I even made time to eat!  With the massive Masquerade cake among other things this week I really need to be under contol. I was in the car at 3:20pm and pulling into the driveway at home only 4 mins late with spare cupcakes for the kids for afternoon tea. Feeling Great! The kids were there, standing at the front door,  waiting for me to arrive......

 I should have stayed in the car - where everything was right and I was still the good Mum, the clever one that had everything organised. The one that packed the kids off this morning with smiles and shouts of "have a great day at school". Apparently 4 vita-weets and a handful of cheese is not a satisfactory lunch for a 7 year old!!! There was no "crunch and sip", no "fruit break", and the $2 I gave her for the canteen had gone missing. It was not enough that she was hungry and angry at her Mother "who forgets everything", She felt it was necessary to involve two of the Teachers at school!!! Offers of fruit from the year 6 teacher, whose classroom she had invaded were flatly refused by my strong-willed-wild-child, so was the fruit from the year 6 kids whose filming was being interrupted by thier classmates hungry younger-sister. Complaining to the year 6 teacher that she was going to get into trouble back in her class for not providing her own "crunch and sip", she refused to leave. Under his instruction she was eventually removed from the classroom by her sibling, taken to the canteen to purchase extra food, where she complained about the choices she had. Finally escorted to her classroom and back into the hands of her class teacher. Her embarrased elder sibling having to fill him in on the issues and explain her lengthy absence and fear of "him gettin her into trouble"!! No longer the good mum, the clever one that has everything under contol. I am the embarrased mum, with her head in her hands. The mum who doesn't feed her children!! Feeling terrible I apologised to number 4 for being a bad mum.

"Your not a bad mum?? Your a good mum! At least you packed me food. It wasn't enough, but at least you gave me some".

Sitting up at the kitchen bench and stuffing her little tear-stained-face with cupcakes,  I could literally see her worries melt away ..... She'll go to school tomorrow with a lunch box full of food and that will be that. I'll go to school tomorrow with my head bowed low as I apologise to several of the staff for the previous days display and ensure them there is food in the kids bags!!
Please don't let this be a sign of the week to come ..... I have so much to do and more than just my kids to feed. Leftover cupcakes do not quite fit the Masquerade Cake brief.

                             CLICK THE LINK TO CHECK OUT HOW I MADE THIS MASQUERADE
                                                                          MONSTER

                                                                 the masquerade cake


WHAT YOU WILL NEED to make the mammoth Masquerade Cake.........
  • patience
  • heaps of chocolate
  • heaps of cake
  • plenty of time
  • well fed children

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

YES!!!!

I have a terrible habit of saying yes!!! Despite myself and whatever sitiuation or circumstance I may be in, I say Yes!!! Not only do I say Yes all the time, more often than not, I don't take the consequences of that Yes into consideration. Combine that with the beleif that I can do everything myself and sometimes I find myself in situations I need to work my way through or out of......

As simple as agreeing to make a cake I have never made before to having to be in three places at the same time in different parts of the city for three different reasons ...... sometimes I take a step back and wonder what is wrong with me ???

So this week along with other cakes to do, I found there was a problem ..... not a huge drama but a situation nonetheless, saying yes once again, I found myself with cupcakes to make and no easy way to do it. Custom made stencils didn't sort it out, so I had to think outside the box and ended up making my own moulds.....

Check them out here at ......

Nadia attempts to make the moulds

CUSTOM MADE MOULDS

You will need .....

  • casting gel
  • clean, dry container 
  • something to cast
  • fondant
  • microwave

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

An idea has been born

Long time no writing!!!! There are only so many hours in the day and sometimes I really need to use some of them to sleep. Besides, I've been plotting and planning.
Since moving into my little studio I have discovered a few things about myself  ...... I talk a lot, I do a lot and the quiet in there messes with my head. I listen to the radio all day but I miss being part of the conversation and its really hard to text and ganache simultaneosly.

So a idea was born. Press record on the ipad and talk ....... talk to whoever might be listening. Chat about what Im doing, showing people how I do it. Then edit it, post it on Youtube and encourage people to tune in. Create my own audience because the cakes don't listen and they certainly don't answer back.



                                         Check out my new little video at the link below ......

                                                    Welcome to my Studio

X Nadia

Monday, August 12, 2013

MACARONS!!!!

Ahhhhhh Macarons, fun and games and almond meal ..........

A couple of years ago I answered one of those calls that blind-sides you putting you right on the spot... ......  It went something like this, and I paraphrase here, .........."You have come highly recommended by (so and so) and I would like to know if you would be intereseted in supplying cakes and macarons for an after party for a particular up and coming fashion designer (complete with television show about her so called up-and-comingness) for the after party of the Rosemount Australian Fashion Show. You should of course, supply business cards for the Goody bags as well AND your logo would be displayed on the big screens throughout the party", "all of this would be provided by you, at not cost to the designer or anyone involved with the designer .......... all the glory and the stress is yours".

Well, of course my reply was something along the lines of "Oh Ok. Sure. That sounds fabulous.!!! How many do you need?" The answer that floated down that phone line set me on a path of crisp-shelled construction and a mission to find a recipe that would provide the perfect macaron and ensure its success about 400 times over!!!!!

Cupcakes??? Noooo problems, I can make them in my sleep and in fact, I think I may have, on many an occasion. Besides, they only wanted 300 of those!!!!

Macarons ??? Well I've eaten them. I have made plenty of coconut macaroons in my time but they are SOOOO different from those little french buggers that cause grief to many a baker!!!

And so the search and testing began......



Eventually I DID find what I was looking for - a fabulous blog called "Syrup and Tang" written by Duncan Markham, who had once been on the very same path. Fortunately for me, he had done all the hard work, even documenting his trials and tribulations and the ingenious way he disposed of the evidence ....... "Macawrong" anyone ?? And their have been many - although with 4 kids, a husband and an already gluten free recipe. it meant that nothing EVER went to waste!!!














I did survive the experience and made all 400 macarons for the fabulous after-party held at the Ivy. I heard that both Macarons and cupcakes were a success. I'm not sure how much business I got out of it but certainly learned some lessons along the way. ie Don't park in an alleyway - you WILL get booked!!

Now practice makes perfect and this is what my macarons have (sometimes) become but I have decided to throw a spanner in the works and move onto "Zumbarons". The shell recipe is different but that doesn't scare me ...... Vegemite ganache though?? Now that's a little scary.






Friday, July 12, 2013

Cake and Camping (not)

It's school holidays and we were supposed to be going camping that first weekend but the rain started and it didn't stop for a week - apparently the river that runs through our favourite campground had risen 16 metres!!! Not only was the "jumping rock" under water so was the entire set of dirt and timber stairs we walk down to get to the river!!!!!  Yawal dam was overflowing, the firewood was soaked and I hate to think what had happened to the wombats?  We made the call early,  cancelled the trip by Wednesday and devastated 17 kids. Once a year we make this trek, with anywhere up to 20 ish kids and not one of them ever wants to go home, let alone, miss out in the first place.
By Saturday the sun had made its way back and the river had subsided a little so we headed off to check out the damage in a 2 car convoy to see if we couldn't postpone this shindig just a little .......

According to those in the know, the sun was extending its stay for at least a week and the river would continue its decline, so we regrouped and rescheduled our trip for the following weekend!!

The dirt track into Coolendel

An overflowing Yawal Dam
Mother Nature just refuses to let me in on her plans and MY well laid plans and cake bookings were once again thrown out the window ...... So instead of a week to chill, hang with the kids and get ready for camping it was backwards and forwards to the my little studio to get my work done whilst entertaining the kids and their playmates.  Thank God for iPads, hot chips, a husband that loves grocery shopping and packing and a sister to deliver my cakes, or we'd be going away with nothing no more than cake restovers to eat and an empty Trak Shak .... and somewhere in Blakehurst there would be a lonely little cake table.

The cake that had the kids and I backwards and forwards.