Friday, September 30, 2011

Spring Decorating

Turn old, un-used clear-glass bottles into a sweet centre-piece. Wrap several containers with thin strips of paper (any colour/pattern of your choice) and tie the strips with ribbon. Dress up others by attaching different sorts of fabric with double-stick tape. Finish with some fresh flowers – a perfect loom for a spring time party.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chocolate Souffle Puddings with Chocolate Sauce

Finish off your meal with this delicious chocolate souffle pudding with chocolate sauce. For those chocoholics out there, this one is sure to have you asking for seconds! 

Ingredients (serves 8)
60g butter
35g (1/4 cup) plain flour
250ml (1 cup) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
5 egg yolks
150g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
6 egg whites
Double cream, to serve  

Chocolate sauce
55g (1/4 cup firmly packed) brown sugar
250ml (1 cup) pouring cream
40g butter
180g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Butter 8 x 150ml souffle or ovenproof dishes.
2. Melt butter in a heavy-based saucepan over low–medium heat, stir in flour and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat. Gradually whisk milk and vanilla into flour mixture until smooth. Add chocolate and whisk until melted. Don't worry if the mixture separates a little.
3. Using an electric mixer, whisk yolks and half the sugar until thick and pale. Add chocolate mixture and liqueur. Stir well.
4. Using an electric mixer, whisk whites and a pinch of salt to soft peaks. Gradually add remaining sugar and whisk to stiff peaks. Carefully fold whites into chocolate mixture in 2 batches until just combined. Spoon into dishes (mixture will fill dishes) (see note)and bake for 16–18 minutes or until puddings are well risen.
5. For sauce, combine 60ml (1/4 cup) water, sugar, cream and butter in a small pan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Stir in chocolate until melted.
6. Serve puddings immediately with chocolate sauce and double cream passed separately to spoon into the centre.
If using dishes deeper than ramekins, fill only three-quarters full.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

DIY Coffee Bag Favors

We came across this gorgeous DIY favour idea on Ruffled that is sure to be a favorite amongst your guests. This DIY coffee bean bag favour idea is the perfect addition to your wedding. Create the same favour for tea bags or hot chocolate for those guests that aren’t coffee drinkers.

What you will need
Lettering Stencil
Burlap bags 
Twine, hemp cord or ribbon
1 inch circle paper punch and paper of your choice
Coffee Beans, tea bags, hot chocolate (depending on what you wish to fill the bags with)
Stamp Kit for tags
Hole paper punch 
Fabric marker 

1. Using the stencil, starting painting burlap bags with wording of your choice. 
2. Fill burlap bags half way (about a cup or a cup and half) and tie with Thank you tags. 

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Country Charm Boutonniere

We came across this great DIY project on Inspired Bride. Create this beautiful boutonniere from lavender and rosemary. It makes for a sweet accent to a country rustic wedding. Best of all, the elements of this design are readily available so there’s no reason not to try it out.  

What you will need
Floral Shears
Boutonniere Pin

1. Cut a few branches of all three herbs and strip the rosemary and oregano stems so that only the desired length of the herb’s leafy area remains. The stems should look like those shown above in the top right photo. 
2. Bundle the three herbs together and tie them together with a length of twine. Keep the twine knot in the front. 
3. Finish the piece by inserting a boutonniere pin through the knot.
4. When it comes time to pin on the boutonniere, it’s best to have someone other than yourself to pin in on you. Place the boutonniere on the center of your left lapel. From the back of the lapel, insert your boutonniere pin, cross over the stem, and re-insert into the fabric.

If you have a refrigerator without any fruit or vegetables in it, you can store your boutonniere in it for up to two days. Produce gives off an enzyme that will wilt your flowers if stored together. Otherwise, it’s best to make your boutonniere the night before or day of and keep it in a cool place. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Coconut Cupcakes With White Chocolate Buttercream

Make these delicious coconut cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream at your next party, or even just as a sweet treat for the family. They are sure to be a hit!
1½ cups unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons coconut extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
¼ cup shredded coconut 

1½ ounces white chocolate chips
1 cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is fluffy. and light yellow in color. Lower the speed setting to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl down between additions. Add in the vanilla and coconut extracts and mix until well combined. 
2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Set the mixer to low speed. Alternatively add the dry ingredients mixture and the milk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Add in the shredded coconut and continue to mix all ingredients have just combined.
3. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Divide the batter evenly into liner lined cupcake pans, filling each cup to just under  ⅔ of the way. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out barely clean so as not to over bake, then set aside to cool.
4. In a double boiler, melt the white chocolate and set aside to cool slightly. Beat the butter on medium speed with the mixer until the butter becomes creamy. Add in the melted but cooled white chocolate, and mix to combine. Scrape the sides down if necessary.
5. Set the mixer speed to low and add the vanilla extract followed by the confectioner’s sugar in four smaller portions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl between additions. Continue to beat the buttercream mixture until light and fluffy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Beautiful Bottles

With this easy how-to from Martha Stewart, transform everyday vessels into elegant vases by coating their interiors with glass enamel. Any container will do – buy up old bottles at an op shop or market or try kitchen cast-offs, such as jam jars. 

Dishwasher-safe enamel paint is sold at most crafts stores. Wash the bottle inside and out with soapy water; let dry. Pour in a small amount of the paint's surface conditioner, which primes the glass for the enamel. Swirl to coat fully, then pour out excess. Stand bottle upright, and dry for an hour. Pour in enough enamel to easily coat the inside. Swirl, and return excess to container for reuse. Dry bottle upside down on a paper towel for 48 hours, periodically wiping excess enamel from the rim with a damp cloth during the first hour.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

DIY Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Without a doubt, the most challenging aspect of this DIY wedding favor will be keeping yourself from licking spoonfuls straight out of the bowl! This delicious chocolate hazelnut spread recipe from Ruffle will be a scrumptious parting gift for your guests.

1/2 cup whole almonds, raw
1 1/3 cup hazelnuts, raw
1 3/4 cup milk
7/8 cup powdered milk
3 tablespoons mild-flavored honey
pinch of salt
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
5 ounces milk chocolates chips

1. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet, keeping the almond separate, and toast the nuts at 350ºF, stirring a few times, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the hazelnuts are browned.

2. While they are roasting, warm the whole milk and powdered milk in a small saucepan with the honey and salt just until it starts to boil. Remove from heat.

3. In a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, or in a microwave oven, melt the chocolates together until smooth.

4. Once the nuts are well-toasted, remove them from oven and use a spatula to place the warm hazelnuts in a clean tea towel, then fold them inside the towel and rub them vigorously to remove any loose skins.

5. In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts and almonds until they’re as fine as possible. You may not be able to get them completely smooth, depending on your food processor. After 5 minutes in the food processor you will notice the creamy consistency – that’s what you want.

6. Using a double boiler, melt chocolate chips. Add milk mixture and chocolate with the nut paste. Mix well. Pour your warm Nutella in a Ziploc bag, seal and cut a small piece of one corner. Slowly squeeze onto your containers so it doesn’t spill on edges of the jars. This will help you speed up filling your containers faster than using a funnel) and it’s a lot less messy.

This recipe makes 4 wedding favors using 8 ounce jars. Serve with fresh bread or crackers, and a mini milk bottle.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Indulge a little with a slice of this heavenly flourless chocolate cake.
Ingredients (serves 8)
200g dark chocolate
200g butter
1/3 cup (60ml) hot water
1/4 cup (30g) cocoa powder
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups (300g) brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (155g) hazelnut meal
2 tbs coffee liqueur
Cocoa powder, to dust

Coffee mascarpone
1 tsp instant coffee powder
2 tsp boiling water
250g mascarpone
2 tbs icing sugar mixture
1 tbs coffee liqueur
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 23cm square (base measurement) cake pan.
2. Combine chocolate, butter, water and cocoa in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until mixture is smooth. Transfer to a large bowl.
3. Add egg yolks, sugar, meal and liqueur to chocolate mixture; stir to combine.
4. Use an electric mixer to whisk egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Add one-third of the eggwhite to chocolate mixture and gently fold until just combined. Add remaining eggwhite and fold until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan; smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.
5. Combine the coffee and water in a bowl. Add the mascarpone, icing sugar and liqueur and stir to combine.
6. Cut the cake into squares and dust with cocoa powder. Serve with mascarpone. 

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Friday, September 16, 2011

How To Make Your Own Storage Jar Labels


Dress up your storage jars with these pretty labels from Homelife. Made from air-hardening modeling clay, which means it doesn’t have to be fired. They are not only decorative but practical as well. The labels are written on in pencil, so you can erase the writing and drawings and update them as the contents of the storage jars change. Use a variety of labels in different shapes and sizes on each jar, creating some of the shapes with cookie cutters. Flowers, hearts, and stars look great in combination with the simpler shapes and rectangles, all tied to the jars with pretty ribbon. You can also add decoration to the labels, in the form of textural effects or buttons.  

Materials and equipment
Air-hardening white modeling clay
Pastry board and rolling pin
Plastic wrap (clingfilm)
Lace, leaves, or flowers (optional)
Acrylic paint (optional)
Sharp knife and cookie cutters
Skewer or tapestry needle
Buttons and craft glue (optional)
Plastic bag
Emery board or fine sandpaper
Ribbon and lace trim
How to
1. Begin by rolling out a piece of the clay on a pastry board using a rolling pin; keep the rest in plastic wrap (clingfilm) until needed. Roll the piece of clay out until it is approximately 2-3mm thick.

2. If you want to add texture, place a piece of lace, a leaf, or a flower on the clay just before doing the final rolling out. (If you wish, lightly paint the leaf first with acrylic paint, and lay it on the clay paint side down before doing the final rolling out of the clay, in order to leave a hint of color in the leaf impression in the clay. Any paint that splodges out can be removed when it is dry, in step 6.) After rolling the clay out, peel back the lace, leaf, or flower to reveal the texture.

3. With a sharp knife, cut the clay into squares and rectangles. Use cookie cutters to cut out flower or other shapes.

4. While the clay is still wet, use a skewer or tapestry needle to make a hole at the top all the way through the clay—the hole needs to be big enough to thread your ribbon through. If you want to decorate the shapes with buttons, press these into the clay while it is still wet.

5. Carefully peel the clay shapes off the pastry board and place them on a smoothed-out plastic bag to dry. Flip the clay over every few hours to help both sides to dry evenly.

6. When the clay is dry take the shapes outdoors and, using an emery board or fine sandpaper, rub away the rough edges.

7. Thread pieces of ribbon, lace trim, or wire through the holes, with the help of a needle if the holes are small, or by just poking the ribbon through. Add as many labels as you like to the ribbon.
8. If necessary, use glue to secure any buttons you’ve added. Write or draw on the labels with pencil to indicate the contents of each jar.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Brownie Candy Cups

We just love the look of these delicious Brownie Candy Cups! Perfect for parties or a weekend treat...

1 package Duncan Hines Chocolate Lovers Double Fudge Brownie Mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
30 mini Reeses cups unwrapped
1 Box Reynolds 2-inch aluminum foil mini cups for muffins

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Place 30 foil liners on baking sheet
3. Combine brownie mix, contents from fudge packet in mix, eggs, water and oil.
4. Stir with spoon until well blended. (about 50 strokes)
5. Fill each liner with 2 tablespoons of batter
6. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes and remove from oven
7. Push 1 Reeses in center of each “brownie cupcake” until even with surface of the batter.
8. Bake 5-7 minutes longer.
9. Cool 5-10 minutes in pan and then move to cooling rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Perfect for entertaining, this dish can be prepared in advance so there's little fuss on the day.

Ingredients (serves 12)
5 eggs, separated
2/3 cup caster sugar
500g mascarpone cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup thickened cream, whipped
1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee powder
2 cups boiling water
2 x 250g packets sponge finger biscuits
6 passionfruit, halved
500g strawberries, sliced
125g raspberries
125g blueberries
Dark chocolate curls, to serve
1. Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl for 5 to 6 minutes or until pale and creamy. Fold in mascarpone and vanilla. Fold cream into mascarpone mixture.
2. Beat eggwhites in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold into mascarpone mixture. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Dissolve coffee powder in boiling water. Working quickly, dip half the biscuits, 1 at a time, in coffee to coat. Place, in a single layer, over base of a 2.8 litre capacity, 6cm-deep, 21cm x 32cm serving dish.
4. Spread half the mascarpone mixture over biscuits. Top with passionfruit pulp and half the strawberries. Repeat layers with remaining biscuits, coffee mixture and mascarpone mixture. Cover. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
5. Top with raspberries, blueberries and remaining strawberries. Sprinkle with chocolate. Serve. 

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Favor Display Ideas

Martha Stewart offers some great DIY ideas. Why not save some cash and use these handy tips fro creating beautiful and easy favour displays…

Invite guests to help themselves to these yummy favors pinned on linen covered cork board. Cellophane bags printed with the couple's initial and wedding date are filled with delicious goodies and pinned to the board.

Buy glassine bags; trim tops with scalloped scissors. Fill bags with enough cherries, or other small fruit, so they peek out over the top. To help the bags stand up, turn corners under at bottoms. Display favors in wooden crates.

Make some homemade cookies and place them in labeled jars. This way, your guests can choose their favorites. Set out glassine-lined bags and seals for packaging cookies to go.

Monday, September 12, 2011

How to make a floral buttonhole

HomeLife have shown us the basics on how to make a buttonhole for your wedding.
What you will need
White roses
Ice plant (Sedum)
Camellia foliage
Parafilm (a green floral tape that adheres to itself when stretched)
Floral wire
Green ribbon, white ribbon, pearl head pins (from floral supplies stores)
How to
1. Wire each piece of foliage separately. We used camellia leaves. Cover with parafilm.

2. Wire each rose and each piece of ice plane (Sedum). Cover with parafilm.

3. Add each leaf and flower to form a balanced arrangement, applying parafilm after each addition. Cover ends in ribbon.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chicken Burgers With Chilli Jam & Lime

These sweet and sour chicken burgers are sure to become a weeknight staple.
Ingredients (serves 6)
450g chicken mince
2 tablespoons chilli jam, plus extra to serve
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped coriander
3 teaspoons lime juice
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 lightly beaten egg
6 bread rolls
avocado slices, snow pea sprouts, sliced cucumber and lime wedges, to serve
1. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place chicken mince, chilli jam, soy sauce, chopped coriander, lime juice, fresh breadcrumbs and lightly beaten egg in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Divide the mixture into 6 portions and shape each portion into a flat patty. Place patties on prepared tray and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
2. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook the patties, in batches if necessary, for 3-4 minutes each side or until cooked through. Split bread rolls and lightly toast. Place the bases of the rolls on serving plates and spread with extra chilli jam. Top with patties, avocado slices, snow pea sprouts, sliced cucumber and remaining rolls. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.
If chilli jam is unavailable use 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce in the burger mixture.

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